Sunday, January 10, 2010

Arctic birding

OK, arctic birding may be a bit of an exaggeration. I'm sure our friends to the north would snicker at our discomfort at getting out in sub-freezing temperatures. But for those of us who are used to more temperate climes, 23 degrees is just plain COLD! The steady, biting wind didn't help either. But we piled on the layers and braved the elements in the interest of the hobby and the science. The mission was the Louisiana Winter Bird Atlas and the areas visited today were the west side of the Mississippi River in the Port Allen area, then up to False River near New Roads, then on to the Morganza Spillway. Landbirds were in short supply, mainly because there are not a lot of accessible woodsy areas to visit in these quads. Our best land birds were undoubtedly the large group of Horned Larks in a tilled field. No pictures, sad to day, they were just too far in the distance. Water birds were a bit easier to find. There was a great group of Buffleheads and Horned Grebes up at False River. Morganza Spillway had great gaggles of gulls and terns (and some geese as well :-)) The good news was that we estimated over 10,000 ducks on the lake at the Spillway...the bad news is that we could barely see them as they were at the very back part of the lake with no land access. The plan is to go back with a boat or permission to access the area so the ducks can be accounted for in the WBA.

One less Fox Squirrel at Old River

American Pipit

Lindsay searches for chilly landbirds

While Van tries to lure them out ...or tick them off...

Poor little raccoon was so cold and hungry he couldn't sleep

Interesting ice shelves -- not something we see a lot around here

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