Sunday, April 6, 2014

Apr 5 (Day 95) - A whole day of colorful new birds in New Orleans City Park

First, we are REALLY close to topping $10,000 raised for bird conservation! Let's make sure we crack that barrier before the next update on Friday!

Just as yesterday, the weather forecast today called for rain most of the day, and, just like yesterday, that rain never fully materialized. I left the house at 7:30am. I figured I would bird until the supposedly impending rain arrived at which point I would retreat to the house. It took me a while to find any birds of consequence, but slowly feeding flocks formed and I was able to cull through them to find some decent birds. There were hundreds of Yellow-rumped warblers today, and 95% of the binocular-lifts ended with this same, predictable result. The Yellow-rumps, however, functioned at the glue to hold these feeding flocks together; Every flock I found today was at least 90% Yellow-rumps. Grinding my way through Yellow-rumps, I was able to tease out 5 new birds on this morning walk. These were: Indigo Bunting (#272), Summer Tanager (#273), Blue-winged warbler (#274), Blue grosbeak (#275), and Blackburnian warbler (#276). This morning walk lasted until 12:30pm at which time I returned to the house to eat lunch and rest. I headed back to the park at 2:30 and stayed until 5pm when thunderstorms finally rolled in and chased me home. I found a group of 4 Orchard orioles for year bird #277. I also found another Yellow-billed cuckoo which was a nice addition to the days list. Other highlights included Yellow-crowned night-heron, Sharp-shinned hawk, Prothonotary warbler, and Wood duck. I did not carry the camera today since rain was apparently right around the corner, but I did take a few pics of the park with my iPhone. I estimated that I walked about 12 miles today.

A meadow in New Orleans City Park

One of the many lakes in City Park

 Vegetable garden run as a program for city kids

I am planning to take 3-4 days to reach Lake Charles. I am going through Lake Charles because I cannot take a ferry that connects 2 points along the coast. The ferry ride is only about 100 feet, but avoiding it will add about 40 miles. The ferry is along the coast, south of Lake Charles (on the left third of the maps below).

Driving or biking with ferry
       ^ approximate longitude of ferry

 Biking without ferry
      ^ approximate longitude of ferry

I am planning on riding in what could be a steady rain all day tomorrow. I am doing this because of the wind forecast for the next few days. I am going to shoot to reach Morgan City tomorrow, a distance of about 85 miles. Tomorrow I am going to have a tailwind whereas I would have a headwind if I rested tomorrow and rode Monday instead. I always say I'll take rain over wind, and this is another example of that. As the wind is going to be from the west the next few days, I absolutely must make some easier miles tomorrow to have a chance to get to Lake Charles in 4 days. From there it is about 85 miles to Sabine Pass where I will spend the next 5-6 days looking for migrants at Sabine Woods. 

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