A Kingfisher alighting upon the branch of a submerged tree in Bayou Deloutre in northeastern Louisiana.
A Kingfisher alighting upon the branch of a submerged tree in Bayou Deloutre in northeastern Louisiana. Photo and copyright C.Paxton
Young Tupelo seedling sprouts behind River Mussel shell on the bank of Bayou Deloutre, Louisiana. K,Paxton photo and copyright.
Young Tupelo seedling sprouts behind River Mussel shell on the bank of Bayou Deloutre, Louisiana. K.Paxton photo and copyright.

Kayaking is a great way to view wildlife from the water


The author and his wife on Bayou Deloutre We’re sharing some pictures taken recently at Bayou Deloutre (Bayou of the otter) which has a landing just 10 minutes  by car from Antioch, Louisiana, but feels a world away in terms of isolation. As my brother said “Outre” indeed! It was a touch cooler than it has been recently (in the low 90’s°F)and we were alone on the bayou, there was a sweet breeze running up from the south that cooled us off every now and then. We are getting better at Kayaking and are now thoroughly sure that it is the best way to explore the bayous. Really fun! Deloutre is lovely. Lined with Tupelo trees and Bald Cypress it has an intimate feeling, it’s just the right size for a kayak expedition.

Swamp Tupelo and Bald Cypress flank the tranquil waters of beautiful Bayou Deloutre near Antioch, Northeastern Louisiana. C,Paxton photo and copyright,
Swamp Tupelo and Bald Cypress flank the tranquil waters of beautiful Bayou Deloutre near Antioch, Northeastern Louisiana. C.Paxton photo and copyright.

About the width of the Thames above Medmenham and with no discernable flow, it is as easy paddling up north or down south. The water runs from Arkansas down to connect with the Ouachita River (the upper reaches of which we canoed with my sister and her husband). Wildlife sightings We had lovely sightings of Kingfishers, Herons, Swamp Turkey (Anhinga), many frogs of various sizes, a Broadbanded Water Snake and a raccoon!

Anhinga and river turtles on a snag in Bayou Deloutre. C.Paxton photo and copyright
Anhinga and river turtles on a snag in Bayou Deloutre. C.Paxton photo and copyright.

We saw turtles, but they dived before we could get within identification distance – the canny little critters. We could make out the ridged shell of a Map Turtle.

A Broadbanded Water Snake wth its characteristic fat cheeks was warming itself draped over this snag. C.Paxton photo and copyright.
A Broadbanded Water Snake with its characteristic fat cheeks was warming itself, draped over this snag. C.Paxton photo and copyright.

There are so many places that you can access only by kayak, aluminium fishing boats have a deeper draft. Motors are so noisy. Kayaks are perfect!

River prawn in the shallows of Deloutre. Could this be some unusual amphidromous species of Macrobrachium ? Professor Bauer of LSU was kind enough to look at the image, but it is too indistinct to enable identification.
River prawn in the shallows of Bayou Deloutre. Could this be some unusual amphidromous species of Macrobrachium ? Professor Bauer of LSU was kind enough to look at the image, but it is too indistinct to enable identification.

In the shallows you can see tangles of wood, and fish moving about amongst them – also the aforementioned prawn about 2 inches long that was scooting about in the shallows of a sandy bay. It is a humbling thought that Louisiana’s amphidromous crustaceans develop from eggs in brackish waters of the marine Parishes and then migrate upriver as adults. Please see Professor Bauer’s webpage on Macrobrachia for more information. Our encounter with a raccoon was delightful. We came upon each other quite quickly and the surprise was mutual.

Raccoon on the riverbank at Bayou Deloutre. Photo and copyright C.Paxton.
Raccoon on the riverbank at Bayou Deloutre. Photo and copyright C.Paxton.
A lesser spotted Redneck photographer enjoying Bayou Deloutre. Photo and copyright K.Paxton
A lesser spotted Redneck photographer enjoying Bayou Deloutre. Photo and copyright K.Paxton

At one stage we had to wriggle our bums to get over a very shallow submerged tree, something had dined off some river mussels on the riverbank nearby, we noted! Another surprise was a sandstone bedding plane exposed in the bank. We rarely see stone around here. This bayou is very quiet and offers a lot of lovely views. One of the nicest was at the junction with a clear stream pictured below.

A clear stream joining Bayou Deloutre, flanked by stout Tupelo trees. A paradise for small frogs. C.Paxton photo and copyright,
A clear stream joining Bayou Deloutre, flanked by stout Tupelo trees. A paradise for small frogs. C.Paxton photo and copyright. Taken on Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ70 at 20 mm equivalent wide-angle and filtered with Topaz Adjust.