No. 184 BATON ROUGE, LAJanuary 1999

Table of Contents

LOS Winter Meeting Southeastern Kestrels
LOS Pelagics 1999 Oiled Wildlife Workshop
Great Backyard Bird Count Longspur ID
Longspur tails Longspur figure
Fall Trans-Gulf Migration BREC Bluebonnet Swamp
1998 Parish Contest 1999 Yard List Competition
Louisiana Birds Spring 1998 New Members
Membership Dues New LA Checklists Available
LOS Officers LOS Sales
Membership Form

1998 Parish List Competition – Deadline Extended
Since this LOS newsletter wasn't out til after the winter meeting and the reminder didn't make the last issue, and since many folks are not "online", the deadline for submitting parish lists has been extended until after the circulation of this newsletter or February 28th, whichever is later. Remember, snail mail or e-mail your lists.... to Roger Breedlove, 152 Alice Dr., Pineville, LA 71360; (318)487-9911; (that's popalex "one").
Table of Contents

1999 Louisiana Yard List Competition
Remember Ron Stein's 1991, ‘see-how-many-species- you-can-record-in-your- backyard' Competition? From my isolated outpost amidst thick secondary woodlands/scrublands adjacent to a permanently flooded field, and planted to the hilt with bird attracting species, I smugly predicted that I'd blow everybody out of the water. Trouble was, 1) I had no idea of the backyard settings of folks like Remsen, Cardiff/Dittmann, Bedford Brown, Stein, and Melvin Weber, 2) Like a captive-raised squirrel, I had not learned to LOOK WAY UP for flyovers (it was wife Lydia who got Am. swallow-tailed kite for us, by simply looking up to just above treetop level one fine Sat. morning in April -- with me standing right next to her!), and 3) I severely underestimated the resolve of inner-city folks like David Muth and Nancy Newfield (to say nothing of their innate propensity to LOOK WAY UP for flyovers). Ahh yes. Thanks to my pride-cometh-before-a-fall attitude, me & Lydia placed a weak 8th.
For those of you who don't remember or who weren't around at that time, then LOS News editor John Sevenair did a fine job of analyzing the backyard year lists submitted by 27 LA. members. Cumulative results: 223 total LA bird species reported, including 7 herons/egrets, 35(!) warblers, 7 hummingbirds (with a Calliope observed, but for some whacky reason, not > reported!), 7 vireos (including Bell's), 5 doves, and 15 raptors. 5 yards reported wood stork, 5 with bald eagle, 12 w/cooper's hawk, 8 w/merlin, and 4 w/peregrine falcon! considering all of the increased bird skill/knowledge, wildlife landscaping, and birders in la. today, I wonder what kind of results we could muster in 1999? – Bill Fontenot
Plan for this and send me your yard lists at the end of 1999, then I'll compile it and try for a repeat of Sevenair's previous News article. It should be an interesting comparison and a fun competition! As I am to be the final judge, then I declare the rules to be as I have kept my own yard list! That is ... anything seen or heard from within your yard counts! -– Carol Foil
Table of Contents

Louisiana Birds - Spring 1998 (1 Mar.-31 May)
Steven W. Cardiff
A spring that was anticipated for whatever avian phenomena "El Nino" would bring was, in the end, relatively routine- at least on the mainland (see below). Tenacious high pressure deflected the majority of low pressure systems north of us and cut off the supply of gulf moisture, creating drought conditions across Louisiana and limiting the number of migrant-dropping coastal storms. Substantial coastal "fallouts" occurred 17-19 & 28-30 Apr., but no summaries of these events were submitted.
Dominating Louisiana ornithology this spring was the Migrants Over the Gulf Project (MOGP), a collaborative project of the Minerals Management Service, LSU Museum of Natural Science, Clemson University, and several oil companies. The effort was initiated to monitor spring and fall migrant usage of man-made petroleum industry structures in combination with more "wide-angle" trans-Gulf migration data from radar and mainland "ground checks." In the inaugural season of a three year study, five platforms at various locations off the Louisiana coast were continuously monitored from 15 Mar.-15 May. Before reading on, prepare yourself for a barrage of interesting findings. More exhaustive analyses will eventually be published elsewhere but, in the meantime, you can visit the project website at:
[KEY: For records of Louisiana Bird Records Committee (LBRC) Review List species in which full documentation has been received, the species name is boldfaced; documentation is on file and eventual acceptance of these records is pending evaluation by the LBRC. ad.=adult; EB826= Ewing Bank 826 oil platform, S of Terrebonne; GB189A= Garden Banks 189A oil platform, about 120 mi. S of Cameron; GOM=Gulf of Mexico; imm.=immature; m.ob.=many observers; NWR=National Wildlife Refuge; ph (boldfaced)=recognizable photograph has been submitted; ph (non-boldfaced)= reportedly photographed, but photo has not been submitted; SMI66C= South Marsh Island 66C oil platform, about 80 mi. S of Patterson, St. Mary; VE265A=Vermilion 265A oil platform, about 80 mi. S of Pecan Island, Vermilion; vt (boldfaced)=recognizable videotape image has been submitted; vt (non-boldfaced)=reportedly videotaped, but tape/images not yet submitted; WMA=Wildlife Management Area; parish names are in italics. Species order (except for minor deviations for the sake of convenience) follows the AOU Check-list Seventh Edition (1998).]
