Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Bald Eagles here and there

Yesterday afternoon, I was delighted to see a Bald Eagle sitting calmly in a small tree along River Rd in Marrero. It was unperturbed by the constant stream of cars making their afternoon commute.
It was an immature- one year old would be my guess by the extensively dark plumage. Adults are nesting now, and have drawn comments from around the area- birds are using the familiar nests visible on both sides of I-10 just west of the I-310 interchange, and the nest just off General DeGaul on the West Bank has nestlings already!


Monday, January 18, 2016

Signs of spring: birds getting "juiced"

This week I have noticed a change in the behavior of several of our resident species.  They are now entering their nesting-season preliminaries.

Two days ago, three Cardinals were vigorously countersinging from trees surrounding my yard in Old Jefferson.  I have been hearing wan versions of Cardinal songs all winter, but these birds were clearly (and loudly) staking their territories against each other- the first this year.  And the first time I have heard three singing at once at my place since Katrina (yay!).

Yesterday, a House Finch in Elmwood was, likewise, giving the first vigorous finch song I've heard this year.

Finally, today, a Mockingbird was singing robustly in the batture of Old Jefferson.  Nearby, a Mourning Dove crossed over River Road in a long arc on stiff wings:  a courship flight.  Both of these were firsts of the season for me as well.

Things are gaining momentum! 


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Recent sightings on the batture

As usual, the batture in Old Jefferson has been providing some daily pleasures.

This morning, in a twenty minute levee stroll, I was treated to 22 swimming Wood Ducks and a couple more flybys- not an uncommon species here, but usually detected in single digits.  Probably made more visible by the unusually high river, which is lapping the base of the levee.

A Common Gallinule was also present today- I only see a couple each year in this stretch. 

A flock of White Ibis and Cattle Egrets has been working the water's edge every morning, although today they were on a rain-soaked lawn barely outside the levee- 200 strong, mostly ibis. 

A flock of 120 Robins a few days ago flew out from the batture forest in the morning, headed into the residential areas nearby.  The species is a winter resident here, not the harbinger of spring as it is farther north.

This morning two Eastern Bluebirds fled a wire just long enough to dodge a meddling Kestrel.  A few days ago, a group of 45 American Pipits skittered from place to place on the grassy levee face as bicyclists and dog-walkers repeatedly (unwittingly) put them to flight.

Perhaps the most unexpected bird was a Pied-billed Grebe- seen today and a few mornings ago.  This species does not winter in this section of batture in normal conditions- not enough open water.  It appears the flooding has made the habitat more appealing.