The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and Loblolly bay as drawn by John James Audubon for Birds of America.

John James Audubon passed through Natchez, Mississippi, numerous times. Unlike today, the town left much to be desired. A good part of the settlement was a “rascally and nondescript population” keeping flatboats tied to the bank of the Mississippi River. The town also attracted large numbers of vultures. Their job was to scavenge the streets piled up with offal from butcher shops. High above it all Audubon in August of 1822 spotted two of the four Fork-tailed flycatchers he sees in his lifetime. Not that the Fork-tailed flycatcher is overly familiar with Loblolly bay (Gordonia lasianthus) since the bird is such a rare visitor to North America. Loblolly bay though is very common around Natchez and the southeastern United States. @laytonregister

Loblolly bay growing in the Francis Marion National Forest.