A new idea for us is the combination of birding and food! This trip to the Gulf Coast of Louisiana is all about spring migration, but with the added flavor of some fine local cuisine- cooked up by Michael and Catherine. With a bit of luck, we will also witness a migratory 'fallout,' one of the true spectacles of nature, amid the backdrop of beaches, barrier islands, and coastal forests.
Grand Isle is the only inhabited and accessible barrier island along the entire coast of Louisiana. Fifty miles south of New Orleans and located at the mouth of Barataria Bay where it meets the gulf, Grand Isle has been a destination for the people of Louisiana and the gulf coast since the 18th century.
Grand Isle is one of the best places in the world to witness the trans-gulf migration of neotropical songbirds. The ancient oak-hackberry forests on the island offer the first refuge for warblers, vireos, thrushes, buntings and more after their long flight over the Gulf of Mexico,. The remaining forests, purchased and managed by The Nature Conservancy, are crossed with many easy walking trails and offer some of the best bird viewing on the gulf coast. With a little luck, forces of nature combined with a good northbound migratory flight can produce a phenomenon known as a "fallout," where hundreds or thousands of birds will fall out of the sky into any available habitat. It is an incredible spectacle and a distinct possibility!
We'll search quiet pockets of saltmarsh, miles of beaches, inland estuaries, moist grassy meadows, shallow bays and more in between visits to the oak cheniere forests. We'll see loads of passerine migrants, waders, shorebirds and raptors. As always we'll be on the lookout for rarities, as Grand Isle has quite the reputation for them. Additionally, every night we'll have authentic Cajun food prepared by our own personal chef from the freshest local seafood and ingredients.
This trip promises to be memorable for food lovers, lovers of unique culture and bird lovers alike!
Some of the Birds We Hope to See
As well as pelicans, cormorants, gulls, terns, waders, shorebirds and other birds expected on a barrier island, we should find several raptors and many migrant passerines, including 20+ warbler species, 4-5 vireo species, orioles, cuckoos, thrushes (Gray-cheeked, Swainson's, Hermit, Wood, & Veery), Tanagers (Scarlet & Summer), Buntings (Indigo & Painted), Grosbeaks (Blue & Rose-breasted), & various flycatchers.