Photo of the week & the Tensas River NWR

The photo of the week is another very common bird in Louisiana( and considered a pest). The common cowbird is nothing to get excited about but this photo shows that given the right light even a lowly bird can shine.

Cow bird

Since hunting season is over I able to go on one of my favorite drives. it is to and through the Tensas River NWR. The road I drive is the African flats road through the northern Judd Brake unit. This road starts at the curve by Indian Lake , in Madison Parish. The land for the refuge originally belonged to Chicago Mills lumber company. To get the logs from the swamp to the mill, in Tallulah, required a haul of some 30 miles on a woods road or if was impassable close to 50 by highway. To shorten this haul the company decided to build a road straight through the heart of the swamp. In the late 50’s my dad, Pearl Brown, worked for a land clearing company owned by Mr. John T. O’Brien. They were given the contract to cut the road through the swamp. It was long and hazardous job. Many places the road had to be built up to reduce flooding. The dirt was obtained from beside the route in “borrow pits” pronounced locally as bar pits. they are still visible today.

In this photo you can see the high water mark. it is even with the road I am on.

Borrow pit and palmetto

This photo show a pit ringed by local palmetto, it means little palm. I guess the explorers thought it looked like a little palm tree.

I have a photo, from 1958, of me on the dozer with my dad as he was pushing on of these out. The road today is a well maintained rock road but back then it didn’t even exist.


I was reading some articles on photographing birds at your feeder and came upon a useful tip. I took and old limb, that had a cavity in it, bungee corded it to an old tripod and placed seeds in the cavity. Now the birds can only land one at a time and they tend to stay longer. You can see the cavity just to the right of his feet. It is only 12′ from the blind so I keep movement to a minimum.



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