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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

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GCBO July e-news
Gulf Coast Bird Observatory

July, 2012

 

 

 

 

In this Issue:

 

GCBO Celebrates Our Outdoor Classroom

 

Summer Bird Camp Fun

 

Cuba Connection

 

It's Nearly Hawk Watch Time

 

XHX is Coming!

 

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. 

July 2012


GCBO Celebrates Our Outdoor Classroom

 

We recently celebrated the completion of a new Outdoor Classroom with a Ribbon-Cutting ceremony held on June 5th. A Dow Chemical Community Grant provided funding for this new venue that provides both educational and viewing opportunities at our bottomlands sanctuary in Lake Jackson. To showcase the importance of wetlands to birds and other wildlife, the classroom consists of a wetland education deck, an observation tower overlooking both the forest canopy and the 1.5-acre Heron's Haunt Wetland and interpretive signage. During the ceremony our Executive Director, Cecilia Riley shared these words, “We are grateful for this opportunity to share Brazoria County’s rich biodiversity with our community and for Dow’s support of this venue. Already the outdoor classroom has enhanced education and ecotourism here. Over the past 12 months we have welcomed 1,407 guests from across Texas and 21 other states, as well as Canada, and Europe here to GCBO and virtually all of them utilized this outdoor venue and our new photo blind. Even before fully completing this project we have had a couple of school groups and scout troops and our Summer Bird Camp class used the classroom”. We hope all of our members will come out to use the new venue as often as you wish! Captured in the photo are GCBO and Brazosport Chamber of Commerce staff, the Mayor of Lake Jackson, City of Freeport officials, and Dow Chemical Public Affairs representatives.

Summer Bird Camp Fun

What fun we had! Bird Camp could not have gone better for GCBO’s first experience in organizing and conducting our camp for 8-11 year olds. At the end of the week it was hard for the campers to choose their favorite sessions. Topics ranged from what makes a bird a bird, to sketching, learning about avian adaptations, banding, live birds, observing and identifying around the sanctuary, we played Wetland Bingo and much more! We are gearing up for next year so be sure and get your kids, friends’ kids and grandkids on the schedule. We would like to thank the folks that made Bird Camp possible: Wells Fargo Advisors & USFWS - Coastal Program; Scholarship donors Sara Munson, Pat Williams, & Roy & Lois Morgan and all the volunteers that  spent many hours preparing and staffing camp - Cathy, Cherie, Dave, Jim, Kay, Maria, Peggy, Peter, Pete, Robert, Ron, Sheree and Susan.

Cuba Connection

 

We recently visited our Cuban Site Partner in order to kick-off a new migration monitoring project. In collaboration with the Ministry for Science, Technology and the Environment and the Empresa Nacional para la Proteccion de Flora y Fauna, GCBO conducted site visits and a training workshop in western Cuba to train biologists and technicians from several protected areas to conduct hawk counts beginning in late summer 2012. We are seeking to establish at least one location for long-term monitoring of migratory raptors from North America through western Cuba. After visiting several sites, five locations were selected as trial hawk count locations covering the northern to southern coasts and the westernmost land point in Cuba.  There are significant numbers of Swallow-tailed Kite sightings migrating thought western Cuba and in conjunction with our ongoing hawk counts in Smith Point, Texas, we believe a good estimate of the North American population of this species is possible. Field work for this project will begin in August 2012.  After this initial year, a decision will be made as to whether a single location or a combination of sites will best provide hawk migration counts through this area.

We are grateful to the Christopher Reynolds Foundation for support of our work in Cuba.

 

It's Nearly Hawk Watch Time

Before you know it, it will be August and time to start watching the skies for raptors. Actually, Swallow-tailed Kites will probably begin migrating in July so keep an eye out for them! We are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with our Cuban Site Partner to obtain an estimate of the North American Swallow-tailed Kite population size (see above).  In order to have both counts operating at the same time, we will begin counting at Smith Point on August 1 and run through November 15. Similar to last year, funding shortfalls require that we run the count as a citizen science project. If you are interested in helping us continue the collection of this very valuable and long standing dataset, please consider volunteering by contacting Susan Heath.

 

XHX is Coming!

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 pointsin 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 Reba.

Monthly Bird Banding at GCBO

The babies are here! Join us from 8:00 until noon on Saturday, July 21th for our next monthly bird banding session and see the bumper crop of young birds that we have at GCBO. Seeing birds in the hand 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.

 

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


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