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To the River and Back Again in Pictures

Updated on December 23, 2014
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Yvonne writes about and photographs the flora and fauna of Louisiana, sharing knowledge she learned through study and personal experience.

Or Our Little Piece of Paradise in Louisiana

Each morning, around 9:00 a.m. we (two humans and our two dogs, though sometimes neighbor dogs, Amos and Sadie, join us) make our daily trek down to the Little Tchefuncte River in southeastern Louisiana, filling bird feeders along the way. This is a good way for us to get exercise while the dogs do the same and take care of their business. It also gives us a chance to photograph the seasonal changes of the flowers and plants in our little piece of heaven on earth. Come join us on our walk this morning and meet some of the animals that live in the wooded riparian area along Pruden Creek and the Little Tchefuncte River.



To navigate to another leg of the trail, either click one of the tabs at the top of the page, use the little menu at the end of this page or use the sign posts at the end of each of the other pages.

All photos are copyright Y.L. Bordelon, All Rights Reserved.

Come take a walk with us. It's Spring and the weather is lovely.

Welcome to Hummingbird Hill

Welcome to Hummingbird Hill, our 9 acre backyard wildlife Habitat located near Covington, LA on the Little Tchefuncte River. It's late spring and many of the indigenous creatures are out and about. Some of the native and old-fashioned flowers are also putting on a show.

Each morning Al and I walk along the trails (that he cut by hand), through the Pine woods to the river and back, filling seed feeders along the way. It's our own little adventure as we observe the ever changing beauty of nature. There is always some new surprise to observe along the way.

We hope you enjoy this glimpse of spring in the natural world of southeastern Louisiana.

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We leave the house by the kitchen door where our container herb garden is located. We find that most herbs need well drained soil, and by planting them in pots and using soil polymers in the soil, we can control the amount of moisture during the monsoon-like rain that we often have.

A Young Great Crested Flycatcher in a Sassafras tree. They nest in natural tree cavities and nest boxes all over the property, but the young ones seem to like the area on the west side of the house.

As we approach the pond, you can see the wood duck box. The mother duck is sitting on her second batch of eggs. Al saw the first brood leap into the water and follow the mother duck to the far side of the pond. We think that this second brood should be hatching soon.

Native Obedient plants (in the foreground) and Pickerel Weed are some of the plants that surround the pond. Hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators use both native plants.

We take a right to go towards the river and Al puts sunflower seeds on the first feeder. The Catahoula dog belongs to a neighbor who lives 3 miles away, but he has decided that it's more fun over here so he waits for us at the door each morning and he walks with us and plays with Rio and Chance. He acts like this is doggy day camp.

Road to the River

River Road

The Tchefuncte river is about one quarter of a mile from our house. It is a scenic river with sandy shores and many interesting plants and animals dwell there. The road to the river was built many years ago when there was a dairy farm next door, but when we bought the property, Al had to widen it again.

Wild Mexican Plum Blooms

Source

The road goes past the orchard (where we have Red Mulberry trees, Blueberry and Huckleberry bushes, Pear trees, Satsuma trees, Fig trees and many native Azaleas) and down into a low area that drains the excessive rainwater into Pruden Creek.

Then it's up the hill, under the old wild Mexican Plum tree and Muscadine grapevine. Chance always waits for me to catch up, then runs ahead to show me which way to go. He's so helpful and doesn't want me to get separated from the pack.

Here is where we leave the vehicle road and go west towards Pruden Creek.

We often encounter wildlife on our walk. Here's a non-poisonous Black Racer hiding behind a fallen log. We are pleased that the beneficial Black Racer population seems to be doing well this year.

In keeping with the natural cycle, we use stumps and "Katrina logs" as feeders. This one is right by Pruden Creek on the west side of the property.


Cottonmouth in Creek

Source

We feed the fish at this spot on Pruden Creek and this Cottonmouth Moccasin is taking advantage of the good fishing here.

Into the Woods

Forest Fun

The trails through the woods were cut by my husband, Al. He worked for several years before we moved here for good. Right before Hurricane Katrina, he had everything just as he wanted it, then he had to clear them all again.

