Grand Isle Birds & a Giveaway

Dear readers, how I’ve missed you.  I can only hope that you’ve missed me as much and haven’t totally given up on finding a new post here in this century!

It was very rough winter for me as far as having more than my fair share of the creeping crud (repeatedly). We’ve heard it over and over again:  Stress is a killer.  Day to day life oftenold-rubberband becomes quite hectic. As women (and men) filling multiple roles, we roll with the punches the best we can. But sometimes the stress of life becomes like an old rubber band that you absentmindedly reach into the drawer and grab to stretch around a stack of old bank statements. But before you know it, the rubber band snaps, popping you in the hand, and there’s nothing left to do but wince at the pain.  

Suffice it to say the old rubber band snapped me, and I’ve recovered enough to pull a new one out of the drawer, being careful not to stretch it beyond its capacity.  I’m sincerely very grateful to be able to do so.

So, here we are.  Spring has sprung, and Mother Nature continues her cycles. April is the month of the “fall out” of neotropical song birds migrating from Central America north across the Gulf of Mexico until they reach land. At first sight of land, the birds literally fall out of the sky, exhausted, hungry, and thirsty, which makes for excellent bird watching in coastal Louisiana this time of year.

bird-clubI spent Saturday on Grand Isle bird watching all over the island with members of the Terrebonne Bird Club. This is not my first time to stalk these beautiful birds on the island, but it is my first time to do so with the club.  I met lots of avid birders with way more ability to spot and identify the birds than I possess, which was a major plus.


Mr. Bobby SantinyFor me, the highlight of the trip was making our way through the chenier to the property of Robert Santini, now deceased.  Mr. Bobby, as we called him, created a haven for the hungry migrants on his property way back in 1979.  He planted native red mulberry trees (and a white mulberry) on his property and built feeding tables, which he placed in an open lot and covered with bird seed.  

It was in Mr. Bobby’s yard back in 2004 that I saw my first Painted Bunting, DSC_0003 (2)aand I shall never forget it.  I confessed to him that spring day that I was new to bird watching, as he offered me a chair near a huge red mulberry tree.  “Sit right here and keep watching that tree.  The birds can’t resist those berries.  If you keep your eyes on that tree, I promise you will see the most beautiful bird in the world.”  So, I did AND I did.  That bird, of course, was the Painted Bunting, and from that point on, I was hooked.

It’s only natural that I returned this year to Mr. Bobby’s yard in hopes of seeing the colorful rare bird again.  A small group of us picked our way through the brush as quietly as we could and walked along the fenceline bordering his yard. As I looked past the cyclone fence into the backyard, there stood the old red mulberry tree, laden with berries, where I spied my first Painted Bunting 12 years ago.  Much to my dismay, there were no birds in the tree.  Maybe it was because there were too many bird watchers in the yard?

I followed the rest of my little group to the back of the property where a white white-mulberrymulberry tree stood near the house.  I’d never heard of a white mulberry, but one of the ladies said the berries are much sweeter than the red ones. 

As I approached the tree for a closer look, my excitement grew as dozens of birds of all colors decorated the branches, flitting here and there in their own excitement. I staked my spot under the tree and must have stood there half an hour with my head titled back, craning my neck to get the best shots to share with you.  I really did have a bird’s eye view!

For those of you who are bird watchers, I know you’re wondering about the bird count and if I saw any lifers.  Well, the bird count for group was about 60 (not counting any of the shore bird migrants). I saw my first Vermillion Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, and from a very far distance, a rare Groove-billed Ani.  Now THAT was the bird that had the veteran birders super excited!

As I’ve said at least a dozen times on this site:  A picture paints a thousand words, and while I probably took a thousand photos, don’t worry, I won’t make you suffer through all of them!  Now, I will let the photos do the talking. 


I had a wonderful time making new friends and seeing a few birds for the first time.  I also connected with a few ladies who might come down for an adventure; one in particular who wants to learn to fish, although she doesn’t like killing things and isn’t sure how she feels about killing a fish.  It’s okay, Collette; we can practice catch and release!

It doesn’t matter that I never saw a Painted Bunting.  What matters most is that I found a way to leave the rubber band in the desk drawer for a day.  

Until next time, watch out for those old rubber bands!

Now for the giveaway:  This month’s sponsor is Kim  of Wetland Treasures. She makes all kinds of beautiful jewelry and is generously donating a BW wrap bracelet, graced with a cute dragonfly charm.  Please leave a comment in the section below to be entered in a random drawing, probably on Sunday, April 17 and visit Kim’s Etsy shop.  

Please hop over and read my latest article in Country Roads Magazine – “Southern Dewberries”

SUNDAY DRAWING:  The winner of the BW Bracelet by Kim is ETTA!!!  Etta, please email me your mailing address ASAP so Kim can get your bracelet in the mail!  Thanks to everyone who took the time to read and comment!  This blog is nothing without you all!

