Birder's Guide

AUG 2013

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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mi., take another left onto the frst gravel road, which leads to a parking area. Pause at the metal donation box at the entrance to the woods to contribute to the sanctuary's upkeep. Bring a lawn chair and use insect repellent. One of the best areas in this chenier is the watering hole just east of the sanctuary's entrance. Fifteen or more species of warblers within the span of three or four hours is not an uncommon number during the peak of migration. The more regularly-occurring warblers that can be seen include Yellow-breasted Chat, Ovenbird, Louisiana and Northern waterthrushes, American Redstart, Northern Parula, Worm-eating, Golden-winged, Blue-winged, Black-andwhite, Prothonotary, Tennessee, Nashville, Kentucky, Hooded, Magnolia, Bay-breasted, Blackburnian, Yellow, Chestnut-sided, Blackpoll, Yellow-throated, Black-throated Green, and Canada. Rarely seen are Swainson's, Mourning, Cape May, Cerulean, and Black-throated Blue. Exceptional fnds are Virginia's, Connecticut, Hermit, Townsend's, and Painted Redstart. Eastern Wood-Pewee, Empidonax fycatchers, and Great Crested Flycatcher forage in the sanctuary. Yellow-billed and Black-billed cuckoos (the latter uncommon), Yellow-throated, Warbling, and Philadelphia vireos, Veery, Gray-cheeked, Swainson's, and Wood thrushes, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Baltimore Oriole are found almost daily. Lesser Nighthawk, Black-headed Grosbeak, and Lazuli Bunting are very rare but possible. Rice Country f The Louisiana rice country, for purposes of this chapter, is the land west and south of the city of Lafayette—loosely bounded on the west by the Mermentau River, on the south by LA-14, and on the north by US90. LA-91, LA-13, and LA-35 are the important north-south arteries, whereas LA92 aids in traversing the rice feld habitats east to west. This is not to say, of course, that rice isn't grown in other regions, or that shorebirds aren't found elsewhere. Indeed, there are rice felds far to the north in the state and great shorebirding may be had in those areas, as well as along the coast. Nevertheless, this is the very heart of Louisiana shorebirding. This is where our only Black-tailed Godwit was found in 1994 and where, some years, a Curlew Sandpiper or a Ruff is Having a front seat for Louisiana's rice harvest is by far the easiest way to see located. Winter visitors a Yellow Rail these days. Photo © Dave Patton. also include scarce-but-regular Vermilion and Ash-throated fycatchers. There are many approaches to a day of shorebirding that include such an extravagant number of venues. An advisable route would be to drive west on US-90 from Lafayette to the community of Duson and explore to the south between LA343 and LA-719, checking the felds that can be accessed by public roads. Return to Duson and continue west on US-90 to the town of Rayne, a village that advertises itself as the "Frog Capital of the World". Turn left (south) onto LA-35 and continue 15 mi. or so to the town of Kaplan. Along the way, check all of the intersections, particularly the one with LA-699. Explore the side roads for felds containing shorebirds. The excellent chance to see a Yellow Rail is the reason hundreds of birders now fock to Louisiana in the autumn. Photo © Michael Retter. August 2013 | Birder's Guide to Travel 15

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