Saturday, April 13, 2019

Arriving at Grand Isle,The first day of Birding

High overhead, the bird wheeled in circles. It was riding thermals and had a long sleek body with long tail feathers. It also had a beak with the end tapering in a hook, somewhat like a pelican. The locals call them rain birds, as their appearance signals the approach of a strong cold front/storm. But their real name is a magnificent frigate bird.
It had taken us two days to drive from Rockport to Grand Isle. It’s about five hundred and seventy miles. We didn’t leave until ten forty-five am as it took us longer than planned to secure the fifth wheel for storage.
By the time we reached Lafayette, we were so tired that we pulled into a motel we thought we knew, but after registering we noticed the place was a dump. A woman parked in her truck saw how many bags we had. She warned us that we needed to be sure and lock our truck for the night.
We went out to our favorite restaurant and settled in for a troubled night, but everything was okay when we went out to the truck the next morning. After eating the free breakfast, we drove the final two hundred miles to Grand Isle.
After visiting with my sister and her husband, we met Jane and Dave, who had camped the night before in Palmetto State Park. We were all, staying at the Blue House, their rental property, as it was empty for the time we would be here. Everything else on the Island was rented as this weekend would be busy with the Birding Festival and the Blessing of the Fleet.
The first day of the birding festival arrived and after breakfast we rode to the state park. Seniors get in free but when we drove to the empty parking lot the campground hosts told us that we couldn’t park there as we would have to drive to the day use area and then walk about a mile to go birding.
I thought it was crazy for them to expect people in the upper seventies to walk that far to see the birds, but they insisted that we would be in trouble even if we only viewed the mulberry trees for a little bit. It turned out that the berries were not yet ripe, and the birds had not yet reached Grand Isle.
Walking out on the fishing pier boardwalk we watched a several hundred black skimmers flushed from their beach and flew to a secluded spot. Brown pelicans, and a huge flock of gulls stood in the distance unperturbed by some fisherman. The only brightly colored bird we saw was a cardinal.
Leaving the park, we drove down a road that separated the oil storage tanks from a large grassy field and we did get to see a flock of black necked stilts, a reddish egret, and several marbled godwits.
There was also lesser yellowlegs and Renita did spot a dolphin pod as it swam in a nearby channel.
So, the day turned out to be ok, bird wise. It was a far cry from last year as the timing was perfect and a huge fallout had occurred. In the evening we went to the carnival and venders both and I did ride the Ferris wheel with Dave and my sister Connie.
So today we plan on walking through the woods hoping flocks of birds have arrived during the night. They have had a tail wind, but things will change as the strong cold front will shift the wind to the north at twenty to thirty miles per hour, (the birds are migrating across the Gulf of Mexico). There is also rain in the forecast so we shall see. Clear skies

1 comment:

  1. Hope the birding gets better. Sorry we missed you in LA.