My webpage (inc. awards, upcoming events, etc.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Morning at Big Branch

We went to Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in Lacombe, Louisiana bright & early last Sunday morning.

Much of the marsh around the boardwalk is covered with lily pads. Despite the plethora of flower buds, only a handful of flowers were open. I knew we'd have to come back someday when they were blooming.

The invasive bull thistle was blooming everywhere. The biggest bumblebees I've ever seen were busy collecting their pollen (there's also a spotted cucumber beetle on this one--click the image for a larger view.)

Around the boardwalk we saw some ducks (too distant to ID,) and lots of red-winged blackbirds. On the trail beyond we saw &/or heard all kinds of woodpeckers (inc. red-bellied, downy & the threatened red-cockaded,) a handful of brown-headed nuthatches, Eastern bluebirds, a crow being mobbed by a Northern mockingbird, a male Eastern towhee and a few Eastern kingbirds (pictured here.)

There were dozens of dragonflies, of course. In addition to the "usual" Eastern pondhawks, there were these Needham's skimmers & blue dashers.

This eggshell was also on the path, as was half of a mouse being devoured by ants (I'll spare y'all that picture, though.)

There were quite a few mason bees about (this is a female.) We also stumbled upon 2-3 North American river otters frolicking in the water, but my brain was too busy registering what I was seeing (for the 1st time,) to work my cameras. <:\

Returning to the boardwalk area on our way out, I was absolutely delighted to see that all of the lily flowers had opened to the sun!







Investigating a nearby boat launch on our way out, we were surprised to see the sign about the manatees. We'll have to get our hands on a canoe sometime!

27 comments:

Travis Erwin said...

Love the before and after shots of the lily pads. Is this area open to fishing?

Lisa said...

Wonderful narrative & photos! The water lily is breathtaking!

V said...

lana hello again. excuse MY absence. oh the lily pad flowers are just beautiful. thanks for sharing your photos. always very relaxing.

ayşegül said...

ohh my god like great a sun :Pp

cool girl :DDD

Charles Gramlich said...

The otters were so exciting it was hard to focus for a few moments.

Mumsy said...

What a gorgeous lily pad pond! It will be spectacular once bloom. Your photos are just fantastic.

NicoleB, Egypt said...

It must be cool to see a manatee :D!
Lovely shots, all of them, but I do thank you for sparing me the mouse.
Saw enough rotten animal parts today (including a dog carcass chained on a tree and slowly decaying there - and yes, I have pics of all of that too ;) )

Lynda Lehmann said...

Beautiful tour, Lana! PLEASE tell me where you get all your wildlife info!? You seem to know all the species.

I've never seen a cucumber beetle, and that bee looks as big and chunky as a tarantula! Don't wanna run into HIM without an epi-pen at hand!

I can't BELIEVE how many kinds of birds you saw in one day!

I love water lilies, but rarely catch more than one or two open at a time. I guess it's just a different eco-system up here.

I hope you are feeling well and you and Charles can rejoice in your freedom to get out for hikes such as this!

JR's Thumbprints said...

To see that many lilies opened up at that end of your journey is truly amazing.

Lana Gramlich said...

Travis E.; I think it is during certain times of the year. There are various brochures at the start of the boardwalk that include one about fishing.

Lisa & ayşegül; Thank you.

V; Thanks. There's enough stress in the world, y'know? Welcome to my peaceful little corner. :)

Charles; It was so amazing. I was so glad to see them with you.

Mumsy; Thanks...but...the lily flowers DID all bloom, as mentioned & displayed. It was pretty cool. :)

NicoleB; We haven't seen a manatee yet, but it's on our bucket list. *L* Gads, the dog sounds just aweful. At least the mouse wasn't immobilized by anything, it was just one of nature's casualties. :(

Lynda; As a birder since my early childhood, I'm either already familiar with them or know how/where to look them up. bugguide.net is a great help with the insects & davesgarden.com is good for plants. Besides that, I sometimes get help from my other nature-blog-friends. I also occasionally request help from more local, official sources (professors at local universities, employees of the LA Dept. of Fisheries & Wildlife, etc.)
Thanks for the kind comments. Yes, I'm feeling 100% better from the pneumonia. As for the bees, they were at least 1.5" long...HUGE, they were! Unfortunately the time for such hikes is quickly drawing to a close as the heat & humidity start piling up. Almost painting time again. *L*

JR; It really was. I wasn't expecting it, so I gasped at the sight of it. Just beautiful!

Cloudia said...

ALWAYS a pleasure, Lana!



Aloha from Spring Time in Waikiki!


Comfort Spiral

Bird said...

Those waterlilies are just breathtaking, so glad you got to see them open! None of our dragon or damselflies are out just yet, there should be some damsels out by now but it's been cold and windy here. Glad you shared yours :)

Abraham Lincoln said...

I always like water lilies. I think they are pretty in lakes or anywhere. Ponds are nice places here to see them.

celticmusicfan said...

This has relaxed me again

letspaintnature.com said...

Lana, your photos are spectacular! I love the bumble-bee close up even though it is on an invasive species. The water lillies are breathtaking!!! A painting must!!!
You ROCK girlfriend! XOXO

Lana Gramlich said...

Cloudia; Thanks.

Bird; My pleasure. :)

Abraham Lincoln; Yes, they're really lovely. I took DOZENS of photos of them, once they were open.

celticmusicfan; Then my work is done. :)

letspaintnature; Glad you enjoyed. I'm in the middle of a painting right now, but perhaps some lilies will be next.

Chrissy said...

What an abundance of lily pads :D Lovely images Lana and I love to see the dragonflies, I saw the first one this year in our garden yesterday...which is an odd place. We have no water so must have been from someone elses pond.

Lana Gramlich said...

Chrissy; Dragonflies can be attracted to sprinklers, too. At least they are in my yard (but we have millions of them throughout my area, I bet.)

gwendolen said...

I can imagine your excitement seeing the otters. I have a couple of blurry otter pics myself. :-)

eileeninmd said...

Wonderful birding walk, Lana! I loved the photos of the waterlilies. Great shots of the bees and dragonfly and the kingbird.

Lana Gramlich said...

gwendolen; I'm still kind of kicking myself for not even TRYING to take a picture, but I'll always have the memory! Perhaps we'll see them out there again someday.

eileeninmd; Thanks, hon. We're really blessed with some lovely nature around here.

Larry said...

All great shots Lana. The flowers, the insects , the birds. I know how it feels to watch the wildlife and then realize you forgot to take photos ;-) You will get the chance again.

Halcyon said...

Amazing photos. I especially like the macro of the bee. I am sure this must have been an interesting visit. Please go back with the canoe sometime to show us more. :)

Lana Gramlich said...

Larry; Thanks. I certainly hope I get another chance. It was way cool. :)

Halcyon; Thank you. Unfortunately we don't have a canoe, which is part of the problem. Perhaps we'll look into getting one...

Denise said...

I enjoyed visiting the wildlife refuge through your photos, which were great. I have also enjoyed visiting your blog. It's wonderful!
An English Girl Rambles

MaineBirder said...

Beautiful photo series from your visit to the wildlife refuge! Excellent macro shots!

Lana Gramlich said...

Denise; Thank you kindly. Glad you enjoyed your visit. Come back anytime. :)

MaineBirder; Thanks! Those aren't macros, actually. I'm deathly allergic to bees & the like, so those shots are taken from a bit of a distance with my zoom lens.

Related Posts with Thumbnails