Osprey nesting on Cane Bayou

Osprey nesting on Cane Bayou

Now nearing the end of May, visitors on our kayak tours can view several young osprey as they jostle about their parent’s nest.   Located about midway to Lake Pontchartrain, the conspicuous nest is almost over the bayou, in a sturdy dead cypress tree.   One of our guides photographed three nestlings which is more than the usual two. We believe they hatched earlier this month because at that time, the female began standing up in the nest.    Her incubation time had lasted about two months from early March.  The young will be visible for at least another month or well into June.    As the weeks go by the nestlings will become more visible.  Eventually on windy days in June, they will face the wind and try out something new – their wings.   Hopping up and down or “helicoptering”, they will discover the miracle of flight.    By mid-June, the newly fledged juveniles will leave the nest.  However, they will frequently be around for more weeks as they both are fed by their parents and learn how to fish on their own.  As guides who paddle Cane Bayou daily, we feel fortunate that every year, adult osprey raise their young within view on this bayou.  The annual cycle of laying eggs, the incubation and then the feeding of the nestlings provides for our paddlers and kayaking guests insight into the raising of the young of this well-known water related raptor.

Looking up not just down during your kayak tour

Looking up not just down during your kayak tour

We know, we know. Of course you’re going to be paddling through every turn hoping an American Alligator will be around the bend and of course was want to make that dream come true but if you are only looking down focusing and searching for one thing you are probably missing a lot more wildlife around you.  Spring is filled will more active wildlife of all kinds. Birds, turtles, frogs, insects, reptiles (yes including alligators) and many of them are looking for a mate or busy foraging for food to feed hungry newborns.  During your kayaking adventure down the bayou we encourage everyone to scan the water but also the air, the tree line and the shore line to spot a variety of creatures.  Here are a just a few photos of things that might be soaring, slithering and jumping around during our “Full Flavor” kayaking tour of Cane Bayou.

 

 

Who we are and what we do

Who we are and what we do

We are the #1 ranked boat tour on TripAdvisor.com in New Orleans. Here is why…

Established in 1972, for over 45 years Canoe and Trail Adventures (CTA) has provided to the Greater New Orleans community opportunities to experience and to learn about the habitats and wildlife of the great outdoors. Most of our kayaking, canoeing, hiking and camping outings are mostly to Louisiana wetlands north or northwest of New Orleans — all within an hour’s drive. CTA provides outings for visitors to New Orleans, school and parents’ groups, youth groups, corporate paddles and outings for the local public.  

Each year, CTA operates over 300 guided kayak and canoe eco tours into Louisiana wetlands. Our professional guides provide information on the wetland habitats and any wildlife encountered. Throughout the year, CTA also guides and outfits canoeing and kayaking outings for local schools and universities. Most of these outings are for ecology or botany classes with the teacher or the professor providing some of the instruction. During June, CTA furnishes guides and canoes for summer camps whose youth paddle out to Lake Pontchartrain.

Several local schools each year schedule overnight outings to state parks or scenic rivers. CTA provides the guides/canoe instructors, the camping gear and the meals for these outings.  Most students are 5th graders to 7th graders, with many middle schoolers perhaps spending their first night ever in a tent, sitting around a campfire or roasting marshmallows.

For parents’ groups, CTA offers canoes & kayaks group rentals for parents to paddle with their own child and connect with them outdoors – a parent and child experience that will long be remembered.  

For the Louisiana Master Naturalist Program, approximately seven times a year, CTA outfits an outing timed to highlight a seasonal natural event. The outing is to learn about wetlands habitats and the management objectives of public lands.

For the public, on the Saturday before a full moon, CTA schedules a Moonlight Paddles into a Louisiana wetlands. The outings begin two hours before sunset so that paddlers can have daylight before reaching a sunset destination.  After everyone has eaten their sunset meal and late twilight is approaching, the group paddles out of the wetlands using only their night vision – and the light of the moon. Coming back, the group paddles very slowly and quietly allowing paddlers to listen to night sounds. Day/night outings can be scheduled during the month regardless of whether moonlight is available or not. To paddle in near darkness is an intense experience but very doable with paddlers using their night vision.

Now CTA also offers Twilight Paddle Tours in kayaks and canoes, both pre-scheduled and upon request.  These Twilight Paddles differ from the Moonlight Paddles by the phase of the moon but also by the group size. We keep the Twilight Paddle outings under 15 paddlers for a small group experience.

We also offer kayak and canoe rentals year round for those looking to explore on their own. These rentals are designed as self guided tours and include not only your canoe or kayak but a waterproof case to protect your phone and car keys. Plus a map of the paddle route including scenic highlights along the way.

