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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ducted in this area for a great many years by Van Remsen have shown this overall area to contain the state's highest concentration of breeders that winter in the Neotropics. In winter, the entire area is great for wintering wrens and sparrows. It is possible to drive for many miles on the continuation of LA-975 (which might be signed by some other name) north of the US-190 junction. Return to US-190 and head east to reach Baton Rouge. You can get to Lafayette by heading west to Opelousas on US-190, then turning left (south) onto I-49 to its end at I-10. Stuart Lake active cluster can be found within yards of the road at 1.7 mi. The birds are most reliably found at cluster sites such as these very early and late in the day. The open area beneath the pines is the result of controlled burns carried out in an attempt to approximate nature. Redcockaded Woodpeckers require relatively mature longleaf pines, but they also insist that the area below their colony site be open and without dense tangles. Other species beneft from the burns. Bachman's Sparrow is a plentiful permanent resident here, although it's a skulker except during the early breeding season when singing. During winter, Henslow's Sparrow can be fairly numerous; however it often requires several fushes before it decides to perch and provide a good view. At 2.1 mi., another paved road leads to the left. This is the entrance to the Stuart Lake Recreation Area. Quiet during summer and abandoned during winter, Stuart Lake is a scenic spot where one can pause simply to enjoy the ambience or take a jaunt on the nature trail, along which one may hear the buzz of a Worm-eating Warbler during spring and early summer. Cross Lake f Although not an exceptionally large impoundment, this 8,000+-acre open body Located in the southern sector of Grant Parish, Stuart Lake lies in the Catahoula Ranger District of Kisatchie National Forest. The habitat is pine upland, and the entire area could easily be traversed in a morning's hike. To reach this sylvan delight, go north from Alexandria on US-167 for about 16 mi. to the sleepy community of Bentley. Turn right (east) at the caution light on LA-8 and proceed for 1.6 mi.. Take another right onto FS-147, Work Center Rd. This avenue passes a pine-seed orchard under which the grass is always mown, providing forage for many ground feeders. Follow this road for 0.8 mi. Take a right onto FR-146. Although only 1.1 mi. in length, this gravel lane brushes shortgrass meadows and a tangle of mixed forest, the former good for Upland and Buff-breasted sandpipers during spring. The meadows also support residents such as Eastern Bluebird and Eastern Meadowlark. During spring and summer, Eastern Kingbirds can be seen, as well as Eastern Wood-Pewee, Great Crested Flycatcher, Kentucky, Hooded, and Yellow-throated warblers, and Summer Tanager. Take a left when FR-146 intersects Stuart Lake Road. Proceed north on this winding asphalt for 1.4 mi. Here, several white-marked longleaf pines house a Redcockaded Woodpecker cluster. Another August 2013 | Birder's Guide to Travel 19

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