NATURE ALI'S GRAND ADVENTURE - Day 24 - July 13, 2009

Woke up to watch the sunrise in Atchafalaya, Louisiana as thousands upon thousands of blackbirds streamed from the south towards the north; filling the sky. A Barn Swallow was busy feeding her four young that appear to be about to fledge. A nine-banded armadillo wandered the grounds while five feral cats looked on. Dozens of ibis flew over mostly white but a few dark one’s that I predict were Glossy but hard to ID with little light. Two Loggerhead Shrikes competed for perches and bugs with the same number of Northern Mockingbirds. A busy morning as I sat in my truck blogging along… the wireless at this rest stop was down … but as luck would have it a few miles down the road I found a hotspot in Lafayette, LA. Before driving to Lafayette, I drove along the road by the rest area between the east and westbound lanes of Interstate 10 and found a river right between the lanes where several boats were being launched into the waterway. A strange sight indeed… I found out later the Atchafalaya River was one of the major tributaries of the Mississippi which I had missed crossing over during the dark drive the night before.

I drove down to Sabine National Wildlife Refuge out of Lake Charles. Found it to be most interesting. Saw four life birds while there… Neotropic Cormorant, King Rail, Least Tern, and Seaside Sparrow; I was ever so grateful for the bird list of the refuge otherwise I would have been clueless about the cormorant, rail and sparrow. There was a lot of damage to the refuge buildings and even more as I drove west along the coast through Johnson Bayou. The high school was totally destroyed and an Audubon Sanctuary run by the Baton Rouge chapter lost what I can only imagine was an observation tower. The Gulf looked awful… full of dirty oil soaked sand and the water… ooh gross, such a contrast to the clear water of Florida. I don’t believe for a minute that all of the oil platforms just off the coast weren’t contributing to the problem, but of course some could be a remnant of Hurricane Ike that blew through last September (that factoid courtesy of my ground crew… Margot).

Continuing on I found another bird I had never seen before but have to process the photos to see if I can id it (I did check and it turned out to be another life bird… Dicksissel). I left Louisiana by way of the Port Arthur, Texas bridge which fortunately had a temporary detour built (the real bridge was destroyed during the hurricane and hadn’t been repaired yet)… I get great gas mileage but there was no way I could have backtracked to a gas station… the one station on the gulf still had signs but the building and pumps were washed away during the hurricane. Whew, a real reason not to build right next to the water. Spent the night at the Glidden Rest Area west of Houston… tried to make it to San Antonio, but the eyes wouldn’t stay open.

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Nature Ali's Adventures

Photo Journal's from around the county, state, and country.


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Northern California and Oregon

Nature Ali's Weldon Backyard

Pixley National Wildlife Refuge 

Squirrel Valley Backyard Nature 


Yosemite National Park

Death Valley Spring            

Arizona Scenics outside of National Parks

Canyon de Chelley National Monument

Garden of the Gods

Grand Canyon National Park (north rim)

Grand Canyon National Park (south rim)

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

Mojave National Preserve

Pike's Peak Region Colorado

San Luis Valley Colorado

Wildlife Diary from Southwestern United States

Zion National Park


Northern Florida Summer 2006


New Year's Day - Inyo County

Grand Adventure 2009


Nature Alley is dedicated to protecting natural communities wherever they exist. She is involved in many scientific and educational programs, promoting environmental appreciation and ethics.

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