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Monday, October 23, 2017

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Gulf Coast Bird Observatory August E-news
Gulf Coast Bird Observatory

August, 2011

 

 

 

 

In this Issue:

 

XHX Save The Date

 

Kroger Neighbor to Neighbor

 

Port Aransas Wins Birdiest Small Coastal City

 

Smith Point Hawk Watch

 

Hope the Whimbrel Travels 24,000 Miles

 

Oystercatcher Field Season Wrap Up

 

Monthly Bird Banding at GCBO

 

GoodSearch:   You Search...We Give!

 

If you found this e-newsletter interesting, please consider taking the next step and becoming a member or volunteering for one of our many outreach activities.  If you are already a member, thank you for your support!  Check out our Ways to Donate page for more opportunities to support our conservation efforts. 

Photos courtesy of Mike Gray, Greg Lavaty, and GCBO staff.
View on GCBO website.

August 2011

XHX Save The Date

Autumn is hummingbird season in Texas, as thousands of these tiny creatures move through the state on their southward migration to Mexico and Central America. Many Ruby-throats will travel 600 miles straight across the Gulf to the Yucatan Peninsula while others will fly around the edges of the Gulf to points in Mexico. Be sure to mark your calendars for September 10th and 17th when we will host our annual Xtreme Hummingbird Xtravaganza. You can watch hummingbird banding, adopt a hummingbird, browse the Nature Store, walk the nature trails, or buy a plant to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. If you would like to volunteer to help with this event, please contact Reba.

Kroger Neighbor to Neighbor

 

 

Every year, Kroger's Neighbor to Neighbor Donation Program must be renewed.  Now is the time to take this barcode to your local Kroger store, have it scanned along with your KrogerPlus card to be enrolled for the current year, which began June 1, 2011.  Kroger will then donate a portion of their annual budgeted amount to each registered non-profit organization, based upon the number of GCBO donors enrolled. Click on the Neighbor to Neighbor logo above and print out the registration bar code to take with you to Kroger.

 

Port Aransas Wins Birdiest Small Coastal City

For the second year in a row, Port Aransas was awarded the Birdiest Small Coastal City award. Taking advantage of the peak of spring migration, Port Aransas birders counted 192 different species of birds during the 72-hour window for the competition which was conducted in early May. Port Aransas has three Site Partner sites, the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center, Joan and Scott Holt Paradise Pond Birding Center, and the Port Aransas Nature Preserve at Charlie's Pasture. Nueces County was named the Birdiest Coastal County with 255 different species of birds recorded and Corpus Christi, claimed the largest coastal city division, counting 239 different species of birds. Congratulations to all!

Smith Point Hawk Watch

This year we are changing things up at Smith Point. Funding issues have forced us to conduct the watch with volunteers this year instead of paid hawk watchers. To help with future funding efforts, this year we will focus on Swallow-tailed Kites, a priority species in Texas. In order to ensure we capture the bulk of Swallow-tailed Kite migration, the count will begin on August 1st instead of the 15th and continue through September 30. Volunteers are welcome to continue the count through November 15th but our initial focus will be on the months of August and September. We would greatly appreciate donations to help defray the cost of our time to coordinate volunteers and manage the hawk watch. You can use the donate now button at the top of the e-news to help us out with this valuable effort!

Hope the Whimbrel Travels 24,000 Miles

Hope, a Whimbrel fitted with a satellite transmitter by the Center for Conservation Biology in Williamsburg, Virginia arrived on her breeding grounds along the MacKenzie River in Canada on June 14th. She left the Eastern Shore of Virginia on May 22 traveling nearly 3,728 miles to get there. This is the third year that the bird has been tracked to the same location just south of the Beaufort Sea. She has traveled more than 24,000 miles through the three migration cycles since being fitted with the transmitter in the spring of 2009. Three other Whimbrels were also tracked to the breeding grounds west of the Hudson Bay. This research revealed a previously unknown and entirely unexpected migration route between the mid-Atlantic coast and northwestern Arctic. Read more on the Center for Conservation Biology's website.

Oystercatcher Field Season Wrap Up

Our first season studying American Oystercatchers was a big success. We found our first nest on February 11th and the last one on June 16th. We were able to monitor a total of 59 nests in Galveston and East Matagorda Bays on a weekly basis and volunteers were able to sporadically monitor another 36 in Brazoria County and in several bays on the central coast. We color-banded 63 adults and 37 chicks. Overall productivity was approximately .75. The reasons for nest failure included over-wash, egg and chick predation, and in one case we suspect chick starvation. We discovered that Texas oystercatchers prefer to nest on bay islands and appear to do best on small islands without large Laughing Gull colonies. Islands with large gull populations are problematic because the gulls predate the hatching eggs and young chicks at a high rate. The few nests we found on the mainland were all predated, presumably by mammals. Our cameras documented possum and coyote predation of eggs. During the course of the season, we located approximately 125 pairs of nesting oystercatchers though many areas were not surveyed due to field time limitations. This will enhance our ability to monitor a larger number of nests nest year. We would like to thank the many volunteers that helped with this research project!

 

Monthly Bird Banding at GCBO

We reached 3000 birds banded at GCBO! Research Associates Robert & Kay Lookingbill are shown above holding lucky number 3000, an adult male Orchard Oriole banded on July 16th. Join us from 8:00 until noon on Saturday, August 13th (note date change) for our next monthly bird banding session. Fall migration should be kicking in, especially for hummingbirds. Come see them up close. This is a great way to get kids excited about wildlife, but all ages are welcome.  See the map on our webpage for directions or find a map by going to Mapquest or GoogleMaps.  Note that some other navigators will not take you to the correct location.

 

 

  www.gcbo.org | Telephone 979-480-0999 | Contact Us


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