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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Page 19 of 67

Bons oiseaux, bons temps en Louisiane! f Sherburne Wildlife Management Area f Located on the eastern edge of the Atchafalaya Basin, this extensive hardwood habitat has historically been one of the best and easiest places in the state to encounter Swallow-tailed Kite between late March and the end of June. To get to this area from either Baton Rouge or Lafayette, take I-10 (west from Baton Rouge or east from Lafayette) to Exit 127 (just east of the Whiskey Bay bridge over the Atchafalaya River) and turn north onto LA-975. This mostly gravel road, while not exceptionally well maintained, is generally passable. Caution should be exercised as all-terrain vehicles and other auto traffc are often present, and there are many blind curves where your view is blocked by the river levee. LA-975 winds about for 17.4 mi. until it intersects US-190 to the north, just across the Atchafalaya River from the little village of Krotz Springs. Obey the speed limit in this town, where the law is quite diligent about monitoring the passing motorists. The birding along LA-975 can be interesting in winter, but it is excellent during migration and in early summer. There are a couple of side roads leading away from the river (toward the east) that allow auto traffc and may be explored. Watch for Wild Turkey, or at least listen for the "gobble" of the males in early spring. Keep an eye to the sky during the breeding season for the many soaring species. In addition to Swallow-tailed Kite, you are likely to see Anhinga, several species of herons and egrets, Mississippi Kites by the dozen, and Red-shouldered Hawk. In late summer, Wood Storks may be seen taking advantage of the free transportation that the thermals provide. Other nesters of the basin include Downy, Hairy, and Pileated woodpeckers, Acadian and Great Crested fycatchers, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Black-and-white, Kentucky, Yellow-throated, and Hooded warblers, American Redstart, Northern Parula, and Summer Tanager. Around stream crossings and side-road 18 canals, listen for the ringing song of Prothonotary Warbler and the sharply insistent whistles of Swainson's Warbler. Birding the west (levee) side of the road can be equally productive. The levee is post- Birder's Guide to Travel | August 2013 ed "no tresspassing", so driving or walking on it is prohibited. Nevertheless, Indigo and Painted buntings and Orchard Oriole are extremely conspicuous from the roadway in summer. In fact, Breeding Bird Surveys con-

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