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Pursuing Clues Left by Nature - Willets do the Coolest Thing

It is so easy to walk by small things in nature – either unseen or simply not understood.  


While on a field excursion to Elmer’s Island, near Grand Isle, with a Louisiana Master Naturalist of Greater New Orleans workshop, we were discussing the ecology of the lagoon behind the barrier island.   We noticed some little piles of crumbled seashells along the water margins, and began attempting to identify the source.

The Loyola Peregrine Falcons

For many years, Loyola has been the wintering grounds for one or more Peregrine Falcons, Falco peregrinus.  As in most wintering peregrines in the eastern United States, they appear to be the subspecies F. p. tundrius, the palest of the forms of this marvelous bird.

Peregrine Falcons are a global species, and exist on every continent except Antarctica.

Bird Flight Over Water

Nature Notes
by Bob Thomas

One of the most fascinating areas of study is the realm of functional morphology, especially as it relates to animal behavior and adaptive physiology.

That may seem like a mouthful, but to a naturalist trying to understand why animals do what they do and how they do it, it is a font of discovery that usually results in saying, “Now that is really cool!”

Willet Shell Pellets? Seems Plausible

Nature Notes
by Bob Thomas

One of the really neat factors about nature is the element of surprise and discovery, no matter how long you have indulged your curiosity.

I made my first jaunt to the beach in Galveston, Texas, about 62 years ago. Well, not exactly a jaunt, but more like being carried in my parents’ arms. We lived in central Texas then, but the beautiful coastal Gulf of Mexico beaches were just a short drive away. I was hooked. The infection became more intense when I fished all night with Granddad Schneider and his friend, Larkin.

Swallow Tornadoes

Delta Journal
by Bob Thomas

October and November are tornado season in south Louisiana. No, not destructive winds, but swirling funnels of tree swallows.

As many bird species, tree swallows stack up along the coast during the winter. By day, they spread out to pursue their acrobatic feeding.

Snowy Egrets

Delta Journal
by Bob Thomas

Locals are familiar with “white canal birds,” those large wading birds that we frequently see around our open drainage canals. There are several species, but the easiest to identify is the Snowy Egret (Egretta thula). It stands two feet tall, has solid white feathers, a black bill, and black legs with yellow toes. The toes are so obvious that they make one shout “Hey, look at those yellow shoes!”


Nature Profile
by Bob Thomas

On a worldwide basis, Rock Doves (Columba livia) are the most obvious birds living in urban centers. They seem to be everywhere - on window sills, roof tops, and, of course, on statues.