A fly-by loon in the GOM at SMI66C on 16 Mar. (DGC) was thought to be a basic-plumaged Red-throated; there are very few state records of this species, none supported by a photo or specimen. Even more frustrating was a loon off Holly Beach, Cameron, 9 May (JPK,DR), that was thought to be a possible Pacific, a species still unconfirmed in Louisiana. Tardy Common Loons were noted in Orleans through May (up to five; DPM), in Cameron 16 May (JPK,DR) & 30 May (PW,CS), and near Spokane, Concordia, 19-20 May (2 birds-JD,Jimmy Erust) & 31 May (JD,Bob Strozier). Two flocks of Pied-billed Grebes in Caddo 12 Apr. (CL) were thought to be migrants. Single Audubon's Shearwaters were sighted in the GOM at EB826 on 15 & 21 Apr. (RLK). The MOGP generated an unprecedented eight records of Masked Boobies involving nine individuals during the period 14 Apr.-13 May (JRK,DPM-ph,RLK); it looks as though this species is headed towards removal from the Review List. Small numbers of N. Gannets were observed from shore off Port Fourchon, Lafourche, during Mar.-early April (m.ob.), with a high of 35 on 14 Mar. (PW,CS,BMM,RDP); in the GOM at VE265A, small numbers were seen daily during the second half of March, after which sightings tapered-off until the last observation on 16 Apr. (JCA).
An Am. Bittern at EB826 in the GOM on 8 Apr. (RLK-ph) was somewhat surprising offshore. A flock of 12 Cattle Egrets and a Little Blue Heron in the GOM about 120 mi. off Vermilion 20 May (DNP), were very late in attempting a trans-Gulf crossing. A Reddish Egret, another species not normally thought of as a trans-Gulf migrant, passed by EB826 on 17 Mar. (RLK). A White-faced Ibis in Caddo/Bossier 3 Apr. (PD) was unusually far inland and early. Roseate Spoonbills continue to be regularly sighted in the Port Fourchon area (where formerly rare), with a spring high of 35 noted 28 Mar. (PW,CS,BMM,CK). The species is also being observed more frequently away from the immediate coast; this spring several were reported along I-49 in St. Landry 27 Mar. (D. Moreland), 14 were seen from I-10 on the W side of the Atchafalaya Basin, St. Martin, 5 Apr. (DFL), and one was slightly inland near Houma, Terrebonne, 29 Apr. (RSB).
An estimated 1700 Fulvous Whistling-Ducks near Kaplan, Vermilion, 20 Mar. (BF,Toddy Guidry), was the only large concentration reported. Sightings of 12 Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks in Vermilion 7 Mar. (Richard Greig), nine at Little Chenier, Cameron, 29 Mar. (DPM), one near the town of Cameron 26 Apr. (CL,HJ), four in St. Charles 2 May (PY), and one in Lafourche 24 May (tame bird at backyard pond- possible escape or released bird; Leslie Daigle), were of interest as the species is still only sporadically reported away from the known breeding area at Lacassine NWR. Other unusual waterfowl included two male Cinnamon Teal in Caddo 2 Mar. (PD), a wintering male Oldsquaw on the Mississippi River in Jefferson to 15 Mar. (Michael Seymour fide PY), an imm. male Surf Scoter off Port Fourchon 10 Apr. (PW,BMM,CS,CK), up to three male Surfs along Holly Beach, Cameron, 6-10 May (GB,PEC,JPK,DR), a flock of nine White-winged Scoters passing VE265A in the GOM on 15 Mar. (JCA), and three Black Scoters at East Jetty, Cameron, 30 Apr. (C. Witt,J. Weckstein). Most interesting among numerous reports of lingering, regularly occurring ducks were two Ring-necked Ducks at Denham Springs, Livingston, 27 May (JPK,GS), and a female Ruddy Duck at Cameron 9-10 May (DPM,PW,PY).
