Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cat Island

Last Saturday my friend B and I were excited to visit a place new to both of us: Cat Island--a 10,000+ acre NWR (National Wildlife Refuge) located near historic St. Francisville, LA. From January - July most of the area is under water, so we were worried that we might not be able to cross a couple of the one-lane bridges leading into the preserve. But we decided early in the day that this would be an adventure and treated the day as such. Bravely (trepidatiously?) we entered the refuge, and although I spent most of the day swerving to avoid pot holes, it was dry.

We arrived at our destination around 8:30AM, so the heat/humidity weren't oppressive. Yet. We were prepared with snacks and drinks, but I was unprepared for the amount of sweat that would drench me in such a short time. Thankfully, B had an extra cloth to lend me so I could mop my face. I had so much fun with B and I hope we get to do more exploring together. It's so wonderful to have a nature-lovin', photog bud.
Checkered skipper

Bee on "sensitive plant." I haven't seen one of these since I was a child.
The leaves look like small ferns that close up when you touch them.
Next time I'll get the leaves in the shot. B's is so much better than mine.

Butterflies were landing on us right and left.

B photographing the inside of a large cypress.
Is she dressed for success or what? I've got to get a vest like that.
There are so many pockets for all sorts of goodies!

This Bald Cypress is the largest tree of any species east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
The massive base splits off into two trunks and is 56' in circumference, 83' tall,
and is thought to be about 1,000 years old. Maybe even 1,500 years old!
A viewing platform was constructed around the tree to protect it.
A very nice article can be found here.
B has all kinds of neat camera stuff. See that strap? I've got to get one. Also, she has a clip-on
thingy that holds the lens cap. Since I keep losing my lens caps, this is another must-have.

B noticed this scary spider as we were leaving the big cypress. Yikes!

White Ibis with a leaf stuck to his bill.

Cemetery gate in St. Franisville, LA
More of our afternoon there in a future post, which includes exploring an open crypt!
Have a great weekend everyone!!

Thanks to Tex for hosting the fun Good Fences meme!

Also, many thanks to Anni for

And Stewart for

Almost forgot to add Eileen's. Thank you!!

Monday, July 28, 2014


Greetings to you on this fine Monday! Whew doggies, I am beat from the events of this past weekend. I'll update you all once I catch my breath. I went from being depressed with nothing to do, to running from one thing to the other. Good company + good family time + good food=GREAT!

This frog was my big find last Sunday on our impromptu trip to Lake Martin. All year long I have wished for a frog to shoot and finally, after 7 months of waiting, I got one. If a stranger walking by hadn't pointed him out, I never would have noticed him. I'm fairly certain that this is a bullfrog. If I'm wrong, please don't hesitate to let me know.

Thanks to all of you who said prayers and/or expressed concern for my daughter and her fiancee's safe travels to England. They made it just fine, though a little travel-weary. But they are having a super time! Facebook pics below of the "hen party." My daughter is in the red dress and the bride is in the black dress with cap sleeves. Best friends since middle school.

Sharing with
Our World Tuesday

Friday, July 25, 2014

Have a Heart

Or several. :)

I promise I won't bore y'all with the horrid details of our plumbing disaster yesterday. Just suffice it to say that one doesn't truly appreciate the value of functional plumbing until it malfunctions and sewage ends up in your tubs and shower. What a helpless feeling! The problem? Tree roots growing into the line. I love our trees, but I have to admit I was ready to call an arborist to cut them down. At least the ones next to the house.

Trying to put the plumbing nightmare behind me and get ready for our fun weekend. Starting today we have a full schedule with two days in Vacherie, LA with family, and one day in St. Francisville with a sweet friend.

I'm hoping that next week will settle down so I can get back into the blogging routine. A few days ago I was depressed and lonely, and now my cup runneth over. Feast or famine! That's the way my life seems to unravel.

If any of you are prayer warriors, please say one for my daughter and her fiancee who are both flying to London today for a wedding. With all the planes gone missing or bombed lately, this mama is a tad nervous.

