Monday, September 21, 2015

Peregrine back in town

This evening at 6:45, as the sun was about to plunge below the horizon, a red light caused me to stop on David Drive, staring across Vets at the Jefferson Parish water tower that looms over the intersection.  I have scanned it countless times over the years for a perched Peregrine, since the species does occasionally use the tower a couple miles east at Causeway x I-10.  Until now, my efforts on David Drive had been fruitless.

I was shocked tonight to see that there was actually a raptor on the uppermost wire.  Hastily grabbing my "emergency" pair of binoculars from the glove box, I trained my lenses on it:  adult Peregrine.

It was on the horizontal wire immediately below the tank, on the southwest side of the structure- its back toward the setting sun, its underside and face in my direction.

I imagine it was settling in for the night- anyone passing the spot in the early AM might find it there as well. 


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tricks of the Trade # 3: Using chickadees and titmice to find migrants

Today I was walking through the woodsy part of LaSalle Park, looking for migrants.  My first circuit of the boardwalk and adjacent glade produced a single Eastern Wood-Pewee, singing perweee.  The second circuit produced a Brown Thrasher, calling its hearty chuck, and then a chickadee giving its namesake call from a tall water oak.  I swished at it, and it immediately flew down to my level in an  adjacent tree.  With it came a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, a White-eyed Vireo, and a Summer Tanager.

This illustrates a valuable strategy for searching for migrants in wooded habitats.  First, chickadees (and titmice) are often accompanied by migrant passerines.  Second, chickadees are usually responsive to swishing/squeeking, and when they approach their migrant companions often will as well.  


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Lots of migrants around the region

Reports have been coming in of good numbers of migrant songbirds. Warblers especially, with notable numbers of Blackburnian (normally uncommon in fall). The best spot in NewOrleans proper to catch up with the goings-on is probably the Couturie nature trails on Harrison Ave in City Park.
Good birding,

Sunday, September 6, 2015

September milestone: Mockers resume singing

The birding year is filled with avian milestones.  One that I am tuned to is the resumption of song by Mockingbirds after their August hiatus (after nesting, while they moult).  They are staking out their winter territories.

Today in Old Jefferson, I heard the singing in two places- my first since the hiatus.


Friday, September 4, 2015

Creepy avian spectacle at Walmart

Yesterday evening I was walking out of Walmart in Harahan around 10 pm, and encountered a black night sky filled with ghostly white specters.  They were coming from the direction of the Elmwood Shopping Center, in groups.  I counted by fives, then tens, then fifties- reaching 3500 in the space of several minutes.  They advanced silently overhead and wheeled to land on the roof, more constantly emerging from the darkness to replace those that settled. 

They were, of course, the Laughing Gulls that roost atop buildings in the Elmwood area every July through October.  They shift from building to building; I often see a bunch flocked atop the Intralox roof (behind Walmart) from the Huey P bridge as I am ascending it in the early morning headed for the West Bank.

I think the Haunted New Orleans tours need to add a Harahan stop.