Date: 7/25/17 2:18 pm
From: Jane Patterson <seejanebird...>
Subject: [LABIRD-L] Wood Stork and Wading Bird event August 12, 2017 7am
Saturday, August 12, is the annual Wood Stork and Wading Bird event at
Sherburne WMA South Farm, just west of Baton Rouge. This is "come on your
own" field trip. Gates will be open at 7am and remain open until noon, but
EARLY IS BEST. I will be there as soon as the gates open and will stay on
the observation platform until noon. I will have a scope available. Bring
sunscreen, hats, and water; chairs are optional. Use the restroom on the
way in. Rides will be offered to and from the observation platform. (see
more logistics info under "Directions" below). RSVP is not necessary.

Sherburne South Farm is arguably the best birding spot within 30
minutes of Baton
Rouge. It’s has enough habitat variety to attract not only the forest birds,
but shorebirds in the fall, waterfowl in the winter, and it’s a wading bird
mecca in the summer. The refuge features several large crawfish ponds that
are managed for wintering waterfowl. This means the ponds are slowly drawn
down beginning in July. By the latter part of July (depending on rainfall)
the pond levels are down significantly, making them “wade-able” and most
attractive to herons, egrets and the like, as the fish are concentrated
into smaller areas. Also attracted, sometimes in great numbers,
are Wood Storks! These large wading birds have a fairly limited population
in the U.S. They breed in small numbers in north Florida and Georgia. But
it’s believed that the birds that we see here in Louisiana are of Mexican
origin. They seem to be post-breeding wanderers that come up around the
Texas bend and seem to follow the major rivers like the Mississippi. For
this event, they will open the gate that is normally closed and LDWF allow
you to drive to the ranger station and then provide rides to various tents
located on the compound so you don’t have to walk in the heat. A definite
plus! *The activity tends to spook the birds a bit, so do come early if
you plan to attend.*

If you want to see these birds another time at South Farm, the best way is
to walk into South Farm before dark (bring a flashlight, it’s seriously
dark) and get to levee or the observation platform by the time it’s
light. That way you are less likely to spook the birds who will definitely
move away. One some mornings I’ve counted as many as
2500 Wood Storks here, as well as hundreds of Great, Snowy, Cattle egrets,
White Ibis, and hundreds of Roseate Spoonbills. It’s quite a treat! Do
plan ahead, however, because it's a 3-mile round trip walk. Walk in the
main road...turn left, then, at the dogleg, continue south along the levee
and then turn right at the first levee and you'll see the observation town
out in the middle. Bring water, sunscreen, a hat, etc.

Now, please do realize that although we time this event and *plan* to see
lots of birds, the forces of nature don't always work with us! Some years
there are thousands of birds, another year we saw a total of
3 Wood Storks. There are things we cannot control!

Directions: when traveling west on I-10, take the Ramah/Maringuoin exit
135. Turn right at the stop sign and then take the first available left
and then the first right which takes you through the small community of
Ramah. Cross the bridge over the bayou. Turn right to go north on the
side-levee road. It's about 2 miles to South Farm; look for the sign on the
left. Turn right at the South Farm sign to go over the levee to the
parking area. The yellow gate will be open and you can drive into the
refuge and park by the ranger station. ATV's or trucks will take you to
the observation platform. Please stay in the platform area so as not to
spook the birds; be mindful of others who wish to come see the birds.
Scopes will be available for use.

*Note to photographers* -- it's very likely the birds will be some distance
away and we ask that you not approach the birds to try for photographs;
they will certainly fly away.

If you have questions about the event, please email me at

Looking forward to seeing y'all there!

--Jane Patterson
Pres, BR Audubon
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