May 21, 2010

We entered the water by a different boat launch yesterday.  Directions were simple but contained local references; so we were able to follow them only up to a certain point before we had to break down and buy a state map from a gas station.   (I am still amazed that such basics aren’t already taken care of ahead of time.)  The road leading to the boat launch was surrounded by a landscape of dead oaks.    These trees were haunting – still alive despite their lifelessness.   We were in Hopedale/Ycloskey, St. Bernard Parish – south of Lake Borgne and east of the Mississippi River.

There was lots of boom activity here too.  Before leaving for the day, I popped into a vacant parish office and noticed diagrams and maps outlining “proposed points of protection” hanging on the wall.   This area is south of where we’d been the past couple of days.  It seemed as though activity was amped up even higher than where we had launched out of the past couple of days.   Out in the field, we observed a white absorbent fibrous boom that was being placed around islands.  This too was sometimes washed up on the terrain.

First, we surveyed islands south of the MRGO (Mississippi River Gulf Outlet).   Lots of American oystercatchers were counted… some seen with chicks from what looked like 1 ½ weeks old to fledged.  (If you click on the picture above to enlarge, you’ll see the chicks!)  We also came upon some tern, skimmer, pelican and gull colonies nesting.   This area had recreational boat traffic as well as “boom” boat traffic.

Our last two sites were on the southern edge of Lake Borgne.   Just at the edge of the lake is a solitary fort structure.   I later researched and learned that the name of this construction was Fort Proctor.   It was built in the 1850’s but was never used thanks to hurricane damage and the outbreak of the Civil War.

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