Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Behind The Levee

Some time ago I googled "birding Baton Rouge" and found a place about 20 minutes from my house behind the levee. The write-up said this was private property, a working sand and silt pit, but that the owners were fine with birders as long as permission was obtained. So I emailed the Baton Rouge Audubon Society for the contact information of the property owner and finally called him on Sunday. Turns out he is my 3rd or 4th cousin on my mother's side! He was very nice (of course!) and said to explore to my heart's content. So I did!
One of my first shots was a yellow-billed cuckoo! According to allaboutbirds.org, this is a very secretive bird.
Most people only hear them, so I was elated to get this one and only image.
They eat large insects and some berries and seeds.
They work a caterpillar back and forth between the bill, possibly to remove hairs, before swallowing.
They develop very quickly—17 days from egg laying until fledging.
Both parents build the nest, incubate the eggs, and brood equally during the day. The male takes the night shift.
These birds like open woodlands with clearings, and dense, scrubby vegetation near water.
Listed as endangered in California where development is disrupting the areas in which it likes to live.

A pair of eastern bluebirds

Crimson clover

Red-winged blackbird, female

Great egret



Top of levee


Behind the levee

Peek-a-boo view

42 comments:

EG CameraGirl said...

So close to where you live! What a treat to photograph a secretive cuckoo. I LOVE it when I happen upon a treasure like that.

Stewart M said...

Splendid pictures - and always good to find a relative (no matter how distant!)

Bird info provision is written somewhere on my resumé I think!

cheers and thanks for linking to WBW

Stewart M - Melbourne

Terri said...

How cool! and so close... my favorites are the egret and the blackbird.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Excellent shots. I think it's so cool you found a birding spot with a relative through Google!

Sharon Wagner said...

Stunning photos and a family reunion. Nice.

dinascitywildlife.com said...

Interesting to see the landscape. The wildflowers on the levee are pretty. Love the cuckoo. It's still on my list.

hootnonny said...

It's always fun to see what you find to photograph, and hear your stories.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

Wow...small world isn't it?!!! And the countryside is absolutely gorgeous. The bird is extraordinary. I am sure you'll go back often with a quiet, wonderful birding place like this, and the scenery..."to die for" beautiful.

Kamana {Naashia} said...

what gorgeous shots! love these :)

Starla said...

I love looking at your photos first thing in the morning. They just put a smile on my face!

Linda said...

What a treat to see the cuckoo. If you had only one shot, you definitely made it count. Love the redwing blackbird photo, too. I think the leaves just add to the overall effect of the photo. And the egret picture is beautiful in all respects.

Karen said...

A beautiful area Gail. Terrific shots! Looks like the bluebirds are on sentry duty!

TexWisGirl said...

what a great place to 'have in the family'! :)

our yellow-billed cuckoos returned last week. i got some shots of them in the trees - hunting those caterpillars. doubt mine will be anything as good as yours, though!

sweet bluebirds discussing the signage. :)

Chatty Crone said...

I loved all of the beauty you shot. I especially like the egret. Amazing. sandie

prairiebirder said...

Beautiful photos, everything looks so peaceful! I love the photo of the female Red-winged Blackbird.

She Who Carries Camera said...

What a small world it is! And, I would have never guessed that was a red-winged blackbird!

Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

I don't know the cockoos! You all have so many different birds. We do have lots of red winged black birds in Fla. Always, lovely shots.

Buttons said...

Oh Gail I do believe you are going to be talking to that 3or4 cousin again these photos are stunning. Hug B

eileeninmd said...

Gail, this looks like an awesome place for birding. And how nice you now know the owner and are related. Now that is really cool! Great shots!

Patrice said...

What a successful trip, Gail - and a new relative!!!

Rambling Woods said...

Wonderful habitat and photos... Michelle

Renae at simple sequins said...

Gorgeous Gail, these are all so gorgeous. I loved reading about the yellow-billed cuckoo. So glad you got that capture when you did! You are a very lucky birder! I am so glad I know you. You teach me knew things every time.

bailey-road.com said...

Your work is wonderful!

Kittie Howard said...

Love how the guy was your cousin! Ahh, Louisiana.
All of your photos are terrific -- I've never seen a cookoo (sp) up close like that. Kinda sad about the endangerment. *sighs* But, Gail, that photo of the egret is amazing. I really think you should put a LA portfolio together and pay a visit to the LSU bookstore. I'm quite sure there are lots of people who'd love to have one of your keepsake photos!

I was so tired the other night, I went to bed at eight and awoke to birds chirping. Ahhh, nice. But the big push is over and well worth it.

Stephanie said...

Your photos make me feel like I am right next to you enjoying the moment :) I love the crimson clover - absolutely lovely!

Hugs to you!

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

I think you have discovered a treasure trove of nature here. Beautiful images.

Brian King said...

Congratulations on finding a great new place! These are beautiful photos! Congrats as well on the cuckoo! I've never seen one.

ladyfi said...

Wow wow and more wow! Awesome shots - that egret photo is fabulous!

Linda R said...

I always get happy when I stop in here.. LOVE these photos my friend.

Hugs~

Gunilla Bäck said...

Lovely series.

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

What a beautiful place to explore and relax, almost as if it's your own. You ave some wonderful photos here Gail.

Evelyn said...

All such beautiful images ~ what a wonderful place to explore. I love the image of the clover ♥

Nancy Claeys {dot} Com said...

All of your photos are just exceptional. I cannot pick a favorite -- I feel as if I was there with you! xo

Amy Burzese said...

Beautiful, Gail. Those little blue birds look like they're having a great conversation sitting on that sign. So cute. I'm glad you found another place to have fun.

Deanna said...

Another great series...your bird photos are always so stunning, the clarity is always outstanding!!

beth said...

WOW....and those bluebirds are definitely having a conversation about who's going to the grocery store and who's making dinner :)

Wally Jones said...

Wow, what a great looking birding spot you've found!
Congratulations on the Cuckoo! That's a great photograph of a bird that's not easy to photograph!

Wonderful post!

-Have a good weekend! Wally

Renae at simple sequins said...

Oh Gail, many are loving my blue stoned ring. It was just a simple little gift from my daughter a few years ago. It is a charming ring. I know it was only under $20. The stones are just crystals that are blue. It is a fun ring to wear. Thank you for your nice compliments and fun friendship. HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO YOU!!!!!!!

HansHB said...

Lovely photos!

Barb Brookbank said...

What a beautiful place to explore! Thank you for the tour and the great images.

Donna said...

How wonderful to visit this land and how lucky to own such fabulous landscape.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

How lucky is that to find out you were related to the owner; wonderful birding place. Love the cuckoo. We saw them when we stayed in Alabama/and Louisiana (never since).