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Saturday, April 29, 2017

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GCBO August e-news
Gulf Coast Bird Observatory

August, 2012

 

 

 

 

In this Issue:

 

XHX Save The Date

 

Tropical Forest Forever Fund at Work in Costa Rica

 

American Oystercatcher Season Wrap Up

 

It's Hawk Watch Time

 

Staff Migrations

 

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 ourWays to Donate page for more opportunities to support our conservation efforts. 

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

August 2012


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 8th and 15th 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 Jessica.

Tropical Forest Forever Fund at Work in Costa Rica

In June of 2012, GCBO was thrilled to provide a $30,000 Tropical Forest Forever Fund grant to Osa Conservation to help establish the Yellow-billed Cotinga - Prothonotary Warbler Reserve by purchasing a 29.16 acre tract of land at the mouth of the Rincon River on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. The Yellow-billed Continga, shown above, is an endangered habitat specialist endemic to the Isthmian Pacific moist forests of Mesoamerica. Recent surveys found widespread habitat loss and fragmentation throughout this species range and it is nearing extirpation in Panama. Remaining populations in Costa Rica are diminished, increasingly isolated and declining. The Osa Peninsula constitutes the last remaining stronghold for this species. Since wintering Prothonotary Warblers require the same type of habitat, creation of the cotinga reserve will also benefit this US Fish and Wildlife species of conservation concern.

American Oystercatcher Season Wrap Up

 

Our second field season studying American Oystercatchers was a lesson in contradictions. We again found our first nest in February and the last one in June, but that's where the similarities endedThere were fewer pairs overall so we expanded our monitoring area. We found 48 breeding pairs which produced 81 nests in Galveston and East Matagorda Bays. Bad weather hampered our monitoring attempts as well as oystercatcher productivity. Whereas last year we had no pairs attempt to nest more than twice, this year we had many pairs that attempted to nest three times only to be met with high tides that washed eggs and/or chicks away or caused starvation when the adults were unable to feed the chicks. On the Upper Texas Coast, we color-banded 54 adults and only 14 chicks. Overall productivity was approximately .21 which when compared with last year's .78 is quite a contrastThis field season marks the end of Texas State graduate student Alexandra Munters (pictured above) research on this project. She expects to graduate with a masters degree next spring and we are anxiously awaiting the results of her analysis.

This year Lianne Koczur, a graduate student from TAMUK, monitored oystercatchers on the central coast. She monitored 67 nests from 49 breeding pairs located from Matagorda Bay south to Corpus Christi Bay. Productivity on the central coast was slightly higher at .31. We have now banded 125 adult oystercatchers and 59 chicks and are looking forward to resighting data from you. If you are out birding and you see a banded oystercatcher, please check the legs for bands and let us know if you see any banded ones. We would like to thank the many volunteers that helped with this research project!

It's Hawk Watch Time

August 1st marks the beginning of the 16th season of our hawk watch at Smith Point near Anahuac, TX. Mysteriously, funding for this vital long-term survey remains beyond reach so rather than have a paid position, our monitoring will continue with volunteers. Smith Point is a special place withan average diversity of 21 species of raptor and an average season total of 52,000 birds. Broad-winged Hawks make up 70% of the total which are augmented by large numbers of Mississippi Kites and accipiters. Gulf Coast specialties include Swallow-tailed and Mississippi Kites, Crested Caracara, and White-tailed Hawk. There is also a significant migration of other species including large numbers of American White Pelicans, Wood Storks, and Anhingas. The passerine migration can be outstanding following a cold front. We would hate to lose this important raptor migration station. If you would like to volunteer to count or can provide monetary support (no matter how small), please contact Sue.  

 

Staff Migrations

It was with great sadness that we said goodbye to our office manager Reba Tibbits in late July. Newly married and with a baby on the way, Reba decided it was time to give her older daughters more time with mom in preparation for the new baby. She will be sorely missed by all and we wish her all the best in her new endeavor.

With Reba's parting we welcomed a new staff member, Jessica McGee, shown above, as our new office manager. Jessica is a native Texan but only recently moved to Lake Jackson, three years ago from Waxahachie. Jessica is also a student majoring in Early Education and Business Administration. She brings several years of experience in office management and a love of nature to GCBO. She enjoys camping, fishing, hunting, running, hiking, and gardening. Be sure to stop by and introduce yourself!

Monthly Bird Banding at GCBO

The migrants are here! Join us from 8:00 until noon on Saturday, August 18th for our next monthly bird banding session. Migrants will be here and we should be seeing lots of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds by then. Seeing birds in the hand is a great way to get kids excited about wildlife, but all ages are welcome.  See themap 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.

 

If you are an ExxonMobil employee or retiree and would like to help us raise funds through their VIP Group matching grants program by donating four hours of volounteer time, please let us know!

 www.gcbo.org | Telephone 979-480-0999 | Contact Us
This e-mail was sent by the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory
103 W. Hwy 332, Lake Jackson, TX  77566


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