Field Guides
Home Tours Guides News About Us FAQ Contact Us
Field Guides Tour Report
Louisiana: Yellow Rails & Crawfish Tails 2013
Oct 24, 2013 to Oct 28, 2013
Dan Lane & Lena Senko

We were lucky enough to have a face-to-face encounter with our “holy gRail,” thanks to the banding operations taking place at the Yellow Rails and Rice Festival. (Photo by guide Lena Senko)

A Yellow Rail in a net? You bet! On this tour we joined the Yellow Rails and Rice Festival crew for an unforgettable afternoon. Some of us rode the giant, rice-harvesting combine and watched as rails, wrens, and sparrows flushed out of its way. Others stood to the side, hoping for good binocular views at flushing birds. Regardless of strategy, we were all there as our #1 target bird darted out of the field and swung into some mist nets. This was certainly a pleasant surprise, gifting closer looks than we imagined possible! Scores of Soras, Virginia Rails, and a rarely-sighted King Rail rounded out the day splendidly.

Along the roadsides, we drew out migrants such as Magnolia and Wilson’s Warblers, Indigo Buntings, Blue Grosbeak, and wintering species like Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. The latter two were numerous and always all too eager to investigate our pishing! Other roadside stops yielded flocks of White-faced Ibis and Greater White-fronted Geese by the thousands, with some Snow Geese and sandpipers mixed in. Roseate Spoonbills were head-turners as they cruised over us, aglow in bright pink garb, and two unexpected, captive-raised Whooping Cranes had us cheering. Shorebirds did not disappoint either -- we picked out Franklin’s Gulls, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Gull-billed Terns, several plover species, and many others along the beaches in Cameron Parish. Finally, a visit to Kisatchie National Forest gave us a Bachman’s Sparrow who sat still for a deliciously long time. The Red-cockaded Woodpecker was cooperative, too, along with a Barred Owl couple that boomed at us from the treetops. Add to this the lovely weather, stunning sunsets, kindness of locals, and tasty Cajun cookin’, and you’ve got yourself a smorgasbord for the senses!

Dan and I are very grateful to Kevin Berken, Donna Dittmann, Steve Cardiff, and all the volunteers who helped us get on the flighty birds at the Yellow Rails and Rice Festival. And, of course, thanks to all of YOU for being a fantastically enthusiastic and fun group! A tidbit: in Russian, there is no word for “goodbye.” There is only “do svidanya,” which literally translates to “until we meet again.” That is certainly my wish.

Long live the Yellow Rail!


One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

There certainly was no shortage of Greater White-fronted Geese on this tour! (Photo by guide Lena Senko)

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE (Anser albifrons) – They darkened the sky by the thousands!
SNOW GOOSE (Chen caerulescens) – A handful were mixed in with the Greater White-fronteds who were grazing in a wet field by the side of the road on the first day.
MOTTLED DUCK (GULF COAST) (Anas fulvigula maculosa) – Folks in Lena’s van had drive-by looks at a close couple in a roadside ditch; then we pursued them at a nearby marsh and had good looks at several in flight.
BLUE-WINGED TEAL (Anas discors)
GREEN-WINGED TEAL (AMERICAN) (Anas crecca carolinensis)
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps) – A couple on the second day.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) – The common cormorant throughout.
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax auritus) – Told from Neotropic by larger size, shorter tail, and extensive orange facial skin. Juveniles have a very pale breast that stands out in contrast to the rest of the bird, unlike Neotropic juveniles who typically sport a dark brown breast.
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)
AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) – It was nice to see these striking pelicans in big flocks overhead and by the water’s edge.
BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis) – Frequently seen on the coast, usually gliding just over the ocean.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
LEAST BITTERN (Ixobrychus exilis) – Lucky for us, we saw not one but two in flight at the Sabine Nature Trail.
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias)
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

Guide and artist Dan Lane crayon-sketched this Yellow Rail onto the paper tablecloth at the famous Blue Dog Café (hence the rail perching on top of a blue doggie’s head). This is a necessary ritual, which beckons the rail out of hiding (one hopes). Well, whatever it was, we all know it worked! (Photo by guide Lena Senko)

SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea) – A couple were had as fly-bys on the second day.
TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor) – Formerly called “Louisiana Heron.” We had a couple at the Sabine Nature Trail. This bird’s white belly contrasts distinctly with its dark breast.
REDDISH EGRET (Egretta rufescens) – The most active and animated hunter of all the egrets, this species was amusing to watch as it darted to and fro after prey along Holly Beach.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis) – We were impressed by the way these daredevils escaped the blades of the rice-harvesting combine at the very last minute every time!
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens) – One fly-by on the first day.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE IBIS (Eudocimus albus) – Incredibly abundant.
WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi) – This is the most abundant Plegadis ibis in Louisiana. We never saw any up close to be able to pick out a Glossy.
ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja) – Ahhh how they glow! A spoonbill in the rising or setting sunlight is nothing to squawk at.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
NORTHERN HARRIER (Circus cyaneus) – A common glider over fields and marshes everywhere we went. In Welsh we observed three young harriers harassing Savannah Sparrows in a field. They dive-bombed the sparrows continuously, and we weren’t sure if they were just displaying teenage angst or seriously attempting to snatch a meal. In either case, they didn’t catch the fast sparrows but certainly imparted some stress on those small passerines.
COOPER'S HAWK (Accipiter cooperii)
BALD EAGLE (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis) – The common buteo everywhere we went; we saw only the eastern form.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

This giant red monster of a machine is precisely what gives birders any hope of seeing furtive rails in these vast rice fields. The birds flush out of the way of the noisy combine as it goes about its rice harvesting business. (Photo by guide Lena Senko)

YELLOW RAIL (Coturnicops noveboracensis) – The star of the show! Our group saw at least 8 different individuals, but there were probably close to a total of 20 there that afternoon.
CLAPPER RAIL (Rallus longirostris) – We briefly encountered one skulker at East Jetty. It was neat to see it swim like a duck from one patch of vegetation to another.
KING RAIL (Rallus elegans) – A nice surprise for us at the rice fields. This large, rufous rail baffled the festival volunteers with its disappearing acts. How it manages to enter a small patch of rice and just vanish is a mystery; this bird has my utmost respect for its stealth ninja skills.
VIRGINIA RAIL (Rallus limicola)
SORA (Porzana carolina) – The most abundant rail species to be spooked by the combine. One stood right in the middle of the road for us for quite some time.
COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata)
AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana)
Gruidae (Cranes)

Sadly, the Whooping Crane was extirpated from Louisiana in the 1930s. We were therefore very lucky (and surprised) to see this pair along the roadside in Cameron Parish. Fortunately, there are now programs in place that aim to permanently reintroduce the Whooping Crane back into the state. (Photo by guide Lena Senko)

WHOOPING CRANE (Grus americana) – An unexpected surprise for all! We encountered a couple of individuals on the second day while driving about near Holly Beach. In 1941, a single dwindling flock of 15 Whooping Cranes remained in the entire world due to overhunting and habitat loss. A conservation organization called Operation Migration taught captively-raised young birds how and where to migrate with motorized hang gliders. Thanks to those efforts there are now over 500 of the still-endangered birds sailing through the skies. We felt lucky to see a couple ourselves (though they are not officially countable since they were raised in captivity).
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola) – Numerous.
SNOWY PLOVER (Charadrius nivosus) – Three were standing or snoozing on the sand at Holly Beach. The thin black bill and gray legs distinguish it from its cousin Piping in nonbreeding plumage. Otherwise, they look nearly identical at a distance.
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus)
PIPING PLOVER (Charadrius melodus) – Several of these bright orange-legged plovers patrolled the mudflats at East Jetty, including one that had two green bands on its leg. Sadly, all populations of this pale shorebird are either endangered or threatened due to human disturbance.
KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus) – Lots, especially in grassy areas.
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
AMERICAN AVOCET (Recurvirostra americana) – We encountered a small group of huddled-up birds along Holly Beach.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) – Some were able to get looks at one that teeter-tottered along a wooden plank at the Calcasieu River Ferry.
GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca)
WILLET (WESTERN) (Tringa semipalmata inornata) – We had them on the second day in and around the marshes. The western subspecies of Willet is larger, with a longer and darker bill, paler upperparts, and not-as-streaky underparts.
LONG-BILLED CURLEW (Numenius americanus) – One was feeding on the mudflats at East Jetty in Cameron. What a beak!
RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres) – A few were poking about on the sand at Holly Beach.
SANDERLING (Calidris alba) – These are hardy little birds! Sanderlings spend their winter not only in mild Louisiana but also in frigid northern New England. Actually, nonbreeding Sanderlings can be found on almost any beach on earth.
WESTERN SANDPIPER (Calidris mauri) – Much paler than the Least and with dark legs, these peeps walked about with their tails cocked up like tiny rails on the mudlflats of East Jetty. They were doing this presumably because they were aggravated by the larger Semipalmated Plovers nearby or were simply unhinged by their close proximity to one another.
LEAST SANDPIPER (Calidris minutilla)
DUNLIN (Calidris alpina)
STILT SANDPIPER (Calidris himantopus) – We saw several among the hundreds of Long-billed Dowitchers on the first day. In non-breeding plumage, this species is pale gray, with a light, unstreaked belly and white eyebrow.
SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus griseus) – Identified by its lower-pitched, several-noted flight call and preference for salt water. We saw a dozen or so feeding at East Jetty.

