Monday, January 30, 2012

The Rookery At Lake Martin 2012

A Great Egret male snaps a twig from a nearby tree and flies back to the nest.

She is waiting for him, and he passes the twig to her, and they settle it into the nest. They do the "wild thing" and he flies off to gather another twig.

Right on schedule about mid January, the egrets and herons began to stage their nests.

All the trees are bare in January and February, so birdwatching and photography is easy and unobstructed by foliage. The main color of the swamp in winter is grey.

Soon the grass and clover will start to green things up as seen behind this Great Egret who is sporting some breeding blumage.

Although some people are surprised that the herons start nesting in mid-January, the first nesters of the season lay their eggs in the first week of December.

And that would also be the largest of the birds that nests here at Lake Martin,

the Bald Eagle.

Soon after the Bald Eagles begin nesting, they are followed by ospry,

owls and hawks,

and then the Great Egrets,

and Great Blue Herons about mid-January.
Those two of the heron family are the largest and a larger body mass may account for the early nesting. For about two months from mid-January through mid-March the large herons expand in population in the rookery to the tune of several thousand.

By late February or early March the Rosette Spoonbills are in courtship,

and soon after that, by March 15th, a riot of birds competing for nesting space breaks out as thousands of birds arrive every day. Tri-colored, Louisiana Herons, and...

Little Blue Herons,

Little Green Herons,

along with Cattle Egrets, start pouring in by the thousands every day.

Black Crowned Night Herons arrive to nest in April, along with their cousins who sport the Yellow Crowns.

Here is an immature night heron...

By early May, the Black Bellied Whistling Ducks should be warming up some eggs

And last but not least, to start nesting at Lake Martin is the White Ibis,

and sometimes Snowy Egrets who also begin to nest as late as June.

all photos above are copyrighted and courtesy of Claude Nall

I am Marcus de la Houssaye,owner and operator of de la Houssaye's Swamp Tours

photos by Al GuidryIf you would like to contact me for more information about the rookery,

photos by Wolfgang Hasenstien
or to make a reservation for a Breaux Bridge swamp tour ,

I can be contacted by cell phone at 337 298 2630

"I love dis country!"