Monday, August 16, 2010

Morning at Blackwater

Blackwater Conservation area is a BREC park in north Baton Rouge (actually in the community of Central). It is a reclaimed dirt pit on the banks of the Comite River. It is today one of the few locations with public access to the Comite. Dirt pits have become fishing ponds, and large, wide, gravel paths have been installed for easy access. Vegetation here is mostly new growth, but a few cypress trees have survived and more are coming back. Other riparian trees -- sycamore, swamp maple, river birch, and, unfortunately Chinese Tallow, are returning. Many of our other native plants can be found here as well.

Wonderful fishing spot. When I arrived, Chimney Swallows had just risen from their roost and were flying low over the water, eating and drinking. As the morning went on, they were seen higher and higher over head.

Nice spot for a breather.

A bird favorite. This vine was the scene of much activity. Don't know the name, but Mockingbirds, Cardinals, Common Yellowthroats, Blue Gray Gnatcatchers, Hummingbirds, Towhees all congregated here.

This one I know -- American Beautyberry. In the winter, the White-throated Sparrows will be found near this plant...

Silver-spotted Skipper. I swore I wasn't going to try to learn butterflies, but they're often easier to photograph than birds.

Portent of fall? I like the blues and greens on the yellow.

Rabbits are common here. Obviously not enough hawks. :-)

Trumpetvine - waiting for a hummingbird

As I said, the park borders the Comite River. The Comite is extremely shallow with a nice sandy bottom here. You can see that the sandy beach is used by 4-wheelers, which fortunately don't come up into the park itself.

Signs of a sand critter

Something in the ornamental oats family. I made the mistake of planting this in my garden once, years ago. I'm still pulling out its descendants.

Perfect markings on this Monarch. Yeah, I know...I'm not learning butterflies...

Frogs, fish, turtles...there should be more kids here with bare feet and nets

Really cool flower..could it be something in the orchid family with that interesting flower?

I'm not learning dragonflies, either.

Go away butterflies!


And finally, a bird. This one was a first for me.

I couldn't figure out what it was, until it called..."Breee"
Juvenile Eastern Towhee

And here's the dad

Just doing what he dew from Jane Patterson on Vimeo.

When this Towhee flew into the path in front of me, I was a bit surprised. Normally Towhees are fairly reserved creatures, preferring instead to skulk in the bushes. Although it's a member of the sparrow family, it acts more like a thrasher, hopping around on the ground, tossing up leaf litter looking for food. When this one flew out in the open and proceeded to forage on the ground (at least that's what I thought at first) I was surprised. And then I realized he wasn't looking for food at all. He was bathing in the dewy grass! Now we were within a few feet of a lake, but obviously it didn't offer the right properties for his morning grooming. Once he finished his bath, he went back to his bush and admonished one and all to "Drink your teeeeeeeeeea!"

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