Page 1

The

Naturalist

C e l e b r a t i n g 4 2 Ye a r s o f B i r d C o n s e r v a t i o n Volume 31, Number 4

Joanne Kamo July/August 2012

Saving a Natural Treasure: The College Park Prairie by Flo Hannah, Urban Sanctuaries Manager

G

ood news! An amazing prairie remnant has been found in Deer Park. It is called the College Park Prairie, named after an adjacent elementary school. This is a 52-acre prairie pothole remnant with a full complement of pimple mounds and potholes. It supports an array of wildlife that includes pocket gophers, unusual and often elegant insects, grassland birds including Henslow’s, Le Conte’s and Grasshopper Sparrows, and nesting Eastern Meadowlarks and Loggerhead Shrikes. A willing seller and a brief window of time to raise funds are providing a rare opportunity to potentially acquire this extraordinary property, the largest known high-quality prairie remnant for sale in Harris County. Houston Audubon is not currently accepting donations but is partnering with Houston Wilderness and the Coastal Prairie Partnership to find acquisition funds from corporations and environmental agencies. Individual donors can make a contribution at http://savecollegeparkprairie.ning.com. Coastal prairie is the “rarest of the rare” of North America’s ecosystems (D. Ladd, TNC). Coastal prairie was once the dominant ecosystem of Harris County’s sprawling 1.1 million acres. Now, only a few fragmented remnants are left of our local prairies where cowboys, cattle drives, saltgrass trails, and rich farmlands once prospered. The vast local prairies of Harris County once teemed with grassland birds and supported countless other wildlife species. Except for the abundance

of prairie-associated names, little remains of that rich heritage. To date, more than 240 native species have been recorded, indicating an extremely diverse, high-quality prairie. TPWD botanist and plant ecologist, Jason Singhurst, has surveyed College Park Prairie three times. He describes the site as a Texas-Louisiana Coastal Prairie that is extremely rare in both Louisiana and Texas. This prairie community has only been documented in Chambers County (Winnie and Middleton Prairies) and Harris County (Deer Park Prairie) in Texas. Its status is: Global Rank: G1S1. G1 means it is at very high risk of extinction due to extreme rarity, with often 5 or fewer known populations; S1 means there are fewer than 5 occurrences known in Texas.

Coastal prairies are so rare that most Houstonians have never seen one. I’m often asked how it is different from all the open pastures and fields lining the roadways of Harris County. One distinction is that a high quality prairie still has its original topography of pimple mounds and prairie potholes. It has not been overgrazed or plowed or converted to “improved” non-native range grasses. Quality prairie remnants are almost always hayfields. Regular mowing or fire is necessary to maintain a balance of native grasses and flowers. Otherwise, tallows and other alien plants will dominate. continued on page 3

Thalia dealbata (Powdery alligator-flag) dominates a wetland depression near a large prairie pothole at College Park Prairie (Don Verser)


Houston Audubon is a chapter of the National Audubon Society BOARD OF DIRECTORS Mary Carter, President Jim Winn, Past President Ben Hulsey, President-Elect Bernice Hotman, Corporate Secretary Kay Medford, Treasurer Judy Boyce Cy Clark Matthew Easterly Jeff Evans Ed Hickl Lynne Johnson David Lummis Donna Rybiski Joseph Smith Jeff Woodman Martha Wright Barbara Railey, Galveston Group Representative BOARD OF ADVISORS Gerard A. Bertrand Jim Blackburn Richard Brooks Caroline Callery Gary W. Clark Scott Davis Ted Eubanks, Jr. Stephen Gast Terry Hershey Ford Hubbard, III Mavis P. Kelsey, Jr. Jeff Mundy Heidi Rockecharlie Andrew Sansom Kathryn Smyth Lucie Wray Todd Laurie Williams

Sara Bettencourt Peggy Boston Dale Bush Claire Caudill Fred Collins Victor Emanuel Julia Garrett Gene Graham Tracy Hester Ann Wier Jones Robert McFarlane Donal C. O’Brien, Jr. Rob Rowland Steve Smith James R. Stewart, Jr. Lettalou Whittington

