A Wealth of Wildlife on Louisiana’s Gulf Coast: The Creole Nature Trail
Posted by E.G.D. on August 8, 2012
Recently, my mom (Jody) and I spent a weekend enjoying the gulf coast along the Texas/Louisiana border. We spent nearly a whole day in southern Louisiana enjoying the “Cajun Riviera,” and one of our most amazing and delightful discoveries was that much of the “Cajun Riviera” coast is part of Louisiana’s Creole Nature Trail. According to the official website, “Louisiana’s Creole Nature Trail All-American Road is a hands-on opportunity to experience one of America’s untamed natural wonders,” and we certainly found that to be the case. We spotted a good many shorebirds, hermit crabs, and wildflowers along the nature trail’s 26 miles of natural beaches, and while we were at it, we had a spectacular time shelling! More on that in future posts (we’re slated to do articles on Mae’s Beach and Holly Beach, if not more!), but while we’re on the topic of the nature trail, I would like to point out that there’s a downloadable beachcombing guide on the website because the nature trail’s beaches, “located west of the Mississippi Delta… are constantly replenished by the ‘muddy river’s’ southeast tidal flow which carries rich deposits of driftwood and a wide variety of shells including whelks, cockles, angelwings, cateyes, olives, wentletraps, coquinas and periwinkles” as well as sea beans, though Jody and I weren’t lucky enough to find any sea beans or driftwood on this particular trip.
Back to the wildlife, though (this is Wild Wednesday, after all), the Creole Nature Trail is “one of the Top 10 Birding Destinations in the country.” There is a southwest Louisiana birding guide available on the website that includes the quote “the gulf beaches themselves are extensive, and vary in composition from sand to shell fragments, to mud. Here, common nesters include Snowy Plover, Wilson’s Plover, and Least Tern. Rarities have included Little Gull, Glaucous Gull, California Gull, Thayer’s Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Arctic Tern, Smith’s Longspur, and Yellow-nosed Albatross, to mention a few.” What a wealth of awesome birds to spot, and what a great reference material to have available free to all online! If you are at all interested in birding and think you might someday be in southern Louisiana, you really should go check it out.
Finally, “the Creole Nature Trail passes through terrain rich in bright, fragrant wildflowers that are far more than “just pretty faces.” Able to thrive with intense heat, the Creole Nature Trail’s wildflower population plays an active role in the ecosystem.”
I could not find any Louisiana wildflower guides specific to the Gulf of Mexico coast, but if you visit the Creole Nature Trail, I absolutely guarantee you will spot wildflowers, and when that happens, you can attempt to identify them using the Louisiana page of USWildflowers.com, if you’re the type to be curious about flower names.
And there you have it! I personally give the Gulf coast section of the Creole Nature Trail five out of five stars for natural beauty and educational opportunity, and if you keep your eye on our future posts, we’ll give you a full report about its beachcombing opportunities, friendly locals, and soft sands. Suffice it to say, we are duly impressed.
Happy beach-going -E.G.D.