After getting our fill of rails in the morning, we were definitely ready for some savory Cajun cookin’! Where better to head than to Nott's Corner Seafood & Deli? (Photo by guide Lena Senko)

LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (Limnodromus scolopaceus) – The most abundant wintering dowitcher in Louisiana, preferring fresh water. Its high-pitched, single-noted flight call is a good distinguishing mark from the Short-billed.
WILSON'S SNIPE (Gallinago delicata) – All of our birds were sighted in small, flyover flocks.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
LAUGHING GULL (Leucophaeus atricilla)
FRANKLIN'S GULL (Leucophaeus pipixcan) – We picked them out from the abundant Laughing Gulls by their smaller size, daintier bill, and darker hood.
RING-BILLED GULL (Larus delawarensis)
HERRING GULL (AMERICAN) (Larus argentatus smithsonianus)
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL (Larus fuscus) – Our first one was at Holly Beach. Later, Mary’s sharp eyes found one in a large group of gulls at East Jetty. Upon further inspection, we then found three more!
GULL-BILLED TERN (Gelochelidon nilotica) – This thick-billed tern has very pale wings with barely any black in the primaries.
CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia) – Sports a thicker, redder bill than the Royal.
FORSTER'S TERN (Sterna forsteri) – Abundant in Cameron.
ROYAL TERN (Thalasseus maximus) – Roosting on the sand at East Jetty, with a few Caspians mixed in.
BLACK SKIMMER (Rynchops niger) – Interspersed among the roosting tern and gull flock at East Jetty.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (Streptopelia decaocto) – [I] This species was introduced to the Bahamas and spread to Florida in the late 1970s. After becoming well-established there, it rapidly spread westward in the 90s. Now it has a very large range, thanks in part to the wide availability of birdfeeders. [I]

An example of some classic Cajun fare at Prejean’s, complete with corn maque chaux and pork-rice. YUM. (Photo by guide Lena Senko)

WHITE-WINGED DOVE (Zenaida asiatica)
MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura)
INCA DOVE (Columbina inca) – Great looks at the one on the wire at Rutherford Oaks. The correct name for this species really should have been “Aztec Dove” because it is found in the southern U.S. and in Central America, but not in South America (where the Incas lived).
Strigidae (Owls)
GREAT HORNED OWL (Bubo virginianus) – Our “comic relief” bird. Soon after we arrived at Rutherford Oaks, Dan said, “Sometimes Great Horned Owl can be seen here,” and a second before he completed his sentence, one hooted nearby! We all chuckled at this great synchronicity and got great scope looks of the owl perching in the open on a stump.
BARRED OWL (Strix varia) – The couple we saw tucked themselves away at the top of a pine, but thanks to our scopes, we had no trouble admiring them. Hearing them call to one another was a treat!
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon) – Seen every day, usually perched up on a roadside wire.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes carolinus)
YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER (Sphyrapicus varius) – Seen daily, but our best looks were at Rutherford Oaks.
DOWNY WOODPECKER (Picoides pubescens) – One in Rutherford Oaks.
HAIRY WOODPECKER (Picoides villosus) – One on West Niblett Road the first day.
RED-COCKADED WOODPECKER (Picoides borealis) – The one bird at Kisatchie NF was quite cooperative. The red “cockade” of the male is rarely seen, if ever! This U.S. endemic is strictly dependent on mature Longleaf Pine forests, the destruction of which has led to the woodpecker becoming listed as an endangered species.
NORTHERN FLICKER (YELLOW-SHAFTED) (Colaptes auratus auratus)
PILEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus pileatus) – Never did cooperate for a good look, but we had several in the pines.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