What is our goal at Canoe and Trail Adventures? Whether it’s a peaceful kayaking tour through the swamp or a nature hike with 30 students our goal is to offer each guest an outdoor experience that makes lifelong memories. 

2017 Moonlight Paddles

Our Moonlight Paddles are one of our most popular events for locals in the New Orleans area.  Here is a list of the dates for our Moonlight Paddles coming up this year:

Feburary 4: Manchac Swamp

March 11: Cane Bayou

April 8: Cane Bayou

May 6: Cane Bayou

June 3: Manchac Swamp

July 8: Cane Bayou

August 5: Cane Bayou

September 2: Manchac Swamp

November 4: Manchac Swamp

Join us for one or all of them!

 

Byron’s 2017 Outdoor Calendar

January 2017

Thu 13th          Planting of bald cypress seedlings in the Lake Maurepas area.  Volunteer with Coalition for the Restoration of Coastal Louisiana (CRCL) and or Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation (LPBF).   First of seven planting days in local wetlands during the coming weeks.

Tue 17th         Orleans Audubon Society Monthly Meeting at 7 pm at the Unitarian Church at 6690  Fleur de Lis Drive.   Program – “Is lead contaminating our urban birds?

Fri 20th             Arbor Day       For Louisiana, the day to recognize planting of trees is always the third Friday of January.  Nationwide most states observe Arbor Day on the fourth day of April but southern states have earlier dates.    

Sat 21st            Long leaf seedlings planting by volunteers for the Nature Conservancy at the Talisheek Preserve (near Abita Springs).

Sat 21st            In New Orleans, this date is statistically the coldest day of the year based on historic weather records according to WeatherSpark.     

Sun 29th           Planting at the Delacroix Preserve by volunteers for Woodlands Conservancy.  First of three days of planting over a three week period.

February 2017

Fri 2nd              World Wetlands Day – A day to recognize and appreciate the value of wetlands that are scattered about the world 

Sat 4th             Moonlight Paddle into Manchac Wetlands.   In the day time, our flotilla will observe the “winterize” view of the forested and marsh habitats that make up these wetlands located northwest of New Orleans.   After sunset, our intrepid paddlers will weave their way out of the wetlands under a high-in-the-sky first quarter moon. The route will be determined by the water level in the labyrinth of waterways that overlay the wetlands.  Meeting time will be at 4 pm, with sunset about 5:40 pm and return to launch about 7:30 pm.  

Sun 12th           Sierra Club meeting at Audubon Zoo.   Social time at 6:30 with the program at 7 pm

Tue 21st          Orleans Audubon Society Monthly Meeting at 7 pm at the Unitarian Church on Fleur de Lis. 

Sat thru Tue 25th to 28th  (Mardi Gras weekend)      Horn Island campout offshore of Biloxi, MS.  Instead of the wilds of Bourbon Street, consider spending four days and three nights on a remote and peaceful island.  Daily activities can include:  Beachcombing on miles of white sandy beaches looking for treasure either manmade or by nature.  Noting the variety of habitats that occur from the Gulf of Mexico to the Mississippi Sound (expansive beach, tidal pools, dunes with freshwater lagoons, saltwater marshes or pine forests and a thin steep beach facing the mainland.   Observing the wildlife that may be represented by flocks of birds either in the sound, on the beaches or in the ponds or by dolphins arcing their way through the surf.   Canoe and Trail provides a trip leader and assistants, the deep sea fishing boat to reach and to return from Horn, the outdoor kitchen with hot meals and camping gear – tents and sleeping combo if needed.   Individual campers provide personal items, appropriate clothes and raingear, lunches and water (a checklist is provided).  The fee is $350 for one or if related $675 for two.   For a memorable Mardi Gras but not for the usual reasons, come with us to experience for four days and three nights an outing that will provide a lifetime of memories.   

March 2017

Fri pm thru Sun 3rd to the 5th            Camp Fest – Louisiana Hiking Club at Chicot State Park.   This is a weekend of hiking, lessons in outdoor skills, eating well and socializing with like minded persons.   Chicot State Park with its woods and reservoir is an excellent setting for this event. 

Fri afternoon thru Sat  10th and 11th             Environmental Conference sponsored by the Tulane Law School                       The conference is on Friday afternoon and Saturday on the Tulane University campus with usually three panels at a time.   This conference is the best opportunity of the year to learn about current and future environmental issues.  Free to the public.   Highly recommended!!

Sat 11th           Moonlight Paddle – Destination and route to be determined.

Sun 12th           Daylight Savings begins for 2017.   The link is to a Wikipedia article with more information (pages) than most will want to know about this well intended energy saving idea.

Thu 16th          “Restoration Road Show” organized by CRCL in the Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge near Lacombe. 

