28 April 2013

One Last Run to Grand Isle

Late Friday night, Michael Hilferty called me frantically. Through the sounds of packing and of him running around, he was able to get across that he was making a run down to Grand Isle on Saturday and, if I drove to the outskirts of New Orleans, he'd drive the rest of the way. Unable to ignore a deal like that, especially with the birds being reportedly lately, I left Baton Rouge at 2:50 AM Saturday morning to head for the coast.

After meeting Michael in a library parking lot, the two of us continued southward until we met Van Remsen and his wife, Amy, at the east end of the island. Amy, who was with some of her friends doing photography at different locations throughout the day, stayed on the east end while Van, Michael and I ran off to scout the rest of the island for birds. Over the course of the day, we covered most of the good migrant locations multiple times, but failed to locate the Fork-tailed Flycatcher that was last seen the night before. Wandering around afforded excellent views of many birds, though, and Michael and I had a blast.

Migrants were fairly common throughout the island, hints at recent movement and left over birds from a few past pushes through the area. Summer and Scarlet Tanagers were fairly common across the island, while our birding turned up a total of 15 species of warbler across the island. A few bands of Indigo Buntings were foraging along the edges of the trees, and I found my first of year Bobolink flying across the Exxon Fields. Overall, it was a great day of last-minute birding.

Second-year male Summer Tanager foraging in some field side scrub in Grand Isle, Louisiana.

This Grey Kingbird is a vagrant from the southeast United States and the Caribbean. It was with a group of Eastern Kingbirds near the east end of the island.

One of the many Eastern Kingbirds present on the island.

And last, but not least, one of the many Black-necked Stilts on the island:

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