Conway LeBleu (aka Gibbstown Bridge) - Old Ferry Road

From the intersection of I-10 and US 171 (Exit 33/ Moss Bluff Exit) in Lake Charles, go east on I-10 for 2.7 miles to Exit 36/ LA 397. Go south on LA 397 for 5.8 miles to LA 14. Turn left and go east 5.0 miles to LA 27E. Continue south on LA 27E for about 14.0 miles. Cross the Conway LeBleu (aka Gibbstown Bridge) to the drive entrance located at its southern foot.

A traditional stop for southbound birders and other naturalists en route to Cameron parish, the Conway LeBleu–Old Ferry Road is accessed after crossing the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway bridge on LA 27 East. This short, seldom-traveled roadway overlooks a massive freshwater marsh filled with wading birds and other waterbirds during the summer months. Fall, winter, and spring bring in additional waterbirds, including waterfowl. The road dead ends at the Intracoastal Waterway, which carries its own cargo of birds and other critters. 

In summer, observe marsh specialties including King Rail, Black-necked Stilt, Least Bittern, Green Heron, Common Moorhen, and Purple Gallinule. Look also for Eastern Kingbird, Barn Swallow, Boat-tailed Grackle, Red-winged Blackbird, and Common Yellowthroat–all with their young in tow.

During the late fall, winter, and early spring, this site is packed with waterfowl. In winter, the most common residents include Gadwall, Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, and American Coot.

Cinnamon Teal, a western U.S. species uncommonly observed in Louisiana, has been recorded several times here. Other fall/winter/spring birds to look for include Virginia and Sora Rails, American Avocet, Greater Yellowlegs, Laughing and Ring-billed Gulls, and Least, Black, Forster’s, Caspian, and Gull-billed Terns. 

Be sure to scan the utility line towers that span the nearby Intracoastal Waterway for Osprey and Peregrine Falcon, both of which hunt the area in the cooler months. Be advised that this short roadway possesses no amenities beyond roadside parking.