John Grego, 07/14/2007
I headed down the Kingsnake Trail during the mid-morning to do some birding and maybe kick up a Swainson's Warbler (no such luck). The weather was overcast and comfortable, and the bugs are still few and far between, though spiders of all types are definitely making their appearance felt. Chanterelle mushrooms were plentiful--I was looking at a particularly dense concentration of them under a cherrybark oak, when George McCoy, heading in the opposite direction, recognized me. He had been birding, and reported a Loiuisiana Waterthrush. I took him down the trail to see the big cypress in Moccasin Pond. The water level was very low, and you could walk all the way around it--we admired the out-croppings of 6-foot (and higher) knees arranged around its base. From there, I had planned to continue to Old Dead River, but instead swung east along a gut to Big Snake Slough. Hiking was easy along this stretch, with very few obstacles or groundcover. I saw my only feral hog of the hike, and also flushed a fawn from its cover. Big Snake Slough was quite pretty, and clear enough to attract a few wading birds. Most impressively, there was a wide band of young cypress (10 to 20 feet high) along its edge. I had not seen such a concentration of young cypress in the Park before.
I retraced my steps and did walk further south along the Kingsnake Trail extension; other than switchcane, the trail is still surprisingly clear, with only one large deadfall as an obstacle. On the way back, I stopped at a favorite bank with a good view of Summer Duck Slough. A pair of Belted Kingfishers were there, and a small flock of turkeys--two hens and three of their young--picked their way along the edge of the slough. On the way back to the car, I saw a Ruby-throated Hummingbird perform a display flight--arcing back and forth about 25 feet off the ground.
The large cypress in Moccasin Pond, with a couple of its sets of knees in the foreground
Another large cypress found in Big Snake Slough
A fungus that wasn't in my field guide
May 11, 2008 by Edward Kujawski
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