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Saturday, January 20, 2018

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GCBO August E-news
Gulf Coast Bird Observatory

August, 2015

Get Ready for XHX

It's that time again. We are gearing up for Xtreme Hummingbird Xtravaganza in September. The first Ruby-throated Hummingbirds making their way south for the winter will arrive this month. They will continue through the end of October so if you are a hummingbird enthusiast, its time to get ready. We will hold our XHX event at the peak of their migration, the middle two Saturdays of September, the 12th and 19th. The success of this event depends greatly on volunteer participation so if you want to volunteer to help, contact Carol

Welcome Mark and Rhonda

We are happy to welcome Mark and Rhonda Walker as our first RV hosts. They are retired full time RVers from Dallas. They've been on the road for nearly a year now and are really enjoying it! They were looking for a place close to family in Bay City for a few months, and Mark has jumped in with both feet to lend his skills to GCBO on several on-site projects. We are very happy to have them during this long hot summer when there is much watering and maintenance to be dealt with as we rework our old building into a Field Office

Smith Point Hawk Watch Begins

The Smith Point Hawk Watch begins today! Bob Baez (shown above) is in place and ready to start counting those raptors as they pass. He will be on the tower from 8:00 to 4:00 each day and will be happy to show you birds, give id pointers, sell you a t-shirt, or just have a good chat about birds. We need volunteers to record, count, spot, or keep the Bob energized on slow days. Bob enjoys teaching hawk identification but it works best if volunteer counters have some bird watching experience. Recording and spotting only require enthusiasm! If you can volunteer this year, please contact Sue.

We Have a New Gate!

After years of yearning, weeks of serious contemplation, and a few days of labor, GCBO has an automated front entrance gate! Our old gate was quite cantankerous and required a lot of care to keep it aligned right. Robert and Kay Lookingbill had taken on that task for many years and with the recent heavy spring rains and then hot and dry spell it seemed like they were having to come every other week or so and reposition the posts. When we showed them the quotes for a new entry gate, they immediately offered to put up half and challenged the Board to raise the balance. That challenge was met and by the next Friday we had a new gate! The gate will open every day at 8:30 and close at 4:30. We are grateful to the Lookingbills for their generosity and to the Board for matching it! Robert and Kay, our long-time bird banders are also the newest additions to GCBO's Advisory Board. Welcome and thanks!


Field Office Progress


Along with RV host Mark Walker's help on other Field Office renovations, volunteers Billy and James Heck offered to make a set of bunk beds to get us started on our way to being able to provide lodging for interns, technicians, and graduate students working on various field projects. Billy and James worked deligently and produced this excellent set of beds that we are sure will get much use. If you like to paint, give us a ring becuase that's next on the agenda.

Avian Conservation Science Center is Now ADA Compliant

We've been struggling to put the final touches on the Avian Conservation Science Center and one of the last things that needed to be done was to install ADA compliant handrails. Thanks to volunteers Tom Taroni, Tad Finnell, Andy Dietrich, Sam Dufilho and a donation of materials and time from Joshua Smith at NN Services, LLC we now have handrails installed on all entrance walkways! We are so grateful to these volunteers and to Joshua for this donation of their time and energy. Our center is now ready to host visitor's who need a little extra assistance.


GCBO Wish List

Last month we posted our wish list and Karen McBride our former office manager provided us with a practically new leaf blower. Thanks Karen! We still have a few other needs to help keep our sanctuary in good shape and we're hoping that a few more kind soles can help us out. Take a look and see if you can donate any of these items. We will be happy to provide you with a tax donation letter for your efforts! Thanks so much.

                       - adjustable Purple Martin house pole
                         (we have a house) 
                      - small air compressor
                      - heavy duty vice
                      - refrigerator for field office 
                      - two twin mattresses for field office bunks
                      - volunteer willing to be trained and
                        assist with grounds mowing

Monthly Bird Banding at GCBO

photo by Peggy Romfh

Don't miss our August bird banding session! In July we caught a momma Red-bellied Woodpecker and her newly fledged son. The hummingbirds should be starting to show up this month and there will still be lots of babies to band. Bird banding will be the third weekend of the month on Saturday August 15. The Gulf Coast Young Ornithologists will also meet the same day at GCBO. Bird banding starts at 8:00 and ends at noon. Remember, the birds get up early so the earlier you are here the more you will see. Seeing birds in the hand is a great way to get kids (and adults!) excited about wildlife, but all ages are welcome. See the map on our webpage for directions or use your GPS to take you to 299 Hwy 332 West, Lake Jackson, TX.

Photo of the Month

This photo of a Black Rail chick was taken by Jennifer Wilson, USFWS biologist at our Site Partner the Mid-Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex. How cute is that?! Jennifer is working with a number of technicians and students from Texas State University to assess Black Rail populations along the Texas coast.


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