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  1. You sure saw some beautiful birds! My favorite has to be the Scarlet Tanager. I sure wish I could see some of the birds you have migrating through Louisiana right now.

    The dragonfly bracelet is made from some colorful agate beads – much like the colors of those birds! Bayou Woman picked the beads out herself. The dragonfly charm to remind you of the wetlands that BW loves! I hope you’ll all comment to get a chance to win this bracelet!

    1. The dragonfly is significant, because way back in 2007 (which is also the year this blog was born), Kim rode on the maiden tour of Wetland Tours, and she photographed a dragonfly sitting on my cap!! Thank you again, Kim, for your part in promoting these tours!!!

      1. I didn’t tell the story because I was worried I would get the detail wrong! I remember that day well and when I think of you (picture you in my mind), I think of you with that dragonfly on your cap! 🙂

        1. I have the photo somewhere in my files. I’ll try to resurrect it after I get back from town. Busy busy!!!

  2. Your pictures are, as always, picture perfect. Beautiful colors. The spotted tummy is so fat on that one bird!I keep going back just to look at the fabulous colors. It’s nice that you got out to Mr. Bobby’s place. I do hope you took a breath for yourself.

    I haven’t been able to watch the birds around my house too much lately due to work. But I did watch, with glee, Mr. and Mrs. Finch make a nest right outside of my kitchen and bathroom windows in a hanging basket. I wash dishes and myself a lot now. Can’t wait for the babies to show themselves.

    Be careful out there, Rubber Band Man (Lady).

    1. Nesting birds outside your window is very special!!! I’ve not experienced that! Thanks so much, Cuz.

  3. I hit enter before I had a chance to comment on Kim’s bracelet! I’ve always admired her jewelry very much, especially the one with the agate beads. It really does reflect BW and what she loves. Gar earrings? Those are just crazy-great!

  4. Wendy….yes we all have those rubber bands. So glad you are on the mend. Stress can take a toll. But the Coast soothes the Soul! My favorite bird was all of them but alas I am partial to Roseate Spoonbills. Love the neon and our pesky pelicans to! Love from Bayou Manchac.

    1. Being on the water does soothe the soul, but being in the chenier did a pretty good job of it, too!

  5. The birds are beautiful. What an experience to view these birds in the wild. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Ahhh Grand Isle ! Thank you for the great pictures! Such a fine place for birding, photography AND relaxing – the whole year round !
    I hope you got to see my brudder.

    1. That rascal was nowhere around. I usually run into him at least once! It is a great place for relaxing, but it certainly was a hub of activity this past weekend . . . the two legged and the winged kind!!!

  7. the pictures of the birds you saw are beautiful. That is an experience I would like to do one day . Happy you are feeling better, I was beginning to wonder where you were since I hadn’t seen a newsletter in a while. Thank you for sharing this & all that you have before. Love seeing your adventures

    1. Hi Ann. Plan to come down early next April, and I’ll put together a little guided trip and take a group of y’all!!!!! I am feeling much better, thanks. Thank you for wondering . . . . .

  8. Yes, you’ve been missed my friend. And I totally get it. Having the one year grief anniversary pass in March, I, too, am working on getting back on board. Your blog reminds all of us that we need to be aware but also to take action. I can only imagine how wonderful the bird watching was, and is! Time for ourselves doing something that is so wonderful we forget about those things that threaten to stretch us beyond our limits. You are a strong woman with a family that loves you. Never forget that the word “selfish” does not have to be a negative, it means looking after “you”. And if you don’t do that, there isn’t enough to look after others. Many times I wish I lived closer to you <3

    1. Ditto on the wish we lived closer idea!!! Your words carry deep meaning and encouragement, Kim. Did I see you were in Cuba recently? Or was that some kind of social media faux pas? Regardless, we carry on, don’t we?

  9. I’m so glad that you found a new rubber band and are back writing and sharing these beautiful picture’s with us. I had the best time on our “Adventure” touring the bayou. I love seeing the world through your eyes. I Look forward to more. Keep up the good work and remember not to stretch that rubber band to much. Love ya! Kim

    1. I’m trying really hard to pace myself and not stretch it too tight, Kim! I enjoyed having you here so very much. One day you can show me your part of our wonderful state! Look forward to seeing you in a few days IF I can swing it. No pressure!

    1. Bonita, hope all is well up north. Thanks so much for being here and for the kind words. I’ve truly missed being here.

  10. Great article Wendy and the photos truly tell the story of what you’ve seen in Grand Isle. The birds were so plentiful and as always colorful! Glad we were able to bird together for a bit and hope to see you at the next outing in a few weeks! 🙂

    1. I really enjoyed it too! I’ll have to check the schedule and add what the next outing is to my calendar to see if the date is open. This is my busy tour season, so that takes precedence over “play time”, because we have to pay the bills, right? So glad we connected way back when! I still owe you a Bayou Woman T-shirt!!!

