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Monday, March 15, 2010

Life at the Flatwoods

We went for a hike at the Abita Creek Flatwoods Preserve yesterday. We saw more wildlife than I'd expected (thanks, as usual, to my eagle-eyed "spotter" and husband, Charles.)

First, this great blue heron flew over.

A Northern flicker.

At the first bridge, Charles pointed out 2 large, juvenile cottonmouths in the water. Thanks for everyone, inc. Jeff Boundy at the LA Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries and Tom Arbour & his sources, who helped me correctly ID these.

Although the longleaf pines are mostly gone from Louisiana, The Nature Conservancy is working to restore some of the beautiful pine savannas that used to blanket much of the Southeastern US. A boardwalk (with interpretive stations,) meanders through the woods along the Abita Creek.

Woodpecker holes in a tree.

2 of 7 turkey vultures.

Besides the boardwalk, there are well-kept "roadways" to follow, bordered by fields of wild grasses.

Conditions were right for a sundog to appear.

Shortly after discussing how we hadn't seen any Canada geese here lately, this pair flew over our heads.

In addition, there were Eastern bluebirds, red-bellied woodpeckers, a tufted titmouse, cardinals and a mourning dove, most of which were heard but not seen. There were also raccoon tracks near the creek. Best of all, there weren't any other people. The Abita Creek Flatwoods Preserve is unknown even to most of the locals, making it a great getaway from the trappings of humanity.


Natural said...

okay on the snakes, i'd be so totally afraid, but i run from butterflies, so no surprise there.

love the picture of the trees and the one of the field. the lighting is just right there.

Charles Gramlich said...

Diamond back water snakes? Wow, who knew.

Lana Gramlich said...

NW; Thanks. It was just before sunset, so we had some nice lighting.

Charles; Nope...Cottonmouths. Further research & discussion with others confirmed what you'd suspected.

Erik Donald France said...

Beautiful shots, though the cottonmouths cause instant recoil. Hard-wiring, I suppose.

That's cool they're trying to restore the ecosystems.

My parents reported a bunch of cedar waxwings devouring fruit on trees and moving on.

NicoleB said...

That's one great tour through your nature.
Love the birdies, snakes not so much ;)

MaineBirder said...

Interesting wildlife you have there. The Cottonmouth is my favorite. Very nice photos from your outing!

Marvin said...

Sounds like a great outing. Love those cottonmouth photos. Things are still fairly gray and unphotogenic up this direction, but spring is trying to arrive.

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Lana,

You are the TOUGHEST chic out there -- those pictures of the snakes scared the living hell out of me! I would have been running away instead of shooting pictures -- fast! Seriously. I think the shots are amazing.

Anonymous said...

Your nature photos, especially the close-ups, are amazing. I haven't been here in awhile, but I think your pics keep getting better and better.


eileeninmd said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful walk enjoying the birds. Those snakes look BIG. Wonderful photos.

Pennsylvania slip and fall lawyer said...

Thank you for all the great posts from last year! I look forward to reading your blog, because they are always full of information that I can put to use. Thank you again, and God bless you in 2010.

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

A MAGNIFICENT post with AWESOME photos, Lana!!!

I looove that you and Charles share such beautiful nature walks.

Thank you for all the journeys you have taken us on, and I look forward to many more. :D

Blessings, JJ/Nancy

Rob said...

Every moccasin I've ever seen was solid on top. I've always considered these patterned varieties to be water snakes but the ones you have pictured do have the thick body that moccasins typically have. I'd still give them a wide berth.

Travis said...

You were that close to the snakes? Yikes!

Lana Gramlich said...

Erik Donald France; I'm totally jealous of your parents' waxwings!

NicoleB; Thanks. Yeah, snakes aren't for everyone. ;)

MaineBirder, eileeninmd, Pennsylvania slip and fall lawyer, JJ; Thank you. :)

Marvin; It was a great time. Spring is coming...I promise!

Michelle; Thanks, hon. The snakes were down in the creek. I was up on the bridge with my mega-zoom 300mm lens. No fear! ;)

JR; Thanks, hon. How've you been?

Rob; After my first investigations, I'd come to the conclusion that they were diamondback water snakes, but many people have been saying "no, cottonmouths" since then. I'm still waiting to hear what the LA Dept. of Fisheries & Wildlife have to say (although I'm not holding my breath.)

Travis; I was on a bridge w/my 300mm lens. No danger there. Much less than the one day I almost stepped right on one, certainly. <:O

Lynda Lehmann said...

Thank you for the very LOVELY trek, Lana. I'm with you on the thought of leaving the trappings of humanity to get a clear head, and a sense of ourselves.

Just so you know, I thought of you a LOT on our last few beach walks and when I was writing my last post, because of how you'd expressed that you missed the coastline here.

I'm so glad to share our mutual love of nature and the outdoors.

Hope you are feeling well.


NatureFootstep said...

seems to be an intersting area to walk about. I love that photo with the snake :)

Steve Malley said...

I always enjoy your walks with Charles-- thanks for sharing!

The Zen Birdfeeder said...

I'll pass on those snakes and take everything else!

gwendolen said...

Lovely photos Lana. I love the landscapes. Those woodpecker holes are huge.

LOL @ the snake and the 300 mm lens :-))

Anonymous said...

Hey Lana,
Working with mentally ill inmates has been somewhat draining, and the Michigan politicians (along with public sentiment) have been trying to mess with my salary and benefits, but I'm hanging in there. Soon the warm weather will be hear and I'll go fishing. --JR

Heather A Posey said...

What kind of camera do you use?

Lisa said...

Looking through your nature photos always fills me with peace ~ So gorgeous!!!!

Lana Gramlich said...

Lynda; I'm well, thanks. I also enjoy that we can share our walks like this. Please do admire a horseshoe crab for me, the next time you get the opportunity. I miss them a lot, too.

NatureFootstep; It's a great area. Glad you like the cottonmouth. I bought boots to protect me from possible bites.

Steve; Anytime. ;) Thanks for enjoying!

Nancy; Yeah, snakes aren't for everyone. *L*

gwendolen; Thank you! Living in a vast pine forest, there's definitely no shortage of woodpeckers around here. Those large holes are probably made by pileated woodpeckers (which we've seen out there before.)

JR; Sorry to hear that the state's causing you problems--as if you need that on top of everything else. <:\ As I've said before, I really don't know how you do it. I do hope you find some time for a vacation soon, though. Lord knows you deserve it!

Heather A Posey; I have 2 cameras, actually, a Canon PowerShot A570IS & a Canon EOS Rebel 50D. I tend to leave my 300mm lens on the Rebel & take "regular" pix with the PowerShot. That's not always the case, but it's probably often the case.

Lisa; Thanks, hon. I'm glad you enjoy your visits into cyber-Louisiana. *L*

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