Report – Southwestern Louisiana: Cheniers, Cypress Swamps, and Cameron Parish

Southwestern Louisiana: Cheniers, Cypress Swamps, and Cameron Parish 

April 22-29, 2015

Final Tour Report and Species List

We gathered in Lafayette, Louisiana for our birding trip to the swamp forests, “working wetlands,” coastal prairies, and oak cheniers of the sportsmen’s (or perhaps birder’s) paradise. During the ensuing week, we endured some challenging conditions, with rain, thunderstorms, and even a nearby tornado keeping us on our toes, as well as a spring cold front.

Nevertheless, the birding was quite good and we enjoyed the ubiquitous flocks of teal, whistling-ducks, long-legged wading birds and swallows so emblematic of the state. The Atchafalaya Swamp hosted dozens of Mississippi Kites and a few Swallow-tailed Kites, plus scores of glowing Prothonotary Warblers and several Kentucky Warblersincluding one of the latter that showed quite well as it sang from a viewable perch.

The pine woods produced the federally-endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker, a trio of Red-headed Woodpeckers, and numbers of Bachman’s Sparrows whistling their pretty song.

Wide-spanning coverage of the rice country and careful scrutiny of shorebird flocks gave us a good list of sandpipers and plovers including beautiful Black-necked Stilts, breeding plumage Long-billed Dowitchers, and Stilt Sandpipers; additionally we had great looks at Wilson’s Plover and American Avocets along the coast. Marsh birds were well-represented with a high count of 43 Purple Gallinules and excellent views of Least Bittern and a family group of King Rails. Over 100 Black Terns (among 8 species of tern) were hunting the inlet at East Jetty Park in Cameron. Farm fields produced Crested Caracaras and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers.

And as our grand finale, a cold front graced us at the end of the tour, creating a coastal fallout of migrant Neotropic songbirds that included dozens of Philadelphia Vireos and Bay-breasted Warblers, plus many other colorful species of buntings, grosbeaks, and tanagers-often at close range. It was a wonderful way to end our time birding together in Louisiana!

LEADERS: Scott Barnes & Linda Mack


Apr 22: arrival in Lafayette, LA
Apr 23: Atchafalaya Swamp, including Sherburne Wildlife Management Area
& Atchafalaya Nat’l Wildlife Refuge (NWR)
Apr 24: Kistachie Nat’l Forest near Alexandria, LA including Castor Plunge Rd, Kincaid Reservoir, & Valentine Lake Recreation Area; crawfish farms along Cheneyville-Echo Rd just south of the hamlet of Echo
Apr 25: Rice Country south & west of Lafayette/Abbeville, including Mouton Cove, Gueydan area, Turf Grass Rd near Welsh, Lacassine NWR
Apr 26: Holly Beach, Johnson Bayou area, Sabine Lake bridge, Walter Umphrey State Park (TX), Peveto Woods (Baton Rouge Audubon Sanctuary), Holly Beach, Sabine NWR
Apr 27: Holmwood area, Cameron Prairie NWR, East Jetty Park, town of Cameron, Oak Grove Sanctuary
Apr 28: Peveto Woods, Holly Beach, Calcasieu Ferry, Willow Island (town of Cameron)
Apr 29: flights home


