My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Paddling Wild Armand Bayou

Armand Bayou is a ten mile long, bayou that travels though a 1600 acre nature preserve. So, while it is in the middle of a highly developed area of industry and communities, it gives the closest  to Houston wild experience that you can get.  I'm so thankful for the visionary  people who worked to save this little wild piece of Harris County. It is a place we all have to continue to work to save from invasives, contaminated water, and other threats that come from a modern society. It is next to Bay Area Park which has the boat ramp for put-ins. This is also a great place to eat lunch after the paddle.

Black Vultures are icons of Armand Bayou - there is a large roost here
It was the first place I ever paddled in the Houston area.  I came from Shreveport to this place to see ospreys for the first time way back in 1989.  Since then I've paddled the various waterways scores of times. From the put-in on mud lake, you can go up the bayou or down through Mud Lake  to another lovely bayou, Horsepen, or continue through Mud Lake to Clear Lake and then on to East Bay.  And there is another cut off Armand Bayou that takes you past a lot of industry but also lots of birds and deer.

Getting organized to put in

Gail putting the skin boat she made in.
 So Armand Bayou was one of the first places we suggested for Gail and Winnie to paddle.  They only have bays and a few wide rivers to paddle around near their Corpus Christi homes, so we wanted them to experience our bayous.   Armand Bayou was our Sunday destination for paddling. They wanted to go home  by 2:00P after the paddle so they packed their car up before heading to the put-in. We managed to get in by a little after 9:00A.M. The day was clear and already warm enough that we only needed our shirts. The bayou was high enough that there were no roseate spoonbills present but gulls, terns, several species of herons and the ospreys were all present and active. The woods were alive with bird calls, including a white-eyed vireo song,  a large cardinal chorus, and calls of chickadees and titmice. Pileated and redbreasted woodpeckers were calling, tapping, and showing themselves as they flew across the bayou. A red shouldered hawk and a couple of belted kingfishers added their voices  to the cacophony.   But the white ibises only fed quietly. And the anhingas quietly soared, fished,  or sat in trees, drying their wings. A few cormorants also quietly fished and dove out of sight when we came past. And there were a few pie-billed grebes fishing as well.

One of the many ospreys present

First turn into the narrow part of the bayou

One of several anhingas we saw
The day was so warm, a couple of the smaller alligators came out to sun themselves.

They are all looking at ......


Beautful day in the neighborhood

Anhinga all spiffed up to find his mate

Little blue heron fishing

Gail and great egret

 After we got our boats cleaned out and everything back in/on the cars, we had a quick lunch of mostly cheese and crackers with a little gorp and some of Natalie's satsumas. Natalie gave Zoot a chance to run in the six-acre dog park, both before and after lunch. Then it was time to say goodbye to Gail and Winnie and wish them God-speed back to Corpus Christi.  They had to drive about five or more hours to get back to their homes.  But they helped us have a wonderful weekend of paddling and good conversation. 

Lunch in the park

Nooo Zootie, not the mud puddle!