City Social Magazine

MAR-APR 2018

City Social Magazine in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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18 Story and photos by Cheré Coen R E A D U S o N L I N E A T W W W . C I T Y S o C I A L . C o M 18 We were slurping coffee and enjoying egg burritos before the sun rose—heck, before the birds were up!—and then climbing onto a bus to head out for the marshes, fields of Galveston and open waters of the Gulf. o ur mission? To see as many species of birds in one day as we could. Called "The Galveston Big Day Birding Adventure," our fieldtrip was part of the annual FeatherFest birding festival sponsored by the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council. Thousands of birds fly across Galveston, Texas every spring and fall, migrating to and from Central and South America; so, naturally, the barrier island attracts birders and nature photographers. FeatherFest taps into this birding extravaganza, offering 4 days of workshops, fieldtrips and nighttime social events. As our group headed out to the east side of the island, the soft pink glow of sunrise began to light the sky. We paused by the East End Lagoon off Seawall Boulevard, searching for shore birds. I'll be honest, birding is a hobby of mine, but it's relegated to amateur status. My backyard produces the usual cardinals, wrens, sparrows and finches; when I'm puttering around the marshes and coastal areas of Louisiana, I'll spot spoonbills, herons, egrets and the like. On occasion, I'll even see a rarer species, a bald eagle, perhaps, or a brilliant scarlet tanager. So here I was, surrounding by men and women in typical birding gear, binoculars around their necks, expensive cameras at the ready. The words "I'm not worthy" kept repeating in my head. But our knowledgeable leaders, Mort Voller and Richard Peake, put my neurosis to rest, pointing out species and making us all feel at home, no matter our bird expertise. We saw loons, terns, ibis, skimmers and more, carefully jotting down each species in our tally for the day. Last year the fieldtrip totaled about 150 different species, so we were hoping to beat that number by end of day, even though weather patterns weren't cooperating and the migration had been sparser than usual. FeatherFest is for the birds

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