Mon 20th         Spring begins – vernal equinox occurs  when day and night hours are almost equal in length.   The spring season for New Orleans begins at 5:29 am.   The link is to another Wikipedia article with pages again about this annual solar event.

Thu – Sun 23rd to 26th             Paddle Bayou LaFourche sponsored by Barataria – Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP)   One can paddle for one day, the  weekend or all four days on this historic waterway.    Fee includes some meals and camping space for the three evenings.  Canoes are available to rent from BTNEP.   The principal appeal of the event is the entire package of meeting other paddlers while enjoying the culture of the people who live along the bayou.   (The link has 2016 dates but will eventually have the 2017 dates. 

April 2017   

Sun 16th           Easter

Sat 22nd           Earth Day   Since 1970, the annual day to demonstrate support for environmental protection of the earth’s natural resources.            

Later in 2017          

Sun to Sun September 10th to 17th.    Base camp in Zion National Park in southwestern Utah with tent camping at a group site and then daily forays to explore Zion National Park by hiking and touring.    This will be our seventh annual week long campout in or near a national park.  Each day, groups of base campers set forth to hike on trails which in Zion may be vertical or horizontal.  Others may choose for a day or so to drive to and explore other nearby national public lands.  Others will participate in ranger led activities or talks.   In the evenings, everyone gathers for a hearty meal and much socializing around the campfire.   If you are interested, just send a note to info@canoeandtrail.com with the heading “Zion campout”.   We hope you can join us as we explore and experience another one of America’s outdoor jewels. 

Not so Winter…

Not so Winter…

Here in South Louisiana, our winter has not been too cold.  We had a cold snap but mostly it’s been a mild winter.  Since it has not been too cold, the wildlife has been out and about.  Our kayak and canoe trips have been seeing a good bit of wild life on our swamp tours.  Please take a look at some of the pictures our guides have taken this month.  See you on the water!

Late Fall/ Early Winter Bird sightings

The past 2 months have been great on the bayou.  Our staff has always enjoyed birding.  Some of them are better at identifying them while others are just starting to learn and enjoy it (me).  Here are a few pictures we have been able to get over the past few weeks. Some are easily identified, while others may need some work.

We have seen more, but they are hard to get pictures while canoeing or kayaking in the swamps. If you are interested in starting to learn birds, join us for a paddle!

Stay warm and enjoy this season! See you on the water.

See if you know them…answers below.

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B… dscn5583

C… dscn5595

D… dscn5624

E…dscn5637

F…dscn5646

G…dscn5653

H…dscn5370

I…dscn5681

A-Great Blue Heron 

B-Great Egret (front) and American Coots (back)

c-Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

D-Northern Flicker

E-Horned Grebe (migratory bird)

F-American Coots (migratory bird)

G-We believe it’s Red-Shoulder Hawks

H-Green Heron

I-Red-bellied Woodpecker

Master Naturalist

When you hear the word “master”, what comes to your mind?  Growing up I always thought of it as something to do with school.  Since I wasn’t a big fan of school I never had any desire to get “extra education”.  The older I get the more I realize that I am wanting to learn more and more about all the things outdoors.  Whether it is bettering my physical skills dealing with the outdoors or learning more about the natural history of the area and identification flora and fauna.  That is where this Master Naturalist comes into play.  I have heard of the program for a few years and was not ever able to take it.  This fall I was able to partake in the class.  We have had several meeting in various areas of Southeast Louisiana.  We have learned about the geology of the area and how the Mississippi River created this region.  We have learned about a ton of plants and trees.  We have learned about all types of animals and their part in our ecosystem.  We have learned about our coastline and issues dealing with land loss.  There is so much we have learned, and still have much to learn.  Each time we have a workshop we have professionals in that particular field come and talk for the first half of the day.  The second half of the day is application.  This whole course is a certification process for continuing your own personal knowledge.  To complete the certification, you must also have a certain number of volunteer hours and continuing education hours also.

This class has been a ton of fun and would recommend it to anyone who is wanting to learn more about the natural history.  You will get to meet people from different walks of life who have the same passion as you.  If you are wanting to learn more, here is the link to the local chapter.

 

Early Fall Sightings

This fall has been a blast so far! Here are a few pictures we have taken on our trips! We are excited to start seeing our migratory birds coming in too.  We have been seeing a flock of American Coots at Lake Pontchartrain!  Hopefully the Grebes will be making a showing soon!

 

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Byron’s Louisiana Outdoor Calendar Update – September 2016

September 2016

Sat 17th                Beach Sweep coordinated by the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation  This is the annual national wide cleanup of waterways.   Contact the LPBF to volunteer as an individual or with an organization.

Sat 17th                Bogue Falaya River Sweep coordinated by the “Keep Covington Beautiful”.

Sat 17th                River Clean-Up on the Pearl coordinated by the “Honey Island Conservation Program”.