Strawberry Bush Fruit

Source

Click on the photos to view them.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
We get back on the vehicle road for a second.  It goes to the left, but we go to the right, across the little bridge that Al built and back into the woods.A native Trumpet Creeper vine blooms along the open part of the path.  Hummingbirds love this flower.And an Eastern Towhee feeds as I approach.We follow the trail to the right and go under one of the many mature Loblolly Pines that were downed during Hurricane Katrina.  This one has formed and arch.We placed bluebird sized nest boxes, complete with predator baffles, along the trails and many of them are being used.We turn left and follow the ridge along the flood plain on our land.This ridge goes all the way to the river.  The Pine tree was broken during one of the last severe thunderstorms.
We get back on the vehicle road for a second.  It goes to the left, but we go to the right, across the little bridge that Al built and back into the woods.
We get back on the vehicle road for a second. It goes to the left, but we go to the right, across the little bridge that Al built and back into the woods.
A native Trumpet Creeper vine blooms along the open part of the path.  Hummingbirds love this flower.
A native Trumpet Creeper vine blooms along the open part of the path. Hummingbirds love this flower.
And an Eastern Towhee feeds as I approach.
And an Eastern Towhee feeds as I approach.
We follow the trail to the right and go under one of the many mature Loblolly Pines that were downed during Hurricane Katrina.  This one has formed and arch.
We follow the trail to the right and go under one of the many mature Loblolly Pines that were downed during Hurricane Katrina. This one has formed and arch.
We placed bluebird sized nest boxes, complete with predator baffles, along the trails and many of them are being used.
We placed bluebird sized nest boxes, complete with predator baffles, along the trails and many of them are being used.
We turn left and follow the ridge along the flood plain on our land.
We turn left and follow the ridge along the flood plain on our land.
This ridge goes all the way to the river.  The Pine tree was broken during one of the last severe thunderstorms.
This ridge goes all the way to the river. The Pine tree was broken during one of the last severe thunderstorms.

A female Red-bellied Woodpecker and Cardinal eat sunflower seeds at one of the log feeders along the trail.

This Hooded Warbler is nesting somewhere in the low area around Pruden Creek. We often hear their tawee tawee taweeTEEoh as we walk along.

We go under more Katrina tree arches as we turn off the ridge trail to go down to the peninsula in the flood plain.

2nd Chance finds a Cottonmouth Moccasin that is getting ready to shed. Notice the cloudy eyes and how it is rubbing on vegetation. He was bitten once, so now he is a little more cautious about sticking his nose in their face.

This is one of the most unique scenes in our habitat. The cypress knees have formed what looks like a city on another world.

This little peninsula is sometimes under 8 feet of flood water, so we had to secure this bench to a heavy frame that wouldn't float away.

Arrow wood Viburnum (V. dentatum) blooms beside Pruden Creek. This is a small strip of land that separates the Tchefuncte River and the creek. As you can see it is getting smaller with every heavy rain.

Tchefuncte River

The River At Last

The Little Tchefuncte is a lovely river. It begins as a small spring somewhere up in northern Washington Parish and goes through Folsom, Louisiana. After Folsom, it widens and flows under the bridge on Highway 190, near our house in Covington, LA. It widens more when it joins with 2 other rivers, the Abita and the Boque Falaya. That's how Covington got the alternate name of "Three Rivers."

River Catfish and Turtle

Source

Now we're on the trail by Pruden Creek to where it empties into the Little Tchefuncte River.

Al feeds the fish, while Chance waits for me. "What took you so long, Mom?"

"See the fish hitting? Going to get some water, thirsty."

"Ah, tastes good." The Little Tchefuncte is a clean river and we're trying to keep it that way. Arrowwood Viburnum is blooming in the background. Its white flowers are followed by black fruit which are eaten by many species of birds.

Little Tchefuncte River

Source

The view up river is quite lovely. The sandy beaches are unique in a fresh water river in Louisiana.

Our canoe is on a floating platform that Al also built. It's anchored to a stump. During flood stage, this area can go under several feet of water.

While Al feeds the fish on the point, I go along the river path to fill up the sunflower feeders by the double benches.

The path goes down to a low area and then splits. You can either go up the hill or around by the river.

Many mushrooms pop up after the spring and fall rains.

I take the steep trail up to the double benches.

Colorful Damselflies and Dragonflies help keep the mosquito population down.