STAFF Gina Donovan, Executive Director Flo Hannah, Urban Sanctuaries Manager Marc Reid, Coastal Sanctuaries Manager Mary Anne Weber, Education Director Vicki Vroble, Environmental Educator Jessica Jubin, Development Director Barbara Thompson, Controller Juanita Perkins, Office Manager/Volunteer Coordinator CONTACT INFORMATION Houston Audubon Office 713-932-1639 Education Office 713-640-2407 FAX 713-461-2911 E-mail info@houstonaudubon.org Galveston County Group 409-772-3126 AUDUBON DOCENT GUILD Bethany Foshée, Coordinator docent@houstonaudubon.org

713-464-4900

FOLLOW US Like us Tweet us www.houstonaudubon.org www.narba.org

The Naturalist is published bimonthly. Editor: Susan Billetdeaux The Naturalist is also available in digital format. Naturalist E-News is published monthly. To receive The Naturalist by e-mail, sign up for Naturalist E-News on our website.

The Naturalist is made possible by a generous gift from Terry Hershey.

2

THE NATURALIST • JULY/AUGUST 2012

Birdwatching: A Shared Pleasure by Mary Carter, President

I

had a wonderful experience on April 21 taking 14 Red Hatters (women over 50 who like to do things) on a trip to High Island for a day of birdwatching. Most of the women were not birders, but were game to try. We arrived at 9:00 a.m. at Boy Scout Woods, and Julia Garrett was waiting for us to be our tour guide, telling us about High Island, the story of migration, and, of course, pointing out the birds. Julia shared these duties with Peggy Boston, and the women learned a tremendous amount about this special place and the phenomenon of migration. Very special thanks to Julia and Peggy. It was unseasonably cold and windy that morning, and spring migrants were hard to come by. So we decided to go to a sure winner—The Rookery. It was indeed special. We fantasized about the “singles tree” where the Roseate Spoonbills were hanging out, perhaps looking for the right mate. We also fantasized about the male Snowy Egret bringing the perfect stick to his mate, and she saying, “Thanks honey, please get another.” After viewing The Rookery, some of the women opted for the church barbecue, and then back to the warmth of their cars and Houston. The hardier souls had a picnic at the tables near The Rookery which was delightful. The sun came out, the sky cleared and a Northern Parula sang its heart out. So, fortified with lunch and the sun, we returned to Boy Scout Woods and resumed birdwatching. We were rewarded with sightings of Summer Tanagers, Indigo Buntings, Eastern Kingbird, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and others. Perhaps most importantly, these women participated in one of the most enthusiastic crowds I’ve ever seen at High Island. It was as if it was a giant party, with everyone enjoying the adventure. The following are some of the emails I received after the trip: “I am looking forward to getting more involved with birds and birdwatching. I loved The Rookery. I could have spent hours looking at the spoonbills and the other birds. I am going tonight to look for binoculars.” “What a privilege to be at such a special place, hurray for the birds and for the Houston Audubon Society for their great work, and to Mary for leading a great trip. I’m a great Roseate Spoonbill and Indigo Bunting fan, and so I was stoked that Mary arranged for us to see them. And a Summer Tanager too. I’m worried about the warblers though, did they ever arrive? Poor little guys, it was a heck of a north wind.” So, it may not have been the best day for birdwatching, but it was a great day to showcase our beautiful sanctuaries and the dedicated people who care for them. I also recently spent a delightful sunny morning in Central Park (NYC) birdwatching with my brother-in-law. Phil is an excellent birder, and it was a treat to stroll through Central Park looking for birds. The previous evening we had gone to the roof of his apartment building to get a close view of two Red-tailed Hawks perched on the tower of the building—a spectacular sight especially when one of Indigo Bunting at High Island the hawks floated off the point buoyed Spring, 2012 by Joanne Kamo only by the wind—no flapping needed. We were primed for the morning. We started early and pretty much had the trails to ourselves and Phil’s wonderful dog. As the morning progressed and got warmer, more birders arrived. We all shared our information and sightings, definitely a friendly and wellinformed group. What does all this mean? To me, it means that birdwatching has a fascination for many sorts of people with many interests and many skill levels, beginners to “lifers.” Thank goodness for wonderful organizations such as Houston Audubon that promote and help nurture birds and the pleasure of watching them.


