Sunday, April 19, 2009

04/19/2009 - Alligator Bayou

Launch: Hoppes Launch (northeast side of Dog River at Dauphin Island Parkway)
Cost: $5
Route: Across Dog River and up Alligator Bayou and back.
Weather: Clouds giving way to sun, 60s-70s, breezy, higher than normal water.

1) Went to McNally’s Park to launch and the launch area was full of debris which explains why the parking lot was empty. Decided I’d rather pay $5 to launch at a clean and maintained site – went to Hoppes.

2) Hoppe's Launch – no trash here and there was a snowy egret there to greet people.

3) Snowy egret taking a poke at some minnows. It missed.

4) Pelican pushing off from the water to get airborn.

5) I read a paper that questioned if a large nearby nursery’s fertilizer runoff is causing excessive growth in Alligator Bayou. There was indeed very dense vegetation in the water – a type of vegetation I don’t see much in other parts of the delta. But that vegetation was strictly in the upper part of Alligator Bayou. There are canals that run along part of the nursery where one would expect to see the same dense water vegetation, but the canals didn’t have any. There are parts of creeks completely vegetated in the Delta that are in far worse shape than Alligator Bayou. None of the waterways around the Nursery were not blocked by any vegetation.

6) Whatever the vegetation is in the water, when it dries out on land, Swamp Sparrows make good use of it.

7) Some of the canals around the nursery provide a beautiful view of flowers. With a little planning in the arrangement of flowers, kayaking the nursery canals could be a major attraction for kayakers while providing good public relations for the Nursery.

8) The only negative thing about the Nursery that I saw was loose plastic planters that were lining the edge of the canals in some areas. The Nursery should have their people clean the edge of their property bordering waterways. This isn’t trash that a coastal cleanup effort should deal with. Trash wise, Alligator Bayou was very clean.

9) Saw lots of fish and ducks in Alligator Bayou.

10) If planning to paddle the Alligator Bayou area, it would be wise to have a route mapped out. There are enough canals around the area that one could get lost. The end of one of these canals comes out right at Hamilton Blvd.

11) There are houses along some of the canals that make you want to stop and take a photo like this one. Just four colored chairs turns ordinary into eye pleasing. My compliments go to the owner of this house.

12) Can’t afford a house near the water? Get a mobile home. This mobile home setup looks seriously flawed in terms of being top heavy, but maybe they are not done setting it up yet.

13) Here is another example of taking ordinary and turning it into extraordinary. A partially blown over tree was turned into a beautiful work of art. 

14) There is a wide variety of things to see in the Alligator Bayou area and the open water of Mobile Bay is only a mile away from the mouth of Alligator Bayou.
15) A Dog River sunset.

16) Sunset at Hoppes Launch. Two thumbs up on this paddle and a boo-hiss to the caretakers of McNally’s Park Launch.

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