A majestic old White Oak tree with a hollow portion at the base, stands overlooking the river. Something, probably a mammal of some kind, lives in that hole.

As soon as I fill up the feeders, the birds begin to visit. First a bright red male Northern Cardinal.

Then a male Red-bellied Woodpecker with a very prominent rusty red belly.

Leopard Frog by River

Source

Many Amphibians, like this Leopard Frog, live in the riparian areas of the Tchefuncte.

After I fill the feeders, I proceed down the river path past another sitting area...

to the feeding area where we have the automatic wildlife camera which captures photos of many creatures of the night. The salt and mineral block is for the deer. The does appreciate the extra nutrients.

Al and the boys soon join me at another fish and turtle feeding spot.

Spotted Gar and Turtle

Source

Fish, Pond Slider Turtles and a Spotted Gar wait for pieces of bread. Actually the Gar is there to eat the fish that eat the bread.

Two of the turtles have a race up the shore to snatch some food.

After watching some of the river creatures, I walk past one of the 3 active wood duck boxes to fill up another sunflower feeder at the eastern edge of the property.

And here comes Amos, the neighbors' Catahoula Cur, following close behind is our Rio. What fun!

Where did they go? They're not in this part of the river.

I hear something in the water. Oh there they are. Watch out, wet dogs coming straight for us! Young Amos is still in the lead...

And there goes Rio. Even though he's getting up in years, he still enjoys a good game of chase.

Tchefuncte Solitude

Source

This log is a great place for the boys to play or to sit and reflect.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The female Prothonotary Warbler wants to know what's going on.Al's bamboo shelter, near the eastern property line, provides some shade from the summer sun.A young Carolina Chickadee visits the feeder.I walk back up the river trail towards our relaxation spot where we usually sit for a few minutes to watch the wildlife, listen to the river and appreciate what we have.A sprig of Spanish Moss waves in the breeze over the river.Rio is a peacemaker.  There are very few dogs that he has met during his 12 years, that he didn't get along with.We enjoy the view from our spot by the Little Tchefuncte RiverA female Red-bellied Woodpecker rests on a Pine Tree.A male Northern Cardinal visits one of the easy to make Katrina log feeders.  We had hundreds of logs after H. Katrina.
The female Prothonotary Warbler wants to know what's going on.
The female Prothonotary Warbler wants to know what's going on.
Al's bamboo shelter, near the eastern property line, provides some shade from the summer sun.
Al's bamboo shelter, near the eastern property line, provides some shade from the summer sun.
A young Carolina Chickadee visits the feeder.
A young Carolina Chickadee visits the feeder.
I walk back up the river trail towards our relaxation spot where we usually sit for a few minutes to watch the wildlife, listen to the river and appreciate what we have.
I walk back up the river trail towards our relaxation spot where we usually sit for a few minutes to watch the wildlife, listen to the river and appreciate what we have.
A sprig of Spanish Moss waves in the breeze over the river.
A sprig of Spanish Moss waves in the breeze over the river.
Rio is a peacemaker.  There are very few dogs that he has met during his 12 years, that he didn't get along with.
Rio is a peacemaker. There are very few dogs that he has met during his 12 years, that he didn't get along with.
We enjoy the view from our spot by the Little Tchefuncte River
We enjoy the view from our spot by the Little Tchefuncte River
A female Red-bellied Woodpecker rests on a Pine Tree.
A female Red-bellied Woodpecker rests on a Pine Tree.
A male Northern Cardinal visits one of the easy to make Katrina log feeders.  We had hundreds of logs after H. Katrina.
A male Northern Cardinal visits one of the easy to make Katrina log feeders. We had hundreds of logs after H. Katrina.

Prothonotary in Sourwood

Source

It's so restful to sit and listen to the songs of the birds (like this male Prothonotary Warbler) and the sounds of the flowing water.

Road Home

On the Road Home

We love gardening and plant many native plants as well as easy to grow, old-fashioned plants in our many gardens. We are also proponents of sustainable gardening, so we mix food plants into the landscape where ever we can. This practice gives us healthy, organic fruit and vegetables and also helps with the biodiversity of our property, which, in turn, helps the wildlife.

