August 2, 2000 : Today I have a special treat for you. My sister Lynette and her husband Ray have a rice farm in south Louisiana, and on the back of their place they have a small lake. When I visit her we often go back there to see what we can find. One time huge Buddha-shaped frogs were sitting around the lake; they were as large as dinner plates and they looked so content with life I had to smile. One year the farm unexpectedly hosted some majestic swans blown off-course by a storm. Remember, rice fields are flooded part of the time and they attract all kinds of water birds. Lynette has developed quite an eye for a good picture and she has consented to allow me to share some of her recent digital photographs with you.
Want to take a walk around the lake? Put on sturdy shoes, bring some water and your camera.
Here is the dirt road that goes around the lake, isn't it inviting?
Let's walk quietly, for sometimes Lynette's eagle eye spots owls asleep in the trees, and as I told you once before, the Gnome tree is back here. Wee folk are bound to be in these lovely woods and if we are fortunate, maybe we will see a gnome or even a fairy! We need to keep a sharp eye out for snakes, too, if we leave the road to investigate some interesting thing or other. Also, if you leave the road, you may have to tear through huge spider webs to get where you are going.
I have indicated that this is a magical place, and we can prove that, for most of the large spider webs back here are golden in color! I thought at first it was the sun shining on them, but even in the shade, they are golden, and Lynette tells me they are that way all the time. Webs spun of pure gold spider silk. Oh, look! there's one right over there. See how lovely the silk is?
I was told the local name of the spider that makes these webs is Banana Spider. I shall call it Golden Weaver. Are you ready? I know from the response to the tarantula I showed previously, some of you are squeamish about spiders, but I think any spider that spins a golden web deserves recognition on the Net.
Well, here we are at the edge of the lake. Oops! Lynette just had to break through an enormous web to get her next picture!
This is such a typical Louisiana scene, lovely old Cypress trees in the still, placid lake. But listen! What is that racket? How are we going to see any birds and fairies with all that noise?...Oh, look over there! Step right behind Lynette. See?
Why, this is a birdwatcher's paradise! Look at the Roseate Spoonbills on the right, and all the Ibises and Egrets, even a Little Blue Heron, and look, some more Spoonbills are flying in to join the others! Let's see, what else is there?
This is a new one for my bird list. If you look closely you will see those russet-colored birds have a line of white feathers outlining their eyes and bills; they are White-faced Ibis and can be definitely identified apart from other Ibises only during breeding plumage as they are wearing now.
What lovely color in that Spoonbill that is flapping its wings, and there is another to its right. Oh! That looks like a stork facing us up at the top of that branch, but it is hard to tell against the sky like that, I hope we get a better look at him. Aw, they are flying away; let's go see if we can find where they went.
See that sleek-looking blue bird between us and the little cypress island? In the lily pads here in front. That is a Louisiana Heron, a streamlined, beautiful bird.
Oh! Oh! Look down here! Here is where those three birds landed, and it is a stork, it's a Wood Stork! See? Right in the middle of the group of birds in the shallow water, the large white bird with the brown head. Another first for my bird list! And there are even more Spoonbills. Aren't you glad we came to the lake with Lynette today? I certainly am. Lynette tells me these are only the birds that hang around in the daytime. She said they come in by the thousands late in the evening.
We have been rich in special gifts today. Thank you, Lynette, for allowing us to come with you.
Last revised: November 26, 2010