Saving a Natural Treasure: The College Park Prairie Although not open to the public, the only way to really experience the complexity and excitement of the prairie is to walk through it and see all that is happening and changing every day. Since the College Park Prairie is located in Harris County, it is an ideal location for the public to visit and experience what prairies once looked like. When you step into the prairie you turn back the clock to a less stressful time. I have had the opportunity to visit the site multiple times, and have a new appreciation for the complexity and interrelatedness of the coastal prairie. Each time I visit, new wildflowers, grasses, insects, small mammals and birds are discovered.

and consists of one-of-a-kind topography, microorganisms, and soil types. Sadly, native wildflowers and grasses once common are now very rare. When a prairie remnant is lost to development, an entire and complex wildlife community is lost. The delicate balance of the prairie cannot be reproduced.

Our efforts to date have been to relocate or propagate native plants for restoration or reconstruction projects. Many plants survive relocation, but rare sitespecific plants do not. Generally only 10 to 20 species can be targeted for relocation but quality remnants consist of 150 to 300 plant species adapted to the particular soil and moisture conditions of that site. The best plan is to preserve an intact Alophia drummondii (Purple pleat-leaf ) coastal prairie. This rare iris was found in May at (Don Verser)

College Park Prairie. Finding and preserving prairie remnants is now at a critical stage if we want to save a window into our past. Each quality remnant we find should be saved because every site has a unique combination of wildflowers, grasses, insects, reptiles, mammals, and amphibians

The current threat to the College Park Prairie is urban development. The property owner is a developer who plans to build a residential subdivision on top of the prairie. He has, however, given until November 1, 2012 for a commitment to be made to acquire the

Liatris pycnostachya (Prairie blazing star) An ocean of liatris is ready to bloom at College Park Prairie. (Don Verser)

property. Normally we locate a prairie remnant with only days or weeks before bulldozers arrive. For decades we watched the last coastal prairie disappear before we could act, but we have the gift of time to save this one. There is a sense of urgency to reverse the trend of constant loss, and it is important to not lose even one more of the prairies that are part of our natural heritage. It is not likely another sizable remnant of this quality will be found in Harris county and so this may be the last opportunity to save a prairie this close to Houston. For further information and to donate, visit http://savecollegeparkprairie.ning.com.

Species Profile

White Ibis by Glenn Olsen, GO Birding Ecotours

I

Iike the White Ibis because it’s an oddlooking bird. In breeding season, the White Ibis has bright white feathers and crimson-red facial skin, bill, and legs. Its colorfulness and its long, de-curved (or downward-curving) bill give it a strange appearance as it wades in the shallow waters of marshes, ditches, and bayous in search of marine worms, snails, young crabs, crawfish, and other tasty morsels. You can find these birds year-round in freshwater and saltwater marshes, such as at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Brazos Bend State Park, Addick’s Reservoir, or at any of the bay marshes along the coast. The adult is all white, with black-tipped wings. Immature birds are mottled white and brown, and otherwise resemble the adult birds. In flight, the way to distinguish a White Ibis is to look for its down-curving bill, long neck, narrow body, and legs that extend beyond its tail. You will most often see White Ibis flying in flocks numbering from 5 to 25; their flap, flap, flap, glide flight

pattern will help you identify them. Whereas most species of birds use only one habitat for breeding, the White Ibis is unique in that it requires two habitats: brackish marshes and freshwater marshes. Adult birds feed in brackish water marshes and along the shoreline of bays, looking for young crab, small mollusks, and other aquatic food. White Ibis chicks are unable to digest salts found in saltwater food organisms, so its parents must hunt for crawfish in freshwater marshes such as those found at Brazos Bend State Park and Addick’s Reservoir, as well as in ditches and bayous around Houston.

White Ibis (Eucodimus albus) with a Crawfish by Joanne Kamo

Every time a bayou is cemented or a development supplants seasonal wetlands in or near Houston, the numbers of White Ibis diminish. The White Ibis is a beautiful bird worth preserving, and provides yet one more important reason for us to speak up for protecting their habitat when we see it being threatened in our neighborhoods. White Ibis at College Park Prairie by Don Verser


Calling All Birds??

Bird Call Policies

by Winnie Burkett

I

am always tempted to pish when I want a better look at a bird. But I often have to stop myself when I think about the effect on the bird. Calling birds always affects the birds you call. In Texas in the winter calling up a bunch of wintering Swamp Sparrows most likely doesn’t have much impact on them if they are slowed down from feeding or resting for a little while. But you are most likely one of the few birders they will encounter.

use of birds responding to a tape of their call compared to pishing or a Screech Owl call but when they look for the source of the call they use energy that they need for other purposes. Energy use means more food is needed which takes more time. Do they have the time?? Can they find the food?? How much disturbance can the nesting pair endure before nesting fails?? There are lots of stories about nesting birds abandoning areas because of the use of bird calls. Do Swainson’s Warbler by Greg Lavaty birders think about the www.texastargetbirds.com possible impacts of using bird calls?

