Creatures that lurk in the bayou

Four critters. Two of them are not birds. Maybe if you've tired of my incessant bird-mongering, you'll stop by. Please?


First off, a turtle. Everyone likes turtles right? [Insert link for YouTube turtle kid video that three of you still have not seen somehow.]

Here it is, a mediocre photograph of a Pond Slider in a Louisiana bayou.

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Every floating log and breaching boulder was overstocked with these fellows. It was difficult to photograph them however because of the speed of the boat and the shyness of the turtles upon our approach.

Pond sliders are quite common. You might know them better as Red-eared Sliders (a subspecies), which is common in pet stores. It delighted me to find out that these sliders are no good for turtle soup. Not that I'd be opposed to trying turtle soup. I just wouldn't want to shatter my vision of the hordes of sun-happy ancients. Like twenty-somethings on the first day of a music festival.

Secondly, a snake. I nearly jumped out of the boat with joy after finding several snakes along the way. I figured there might've been gators in the water though. So I refrained.

Not your everyday water snake.

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Rather than discussing cutesy things like what they eat and when they sleep, let's talk about what happens when you try to pick one up. It's pretty motley. They bite. Vigorously. And they emit jets of malevolent musk mixed with feces. They do not prefer that you handle them. Slightly different from the little water snakes I used to gather in my hands and pockets as a child on the north fork of the Gunnison River. Though I'm certain those snakes did not prefer me either.

If you're a regular reader, you might know that I find the antics of Great Blue Herons (and by antics I mean that you turn 100 years old watching them take one step) pretty entertaining. The GBH found in the bayou was no exception. He just seemed more creepy because he was wading in the still dark waters of a swamp. Amidst giant mangrove trees that masked him for whole minutes at a time.

Da-dum (Jaws theme music).

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DA-DUM.

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DA-DUM DA-DUM...

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And lastly, my very first Prothonotary Warbler. The natives refer to them as swamp canaries. A bayou is a colorful little ecozone and these warblers somehow make it more lucid.

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I hope you enjoyed your quick escape into the bayou. Don't forget that you can click on the photos to enlarge them AND you can leave me comments at the bottom which I will readily read and respond to.