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Nonchalant Nutria

Nonchalant NutriaContinuing with the Exhibit series, here’s another of my images that will appear in the art exhibit at Magale Library, Centenary College of Louisiana.  The exhibit is sponsored by the Friends of Red River National Wildlife Refuge and is to promote the Refuge and encourage the public to visit and support their Refuge.  The exhibit runs all summer long, from June 1, 2012 to the end of August 2012 during regular library hours.
 This image is titled “Nonchalant Nutria” and was taken in June 2011 at Bayou Pierre Unit of the Red River National Wildlife Refuge.  The Bayou Pierre Unit, about 30 minutes south of Shreveport just off Highway 1 is open to the public throughout the year.  There are several tracts in the same general area that make up Bayou Pierre Unit.  In time these tracts will become more accessible to the public.  This image was taken on the Yates tract, which spans from Highway 1 across to the Red River.  I enjoy photographing the Yates tract because of the wide open spaces with shallow ponds known as moist soil impoundments.  These areas are flooded during the winter months to attract migratory waterfowl and provide a non-disturbed place to rest and refuel.  Other areas at the Yates tract (and others too) have been reforested with native hardwood trees.  The land was previously marginal farm land but has a rich history to be recalled.  But that is a topic for another day.  The planted trees have now grown above the grasses and are now beginning to define the landscape.  Also there are several ponds between the Red River and the levee.  At one of these ponds is where our nonchalant nutria were found early one June morning in 2011.  The water level was beginning to get low in this particular pond, and would nearly be dry by the end of the very hot and dry summer of 2011.
Nutria were once trapped for their pelts but are now considered a nuisance.  They mostly just sit around and eat.  And eat.   And keep eating vegetation.  Often seen swimming by with their heads and tiny black ears above the water, they like to lay around and bask in the sun after a hard night of munching on grasses.  If you get a good glimpse of their heads, you’ll notice they don’t have nice pearly whites, but rather some ugly yellow front teeth used for gnawing.
I like this image for several reasons.  Mammals are always good to see and photograph (even nutria).  These two nutria did not see me as a threat, at least from a distance and behind my tripod and lens.  The nutria on the right appears to be smaller, maybe an offspring.  I like the front paw on the back, as if to say “Ma, someone is staring at us”.  The fur is not nice and smooth, but has an unkempt look from just crawling out of the water.   The background is not too cluttered, and shows the animals are near the water.  While a pair of nutria hanging on the wall may not be quite the same as a big buck image, they are unique and have their own special appeal.
The gallery image is an 11″ x 14″ print with a black frame and white matt.

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