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Monday, November 1, 2010

Birds at Big Branch

Charles and I got up for a dawn hike at Big Branch Marsh NWR yesterday. I have many photos to share, so I'll start with some of the birds we saw. As always, click on photos for larger views.

The greatly endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. Only 1% of the original population of these birds remain, largely due to the 98% decimation of America's longleaf pine savannas. Big Branch Marsh NWR is the only site in the Florida Parishes where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works to restore their numbers.

One of many yellow-rumped warblers, here seen showing off his "butter butt." These Winter visitors to Louisiana sometimes make appearances in our yard.

Another Winter visitor to Louisiana, this was my first sighting of the appropriately named Winter wren.

Red-bellied woodpecker. A prolific bird in our area.

My first sighting of an orange-crowned warbler, another Winter visitor to Louisiana.

Way off in the distance, a Northern harrier.

Northern mockingbird, another common, local sight.

Great egret, symbol of the Nat'l Audubon Society and one of my favorite birds.

Another regular visitor to our own backyard, the diminutive and cheeky Carolina wren. There's never any mistaking the males' disproportionately loud singing.

One of a couple of flocks of American white ibises that flew nearby.

A handful of many wood ducks we were fortunate to see.

Other birds not pictured here include tufted titmice, American crows, belted kingfishers, brown-headed nuthatches, a great blue heron (North America's largest,) and hundreds upon hundreds of tree swallows.

Big Branch Wildlife Refuge: What Was Once Lost Can Be Found, by Rhonda Landry.

There's more to share, so I'll post more photos from our hike in the near future.


mick said...

That's a great variety of birds to see on one walk. I like the photos of the pines with the birds against the deep blue sky.

NatureFootstep said...

I see you had a great day. :) And captured some "hard to see" birds. I had to look closely to find them. Well done :)

Maalie said...

A woinderful sample of your winter birds Lana!

Charles Gramlich said...

Yes, we were bird rich that morning.

Lana Gramlich said...

Thanks, y'all. Big Branch Marsh NWR is a really great place for birds (and for helping out the red cockaded woodpeckers!)

Melinda said...

Wow, Lana--these are absolutely beautiful photographs! You got some wonderful shots--and I particularly enjoyed the soaring bird (ah, I would be a bird, for certain, if I returned to life in another form).

What an absolutely lovely blog you have!

Take care,


Phil said...

I love the shot of the egret Lana. They are just so big and beautiful at the same time and I love watching them hunt for food.

Erik Donald France said...

Beauteous shots~that's tragic about the red-cockaded w.p.

I dig pinecombs, as well . . . which reminds me a song by HSR, "Land of the Glass Pinecombs" from the early 80s . . .

Lana Gramlich said...

Melinda; Thanks, hon! I appreciate the kind comments (& I totally hear you on coming back as a bird!)

Phil; Thanks! Yes, I love watching egrets or herons hunting. Talk about patience!

Erik; Thank you. Yes, the woodpecker's story is really sad, but the South had reparations to pay after the Civil War. They basically raped the land to do it. :( I'm not familiar with that song--I'll have to look for it on YouTube.

Birding is Fun! said...

Great stuff! I really want to see the Red cockaded Woody!

Cloudia said...

wrens, ibis, much treasure!

thanks for sharing

Aloha from Honolulu
खुश दीपावली

Comfort Spiral


Valleyz said...

Fantastic picture's these, liked the Winter wren's in particular, nice shot. Wish you more bird rich mornings!

Michelle (artscapes) said...

That Egret is phenomenal. The light through the wings... great shot!

Larry said...

It looks like you had a great time at the Big Branch Marsh Wildlife Refuge Lana. And a nice group of photos too. An excellent shot of the Winter Wren! Beautiful.

eileeninmd said...

Great birds and photos,Lana! Congrats on your warbler sighting. This refuge area looks like a great place for birding.

Funkkeejooce said...

Wow dawn hike! I use to do this when I lived in Austria, when I collected chanterelles mushrooms after a night of rain. I loved the peace and quiet of the forest with no sounds other than the birds chirping. It's been ages since I did that and I envy you for it. And you certainly know your birds. I have quite a few pictures of birds and some are unknown to me. My favourite of your beautiful photos are the birds in flight. They look so carefree and graceful. Well done Lana! :)

Abraham Lincoln said...

Very nice set of photographs.

Kelly said...

I really enjoyed your bird pics. The shots of the Wrens and the Great Egret were my faves of the bunch. I clicked the link on the Great Egret and was surprised by the wingspan length. It's depressing to think that the population of some of these birds are decreasing due to deforestation and human greed.

You seem to have a lot better luck than I have when it comes to shooting pics of birds. Take care.

bernie kasper said...

And all I saw today was a starling ;)
Just kidding Lana, these are all beautiful, thanks for sharing !!

Lana Gramlich said...

Birding is Fun!; Thanks. I feel fortunate to live in an area with access to the red cockaded woodpeckers. I'm so glad they're being cared for here.

Cloudia; Yes, we're pretty lucky. ;)

Valleyz; Thank you. The Winter wren didn't seem to mind posing at all. *L*

Michelle (artscapes); Thanks. They can be difficult to get "on the wing," but this one went virtually over my head.

Larry; Thanks. Yes, a visit to Big Branch is always a very nice time!

eileeninmd; Thank you. Big Branch is a great place for birding, with pine savanna, ponds, marshes, etc.

Funkkeejooce; My husband & I enjoy our occasional dawn hikes, for sure. We've seen some great stuff when the rest of the world was still asleep. ;) I've been birding since I was about 6 & (surprisingly,) much of my knowledge of different species comes from studying bird guides as a child. Sometimes I'll see something and the name just "pops" into my head & I realize that I'd learned that as a kid. It's amazing, the way the brain works! I appreciate the kind comments.

Abraham Lincoln; Thanks, hon. :)

Kelly; Glad you enjoyed--thanks for the comments! Birds aren't for everyone, it seems. Yes, it's definitely sad the effect that humanity is having on bird populations everywhere. The alarm bell's ringing loud & clear, but everyone's too busy shopping at WalMart to hear it...

bernie kasper; Don't kid yourself...starlings have their own beauty! ;) said...

I guess a dawn hike has its payoffs, like seeing the woodpecker, but that's way too early for me! Beautiful pictures.

Lana Gramlich said...

Thanks, Christine. Believe me, we don't make it out to many of our planned sunrise hikes, but we're never disappointed when we do. :)

gwendolen said...

Lots of lovely photos. I like the singing Carolina Wren.

Michelle's Spell said...

Dearest Lana,

Happy Third! I LOVE your blog -- thanks for doing it for the last three years. Especially love the picture of the rainbow bug -- really beautiful. You've got the eye!

fazrul arhan said...

Oh Lana,the pic of wood ducks is so amazing and look like a painting. Maybe you should paint it too:)

Lana Gramlich said...

gwendolen; Thanks. :)

Michelle's Spell; Thanks, hon. I appreciate the support & kind encouragement.

fazrul; Actually I did a painting of wood ducks this past summer. Might be nice to do one with a b/g, though. I'll have to give it some thought. ;)

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