Calling up nesting birds is an entirely different matter. Males defending their territories may spend time looking for the invading male. Depending on the species, that male bird may be feeding young or his mate. Now if you are the only birder that calls up that male, the impact is most likely negligible, but if a Swainson’s Warbler is nesting near a road on the Upper Texas Coast and the word gets out and many birders visit the area each calling the birds out so they can get a good look, it has the potential to negatively affect that pair’s nesting. I don’t know the difference in the energy

Migrating birds can also have problems with bird calls and energy use. Often migrants on the coast in the spring don’t respond to calls; their priority needs to be feeding and/ or resting after their trip across the gulf. But some migrants do respond. Can they afford to use the energy that way?? It is easy to say, “My pishing/bird call/owl tape really doesn’t make that much difference. After all there are cats and buildings killing millions of birds.” But more and more it is the cumulative impacts that are responsible

Houston Audubon Sanctuaries The use of playback devices is prohibited at all Houston Audubon sanctuaries unless special permission is obtained.

Texas State Parks It is not allowed to use playback devices in Texas State Parks and many other birding sites including several in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

National Wildlife Refuges Many refuges consider playback devices a harassment and prohibit their use. It is best to check with staff first before using one. for the decline of bird populations: cats, buildings, cars, towers, wind turbines, disturbance, and habitat destruction. With the availability of great birding apps for our phones, it is easier and easier to have very good bird calls at our finger tips. How we use them depends on how much we care about birds. For a thoughtful article by David Sibley on this topic, see his website: tinyurl.com/3pzzqy7.

Volunteer Scrapbook Houston’s Loss, Austin’s Gain

Volunteers Make It Happen!

by Juanita Perkins, Volunteer Coordinator

by Marc Reid, Coastal Sanctuaries Manager

H

S

ouston Audubon’s fearless field trip leader, Bill Saulmon, is moving to Austin this summer. We wish him well in his new city, but we sure will miss him!

gets settled? Hope so! Vicki Vroble, Houston Audubon’s Environmental Educator, will organize next year’s field trips. Vicki will have big shoes to fill, but Bill promised to sit down with her and tell her all his secrets!

Bill led trips for Houston Audubon and the Ornithology Group for many, many years. This past year he not only led monthly trips to areas around Houston (Smith Point, Baytown Nature Center, Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR, San Bernard NWR, Brazoria NWR, Lake Anahuac, Quintana and Brazos Bend), but he also headed up a trip to Big Bend, organized a birding trip for seniors to San Bernard NWR and led a guided Birdathon team for rookies. Bill is a great organizer and communicator, and almost every one of his trips was filled to capacity! Perhaps we can get him to agree to lead a trip around Austin after he

4

Thanks, Bill and sincere best wishes!

Bill lou ng during ing with som a senio e rs’ bus of the partic trip this ip past w ants inter.

THE NATURALIST • JULY/AUGUST 2012

pring migration at High Island was once again a treasured memory for all who participated. A very special THANK YOU is in order to our dedicated force of volunteers. Without the support, commitment, and professionalism of each of you, High Island would not be what it is today. So many people contributed so much it is impossible to list everyone’s name and what they did. Every minute you contribute to Houston Audubon is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your continued support.

teers volun s d n a l d Is o High ut Wo pring t Boy Sco s e h eak a e of t Som king a br ta


History, Community, and Chimney Swifts the old Jefferson Davis Hospital has it all!