Southern Magnolia

Source

After relaxing for a few minutes, we start back. Here's another tree that went down in a recent storm.

Our walk starts on the west side of the property and then we use the trails on the east side on the way back home.

Beautiful native plants like this Royal Fern, Osmunda regalis grow along the road.

Rio and Chance wait for us in the road and wonder where Amos went. Hopefully he went back home through the woods.

Blackberries, that will soon will be ripe

Native St. John's Wort, (Hypericum species)

We turn off the road to follow the trail along the east side of the property.

The nest of a Northern Cardinal is in some shrubs along the trail.

The east trail still needs a little refining. We just opened it back up a few months ago and this is the last large fallen tree that Al needs to cut.

We use the logs we cut to line the path. They provide cover for salamanders and other ground dwelling creatures. We also have erected bird nest boxes about every 100 feet along the trail.

Green Treefrog in Pipe

Source

Besides birds, other animals, like this Green Treefrog use the nest boxes.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
We chose to curve around this one and put sunflower seeds for the birds.  See the little Carolina Chickadee on the upturned log?The trail widens here.  You can see all of the work Al has done cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina.We can see the home stretch ahead.  We take the trail straight to the right, which goes under another large Katrina tree arch,down the shady cove, that goes alongside Monkey Hill Northshore.There's an Eastern Bluebird up on that broken pine tree branch.Several large Gardenia (Cape Jasmine) bushes are planted around the pond.Ah, back home.  Pickerel weed is in the foreground and native white water lilies are blooming in the pond.  I usually take pictures around the pond while Al feeds the fish.  Here are a few of the shots that I took around the pond and yard.
We chose to curve around this one and put sunflower seeds for the birds.  See the little Carolina Chickadee on the upturned log?
We chose to curve around this one and put sunflower seeds for the birds. See the little Carolina Chickadee on the upturned log?
The trail widens here.  You can see all of the work Al has done cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina.
The trail widens here. You can see all of the work Al has done cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina.
We can see the home stretch ahead.  We take the trail straight to the right, which goes under another large Katrina tree arch,
We can see the home stretch ahead. We take the trail straight to the right, which goes under another large Katrina tree arch,
down the shady cove, that goes alongside Monkey Hill Northshore.
down the shady cove, that goes alongside Monkey Hill Northshore.
There's an Eastern Bluebird up on that broken pine tree branch.
There's an Eastern Bluebird up on that broken pine tree branch.
Several large Gardenia (Cape Jasmine) bushes are planted around the pond.
Several large Gardenia (Cape Jasmine) bushes are planted around the pond.
Ah, back home.  Pickerel weed is in the foreground and native white water lilies are blooming in the pond.  I usually take pictures around the pond while Al feeds the fish.  Here are a few of the shots that I took around the pond and yard.
Ah, back home. Pickerel weed is in the foreground and native white water lilies are blooming in the pond. I usually take pictures around the pond while Al feeds the fish. Here are a few of the shots that I took around the pond and yard.

Bringing Nature Home

This insightful book is a "must read" for anyone who cares about the environment.

Plant Natives Go Green Verbena

Source

Sneezeweed (Helenium flexuosum), and Rough-leaf Verbena (Verbena rigida) are native plants growing beside the pond.


Curious Bluebird

Source

Male Eastern Bluebird on top of nest box. They raised four young here this year.

Wildlife Habitat Journal

This book will help you get started on your own backyard wildlife habitat.

Pink Encore Azaleas bloom 2-3 times a year and the evergreen shrubs provide shelter and nesting places for a variety of birds.

Pearl Crescent on St. John's Wort

Source

This Pearl Crescent Butterfly on St. John's Wort (Hypericum) is one of the many species that visit our butterfly gardens.

Male Prothonotary singing in an Oak tree above our garden where his mate has built a nest in one of the boxes.

Broad-Headed Skink

Source

Male Broad headed Skink on a Post Oak tree. These colorful reptiles eat termites and other harmful insects.

Forest Plants of the Southeast and Their Uses

This is one of my favorite books. It has great color pictures and descriptions of each plant and explains how the plant is used by wildlife or man.

Imported Parrot lilies, a hummingbird favorite that can be rather invasive

Prothonotary Bath III

Providing water for birds and wildlife will provide them with one of the necessities of life.
Providing water for birds and wildlife will provide them with one of the necessities of life. | Source

We hope you enjoyed the tour...

