Woo wee! It was W I N D Y on the water yesterday and today! I’m doing my very best to go back to the way I used to blog–updating you every possible chance I have with a little bit of borrowed time here and there. I’m trying to be vigilant about taking photos for you as we go, even though I’m busy operating the boat, paddling the boat into place, and dropping anchor to serve as our “brake” to keep the boat’s bow from bumping the boxes (how’s THAT for accidental alliteration? See? i did it again!) My blog editor doesn’t really like it when I post photos inline, because he says they don’t show up on mobile devices very well, but gee whiz, some of us old timers still use big screens, right? So, I am posting this up my old style, and I can go back later and edit when he screams at me (via email) that my page isn’t loading correctly for mobile. Oh well . . . .
Our first turn when we leave the boat landing is a left turn going under this bridge, which is on HWY 182. We’re heading in a southerly direction. You can’t see them, but as we pass through, the adult swallows dart in and out from their nests to deter us, but we aren’t deterred! (I’ll get a pic of babies in nest after they’re hatched!)
See that sign on the right bank just on the other side of the bridge?
Looks like the community of Bayou Black might get some of their drinking water from this area, which will become significant as you will see on our way back in. (Oh, and the Louisiana flags are blooming right now!)
Here are some of the things we observed today while enroute to and while checking nest boxes.
This is what an apple snail looks like while floating along. This is a non-native, invasive species that probably arrived here in the bilges of big ships coming from South America. They compete for food with native species of mollusk, which is a very bad thing because they are taking over; and they are HUGE.
If you’ve seen me post this before, don’t stop me now! This is the first water lily that blooms here in the freshwater areas of south Louisiana. As you can see, they’re a beautiful, deep yellow, and they even have lily pads, too!
There is some debate whether this is a swamp lily or a spider lily, and I think it’s a spider lily. Those who know better can correct me until I have time to look in my field guide! They are blooming deep in the cypress swamp, as shown here. We were quite a distance from these. They’re so pretty!
And as you would expect, Spanish Moss is everywhere in the swamp. Actually, (and don’t stop me if I’ve told you this before), this is not really a moss at all. It is an epiphyte which lives off of moisture and dust particles from the air. They do not harm the trees, and it is truly an example of symbiotic relationship.
Yep, a little tree frog. Cute little guys. They like to hang out in the nest boxes, but I’m sure they’ll leave when the warblers start nest building.
Even after looking in my field guide, I cannot tell you what kind of snake this is. The closest I could come would be an Eastern King Snake. So, all you herpetologists out there feel free to correct me.
Locally, we refer to this tree as a swamp maple. I took this photo for two reasons: One, to show you just HOW windy it was, and secondly, to show you how pretty the silvery undersides of the leaves are.
As far as I’m concerned, you just can’t have too many photos of the actual cypress swamp. I mean, look into the depths of it, all in standing water. In the foreground is a nest box. The black cone-shaped object is a predator guard.
And now, we’re on our way back in to the landing on Bayou Black. Because Bayou Black provides drinking water, it has to be protected from unusually high water levels that might bring in some degree of saltwater from the south. With this week’s southeast winds and already higher-than-normal tides (due to high river stages), their drinking water is threatened.
See the green part of the sign? It says we were under Condition No. 2, wherein the saltwater gate remains closed, but marine traffic is allowed through. Now read the black and white sign. Hey, we just pull up to the post, press the button, and hope we can make it through the gate in less than 90 seconds. No sweat, right?
Here’s the progression of the gate opening:
And then we went through! How ya like dat?
So, I hope you enjoyed your little trip into the swamp!
Please be sure and leave a comment, even if it’s just to say “Hey BW!”!
Until next time,