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HomeNL-2013-02 Cotton Bayou

Cotton Bayou from Hugo Point

February, 2013

by Natalie Wiest


It was a rare child-free weekend for me, so finally some kayak time and a great place to paddle out into the coastal marshes. We put in at Hugo Point, heading downstream from there and into the Cotton Lake and Cotton Bayou area. I believe our most numerous birds were my favorite: the roseate spoonbills. There were plenty wading birds of all kinds, including black-necked stilts. Herons and egrets were everywhere – despite the presence of a large number of erstwhile duck hunters; the parking lot at Hugo Point was full of empty boat trailers and the reports of birdshot seemed to come from every direction. Thankfully no shot came crashing down where we were paddling although we did get a good chuckle at a pretty lousy imitation of a duck call; close enough we could hear it very well!

 
Roseate spoonbill
family group 
  Dave’s photo of me
taking pictures of
my favorite bird
 

We were impressed by the rebuild of the private Cajun Outback hunting facility. Hurricane Ike had wiped its predecessor off its foundation, and probably deposited it in the marshes miles inland. Seems to me our favorite break/lunch spot on Trinity Bay was larger than before, but could be the tide was out farther too. Unfortunately there were also the remains of a long-deceased dolphin, probably a youngster whose demise and photos I shared with the Marine Mammal Stranding Network on our return.

   
The Cajun Outback
rises again
from the marsh
  My kayak on
the shell beach
 
  Stranded dolphin
remains

We also stopped to investigate the concrete tower and low water containment system on our return trip to the boat launch. Just as Joe advertised, a large owl came out of the tower on our approach. I thought I’d gotten a photo, but no such luck; a very impressive bird nonetheless. Brown pelicans were numerous, and a thunderous flock of snow geese (I think) were flushed by a motorboat out on the bay. Really impressive we could hear them so well from a half mile or so away – and safely out of the range of the guns bristling in the swamp. It was a great day to be out and paddling, wish you could have been along too.

    
Joe and Dave consult
as to location.
The braided bayous
make this a really
confusing place to
navigate 
  Joe paddling the
coastal marshes
  Joe at the
owl tower
        - Natalie Wiest


 
 The author, Natalie Wiest