For my October feature photo, I stood on a bridge over Bayou Desiard. In November, I launched my kayak onto the bayou for the first time.
The friend who first got me into a kayak had been telling me about this stretch of the bayou he thought particularly beautiful. Back in November, I was still reluctant to take the kayak a new place alone, so I prevailed upon him and the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we went there. (Just wait ’til you hear about December!)
What an extraordinary experience it is to glide quietly among the cypress trees, see the texture of the bark, the green hues of the lichens on the trunks, the copper needles fallen into all of the dips in their fluted bases. At one point, I had stopped paddling to take a picture and suddenly felt something raining down on me. I looked up and a squirrel was cavorting right over my head, knocking a shower of copper needles into my kayak.
Once again, the value of a kayak for sneaking up on birds was demonstrated. Coming back down the bayou toward our launch site, I spied a snag ahead with three large birds on it. At the very top was a great blue heron and on a much lower branch, a neotropic cormorant. In between, on a branch sticking out in the opposite direction perched a great egret.
I slowly approached down the opposite side of the bayou, moving quietly among the cypress tress, and got good shots of all three birds. But best of all was when I finally got too close and the great egret (Ardea alba) took leave of the snag, toes pointed, a tutu of tail feathers.
New hashtag: #BigBirdBallet