I joined a dozen members of the Terrebonne Bird Club for a frosty early morning walk through the Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge in Houma, Louisiana. The scenic nature trail got us close to variety of Louisiana birds, that chirped from trees and marsh grass while our cameras clicked.
Some of us carried cameras with long telephoto lenses hoping to get a great closeup photograph of a colorful bird in its natural habitat. While other members of the birding club used binoculars to spot and identify the tiny feathered animals. Some carried pen and paper to log each species they saw on our nature walk.
mandalay trail a hotspot for louisiana birds
We follow the well-maintained trail into the Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge. The trail takes us along the edge of a fresh water marsh and under tree limbs draped with Spanish moss. At the midway point, a covered bridge crosses a small canal. The trail ends with a long boardwalk walk over a large pond.
A few of the birds spotted on our early morning nature walk
The pond overlook is a prime location for spotting wading birds like the great egret and white ibis. They stand along the water’s edge, occasionally dipping their long beaks into the water trying to catch a meal. In the distance, a bald eagle sits on a branch near the top of a tall cypress tree. Smaller birds hop along logs and plants near the shoreline of the pond.
video tour of the Mandalay nature trail
bird club focus on louisiana birds
Samantha Nguyen acts as a spotter for members of the Terrebonne Bird Club as they slowly walk along the Mandalay Nature Trail, listening for bird sounds and watching for movement in trees and in the marsh grass. Nguyen says, “At first, I didn’t know a single one. And after you learn the common ones, you then learn the migratory birds. It’s just from going on trips and the experience.” The Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge in a popular place for birders. Club President Paul Schaub says, “We always see anywhere from 30 to 50 species every time we come out here”.
BIRDS OF MANDALAY TV FEATURE
The Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge is located a 5 miles west of Houma, Louisiana on Bayou Black Drive, Hwy 182. The Nature Trail is nearby.
Elizabeth C Santana
how do you join the club