Sunday, June 2, 2013
Birding Opportunity- reedbed wader rookery at Little Woods
This nesting season there is an unusual opportunity to get up close to a rookery of White-faced Ibis and Tricolored Herons in New Orleans East. The nests are in a reed bed adjacent to a levee that you can walk on, allowing you to get close. Most rookeries we get to approach in this area are in patches of trees, so this is unusual.
It has been active since at least late April, and when I visited this week, there were three young White-faced Ibis standing on some low branches over the water- products of the rookery. I had never seen young ibis of this species before; their beaks are about half sized with a whitish ring around them, making them look very weird. They remind me of something I have seen in a Dr. Suess book, but I can't place it.
Tricolored Herons are also nesting here, and there is a nest within about 20 yards of the levee. When I visited this week, an adult arrived and fed three young as they jostled for attention. Looked like something from a nature film.
The adult ibis are not as evident now as a few weeks ago- I only saw two adults last week. They may be out finding food for the young. Be aware that the nests are hard to see in the reeds- you basically see the adults coming and going and dropping down into the reeds, but don't usually see the nest. So it is hard to say how many might be sitting there hidden.
Purple Gallinule and Least Bittern have also been reported here this spring/summer, so keep alert for these. The gallinule would be spied at waterline along the reeds, and the bittern could be doing that to, but they also are seen flying from spot to spot.
Take the Hwy 47/Little Woods exit (246) off I-10 in New Orleans East, and follow Hwy 47 toward the lake. The reed bed is a bit short of the lake, where the levee on the right of Hwy 47 makes a crook.
As described on p 28 of Birding Made Easy, there is also a bustling Purple Martin colony where Hwy 47 meets Lake Pontchartrain, just up the road from the rookery. There are often terns of several species on the posts out in the lake at this spot.
for a copy of Birding Made Easy-New Orleans, email me at email@example.com.