Grand Isle - Lafitte Woods (Sureway Woods)

In Grand Isle N or La 1 behind Sureway Supermarket.

Managed under the auspices of the Louisiana Nature Conservancy, Grand Isle’s Lafitte Woods Preserve is located directly behind the Sureway supermarket on LA Hwy 1, toward the eastern end of the island. That’s why Louisiana birders adopted the local  “Sureway Woods” nickname for the site.

A narrow one-lane road bisects the woods, ending at a small undesignated parking area on the bay side of the island. Several walk-in-only trails into the woods are located along the road. These trails lead in many directions throughout this small patch of live oak maritime forest.

Sureway Woods is a legendary Louisiana birding site, heavily used by migrating North American neotropical songbirds as crucial Gulf Coastal “stopover habitat” along their annual treks to and from tropical wintering grounds. Here, especially when the winds are not in their favor, birds drop anchor for a bit of food, water, and rest. Birding is mostly limited to spring (March-May) and fall (August-October) migration periods.

Many mature live oaks provide a mostly closed canopy throughout these woods. During periods of rain and/or contrary winds, the parade of orioles, warblers, tanagers, and grosbeaks can be spectacular. In numerous places the forest understory is dense with saplings, brambles and vines. Be sure to peruse these thickets for mimic thrushes, thrushes, wrens, ground-dwelling warblers, and other thicket-loving species. In all, nearly 200 bird species have been recorded from the small patches of maritime forest on Grand Isle.

An open grassy field and wide canal are located at the north end of the site. Birders can walk the edges of the field and look for migrating sparrows, Sedge wren, buntings, Bobolink, and Dickcissel, among others. The canal often holds resting waterfowl, shorebirds, and other waterbirds, so keep a low profile, approach slowly, and remain as far away from the canal bank as possible. Here, a spotting scope/tripod comes in handy.

Parking is available at and behind the store. There are no amenities. This is a site for hard-core birders and nature photographers.