Orleans Loop – Audubon Park Heronry & New Orleans Lakefront at Seabrook
Orleans Loop is located right next to New Orleans, Louisiana’s largest city, but that doesn’t mean it lacks an abundance of wildlife. You can find birds and other animals here throughout the year, and the Orleans Loop has several sites that are excellent for birdwatching. Some of the sites along the Orleans Loop include the Bonnet Carre Spillway, the Wildbird Refuge, and New Orleans City Park. Also, along the loop, you’ll find the Audubon Park Heronry and New Orleans Lakefront at Seabrook.
Audubon Park Heronry
This park is located in uptown New Orleans, in the city’s popularly known “Garden District.” In addition to other amenities in this 130-acre park, Audubon also includes a zoo and a golf course. The park also has one of the oldest and largest groves of coast live oaks in the United States.
A lagoon is the ecological center of the park. Bending around the eastern 1/3rd of the park, it separates the walking trail from the golf course. The western bank is lined with oaks and hackberries, making it the perfect roosting site for a variety of wading birds, including numerous types of herons, Anhinga, wood ducks, and ibises. During the winter, you’ll find Pied-billed Grebes and American Coots visiting the lagoon.
At the southernmost end of the park, “The Fly” offers a spectacular view of the Mississippi River’s bird activity. You may see wading birds, along with Forster’s terns, Caspian terns, and Laughing Gulls throughout the year. During the autumn, winter, and spring months, you may catch a glimpse of Red-breasted Mergansers, Lesser Scaups, and other seabirds such as ring-billed gulls and Bonaparte’s gulls. You can also find raptors such as Bald Eagles, Osprey, and Red-tailed Hawks flying along the river in search of food.
New Orleans Lakefront at Seabrook
A peaceful park was developed at the southeastern shore of Lake Pontchartrain at Seabrook. The park has a walking trail along the lakefront with benches, making it a great place to watch birds. You can even start birding as soon as you reach the parking lot! Sea birds such as terns and gulls tend to perch on the pilings located there.
Laughing gulls are typically abundant around this area, and during the late autumn, winter, and early to mid-spring months, you can also find ring-billed herrings, and Bonaparte’s red-breasted Mergansers as well. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for Forster’s, Caspian, and Royal terns year-round, and Black and Least terns during spring and fall migration periods. Other birds that can be seen at this site throughout the year include Black Skimmers, Fish Crows, and Brown Pelicans.
Double-crested Cormorants congregate here during the winter months, as do Lesser Scaups, American Coots, Common Loons, and others. Keep your eyes peeled for ducks, grebes, falcons, osprey, and hawks as well.
There are tons of great ways to spend the day outdoors in Louisiana. If you’re looking for other fun outdoor activities, coming fishing with me at Whiskey Bayou Charters – we’re just a hop, skip, and a jump away from downtown New Orleans!