An Osprey at VE265A in the GOM on 23-24 Apr. (DPM) was a noteworthy trans-Gulf migrant. Sightings of Swallow-tailed Kites away from known breeding areas included an early individual along I-310 near Hwy. 61, Jefferson, 8 Mar. (RDP), and one at Bayou Sauvage NWR, Orleans, 16 Mar. (VR); one at GB189A in the GOM on the late date of 4 May (JRK) was a shock. A pair of White-tailed Kites first noticed 9 May were accompanied by a recently fledged juvenile near Holly Beach 24 May (JPK,KF,DR), providing one of few confirmed Louisiana breeding records; another pair was in the same general area in April (KF,SWC,DLD). Five active Cooper's Hawk nests and "numerous" other adults located in the Delta NWR/Pass a Loutre WMA area of lower Plaquemines 15 Feb.-18 May (AP), were a surprise; breeding had been suspected there in recent years, but not at such a magnitude. Small numbers of Swainson's Hawks were reported from w. Louisiana during Apr.-early May (m.ob.); one near Welsh, Jefferson Davis, 26 May (PEC), was in an area where breeding is suspected. A pair of Crested Caracaras in the Fabacher Road area of w. Calcasieu 24-25 Apr. (AS,CL,et al.) were suspected of nesting and were probably the same birds present during the preceding winter. Several Am. Kestrels were caught in the act of crossing the GOM, with at least six MOGP sightings from EB826 and GB189A, 17 Mar.-28 Apr. (RLK,JRK). Merlins and Peregrine Falcons were also noted in modest numbers during the MOGP; e.g., at EB826 there were six records of Merlins totaling seven individuals 26 Apr.-6 May (RLK), and EB826 and VE265A combined for eight Peregrines 7 Apr.-8 May (RLK,DPM). A late trans-Gulf Peregrine was noted about 120 mi. off Vermilion on 20 May (DNP).
A rarely reported spring Yellow Rail was glimpsed at Cameron 17 Apr. (SWC). Two Soras at the I-49 borrow pits near Allen-Powhatan, Natchitoches, 18 May (CL,HJ), and one in Cameron 31 May (PW), were exceptionally late. Four Common Moorhens at the I-49 borrow pits 12 Apr. (CL) were considered unusually far north and as potential breeders. Eight Sandhill Cranes near Cheneyville, Rapides, 22 Mar. (RJB), represents one of the latest spring records for the state.
Four sightings of Black-bellied Plovers involving 10 birds in Caddo/Bossier 6-28 May (maximum of 6 on 27 May; PD,CL,HJ) were in an area of the state where there were few previous records. A Snowy Plover at Grand Isle, Jefferson, 18 Apr. (PY), was unusual for s.e. Louisiana, and somewhat late. Seven Wilson's Plovers at Port Fourchon 1 Mar. (BMM,RDP,PW,GG) were early arrivals. Three Semipalmated Plovers in Caddo/Bossier 6 May (PD,CL,HJ) and one there 10 May (CL) were unusual for n.w. Louisiana. More interesting was the first spring Piping Plover for that area 18 Apr. (PD); singles in Cameron 9 & 16 May (JPK) were late. Fourteen Black-necked Stilts at Denham Springs 27 May (JPK,GS) were suggestive of breeding in the Baton Rouge area; four in Caddo/Bossier 9 May (PD) were considered arriving breeders. An Am. Avocet in Caddo/Bossier 27 May (PD) was another spring first for the area; 230 at Port Fourchon on 1 Mar. (BMM,RDP,PW,GG) was a remarkable count for s.e. Louisiana.
Two Spotted Sandpipers at Denham Springs 27 May (JPK,GS) were late for the Baton Rouge area. A scarce visitor to s.e. Louisiana, and increasingly scarce in Louisiana in spring, single Long-billed Curlews were found at Port Fourchon 1 Mar. (wintering?; BMM,RDP,PW,GG) and 18 Apr. (BMM,CS), and at Rutherford Beach, Cameron, 9 May (PY,DPM,PW). A notable count of 153 Hudsonian Godwits was obtained in Vermilion/Jefferson Davis on 8-9 May (JPK,KF); nine individuals in Caddo/Bossier on three dates, 9-22 May (PD), were unusual for n.w. Louisiana. Seldom seen away from the coast in spring, two Marbled Godwits were found slightly inland near Chloe, Calcasieu, 24 Apr. (CL,HJ).
