Saturday, September 14, 2013
small reverse morning flight at South Point
Today I spent a brief 35 minutes at South Point, where the railroad bridge leaves for the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans East. This is on the Bayou Sauvage NWR, and is a 30 minute walk up the levee (p36-37 in Birding Made Easy). By the way, refuge personnel have assured me that birders can ignore the "construction vehicles only" signs on the way out.
This is the best spot to see the weird reverse-directional movements of birds northeastward across Lake Pontchartrain after cold front passages in fall. These appear to consist of birds that have been wind displaced onto the coastal marshes by the north winds after cold fronts, and are making their way back to terra firma on the North Shore, by purposefully heading back into the wind.
Today's flight was relatively mild by South Point standards, probably because the front was barely past the site. These headed out across the lake during the 35 minutes:
55 Eastern Kingbirds (now in the dwindling stages of their passage through our area)
30 Unidentified Warblers (apparent Yellows, Am. Redstart, and Northern Waterthrush among them)
3 Blue Grosbeak
8 Barn Swallow
As usual there were waterbirds around, the most interesting of which were a Lesser Yellowlegs and a flock of a dozen or so Blue-winged Teal.
Flights here are dependent largely on cold front passages, so become more common as the fall progresses and fronts more commonly reach our area.