I'm a bit behind on my photo editing - here are pics from day 4 of the Gulf Coast Road Trip. On the way from Mississippi to Louisiana we stopped at the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge. Then we headed to the Northshore of Louisiana where we went one one of Dr. Wagners Honey Island Swamp tours - with gators! (I had previously gone on a similar swamp tour with Cajun Encounters). This area is connected to Lake Pontchartrain, north of New Orleans, and the people there are concerned that if a big storm comes, the oil would wash into these sensitive swamps. At the same time, tourism has been negatively affected by the image that "oil is everywhere" in Louisiana, which also isn't the case. Here are a few shots!
This is a pitcher plant from the Mississippi Sandhill Crane NWR. The MS Sandhill crane is an endangered subspecies that is non-migratory and so lives only here. We saw some cranes but I didn't get a photo.
Scott Hereford, the refuge biologist showed us around and was really knowledgeable on the local wildflowers. These are the flowers from the pitcher plant.
Scott looking through a blind, trying to spot the cranes.
Here's a shot of the pine forest at the refuge. My other landscapes didn't turn out great. In fact this one didn't either, but you get the idea.
Some little wildflowers in the swampy fields...
Here's a bumblebee on a flower - I'm not sure the name but I bet Scott knows!
This is a sundew, one of several carnivorous plants here in addition to the pitcher plants.
Two bugs mating or doing something! And yes 'm pretty sure these are "true bugs" - Order Hemiptera!
These next shots are in the Honey Island Swamp on a swamp tour. We saw several alligators from small to large!
The gator is in a bunch of giant salvinia which is an exotic plant, ie non-native/alien, and it causes a lot of problems in choking up the waterways throughout much of the area where it has invaded. I know it reached Texas a few years back. And no the gator isn't eating it - it's just in his way.
He was coming up to get a bit of the hot dog the swamp tour guy was going to feed him... I"m not crazy about the idea of feeding the wild alligators, but it did allow me to get good shots!
A smaller gator.
A shot of some of the cypress and tupelo trees in the swamp.
I saw this sign on the river and thought it was pretty funny.
Close up of a gator head!
A small gator slithers through the swamp.
This is an example of one of the many homes out there in the swamps. Most people don't actually live here but use it as a place to go fishing on the river on weekends, holidays, or whatever.
That hot dog was yummy! Maybe not good for me, but yummy.