More spring firsts for n.w. Louisiana, from the Red River in Caddo/Bossier, included four Ruddy Turnstones on 22 May and one on 27 May, and single Sanderlings on 18 Apr. and 9 May (all PD). Numbers of Sanderlings on Cameron beaches (from Rutherford Beach W to near the Texas border) were estimated at 2250 on 9 May, 1900 on 16 May, and 1200 on 24 May (JPK,DR,KF). Three Semipalmated Sandpipers in Caddo/Bossier were early on 2 Apr.; numbers there peaked at 112 on 22 May (PD). A flock of 26 Semipalmated Sandpipers in Denham Springs 27 May (JPK,GS) provided one of surprisingly few Baton Rouge area records. Small numbers of Western Sandpipers passed through Caddo/Bossier 4 Apr.-2 May; Least Sandpipers in that area peaked at 620 on 6 May (PD). Unprecedented numbers of White-rumped Sandpipers moved through Caddo/Bossier in early May, with 500 counted 3 May (PD), and a minimum of 1000 there 6 May (turnover of birds through the day may have involved 2000-4000 individuals; PD,CL,HJ); up to 160 were noted as late as 22 May (PD). Eleven White-rumpeds at Denham Springs 27 May (JPK,GS) were rare/late for the Baton Rouge area. Thirty Baird's Sandpipers were notable in s.e. Louisiana on the Jefferson/St. Charles line 10 Apr. (PY), as were 19 in Caddo/Bossier 23 Apr. (PD), and a late bird in Natchitoches 18 May (CL,HJ). Considerably more remarkable was a GOM Baird's Sandpiper on GB189A on 4 May (JRK-ph). Considered rare spring migrants in n.w. Louisiana, small numbers of Dunlins were noted in Caddo/Bossier 2 Apr.-15 May (PD,CL,HJ,RS); a few Stilt Sandpipers were also noted in that area 19 Apr. (CL,HJ)-25 May (PD). An estimated 3500 Stilt Sandpipers in Vermilion/Jefferson Davis 8 May (JPK,KF) was an impressive total. Forty Long-billed Dowitchers in Caddo/Bossier 2 Apr. (PD) were considered early. An Am. Woodcock in Caddo 19 May (PD) was a first local May record, and suggestive of breeding. Wilson's Phalaropes were relatively abundant compared to recent years; high counts included 325 in Calcasieu 3 May (WC) and 228 near Cameron 10 May (PY,DPM,PW). Small numbers were also noted in n.w. Louisiana 3-28 May (PD,CL,HJ). Single Wilson's Phalaropes in the New Orleans area on the Jefferson/St. Charles line 10 Apr. (PY) and at Bayou Sauvage NWR 15 May (JOC) were of general interest, as well as relatively early and late, for s.e. Louisiana.
Rarely confirmed on or from shore, Pomarine Jaegers were off Cameron 19 Apr. (DLD,SWC) and on the beach there 9 May (DPM,PW-ph,PY). Offshore, it has become a different story: MOGP personnel on GB189A, VE265A, and EB826 identified a minimum of 45 individuals from 16 Mar.-9 May (JRK,JCA,RLK). MOGP Parasitic Jaegers were much scarcer, with just three light morph adults reported from EB826 on 17 Mar. and 7-8 Apr. (RLK). A Laughing Gull migrating up the Red River, Caddo/Bossier, 13 May (PD,CL,HJ,RS), was the first May record for the area and one of few ever. Out-of-place Franklin's Gulls included an apparent trans-Gulf migrant at VE265A on 21 Apr. (DPM) and northbound migrants detected inland near Leroy, Vermilion, 24 Apr. (3 birds; BMM,CS), and at Cross Lake, Caddo, 9 May (10 birds; CL,LR). Twelve Franklin's Gulls in Cameron 10 May (PW,DPM,PY) and four there 30 May (PW) were relatively late, as was a Bonaparte's Gull there on 9 May (DPM,PY,PW). Somewhat unexpected were substantial numbers of Herring Gulls found well-offshore during the MOGP. For example, it was the common gull species in the vicinity of VE265A from mid-March to mid-April, with a high count of about 350; numbers tapered-off after mid-April, and none were seen after 1 May (JCA). Large concentrations were seen at shrimp trawlers and resting on unmanned oil structures, but singles were frequently seen foraging over the open Gulf. An ad. Lesser Black-backed Gull at the Greater New Orleans landfill, Jefferson/St. Charles, 7 Mar. (PY), likely had wintered in the area. A first-year imm. Lesser Black-backed at Johnsons Bayou, Cameron, 6 May (GB,PC-vt), was probably a migrant; one at Broussard's Beach near Cameron 24 May (JPK-ph,DR,KF) was very late or possibly summering. Port Fourchon, Great Black-backed Gull capital of Louisiana, produced yet another 28 Mar. (BMM-ph,PW,CS,CK). An imm. Black-legged Kittiwake in the GOM at SMI66C on 16 Mar. (DGC) was the only report.
Above average numbers of Caspian Terns moved through Caddo/Bossier, with six sightings 2-30 May and a maximum of 26 on 6 May (PD,CL,HJ,RS). Up to 2300 Common Terns were estimated on Cameron beaches 9 May (JPK,DR,KF,PY,PW,DPM), with numbers declining to 700 on 16 May, and 120 on 24 May (JPK,DR,KF). MOGP reports of Bridled Terns included two at GB189A on 6 May (JRK) and one at EB826 on 9 May (RLK). A Sooty Tern was a surprise onshore at Cameron 6 May (DP, GB, PC). A Black Tern there 17 Mar. (GJP) was early; n.w. Louisiana migrants included two at Cross Lake 9 May (CL,LR), and 59 on the Red River in Caddo/Bossier 15 May (PD).
