GCBO March Enews
Believe it or not the oystercatchers have already begun nesting.We monitored West Galveston Bay and East Matagorda Bay once each in February and found eight nests and two pairs with chicks! Those oystercatchers are such over achievers! How about adopting a pair this year to help support this project? Sue will update you monthly on your pair's progress through the nesting season and you will receive a pair of nice certificates (shown above) with a photo of your birds and their banding information. If your pair fledges chicks we will send you photos of them as well. We will be monitoring birds regularly in West Galveston and East Matagorda Bays so you can choose any of the banded birds in those bays. There's a selection of pairs on our website. You can also follow along with our field season on our blog which can be found at the bottom of our home page. Read the first entry of the 2017 Oystercatcher Diaries.
Our Motus Tower Network is taking shape. GCBO has installed eight antenna arrays located at the Trinity River NWR, the Bill Baker tugboat which travels the GIWW between Dickinson and Corpus Christi twice each month, Gulf Coast Waste Disposal Area (thank you Scenic Galveston!) just north of the I-45 bridge, West Galveston island, Palacios, Port O'Connor, Aransas NWR, and the Bay Education Center in Rockport. USFWS has installed three additional antennas arrays at Brazoria and San Bernard NWRs. We still have four to install (Sargent Beach, Matagorda, and two at Trinity River NWR) and then our network will be complete. We are really looking forward to spring when we should be getting some fantastic data from migrants heading north to breed.
photo by Pete and Peggy Romfh
GCBO's Quintana Spring Fling is right around the corner. As in past years, Spring Fling will be held daily the entire month of April at Quintana Neotropic Bird Sanctuary. We will have knowledgeable volunteers and staff on hand to answer your questions, keep a daily list, and sell water, snacks, and field guides. Please stop by and visit! In addition, we need your help to make this event successful. GCBO volunteers Peggy & Pete Romfh did such a great job last year that we've asked them organize this event again. If you would like to offer your unique skills to help out, please contact them by clicking here. On Saturday, April 1st at 9:00 and 11:00am they will hold a training session at the host station in Quintana for everyone willing to volunteer during the month.
We are getting ready to kick off another season of the Beach Nesting Birds project which starts April 1. We are anxious to begin monitoring breeding Wilson's Plovers, Least Terns, and Black Skimmers again this year. Now that we have worked out the kinks, our second season is going to focus on equipping a regular group of volunteers to help us protect and monitor these birds. Our shorebird technician, Amanda Anderson, is currently recruiting volunteers and organizing volunteer orientation that will be held in March. If you have an interest in birds and want to help our coastal resources please contact Amanda. Our training orientation for Bryan Beach will be held on March 7 from 9-12 at GCBO. Training for Matagorda Beach will be held on March 17. If you would like to attend either session sign up by contacting Amanda.Be sure to follow along with the field season on our blog which can be found at the bottom of our homepage.
In an effort to monitor changes through time, the National Park Service is working to systematically collect information on the presence and abundance of birds. GCBO is supporting the Padre Island National Seashore (PINS) in this effort by providing a technician to repeatedly monitor over-wintering and breeding birds at 32 points along the seashore. Romey Swanson is doing this work for us and he conducted these surveys in January. Romy had some amazing experiences in the natural grasslands behind the dunes during these sometimes tedious and challenging surveys. You can read his full description here.
Sue and Steve Whitmer spent January and February with us as our RV Volunteers. They did anything and everything to help GCBO. From keeping an ongoing bird sightings list to cleaning, creating inventories, typing up lists, creating an RV volunteer handbook, chopping, mowing, keeping the bird feeders filled, enticing the wood ducks to come – you name it and they did it. We will sincerely miss them. BUT, they will be back next year. Yay! They are on their way to Ft. Davis State Park where they will be welcomed with open and anxious arms. We wish them safe RVing!
Thank you Steve and Sue!
Our wish list is still shrinking! Thanks to George and Judy Vogel we received a load of crushed concrete! A few more loads would really 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.
Last month we caught this beautiful bluebird along with its mate. They are busy nest building in one of our boxes. In March birds will already be moving through so you never know what we might catch. Bird banding will be on Saturday, March 18th from 8:00 until noon. Remember, the birds get up early so the earlier you are here the more you'll see. Seeing birds in the hand is a great way to get kids young and old excited about wildlife. See the map on our webpage for directions or use your GPS to take you to 299 Hwy 332 West, Lake Jackson, TX.
Our Vision is a healthy ecosystem with abundant space for birds to survive and thrive around the Gulf of Mexico.