InCitizen the Field Science

by Vicki Vroble, Environmental Educator

C

himney Swift season is in full swing! Thanks to a growing number of dedicated volunteers, the swift watch team has expanded, allowing us to monitor more roosting sites including the stack at the old Jefferson Davis Hospital. Towering above the dilapidated boiler room with shattered windows, the site evokes an eerie atmosphere. Built on a Confederate graveyard, the location is rumored to be haunted. While the swift watch team has yet to encounter any ghosts, they have met several residents of the Elder Street Artists Lofts which the hospital was renovated into in 2005. Tenant Lucy Ivanovo enjoys watching the

swifts. Originally thinking they were bats, Lucy researched and realized that Chimney Swifts inhabited the stack. She claims they are her favorite creatures and deems them a treasure. Lucy and many other loft residents volunteer to maintain a community garden on the property. Their work is evidenced by the abundant herbs, fruits, vegetables, and flowers growing in assorted plots. Picnic tables in the garden provide a serene vantage point to observe and count the swifts. The highest number of swifts we’ve counted at the site was 136 on April 10. Recently the

number has dropped to about 85 swifts. This year all the swift counters in our region are recording data in a standardized form that includes the number of swifts as well as information about the temperature, cloud cover, and wind to capture a more comprehensive view of factors affecting the swifts. Besides me, the Jefferson Davis Hospital swift watch team includes Flavio and Linda DelAngel and Victoria Bartlett, who is looking forward to sharing the swift counting experience with her grandchildren when school is out. Sometimes we are joined by Lucy or other tenants. I hope to engage as many residents as possible and educate them about the amazing birds residing in their backyard. Another goal is to work with the building manager to plan a Swift Night Out event for all loft residents this fall.

Bird Counts Houston Bird Survey The summer survey ends June 30. Remember to send us your reports! Find the online forms on our website.

Monthly Counts Armand Bayou Survey Leader: Andrew Hamlett

Hermann Park Bird Survey

Contact for summer counts: Harlan Evans

Hogg Sanctuary Bird Survey Leader: Aaron Stoley

Willow Waterhole Survey

Leaders: Joy Hester & Mark Meyer

Woodland Park Bird Survey Leader: Jason Bonilla

Purple Martins Peak numbers occur in July and August when Purple Martins form large flocks and roost together as they prepare to migrate. Last summer there was a martin-extravaganza at The Fountains shopping center in Stafford. Check the Purple Martin page on our website for details and this summer’s sightings.

Bluebird History at the Champions Golf Club: A Success Story The Champions Golf Club has sent Houston Audubon a history, written by Ted Shetzer, of their efforts to increase the Eastern Bluebird population on their golf course. Houston Bird Survey Coordinator Robert McFarlane wrote, “This is an excellent example of a conservation measure, dedication over the years, adaptive management (moving the houses after the initial failure), and persistence. The Eastern Bluebird is a species that has definitely suffered from human population growth and habitat loss.” The article is available on our website.

Eastern Bluebird: Greg Lavaty www.texastargetbirds.com

Swifts Over Houston This year we have regular swift counts at locations in Bellaire, Sugar Land, and Dayton. Please join us for a count. This summer you can also check out nesting swifts on the swift cam at the Nature Discovery Center in Bellaire. Please report information on new roost sites. We invite you to start your own swift count. We have sites that you can choose from or you can add your own site. Check the Swifts Over Houston section of our website for count locations and times.

Swift Awareness Events

in August and September at locations throughout Houston! Pershing/Whole Foods Market: August 21 Russ Pitman Park: August 24, Lakeview Elementary: September 14 Details at www.houstonaudubon.org

THE NATURALIST • JULY/AUGUST 2012

5


Birdathon

2012

Greg Lavaty, www.texastargetbirds.com

Grand Prize

Texas Valley Trip: 2 night stay for four at Alamo Inn, Behind the Scenes tour of Bensten-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Guided tour of Sabal Palm Sanctuary Eligible Teams: Baker Blue Jays (3 tickets), Cranes and Curlews (7 tickets), High Island Crew (5 tickets), Katy Prairie Cuckoos (2 tickets), Phab Phour Phaloropes (1 ticket), Swift Chicks (1 ticket), Wandering Warblers (2 tickets) Winner of drawing: High Island Crew

Most Species Identified

East Texas Birding Trip guided by Skip Almoney Winner: High Island Crew (163 species)

Birdathon Awards and Prize Winners

O

ver $26,000 was raised for Houston Audubon during Birdathon 2012! Wow! There were 11 new Birdathon participants this year. Many youth were introduced to birding at the Branch School. Everyone enjoyed hearing about each team’s Birdathon adventures during the May celebration at Jax Grill. This success would not be possible without the hard work and passion of the Birdathon teams and youth leaders.

