Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Birdwatching by Kayak

Prothonatary warbler
Birdwatching by kayak is a great way to see some of America's most beautiful birds, including seldom seen bird species. Kayaking is a good way to explore aquatic habitats where many of these elusive birds are found.

In spring, several species of warblers begin seasonal migrations across North America. Many of these tiny songbirds prefer streams, creeks or swampy woodland habitats.

Among the most beautiful are yellow warblers and Prothonatary warblers, two species that prefer semi-aquatic environments. Mid Atlantic birdwatchers often spot these beautiful birds along creek banks while exploring by kayak.

The indigo bunting is another small but brilliantly colored songbird that is sometimes seen around ponds, creeks or streams. These opportunistic feeders also like overgrown areas and shoreline brush.

Swallows are another type of specialized bird that orient to aquatic environments. These amazing birds catch and eat tiny insects. Look for them along rivers, lake shorelines, or other areas.

The Baltimore oriole is another tree-orienting songbird that is sometimes seen by Mid Atlantic kayakers. These colorful birds prefer a diet of insects and nectar. They are often found along river banks where flowering plants and berries are abundant. Orioles are known to be shy but sometimes tolerate the approach of a slow moving kayak.

In cypress swamps and other low-lying woodlands, many birds specialize in feeding around fallen trees, cypress knees and low lying vegetation. Towhees and members of the sparrow family search the ground along streams and creeks, sorting thru leaf litter for insects and invertebrates.

Songbirds seen along Mid Atlantic streams and creeks are popular among photographers and artists, especially some of the more colorful species such as summer tanagers, Prothonatary warblers, and Baltimore orioles.

As expected, members of the heron and egret family are easily seen by kayak. By moving unobtrusively, kayaks are often able to approach quite close to these birds and observe their antics. Other fish-eating birds are also commonly seen by kayakers, including kingfishers, ospreys, bald eagles and other species.

Depending on the region and season, kayakers may see ducks, geese, brant, swans, or other waterfowl. In coastal estuaries, sandpipers, plovers, oyster catchers, marsh hens, coots, loons, terns, gulls and other aquatic birds can be observed and photographed by kayak.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

1 Person Kayaks vs. 2 Person Kayaks for Fishing

For many kayak anglers, a choice must be made between owning a one person or two person kayak.

What type of kayak is best for fishing?

Before buying a kayak of either type, paddlers may want to ask themselves several questions:

Will anglers be fishing most often as a pair or solo?

How much kayaking experience does each angler have?

What type of waters will be fished?

Are kayak rentals available nearby?

Advantages of 2 Person Kayaks

In most cases, fishing is easier as one angler can control the kayak while the other fights a fish or deals with other tasks.

Having 2 paddlers can increase speed, range and safety.

A single craft costs less than 2 individual kayaks.

Equipment can be shared by 2 people on these models.

Advantages of 1 Person Kayaks

Solo kayakers have more freedom.

One person kayaks tend to maneuver easier.

One person kayaks tend to be lighter and easier to transport.

One person kayakers are usually less expensive per unit than 2 occupant models.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Gift Ideas for Kayakers - Equipment, Accessories, Gadgets

When choosing a gift for kayaking enthusiasts, shoppers are faced with an overwhelming a variety of kayaking-related gear.

This list includes several equipment categories as well as examples of products from each category:

Storage and Transportation - car top carriers, loading mats, straps, trailers, bungee cords, security cables, locks, skirt, kayak covers, dry bags,waterproof pouches for electronic devices

Clothing - kayaking shoes, boots, waders, hats, eyewear, water resistant pants, shirts, gloves

Navigation - compass, charts, GPS

Convenience - hi tech towel or chamois, bucket or tub, zipper bags, pliers, knife, fold-out seat cushion

Fishing - gripper, pliers, de-hookers, rags-towels, stringers, nets, rods, rod racks, lure assortment, lure organizers, tackle bags, live baits

Gadgets - cell phone, camera, PLB, fish finder, satellite messenger, trackstick, VHF-wx radio

Safety - personal flotation devices (PFDs), paddle lanyards, hand pumps, bladders, anchors, rope, d-rings, clevises, grapnel hooks