...of our habitat in St. Tammany Parish. We try to keep most of our land natural so that it will support the wildlife that lives here.

Our property is a registered, National Wildlife Federation Backyard habitat (# 22325). Over 100,000 home owners, all over North America who provide the four basic needs for animals: Food, Water, nesting sites and Shelter / Cover, in their backyards have also registered to be a part of this voluntary program. For more information see the National Wildlife Federation Backyard Habitat site.

Gardening for Wildlife

National Wildlife's, Gardening for Wildlife, book is another good one that shows you how to create a backyard habitat.

© 2009 Yvonne L. B.

Please let us know if you enjoyed the tour

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    • MJ Martin profile image

      MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose 4 years ago from Washington State

      Oh what a wonderful walking place, thanks for the great tour!

    • profile image

      nifwlseirff 4 years ago

      Such a beautiful location, and wonderful place to decompress and relax!

    • ForestsOfTranqu profile image

      ForestsOfTranqu 5 years ago

      Wow, what an Awesome lense! I love the outdoors. Love all of the photos you have here. Great job :]

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

      I always love visiting your truly special habitat. I could really thrive there. Love the photos and taking these nature walks with you.

    • SaraLynn LM profile image

      SaraLynn LM 6 years ago

      What a wonderful way to start the day.. with a hike down to the river and through the woods. If I lived nearby I think I may be waiting there each morning along with Amos.

    • profile image

      happynutritionist 6 years ago

      What a wonderful journey to the river and back...thanks for the tour! Blessed as part of the April Fools Angel Quest. Stepping away from my usual category to visit wildlife and nature photos today, I love the outdoors, but you'll find this page featured on my Diet and Nutrition Angel page, look for "April Fools" link along the top:-)

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      thanks. i really enjoyed the tour. awesome lens. ~blessed by a squid angel~

    • greenspirit profile image

      poppy mercer 7 years ago from London

      I have just found this...its lovely. It's a love poem to where you live.

    • profile image

      nelabai 7 years ago

      Wow, I'm so so so jealous. Wonderful place to live.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 7 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      I thoroughly enjoyed taking your pictorial tour! What a wonderful place you have...it must be like heaven to be able to take your walk each morning! Thank you so much for sharing.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      What a wonderful virtual tour. I can tell the dogs had great fun. Well, so did I! Your photography is simple beautiful.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 7 years ago

      Oh my what a scenic visit I've had today -- ah, Hummingbird Hill -- that's such a wonderful looking and sounding place to visit. May you have a remarkable journey this year. Happy new year!

    • squidom profile image

      squidom 8 years ago

      What a wonderful place to live, Naturegirl! You are very blessed! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Nice lens, I thought it was pretty insightful so I decided to give you 5 stars, hey, I have a page that’s pretty similar to yours, maybe you can check it out when you have time: Formal Koi Pond

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 8 years ago

      A beautiful lens and I would love to visit. The joys of not having to walk around with a poop scoop hey!

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 8 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Ohhh, wonderful. Your favorite place is your backyard! What a beautiful property. Enjuyed it very much.

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 8 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      This is just so unbelievably good. The photographs are wonderful. They make me want to pack my bags and come straight there. Excellent, 5* and 5 isn't enough.

    • puzzlerpaige profile image

      puzzlerpaige 8 years ago

      I love all of your pictures. I see Rio too! He is one of the luckiest dogs alive. I am a bird lover too and we have many of the same birds here in Florida.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Wow this is wonderful! Every day something new to discover :)

    • Terry Boroff profile image

      Terry Boroff (flipflopnana) 8 years ago from FL

      What a beautiful walk you are able to take each day! Thanks for taking us along, I really enjoyed it.

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 8 years ago

      Wow! No wonder you are a nature girl. Excellent lens. I felt like I was right there with you. The photos were magnificent.

    • drifter0658 lm profile image

      drifter0658 lm 8 years ago

      Isn't it wonderful what we find along the way, if we just look. I love this.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Incredible! And you get to live there!

    • profile image

      rio1 8 years ago

      Thanks for the tour of your habitat. It is both peaceful and inspiring.