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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Swamp Tour (Updated)

This morning we got up bright & early to take Dr. Wagner's Honey Island Swamp Tour. Here are some pix (I highly recommend clicking to see the enlarged versions.)

(Updates: Jun. 22, 2008; This photo was featured on the front page of the St. Tammany News. 2nd place winner, St. Tammany Fair, 2008.)

I learned today that the inches from a gator's nose to it's eyes is roughly it's body length in feet. (Update, Jul. 2009; Published in Anthology of Friends; An Original Collection, Vol. 3.)

Great Blue Heron

Prothonotary Warbler (pacing our boat at 35mph.)

The female on the log is about 9' long. The male in the water's about 12'.

Pearl River, Louisiana

Afterwards my friend & I went lazy river tubing at Bogue Chitto (which was relaxing & amusing at the same time.) It was a well-enjoyed day.


Charles Gramlich said...

I very much enjoyed the swamp tour, although later I enjoyed my nap while you and Rowan went tubing.

Travis said...

You have so much amazing wildlife around you.

laughingwolf said...

ab fab pix and links, thx lana :)

Miladysa said...

Awesome and very enjoyable!

Thank you for sharing these splendid photographs Lana :-D

Travis Erwin said...

My five year old would love to see some Gators up close and personal.

Tom said...


Wow, awesome pictures, I loved that first gator shot, it looks like you were only an arm's length away...


Anonymous said...

Visiting from Miladysa's, these images are fabulous! I'm glad my local swamp doesn't have gators ;)

Lana Gramlich said...

Charles; The lazy tubing was a great follow up, I think. I asked if there were gators in that river & the guy told us he hadn't seen one "in a long time." I laughed inside, thinking "a long time" is a far cry from "never."

Travis; We really are blessed that way down here & it's a blessing I count every day.

Laughingwolf; Anytime. I'm always glad to share. Thanks for taking time to enjoy our little corner of the world!

Miladysa; You're very kind. Thank you.

Travis E.; Maybe you need to visit us outside of your dreams. *L*

Tom; Thank you. I practically was only an arm's length away, actually. This gator came straight for my spot on the boat. Charles even commented that he seemed to like me, in particular. Made for some wonderful photo ops!

Anonymous; Thanks for stopping by! I'll be sure to return the favor (although I'm a bit busy with my visitor at present.) Glad you enjoyed. Fortunately most of the gators in our area are nowhere near human habitation, anyway!

Lisa said...

WOW! Awesome shots, Lana! The Pearl River is just amazingly beautiful, and I love the shots of the alligator and heron, too! Beautiful details in the large version.

bernie kasper said...

Swamps are so beautiful and full of life, I love going to the Everglades and just soaking it all in, there is way more beauty in the swamps then most can see. These are really cool shots !!

mon@rch said...

Your gator shots are giving me nightmares but then I see that fast moving Prothonotary shot! I can only smile seeing such a stunning bird! I had my first one ever last Friday!

T.R. said...

That prothonotary warbler shot is da bomb. AMAZING!

nina said...

Such a peaceful looking river--and such awesome creatures within!

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

That swamp tour would give me nightmares. You're a brave soul and oooh, what a great post and photos!!! WOOT!!!

Good morning. :D

Hugs, JJ

Lana Gramlich said...

Lisa; The 1st alligator picture (at full size,) so reminds me of some gnarled, old dragon. The heron was huge & surprisingly (& delightfully) patient with us.

Bernie; True about the swamps! I never really understood the living beauty of the swamp until I moved to Louisiana, y'know? Growing up in the north, they were an abstract concept at best & stagnant areas, at worst. Boy, was I wrong!

Mon@rch; Yes, the prothonotary warblers are SO lovely! Like drops of sunlight against the verdure of the swamp. Very nice. I never knew they could fly so FAST! Congrats on yours, as well!

T.R.; Thank you. I was very pleased with it, as well. I didn't think it would come out as well as it did!

