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Lots of wildlife along Eight Mile Creek.
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The Eight Mile Creek bridge at I-65. Nice clear water up here with some current.
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5-6 foot long snake wanting to take a ride on the kayak.

Eight Mile Creek is one of Mobile County's hidden nature jewels. Lots of wildlife to observe along the isolated creek if you don't mind paddling through a garbage chute. But, that is typical of all of Mobile County's waterways.

 
 
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Yes, barefoot in January
 
 
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Many white pelicans at the confluence of Dog River and Moore Creek.
 
 
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Map of Ron Jones Paddle Trail along Chickasabogue Creek
I was a bit surprised to see some positive changes at William Brooks Park aka Tucker Launch. The once unusable shoreline is now an inviting kayak launch because of the sandy shoreline. There is a pretty big web of boardwalk trails that take visitors over the swampy wetlands out to Chickasabogue Creek to fish, bird watch, or sight see.

The Ron Jones Paddle Trail is named after the Chickasabogue Parks and Wildlife Manager who died in 2006.
The Chickasabogue Paddle Trail was one of Ron's visions and priorities before he died. It is a nice kayak launch.

The folks at Chickasabogue Creek are lucky to have Clifford, aka Wolf Dog paddling up and down the creek.
The volunteer canoeist spends his days removing the shoreline litter. I'm glad Clifford is still doing his thing.
This is an example of how to remove litter from in and along a trash impaired waterway without need of an expensive boat or litter trap. Waterway trash removal needs to be a full time job for one person per watershed.

Since the Alabama Department of Transportation won't remove trash from the ditches along their state highways, they should employ people like Clifford to remove trash from the waterways where their roadside trash ends up.
 
 
Winds were supposed to be calm at Dauphin Island and the forecast held true. An absolutely beautiful day to enjoy the almost empty beaches before the onslaught of Labor Day Weekend beach activity. I always enjoy the bird watching opportunities at Dauphin Island.
 
 
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Closeup photo of the flower of Alligatorweed
Click on any image above for a larger view with commentary.

Alligatorweed Flea Beetle (Agasicles hygrophila), native to Brazil, was released in California and all southeastern coastal states in 1964 to control the spread of the exotic invasive plant Alternanthera philoxeroides which many kayakers know as Alligatorweed.

The Alligatorweed Flea Beetle has enlarged upper leg sections on their hind legs which allow them to jump a long distance if disturbed, hence the common name, "Flea Beetle." Kayaking into a thicket of alligatorweed when the beetles are active will result in beetles jumping everywhere, including onto your clothing and kayak. Not to worry, the beetles do not bite.

Alligator Flea Beetle eggs are laid on the bottom of alligatorweed leaves so larvae will have abundant food when they hatch. Mature larvae burrow into and pupate in the hollow stems of the alligatorweed plant and emerge as adults through the holes in the stems.

Source: http://www.sms.si.edu/irlspec/agasicles_hygrophila.htm
 
 
Above: Short video of an Apple Snail laying eggs. The eggs are flowing up.
Below: View of how dense the Apple Snail eggs are in Three Mile Creek.
 
 
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First time I saw Apple Snails laying eggs. A very interesting process.
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Keep in mind that the Apple Snail shell is almost as big as a Tennis Ball. It is a big snail.
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One by one the Apple Snail eggs flow upward from it's body. It is remarkable to see the parade of eggs flowing freely only held in place by its fluid. From when a single egg leaves the body pouch to when it gets to the egg mass takes about 10-15 seconds. The slime is also used to glue the eggs together.
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Another interesting critter seen in Toulmin Spring Branch on a submerged log is what looks like a decorated leech. It can elongate to about 5 inches and moves much faster than expected.
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Here is another one of those odd looking leechy critters. I certainly won't be swimming in Toulmin Spring Branch!
 
 

Did a little kayak trip in lower Dog River this afternoon. On the way back turbulence from a passing front kicked up the winds from nothing to 20 mph instantly. The waves went from 3 inches to a foot chop in a minute. If I had been in a regular Paddle kayak I would've been struggling hard to make it back. Thankfully I was in my Hobie pedal boat and the wind did not play a big factor going into the 20 mph wind. I love my Hobie pedal kayak!

This is just a reminder to kayakers - when you're out on open waters wind and waves can change in an instant. Be Prepared for the worst every time you go out kayaking.

 
 
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Doggone Fun on Dog River