Monday, April 20, 2020

Pelicans, white and brown

The white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) is no stranger to me—they migrate through Nebraska, and I see them often when they stop over at some of the lakes where I hawk and fish—but for some reason I was surprised when we saw several on the Mississippi River in New Orleans.

Surprised, perhaps, only because we expect to see brown pelicans (P. occidentalus)—the brown is, after all, Louisiana's state bird—and we did see quite a few of them on the Mississippi as well.

(I like, by the way, that the NBA franchise in New Orleans is the Pelicans, and that the lettering on their jerseys is modeled on French Quarter street signs...)

But by far our best brown pelican sightings were out in the countryside, at and near Grand Isle....

...and on our "home waters" of Bayou Lacombe.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Mississippi beaches

The beaches of Mississippi's Gulf Coast, despite their vulnerability to storms, have long been the state's playground. Tourism is a pillar of the local economy, much of it focused on large hotels and casino gambling, but fortunately there are plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities as well.

[Marina at Long Beach.]

[Fiona, our latest Subaru, at Pass Christian.]

[Kitesurfer at Pass Christian, with Bay St. Louis in the background.]

The Flyover Country crew, of course, lean toward birdwatching, and with the highway hugging the beach, even a casual birder will have plenty to see.

[Black skimmers, as previously noted.]

[Royal terns, Forster's tern, and laughing gull.]

[Laughing gulls.]

[Herring gull.]

[Ring-billed gull.]

[Sanderlings, again.]


[Double-crested cormorant.]

[Snowy egret.]

[Great blue herons.]

The beaches themselves are lovely, with fine white sand, a few tiny dunes bound with beachgrass and sea oats, and enough space (in March, at least) to find some solitude. But then I've always preferred what most people consider the off-season.

Photographs © Mark & Jessica Farrell-Churchill