Black-bellied Whistling-Duck- Rice country, Cameron Parish
Fulvous Whistling-Duck- Rice country, Lacassine, Johnson Bayou
Greater White-fronted Goose- late migrant at Cheneyville ponds
Wood Duck- Atchafalaya Swamp, Pine woods, Mouton Cove
Gadwall- Cheneyville ponds
American Wigeon- Cheneyville ponds
Mottled Duck- Rice country, Cameron Parish
Blue-winged Teal- all days except Atchafalaya
Northern Shoveler- including 30 Cheneyville ponds
Green-winged Teal- Cheneyville ponds
Black Scoter- 8 in gulf off Holly Beach
Wild Turkey- Atachafalya & Kistachie
Northern Bobwhite- 2 ran in front of van at Holmwood
Pied-billed Grebe- Rice country, Cameron Parish
American White Pelican- 40 at East Jetty Park
Brown Pelican- common along Gulf
Neotropic Cormorant- Cameron Parish
Double-crested Cormorant- all days
Anhinga-Atchafalaya, Lacassine
Great Blue Heron- all days
Great Egret- all days
Snowy Egret- all days
Little Blue Heron- all days
Tricolored Heron- all days except Atchafalaya
Reddish Egret-Holly Beach, East Jetty Park
Cattle Egret- all days
Green Heron- Rice country, Cameron Parish
Black-crowned Night-Heron- Cameron Parish
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron- almost daily
White Ibis- all days
White-faced Ibis- all days
Roseate Spoonbill- all days
Black Vulture- all days
Turkey Vulture- all days
Osprey- high 2 coastal Cameron Parish
Swallow-tailed Kite- 5 Atchafalaya
Mississippi Kite- 50+ Atchafalaya
Bald Eagle- 2 Atchafalaya
Cooper’s Hawk- singles near Cheneyville & Holmwood
Red-shouldered Hawk- Atchafalaya & Cheneyville
Swainson’s Hawk-Rice country & Holmwood/Cameron areas
Red-tailed Hawk- Atchafalaya, Pine Woods, & Rice Country
Crested Caracara-Holmwood area
Peregrine Falcon- Rice Country, Cameron Parish
King Rail-including family group with 6 young Cameron Prairie
Sora-Johnson Bayou/Cameron Prairie
Purple Gallinule-including 43 Lacassine
Common Gallinule- all days except Atchafalaya
American Coot- Rice Country, Cameron Parish
Black-bellied Plover- Rice country, Cameron Parish
American Golden-Plover-Turf Grass Rd & East Jetty Park
Wilson’s Plover-2 East Jetty Park
Semipalmated Plover- Rice country & Cameron Parish
Piping Plover-East Jetty Park
Killdeer- Rice country & Cameron Parish
American Oystercatcher-4 East Jetty Park
Black-necked Stilt- all days except Atchafalaya
American Avocet- high 50 Cameron Parish
Greater Yellowlegs- Rice country & Cameron Parish
Lesser Yellowlegs- Rice country & Cameron Parish
Solitary Sandpiper- 2 singles Cameron Parish
Willet (both Eastern & Western races)
Spotted Sandpiper- Cameron Parish
Upland Sandpiper-20+ Turf Grass Rd
Whimbrel-20 rice country
Marbled Godwit-East Jetty Park
Ruddy Turnstone- coastal Cameron
Sanderling- coastal Cameron
Semipalmated Sandpiper- Rice country & Cameron Parish
Least Sandpiper- Rice country & Cameron Parish
White-rumped Sandpiper-including 5 Turf Grass Rd
Pectoral Sandpiper- Rice country & Cameron Parish
Dunlin- Rice country & Cameron Parish
Stilt Sandpiper- Rice country & Cameron Parish
Short-billed Dowitcher-East Jetty Park
Long-billed Dowitcher-including 1,000 rice country
Wilson’s Phalarope-flyby flock East Jetty Park
Laughing Gull- all days
Bonaparte’s Gull-immature East Jetty Park
Ring-billed Gull- Rice country & Cameron Parish
Herring Gull- Holly Beach
Gull-billed Tern-2 Mouton Cove
Caspian Tern- coastal Cameron Parish
Royal Tern-common along gulf stops
Sandwich Tern-common along gulf stops
Common Tern-common along gulf stops
Forster’s Tern- common Cameron Parish
Least Tern- common along gulf stops
Black Tern-100+ East Jetty Park
Black Skimmer-many loafing around industrial sites along gulf
Rock Pigeon- all days
Eurasian Collared-Dove- all days
White-winged Dove- Cameron Parish
Mourning Dove- all days
Inca Dove-2 at Willow Island
Black-billed Cuckoo- one Peveto Woods
Yellow-billed Cuckoo- Atchafalaya, Pine Woods, Rice country, Peveto
Barred Owl-calling Atchafalya & Kisatchie
Common Nighthawk-especially numerous around Holly Beach
Chimney Swift- high 6 Atchafalaya
Ruby-throated Hummingbird- high 8 Peveto Woods
Belted Kingfisher- Atchafalaya, Pine Woods, Cameron Parish
Red-headed Woodpecker-including 3 Kincaid Reservoir
Red-bellied Woodpecker- Atchafalaya, Pine Woods, Rice Country
Downy Woodpecker- most days
Hairy Woodpecker-Oak Grove
