Sunday, February 24, 2013

Paul's Grand Isle Bird Fest (part 3)

Previously on The Year of Birds: Paul was in New Orleans for a conference, but took a side trip one day to see birds, and guess what? He found some! Now, we start the third, and final, chapter in a series we like to call "Paul's Grand Isle Bird Fest"

The beach was well behind us and we headed to the Sureway Supermarket, behind which there are some woods that birds are often seen. And groceries. Migrants sometimes fall into these wooded areas after a long trip north or south, but the lack of migrants at this time of year made this more of a long shot. However, we quickly saw a first bird!

Another mockingbird.

After traipsing through a nice woodlot, we heard some more birds in the distance but only saw two or three squirrels. There were really no birds around (besides a stray pelican soaring) which, sadly, was our sign to keep moving.

Grand Isle, Louisiana
Back in the car, as we drove off of Grand Isle we spotted a new bird. Not exactly an exciting bird but yes it was a boat-tailed grackle (bird 16 of the day). Pushing on we were back on the marsh causeway linking Grand Isle to the giant bridge back to the mainland. We took our time on the way back and stopped several times. There was the red-breasted merganser (no. 17), pied-billed grebe (no. 18), and the Forster's tern (no. 19) all seen in quick succession. One last stop to look at a group of birds wading in the marsh edges. My wife was actually amazed when I suggested they were willets and they were. Bird no. 20 on the books. Oh yeah, and there were brown pelicans here too. 

Boat-tailed grackle on Grand Isle, LA.

So it was next back over the bridge and onto New Orleans, with only a few more brown pelicans sightings along the way (did I mention we saw pelicans?) before we were in South Lafourche. Driving north along the coastal canal that seems to be a shrimpboat superhighway, I noticed a bird house on top of a shed which was alive with purple martins (no. 21). There were also still some birds we could sight in and around the canal including a Caspian tern (no. 22). 

We found highway 308 north with little difficulty and were making good time when we decided we needed to grab something to eat. A few mile later I found salvation. A small roadside BBQ hut appropriately named Off the Hook BBQ served us up the most delicious chicken and ribs this side of Baton Rouge. And then I saw three black vultures circling in the skies above (bird no. 23). After that, it was a nice and easy drive back to New Orleans and back to the ASLO conference.

And with that we wrapped up our Louisiana bird fest, 2013. All in all it was a really nice day trip, though I wish we had more time. Alas, we never did see any magnificent frigatebirds, roseate spoonbills, or anhingas. I guess that leaves us a reason to come back.

Birding on the beach with bird book in hand.

No comments:

Post a Comment