Sat 17th to 24th   National Estuary Week coordinated by Restore America’s Estuaries.

Tue 20th               Wine and Cheese Social – Crescent City Bird Club at Unitarian Church at 7 pm.  RSVP to Joelle at joellefinley@bellsouth.net.   This social gathering begins the fall season of birding outings to local destinations, monthly meetings of the Audubon Society Orleans Chapter and a fall banquet on October 18th

Thu 22nd              Autumnal Equinox occurs at 9:21 am.     The sun passes over the equator to shine for more than 12 hours a day for the next six months on the Southern Hemisphere.

Sat 24th                Forest Fest at the Woodlands Conservancy on the west bank.  A day of  talks, walks, music and food – from 10 am to 2 pm.

Sat 24th                Dune Restoration Day along the Cameron Coast (11th anniversary of hurricane Rita) in southwestern Louisiana.   Coordinated by the Coalition for the Restoration of Coastal Louisiana (CRCL).  A two mile section of the beach will be planted with marsh plugs.  Volunteers are needed for this planting.

Sat 24th                Birding outing to Seabrook Bridge and Couturie Forest in City Park  8 am sponsored by the Crescent City Bird Club.  This birding event is the first of ten scheduled through fall and early winter.  All events are on Saturdays with most outings half day in the greater New Orleans area.  (The quickest way to learn how to identify birds is to go with knowledgeable birders.  They can both identify the birds but more important will explain what field marks they used for an id.)  

Sat 24th                Public Lands Day – no fee to enter a national park.

Sun 25th               LOOP’s (Louisiana Outdoor Outreach Program) City Challenge Course Day at City Park  The public will have an opportunity to be on three rope courses that include eight high elements.   Two afternoon sessions for individuals are scheduled to be facilitated by LOOP’s instructors.  

October 2016

Thu 6th                 Monthly meeting of the Louisiana Hiking Club in Baton Rouge.   Their calendar lists monthly meetings, second Saturday hikes, paddles, bike rides and Audubon birding events.

Fri 7th                   Wings and Wine at the Wild Bird Center of Covington – a fundraiser for the NorthLake Nature Center near Mandeville.  $25 per person.  The nature center has a calendar of all sorts of outdoor activities — Nature strolls, bike rides and more – much more.

Sun 9th                 Paddling for Preservation – a fund raiser for the Louisiana Land Trust for Louisiana (LTL).  This is LTL’s  fifth annual paddling outing but on a “new” river.   This year’s outing will be on the Bogue Falaya in Covington.   The trip fee is $40 per paddler which includes the canoe and paddling accessories.   During and after the outing, there will be discussion of the goals of the LTL program and National Park Service’s Three Rivers Blueway Program of Covington.   To sign up and pay on line go to this link on Canoe and Trail Adventure page.

Sun 9th                 Sierra Club, Orleans Chapter monthly meeting at Audubon Zoo.  Social time at 6:30 pm with program at 7 pm.

Fri 14, Sat 15th and Sun 16th         Paddle Fest sponsored by the Bayou Haystackers Paddling Club at Fontainebleau State Park.  A weekend to paddle, learn new skills, meet new people and enjoy the outdoors.

Sat 15th                Wild Things (Open House by the US Fish and Wildlife Service) in Lacombe.   Now in its 19th year, Wild Things is among the largest U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service outreach events nationwide. Held at the headquarters in Lacombe, Louisiana, this family event includes the Youth Wildlife Art Competition, photography, canoe and pontoon boat tours, wildflower walks, over 40 guest exhibitors, live animals, hayride, casting pond, kids activity tent, bird house building, food, and live music. Admission, parking, tours and music are all FREE.

Sat 15th                Moonlight Paddle into the Cane Bayou/Big Branch Marsh Refuge near Mandeville   Usually in the fall, there are more blooms in the marshes than at any other season of the year.   If the water in the refuge is up, our flotilla can range out into the open ponds of the refuge enroute to Lake Pontchartrain.  The moon will be the Hunter’s Moon – the most famed moon of the year with symbolism for many cultures throughout the world.   On the return from the lake, our paddlers will be asked to quietly paddle back under the light of the full moon so that the sounds and the sights of the nighttime wetlands can be fully appreciated.

November 2016

Tue 8th                 Election Day

Fri 11th                 Veterans Day – no fee to enter a national park.

Sat 12th                Moonlight Paddle into the Manchac Wetlands northwest of New Orleans   In the fall season, bald cypress take on an orange/brown color plus tallows and maples may have red and orange tints to their leaves.  All of this seasonal foliage makes for the most colorful time of the year in these nearby wetlands.  Meeting time will be an early 3 pm because daylight savings will have ended a week earlier.