At Holly Beach, we met up with several large flocks of gulls and terns. (Photo by guide Lena Senko)

CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway) – Linda first spotted it, and Dan shouted it – good work, team! A couple of caracaras flew past us at the Welsh Landfill area, showing off their bright white wingtips.
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)
MERLIN (Falco columbarius) – Watching the one chasing a Sanderling at East Jetty was exhilarating. Fortunately for the Sanderling, it managed to get away from the Merlin’s talons… this time.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – Bob spotted an adult perched on a tower, tearing into some prey. Later on we had a young bird fly over us while we were searching for the Sedge Wren.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

Birding on the beach. What will we see next? Gull-billed Tern, Snowy Plover, or Lesser Black-backed Gull? (Photo by participant Bill Denton)

EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus virens) – It was quite late for this bird to still be around.
EASTERN PHOEBE (Sayornis phoebe)
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus) – We were treated to both a lovely male and female on the first day. This species’ winter range is continuing to spread into Louisiana.
WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis) – On the first day we had a couple, including one among some Scissor-taileds.
SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Tyrannus forficatus) – What pretty flycatchers these are, truly! We got to see some every day, usually perched on telephone wires.
Laniidae (Shrikes)
LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE (Lanius ludovicianus)
Vireonidae (Vireos)
WHITE-EYED VIREO (Vireo griseus) – We saw one on the first day as well as the last. (Neat fact: both the male and female sing when on their wintering territory.)
BLUE-HEADED VIREO (Vireo solitarius) – Only the Dans had this one briefly in the thick roadside shrubs on the last day.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
BLUE JAY (Cyanocitta cristata)
AMERICAN CROW (Corvus brachyrhynchos) – Fairly common on the way to (and in) Kisatchie NF.
FISH CROW (Corvus ossifragus) – There were hundreds of them where we stayed in Scott. They adored the McDonald’s at the corner.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)

Why did the Sora cross the road? (Photo by guide Dan Lane)

NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis) – The two that we had (one on the first day and one on the last) brought attention to themselves with their characteristic, farty call note: “brrt!”
TREE SWALLOW (Tachycineta bicolor) – We witnessed quite the spectacle on our second day at dusk as thousands of swallows streamed past us on the highway, heading for an evening roost somewhere in the marsh.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)
Paridae (Chickadees and Tits)
CAROLINA CHICKADEE (Poecile carolinensis)
TUFTED TITMOUSE (Baeolophus bicolor)
Sittidae (Nuthatches)
BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCH (Sitta pusilla) – These hyper little guys don’t like to come down from the treetops for better viewing, but we nevertheless had good looks at them scampering along the branches.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)
SEDGE WREN (Cistothorus platensis) – Getting this bird was a memorable challenge! This elusive little wren loves to pop up briefly, only to disappear into the thick grass after a split second. Everyone finally got great looks at Rutherford Beach Road, where one hopped in and around a low bush and in the grasses for a while.
MARSH WREN (Cistothorus palustris) – Good looks at a couple on the Sabine Nature Trail.
CAROLINA WREN (Thryothorus ludovicianus) – These guys were much easier to hear than see. We heard them every day and caught glimpse-views here and there.
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea) – A common presence in every winter passerine flock that we encountered.
Regulidae (Kinglets)

A Bachman’s Sparrow sits tucked away in a maple sapling at Kisatchie National Forest. (Photo by guide Lena Senko)

GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET (Regulus satrapa) – One paid us a visit at Rutherford Oaks on the second day.
RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET (Regulus calendula) – Along with the gnatcatcher, this kinglet is extremely responsive to scolding tape, always being the first to come in and have a look.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
EASTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia sialis) – A few folks saw a couple on the wires on the second day soon after our gas station stop in Sulphur. Bob and guide Dan had another on the last day as well.
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
GRAY CATBIRD (Dumetella carolinensis) [*]
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos)
BROWN THRASHER (Toxostoma rufum) – Awesome spotting by Jane of one atop a bush on the last day.
Sturnidae (Starlings)
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
AMERICAN PIPIT (Anthus rubescens) – Seen only in flight, calling out “pi-pit!”
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) – Its distinctive call note alerted us to this migrant’s presence. The waterthrush responded to playback by flying back and forth across the road three times.
ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER (Oreothlypis celata)
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas)
MAGNOLIA WARBLER (Setophaga magnolia) – We had three different individuals on the first day. Even in non-breeding plumage these warblers are striking.
PINE WARBLER (Setophaga pinus) – Bob adroitly spotted one for us atop a… wait for it… pine in Kisatchie NF.
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (MYRTLE) (Setophaga coronata coronata)
WILSON'S WARBLER (Cardellina pusilla) – This uncommon winterer enjoyed playing hide-and-seek with us a little too much I’m afraid. Only some in the group glimpsed it.
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
BACHMAN'S SPARROW (Peucaea aestivalis) – A highlight for all and a lifer for many! Guide Dan knew the precise technique to get it to perch up in a bush that we surrounded. This sparrow sat still for a long while, spoiling us rotten with good looks.
SAVANNAH SPARROW (Passerculus sandwichensis) – Very common.

