1. Manchac Swamp / Joyce WMA
Friday, April 7 – 6:15 AM to Noon $45
We will begin with a visit to Joyce Wildlife Management Area. This management area is primarily a healthy second growth cypress-tupelo swamp that was logged in the early to mid 1900’s and is now managed by the state. Although there is little access into this area, we will take a 1000-foot boardwalk into the swamp. This area is a breeding ground for many species of warblers and we are likely to see Northern Parula, Yellow-throated, Prothonotary, and Hooded Warblers. We should pick up a good variety of species at this stop.
Our next stop is the Southeast Louisiana University’s Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station at Galva Canal in Manchac. Turtle Cove helps support a variety of interdisciplinary research and education programs at Southeastern-and other universities around the region. There is good birding from the large elevated deck overlooking the swamp. Alligators are common, and birding includes shorebirds, waterfowl, woodpeckers, migrant warblers, and birds of prey. See the Birding Checklists for the species seen last year during prior BirdFests.
Next we will bird in the bayous and canals of the Manchac swamp by pontoon boat. We will stop at the historic site of the Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station. The station, situated on Pass Manchac between Lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas adjacent to the 8,300-acre Manchac Wildlife Management Area was built in 1908 as a private camp from virgin bald cypress that once completely surrounded it. High demands for lumber near the turn of the century led to the complete logging of the swamp forest, leaving few bald cypress trees standing. In the aftermath, land subsidence and the incursion of brackish water have prevented the cypress trees from re-establishing themselves. Because of the location, Turtle Cove provides an ideal location for bald cypress and wetland restoration projects, and for environmental and ecological studies. A raised boardwalk with 56 educational stations identifying our common native plants and creatures extends several thousands of feet into the marsh.
Weather permitting; your pontoon boat may travel into the lake to the Manchac lighthouse. This lighthouse, once on land, is surrounded by water. Many birds roost on the lighthouse and the pilings and ruins surrounding it. Julia Sims, a nationally known bird and wildlife photographer, has chosen this locale for some of her work. If not, the trip continues into ‘Stinking Bayou’ for some different habitat and more excellent birding. Alligators are common, and birding includes shorebirds, waterfowl, woodpeckers, migrant warblers, and birds of prey. See the Birding Checklists for the species seen during prior BirdFests.
Lunch is on your own, but since the trip ends at Manchac Pass, we recommend that you visit Middendorf’s, a legendary local restaurant, to sample “thin fried catfish” or other local seafood.
¨ Pontoon boat and easy walking. Bring a hat and sunscreen.
Joyce - http://ebird.org/ebird/hotspot/L727287/last10/4
¨ Among the birds likely to be seen are:
Wintering Birds: Blue-headed Vireo, Bald Eagle, Swamp and White-throated Sparrows.
Resident and Breeding Birds: Brown Pelican, Great Blue, Tricolored, Yellow-crowned Night, Black-crowned Night and Little Blue Herons; Cattle, White and Snowy Egrets; White Ibis; Wood and Mottled Ducks; Black Vulture; Osprey, Northern Harrier, Caspian, Royal and Forster’s Terns; Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Belted Kingfisher, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Kingbird, White-eyed Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Yellow-throated, Prothonotary and Hooded Warblers; Boat-tailed Grackle, and Orchard Oriole.
Possible Migrants: Yellow-throated and Red-eyed Vireos, Scarlet and Summer Tanagers, Indigo Bunting and more.