New locales now inhabited by Eurasian Collared-Doves included Hwy. 35 south of Rayne, Acadia, 8 May (1 bird; KF,JPK), and Cubit's Gap, Delta NWR (2 birds, 1 "singing;" AP). White-winged Doves continued their build-up in southern Louisiana. Most unusual was a bird well-inland at Lecompte, Rapides, 9 May (Jim Johnson). Some of a wintering flock of up to 31 in residential New Orleans (where rare) remained into early April (PY), with a separate sighting in a different area of town 5 Apr. (DPM). Ten at Golden Meadow, Lafourche, 1 Mar. (PW,BMM,RDP,GG), were probably wintering, but up to three at Grand Isle 18 Apr.-25 May (BMM,RSB,C. Crum) were late and suggestive of breeding. Completely overshadowing the mainland reports was the incredible presence of this species on offshore oil platforms during the MOGP- about 60 were reported over the period 2 Apr.-13 May (RLK, JCA, DPM, LCB, DGC, DP, RWR, B. P. Gibbons, DMN), with an independent report of four at 120 mi. S of Vermilion on 20 May (DNP). Mourning Doves also appeared offshore, but in much smaller numbers, with reports of singles at VE265A on 31 Mar. (JCA) and 25 Apr. (DPM). Inca Doves continued to expand in s.w. Louisiana: first parish nests were located at Arnaudville, St. Landry, 13 May (building), and in Lafayette at Carencro 26 May (large nestlings-ph), and Lafayette 27 May (all BF). Two Common Ground-Doves at Grosse Isle, Vermilion (Judge & Elizabeth Edwards), two at Esperanza Plantation, St. Charles, 10 Apr. (PY), and one at Cameron 17 Apr. (SWC,DLD), were the only reports of this generally scarce species.
A Groove-billed Ani at Johnsons Bayou, Cameron, 26 Apr. (BMM,CS), was late. A Lesser Nighthawk at GB189A on 3 Apr., and two there 9 Apr. (LCB) were certainly not anticipated as trans-Gulf migrants. Single Chuck-will's-widows at Pass a Loutre WMA 3 Mar. and at Delta NWR 5 Mar. (AP) had most likely wintered in the area. A wintering male Whip-poor-will near St. Gabriel, Iberville, remained to 7 Mar. (DLD,SWC); single trans-Gulf migrants visited EB826 on 5 & 6 May (RLK). A Buff-bellied Hummingbird wintering near St. Gabriel remained to 4 Mar. (DLD,SWC). Unfortunately, no other spring departure dates were submitted for over-wintering hummingbirds. A female Ruby-throated Hummingbird in Cameron 30 May (PW) was late for the immediate coast (where breeding is unknown). One, possibly two (hopefully), Northern (Yellow-shafted) Flickers observed at Delta NWR from mid-Feb.-13 May (AP) were suspected of breeding; there are few, if any, well-documented nesting records on the immediate coast.
Reports of Olive-sided Flycatchers, a scarce migrant through the state, included relatively early records in Caddo 4 May (PD), at Cameron 6 May (GB,PC,DP), and at Cameron and Johnsons Bayou 10 May (two birds; PC). One or two E. Wood-Pewees at Johnsons Bayou 30 May (PW,CS) were relatively late, as was an Acadian Flycatcher in suburban New Orleans 17-31 May (DPM). Scarce in spring versus fall, 3+ Least Flycatchers at GB189A on 28-30 Apr. (JRK) were also well-offshore for this "traditionally" mainland/circum-Gulf migrant. A Great Crested Flycatcher at Baton Rouge 25 Mar. (DFL) was relatively early. After a Brown-crested Flycatcher was banded and photographed at Delta NWR in late February (see ph in Field Notes, vol. 52, no. 2, p. 210) at least one or more unbanded birds were sighted to 23 Mar. (AP); it is becoming increasingly apparent that a few individuals of this species regularly winter in lower Plaquemines. The identification of a Brown-crested/Ash-throated flycatcher at VE265A on 10-12 May (JCA-ph) is under debate; opinion appears to be leaning towards Ash-throated. Another Myiarchus at VE265A on 18 Apr. (DMN-ph) also appears to be an Ash-throated. Either species would be exceptional in spring and, of course, as a trans-Gulf migrant. A "rash" of Couch's/Tropical kingbirds consisted of single birds near Cameron 3 May (PEC) and 24 May (JPK-ph,DR,KF); two fall-winter specimens of Couch's and one spring specimen of Tropical are the only Louisiana records of the complex that have been identified to species (although several records are pending review by the LBRC). At least ten W. Kingbirds in Cameron/Calcasieu 6-10 May (m.ob.) were in areas where small numbers are expected in spring. Somewhat more interesting were two late birds in Shreveport, Caddo, 20 May (CL), and individuals relatively far east at Grand Isle 10 Apr. (PW, BMM, CS, CK), at Pass a Loutre WMA 10 Apr. (2 birds), 15 Apr., and 12 May (all AP), and near Morgan City, St. Mary, 9 May (RSB); truly unusual were at least seven at offshore MOGP sites 20 Apr.-11 May (JRK, RLK, JCA). A Gray Kingbird at Grand Isle 28 Mar. (BMM-ph, PW, CS, CK, GP-ph) was apparently earliest-ever for the state; another was a surprising visitor to EB826 in the GOM on 3 May (RLK-ph). An eastward scatter of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers included three at Grand Isle (PW,CS,BMM,CK) and one at Pass a Loutre WMA (AP) on 10 Apr., and one near Morgan City on 9 May (RSB); one at Shreveport 28 Mar. (JT) was early for n.w. Louisiana.
