Saturday, April 14 – 7:00 am - 11:00 am $25
A part of the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area and close to the Louisiana/Mississippi border, Honey Island Swamp is unique because it's one of the least-altered river swamps in the country. Nearly 70,000 acres of the 250-square-mile Honey Island Swamp is a permanently-protected wildlife area--the Nature Conservancy's First Louisiana Nature Preserve. Honey Island earned its name because of the honeybees once seen on a nearby island. A tract of bottomland timber lying between the East Pearl and West Pearl rivers, Honey Island is between three and seven miles wide and 15 to 20 miles long. It is located 50 minutes from New Orleans in Southeast Louisiana.
The particular part of this area we have chosen for this year’s Great Louisiana BirdFest is one of the best birding hotspots on the Northshore, particularly during migration. Containing mixed hardwoods and much swamp habitat, the area is within the Mississippi flyway and is bounded by the West and East Pearl River, making it a particularly good migratory route because birds tend to follow these north/south running rivers as they migrate to their summer homes. It is a wild, primitive, undeveloped area, with part of an old highway running down the middle of it to the East Pearl River. There are 9 bridges along the way, each of which provides a good opportunity to check out the birds. Both ends of the road can be especially good.
Note: We will gather into a small number of cars to travel the road, making many stops along the way to bird. An experienced guide who has birded this site many times in this same fashion will be in a lead car. Depending on the number of participants, we will provide sufficient guides to keep each group of cars small.
• Birds that have been seen in Honey Island Swamp in April include (bolded birds are more regular):
• Black-bellied Whistling-Duck and Wood Duck.
• Northern Bobwhite and Wild Turkey.
• Double-crested Cormorant and Anhinga.
• Waders: Great Blue, Little Blue, Tricolor and Green Herons. Great, Snowy, and Cattle Egrets, both night-herons and White Ibis.
• Raptors: both vultures, Osprey, Swallow-tailed and Mississippi Kite, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Red-shouldered, Broad-winged and Red-tailed Hawks.
• Killdeer, Laughing Gull, Ring-billed Gull.
• Doves and Cuckoos: Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Inca Dove, Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoo.
• Barred Owl, Chimney Swift, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher.
• Woodpeckers: Red-headed, Red-bellied, Downy, Hairy, Pileated and Northern Flicker.
• Flycatchers: Acadian Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird.
• Vireos: White-eyed, Yellow-throated, Blue-headed and Red-eyed.
• Corvids: Blue Jay, American and Fish Crows.
• Swallows: Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Barn and Cliff Swallows (at the I-59 underpass nearby); you might find a Cave Swallow mixed in with the others, as they have been seen at the next interstate exit!
• Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Brown-headed Nuthatch.
• Wrens: Carolina, House and Marsh.
• Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
• Thrushes: Eastern Bluebird, Veery, Gray-cheeked, Swainson's, Hermit and Wood Thrushes.
• Mimids: Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher.
• European Starling and Cedar Waxwing.
• Warblers: Blue-winged, Tennessee, Orange-crowned, Northern Parula, Yellow, Chestnut-sided, Cape May (very rare), Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, Yellow-throated, Pine, Bay-breasted, Black-and-white, American Redstart, Prothonotary, Swainson's, Louisiana Waterthrush, Kentucky, Common Yellowthroat, Hooded, Yellow-breasted Chat.
• Sparrows: Eastern Towhee, Chipping, Swamp and White-throated.
• Tanagers/Grosbeaks/Buntings: Summer and Scarlet Tanagers, Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting.
• Icterids: Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole.
• ...and American Goldfinch.