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GCBO September e-news
Gulf Coast Bird Observatory

September, 2011

 

 

 

 

In this Issue:

 

September Means XHX!

 

Colonial Waterbirds Need Your Help

 

Texas Water Matters

 

Smith Point Hawk Watch Underway

 

GCBO Visits Narupa Reserve

 

Follow Up on Whooper Banding

 

Monthly Bird Banding at GCBO

 

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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.

September 2011

September Means XHX!

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.

Colonial Waterbirds Need Your Help

 

GCBO is working with American Bird Conservancy on a project that focuses on colonial waterbirds nesting along the Gulf Coast. The main focus is Black Skimmers and Least Terns but all colonially nesting waterbirds will be supported by this effort. This project involves a public awareness campaign that will be launched in 2012. In order to establish a baseline of current public awareness, we need volunteers to help conduct colonial waterbird awareness surveys at regional public and private boat ramps from September 14-17 (Wednesday through Saturday).  Shifts will be from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.  Volunteers will be provided with cold drinks, snacks, and fun goodies provided by American Bird Conservancy. If you can help out, please contact Sue. The birds will thank you!

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Texas Water Matters

The health of Texas' bay and estuaries and the birds, fish, and other wildlife that use them rely on a critical mix of freshwater from rivers and saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico but rapidly growing population has increased demands on Texas' limited water supplies, reducing river flows and putting our coastal bays at risk. To ensure enough water remains in our rivers and flowing into our bays to support wildlife, a statewide process is underway to develop environmental flow standards for each of Texas' rivers and bays. Each bay system has a stakeholder committee whose recommendations will be passed on to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) who will establish the formal standards that govern future water rights. These flow standards will have dramatic implications for the future health of coastal wildlife. Make your voice heard on this issue and keep our coastal wildlife healthy! See Texas Water Matters for more information on how you can stay informed.

Smith Point Hawk Watch Underway

The Smith Point Hawk Watch is off and running! With a fine cadre of volunteers we have managed to have every day covered since August 1st. Hawk numbers are continuing to increase every day as we build to the peak of Broad-winged Hawk migration in the second half of September. We are lucky to have Jason Bojczyk come down from Michigan to count four to six days a week. Jason has never been to Texas and is building up his life list daily! Many thanks to him and our other volunteers including David Sarkozi, Tad Finnell, Bill Saulmon, Cliff Peterson, Joe Kennedy, Dan Smith, and Winnie Burkett for keeping the hawk watch going during these tough economic times. Please stop by and visit when you can.

GCBO Visits Narupa Reserve

Taking a busman’s holiday the last two weeks of August - GCBO staff and members met up with Fundaci?n Jocotoco board and staff to visit the Narupa Reserve, Ecuador. Pictured here (L to R) are Mike Gray, Cecilia Riley, Joan Holt, Scott Holt and Carol Jones of GCBO; Dr. Robert Ridgley and Francisco Sornoza of Fundaci?n Jocotoco.

 

Climbing the steep slopes we toured the newest tract acquired with funding from GCBO's Tropical Forest Forever Fund in March of this year. The 166-acre tract connected the original reserve properties to the Sumaco-Napo-Galeras National Park providing a biological corridor from the higher elevation forests of the National Park to the foothill forests of the Narupa Reserve. This Amazonian foothill rainforest located along the east slope of the Andes was lush with vegetation, a beautiful, rushing river, and lots of beautiful birds expertly identified by our host and guide, Dr. Robert Ridgley – President of the Jocotoco Foundation. All of us look forward to more land purchases that will continue to expand this beautiful reserve – and to more field trips to see them!

 

Follow Up on Whooper Banding


Whooping Crane Capture Team
Barry Hartup (International Crane Foundation), David Brandt (USGS) Felipe Chavez-Ramirez (Gulf Coast Bird Observatory), Mark Bidwell (Canadian Wildlife Service), and Rhona Kindop (Wood Buffalo National Park).

During the first week of August the Whooping Crane capture team successfully captured 12 fledgling Whooping Cranes and fitted them with GPS telemetry devices in Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Using a helicopter to locate the family groups, the capture team was let out in a nearby place with a safe approach to the ground and then made their way to the chick by navigating through the Boreal marshes and forest ridges. At the time of capture the chicks needed to be between 60 and 70 days old and within a few days of being able to take flight because any chick strong enough to take its first flights would be impossible to capture. The data from this study will help determine important stopover areas throughout the migration corridor and help in determining causes and locations of mortality events that occur during the migration period which is when most mortality in whooping cranes occurs. Felipe and other non-Canadian members of the capture team were there at the invitation of the Canadian Wildlife Service to support this cooperative project.

Monthly Bird Banding at GCBO

This month bird banding will be in conjunction with Xtreme Hummingbird Xtravaganza on September 17th. We hope you will come and join us!

 

 

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


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