Trip Report: Spring Birds in Louisiana

May 14, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Little_blue_heron_NewIberia_2022_1Little_blue_heron_NewIberia_2022_1A pair of little blue herons (Egretta caerulea) move sticks around in the early stages of their nest in a rookery in New Iberia, Louisiana. Although I spend a bit of time in Louisiana in the winter, and that includes spending time photographing birds, the best time of year for a wide variety of birds down south is April. 

One of my favorite spots during this time of year took a direct hit from Hurricane Ida in August 2021. I wasn't sure what to expect when I visited last month but I had to see how the bird migration was faring. 

House_GI_2022_1House_GI_2022_1A completely destroyed home after being destroyed by Hurricane Ida one year earlier on a blue sky day in Grand Isle, Louisiana. My initial response was astonishment at how much damage was still visible even eight months later. But then considering the town reported 100 percent of the town was destroyed or damaged, I realized that they actually were doing really well. Restaurants were open, construction workers were busy repairing buildings, and life seemed to be moving along, even if it was on a different trajectory than residents anticipated this time last year. 

I went to my favorite bird spots. The beach, which was now smoothed out and looked very clean, had a variety of birds like ruddy turnstones and sanderlings scurrying along the waterline. 

Ruddy_turnstone_GI_2022_1Ruddy_turnstone_GI_2022_1A ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres) picks up a small shell while feeding on the beach along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. Brown pelicans were perched on pilings. A few rails were calling out from the thick marsh grasses. Kingfishers were hunting from fence lines. And a wide variety of wading birds were in Dowitcher Pond. 

Brown_pelican_GI_2022_1Brown_pelican_GI_2022_1A brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) perches on a piling on a sunny morning along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. It was good to see life returning. 

I also visited a spot along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. April also sees the very early days of the courtship of least terns. There are a few beaches along this section of beach that provide the largest nesting grounds for the a species of endangered least terns. Although it will be at least six weeks after my visit before chicks are running around on the beach, the courtship displays of the parents provide quite the comical moments as females turn down, or accept, the gifts of small eels by the males.

Least_tern_GP_2022_1Least_tern_GP_2022_1A pair of least terns (Sternula antillarum) court each other on a beach along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi.

My final stop was a rookery a little inland from the coast. No pink birds in Colorado; I needed the pink fix. But in addition to roseate spoonbills, the rookery also has cattle egrets, little blue herons, great egrets and an alligator or two. 

Roseate_spoonbill_NewIberia_2022_3Roseate_spoonbill_NewIberia_2022_3A roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) flys past a green rookery on a sunny morning in New Iberia, Louisiana. After a week of cruising around southern Louisiana, it was time to head home. It was a lovely time again to photograph a wide variety of birds down South. Join me next April to capture your own photos of southern birds.  More info.

A random collection of additional images from southern Louisiana.

Roseate_spoonbill_NewIberia_2022_2Roseate_spoonbill_NewIberia_2022_2A roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) flys past a green rookery on a sunny morning in New Iberia, Louisiana. Alligator_NewIberia_2022_1Alligator_NewIberia_2022_1An alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) quietly watches from the surface of the water in New Iberia, Louisiana. Great_egret_NewIberia_2022_1Great_egret_NewIberia_2022_1A pair of great egrets (Ardea alba) pair up above their two offspring in the nest in New Iberia, Louisiana. Little_blue_heron_NewIberia_2022_2Little_blue_heron_NewIberia_2022_2A little blue heron (Egretta caerulea) stands on a short branch of a tree on a sunny afternoon in a rookery in New Iberia, Louisiana. Cattle_egret_NewIberia_2022_2Cattle_egret_NewIberia_2022_2A cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) flys against a blue sky on a sunny morning in New Iberia, Louisiana. Bird_rookery_NewIberia_2022_1Bird_rookery_NewIberia_2022_1A mix of roseate spoonbills (Platalea ajaja), cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis) and great egrets (Ardea alba) takeover the trees for a rookery on an island in a pond in New Iberia, Louisiana. Great_egret_NewIberia_2022_2Great_egret_NewIberia_2022_2A great egret (Ardea alba) flys over a pond with an alligator swimming in the background as fog rises from the surface in the golden morning light in New Iberia, Louisiana.

 


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