The donors who pledged to the teams are also a key for the success of Birdathon. Donors also include the businesses and individuals who donated time and/or prizes for the teams. Birdathon would not be possible without the help of the committee: Andrea Ritchie, Juanita Perkins, Cindy Bartos, and Judith Schott. Thanks also go out to the HAS webmaster, Susan Billetdeaux. Many thanks for all your hard work! Pam Smolen, Birdathon Chair

Most Money Raised

Mentor Award

Winner: Cranes and Curlews ($7,255.00)

Eligible Teams: Bitchin’ Birders, Katy Prairie Cuckoos, Phab Phour Phaloropes, Wandering Warblers

Rockport package: Whooping Crane and Coastal Birding Tour aboard The Skimmer for four and Gift Certificate to the Boiling Pot

Most Pledges Collected

Two tickets to the Vanishing Texas River Cruise or Longhorn Cavern State Park

Houston Hot Spots Birding Trip guided by Stephan Lorenz

Winner of Drawing: Phab Phour Phaloropes

Winner: High Island Crew (79 pledges)

Gift from REI

Best Bird Award

Houston Audubon merchandise for each team member Winner: Bitchin’ Birders (Cinnamon Teal) Judged by Steve Gross (“Harder and harder to find these days—I didn’t find one even in winter.”)

Rookie Award Eligible Rookies: Jennifer Lezak, Tom Eggert, Sandra Moore, Candy McNamee, Cindy Bartos, Judith Schott, Mary Mack, Michael Edkenfels, Margaret Frank, Lynda Pontecorvo, John Bartos Winner of Drawing: John Bartos

Thanks to Our Generous Sponsors of Birdathon! Alamo Inn • Audubon Docent Guild • Baker Hughes • Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park • The Boiling Pot Houston Audubon Education Department • Jax Grill • Longhorn Cavern State Park • Lower Trinity Valley Birding Club REI • Rockport Birding & Kayak Adventures • Sabal Palm Sanctuary • Skip Almoney Stephan Lorenz • Vanishing Texas River Cruise • Wallcoverings International

WM is For the Birds by Jessica Jubin, Development Director

T

hanks to Houston headquartered Waste Management, birds are benefitting from an initiative that took flight in May. With contributions totaling just over $4,000, WM reached nationwide to encourage others to think green for the birds. All month long, WM pledged a gift to Houston Audubon when a small business client signed up for recycle services.

6

THE NATURALIST • JULY/AUGUST 2012

Special thanks to WM employees David Mayfield, Debbie Cano-Figueras, Downs Deering, and Kimberly Lock-Wah-Hoon. Kimberly signed up the most people during the promotion. She and her daughter flew in from Phoenix to enjoy their first birding experience and the chance to meet us during the Quintana field trip in April. Thank you, Waste Management!

WM VP Downs Deering, Jessica Jubin, WM Sales Associate Kimberly Loc-Wah-Hoon and daughter Jaelynn. Photo by Debbie Figueras-Cano


On the Horizon

Looking Ahead

Marbled Godwit: Joanne Kamo

by Mary Anne Weber, Education Director

H

ouston Audubon is already busily planning a new exciting calendar for members and the community as we move boldly forward advocating, educating, and stewarding land and future generations!

sought-after speakers for the fall and spring events and the regular annual meeting will remain in the month of May.

As announced at the May meeting, Houston Audubon’s Board of Directors felt it was in the best interest of the organization to move to three stellar events per year instead of the previous nine membership meetings. Staff is currently working on a couple of highly

Coming soon ...

This program change allows Houston Audubon the opportunity to collaborate with other like-minded groups and have a broader more profound impact on conservation issues affecting birds and wildlife habitat along the Upper Texas Coast. We will, of course, continue to offer member favorites such as monthly field trips, senior

bus trips, owl prowls, and family events, and we are also currently working on additional member opportunities. Among the new offerings already scheduled are Art in the Afternoon, a series of adult art classes at Sims Bayou Nature Center, and Saturdays in Nature at Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary. Houston Audubon firmly believes that the new format will be a step in the right direction and definitely “something to crow about.”

Houston Audubon Fall Event Thursday, September 27

Kevin J. McGowan of Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology Renowned expert on crows Developer of All About Birds online bird guide

Art Classes for Adults Field Trips WILD about RAPTORS

Owl Prowls

Senior Bus Trips Nature Movie Nights

September HANPA Meeting with Kathy Adams Clark

Holiday at the Cabin

The September/October Naturalist will have details on these activities and many more!

