Great Louisiana BirdFest - Manchac Swamp
"Bayous and Canals of the Manchac Swamp" bird watching by pontoon boat. Rescheduled from October 11, 2019. Enjoy the leisurely boat ride during fall bird migration. We will stop at the historic site of the Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station with its raised boardwalk with 56 educational stations identifying our common native plants and creatures extending several thousands of feet into the marsh. The trip continues into "Stinking Bayou" for some different habitat and more excellent birding where alligators are common. We will have an experienced bird guide to point out all the migrating birds as they pass our way! Bring your binoculars and cameras for a spectacular showcase of birds in flight! Stay to view sunset on the upper deck of the Galva classrooms with a glass of wine and cheese refreshments. $45 members/$50 non-members. Limited space is available so register early! Contact email@example.com or call 985-626-1238.
The Southeast Louisiana University's Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station at Galva Canal in Manchac. Turtle Cove helps support a variety of interdisciplinary research and education programs at Southeastern-and other universities around the region. There is good birding from the large elevated deck overlooking the swamp. Alligators are common, and birding includes shorebirds, waterfowl, woodpeckers, migrant warblers, and birds of prey. See the Birding Checklists for the species seen last year during prior BirdFests.
We will bird in the bayous and canals of the Manchac swamp by pontoon boat. We may stop at the historic site of the Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station. The station, situated on Pass Manchac between Lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas adjacent to the 8,300-acre Manchac Wildlife Management Area was built in 1908 as a private camp from virgin bald cypress that once completely surrounded it. High demands for lumber near the turn of the century led to the complete logging of the swamp forest, leaving few bald cypress trees standing. In the aftermath, land subsidence and the incursion of brackish water have prevented the cypress trees from re-establishing themselves. Because of the location, Turtle Cove provides an ideal location for bald cypress and wetland restoration projects, and for environmental and ecological studies. A raised boardwalk with 56 educational stations identifying our common native plants and creatures extends several thousands of feet into the marsh.
Weather permitting; your pontoon boat may travel into the lake to the Manchac lighthouse. This lighthouse, once on land, is surrounded by water. Many birds roost on the lighthouse and the pilings and ruins surrounding it. Julia Sims, a nationally known bird and wildlife photographer, has chosen this locale for some of her work. If not, the trip continues into ‘Stinking Bayou' for some different habitat and more excellent birding. Alligators are common, and birding includes shorebirds, waterfowl, woodpeckers, migrant warblers, and birds of prey. See the Birding Checklists for the species seen during prior BirdFests.
Local food after the event. Since the trip ends at Manchac Pass, we recommend that you visit Middendorf's, a legendary local restaurant, to sample "thin fried catfish" or other local seafood.
Wintering Birds: Blue-headed Vireo, Bald Eagle, Swamp and White-throated Sparrows.
Resident and Breeding Birds: Brown Pelican, Great Blue, Tricolored, Yellow-crowned Night, Black-crowned Night and Little Blue Herons; Cattle, White and Snowy Egrets; White Ibis; Wood and Mottled Ducks; Black Vulture; Osprey, Northern Harrier, Caspian, Royal and Forster's Terns; Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Belted Kingfisher, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Kingbird, White-eyed Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Yellow-throated, Prothonotary and Hooded Warblers; Boat-tailed Grackle, and Orchard Oriole.
Possible Spring Migrants: Yellow-throated and Red-eyed Vireos, Scarlet and Summer Tanagers, Indigo Bunting and more.