“Rice & Rails” Festival

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher by Simon Thompson

Jennings, Louisiana
November 3 - 8, 2020

Black-necked Stilt Photo by Simon Thompson

The unique “Rice and Rails” Festival is the place to see the uncommon and very hard-to-see Yellow Rail and we should see them from atop the combines as they move through the fields, harvesting the late season of rice. Sora, Virginia and King Rail are all likely as well. This tour will be at a relaxed pace and there will be plenty of time to thoroughly explore the area, all the while enjoying a taste of authentic Cajun cuisine complete with great Cajun food and live music.

Cost of Louisiana Venture $1,895 from Lafayette, LA - based on double occupancy. (Single supplement $375) Sora and Yellow Rail, both captured at a ne banding station. Photo by Jane Williamso Price includes: All accommodation starting 11/03, ground transportation, meals, information packet & bird checklist, and guide/leader service throughout, plus entry fee to the festival and all events. Not included: Airfare to Lafayette, alcoholic beverages, laundry, gratuities and other items of a personal nature.

 
 

Join Keith on this jaunt down to Jennings, Louisiana where we will partially join up with the unique “Rice and Rails” Festival in the southwestern part of the state. The uncommon and very hard-to-see Yellow Rail (we saw over 20 in an afternoon on our 2015 & 2016 trips!) will be the star of the show and we should see them from atop the combines as we move through the field, harvesting the late season of rice. Sora, Virginia and King Rail are all likely as well in the fields and there’s always the chance of seeing Le Conte’s, Nelson’s, and Grasshopper Sparrows. This tour will be at a relaxed pace and there will be plenty of time to thoroughly explore the agricultural fields, coastal marshes, gulf beaches, and piney-woods for an assortment of raptors, waterfowl, shorebirds, sparrows, and overwintering warblers, all the while enjoying a taste of authentic Cajun cuisine complete with crawfish, jambalaya, gumbo, and live music.

We’ve put this Venture together to combine the best parts of the festival with a more personalized experience, thus avoiding birding in the big festival crowds. Our participation with the festival itself will be limited to a pre-festival field trip through farmland, a ride through the rice fields atop the harvesters looking for rails, and few social gatherings and meals. Much of the birding will be done on our own, and our itinerary will remain somewhat flexible to account for chasing any rarities that might show up.

Some of the Birds We Hope to See

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck; Greater White-fronted Goose; Mottled Duck; American White Pelican; Glossy and White-faced Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill; Reddish Egret; Barn Owl; Crested Caracara; White-tailed Kite; Northern Harrier; Sora, Virginia, King, Clapper & Yellow Rails; Snowy, Wilson’s, & Piping Plovers; Long-billed Curlew; Franklin’s & Lesser Black-backed Gulls; White-winged & Inca Doves; Loggerhead Shrike; Red-cockaded Woodpecker; Vermilion and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers; Cave Swallow; American and Sprague’s Pipits; Nelson’s, Seaside, Le Conte’s, Grasshopper, Lincoln’s, Swamp and White-crowned Sparrows; Bronzed Cowbird; Yellow- headed Blackbird, and many, many more.