Grand Isle Migratory Bird Celebration

Summer Tanager Eating Mulberry

Last weekend I was back with some serious birdwatchers for the first time in a while.  I had almost forgotten the passion they exude and the hard work involved in searching for beautiful little birds.  The celebration coincides with the spring migration.  Song birds of many species are crossing the Gulf of Mexico to return to their breeding grounds all over North America.  Grand Isle with its live oaks is one of the first landing places.  Here the birds rest up, drink fresh water and eat red mulberries to refuel for the rest of their journey.

A Regal Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

I positioned myself by one of these mulberry trees and waited  for bird of red, yellow, blue and rose to come to eat.  There are a few of these fruited trees along the Griletta Tract, one of the wooded areas the Nature Conservancy manages. Here a continuing flow of binocular clad folks asked me as I peered down the length of my 600mm Nikon lens if I had seen the black-whiskered vireo or the fork-tailed flycatcher, both very rare for the state.  I said no, I was concentrating on the colorful rose-breasted grosbeak and tanagers right in front of me.

Scarlet Tanager

The next morning as the sun rose I sat on the deck of the Nature Conservancy camp with four serious bird counters, David had over 400 birds on his list he has seen in Louisiana alone.  They had spotting scopes looking out over the dune to the Gulf waters, hoping the rare Razorbill could be spotted.  It is a Northeastern Auk type bird that has been seen a couple of times way of its course in Louisiana. I was also surprised to learn that the 430 different species of birds known to Louisiana in 1996 when my Louisiana Nature Guide came out has now been increased to 460. There are a lot of birders finding new avian visitors to Louisiana every year.

The Trail at Griletta Tract