Nina; The more peaceful the place, the more awesome the creatures, I think. Mankind seems to be the one that prefers chaotic surroundings. <:\

JJ; Good morning! The worst part about the swamp tour, really, was arriving at the dock to find someone had poached a gator, skinned it & left its carcass to rot (I figured I'd spare my readers THAT gruesome shot.) That's worse than nightmares to me, to see what mankind is capable of. <:( Our tour guides called the appropriate government agency to investigate, anyway.

Avery DeBow said...

Whose hand is that? There's only ten or so inches of stick between the first snack and the second!

Sandpiper said...

Beautiful pictures!! I really enjoyed this tour. Your pictures make me miss living in the South.

Michelle (artscapes) said...


Demon Hunter said...

Wow. I would love to go on one of these tours. Too cool. It looks like so much fun. :*)

Shauna Roberts said...

Oh no! More pictures to make me homesick! I love the swamp too.

Have you been to the part of Jean Lafitte park that's way down in Barataria? I don't know what's left of it post-K, but before, you could walk down a one-mile path and pass through several ecological zones! There would be cool critters on and alongside the path so you could get their pictures close up—sparkly beetles, snakes, frogs, and I don't recall what else. One can see the alligators close up too.

Referring back to one of your previous sightseeing posts: I've worked with a caiman (not nearly as good tempered as 'gators) and the trick to controlling them is to grasp them firmly where their neck would be if they had one. They can't bite you because your hands are out of reach and they can't swing their head to reach them. The other dangerous part is the tail. It is powerful and can do real damage if they whack you with it. I don't know the relative strength of alligators and people, but with the caiman, when it reached three feet long, a strong man could barely control it.

Chris said...

What a neat warbler in flight picture! Gators always scared me so I'm sticking with the bird pic!

Marvin said...

Very cool swamp tour. Loved the gators.

Steve Malley said...

I remember the first time I realized that the log drifting toward me was drifting against the current. Seconds before it blinked its eyes.

Quite a day!

Larry said...

Interesting photos and I like the tidbit about estimating a gator's length by measuring his snout.I wouldn't dip my toes in that water!

Lana Gramlich said...

Avery; That's our tour guide's hand. He was demonstrating how gators will jump out of the water for food (fortunately they still couldn't jump high enough to get into our boat! *L*)

Sandpiper; Thanks. Glad you enjoyed. :)

Michelle; We're all very safe in the nice, big boat, don't worry. *L*

DH; It was absolutely awesome & I highly recommend it.

Shauna; Yes--I think I was down in that Barataria area (say that 10 times fast,) when I first came down to meet Charles. That was really cool!
Our tour guide at the alligator ranch spoke about how aggressive the caimans are. Fortunately I have no plans to get into any kind of reptile wrangling, myself. *L*

Chris; Those birds (& others,) were all over, too. At one point we passed a rookery, full of all kinds of egrets & herons. Unfortunately it was tucked into the woods a bit, so pictures didn't work out too well.

Marvin; The swamp tour was great fun & not unreasonably priced. I'm just ashamed it's taken me this long to go. *L*

Steve; They're such amazing creatures, y'know?

Larry; Yes, the tidbit was interesting & no, I wouldn't dip my toes in that water, either! *LOL*

ivan said...

Good thing you didn't take Granny along on the tour.

Just thinking of that old Tony Joe White song, "Gator's got Your Granny." :)

The Zen Birdfeeder said...

Great gator shot - glad I looked at the enlarged version!
Hope they weren't on the river where you went tubing.

Greg said...

Yah, I don't think I'd have been able to make such a smooth transition from gator gazing to tubing in the same day!! Kudos!

Got to spend a little quality time with Old Joe (a heron) on our pond last summer. Fascinating creatures, aren't they?

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

BE-AU-TI-FUL photos, Lana. I've never been to the French Quarter before. :D You sure know how to fun with all the sights you see and photograph!!!

Hugs, JJ

Lana Gramlich said...

Ivan; *LOL!*

Zen; Fortunately no...No gators in Bogue Chitto (where we went tubing.) I have a whole new respect for alligators now, I have to say. Amazing creatures!

Greg; Herons are so beautiful. They've been one of my favorite birds since I was very young.

JJ; Thank you! The French Quarter is overpriced (of course,) but there's some really neat stuff to see there.

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