Coturie Forest in New Orleans City Park – Good Birding Day

This morning, I had a great birding day at Coturie Forest in New Orleans City Park.

It started yesterday evening when my family and I took the dogs for a walk.  It was beautiful out, but all I was seeing were the familiar water birds.  Just about sun-down, my dog ran into some thistles and scared out two hummingbirds!  I haven’t ID’d any hummingbirds yet, so I had no idea what they were and before I could snap a picture, they were gone.

DSC_0392 - great egret

So, this morning, I headed out with a mission to find those hummingbirds.
I had expected a dreary day with some rain, but was only misted on.  The woods were unusually quiet.  A few black-crowned night herons and others stalked the shallow edges of the bayou and a pair of wood ducks dabbled in the middle of the pond but that was about it until I got to the abandoned golf course.

DSC_0418 - black-crowned night heron


A group of sparrows fed on the ground (song, swamp and savannah) and red-winged black birds sang noisily from the nearby reeds.DSC_0427 - song sparrow

DSC_0433 - swamp sparrow


Finally, I found my hummingbird!  I believe it’s a ruby-throat.  It was about 1000′ north of the arboretum exit sitting on a branch near some thistles.  DSC_0438 - ruby throated hummingbird


On my way out, I spouted the familiar broad-winged hawk that has been hanging out in the park for the last month or so.  It sat on the power-line and was not phased by runners, dogs with cowbells tied around their neck or me and my camera.DSC_0447 - broad winged hawk


I was just about to leave and I happened upon a group of cardinals feeding on the trail.  I hadn’t seen any cardinals that morning, so I decided to hang out in the bushes and try my luck at photographing whatever came by to join.  I was in for a treat.DSC_0475 - cardinals

Almost immediately, a hooded warbler swooped down into the group of cardinals I was photographing.  I was so surprised, I lined up to take a 2nd photo (the shot below) but was photo-bombed by an out of focus female cardinal in the foreground.  Luckily, I still got a pretty great shot of the warbler.DSC_0464 - hooded warbler


From my little hiding hole right off the path, lots of birds were landing all around me.  This downy woodpecker was about 8′ from my camera when I took this picture.DSC_0522 - downy woodpecker



Carolina and house wrens sang in the undergrowth, but I hadn’t yet photographed a house wren for my year list this year, so I was happy to snap this one.DSC_0519 - house wren


A white-eyed vireo practically begged me to take its picture as it showed off its handsome yellow mask on a branch across the trail from me.DSC_0491 - white-eyed vireo


Two black and white warblers (life bird for me!) were hugging the trunk of some nearby trees and I figured out why I hadn’t seen these birds before.  They seem act a lot like tree clinging birds but do it down lower in the undergrowth.
DSC_0499 - bw warbler


And finally, I got my first decent picture of a blue-grey gnat-catcher for the year!  I had spotted this bird back in January, but hadn’t been able to get a decent picture until today.  DSC_0510 - blue-grey gnatcatcher

It was great birding this morning and I learned that sitting still and having some patience can really pay off.