West Jetty Flats, Calcasieu River
I launched my boat in the Calcasieu River near Cameron. Jay Huner, Mac Myers, and Paul Conover joined me for a day on the river and offshore looking for birds. The flats on the western side of the Calcasieu River jetties is great for shorebirds, waders, and all loafing coastal species. Unfortunately, it is near impossible to get to except by boat.
Sting Rays, 5 miles offshore
Calm conditions allowed us to easily get 6 miles from shore looking for seabirds. We started passing through long lines and groups of stingrays.
Sting Rays, we saw schools for several miles
The sting rays were slowly swimming and unaware of us until they got very close. A small one is seen among the larger ones. These seemed to be about 2 feet across in size. We saw hundreds of sting rays over several miles.
Surf Scotters with Lesser Scaup
There were a few ducks flying and resting on the water. Three Surf Scotters are seen here flying by with a group of Lesser Scaup.
Thanks to our photographs, we could enlarge the images and be sure which species of scotter.
We finally ran across a Northern Gannet about 3 miles from shore. We tried chasing it for a few minutes, but at 35 mph, my boat was not gaining any ground. We ended up with a total of 5 single sightings on the day. Only one was seen circling a few times, but none dove. They all seemed to be moving to the east.
We could see a shrimp boat working closer to shore near Holly Beach. There was a good group of gulls around it, and we were having no luck finding jaegers further out. So we headed back toward shore hoping for better luck.
First Pomarine Jaeger of the day
We found our first jaeger on the water a mile or so before reaching the shrimp boat. It took off toward the beach as we approached. We took off after it.
Two Pomarine Jaegers on the water
It brought us closer to shore and into the vicinity of the working shrimp boat. We lost it as it dropped low against the water and we slowed to look for it. We soon found several on the water and working the gulls around the shrimp boat. These two different jaegers were together on the water.
They would flush if we came in too close
They allowed us within about 50 yards and took off. Once in the air they they were not as wary and allowed us to stay close as we chased after them.
Back on the water
They were not wanting to leave the area of the shrimp boat and settled back on the water after a short chase.
Raft of mixed gulls behing boat
The shrimp boat had a large raft of mixed gulls resting on the water behind it. These rafts of gulls can be a mile or more long as they rest between feeding. Jaegers are sometimes found cruising these long lines of gulls in the wake of a shrimp boat.