Sunday, April 19, 2009

New Orleans Saturday 18th April

All photos today sponsored by the failed digi-bnning company of Skegness.

I'm in New Orleans. Told you I would be. With a few hours before my meeting started, I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to hop onto the no. 11 bus and head over to the Audubon Park. Frankly first impressions were not promising. When I got off the bus, all I could see was a packed zoo car park, and a golf course with 1000s (no exaggeration) of joggers going round and around and around. And no birds. In fact I thought I was going to see bugger all here. With no gen except that there was a heronry somewhere, I set off in hope, heading north along the west end of the golf course, picking up a couple of Common Grackles, American Crows and a fly-by Snowy Egret. heheh, so there might be a heronry around. At a pond on the golf course, I saw an American Crow amusingly push a turtle back into the water.

Got to the north end and things started to get better, with 2 female Wood Ducks sleeping on an overhanging branch, and 2 Common Moorhens (i.e. ‘Laughing Moorhens’) on the water – ready to split them now :-) Some Mallards too.

An Anhinga was perched

I wandered round and facing me was this… It wouldn’t turn round to let me see its back, so I was a bit stuck on this one (and this overexposed shot probably won’t help), but after careful consideration… it seems to be a Red-shouldered Hawk, actually very like one of the pale Florida ones.

Some male Wood Ducks here too – I accept it onto Category A of my New Orleans list – and a Green Heron bugging a turtle. Decided it couldn’t hurt to follow this lake round the north and east end.

Poorly digi-binned photos

The little wooded copse by the bridge at the north end turned out to be top notch, being a little bit off the track. Four or five Red-eyed Vireos were high in the trees, and a pair of Summer Tanagers (a tick!), a couple of Blue Jays, a Downy Woodpecker and a Brown Thrasher. Some Common Starlings over on the greens of the golf course, and an Eastern Kingbird. A strange warbling song from the low branches and ka-chow!! A White-eyed Vireo (another tick) and ka-chow-squared! A male Bay-breasted Warbler looking, frankly, gorgeous. I was surprised to find a White-throated Sparrow (this is like birding in Britain) and then a good looking small dumpy flycatcher with a bold eye ring that must have been Least Flycatcher. Unfortunately it flew off.

And then, I bumped into the heronry – turned out it was difficult to miss. Bit of a racket, and it was full. Many Cattle Egrets and Great Egrets, smaller numbers of Snowy Egrets and Black-crowned Night Herons, and a few pairs of (ka-chow again) Tricolored Herons. Sleeping on the island was a (presumably plastic) Black-bellied Whistling Duck: its case wasn’t helped by the motley collection of Muscovy Ducks kicking about.

Had to be getting back… time to do some work, so I walked the 5 miles back to the hotel(!) listening to Chimney Swifts and Northern Mockingbirds, and seeing plenty of House Sparrows, Mourning Doves and a single Collared Dove – they really do get everywhere.

1 comment:

Rick said...

Sounds like a good day. The whistling-duck wasn't necessarily plastic; they breed in Louisiana, and are increasing and spreading throughout the center of the continent.
Hope you get to see some more while you're "here"!