American Crow by Greg Lavaty

From the Desk of Mary Carter, President

Open Letter to Gina Donovan It was with great regret that the Board of Directors accepted the resignation of Gina Donovan, who has been our Executive Director for five years. Gina is retiring from Houston Audubon at the end of June. Dear Gina, We will miss you. We have had the benefit of having you with us for five years. Those years have been filled with unexpected challenges, hurricanes, and economic difficulties, but you have persevered. Your enthusiasm, your presence, your cheerfulness, your leadership ability, your networking activities, your patience when faced with multitudes of tasks, your outstanding representation of Houston Audubon are some of the qualities that have helped make Houston Audubon the star on the conservation map that it is today. I personally have enjoyed working with you; your organizational skills have kept me from falling into a hole on more than one occasion. So, Gina, we wish you good luck, good fortune, good health, and happiness. Please don’t lose touch. On behalf of all of us who were touched by your devotion to Houston Audubon,

Board of Directors We are pleased to announce the election of our new Board members: Matthew Easterly, David Lummis, Joseph Smith, and Martha Wright who join the HAS Board of Directors effective July 1, 2012. We look forward to working with you, and we are extremely pleased you have chosen to join us. At the same time, we want to give grateful thanks to the retiring Board members: John Bartos, Joy Hester, Kay Hale, and Jeffrey Mills. Thank you for your help in making Houston Audubon the wonderful organization that it is. We hope you will stay involved.

Mary

THE NATURALIST • JULY/AUGUST 2012

7


Houston Audubon

Join Houston Audubon

Nonprofit Org. U.S Postage PAID Houston, Texas. Permit No. 9349

440 Wilchester Boulevard Houston, Texas 77079-7329

Name

Address Service Requested

Address

Please check box to indicate address change

City

State

Telephone

Solicited mail Time-sensitive material DO NOT DELAY

Zip

E-mail

$500 (Gold)

$250 (Silver)

$100 (Bronze)

$50 (Family)

$30 (Individual)

$15 (Student)

I’d like to receive a digital version of The Naturalist instead of the paper version. Credit Card Number: Name on Card:

Exp. Date:

Send to: Houston Audubon Society 440 Wilchester Blvd. Houston, TX 77079-7329 FAX to 713-461-2911 or sign up online at www.houstonaudubon.org All funds remain with Houston Audubon in support of its mission and local sanctuaries.

Houston Audubon promotes the conservation and appreciation of birds and wildlife habitat.

Bulletin Board August

July Weekly

Houston Swift Counts on Tuesday

Weekly

Houston Swift Counts on Tuesday

Weekly

Dayton Swift Count on Thursday

Weekly

Dayton Swift Count on Thursday

2

Hogg Bird Sanctuary Survey

6

Hogg Bird Sanctuary Survey

2–6

Nature Explorers Camp 5, ELMNS

6–10

Survivor Camp, ELMNS

9

Hermann Park Bird Survey

8

Flying WILD Workshop, Kleb Woods

9–13

Slimy and Scaly Camp, ELMNS

11

Armand Bayou Nature Center Bird Survey

9–13

Texas Time Traveler Camp, SBUNC

11

Woodland Park Bird Survey

14

Flying WILD Workshop, Kleb Woods

13

Hermann Park Bird Survey

14

Armand Bayou Nature Center Bird Survey

16

Horseshoe Marsh Work Day

14

Woodland Park Bird Survey

18

Willow Waterhole Bird Survey

16–20

Backyard Safari Camp, ELMNS

21

Swift Night Out, Pershing & Whole Foods Market

16

HANPA Meeting with Frank Farese, ELMNS

24

Swift Night Out, Russ Pitman Park

19

Horseshoe Marsh Work Day

21

Willow Waterhole Bird Survey

September

23–27

On the Trail Animal Detectives Camp, ELMNS

14

23–27

Trekking Across Texas Camp, SBUNC

30–3

Pond Camp, ELMNS

Location Codes: ELMNS: Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary SBUNC: Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center

Swift Night Out, Lakeview Elementary School

Audubon Foundation of Texas represents Houston Audubon in the Earth Share of Texas payroll deduction plan for charitable giving.

The Naturalist July/August 2012  

Houston Audubon magazine