Louisiana Iris blooming in front of Black Bayou's Visitors' Centre. K.Paxton image and copyright.

Louisiana Iris blooming in front of Black Bayou’s Visitors’ Centre. K.Paxton image and copyright.

Recipe for wonderful afternoon: Wildlife watching at Black bayou NWR followed by frozen yoghurt from daily Press on Highway 165.

We parked by the Visitors’ Center and admired the Louisiana Irises fringing the pond there before walking into the forest to look for wildlife on either side of the boardwalk.

It was a nice afternoon, sunny and breezy with temperatures in the low eighties. Kimmie was using the Panasonic Lumix DMC X8 with Panasonic Lumix G 100-300mm mounted and electronic shutter switched on to avoid the shuttershock issues at low shutterspeeds. I had my Sigma SD1 with Sigma 70-300mm Macro APO and a monopod to steady the pictures.

Speckled Kingsnake hunting for prey on a fallen tree. K.Paxton photo and copyright.

Speckled Kingsnake hunting for prey on a fallen tree. K.Paxton photo and copyright.

Every time we visit we see interesting things and our eye for wildlife spotting is certainly getting better. On our last visit we saw a Cottonmouth pit viper, a Broadbanded Water Snake coiled up at rest on what might be a musk rat mound, a  very handsome and active Speckled Kingsnake, a baby American Alligator and lots of turtles!

Here is a gallery of selected interesting sightings from our last several visits to Black Bayou National Wildlife Refuge.

Shed skin of Blue Ribbon Snake on a log. C.Paxton image and copyright.

Shed skin of Blue Ribbon Snake on a log. C.Paxton image and copyright.

A Blue Ribbon Snake sunning itself while digesting its prey on a stump at Black Bayou NWR, Monroe, Louisiana.

"Ol' Stumpy" a Cottonmouth pit viper at rest in a hollow tree stump beside the boardwalk. C.Paxton image and copyright.

“Ol’ Stumpy” a Cottonmouth pit viper at rest in a hollow tree stump beside the boardwalk. C.Paxton image and copyright. This is a composite image to allow enhanced depth of field for the low light.

Baby American Alligator at rest in the swamp. This individual is about 18 inches long and was perfectly positioned for photography. C.Paxton image and copyright.

Baby American Alligator at rest in the swamp. This individual is about 18 inches long and was perfectly positioned for photography. C.Paxton image and copyright.

Bullfrog basking on a submerged branch at Black Bayou NWR. These frogs sing powerfully in chorus that sounds like a squeezebox and can be heard over a considerable distance. C.Paxton photo and copyright.

Bullfrog basking on a submerged branch at Black Bayou NWR. These frogs sing powerfully in chorus that sounds like a squeezebox and can be heard over a considerable distance. C.Paxton photo and copyright.

 

As we walked back to the car park we saw a large black bird flying across our field of view in front of us – a Bald eagle carrying a fish! It was gaping with the effort of transporting its supper.

On that remarkable note we celebrated with frozen yoghurts from the dailyPress on HW 165! The perfect end to a great wildlife photography experience.

A bald eagle returning to its nest with prey in its talons! A cropped view, K.Paxton image and copyright.

A bald eagle returning to its nest with prey in its talons! A cropped view, K.Paxton image and copyright.

 

The author received no reward for this article.