Red-cockaded Woodpecker-5 Castor Plunge Rd at nesting colony
Pileated Woodpecker- Atchafalaya, Pine Woods
Olive-sided Flycatcher-Oak Grove
Eastern Wood-Pewee- Pine Woods, Peveto Woods, Oak Grove
Acadian Flycatcher-common Atchafalaya & migrant at Peveto
Least Flycatcher-Peveto Woods
Great Crested Flycatcher- high 10 Atchafalaya
Western Kingbird-telephone wires along highway, Sabine NWR
Eastern Kingbird-including 50+ flying in off gulf at Oak Grove
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher-fairly common rice country & elsewhere
Loggerhead Shrike- all days
White-eyed Vireo-abundant Atchafalaya
Yellow-throated Vireo- breeders Atchafalaya, Pine Woods, migrants Peveto
Blue-headed Vireo-1 Peveto Woods
Philadelphia Vireo-20+ Peveto Woods
Red-eyed Vireo- high 12 Peveto Woods
Blue Jay- all days
American Crow- most days
Fish Crow- most days
Purple Martin- Rice country, Cameron Parish
Tree Swallow- all days
Northern Rough-winged Swallow- Rice country & Cameron Parish
Bank Swallow-Holmwood area
Cliff Swallow-abundant breeder under bridges
Cave Swallow-6 nesting under bridge near Abbeville
Barn Swallow- all days
Carolina Chickadee- high 15 Atchafalaya
Tufted Titmouse- Atchafalaya, Pine Woods
Brown-headed Nuthatch-calling Kisatchie
Carolina Wren- all days
Sedge Wren-calling Johnson Bayou
Marsh Wren- Rice country & Cameron Parish
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher-Atchafalaya
Eastern Bluebird-near Mouton Cove
Veery-Peveto Woods
Gray-cheeked Thrush-Peveto Woods
Swainson’s Thrush-Peveto Woods
Wood Thrush- Atchafalaya, Pine Woods, migrants coastal Cameron
Gray Catbird- all days
Northern Mockingbird- all days
Brown Thrasher- most days
European Starling- all days
Cedar Waxwing- all days
Blue-winged Warbler- Oak Grove, Peveto Woods
Golden-winged Warbler-Peveto Woods, SB only
Tennessee Warbler- Atchafalaya, Oak Grove, Peveto Woods
Northern Parula-2 singing Atchafalaya
Yellow Warbler- coastal Cameron Parish
Chestnut-sided Warbler-Oak Grove & Peveto Woods
Magnolia Warbler-Oak Grove & Peveto Woods
Black-throated Green Warbler-Oak Grove & Peveto Woods
Blackburnian Warbler-Oak Grove & Peveto Woods
Yellow-throated Warbler-Peveto Woods
Pine Warbler-Kisatchie (heard only)
Prairie Warbler-Kisatchie (heard only)
Bay-breasted Warbler-Oak Grove & Peveto Woods
Blackpoll Warbler-1 Peveto Woods
Black-and-white Warbler- coastal Cameron Parish
American Redstart- Atchafalaya, coastal Cameron Parish
Prothonotary Warbler-including 30+ Atchafalaya
Worm-eating Warbler-Oak Grove & Peveto Woods
Swainson’s Warbler-Atchafalaya (SB heard only), Peveto (DS only)
Ovenbird- coastal Cameron Parish
Northern Waterthrush (heard only Johnson Bayou)
Kentucky Warbler-10 Atchafalya, also Kisatchie
Common Yellowthroat- all days
Hooded Warbler- Atchafalaya, Pine Woods, migrants coastal Cameron
Yellow-breasted Chat-Kisatchie, Peveto Woods
Summer Tanager- breeders Atchafalaya, Pine Woods, migrants Cameron
Scarlet Tanager- Cameron Parish
Western Tanager-one young male Peveto Woods
Eastern Towhee-Atchafalaya & Kisatchie
Bachman’s Sparrow-6 Kisatchie
Chipping Sparrow-Kisatchie
Savannah Sparrow- Rice country & Cameron Parish
Seaside Sparrow- one singing Sabine NWR
White-crowned Sparrow- Rice country & Cameron Parish
Northern Cardinal- all days
Rose-breasted Grosbeak- Pine woods, Rice country & Cameron Parish
Blue Grosbeak- Cheneyville area, Rice country & Cameron Parish
Indigo Bunting- all days
Painted Bunting-4 Atchafalaya, Peveto Woods
Dickcissel-20 Umprhey Park, TX & Holmwood area
Red-winged Blackbird- all days
Eastern Meadowlark- all days except Atchafalaya
Brewer’s Blackbird-late male, near Cameron
Common Grackle- all days
Boat-tailed Grackle- Rice country & Cameron Parish
Great-tailed Grackle- all days except Atchafalaya
Bronzed Cowbird-male near Cameron
Brown-headed Cowbird- all days
Orchard Oriole- all days
Baltimore Oriole-including multiple flocks flying in from gulf, Oak Grove
House Sparrow- all days

200 species

White-tailed Deer
Fox Squirrel
Gray Squirrel
Marsh Rabbit
River Otter
Bottlenose Dolphin
Rat sp.

American Alligator
Bull Frog
Cricket Frog sp.
Tree Frog sp.
Rat Snake

River Jewelwing
Ebony Jewelwing
Common Green Darner
Blue Dasher
Eastern Pondhawk
Black Saddlebags
Carolina Saddlebags

Giant Swallowtail
White Peacock
Question Mark
American Snout