We dropped down to Louisiana for a few days before starting northward. Today we went for a birding outing exploring some national wildlife refuges south of Lake Charles. Most of the geese and many of the ducks have headed out but there are still a lot of interesting birds.
We saw dozens of hawks perched in trees along the roads on the way down but had trouble identifying them at 70 mph. Most were likely red-tails although I saw a Northern Harrier who was hard to miss. We stopped in at the headquarters of the Cameron Prairie NWR and did a quick tour of their wonderful new center — replaced after one of the recent hurricanes knocked the prior one out.
Walking out the observation platform behind the center, I immediately saw all sorts of birds: White-faced ibis, Glossy Ibis, two or three types of herons, many ducks, and an assorted sandpiper or two. Many lifted off as I came nearer but it was an amazing start.
|Black-necked Stilt (life bird)|
Later, we drove a three mile Pintail loop seeing the previous types along with a few Snow Geese, Black-neck Stilts (which I had been looking for), and hundreds of Northern Shovelers. There were also hundreds of hungry mosquitos so we stayed in the truck.
We continued a long driving loop down to the coast and stopped at the jetty at Cameron. After passing all sorts of oil equipment and ships, we got out to the beach, paid a small fee, and in a stiff breeze, saw hundreds of shore birds. In the photo below, you can spot Laughing Gulls, Herring Gulls, Black Skimmers, Forster’s Terns. I couldn’t see anything else, aside from White Pelicans but there may be another tern or gull in the gang.
We ended the trip with an Alligator sighting up close and personal. Two new life list birds (Glossy Ibis and Black-necked Stilt) and an interesting look at a vulnerable piece of the U.S. Seeing houses, a hospital, and emergency generators up on stilts is sobering. But the birding is awesome and with migration coming, will soon get even better.