Roseate Spoonbills are abundant in Southwest Louisiana.
This picture was taken during a Grosse Savanne Eco-tour.
Photo by John K. Flores


By the end of February, halfway into the six weeks of remaining winter the groundhog forecasts for northerners, the winds begin to shift from north to southerly along coastal Louisiana. And with the winds come weary travelers from Mexico, Central and South America.

Spring is the perfect time, as birds that winter in this paradise are leaving for their summer homes to the north and others are coming in like cosmopolitans from foreign lands. The skilled birder can see over 100 different species in a day when conditions are right. But, for my wife and I, it’s not about the numbers, but about the spectacle.
The Creole Nature Trail does include terrestrial creatures like the ubiquitous alligator Louisiana is known for. But visitors to the region may also see deer, raccoons, and otters.
Cameron Jetty Pier is a good place to see brown
pelicans. Photo by Christine Flores

Their destination isn’t Houston or New Orleans International, nor are they carried inside the bellies of jet-propelled steel machines. No, they lift off from places like the tropical forests of the Yucatan, the hills of Chiapas, and beaches of the Antigua crossing the Gulf of Mexico under the power of their own wings. With a make or break passage their terminals are the safe harbor of the marshes, prairie and few remaining oak cheniers of Southwest Louisiana.

Each year on my birthday, which happens to coincide with the peak of the spring migration, my spouse and I travel the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road. Starting in Sulphur, we travel LA-27 to Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, to Johnson Bayou and Peveto Woods Bird Sanctuary on LA-82. And from there it’s again on LA-27 to Cameron Prairie NWR, LA-14 to Lacassine NWR and as many back roads of agricultural fields in the region we can fit into our two-day trip.


Perhaps nowhere else in the country is the communication between spouses limited to,  “Ooh-ooh-ooh,” or “Aah – did you see that? Stop the car! Look, look, look! You’re blocking traffic!” Indeed the Creole Nature Trail is full of excitement for birdwatchers and nature lovers. 


The prothonotary warbler is a neotropic songbird that arrives
each spring across the Gulf of Mexico and can be seen at Sam
Houston Jones State Park. Photo by John K. Flores 

We enjoy the “ooh la la” regalia of neotropic songbirds and roseate spoonbills, the odd looking caracara, and the clown-like ibis. Always a surprise is a cinnamon teal or vermilion flycatcher too far east. And when a flock of blue-winged teal rises from a roadside pond with a group of males marked with moon shape crescents on their cheeks, no one can hold back an ooh and aah.

 The hospitality of Southwest Louisiana awaits those from around the world and Lake Charles offers cuisine and comfort with numerous places to stay overnight. It’s up to you to find the oohs, aahs and ooh la la of Southwest Louisiana. And, you don’t have to go far down the Creole Nature Trail, All-American Road to find them.


The northern parula is a friendly neotropic
songbird that spends summers in coastal
Louisiana. This picture was taken in swamp area
teeming with willow trees. Photo by John K. Flores
Snowy egrets feeding their chicks are a special
treat in Southwest Louisiana when you stumble
upon a rookery. Grosse Savanne Eco-tours offers day
trips where nature lovers can enjoy these birds.
Photo by Christine Flores


This hooded warbler was caught feeding at Peveto Woods
Bird & Butterfly Sanctuary off of LA-82. Photo by John K. Flores


The rose-breasted gros beak only stops
long enough in coastal Louisiana to eat and 
get its strength back to head north. Picture
taken at Sabine National Wildlife Refuge.
Photo by John K. Flores
Learn more about John K. Flores and his outdoor adventures at