A Bell's Vireo at Johnsons Bayou 30 Apr. (JH) would represent one of few recent spring records. A Yellow-throated Vireo in Orleans 14 Mar. (DPM) was early, and a Blue-headed Vireo there 19 May was very late (PY). A strong eastward movement of Warbling Vireos accounted for eight+ in Calcasieu and Cameron 18-19 Apr. (SWC,DLD,PEC), and singles near St. Gabriel 3 May (SWC,DLD) and at Johnsons Bayou 10 May (PEC,PW,DPM,PY). A well-described Philadelphia Vireo at Delta NWR 14 Mar. (AP) had almost certainly wintered in the area. Black-whiskered Vireos were discovered at Grand Isle 18 Apr. (AS, PW-ph, GP-ph,et al.) and 19 Apr. (PW, BMM-ph,et al.). Five more Black-whiskered Vireos were reported at Pass a Loutre WMA 19 Apr.-2 May (AP). Rare on the immediate coast W of the delta, two Am. Crows at Port Fourchon on 1 & 14 Mar. (PW,BMM) may have been associated with the recent "colonization" of nearby Grand Isle.
Tree Swallows were relatively late in Cameron 10 May (PY) and Caddo/Bossier 15 May (PD). Early Cliff Swallows were at Shreveport by 21 Mar. (JT); one at GB189A on 9 Apr. (LCB) was notable offshore. Several pairs of Cave Swallows returned to last year's Cameron nest site under Hwy. 82 at the Sabine River, with the earliest noted 10 Apr. and subsequent sightings through 24 May (PEC, GB-vt, JPK, DR, KF, m.ob.). A Red-breasted Nuthatch tarried to 18 Apr. in Baton Rouge (J. V. Remsen), and two Ruby-crowned Kinglets in Shreveport 11 May (RS) were record-late. A Swainson's Thrush in Bienville 19 Apr. (PD) was early for n.w. LA. A Hermit Thrush in Calcasieu 23 Apr. (Matt Johnson,Kinsley Whittum) was very late for S. Louisiana, and a Wood Thrush at Johnsons Bayou 16 May (JPK, DR, KF) was late on the immediate coast. A fledgling Am. Robin in Lafayette was a surprise on the early date of 5 Apr. (PEC). Exceptionally late was an Am. Pipit in Caddo 9 May (CL, LR). Yet another offshore surprise were N. Mockingbirds, one each at GB189A, VE265A, and EB826 during the period 7-12 May (JRK, JCA, RLK). Five Cedar Waxwings appeared at New Orleans on the relatively late date of 27 May (DPM).