Heading off into the pines. Autumn has left its mark even in Louisiana. (Photo by guide Lena Senko)

SEASIDE SPARROW (Ammodramus maritimus) – Great looks of one at our Whooping Crane stop!
LINCOLN'S SPARROW (Melospiza lincolnii) – We had one skulker in the roadside bushes on the first day. Fine streaks on its buffy chest are the telltale field mark of this species.
SWAMP SPARROW (Melospiza georgiana) – Seen well the first two days and heard only on the last.
WHITE-THROATED SPARROW (Zonotrichia albicollis) [*]
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
SUMMER TANAGER (Piranga rubra) – A female made a brief visit to a dead tree at our gas station stop in Sulphur on the second day.
NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis)
BLUE GROSBEAK (Passerina caerulea) – We had one on West Niblett Road on our first morning, hanging out among a group of Indigo Buntings. This species is larger, with a bigger bill and more rufous coloration than the Indigoes.
INDIGO BUNTING (Passerina cyanea) – Several on the first day in the grass and shrubbery.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus) – Had them every day.
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella magna) – Daily.
BREWER'S BLACKBIRD (Euphagus cyanocephalus) – Several at the Welsh Landfill area on the last day.
COMMON GRACKLE (Quiscalus quiscula)
BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus major) – Common, particularly in marshy areas. Its dark iris was the giveaway.

This gorgeous Gulf Fritillary was kind enough to strike up a photogenic pose for our cameras. (Photo by guide Lena Senko)

GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE (Quiscalus mexicanus) – Also common, but preferring “civilization” more so than the previous species. The Great-tailed also has a flatter head than the Boat-billed, as well as a yellow iris.
BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD (Molothrus ater) – Some on the first and last day.
Fringillidae (Siskins, Crossbills, and Allies)
HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus) [*]
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – Daily, including one with an all-white crown at our gas station stop in Sulphur. A strange (and admittedly exciting) sighting! Aberrations, even in very common birds, are always neat. [I]

NINE-BANDED ARMADILLO (Dasypus novemcinctus) – Art and Toby briefly saw one… it even looked up at them.
BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN (Tursiops truncatus) – A few were splashing around in the Calcasieu River while we crossed it on the ferry.
COYOTE (Canis latrans) – Some in the group spotted one standing alongside the road.
NORTHERN RACCOON (Procyon lotor) – One stopped in the middle of the trail at Sabine and stared at us before darting into the cattails. What a bushy tail!
STRIPED SKUNK (Mephitis mephitis) – Guide Dan spotted one plodding along in an open turf field, among a whole lot of Black-bellied Plovers.

These Yellow Pitcher Plants are carnivorous plants and derive their nutrients from insects that get trapped inside their long, liquid-filled cavities. (Photo by Lena Senko)

WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus)



Green/Carolina Anole (Anolis carolinensis) – Art’s sharp eyes picked this one out.

American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) – While we can’t count the huge, stuffed one we saw at Prejean’s Restaurant, we will gladly add the submerged one at Sabine Nature Trail to our list.

River Cooter (Pseudemys concinna) – These were the turtles we saw lounging on the lake at Kisatchie NF.

Gulf Coast Toad (Incilius valliceps)


 Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)

Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

Long-tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus)

Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis)


Thank you, Mary, for sharing your abundant botany wisdom! The following were a few highlights:

Yellow Pitcher Plant a.k.a. Yellow Trumpet (Sarracenia flava)

American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)

Blue Beech a.k.a. Ironwood a.k.a. Musclewood (Carpinus caroliniana)

Common Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

Mulberry sp. (Morus sp.)

Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris)

Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda)

Totals for the tour: 141 bird taxa and 6 mammal taxa