October 29, 2012 – Bird banding at Peveto Woods

The end of the Yellow Rails and Rice Festival included one more banding opportunity a little bit further west and south.  I left Jennings before dawn and was almost to Hwy 82 when the sun finally began to rise.   The last time I was in this area, I was doing bird surveys along the Louisiana coast just after the oil spill in 2010.   I noticed rock breakers had changed the landscape since my last visit and I decided to stop and photograph them in the morning light.

P1100379P1100381 P1100384When I stepped out of my car, I noticed something in the middle of the road and discovered a sparrow.P1100378I decided to bring it with me to the banding to see if it could be identified.  It rode alongside my dashboard diva to the Peveto Woods Bird Sanctuary.P1100385When I first arrived, I did a little bit of exploring.  Shortly after, I began to help set up the mist nets.
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Soon enough birds were flying into the mist nets.

P1100403And the banding began…

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Peveto Woods Sanctuary is beautiful and I enjoyed the banding as well as walking around.  It was a great way to end my Yellow Rails and Rice Festival.  I look forward to visiting this preserve again.  http://www.braudubon.org/peveto-woods-sanctu

P1100544 P1100555 P1100507After such a full week-end, I needed the dashboard diva to keep me company all the way back to Thibodaux.


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October 25 thru 28, 2012 – Yellow Rails and Rice Festival in Jennings, La

More than a bird festival, the Yellow Rails and Rice Festival (YRARF), combines birding with rice farming and Cajun culture.  Organized by Donna Dittmann and Steve Cardiff, this festival is top notch – full of activities and well organized.  I signed up to volunteer and working this event was so much fun, I felt like I was a participant!

Wednesday evening, I worked the registration at the opening reception.  Checking in the festival goers was great fun… I loved meeting the participants and working with the other volunteers.  Several vendors were exhibited that evening:  the Jefferson Davis Parish Tourist and Economic Development Commission, Barataria Terrebonne National Estuary Program, Louisiana Ornithological Society, Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries, USA Rice Federation, LSU AgCenter, Hoppe Farms Rice, LSU Rice Research Station, National Wildlife Federation, Louisiana Wildlife Federation and USFWS Joint Venture.

Below are some of the goodies that were included in the gift tote provided with registration to the festival.  The “Coturnicops Blend” coffee made especially for this festival by Kevin Colley/Dupuy Storage LLC was my favorite item!

P1100903The following morning included presentations before heading out to the rice fields.

P1090645Participants met at the Thornwell Warehouse and convoyed to one of two harvest sites.

P1100147P1100152Upon arrival, we set up signage and then prepared the participants for riding on the combine.  I went out on the first run to help point out birds flushed out as the vehicle harvested the rice.

P1090861P1090887sans Dan LaneP1090718P1100115P1090816P1090836P1090674All sorts of critters were hidden in the rice fields.

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I spent the whole day trying to see a Yellow Rail.  Several of us stayed as late as we could in an effort to see that bird (thanks to the farmer who allowed us to ride for a few more passes.)  We rode the combine until the sun lowered into the horizon line.


I missed the Jambalaya Dinner and Sunset tour but did manage to make it out to the Tupper Museum Reception.   Dough pies with vanilla ice cream was served – I had a fig pie and it was delicious!   I recommend a visit to this museum filled with early 20th century store goods.  http://www.tuppermuseum.com/

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On Friday, I participated in a banding workshop led by Erik Johnson.  We started with a classroom session and then headed out to KMB Farms to set up mist nets.


As the combine made it’s pass, birds were flushed up into the mist net and promptly removed for banding.


P1100025Three species of rails were banded:   Virginia, Sora and one Yellow Rail (I didn’t get a picture of the Yellow Rail.)

P1100043P1100068Sparrows flew into the nets as well and we also were able to band Savannah, Swamp, LeConte’s, and Nelson’s Sharp-tailed.


The birds were flushing up and before long we had bags of birds in line for banding.


While watching for birds in the mist net, I spotted this group of birders getting a better look at a sparrow.
P1100094That evening, a meal was served at the Grand Marais Rice Gala.  Gumbo and red beans and rice was served as the main course with cake for dessert (worth getting a second helping of for certain!)  Dinner was accompanied with live music by Les Frères Michot.  Dancing ensued!

P1100168P1100166Saturday included more adventures in banding.

P1100170P1100175P1100220P1100266P1100277P1100282P1100314P1100289The weather turned cooler and brought winds with it.   Dust billowed out from underneath the combine as it made its passes.  This airborne dirt created a no visibility situation if you were downwind.

P1100191P1100192P1100256P1100260P1100309P1100307That evening I attended the official finale of the Yellow Rails and Rice Festival at the Zigler Museum of Art.   The museum collection consists of European, American, and Louisiana art.   It’s a little gem in the middle of Jennings, La!  http://ziglermuseum.wix.com/ziglerartmuseum#!   That evening the museum treated us to a viewing of Audubon’s folio Birds of America.  The atmosphere along with hor d’oeuvres, drinks and good conversation made for a great ending to a great festival!


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October 16, 2012 – Tree Planting at Big Mar in Plaquemines Parish, La

I recently had the opportunity to volunteer with the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.  The project involved planting Bald Cypress, Tupelo, and Green Ash trees at Big Mar in Plaquemines Parish, LA. The volunteers were divided up into two groups:   1)  those willing to get very muddy;  and  2)  the rest of us.   The (drier) group I was with consisted of approximately 20 plus folks.  We worked the Spoil Bank Site first.

Arriving at the Spoil Bank Site

Two cameramen were present: one working on a documentary of Louisiana restoration projects and the other from Fox news


Data such as coordinates, diameter and height were recorded for tagged trees.   These specimens will be revisited twice a year to assess their progress.

Instrument to record coordinates

A small alligator (estimated 3 feet) was not far from the shoreline as we worked

Spoil Bank Site complete!

To get to the Delta Site, we had to travel through a narrow canal.

Trees waiting to be planted at the Delta Site

My planting partner Hazel with specimen 283

Hazel and I planting a Tupelo tree (photo courtesy of CRCL)

A picture of the group picture photographers.

Group picture!  (Photo courtesy of CRCL)

Found a couple of buoys in good shape and traded the boat captain for a portrait. I guess I asked for this!

Boating back inland.

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October 7, 2012 – Avery Island

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October 5, 2012 – Island Hopping

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September 23 and October 11, 2012 – Volunteer Planting with BTNEP at Raccoon Island

September 23, 2012P1070887 P1070890 P1070891 P1070893 P1070912 P1070913 P1070918 P1070937 P1070941 P1070948 P1070950 P1070952 P1070960 P1070984 P1070992 P1080018 P1080021October 11, 2012

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September 29, 2012 – Rainy Day – CRCL Volunteer Planting in Grand Isle

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