Pre-YRARF Wednesday off to a foggy start
Our Wednesday line-up included all-day pineywoods and “beat the crowds” field trips plus an afternoon trip to Crowley visiting the Wastewater Treatment Plant and Falcon Rice Mill. It was a warm and humid day with early AM fog impacting visibility, but predicted rain mostly held off until late in the day.
According to preliminary reports, the pineywoods trip successfully located several of the primary target species including Red-cockaded Woodpeckers and Bachman’s Sparrows, with bonus Henslow’s and Grasshopper Sparrows also found.
Due to some rain on Tuesday combined with today’s fog and scattered rain showers, conditions were not favorable for rice harvesting and so the beat the crowds group was denied the opportunity to observe Yellow Rails. Plan B involved a full day of general birding from Jennings to Laccasine Pool, punctuated by an excellent lunch at the Regatta restaurant in Lake Arthur. Highlights from the morning included an amazing roost of 20 Barn Owls, Crested Caracara, Vermilion Flycatcher, Cave Swallows, and Dickcissel. After lunch, we worked the area around Myers Landing, which produced Inca Doves, Hairy Woodpecker, and Henslow’s Sparrow, and then ended the day at Lacassine Pool with Purple Gallinule, Gull-billed Tern, Glossy Ibis, Bald Eagles, and more Vermilion Flycatchers.
Highlights from Crowley included Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Eared Grebe, and (on the way back to Jennings) a pair of Whooping Cranes near Midland (these individuals are part of the ongoing Louisiana re-introduction program and are not “countable” but they are still a sight to behold). And an informative tour of Falcon Rice Mill.
With the approaching front we had to delay the Wednesday evening Black Rail Survey to is shifted to Thursday night.
The festival coordinators are hopeful that rice harvesting and Yellow Rail sightings will be possible on Thursday afternoon.