Mandeville, Big Branch, Lacombe -- good birding
I have a lot of content on my personal web site, http://peachfront.diaryland.com that tells of the birds you can find in Mandeville, especially Fontainebleau State Park in eastern Mandeville, and a bit more about Big Branch and Lacombe, where you may find the endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpecker. You do not have to be a rarity seeker to find nesting Bald Eagles on the Northshore, however, people need to be aware that the Bald Eagles actually come here and nest in the winter. Do not seek them in the summer, they will have migrated to the north. Fall and winter is my favorite time to bird and seek out migrants. Also, later in winter, it is not so hot and can even be cool/cold in the mornings. In spring, get up early the day after a good rainstorm to see if you can find migrating warblers or other "good stuff."
At the time of this posting, the water at Fontainebleau State Park is much higher than it was before Katrina (2005) and Gustav/Ike (2008). Therefore, some of my older trip reports may not be as applicable. However, it is much easier now to encounter the alligators and even the otters are allowing themselves to be photographed from the boardwalk over the marsh. Get up early to have any chance at the otters. Alligators prefer sunny days.
If you would like to ask me a question or have me take you on a bird walk, I am a member of birdingpal so you can connect with me through them. Or you can email me through my personal website. If you leave a question here, I might not see it for a long time, because I don't check here every day. I am not a paid guide and I would not charge anyone to go on a walk with them, as I am not qualified to do that, however, I also have a very difficult schedule so I can't always meet with birders as much as I would like. I'm happy to try to answer your questions though. Bear with me, as I'm an amateur. *Most* meetings don't come off, so don't count on a meeting. Fortunately, this is an easy area to find and bird by yourself if you follow the suggestions on the link I have posted.
- Hiking and Walking
Bats Bats Bats
Go to Lake Pontchatrain at dusk and look up. Wait patiently, but you will soon see bats swooping overhead. Once or twice they might even come as low as your head! Don't be afraid though, they cant hurt you. They are exciting to watch. To tell the difference between the bird and the bat is that bats dont have a long tail, and they have a frantic, stuttering gait.
Please go to the tiny snowball stand, Yummies! It is on the corner of Girard and Florida, and the things that most miss are:
1. Look inside, there is fantastically random paintings all over the interior!
2. The STRANGE flavours! - I dont know -silver fox -toxic waste -tigers blood -who dat
3. After they take you order, quick! Grab the pen off the counter and sign wherever you want on the green countertop. Look closely and you can see where I have signed!
Bonsai Tree Man
Every once in a while, usually during late summer, a man will set up a large booth on Florida street with dozens of different real bonsai trees to buy. I have never bought one but we always browse. Maybe next time I see him I will buy one!
Well technically this is a...
Well technically this is a path, but it's certainly not yet beaten. Follow the path long enough and you'll get to see an bald eagle's nest that's the size of a VW Bug. (Yes, yes I know I need to get a picture of it!)
This is off the beaten path...
This is off the beaten path because all of these pics were taken around my parent's house. :-D
Louisiana is teeming with trees, although I think the squirrels out number even the trees! The pine trees are especially towering.