What does, a salt dome, pepper pods and a 200 acre jungle have in common? A trip to Avery Island, Louisiana, and a good time!
The salt dome extends eight miles beneath the earth’s surface and its protruding “island” part of the formation rising above the surface is Avery Island.
The pepper pods, obtained shortly after the Civil War, are special capsicum peppers. Seeds from these capsicum peppers, grown on the Island, are exported to Central and South America, where tabasco peppers are cultivated and harvested.
The 200 acre jungle is home to the world’s most beautiful sanctuaries for the preservation and study of flora and fauna. Edward McIlhenny, son of Tabasco sauce inventor Edmund McIlhenny, was a noted naturalist and explorer and decades ago he cultivated what is today called The Jungle Gardens of Avery Island.
It all began when Edmund McIlhenny cultivated a crop, invented a product over 125 years ago and founded a company on Avery Island.
As their current day brochure states. Much of the world knows about Tabasco pepper sauce.
McIlhenny Company Tabasco Sauce Brand Pepper Sauce!!
**I want to give credit for the information in this blog to the wonderful writers at Tabasco, I used their brochures in writing this blog.
Wednesday, April 2nd we traveled to Avery Island to visit Tabasco. We always have to be conscience of the time we are away from the coach, because of our two beautiful four-legged friends. So when we drove to Avery Island we needed to make a decision on what we wanted to see as we only had time to visit one of two tours. Did we want to tour the Jungle Gardens or take the Tabasco plant tour? It was not a tough decision.
We decided to toured the Jungle Gardens. What beautiful grounds they have; we could have spent the entire day hiking around admiring these gorgeous gardens and taking photos!
The 200 acres of jungle gardens are home to a large collection of some 600 varieties of camellias, including some that McIlhenny developed, along with thousands of azaleas, acres of wildflowers, groves of evergreens, english hollies and wistaria vines, just to mention a few.
You can see Live Oak trees through out the gardens.
When I look at this felled tree, I have to wonder how long it lived and how long has it been since it died.
Beautiful Azaleas and lagoons are everywhere
Bees and Flowers
A lovely white Azalea
A bee enjoying a pink Azelea
Twisted Wisteria Vines
Wisteria Arch, Wisteria was first introduced into New Orleans around 1875.
This Live Oak tree is named for Grover Cleveland. He visited the McIlhenny family and this tree around 1891. It is over 300 years old.
The jungle gardens are a birder’s paradise! We made the right decision in taking this tour.
Over one hundred years ago, Edward McIlhenny helped save a beautiful egret from extinction – the Snowy egret. In 1895 when the snowy was being hunted for its plumage, Edward, built an aviary on Avery Island, and then captured and raised eight wild snowy egrets.
After they had raised their hatches and were ready to migrate, he released them. The snowy egrets returned the next spring and every spring since.
Today this rookery is fondly called “Bird City” where some 20,000 Snowy Egrets, plus many other species of birds, return each spring to raise their young.
For the love of the Great Blue Heron:
For the Love of Herons
Others also enjoy The Jungle Gardens:
As the time for our departure from Avery Island approached, we stopped at the Tabasco Store to look around. We enjoyed a nice cool cup of homemade ice cream, of course made with Tabasco peppers, sampled some of their flavored sauces and even purchased a few items to bring home. It was another fun day spent in Cajun Country!
Side note: On our way down to New Iberia, Louisiana and then out to Avery Island we stopped for lunch at a local place called Landry’s. They serve a different daily lunch to a huge number of hard working folks! The food was delicious!
On this drive we were impressed with the oil and gas related businesses we passed. Thousands of people employed in this industry in numerous small Louisiana towns. From, large oil companies, oil service and training companies, to local support businesses like Laudry’s all employing hard working people.
We should all thank these businesses that supply our oil and gas, and the folks that work in them. It made us happy to see the booming economy in this area, to know that America is rich in oil and gas and that Louisiana is employing lots of people to work in these industries.
We said farewell to Louisiana, for now, and drove to Beaumont, Texas!
While in Beaumont we enjoyed two full, wonderful days of birding. We met some nice folks from the Houston Audubon Society in High Island and it was a special treat meeting a fellow birder and blogger at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. More on meeting Judy and how we spent these exciting two days later.
We arrived this morning, April 6th, at Stephen F. Austin State Park and we will be here for several days. As I sit here typing I can even count the number of Northern Cardinals we are seeing, so many in one place!
A few more bird photos from Fairview Riverside State Park. And, number 359, a new sighting!
When I first spotted this beautiful little warbler, I though it was a new sighting; however, after checking my records I had seen it previously. It was truly a joy to get to watch this little bird for a few seconds.
Finally, a new bird – Yellow-throated Warbler. Number 359!
I enhanced the last two photos of the Yellow-throated; I tried to improve the photos highlighting the bird better. Of course the best shot is of its back-side!
It is always fun to take a walk, because you never know what you might see!
A few scenes from our walk this morning in Rocky Bayou State Park near Niceville, Florida. The weather here has been cold, but the expected rain has been delayed!
We enjoyed our day today: an early morning walk through a beautiful forrest; a wonderful lunch at a family restaurant, which opened in 1954; and a visit to the Air Force Armament Museum.
Fighter pilots, flying overhead near the museum, truly entertained me this afternoon during their practice runs. They were flying the new F35 fighter jets! Take off, landing, take off – over and over again! Hopefully my photos came out and I will be able to share with you what they look like!