Come along on an April Wetland Tour!

Since most of you won’t be able to make it down this month to see the spectacular spring beauty bursting forth in the marsh and swamp, I will bring this annual event of nature to you.  Enjoy!

Wild Iris Patch

Wild Iris Patch

Louisiana Wild Iris

Louisiana Wild Iris

Louisiana Iris Closeup

Louisiana Iris Closeup

Wild Swamp Spider Lilies

Wild Swamp Spider Lilies

Wild Spiderwort

Wild Spiderwort

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue

Great Blue

Great Blue coming in for a landing
Great Blue coming in for a landing
Marsh Hen

Marsh Hen (local term)

Into the Cypress Swamp

Into the Cypress Swamp

Snowy Egret fishing for lunch

Snowy Egret fishing for lunch

Eagles' Nest in Cypress

Eagles’ Nest in Cypress

Cypress Knees

Cypress Knees

And then there was one!

And then there was one!

Wait, don't leave!

Wait, don’t leave!

Catching rays!

Catching rays!

Louisiana yellow iris

Louisiana yellow iris

This is just a smidgen of the amazing things that abound in our marshes and swamps right now.  So many more photos I could share, but it’s sort of like going to visit friends and having them pull out the slide projector of their latest vacation.  Yawn!

But before you totally nod off on me, let me tell you what happened Thursday.  If you’ve been watching the news, you know it’s snowing up north and many of us experienced a cold front this week.  Well, the rain reached us Thursday around noon, and it stopped around 4:00 p.m.

As the sun broke through, suddenly there were choruses of bird song in the trees just outside my office, so I grabbed my camera and slipped slowly out onto the front porch hoping to see the migratory visitors.  And just like that!  The trees were full of bird ornaments, of all colors.  Initially, these birds came from farther south, like Panama and Mexico, where they spend the winter.

They make that long trek across the Gulf of Mexico and sometimes literally “fall out” of the sky at the first land they see, exhausted, hungry and thirsty.  I’m pretty sure these birds had already recuperated on the barrier islands, maybe even Grand Isle, and they trekked a little closer to home Thursday by riding on the winds of that front.

My zoom lens is not working for some unknown reason, so here is the best I could do to share this phenomenon with you.  A pair of Summer Tanagers.  Can you guess which is male and which is female?

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager 2

Well, I certainly hope this little photo tour didn’t make you too, too envious of our real spring down here, because I know some of you are experiencing snow, freezing rain, and frigid temps.  It will be spring soon enough; meanwhile, you can just enjoy spring on the bayou!

Guess what?  It’s already time to pick the dewberries!   (upcoming post)

BW

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Comments

Come along on an April Wetland Tour! — 28 Comments

    • You know what I’ve grown to love about finding these irises in the wild? The varying shades of blue and purple they exhibit. Makes me wonder if is different cultivars or just soil and water conditions that create the different shades from very pale to dark purple.

    • Dear Capt., sorry y’all missed the migratory birds, but maybe they live up in Canada all summer? In my yard trees blue grosbeaks, orchard orioles, Baltimore orioles, summer tanagers, prothonotary warblers, red-breasted woodpecker, and all the every day backyard birds, too. Makes me want to take a ride back out to the swamp to do more bird watching.

    • Earline, I glance in your backyard every time I pass to see if the chicken tractor is there! I hope that’s working well for you, and I promise to stop by one day when I’m not meeting myself coming and going! I miss you, too!

  1. Gorgeous photos as usual. I have the Louisiana irises and had some that were a crimson color that died. We have the Spider Wort, also known as Widows Tears, growing wild along the railroad tracks and I made the mistake of digging a couple up and planting them in a flower bed. Then mom brought me some lavender ones from the river bottoms that I also planted. DO NOT DO IT! My entire yard is littered with spider wort!! It grows fast and spreads like wildfire. I like a neat, trimmed yard and this doesn’t allow it. I haven’t found a thing to kill it either. 🙁

    I also have the swamp lillies that mom brought me from the bottoms. I planted them under the drain area of our window ac since they love water. I just wish my yard looked as nice and beautiful as the swamps. I can almost believe I am kicked back in a boat, gliding silently down the waterways when I look at those photos.

    • The spider wort do grow wildly out of control down here, and thanks so much for the advice about not transplanting into our yards! Never knew they were called Widow’s Tears, though, so thanks for that too. Your mom and I (and you) are kindred spirits, Cammy. I dug up some swamp spider lilies from out back on the slough of my property and put them closer to the house, and of course, they got mowed down. (No narcissus for me this spring because someone also mowed down all the stems before they could bloom). I want you to look at your lilies and see if they are this “spider” type lily, or the other plain white swamp lily. I’m curious to know. And if you could imagine you were in the boat, gliding along, then my job is done here! Love your comments, always, Cam.

    • Thank you, Monica. Sometimes I need a reminder of the beauty here, so taking the photos, editing, and sharing just drive that message home to me that these are just a few of the things there are to appreciate about bayou country. Having grown up in Houma, I know you can appreciate them even more!

  2. Oh, this is wonderful. No yawns here, that’s for sure.

    I think swamps and marshes are lovely places, to start off with, but I’ve never gotten out there in the spring to see all the flowers. Those iris are beautiful but I don’t think we have them here. I’m sure there’s something in our area that’s probably just as pretty.

    I’ve got spiderwort in my flower beds. And the yard. Hubby just mows over them. They actually sell it here in pots to homeowners. I did share some with a coworker but I made sure to warn her that it would start popping up in her yard. She still wanted some. Still, I like to watch the bumblebees wobble from flower to flower in the spring.

    I’m pretty sure your marsh hen is a common gallinule.

    Dewberries? Yum. I’ve noticed them blooming all over the roadsides here this past few weeks.

  3. The yellow iris are my favorite. And since I see Gué has been here, I’ll just go ahead and link to a photo of OtherBug in the midst of the iris!

    As for that colloquial name – “widow’s tears” – you can see a terrific photo and an explanation here .

    I brought home two flats of strawberries from the market today. I’m up to my hips in strawberries, but goodness, they’re good. I’m probably going to forego the dewberry search this year, just because of the time involved. If I could get to some big patches it would be worth it to do cobblers, but I think I’ll just settle for some fresh ones on cereal. Strawberry pie and cobbler isn’t so bad. 😉

    • Welcome to this bayou, Phil, and I have opened your site and will be reading it right after I post this and looking at your photos, too. Hope you become a regular at Bayou Woman!!!

        • I am shocked that you are in South Carolina. Wait, surely all these photos weren’t take in SC? I mean, I thought you would have been down here somewhere; except that it didn’t make sense I wasn’t familiar with your fantastic work! Or had not met you, or crossed paths, or something! I hope my readers hop over to your blog and check out your amazing photos.

  4. Hi Bayou Woman, your pictures are so so beautiful. I wonder how will it feel if you are right there and enjoying these scenes and taking shots. Specially the Wild Swamp Spider Lilies, i think i never saw these before. thanks for sharing…

    I could not resist adding your website link and few of your pictures to my “Nature at its best” wall on OgleOgle.com. If you wanna look, here is the link:
    http://www.ogleogle.com/chefdehome/nature-at-its-best

    Happy Blogging!!!

    Cheers, TechieChef ( aka ChefdeHome)

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