We had the opportunity to visit one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in St. Martin Parish, the Cypress Island Preserve at Lake Martin. It’s a gathering point for nature lovers from all over the world. Just a few miles outside of Lafayette, just across the St. Martin Parish line, step into a world apart. Lake Martin is the site of the Cypress Island preserve, a treasure trove of aquatic life, including many species of reptiles and amphibians. But, the big attraction here? The birds.
The rookery at lake Martin is renowned among bird watchers not only across the country but literally around the world, for a number of reasons. First, because of the number of species represented here and also because of its pure, unspoiled habitat. Another thing that makes the lake martin rookery stand out–depending on the timing of your visit, the entire bird population of lake martin changes, with the seasons.”
The lake is the home of a number of heron varieties, including little blue, great, snowy and night herons and cattle egrets. You’ll also find Spoonbills, Great Horned Owls, Woodpeckers and Yellow Throated Warblers and White Ibis.
Lake Martin is a popular spot for recreational fishing for local residents, like four year old Kai, who was learning to bait a hook and cast under the watchful eye of his grandmother, Denise Thibodeaux.
But on any given day, you’ll meet bird watchers from all corners of the earth, including the Knochenmus family and their friend Katarina Wigtman, of Stockholm, Sweden, who all cite the wild beauty of the preserve as its best feature.
Linda Knochenmus: “I think it’s because it’s still so wild, that it’s not a tourist trap, you feel like you’re coming out here and really being in nature.”
Lari Knochenmus: “I like it because, like she said, it’s not fragmented, it’s a very large wild space, and we were just watching the birds feed their babies, which was very cool.”
Katarina Wigtman: “my brother in Sweden, he’s a true birdwatcher, so I’ve been photographing lots of birds now and I’m going to make him come here, too.”