Friday, March 21, 2014

Lake Fausse Pointe State Park

We spent the day in Saint Martinville, LA at Lake Fausse State Park. This park is located in south Louisiana in the Atchafalaya Basin (the swamps) and we saw plenty of wildlife...6 alligators, 5 snakes, 2 owls, lots of lizards and too many turtles to count. There were 3 trails to choose from and we choose Trail C, the longest one at 3 miles. All the pictures were taken while on that trail.
This picture is a good representation of what Louisiana swamps look like. The trees here are Bald Cypress (LA state tree) and the stumps sticking out of the water are the cypress knees. The knees help stabilize the tree in the swamp.
We spotted these two alligators shortly after we started hiking. They probably weren't over 3-4 feet so they were just baby alligators. Its common to see alligators laying on fallen trees that are slightly out the water. They are cold blooded, so if its a sunny day you are more likely to see them sunning themselves on logs. If something scares them they can easily slip back in the water.
I believe this is a water snake. He was enjoying the sun and was near the alligators.
I'm not exaggerating when I say that we probably saw 20 turtles! Sometimes we would see 5-6 of them lined up on logs. They are shy and plopped in the water with a splash when we walked by.
This alligator was swimming by himself in the bayou. They use their long powerful tails to propel them through the water.
It was such a pretty day today! The trees are leafing out and everything is turning green. Here is a section of the trail we hiked.
This is an American Robin. He was looking for worms in the fallen leaves.
I tried to get a better picture of this bright yellow Prothonotary Warbler but he was too quick. He kept flying from branch to branch. He was in a big bush with several other birds. We saw a male and female cardinal and some sparrows all in the same bush tweeting at each other. They were making such racket that I thought maybe a snake was in one of the nests, but I didn't see anything.
I think this snake is a ribbon snake. He was so small, about the diameter of a pencil. We saw 3 snakes like this spread out over our hike. He looks like he is sticking out his tongue at me.
Part of the trail follows a bayou that is popular for fishing. We saw several people in bass boats while we walked by. The trail is on a small bluff overlooking the bayou and I was always looking down at the water's edge trying to see any snakes or alligators.
Another water snake. I barely got a picture of him because he was so shy! As soon as he heard Dave and I walking near him, he tried to swim away. Luckily Dave saw him in time for me to take his picture.
Not sure what this bird is called. We saw several of them walking through the cypress knees looking for little bugs or fish to eat.
This is the biggest alligator I've seen in the wild. I've seen bigger ones at the zoo but not in the swamps. He was at least 8 feet long. I rarely get to see big alligators when we're out walking because they know to stay hidden in the water where they feel safe. I'm so glad I got to see this one.
Any idea what type of bird is sitting on that branch? Its a Barred Owl! They are the owls that hoot "Who cooks for you?" They are mainly active at night so it was a real treat to see him in the daytime.
This is the same owl but with my camera zoomed all the way out. Its not good quality, but you can see his cute face.
We were nearing the end of our hike, so close to the end that I could see our car in the parking lot, when Dave looks over to his right and see this Barred Owl looking at us! I couldn't believe my luck; seeing two owls in one day! He sat on the branch looking at us for a few minutes then flew away to a farther tree. They are silent when they fly. So that's the end of my pictures. We had such a great day at Lake Fausse Park. Its our favorite park to go to because we always see so much wildlife.

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