2009 Spring 2 Fall travel blog

road to the refuge

whoa! we're not going to get around this guy

may as well sit back and enjoy the scenery

cattle egrets

they've been feeding on the rice paddies

and this guy stirred them up

but there are a lot more where they came from

a refuge road to some ag fields where they grow crops for...

it goes through a small swamp


and not another car in sight the whole way

one of their turnouts

from the deck you could look out at the fields

there were lots of wasp nests in the ceiling and lots of...

bird habitat doesn't get much better than this


grain for the ducks and geese and critters to hunt for this...


his hovering and hunting behavior like the hawk we watched in Oklahoma

some leaves are turning on the refuge

making this one beautiful place indeed

refuge road to the wildlife loop

the wildlife loop is on much wetter terrain




as always man leaves behind the signs of his failures



red tailed hawk


we passed a friendly and talkative ranger but few other visitors


red winged blackbirds


one of my favorite birds

the photogenic cormorant

cormorants have such personality

hey - take a picture of me doing this!

and check out my profile

the refuge also has turtles

showing off

hey - that tickles!

get off my log!

that's better


turtles are so territorial!



redwinged blackbird

look at me - now I'm a blackbird too

a cormorant can be anything it wants to be

but they're at their best in the water


tri colored heron




flights are usually hard to photograph but these guys made it easy

proof that birds do look around while they're flying

an egret and a heron go their separate ways


a floating island of birds



hey - I can float around out here too!

there are wildflowers even on the water


sometimes the sights out here are just too beautiful for words

a red tail hawk makes a close fly by







black and white

white and black

Madolyn spotted this guy





the alligator has a buddy


a whole cormorant tree



the day is getting late

our last sighting on the refuge is another red tail


on the way home we spotted these spoonbills in a field





the road home

Another day on the wildlife refuge - Tuesday, November 10

Monday we stayed safely in our Lake Charles campground. It rained sporadically and the wind blew, but the storm hit east of here and dumped most of it’s wind and rain on Mobile and Pensacola. By the time Ida made landfall she’d been downgraded to a ‘tropical storm’, but we sat out a tropical storm in Nova Scotia last year and we don’t want to do that again if we can help it.

Tuesday dawned bright and clear. Ida had left not a cloud in the sky. So we got under way and headed back to the Cajun Nature Trail - this time heading south and east to the Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge. Like Cameron Prairie, Lacassine is mostly wetland, with some acreage set aside for raising crops the birds like. Rice is a favorite and it’s a crop that fits perfectly into the habitat they're maintaining.

Our leisurely drive through the refuge yielded sightings of all the ‘Usual Suspects’. Ducks, moorhens and coots were present in the greatest numbers but there were lots of cormorants and cattle egrets too. The big egrets and herons were fewer and farther between, but there was always one in sight somewhere if you were paying attention. Hawks and falcons circled overhead from time to time, and flights of red winged blackbirds rose from the trees and bushes as we drove by.

We didn’t see any spoonbills or ibises on the refuge, but there were many grazing in the rice paddies along the highway. Along with the birds we saw one critter we hadn’t seen since Georgia. That was the alligator and we spotted two of them. The first one was basking in the sun with his mouth open, and a large gator showing you all those teeth looks pretty intimidating, even from the far bank across the water.

The next time we looked he had disappeared silently into the water and he was nowhere to be seen. A move that makes you more nervous than when you can see them.

By this time the sun was low in the sky and it was getting late, so we called and made reservations at a campground near Lafayette. We got there by dark, and we settled in to plan our next adventure.

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