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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Birding on the Louisiana Gulf Coast

On my state map, I had noticed a road highlighted in green along the Southwest Louisiana Gulf Coast during our previous week's trip across the state. An uncle of mine once told me that after he retired, he "just followed the green lines" whenever he traveled. It was good advice.

We headed south from Lafayette after just missing the queen's parade on Monday night and the king's parade on Tuesday morning. Just about every city on the Gulf Coast has Mardi Gras parades. Some have a few, some have a lot. They are mostly quite family-friendly affairs, too. But they do tie up a lot of traffic.

We soon picked up the scenic byway that promised swamps, birds and alligators.
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I can't say it was one of the best scenic byways we have ever traveled but it was very interesting.

We saw lots of rice growing and a little bit being harvested.

And several very small towns with interesting names.

The town of Abbeville was very interesting, but very deserted because of the Mardi Gras celebration. The entire downtown area is on the National Register of Historic Places.
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When we finally reached the Rockerfeller Wildlife Refuge, we stopped and ate sandwiches that we had brought along and looked for birds and 'gators.

We didn't see any alligators but the birds were plentiful. They ranged from the common to the unusual.
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Some were just standing around.

And others were in flight.

We also saw two pretty pink flamingos in the area but weren't quick enough to catch them with the camera.

This is the sanctuary headquarters. You can see that it is not fully recovered from the effects of Hurricane Ike (2008). Much of this coastal area still suffers in the same way.

We had moderate rain through most of the day. The forecast calls for two to four inches of rain and possible severe weather in the area tonight. So far, things have not been too bad and we are watching from a hotel room near Houston.

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