Grand Isle, Louisiana is a small island in SE Louisiana. It is primarily a fishing destination. It is also a place where locals own or rent vacation homes. It is one of the few accessible beaches in Louisiana. It is also an excellent birding destination. Grand Isle combines open ocean, sandy beaches, marsh, and coastal woodlots. This mix of habitats attracts a large number of birds to Grand Isle, particularly during spring and fall migration. Below are a few photographs made of the beach and woods on the island.
Cameron, Louisiana is a small town that was decimated by Hurricane Rita in 2005. It was and continues to be a destination for birding. There is a mix of marsh, coastal woods, beaches, mud flats, and prairie that combine to provide an interesting mix of habitats. It is also a destination for hunting, fishing, and oil drilling/refining. This post showcases a variety of photographs made in and around the town of Cameron, LA.
Peveto Woods is a small bird sanctuary located in SW Louisiana in Cameron Parish. It is a chenier (slightly elevated oak woods on the gulf coast) forest. When conditions are favorable (north winds, rain etc.) migrant songbirds crossing the Gulf of Mexico will land in the first trees they see. This small group of trees can be teeming with migrants during an event birders call a fallout, or (like on the day we visited) they can be essentially vacant of birds. Either way, these coastal woodlots are an important habitat and there are few accessible chenier woods left that birders can enjoy. Many have been developed, are in the hands of private landowners, or are inaccessible due to their location (surrounded by impenetrable marsh). Places like Peveto Woods, High Island (Texas), and Dauphin Island (Alabama) are critical to the survival of migratory songbirds and are national treasures.
Live Oak (horizontal), Peveto Woods, LA 2015
Another Location I visited while in Southern Louisiana is Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. It is on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. It is primarily set aside as a stronghold for the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker, but it is also good habitat for Bachman’s Sparrow, Henslow’s Sparrow, and Sedge Wren among other species. It is common practice to mark the trees that Red-cockaded Woodpeckers nest in with a wide band of white paint. Anyway, I made a few photographs in and around Big Branch Marsh NWR.
I took the opportunity to attend the Society for Photographic Education (SPE) national conference, which was held in New Orleans, last week. It was a great conference and it provided me an opportunity to travel back to Louisiana, where Susan and I lived for four years. I spent a couple of days before and after the conference making landscape photographs at birding locations (perhaps a new long term project) along the gulf coast. This first set of images was from Dauphin Island, Alabama and various locations along the Mississippi Coast.