  11. I’m glad you’re feeling better with less stress. Sometimes you just have to put the hammer down and say, “I have had enough,” grab a glass of wine or a cold beer, sit on your front porch and just watch the world.

    I do love critters. All of them. I have a squirrel that knocks on my back door for her ration of peanuts!

    The pictures are lovely and I’m sure seeing all that beauty helped in amazing ways.

    Take care of yourself. We would all miss you so much. I look forward to your posts.


    1. Hi Jeri, and how right you are. I needed to say stop the merry-go-round and let me off, but my body spoke before I could. LOUD AND CLEAR. I can just see your little friend tapping on the back door! By the way, are you new to this blog or have you been here awhile and just been kinda quiet? Regardless, it’s great to have you and thanks for commenting.

  12. Wendy, hope you get completely away from all the stress and crud. I loved the photos and it made me think of something I did at my moms that made me want to cry. We were trying to clean up her place and there was an old, rotting birdhouse on a fence post that we were tearing out. I checked it, saw nothing in it, had seen no birds near it all morning so, I tossed it in the burn pile. I felt terrible a while later when two little blue birds started fluttering around where that house had been and chirping like crazy. I went to the burn pile and pulled the house out and there had been a tiny nest in it with 2 eggs. Unfortunately, they were broken. I still feel rotten about it. So, thank you for those gorgeous photos. They make one realize that not everything goes perfect but, beauty is still there for us to see. Even when we accidentally put a dent in it.

    1. Oh, your tender heart. Reading your little story, I felt your emotions, and I totally get it. Well, I know you still feel badly about it but I’m glad these photos brought you a little solace. It’s okay, they’ll find another home and make more babies. They truly will. God bless you, Cammy.

  13. My grandfather loved to bird watch and I can remember any time it snowed, he would get out his old dented coffee can of bird seed and make sure his feathered friends had food. Any time a cardinal would land in the yard, he would have me to come see it. The man loved to be outside and fishing was his thing. I just know he would have adored you.

    1. And I just know I would have adored him, too. I never knew any of my grandfathers, which is sad. I know you appreciate the blessing of having known yours. I miss you, sister! So good to hear from you. Bryce is almost out of the nest! What WILL you do?

      1. I think he plans to live at home and drive to school for the first month or so, he starts in July. He has a few friends who are going to school near him and they are thinking of getting a rent house. He will only be in school for 11 months. He is going to Spartan School of Aeronautics and is taking Non-Destructive Testing/Quality Control. Not what we thought he would do but I think it’s a great fit for him.

  14. Rumour has it ye were abducted by Pyrates for a time…LOL
    Sounds like a “Grand” adventure ye had, the birds/photos are lovely. We definitely need to venture back to Grand Isle again…been too long.

  15. Loved seeing all the pictures. I would love to see the place in Grand Isle. I am one who stretches the rubber band until it breaks. I need lessons from you on how to stop and take a day and sit and watch all of Mother Natures creatures! Winter was stressful but we are pros at what we do and handle it the best we can! ❤️

    1. Then you shall go with me!!! Oh, believe me, I cannot give lessons. I had to force myself to go to GI. I had not done anything like that just for me—something I enjoy — in quite a while. How about coming down here for a boat ride on a pretty day?

  16. A lot of “land birds” for an island – were there sea birds (or wetlands birds) as well?

    1. Yes there were plenty of those confusing shorebirds; however, we observed them late Sat. afternoon when it was very dark and overcast. None of the photos turned out very well. I could post them anyway, but it might be kind of boring . . . .

    1. Glad your comment finally made it through, Frankie. If you win, will you wear this or let Vera and Frankie Joe fight over it? Oh wait, they can share!!!

  17. As I said on Facebook…great photos! Keeping it short and sweet. Beautiful vibrant colors. How long does it take for the birds to recuperate before they head north?

    1. But you can’t win the bracelet on Facebook!!! Some say a few days, some say a week. I don’t think anybody really knows but they must have started coming in before I got there because people north of you are already posting photos of indigo buntings and hooded warblers that they took just this week. There’s supposed to be another big fallout any day because of this front. I feel sorry for them having to fly in all this rain.

    1. It is pretty wonderful! When you consider how far these birds fly and where they’re headed, the whole trek is pretty amazing to me!

  18. It is time for the drawing. We have 20 individuals who commented (duplicate comments are not counted), which gives you a 1 in 20 chance of winning. And the winner is

  19. It is time for the drawing. We have 20 individuals who commented (duplicate comments are not counted), which gives you a 1 in 20 chance of winning. And the winner is NUMBER 15, and that would be ETTA!!!!!
    Congratulations, Etta. Please email me your mailing address so Kim can send you your bracelet!!!!!
    True Random Number Generator

    1. Great news!!!!! First, you’re gonna have to wait for these horrific winds to die down . . . . . water looks like chocolate milk!