Sunday, September 16, 2007

If you don't mind spiders and snakes...

...you should have been with us today.

There was an actual pleasant breeze this morning, prompting Kim to call and talk me out of sweeping up dog hair (no arm twisting involved) and into an adventure. After reviewing our options, we ended up having a light lunch at one of the trendy chain restaurants near the mall, then visiting Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center, just a couple of miles down the road from there.

The Bluebonnet Swamp is a much more controlled, people-friendly environment than McElroy Swamp, the one I showed you back in March. That means it doesn't have the abundance of both beautiful and frightening wildlife that McElroy Swamp has, but it's still a wonderful, peaceful place to be.


This is a display of snakeskins on a table inside the Visitors' Center. All of these were found on site.


There are three designated trails through the nature center, varying in length to accommodate different levels of physical stamina, and wooden bridges and boardwalks lead through the wetland areas.


I took dozens of photos of trees and plants and cypress knees, but the lighting wasn't great, and most of the pictures were unspectacular. I did like these big, loopy branches, though.


Early on we encountered this bright spider, who appeared to be waiting patiently for her lunch.


A couple of curves later, this blue-tailed skink scurried beside the trail.


We saw clusters of these beautiful berries throughout the swamp. If you know what they are, please tell me.


Spiders like this one were all over the place, too, always suspended just above eye-level.


Our most exciting encounter was with this snake. Fortunately, we were on a wooden walkway when we saw him, and he was on the ground below us. This is the only shot I got of him that wasn't blurry, but I wish I could have captured one that showed his pink, forked tongue. He was waggling it rapidly, no doubt disturbed by the scent of us.


Judging by the broad shape and triangular nose of this insect, I believe he was some kind of stink bug. Whatever he was, he was big, almost two inches long.

As the day grew hotter, the trail seemed to grow longer. This photo was my last shot of the day and was taken at a moment when I was anticipating cold, refreshing relief. These beauties grew next to the menu beside the McDonald's drive-thru lane.

It makes me feel good to know Baton Rouge's park system supports a place like Bluebonnet Swamp. We'll go there again.

11 comments:

  1. Velvet, I've always wanted to do one of those swamp tours. I had no idea they were so close to home ( I thought they were all around Whiskey Bay or New Orleans).

    Your mystery tree looks like a Pepperberry to me
    (http://www.denverplants.com/floral/html/pepperberry.htm)

    What a fun day for you and Kim! Thanks for sharing.

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  2. I'm satisfied with these photo tours. I hope I forget about the snakes, spiders and big bugs so I don't have nightmares tonight.

    Thanks for taking the pics and posting them! If I wasn't so skittish I might like to go on one of those tours.

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  3. thank you for sharing your pictures, we also viewed the ones from the other swamp. did you ever post the wildlife pictures? Jm wanted to see them. We were happy with the nature pics of the flowers and trees.

    have a wonderful week

    keepers

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  4. Holly, this wasn't guided tours, just trails we could walk at our own pace. Between here and Baton Rouge there's a place called Alligator Bayou that gives guided swamp tours (in a boat) that I hope to check out someday.

    Janet, focus on the flowers and the berries. Sweet dreams.

    Keepers, yes, I did post the wildlife photos, and there are links in this post. Click on the words "beautiful" and "frightening" in the paragraph above the snakeskin photo.

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  5. I see someone suggested pepper berry. I want you to look at beauty berry and see if it looked like that.

    http://www.briartech.com/fall/beaut/berry.htm

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  6. Your new blog look is great and the pics look good on the white...Besides you seem to be posting more now!

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  7. Well, the rule I like on elder blogger is you HAVE to post once a week. Now, that is a good rule for you for US. (DOes that make sense?)

    I like the photos and I think the lizard one is the best. When I was working outside, Astrid came up and caught a little frog. She was supposed to be picking up sticks. She said, "Gigi, the under side of a frog feels so smooth and good." And to myself, I thought, she had experienced something I never had. I still haven't as I told her I did not want to feel the under side of her frog. She also catches snakes!

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  8. Great photos! Thanks for sharing. It's beginning to get pretty chilly "up here", we don't see too many bugs anymore. I must say, I don't miss the spiders, but I sure miss the toads.

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  9. Annie, thank you "berry" much; you're exactly right. They are the aptly named American Beauty Berries.

    4th Sister, thanks. Maybe my blogging muse has found her way back home.

    Sister-Three, Astrid's comment about the frog's smooth underside makes me want to find one and check it. I do remember that the one and only time I ever held a snake, I was amazed at how good it felt. It had the smooth, dry texture of an expensive purse.

    Maxngabbie, one thing we can count on in Louisiana is that we'll never be bug free. When it gets too cold outside, the spideys come indoors.

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  10. I am completely creeped out by most of these photos! But am so relieved by the last one! Thanks for the tour -- though I'm very glad to be on this side of the screen!

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  11. I'm all late on this entry here but I love bugs and stuff. I don't know why but I do. I so look forward to your photos.

    Austin

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