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Michigan Revisited, July 2017

Part 2: Anahuac NWR HQ (TX) & Tickfaw SP (LA)

All photographs ©2017 by Mary Beth Stowe

            It didn’t take long to get to a great little spot I had forgotten was right off the freeway: Anahuac NWR’s Headquarters trail!  The temperature was lovely, and I had the whole place to myself as I stepped out and was immediately greeted by the calls of a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers! J  The far-off yeah of my beloved Boo Jays were wonderful to hear as well.  Heading on the nature trail, I had forgotten that they had a photo blind, so I headed over there, narrowly missing running into a complicated spider web (which made me paranoid the whole rest of the trail, as those Golden Silk Orb Weavers were all over the place, but thankfully way above my head)! 

Entrance to the Nature Trail

            The blind was actually a water feature (didn’t see any feeders), but an Eastern Gray Squirrel was monopolizing the joint along with a young Cardinal.  Carolina Wrens were around trying to learn to sing, but didn’t come out until I decided to pish just before leaving, and the place exploded with wrens!  My camera kept warning me of low light, so I decided to try and up the ISO, which I think helped (although some of them had that “impressionistic watercolor” look).  Continuing on, spooked a White Ibis deep in the swamp, and enjoyed the view of Turtle Bayou, but it was pretty quiet; was hoping to bag that Prothonotary, but no go. L  More Redbellies were calling, and after hearing nothing but Goldenfronts, they really do sound different:  a little throatier to my ear.  Eastern Pondhawks were all over again, and the only butter to show off was a nice Gulf Fritillary.

Boardwalk to the bayou

Turtle Bayou

Trumpet Vine

            Continued on, and thankfully the I-10 closure that the Amber Signs were warning everyone about had nothing to do with the wonderful Atchafalaya Bottoms, although the only thing to fly over was a crow…  At one of the 100-mile stops, the gas station actually looked a little seedy, so since there was also a state park nearby (Tickfaw), we decided to head over there (although I was concerned about taking too much time wandering), and that was a nice little diversion:  although hot like Brazos Bend (and like Brazos Bend, I went on the wrong trail instead of the one the ranger recommended), it had a nice selection of critters, such as a distant Fish Crow ca-haing, several Hooded Warblers, and both male and female Great Blue Skimmers!  I crossed paths with a young couple with a little baby in a stroller, and she was calling the orb weavers “Banana Spiders”!  (A quick look on Google confirmed that several species are called that, but BugGuide also confirmed that this particular species is actually the Golden Silk Orb Weaver…)  A Summer Tanager and Northern Parula had been singing at the entrance while I used the facilities (and I didn’t even have to pay as they don’t charge on Sundays), so those were nice additions.

Cut-Thru Trail

            Made it as far as Hazelhurst, Missouri, tonight, so hopefully traffic going into Jackson tomorrow won’t be too bad! L

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