Upcoming Events

Orleans Audubon Monthly Programs

The Orleans Audubon Society meets on the third Tuesday of each month from September through May. Meetings held at the Community Church Unitarian Universalist are free and open to the public. Community Church Unitarian Universalist, 6690 Fleur de Lis Drive, New Orleans, Louisiana 70124, is located in Lakeview, on the southwest corner of Fleur de Lis Drive and 38th Street.

Monthly program meetings resume in September.

Orleans Audubon Monthly Birding Trips

Birding trips are co-hosted by Orleans Audubon and the Crescent Bird Club. All are welcome. Bring binoculars and drinking water, wear hiking shoes or boots. A hat, sun screen, other protection from the elements and insect repellent are advisable. Call the trip leader if you have questions.

Birding field trips will resume in September. Check back soon for bird festival announcements.

Wood Storks & Wading Birds (half-day trip)
Date: Saturday, July 28, 2018
Time: 7:00 a.m. until noon
Location: South Farm Unit of the Sherburne WMA Complex, near Ramah

July 28 is the annual Wood Stork and Wading Bird event at Sherburne WMA South Farm, just west of Baton Rouge. This is "come on your own" field trip. Gates will be open at 7am and remain open until noon, but EARLY IS BEST. Scopes will be available. Bring binoculars, sunscreen, hats, and water; chairs are optional. Use the restroom on the way in. Rides will be offered to and from the observation platform. (see more logistics info under "Directions" below). RSVP is not necessary.

Sherburne South Farm is arguably the best birding spot within 30 minutes of Baton Rouge. It’s has enough habitat variety to attract not only the forest birds, but shorebirds in the fall, waterfowl in the winter, and it’s a wading bird mecca in the summer. The refuge features several large crawfish ponds that are managed for wintering waterfowl. This means the ponds are slowly drawn down beginning in July. By the latter part of July (depending on rainfall) the pond levels are down significantly, making them “wade-able” and most attractive to herons, egrets and the like, as the fish are concentrated into smaller areas. Also attracted, sometimes in great numbers, are Wood Storks! These large wading birds have a fairly limited population in the U.S. They breed in small numbers in north Florida and Georgia. But it’s believed that the birds that we see here in Louisiana are of Mexican origin. They seem to be post-breeding wanderers that come up around the Texas bend and seem to follow the major rivers like the Mississippi. For this event, they will open the gate that is normally closed and LDWF allow you to drive to the ranger station and then provide rides to various tents located on the compound so you don’t have to walk in the heat. A definite plus! The activity tends to spook the birds a bit, so do come early if you plan to attend.

If you want to see these birds another time at South Farm, the best way is to walk into South Farm before dark (bring a flashlight, it’s seriously dark) and get to levee or the observation platform by the time it’s light. That way you are less likely to spook the birds who will definitely move away. One some mornings I’ve counted as many as 2500 Wood Storks here, as well as hundreds of Great, Snowy, Cattle egrets, White Ibis, and hundreds of Roseate Spoonbills. It’s quite a treat! Do plan ahead, however, because it's a 3-mile round trip walk. Walk in the main road...turn left, then, at the dogleg, continue south along the levee and then turn right at the first levee and you'll see the observation town out in the middle. Bring water, sunscreen, a hat, etc.

Now, please do realize that although we time this event and *plan* to see lots of birds, the forces of nature don't always work with us! Some years there are thousands of birds, another year we saw a total of 3 Wood Storks. There are things we cannot control!

Directions: when traveling west on I-10, take the Ramah/Maringuoin exit 135. Turn right at the stop sign and then take the first available left and then the first right which takes you through the small community of Ramah. Cross the bridge over the bayou. Turn right to go north on the side-levee road. It's about 2 miles to South Farm; look for the sign on the left. Turn right at the South Farm sign to go over the levee to the parking area. The yellow gate will be open and you can drive into the refuge and park by the ranger station. ATV's or trucks will take you to the observation platform. Please stay in the platform area so as not to spook the birds; be mindful of others who wish to come see the birds. Scopes will be available for use. Note to photographers -- it's very likely the birds will be some distance away and we ask that you not approach the birds to try for photographs; they will certainly fly away.

This event is co-hosted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Baton Rouge Audubon Society.

See also Birding Workshops and Courses

Raptor Identification Workshop | http://www.jjaudubon.net/node/2233

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