Thursday, March 24, 2016

Big Branch

We've posted photos from the marsh bordering Lake Pontchartrain at Big Branch Marsh NWR previously; here now are some shots from the upland portion.


Of course, "upland" is a relative term; none of the ground is very high, and little pockets of water are everywhere.

Bald cypress, often covered in Spanish moss, grows wherever the water table is high. (Thanks to a wind-blown twig, it would appear that even the signs grow Spanish moss.)

There are other hardwoods here besides cypress, but all in all, loblolly pine is the most important tree here. Of course, in some ways a dead tree is even more useful than a live one, furnishing (among other things) plenty of insect prey for woodpeckers, including the local specialty, the red-cockaded.

We didn't see any cockades, but it was a good day for herps, including green tree frogs and green anoles.

I would have thought it a bit early for wildflowers, but there were plenty, including lots of trumpet vine—the yellow native plant, not the red invasive.

Also woodsorrel, violets, azalea...

...redbud, fern...

...and all of it strewn with pine needles under the bluest of skies.

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