Enjoy the weekend and I'll catch back up with you on Monday!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lake Martin Mish-Mash

Sunday morning we lounged around doing our usual: drinking coffee and having our routine discussion which always begins with a question: "What are we going to do today?" We are always eager to go somewhere, so the only thing stopping us would be the weather. The apps we consulted with weren't too favorable; at any rate, we threw caution to the wind, threw on some shorts without even showering first (unusual for us), and drove west to Lake Martin/Cypress Island Preserve. I really didn't expect to see much, and as I figured, the nesting egret/heron numbers were vastly diminished from the prior few months. There were a few little blue herons still nesting and that was about it. I always feel I am boring you with my chit-chat, so let's just get down to business.
First thing I saw as we drove in, a Great Blue heron.

Dragonfly resting spot. See him? I've read that they drink alligator tears.

Baby Little Blue heron

Alligator Gar.
Double D noticed a family (school?) of these in a side canal. He first thought it was an alligator,
but we soon realized it was a fish. The Park Ranger told us it was a garfish; however, that is incorrect.
I tried so hard to get a crisp shot of their ferocious teeth, but they are SUPER FAST.
One can certainly see how this fish got its common name.

Another baby Little Blue with a meal. I think it's a large tadpole.

Possibly a Slaty Skimmer dragonfly.

Abandoned boat on the lake.

Cypress Island Boardwalk.
More photos of our day to come. Stay tuned!

Linking up with Tex's

And also with Anni's

Monday, July 21, 2014

Silver-spotted Skipper

Alas, the plans to see the Wood Storks was axed. After some back and forth discussions, we finally decided that the threat of rain was too great to take a chance with our camera gear. Too bad we missed it because the local news was there to cover the story. The article can be found here. Our birding instructor, Jane Patterson, was the star of the interview, and I thought she did a fabulous job.

This Silver-spotted Skipper was gracious enough to anoint the lupine for me and my camera on July 16th at the local arboretum. Am I the only one that sees frightened/sad faces in some of the blooms?

Linking to
Our World Tuesday

Friday, July 18, 2014

American Snout

As I prepare this post (Thurs, 7/17) we had a record low temperature this morning of 62ºF (17C) which broke the record of 64ºF in 1967. The day before I was able to get out with my camera and not hate every second. I still sweated, but wasn't drenched. A first for me for the middle of July.

The American Snout or Common Snout Butterfly is found in both North and South America. Their elongated mouthparts along with their antennae give the appearance of the stem of a dead leaf. This is a brilliant form of camouflage from predators. But that didn't stop one feisty bee from attacking this one every so often.

If anyone knows what type of flower this is I would be most appreciative. The smell was perfume-y and heavenly.

Earrrrrly Saturday morning a friend and I are planning to see a Wood Stork event hosted by the Audubon Society. Right now the weather calls for rain, so if anyone is doing a rain dance within a hundred miles of here, please stop. :)

Enjoy your weekend. Hope I can return next week with some Wood Stork photos!

Thank you for hosting, Eileen & Misty!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pied-billed Grebe

This is one of my favorite ducks. I can't point to exactly why since his feathering and colors certainly can't compete with the flashy wood ducks or the metallic sheen of the mallards. Maybe it's his big, dark eyes outlined in white and the black stripe around the bill. Whatever it is, every time I see a Pied-billed Grebe, I start smiling and become giddy. I spotted this one in March with my birding class.

Sharing this image with

Do you have a favorite bird or animal that you are smitten with?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Museum in the Mulberry Tree

Back in April we had a museum of Cedar Waxwings at Bluebonnet Swamp. Yes, a group of waxwings are collectively known as a "museum" or an "ear-full." This group was particularly fond of the mulberry tree. I thought I'd never post these because the light was so bad and I didn't think the photos came out that great. Also this was right around the time I discovered shooting from a tent blind (here and here), so nothing else I photographed could compare to those images. I guess I'm over that now, so here we are! A little lightening and sharpening in Photoshop, and voila!

Notice the mulberry stains on his belly.


Please visit the link
to see birds around the world.

Also sharing with
Camera Critters