Normally considered a western circum-Gulf migrant species, a Nashville Warbler at Grand Isle 4 Apr. (BMM, CS) and four MOGP birds from 31 Mar.-8 Apr. (JRK, RWR) were suggestive of at least limited trans-Gulf movements. A cold front on 28 Apr. dropped good numbers of migrant warblers slightly inland in the Lake Charles area; most numerous were Tennessees (35 on 30 Apr.), Chestnut-sideds (26), and Bay-breasteds (19), not to mention five Ceruleans (WC). Late Chestnut-sided Warblers were found at Johnsons Bayou (KF, JPK, DR) and in Claiborne (CL,JT), both 24 May, and Magnolia Warblers were lagging in Caddo 25 May (CL) and Cameron 30 May (PW, CS). Cape May Warblers occurring away from the immediate coast (where scarce but regular) included one in Orleans 18 Apr. (JOC), one offshore at EB826 on 28-29 Apr. (RLK), and a wintering bird in Caddo that remained to 19 Mar. (Terry Davis,m.ob.); 14 at Delta NWR/Pass a Loutre WMA during the period 19 Apr.-7 May (AP, et al.) was an excellent season's total for a single area. In addition to the usual handful of coastal Black-throated Blue Warblers, two were offshore at EB826 on 29-30 Apr. (RLK). A rare Yellow-rumped (Audubon's) Warbler at Johnsons Bayou 11 Apr. (PEC, GB) could have been a migrant or a wintering bird. A Black-throated Green Warbler at Delta NWR 15 Mar. was thought to be the same bird seen there in February (AP); one at Grand Isle on 1 Mar. (BMM, PW, RDP, GG) had likely overwintered as well. A male Townsend's Warbler was an amazing find at GB189A in the GOM on 9 Apr. (LCB); there are no previous accepted spring records. Prairie Warblers, scarce spring migrants in s. Louisiana, were encountered five times during the MOGP, 3 Apr.-5 May (RLK, JRK). Additional late warbler records: a Black-and-white in the GOM at 120 mi. S of Vermilion on 21 May (DNP), three Am. Redstarts at Johnsons Bayou 30 May (PW, CS), Swainson's and Kentucky warbler there 16 May (JPK, DR), and a N. Waterthrush there 24 May (KF, JPK, DR). An Ovenbird at Grand Isle 11 Mar. (DPM) had either overwintered or was an exceptionally early migrant. A Connecticut Warbler must have been an astonishing sight at GB189A in the GOM on 30 Apr. (JRK); if accepted, this would represent only the third or fourth Louisiana record. A Mourning Warbler at Johnsons Bayou 9 May (PW), another near Cameron 10 May (DPM), single Wilson's Warblers at Johnsons Bayou 10 Apr. (GB, PEC) and 9 May (DPM, PY, PW), and a Canada Warbler there 3 May (PEC) were all somewhat east of their normal migration route.
A male Scarlet Tanager in Grant 27 May (K. Balkum) was either very late or possibly attempting to breed in the area. W. Tanagers at Grand Isle 10 Apr. (BMM-ph, PW, CS, CK) and at Cameron 16 May (C. & J. Barre) were early and late, respectively; more spectacular was a male in the GOM at SMI66C on 18 Apr. (DGC). Sixteen Chipping Sparrows in Cameron 10 May (DPM, PY, PW) were unusually late on the immediate coast. By far the most bizarre record of the spring was an Am. Tree Sparrow in the GOM at GB189A on 22 Apr. (JRK-ph); this is one of the only well-documented Louisiana records- go figure! A Clay-colored Sparrow, very rare in spring, was also unusually far east in Lafourche 4 Apr. (BMM, CS); this is one of the only spring records for s.e. Louisiana. One at VE265A in the GOM on 1 Apr. (JCA) was equally noteworthy. Other sparrows found during the MOGP that are not commonly considered trans-Gulf migrants: Vespers at EB826 on 31 Mar. & 1 Apr. (RLK), and at GB189A on 9-11 Apr. (JRK); Larks at VE265A on 1 Apr. (JCA), at "South Pelto" on 3 Apr. (RWR), and at GB189A on 10-11 May (JRK); Savannahs at VE265A on 3 & 7 Apr. (JCA); 3-4 Grasshoppers at VE265A on 31 Mar.-8 Apr. (JCA); a Lincoln's at VE265A on 9 Apr. (JCA); and a White-throated at GB189A on 5-6 May (JRK-ph). Back on the mainland, a Lark Sparrow in Calcasieu 24 Apr. (AS,et al.), four in Cameron 9 May (DPM, PY, PW), and one there 10 May (GG) were unusual near the coast, and the May birds were late as well. Four Grasshopper Sparrows at Port Fouchon 10-18 Apr. (BMM, CS, PW) and individuals at Rutherford Beach 17 & 19 Apr. (SWC,DLD) were thought to represent trans-Gulf migrants- the 17 Apr. Cameron bird was actually witnessed flying in off the Gulf and landing on the beach. A Seaside Sparrow on the Lake Pontchartrain shoreline in Jefferson 20 Mar. (PY) was miles from appropriate habitat. Lincoln's Sparrows in St. Charles 4 Apr. (PY) and at Grand Isle 19 Apr. (PW, CS, BMM, DPM) were considered rare for s.e. Louisiana. A White-throated Sparrow lingered at Gramercy St. James, to 11 May (T. Sylvest).
