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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Fontainebleau vs. Swamp Tour

Charles & I are feeling much better now, thankfully, so we went for a hike at Fontainebleau State Park today. Although the water was way down at the marsh (it hasn't rained in a long time,) it still gave yesterday's swamp tour a run for the money (especially since the tour ran us about $50, but admission to Fontainebleau was only $2.)

There were numerous flowers in bloom, including blackberry (which is also flowering all over our yard,) purple oxalis, yaupon holly, Louisiana iris & these deeper-purple irises. There were lots of Carolina cranesbill, too, but they'd already gone to seed.

Birds included great egrets, a red-headed woodpecker, Northern cardinals and a pair of common grackles.

There were also common moorhens, American coots, red-bellied woodpeckers (heard but not seen,) a Northern mockingbird and red-winged blackbirds.

There were hundreds of minnows, mostly bluehead shiners. There was also a bluegill.

Gulf salt marsh snake.

There were quite a few alligators out. Their Winter hibernation recently ended & they're out in force, looking for food.

The first one was pretty large, but mostly hidden by marsh grasses.

This one was fairly small--perhaps 2' long (about 2 years old.)

This medium-sized specimen stayed perched on that tuft of grass for quite a while, watching intently for lunch to amble by. I got to see it dive after whatever unlucky creature showed up, which it held under the water for a few minutes before half-swimming/half-walking away. Featured on the front page of the St. Tammany News.


Charles Gramlich said...

It was great fun. Loved being out there with you.

Anonymous said...

aiaiai, nice pics


Cloudia said...

I love rambling with you two through your wondrous turf (Internal & geographic).

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey lovely Lana,

These pictures are stunning! Really love the snake -- spooky. Love how you capture the motion. said...

Wonderful pictures! Glad you guys are feeling better to hike. Unfortunately, we too are low on rain in the Chicago area. You never realize how much you miss it until it's missing. I hope this year is not a drought...I would be devistated without my thunderstorms. :(

Lana Gramlich said...

Charles; Not as much as I loved being there with you. :)

Henk; Thank you kindly.

Cloudia; Glad you're enjoying the ride. *L*

Michelle; Thanks much. The snake was a sudden & hectic process. It wasn't far from disappearing under the boardwalk when I saw it, at which point I turned into a whirlwind of flying, snapping cameras! *L*

Lana Gramlich said...

Christine; Guess I just missed you! I'm hoping we don't end up with a drought here, too. Some storms came through over the last couple of days but they socked New Orleans & left us virtually barren, still. I'm going to start putting water out for the birds. I think they're leaving my yard because of the lack of it!

Tabib said...

Nice nature series. Love that reptile last pic, very close.

V said...

wow you really get to see so many great animals and you don't even have to go to the zoo. even better. stay safe.

Lana Gramlich said...

Tabib; Thank you! My 300mm camera lens helped me get closer to the last gator than I actually was, fortunately!

V; Safe, free & none of the critters are caged. That's my favorite part. ;)

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