Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Surprised by a Broadwing

Today I was taking an evening stroll down my street in Old Jefferson after the rain, and heard two Blue Jays jeering at something.  To my surprise, they were fussing at an adult Broad-winged Hawk!  It flew over my head and across the street, jays in hot pursuit. 

On May 2, I had seen a pair of Broad-wings circling over my block, and had wondered if they might be contemplating a nesting attempt.   After weeks had passed with no additional sightings, I had written them off.    With today's sighting, hope is revived- a local nesting seems very likely.

Broad-winged Hawk is a very scarce nester south of Lake Pontchartrain, though not uncommon on the North Shore. 

Together with the three "expected" nesting diurnal raptors of residential New Orleans (Mississippi Kite, and Red-shouldered and Cooper's Hawks), this makes four summering raptors in my 'hood. 



Sunday, June 12, 2016

Goofy Barred Owls at Jean Lafitte

After my last post about awkward young Night-Herons, this morning I ran into another couple of young birds acting their age.  Near the start of the Coquille Trail in Jean Lafitte National Park, I came across a pair of young Barred Owls acting absurdly tame.  The pic below was snapped with my cell phone at about 3-4 feet distance.  Had I thought of it, I would have taken a selfie of the bird with myself in the foreground- ah well, missed opportunity!  There was a Barred Owl acting much like this one about this time last year, at the same spot on the trail- looks like two successful years of nesting for the owls on that territory!

Barred Owls are common in Jean Lafitte and in other swamp forests outside the city, and can often be heard hollering in the middle of the day. Their most common cadence is usually rendered who cooks for you, who cooks for you all, but it is also common to merely hear one shout who-aw!  


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Seasonal milestone: Yellow-crowned Night-Herons out of the nest

Yesterday, while making my rounds monitoring bird populations in Jean Lafitte National Park in Barataria, I came across newly fledged Yellow-crowned Night-Herons.  Four in three places, looking awkward, as newly fledged birds are want to do.

Juveniles of this species are similar to adults in size and structure, but are grayish all over, and lack the distinctive clown-face of their parents.  Because the species also nests right here in the residential 'hoods of the city, it is about time for homeowners with large oak trees to start stumbling across young herons in their yards.  And we can expect to see them alongside the adults in the drainage ditches and batture swales that the latter have been frequenting since their return to our area in March.

Good birding!