Sunday, June 07, 2015

A Louisiana Boat Ride

To revise a line from one of my favorite movies, “Well, Mister, we’ve got something in this country called a Louisiana Boat Ride.”  Sunday morning, June 7, Lana and I left the house around 4:50 AM to go and join Scott Schexnaydre, a local photographer who graciously offered to take us out in his boat. We went out to an area of marsh lands called Lake Boeuf, and had a great time. Scott took us to several rookeries where we saw hundreds of adults and young herons and egrets of various species. There were numerous grackles as well, and these were some of the biggest I’ve ever seen. Many of the dark black males were nearly as large as crows. Lana got a picture of a female grackle with a mouthful of dinner. “Yum! Yum!”
 
Lana also captured an Eagle in flight, and got pictures under a bridge of some baby barn swallows still in the nest. 

At that same bridge, I spotted some Lubber grasshoppers. We watched one of these complete a molt. These are a huge variety of local grasshopper. The babies are young and mostly black with stripes of red. They are found in large numbers together and look almost like crickets. The adults, though, are yellow and black and easily stretch the length of a man’s palm.
 

Most insects, and other normally small critters, grow big in Louisiana, which has close to a tropical environment. As we were going out toward the lake this morning I noted masses of pink slime on many tree trunks and on the reedier grasses. Scott and Lana knew what this was, the eggs of a type of invasive snail species called the Red Apple Snail. Pictures will be forthcoming. I found one emptied snail shell, which was about the size of a golf ball, and later saw a live snail on a tree extruding its eggs. It was much bigger, about the size of a tennis ball. Scott got us close to get pictures, and almost put his hand on a normally unseen denizen of the marsh area, a very large water spider about the size of a baby’s fist.

Nature simply can’t be touched as a provider of beauty and entertainment. (All photos courtesy of Lana Gramlich)

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24 comments:

Bill Crider said...

Sounds like fun. Loved the photos. Too bad there were no gators.

Randy Johnson said...

Nice pics.

That quote is from my favorite Eastwood as well.

Cloudia said...

Thanks for sharing the outing - both of you!







ALOHA from Honolulu,
ComfortSpiral
=^..^=

Charles Gramlich said...

Bill Crider, we saw one small gator but he went under before we were able to get pics.

Randy, yep. Figured you would nail the quote

Cloudia, you're welcome

X. Dell said...

Those are some fantastic shots. All of them. You're right. The natural world has its ugly side, but there's nothing more beautiful than it.

Close to tropical climate? You guys never get snow?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Tell Lana well done on the bald eagle shot. All of those are impressive. Might be too many bugs for me though.
Glad you two got out and enjoyed some wildlife.

Keith West said...

Sounds like a fantastic time. I love the pictures. Thanks for sharing.

Lana Gramlich said...

Thanks for sharing my photos, Charles and thanks to everyone else for the kind comments.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Fascinating, Charles, and lovely photographs by Lana. It's nice to get away every once in a while and be with nature, and our inner self, if I may add.

the walking man said...

That Lana is a great photographer who is building a very impressive body of work centered on nature is indisputable.

So for that invasive species snail has there been a natural predator come along for it or is it going to be like kudzu? The great lakes have two that are extreme in ruining the base ecosystem, lamprey eels and Zebra mollusks and the coming up the Mississippi onslaught of Asian Carp. Nothing that anyone has found has been able to kill 'em off except by introducing other non native species. The Zebra Mussels actually clean pollutants out of the water but the clean it to well and let sunlight filter to deeply into the lake not to mention they are voracious breeders and eaters of plankton. The eels are the ugliest damn things.

Charles Gramlich said...

X. Dell, We've had flurries about three times since I moved here in 1986. We had it stick once, for most of a day before melting

Alex, we actually didn't get bit too bad by bugs. We were moving a lot and the breeze helped. Plus most bugs were probably busy dodging birds.

Keith, was a lot of fun

Lana, you sweet.

Prashant, I certainly need that kind of getaway.

Mark, apparently the snails aren't terribly much of a problem in natural areas but can cause a lot of harm when they get into crops that they consume. They provide food for the local fish and gators.

Angie said...

Charles -- sounds like a wonderful trip. :) I love stuff like that. When Jim and I go on cruises, we're much more likely to take this sort of shore tour (or something historical) as opposed to the hang-out-on-a-beach-and-get-drunk type tours.

Lana -- awesome pics!

Angie

R.T. said...

I am envious. Your "Transcendental" encounter with Nature sounds wonderful! Thoreau would have been impressed by your observations.

EEGiorgi said...

beautiful pictures !!

sage said...

Great shots, sounds like my kind of a morning!

Charles Gramlich said...

Angie, there was a time when I enjoyed the drunk parties. Not anymore. This is more my cup of tea. And Lanas

R, T, I have long been a fan of Thoreau. I need to reread some of his work


EEGiorgi, thanks.

Sage, absolutely.

jodi said...

Charles-What amazing shots! I love nature and those were so cool!

Charles Gramlich said...

Jodi, Lana has the eye and we were in a good place to get these.

Riot Kitty said...

I agree with you on beauty, but entertainment? Come to Portlandia!

Charles Gramlich said...

Riot Kitty, people do entertain me, but only up to a point. then I just get irritated with the BS.

Oscar said...

Amen, Charles. Great pics! Reminds me of boating on the inland waterway and lakes around Miami, FL.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Great pictures, and good use and alteration of the 'Outlaw Josie Wales' line. :)

Snowbrush said...

I miss those big pretty spiders. I'm glad you had a good time.

Charles Gramlich said...

Oscar, I wish I had a boat but the expense and upkeep is something else.

Bernard, thanks, man.

Snowbrush. definitely.