Christmas morning I decided to do a little unofficial bird counting before most of my family woke up for the usual festivities. I didn’t go anywhere special, just made a loop through my Old Metairie neighborhood. My family swears there’s nothing to see out there, just House Sparrows, Blue Jays, and Mockingbirds; but they really aren’t paying attention. There’s a lot more when you look.
I have a regular three mile circle route that takes me up Homestead Ave. to Metairie Playground, around the playground, up the railroad tracks to the 17th Street Canal, down the Canal to where it meets the Canal Street canal; down Canal Street to the I-10 service road, and down the service road back to Homestead Ave. It takes about two hours to follow, and takes me through as varied a habitat as you can expect in suburbia.
One thing that always surprises me when I do this is how few other people are doing it too. Nobody in this town walks anywhere. Getting from the far end of the Lakeside Shopping Center parking lot to Dillard’s is considered a major hike. Yesterday I passed two joggers and no one else on the entire three-mile, two hour excursion. Yes, it was early on Christmas morning, but that’s about par for the course even on a beautiful Spring afternoon.
My goal was to find at least one species I had not previously seen in the neighborhood. That proved a little too unambitious since in the first half block between my parents’ house and Homer Street I found two: Ring-billed Gull and Yellow-rumped Warbler. I also ticked off some of the usuals: Blue Jay, Northern Cardinal, and Northern Mockingbird.