Monday, January 09, 2012

Up a Crazy River

I really wanted to go kayaking this weekend. Wanted to try a new
location. Hemmed and hawed and today finally decided to try the Bogue
Chitto river at the state park. Got the boat loaded up (I'm getting
pretty good at that) and headed out. It's almost a 2 hour drive and I
was worried the rain might set in, but it held off. Checked in at the
gate. The girl actually laughed at me. I told her I was going to put
in and then turn around and head back -- make a loop, as it were. It's
what I usually do -- have done on other rivers. But apparently there's
a significant difference with this river -- it has a current. One of
the other rangers suggested I put in at the takeout so I could start
going upstream first and then essentially float back down if I got
tired. Sounded like a plan.

Had to drag the boat several hundred yards to put in. Not fun. And
they were not kidding about the current. But I got all my stuff and
started out, feeling strong. Did okay for the first quarter of a mile
or so. Then I hit a baby rapids. I paddled as hard as I could...and I
was just standing still. If I let up for a even a second, the current
pushed me backward. This was just not going to work. I enjoyed the
float back to the takeout :-)

So...lesson learned. Next time I need to either rent one of their boats
and and get a takeout, or take someone with me so we can take out down
river. Got it!

Oh, and birds? I had a great little flocks of warblers, Blue-birds, and
woodpeckers at one point, but my favorite bird of the day was the Winter
Wren that yawned at me. Yes, yawned. I saw him, played the Winter Wren
recording. He looked over at me and yawned. Allrighty then, so much
for that :-)

Sunday, January 08, 2012

An Eagle is born!

Checked the nest near Sherburne South Farm (off Ramah-Maringuoin exit from I-10, just east of the Atchafalaya basin) last week. What I saw surprised me! I was hoping to see downy eagle chick heads and unless I saw a chick that's almost as big as the parent already! I love this location because you can easily observe the nest from the road or while standing on the levee. Afternoon is really the best time because the light is coming from the west. Note to self: bring an extra tripod for the camera! This location is always windy and because of the extreme zoom and the distance, a handheld video leaves a lot to be desired. I hope no one gets seasick watching it! Some still photos from my Facebook album (with more to be added as I watch the nest over the next 6 weeks or so)

Saturday, January 07, 2012

I'm partial to redheads

There is red, and then there is RED. The word "vermilion" was made for this bird. It shines like a beacon, especially against the more drab landscape of winter in Louisiana. And indeed, it should stand out, because it doesn't belong here. This is another bird of the Southwest that visits Louisiana in small numbers in the winter time. This particular one has returned to this horse stable for the 3 years now. He particularly likes looking at himself in the dressage mirror that they have in the training paddock!

Rare bird + lifer = good bird day!

An oriole in winter in Baton Rouge is a good bird.  This bird was located just before the Christmas Bird Count in Baton Rouge and it has been determined to be a Scott's Oriole.  This is a bird normally found in the southwest US and Mexico, and there are very few records for Louisiana.  The homeowners have been very generous about sharing with all of us. 

I decided to try for the Scott's Oriole today.  They reported that it had been seen at 8am today and that it seemed to come with some regularity in the mid-afternoon so I decided to go about 2pm.  We were treated to a winter hummingbird spectacle while we waited on the Oriole - several Rufous and possible Black-chinned hummingbirds were snap, crackling, and popping all over the place. (This same home hosts a Broad-tailed Hummingbird -- another great bird for LA in the winter!)   Another friend  arrived to give the bird a try at about 3:45pm.  At 4pm I decided I'd best go, and told them to call me if that bird showed up as I was pulling out of the driveway.  I dawdled a bit talking to the homeowner and was not even out of the subdivision when they called to say they'd seen the bird!  I zipped back.  The bird was spied moving cautiously toward the hummingbird feeder at the back of the yard.  It eyed everything suspiciously but finally drank from the feeder for something over a minute before it flitted away.  I'm sure there are other photos are better than mine, but here's a video (from about 60 feet?) and a couple of stills.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

New Year's Resolution!

How can it be a year since my last blog update? Oh, yeah...Facebook. So much easier to throw a few pics up there! One of my new year's resolutions will be to update this blog more often, even if it's just a quick note or a single picture.  I put it off because I want to go into a lot of detail...but I think more frequent updates are key rather than blathering on and on about a single event :-)   So, we'll see how long I can keep this up!