Birds of the Deep South
Cattle Egret in breeding plumage
Little Blue Heron
On the 1rst of May we entered Louisiana. With 3 of the 5 longest bridges in the US it is amazingly wet and marshy. Our first stop was Lafayette where we stayed in Acadia City Pk. not far from downtown. From our campsite we saw our first Tufted Titmouse coming to its nest just over our heads and high in the tree tops our first Mississippi Kite. The next day we visited Lake Martin with its authentic bayou dripping with Spanish moss, (see travel page). Here was another good rookery.
Following that we ventured to New Orleans where we stayed at Bayou Segnette St. Pk. There we saw our first Fish Crow as well as picking up Brown-Headed Nuthatch and Eastern Towhee lifers on a day trip to Big Branch NWR north of town. 310 year birds with 104 lifers as of May 5th.
Next spot was right next to the Audubon Bird Sanctuary on Dauphin Island, Alabama. Here I added another long-time lifer nemesis in the Northern Waterthrush as well as a Gray-Cheeked Thrush.
On our local day trip exploring Dauphin island we finally got good looks at a Clapper Rail and beautiful shots of a Tri-colored Heron before getting totally washed out by a serious thunder storm.
"I'm a bird, can't you tell?"
We particularly enjoyed sitting at the Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island and were rewarded with sweet looks at a Blackburnian Warbler as well as our first Blue Grosbeak for 2012.
Next we stayed at Fort Pickens off Pensacola Beach, Florida. Here we had the opportunity to see some very unusual birds, the Blue Angels. What a show! See our South travel page for more on the Blue Angels.
Also along the spit leading to the Fort were protected nesting grounds where I saw my first Snowy Plovers and had good looks at nesting Least Terns as well. 315 year/111 lifers on 5/17/12.
Snowy Plover, banded and Snowy Plover chick.
Northern Cardinal Female
"I'm mad & I'm not going to take it anymore!"
I got a little too close to his nest
From the Pensacola area we moved onto our most favorite stop of the trip so far. Panama City Beach, FL. As part of the Emerald Coast the pure white sands and clear turquoise waters made for a Caribbean feel. I did manage some good birding here at St. Andrews State Park where I enjoyed great looks at Common Moorhen and Brown Thrashers.