Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Caddo Lake, May 20-21

Michelle's brother David and his family live in Bossier City, LA. They have a place on Caddo Lake, and we went there to spend the weekend with them. We met them in Bossier City and followed them from there, because Michelle wanted to see their new home first (nice house!). On the way into Shreveport we stopped briefly at a music store to look at instruments, and Michelle got me a wonderful gift - a telecaster-type guitar! That was very sweet of her. Thanks honey!

Here's Michelle and her niece Morgan riding a big inflatable pillow.Once we got to Caddo Lake we were on the water a lot, and we got to go waterskiing for the first time in years. Afterward David told me I was gonna be sore later. He was right. For me it was rare break from birding, not that I ever really ignore birds or put them out of my mind for very long.

The shores of Caddo Lake are forested with tall pines and magnificent cypresses draped in spanish moss. It's a big lake, but long and narrow where we were staying. One side of the lake is lined with weekend homes, trailers, and boat docks. The other side is undeveloped state park. The whole area is very scenic, and the swampy forest around the lake is awesome. If not for the presence of so many people and the constant boat traffic it would have been the best potential Ivory-billed Woodpecker habitat I've seen so far (James Tanner actually visited Caddo Lake back in 1938, following up on rumors that he subsequently dismissed as erroneous).

Swamp forest at Caddo Lake.As we boated around the lake I couldn't help but notice that Northern Parulas and Yellow-throated Warblers were singing from tall trees all along the lakeshore. Walking through the swampy woods I also found Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Acadian Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Prothonotary Warbler, and Summer Tanager. Pretty good for someone who wasn't really birding.

Actually we were gonna go out and try to see some of the local wildlife on Saturday evening. David's friend Al took us out in his boat for a trip through the swamp, but game wardens stopped us, and Al got cited for having insufficient lifejackets on his boat. We had to turn around. On the trip back the air was full of insects, and we saw fireflies flashing in the darkness along the shoreline.

Our captain at the wheel.I really enjoyed the watersports and visiting with David's family - and it was nice to do something other than birding for a change.


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