|Who got deh prettiest eyes in deh swamp?|
That's what it felt like out there in the southern piney woods. Felt like I was slogging along in the Long-needled piney woods of DEATH. That's how hot, how humid the air was. I could barely take in my breath, and my feet felt weighted down with see-ment overshoes.
|Red-Cockaded Woodpecker shot taken at whopping 1296 mm|
But enough with the bitchin' already. This was the Piney Woods segment of two days of touring I'd signed up & paid for months ago. We started in the Kisatchie National Forest. We watched a Red-cockaded Woodpecker at the tippy top of a pine.
|Long-Needled Pines of DEATH|
|Tromping for Henslow's|
|Bachman's Sparrow - south Florida|
My lifer Bachman's Sparrow was in south Florida piney woods in 2014. It wasn't humid when I saw the Bachman's Sparrow. There, the tall grasses gave me zero problems.
Today it could be argued there were Bachman's a plenty, but not a one Henslow's Sparrows to be seen. I was sooo... disappointed, though honestly, I was so exhausted from just attempting to walk in the piney woods, that had one showed itself, I'd likely not had the energy to walk over to see it. Stupid heat. Stupid humidity.
The tour's second stop of the day was a park with a large lake and a children's play area. The group tromped off to circumvent the lake. I had no energy for such. With great disappointment and a sour face to match, I opted to stay put, sitting on a shaded bench. Occasionally I could view the group through spaces in the trees. There was another tour participant, a tall man, who had the same heat/humidity issues as myself. Bearing equally sour faces, we chatted amiably and watched the others, our hearts bearing great goo-gobbers of disappointment. Stupid Louisiana. Stupid heat. Stupid, stupid humidity.
|A view of the group, across the lake, trees reflected on the pond.|
It got worse. Next morning, Sunday I woke, and the weather hadn't really changed much. I decided eff the Coastal Tour I'd also signed up & paid for. I would drive to Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge. Had an exciting 'WHERE THE EFF IS THERE A BATHROOM IN THIS MOFFER FRAKKIN' STATE!' episode mid morning with a very-nearly-acceptable outcome we will not go into here. *harumph...*
I was pleased to see the wildlife drive allowed no getting out of one's vehicle, which meant I could be legally as lazy as a cooter on a log without feeling guilty about it.
|Cooter lazin' without the benefit of a log|
'Juvie Little Blue Herons look like a whole 'nuther species, with snowy white feathers.
|And this 'snowy' bird is not a Juvie Little Blue Heron, it's a Snowy Egret|
That is sort of confusing - more-so for us though. The birds 'get it'
The best birdie of the day for me was a Gull-billed Tern. Haven't seen one in decades.
|Gull-billed Tern taking a froggie on a joy ride|
There were loads and loads and loads of gators everywhere. I remember back to my childhood when gaitors were an endangered species. Back then, too many were turned into shoes, belts and purses.
|Fell asleep half in, half out of swampy bed|
After lolling about in my car, taking pics, I left the refuge, headed for New Orleans. Along the way I saw the birds which are would be boring if I weren't a birder. They're Neotropical Cormorants and I was excited to get to see them close at hand rather than the way I've normally seen them, always far off.
|Doesn't this bird have the most amazing head & turquoise eye?|
When I was south, bordering the gulf coast, I skidded to a near haut on the highway to avoid hitting a 3 foot alligator tot, that decided to cross both lanes of the road. Wish there had been time for a photo, but there were speeding cars fast approaching my rear bumper so had to move along sharpish like.
I found, but passed by the Rockefeller National Wildlife Refuge, because it seemed all work buildings and no wildlife access.