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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Surprises at Northlake

Last weekend Charles & I went to Northlake Nature Center in Mandeville, LA (since Fontainbleau State Park was probably packed with screaming children for the holiday.) It turned out to be a wonderful decision for numerous reasons;
1. There was NO ONE there,
2. Unlike Fontainbleau, there's lots of shade to protect us from the increasingly oppressive heat,
3. We stopped by a little dock in an area we often skip, where...

I scared up this young gator from under the dock,

I spotted this yellow-bellied water snake very close by, and we hopped up onto a bench to look over some grasses to see...

...a yellow-crowned night heron (my first sighting,) and...

a female wood duck having a brief spat. There were also various kinds of dragonflies, a cardinal pair passed by & a trio of red-bellied woodpeckers chased each other around.

On our way out, we spotted...

...an eastern lubber grasshopper nymph (not the only one around,)

...a bronze frog and the typical plethora of turtles (particularly red-eared sliders.)

This small turtle kept chasing the larger one around, getting in front of it & wiggling it's claws in the larger turtle's face. Evidently this is part of their mating ritual.

It was all a very pleasant distraction from what's going on in the Gulf right now.

23 comments:

Cloudia said...

This post soothed my soul. Night Heron blew my mind! The animals pose for you, Lana




Aloha from Waikiki,

Comfort Spiral

Chrissy said...

A lovely set of photo's again Lana, I smiled at wanting to be away from screaming kids, last week was holidays here too and I went down to a lake to look at the wildlife. There was a man there with several children chucking stones and bricks in all yelling at the top of their voices *deep sigh*
All images are fabulous but I love that last one of the trees, so beautiful :)

G said...

That gator was so cool.

Probably went off in search of another quiet refuge. :D

CTStudios said...

NNC is always a great place from a walk. And, if you go on Monday or Wednesday you could meet my Beau ... he, Larry, Ken and Al are the ones working out on the grounds now that the building burned). He also loves your pictures.

Charles Gramlich said...

great pics. I love taht last one especially. So peaceful and green.

v said...

you scared an alligator. that made me laugh, i would think it'd be the other way around. you're brave too me.

love the last pic. it's horrible what's happening in the gulf.

eileeninmd said...

Wow, awesome photos and what a neat place to visit. I could serious exploring there . Love all the critters.

dining room table said...

I am really amazed with the photo! I have never seen a crocodile in person. This must be a nice scene.

Lana Gramlich said...

Cloudia; Thanks, hon.

Chrissy; Yeah, we run into screaming kids from time to time, of course. I'm glad that at least their parents are getting them away from video games & such, but I wish they were more patient! *L* The swamps & marshes here are really lovely.

G; Yes, absolutely true, I'm sure.

CTStudios; We might have seen him when we were there (Monday, which I counted as "weekend," since it was a holiday. *L*) When we were leaving, someone was mowing the grass along the old fairway. I'm glad your beau enjoys my photos. I'm glad to have the opportunity to share the prolific natural beauty of the Northshore!

Charles; Thanks, hon. I love that last one, too. I thought about painting something like that, but I could never capture it so well, I'm sure.

V; Alligators aren't typically aggressive (certainly not to humans.) Fret not, he DID startle me, too! Yes, I'm having a very hard time dealing with the oil spill. It makes me cry, quite literally...

eileeninmd; If it's not all destroyed by oil, you should try to make it down this way at some point. There's SO much to see & do!

dining room table; Thank you kindly. This nature center is one of our favorite hiking spots.

letspaintnature.com said...

I LOVE when you arrive at a nature preserve and no one is there!!!! It's like a bonus! Congrats on your yellow crowned heron, he's handsome. I've never seen one before!

eric1313 said...

That camera is such an extension of your being. The living color it takes in is marvelous, the blue coronas shining from the moisture just set everything off.

Wish my sony camera was a quarter as powerful.

But your eye and reflex of shot are still unbeatable it seems.

Lana Gramlich said...

Christine; I was delighted to see the heron, myself. I knew they were in the area, but to get that relatively close was very cool!

Eric; You're far too kind, you know...*blush*

Maalie said...

Wonderful pictures! It reminds me of the Everglades, where I have been twice!

Larry said...

Yellow-crowned Night Heron-nice sighting.I got to see my first last year during the birders who tweet etc trip.

Lana Gramlich said...

Maalie; Thank you. I'd love to get to the Everglades. ONE of these days!

Larry; Thanks. They're really cool birds. It was interesting seeing it fighting with the wood duck!

Barbara Martin said...

Wonderful photos, Lana. The one that caught my eye was of the young gator. It reminded me of the crocodile purse I have that my uncle brought back from Cairo in 1955.

Lana Gramlich said...

Barbara; Thanks. I have a whole, new appreciation for alligators, now that I know more about them. Amazing creatures.

mick said...

The last photo really shows what a beautiful place that is and you certainly saw lots of different creatures. The photo of the gator is very special.

Lana Gramlich said...

Thanks, Mick. We live in a very special area, for sure. :)

Bob Kaufman said...

Such a variety of wildlife! I like the Yellow-crowned Night Heron best.

Lana Gramlich said...

Bob; Thank you. I was glad to finally see one relatively up close & personal!

Halcyon said...

So many beautiful creatures. I love those trees too!

Lana Gramlich said...

Halcyon; Thanks. We do have some beautiful trees around here!

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