Monday, January 19, 2015

Eagle Lake and Chotard Landing, Mississippi: Quiet Living

Eagle Lake is an oxbow lake in northwest Warren County, Mississippi, about 40 minutes drive northwest of Vicksburg. The lake is popular with boaters and fishermen, but also has a year-round population. Some are retirees and some commute to Vicksburg. My friends and I visit annually in late December for the Audubon Christmas bird count.
On a cold gloomy morning, there are some nice landscape photography opportunities.
There are some urban decay subjects, like this shed in the woods off Hwy 465.
This little church stands abandoned off Hwy 465. I do not know the denomination and the signs were gone.
Some folks are really into hunting here.
Eagle Lake Shore Road parallels the south side of the lake, with some mobile homes and landings.
If the level of the Mississippi River is low, you can proceed west into Tara Wildlife (ask for permission) and follow some dirt roads to one of the rare river overlooks. People who do not live here in the South are often surprised that the Mississippi is often inaccessible from land. Road or bridge access may be tens of miles apart. These sand bars are on the river side of the mainline levee, so if the water is high, this beach and the adjacent woods are flooded.

Chotard, or Chotard Landing, is a community of elevated trailers and cabins on the water side of the mainline levee, facing Lake Chotard. It is popular with fishermen, but because it floods whenever the Mississippi River is high, all the properties must replaced way up on piles.
It is impressive to see some of these places - they are way up. Chotard was part of the Mississippi River until 1934, when the Corps of Engineers removed one of the cutoffs, leaving Chotard Lake as a detached oxbow.
If you need a restroom, the community graciously provides one. What happens in spring when the place floods?

Eagle Lake and Chotard Landing are worth a visit on a nice weekend. Take your binoculars for some good birding. The mature hardwoods are excellent habitat for woodpeckers.

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