Alligator Annie’s Swamp Tours were “famous” in this area. (We are in Houma.) She was the only woman, and one of the first to offer alligator tours. Annie died in 2004. Her son John now does the tours. They begin at a restaurant called Bayou Delight, on Highway 182, where many pictures of Annie, with alligators and guests,
cover the walls. Stories are many that she was a remarkable woman.
We set out with John knowing the water was unusually high; much of the bird feeding grounds are flooded and the alligators at this time of year lay pretty low. In other words, a good chance we wouldn’t see any.
No more than spoken when a small alligator was spotted right across from the restaurant.
An hour out, John spotted this nice fellow…
… and this crusty older specimen. John joked that he has been accused of putting out a rubber alligator, so he is always thankful when they move. They tend to look like a bunch of cut up rubber tires; mostly inactive and motionless in the water during this cold time of year. Nearby was another small alligator almost invisible in the grasses and floating plants.
Less foliage in the swamp provides a better view of the birds. John nicknamed the ibis above “lady slipper”. She looks like she is about to dance.
This little blue egret was enjoying a fine crawfish or crab lunch when we spotted him.
Spanish moss hangs in great gray swathes, the cypress and other trees are stark ghosts without leaves, but even so, there is color and beauty of a different kind with the red maple seeding; large exposed tracts of water with reflections from the banks.
Great gray egrets, 22 ibis, (heavy birds) roosting in the top of one tree, many turtles sunning on logs, a bald eagle, snake birds, ducks, cormorants, pelicans and a panapoly of huge graceful birds in flight, all provided us a memorable afternoon. One fellow on the tour failed to duck his head when we went under a low bridge, his tour will be even more memorable. There were two people from London, three from France, Jim and I and six members of the Diethrich Family.
After the tour, we enjoyed lunch with JoAnn & Jim Diethrich of Stuke Nursery Co. from Gridley, CA. They were on the tour with their son, Rob, and wife Christa and grandchildren, who live in the area. JoAnn is a conservative agriculture activist, a talented speaker, and we hope we’ve convinced her to become a blogger. Watch for it.