A Black-headed Grosbeak in Lafayette to 15 Mar. had been present since mid-February (L. M. Wilson,J. O'Neale,DP-vt). A wintering Painted Bunting near St. Gabriel remained to 14 Mar. (SWC,DLD); early migrants were noted in the GOM at EB826 on 19 Mar. and 4 Apr. (RLK). Three singing Dickcissels were early at Shreveport 25 Mar. (RS). Continuing the list of GOM "unexpecteds" was an E. Meadowlark at GB189A on 22 Apr. (JRK-ph). A flock of 40 W. Meadowlarks near Shreveport 1 Mar. (CL, RJB) was a remarkable count for Louisiana, as was a flock of 20 Yellow-headed Blackbirds in Natchitoches 19 Apr. (CL, HJ). Several Yellow-headed Blackbirds were detected offshore, including one at VE265A on 31 Mar. (JCA), and late individuals at GB189A on 10 May (JRK) and at EB826 on 11 May (RLK). Still rare outside s.w. Louisiana, a Great-tailed Grackle wandered north to Natchitoches 18 May (CL, HJ). Shiny Cowbirds revealed themselves at Port Fourchon 30 Apr. (2 males; RSt, D. J. L'Hoste) and at Grand Isle 3 & 25 May (male; BMM-ph,RDP,L. O'Meallie). A pair of Bronzed Cowbirds in St. Tammany 17-18 Apr. (C. Brantley) and eight at Intracoastal City, Vermilion, 26 Apr. (DPM), were slightly beyond their normal s.e. Louisiana haunts; it's anybody's guess what individuals were doing in the GOM at VE265A on 31 Mar. (JCA) and at GB189A on 7-8 May (JRK-ph). Also unexpected were about 100 Brown-headed Cowbirds at VE265A on 31 Mar., and smaller numbers there on 7 Apr. and 4 May (JCA). A Baltimore Oriole at Franklin, St. Mary, 1 Mar. (GJP), and two Baltimores and a male Bullock's Oriole at Laplace, St. John-the-Baptist, 8 Mar. (PW, RSt), were wintering birds. A migrant first-year male Bullock's Oriole was in Cameron 17 Apr. (DLD, SWC).
Initialled observers: John C. Arvin, Richard S. Bello, L. C. Binford, Roger J. Breedlove, Gary Broussard, Winston Caillouet, Steven W. Cardiff, Daniel G. Christian, Paul E. Conover, J. O. Coulson, Jay DePrato, Paul Dickson, Donna L. Dittmann, Karen Fay, Bill Fontenot, Gay Gomez, Jim Holmes, Horace Jeter, Cecil Kersting, Jon R. King, Joe P. Kleiman, Richard L. Knight, Daniel F. Lane, Charles Lyon, David P. Muth, B. Mac Myers, Don M. Norman, Arvind Panjabi, Dave Patton, George Payne, Gary J. Pontiff, R. D. Purrington, David N. Purvis, Larry Raymond, Virginia Rettig, Dave Roark, R. W. Russell, Rosemary Seidler, Curt Sorrells, Ron Stein (RSt), Gayle Strickland, Jeff Trahan, Allan Strong, Phillip Wallace, Peter Yaukey.
-- STEVEN W. CARDIFF, Museum of Natural Science, 119 Foster Hall, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803-3216 (
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BREC Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center
Nature Center Needs Binoculars
The Nature Center hosts school groups, youth clubs, day camp members and others just being introduced to the wonders of nature in Baton Rouge. We need a few pairs of binoculars so we can show these children some of our birds and butterflies. If you have a serviceable pair of bins that you could donate to the Nature Center, we would be most grateful, and you will know that you are contributing to the development of the next generation of nature lovers.
We enthusiastically welcome more advanced birders to visit our grounds as well. This is a place to see Wood Ducks and nesting owls, lots of woodpeckers, and spring migrants, within the city limits of Baton Rouge. The park is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9a.m.-5p.m, and Sunday 12-5p.m. Trails close to new visitors at 4:30 p.m. First Saturday of each month the park opens at 6:45 a.m. for a morning birdwalk, led by the B.R. Audubon Society. Fees vary depending on discounts for age and other factors, but are kept very low. Yearly memberships are available.
Volunteers are welcome, and we sure could use some of you to lead thirty-minute natural history tours. Special programs and workshops are scheduled Sept-May. Natural history day camps for children are held in summer. For more information, please phone the center at: 225-757-8905, or fax us at 225-757-9390.
Miriam L. Davey, Staff Naturalist
Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center
10305 N. Oak Hills Pkwy
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
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Membership Dues
Membership dues are paid on a yearly basis and it's time to renew your subscription. Thanks to all of you who have sent in your renewals or paid at the winter meeting. Check your address label and renew accordingly. If your label says 99 or later, you are paid up through the year of 99. Enclosed is an envelope for your convenience. Renew early, you don't want to miss a single issue of the LOS News.
© Dan Lane
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If you would like to join LOS, or perhaps send a gift membership to a friend on the verge, here is a printable membership form.
Dues are payable in January of each year; please check your mailing label for your dues status and renew promptly if you are in arrears.
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LOS News Editor: Carol Foil, 1180 Stanford Ave, Baton Rouge, LA 70808
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posted 11February1999