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Birding at Port Louisa Refuge March 28, 2010

Posted by Wapello Warbler in Louisa County, Nature, pictures.
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I took this picture from the overlook above the Port Louisa Refuge.   I was there  to explore the refuge and hoped to see some birds that were less common than robins and starlings. The large white birds in the center of the picture were too far away to identify. Were they perhaps Lake Odessa’s famous pelicans?

There’s a service road by the lookout that heads down the hill.  My plan for the day was to follow the service road into the refuge as far as time and/or flooding would permit, scoping out the various kinds of habitat and looking and listening for various kinds of birds.

From the very beginning, I could hear birds along the service road, but they were too small or well hidden to see.

Finally, about a mile and a half into the refuge I came to two small meadows with a stand of young trees between them. There I saw the first Eastern Bluebirds I have seen in a long time. They were in the company of a small flock of Song or Fox Sparrows, a large number of Slate-colored Juncos (I guess they’ve just left town for the refuge), some Robins and Cardinals, and a large, raucous flock of Red-winged Blackbirds.

Prior to the arrival of the blackbirds I had been listening for unfamiliar bird songs and calls (I counted about 8 or 9 for the whole trip), but the blackbirds were so loud they drowned everyone else out.

A little farther on I found this road that led back into the wetlands.

Heading down it gave me the chance to get a good look at the water birds that I had seen from the lookout and some others I had scared up at the beginning of my walk.

As I was walking across the little causeway you see at the top of the picture, a flock of black and white pelicans flew over me. Later I learned that American White Pelicans are black and white when they aren’t breeding. They’re also somewhat uncommon this far east, yet  they are very numerous around Lake Odessa and the refuge.  In fact, one of the “things to see” when visiting Louisa County is the pelicans returning to Odessa in the evening after fishing the Mississippi.

I also got a second look at a black water bird unlike any I had seen before. They were Double-crested Cormorants.

After another hundred yards, I came to the end of the road for the day.

As I was turning around, I noticed what appeared to be a Great Horned Owl in a tree on the opposite side of the canal to my right.

It was time to head home. My only disappointment was that the batteries gave out on my camera  before I could get pictures of the bluebirds or pelicans. Except for the first picture, the ones you see here came from my cell phone.

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1. Birding Port Louisa, Part II « Wapello Warbler's Louisa County - April 18, 2010

[…] few weeks ago I wrote about walking through the Port Louisa Refuge looking for different kinds of birds. I started at the […]


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