Suburban New Orleans and Jefferson Parish
While there are no great birding areas in the Metairie and adjacent areas of Jefferson Parish, it is possible to find some birds along the lakefront, in residential neighborhoods, and in the places listed below.
The west bank of Jefferson Parish, from Marrero and Westwego west to the St. Charles Parish line offers excellent birding possibilities, but these are difficult to describe, and often the areas are transitory. If you are interested, cross the Huey Long Bridge and go east on US 90 to Bayou Segnette State Park, where there are extensive swampy woods, or west toward Boutte, birding along US 90 or River Road.
1. Bucktown: At the west end of Lakeshore Drive or Robert E. Lee Blvd., continue west over a small bridge into Jefferson Parish at Bucktown, where there is a concentration of seafood restaurants. From the top of the levee on your right you can scan the lake, as well as the fields outside the levee and the breakwater in front of you. Short-grass birds such as Buff-breasted Sandpiper and Baird's Sandpiper are sometimes seen here and Short-eared Owl has been seen at the end of the breakwater (which may be developed soon).
2. Metairie: If you are birding in the summer time, consider visiting the Purple Martin roost at the south end of the Causeway Bridge over Lake Pontchartrain. For details, see our blog:
Purple Martin Roost at Lake Pontchartrain
Lafreniere Park is located south of the I-10 Veterans Memorial Boulevard exchange in suburban Jefferson Parish. A variety of ducks, including Shovelers, scaup, Ruddy Ducks, and Redheads (rarely) have been seen here, along with coots, cormorants, and gulls. Swans and innumerable domestic ducks are also present. For a quick Gull-billed Tern or Black Skimmer in the breeding season, watch the sky or canals near Clearview Shopping Center on Veterans Highway at Clearview Parkway (where there is an exit off of I-10). The birds nest on the Sears rooftop.
3. The Lake Villa pond, now much changed, is located at the north end of Lake Villa Drive at the shore of Lake Pontchartrain, on the Linear Park bikepath (see below). To reach this area from I-10, take Causeway Blvd. North exit and continue north to West Esplanade Avenue. Turn left (west) on West Esplanade and go to Lake Villa Drive (about two miles). Turn right (north) on Lake Villa and continue to the end of the road. Park your car and walk over the levee.
4. The Linear Park (bike and jogging path) that runs along the lakeshore throughout Jefferson Parish, gives views of the lake where Lesser Scaup, gulls, terns, and a few shorebirds might be seen. Loggerhead Shrikes breed in the remaining trees along the path and in summer you can usually find a Bronzed Cowbird on the levee. This park is a better place for walking or bicycling than birding, but if you do go there, you might want to bring binoculars along just in case. It can be reached by way of Lake Villa Drive, Clearview Parkway, Kent Ave., Academy Drive, etc.
5. Williams Blvd. and Kenner Lakefront: At the north end of Williams Blvd. (take the Williams Blvd. exit off I-10 west and turn north). Park on the left in the Pontchartrain Center parking lot and explore the lakefront and the patches of trees near the center. Ash-throated Flycatchers have been found here in winter. See the New Orleans - West Jefferson map.