It was a cold and blustery day, but Melanie Driscoll, Amy Shutt, Van Remsen and I braved the elements and counted birds in Vermilion parish in southwest Louisiana earlier this week. We had a total of over 90 species of birds, but it was a darn good thing that Van knew where to go because I doubt we'd have done that well without him. He's had this CBC territory for a number of years and even though he's seen significant decline in the habitat and numbers, he knew just where to go to find the different species. There were huge numbers of some birds...Red-winged Blackbirds, for example. Just after dawn they were streaming north in huge endless flocks. We watched as thousands and thousands...and thousands of birds went by. At one point, Melanie used a pole as a fixed point to estimate birds passing by and came up with a number of 400,000 in 20 minutes. Van's final estimate of 750,000 is probably very conservative. Other very large groups were White-faced and White Ibis...thousands of each. Snow Geese and Greater White-fronted Geese were plentiful. Landbirds were more difficult to find -- the woodlots that would hold passerines are in short supply in this largely agricultural area.