Monday, March 20, 2017

The Rez & LeFleur's Bluff

The weekend looked promising after a week of chilly temperatures so on Saturday the hubby and I decided to get out and drive to the Ross Barnett Reservoir and LeFleur's Bluff State Park, both located near Jackson, Mississippi. These two areas are reportedly good birding spots and with spring migration near, I was hoping to see some interesting species.  It was an easy 2 hour drive for us.   

We drove along Spillway Road which borders the southwestern portion of Ross Barnett Reservoir. As we crossed the bridge over the spillway, we saw dozens of people fishing from the rocky banks where the reservoir empties into Pearl River. Charlie said that he's going to start bringing fishing gear on these little trips so he can fish while I'm birding. Sounds like a good idea to me!

We turned left onto the North Shore Parkway and drove into the Lakeshore Park where we spent a few moments walking along the shoreline and watching the nearby ducks and geese. The park is a beautiful, serene area with several parking spaces, plenty of picnic tables and restroom facilities.   

It was unexpectedly cloudy and windy that time of the day and I was having problems with the flash on my camera but I took a few pictures as we went along.  A pair of Mallard ducks were napping at the waters edge.  They became aware of my presence and watched me closely from their resting position but didn't seem too bothered.  A large group of Canadian Geese were busy walking around and pecking in the grass.  Canadian Geese were spotted at several locations around the reservoir.  

On opposite banks of the Lakeshore Park, we saw a large campground and boat docks.  The Timberlake campground is super nice with all the facilities anyone would need.  It also includes a tennis court, swimming pool and rec room.  I'd love to spend a few days here but it's probably wise to reserve a spot way in advance.  

After leaving Lakeshore Park, we traveled along the Natchez Trace Parkway then exited onto Pipeline Road which runs perpendicular to the Pearl River State WMA on the north side of the reservoir.  Pipeline Road is graveled but not nearly as bumpy as other gravel roads I've been on.  The road is considered a birding "hot spot" and I've seen scores of bird photos taken by photographers in the area.

The first two photos below were taken at the entrance of a shooting range.  A couple of miles down that lane, we realized we had made a wrong turn- the sounds of gunfire were deafening. I thought the field of tiny yellow and white wildflowers were pretty and I love old country fences, so I stopped long enough to get a couple of shots. 

Unfortunately, there wasn't much going on, bird wise, on Pipeline Road.  It could've been because of our timing- we arrived around 2:00 p.m.  A large flock of Blue-winged Teal could be seen in the marsh, but even with my long lens I couldn't zoom in close enough for good photos.  There were also a few Green-winged Teal mixed in among them.  Further down the road, I saw a few Pied-billed Grebes but it was difficult to get a clear view of them because of the tall grasses.  I sure could have used a pair of wading boots that day.

LeFleur's Bluff State Park isn't far from the rez and is easily reached from the interstate. There are restroom facilities available and several picnic areas.  There's also a playground area and a small campground in the park.

I heard several familiar bird calls- pileated woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, american robins, blackbirds and others.  These are birds that are common to my backyard so I chose to wait for an unfamiliar bird call  or sighting.  I wanted to see something different.  But, I didn't. Unbeknownst to me then was there was much more to the area than I thought.  The main road, Lakeland Terrace, goes around the campground then on to circle half of Mayes Lake.  So, I missed out on seeing a lot of the park and lake.  

I did take a couple photos of yellow-rumped warblers (the eastern birds are known as myrtle warblers) that were spotted near one of the pavilions.  They will be migrating soon to breeding areas in the northern U.S. and Canada.

I'll be making another trip to the rez and Lefleur's Bluff in the future and the next time I'll know more about the area and will be better prepared.


  1. Interesting post and nice photos.

  2. Sounds like a nice outing. I enjoy those air photos.