Scarlet tanager and indigo bunting

Are there any birders out there? One of the many great things about living down the bayou is the fact that we are part of the Mississippi Flyway for the neo-tropical birds. I will be the first to admit what a bad case of spring fever I have this year. I have a restlessness that nothing seems to satisfy, except being right out in the middle of nature where spring is happening the biggest.

Termite and I took the boat for a spin today and anchored out in the marsh to catch a few rays and watch the wading birds come and go. We saw all our regular egrets, an osprey, a bald eagle, gallinules, a little blue and great blue herons, and the ever-so-shy Louisiana heron, with it’s magnificent blue beak.

Late this afternoon, I had a strong feeling that I needed to go outside and watch for migratory birds in my own trees. You see, they come from South America and fly across the Gulf of Mexico. Just think about that. There are no little bird fast food places out there. So the first land they see, they literally fall out due to exhaustion, hunger, and thirst. Then, as though magic, they slowly migrate northward, eating, drinking, and resting as they go.

I feed birds all winter long in hopes they will tell the migratory birds that food is here and they are welcome. The regulars were there eating, and then the visitors showed up. There was a pair of scarlet tanagers and an indigo bunting. To see these gorgeous birds as they are passing through gives me such a great thrill. I’d much rather be sitting out in my chair with my binoculars and camera watching and waiting for a mere glimpse than beating every puzzle on Wheel of Fortune for a whole year!

Well, you can’t really see him, but if you know your birds, you can see enough here to verify that he is, indeed, a scarlet. Look closely and see the black wing tips and tail. That red is so vivid, I don’t think man is able to copy that color. His mate hid in the branches before I could snap her, but there will be more days.

You really have to look closely to see the indigo on the reeds, but you can see it, can’t you? I just can’t express to you how much seeing these birds thrills me. If you’re one of those people who understands the thrill, leave a comment and let me know I’m not the only bird freak around!


TUESDAY PS: I am very puzzled. A birding report today from Grand Isle stated that the Fallout has not yet happened. Except for a couple kingbirds and a few prothonotary warblers, none of the other migratory birds have landed yet. If that’s true, then how is that I have neotropes in my trees already? They have to come over the coast first. Curious.  Very curious.

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  1. You know I’m a bird freak also. Now I’m a traveling bird freak. No better way to see lots of different birds. I am sorry I will be missing the migration in LA.

    Yes, my freaky friend! I’ll keep you posted! What’s your life list up to now?

  2. Beautiful. You didn’t even have to go to Grand Isle this year to get a look at these. Wonder if the tanager was wondering where your bees went.

    Guess what? The clover in my yard is covered with bees! They have a feral colony somewhere, and it’s not in the walls or roof of my house, that I know of! I would like to find them, so I can rob the honey, anyway! That would be great!

  3. These are beautiful. I also love looking at the different kinds of birds that come to our feeders in North Louisiana. I may not get something like this but I do enjoy watching them.

    I would think you might get some of these as they make their way further north. They don’t come down to the feeders, though. Sit in the yard around 6 p.m. and look up in the trees. Watch for flashes of color. They are eating bugs and caterpillars up there! Let me know what you see in about two weeks, ok?

  4. Oh, yes! I see the Indigo Bunting! Beautiful! I see a very few of then here in NE Texas each year. Quite a treat ! I have only seen two Painted Buntings in the 30 some odd years I have lived here and it was quite a treat! I did get some photos last year, tho not real clear. They are simply beautiful! I am seeing a lot of very golden Goldfinches the past few days. It seems late for them ..There are so many and they usually come when the weather is cold. I love birdwatching.

    Thanks for the comment, Doris. I don’t get to see the Goldfinches but sure would love to. You are on the same Central Flyway route as Sweet Magnolia from East Texas. Check out this site to see more of what you can expect.

  5. Ive been watching for birds since your hummer post…Ive only seen a couple of small blue birds, morning doves, and fly catchers…hopefully I’ll be rewarded for my patience soon.

    Hi Deb. It’s a little early yet, I think, but it looks like you are on the “main” route for the Central Flyway. Here is a site that I found very helpful in understanding what the birds are doing.

  6. Some fine pics of two beautiful birds. Though not a “birdee” by definition… I love watching the wintering birds from my deer stand in Dec & Jan. Most notably and somewhat rare are the Baltimore Orioles; yellow being a bit more common than the orange. And of course the brilliant little blue birds that arrive late.

    My most memorable moment was the roosting of some very large Wood Storks just yards from my box stand. Though common to Louisiana… a very rare sight for my eyes. I actually snapped a few pics, but the light and distance prevented any quality pictures.

    So by definition, what exactly is a “birdee”? I hate to tell you, MD, but if you love watching birds from your deer stand, you ARE a “birder”. I have never seen a wood stork yet, but I will one day.

  7. I recently discovered your site and wanted to let you know I enjoy it. I live in Grand Isle and excitedly wait for spring every year! We have several large oaks(fortunately Katrina didn’t get’m!!) and there are hundreds if not thousands of birds visiting regularly. Sadly, I haven’t seen them yet….especially all the little hummingbirds!!! Hopefully, it won’t be long. ‘will keep you posted!!

    Hey Cheryl! Welcome! Found me from the Island Beacon, no doubt? So glad to have you! Yes, I love birding on Grand Isle! In 2004, Mr. Bobby taught me that I could have the same birds in my yard that he had in his if I did the right things. He was right! I am familiar with almost every “back street” on the island, so I’ve probably passed your house. Did you have water in it for the storm?

  8. I don’t know if I missed them or they haven’t done their
    “fly over” yet. Every year we have a huge flock of Canadian geese that use the sky over my house on their way home. Do you think I missed them or they haven’t come yet?

    I’m sorry, K, I don’t know much about their migration times/patterns.

  9. I’m waiting for these birds to arrive here. The Scarlet is so lovely, and the bunting has to be seen for the intense blue to be believed.

    Do you have Whippoorwills on the bayou?

    No, we don’t have them, but the closest thing is the common nighthawk.

  10. Granny Sue…..the Whippoorwills. I spent much of my childhood with my Grandfather on a farm learning how to whistle their call. I hear them all the time. I live on the north shore from New Orleans.

    The cry (or hoot) is amazing to hear.

  11. That “indigo” is beautiful. Where is it from? Several years ago, I spotted a blue bird along our levy. It had a red short “cone”, like a chicken. Any ideas what this is?