By Eilene Lyon
Since we won’t be traveling in the foreseeable future, I decided to look back at a trip we made in April 2012 to Louisiana – our first visit to the “deep South.” It coincided with the migratory bird festival on Grand Isle. And since this past Saturday was World Migratory Bird Day (May 9th – who knew?), I’ll focus on the birds and wildlife we saw. In a future post, I’ll cover more of the cultural side of our visit.
Before we headed out to the bird festival, we arranged for a swamp tour. Our guide eventually showed up at the designated meeting point. Not a stickler for punctuality, that one. We got in the boat with his German shepherd and headed into the swamp. The guide boasted of his involvement in River Keepers, and about how he’d spotted an ivory-billed woodpecker.
No, we did not see any ivory-billed woodpeckers on our tour. In fact, I’m surprised we saw any wildlife at all, given that our guide spent most of the time yelling at the top of his lungs into his cell phone.
Next we headed for the coast to search for migratory birds. I hoped to see a painted bunting, but had to settle for an indigo one. The festival had a banding station and offered group bird walks. Many pairs of eyes help spot more birds. One of the highlights was this yellow-billed cuckoo.
Our next stop was Avery Island, home of the Tabasco brand of hot sauce. It isn’t an island in the sense of being surrounded by water. Rather, it’s a salt dome. Much of the property is dedicated to a wildlife sanctuary, and they’ve put out platforms for herons and egrets to nest on.
We stopped for lunch at a plantation that offers extensive gardens to roam through. This is NOT a migratory bird.
Then we did a hike around Lake Martin where we spied some other interesting feathered denizens.