This space will be used primarily for explorations of the natural areas of the northeast corner of Louisiana–our service area. However, I spent several days last week in the southwest corner of the state–one of those days driving the Creaole Nature Trail (Highway 27)–and thought you might enjoy seeing a few of the sights.

The west leg of the Trail goes from Sulphur, La., straight south through the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge to Holly Beach on the Coast. The Sabine offers at least two worthwhile stops: the Blue Goose Trail, which extends east from Highway 27 to the edge of Lake Calcascieu, and the Wildlife Walkway, a boardwalk through the wetlands to the west of Highway 27.

Green Hawthorn (Crataegus viridis)
Green Hawthorn (Crataegus viridis)  (photo by Bette Kauffman)

A word to the wise: Do the Blue Goose Trail in the winter! I tried once in summer and the flying insects beat me back before I got to the lake. Awful! I could not breath without inhaling a bug or two. This time I made it to the lake, and encountered blooming Cherokee roses on the way, as well as green hawthorn bushes that were blooming and fruiting at the same time.

From Holly Beach I drove straight east and stopped at the Cameron Pier Jetty. There to my surprise I encountered what I recognized immediately as goldenrod, blooming in the sand just yards back from the surf. Seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens) was a brand new species for me, and a fun addition to my wildflower photo collection.

Seaside Goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens)
Seaside Goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens)       (photo by Bette Kauffman)

Driving up the eastern leg of the Trail, I stopped at the Pintail Wildlife Drive & Boardwalk, and there encountered a crested caracara (Caracara cheriway). My first thought was “big hawk or small eagle,” thus I was particularly tickled to learn that in Texas and Mexico, this bird is called “Mexican Eagle.” This was another new species for me, and a great addition to my bird photo collection.

Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway)
Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway)    (photo by Bette Kauffman)

All in all? A fabulous day. I highly recommend it.

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