Nov. 10th, 2012
by Dave Kitson
Tom Douglas and Linda Shead organized another trip on the east fork of Double Bayou on Sat. Nov 10, which was attended by Joe Coker, Phil Rogers and myself. Since it was a small group they elected to put in under the FM 562 bridge which is about ¾ of a mile upstream of Double Bayou Park. The put in here is slightly vertical but the area on the northwest side of the bridge is workable. You have to walk down the northeast side of the road to get under the bridge. We also were able to explore 5 or 6 of the little tributaries along the way; something that is hard to do with a large group. The first tributary extends to the right a short distance downstream from the park. It is a beautiful, tight, well wooded stream which we were able to follow about ¾ of a mile to a little beyond the culverts under Eagle Ferry Rd. There was enough water to paddle right thru the culverts. The other tributaries were shorter and for the most part the trees gave way to saw grass and a more prairie type of vegetation. Several of these streams had what appeared to be alligator ponds or wallows. On one stream Joe and Linda put on their plaid flannel shirts and did some lumberjacking to cut through a small fallen tree so that we could go a little further up the stream.
There were not too many large birds on this day; a couple of Great Blue Herons and one hawk of indeterminate pedigree. Due to the steep sides and respectable depth there are usually not too many wading birds on Double Bayou on the best of days. I have attached a paragraph written by Phil on the birds he saw since he is obviously a far better birder than I. On all my other trips here I have seen large numbers of Golden Orb Weaver spiders but I guess the season is over because I saw none on this trip.
Phil Rogers' report:
Linda had obtained permission for us to get out and eat lunch in a beautiful oak forest on the east side of the bayou. It was almost all oak trees with very little underbrush making it the perfect lunch spot. I think it is the most beautiful place I have eaten lunch at on all my paddle trips. As usual on these trips Tom and Linda told a few stories about the area and on this day Tom read to us from Jim Bob Jackson’s 2010 book JHK Ranch: 1940-1963, a book describing how folks lived their lives on the ranches of this area. As always, the stories are great and really make the trips special.
As I got out of my vehicle I heard a red-bellied woodpecker. Walking to the bayou I spooked the first of several great blue herons. The group showed up and we spotted a redheaded woodpecker. Underway we passed under an anhinga on a branch who never budged. I was only about 4 feet under it. An undetermined large raptor may have been an osprey. Later a nice redtailed hawk passed close by. There were numerous northern roughwinged swallows. Along the banks you could see their nesting holes. Two or three pairs of belted kingfishers put on shows for us. Later during the final tribtrip I remained in the bayou and saw several of the "myrtle" subspecies of yellow rumped warblers. And a juvenile whitetail kite perched in a dead tree! Near our takeout we saw the usual shore suspects - brown pelicans, laughing gulls, and various terns. I'm pretty sure I saw a green heron cross the bayou. Not too shabby a day for a newbie like me.
As we made our way from the lunch spot to the take out, Tom spotted a weather phenomenon called “Sun Dogs”. These are very small rainbows, one on either side of the sun about 22 degrees from the sun. They are caused by ice crystals high in the atmosphere. The one on the left was quite bright, easily as bright as the best rainbow.
The take out at Job Beason Park was at high tide with the water nearly at the top of the ramps. The trip ended up at 8.1 miles and a little over 6 hours. After loading the boats we all went to Channel Marker 17 restaurant for dinner where we sat out on the pier, ate some great seafood and watched the sun go down and night descend on the water. The weather was perfect for the day, the forest was beautiful with the leaves just beginning to turn, the dinner was delicious and the trip was as good as it gets.
|The author, Dave Kitson