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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

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GCBO September Enews
Gulf Coast Bird Observatory

September, 2016


Hummingbird Feeder Tender


XHX is Here!

It's here! Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are arriving via airmail daily. We are ready for Xtreme Hummingbird Xtravaganza on September 10th and 17th. If you are a hummingbird enthusiast, its time to get those feeders up and mark you calendar for our spectacular event. On the 10th, TPWD biologist Brent Ortego will talk about his experience with hummingbirds. On the 17th, Master Naturalist Chris Kneupper will talk about Texas native milkweeds and their benefit. On both Saturdays, GCBO board member Mike Williams will give a presentation on hummingbird photography. In addition, you can adopt a hummingbird and visit our nature store where you will find a wide selection of hummingbird feeders, books, and other fun stuff. We will have hummingbird plants on sale and the Master Naturalists will be bringing lots of live critters for the kids to enjoy.  There's still time to volunteer to help, so contact Carol if you're interested

Become a GCBO Member

Did you know you can become a GCBO member! Membership categories include:

  • Student or Senior $20
  • Individual $30
  • Family $50
  • Supporting $150
  • Gulf Steward $300
  • Lifetime $1000

Members receive our bi-annual newsletter containing the latest in GCBO activities, a 10% discount in our nature store, access to special GCBO field trips, and a great feeling knowing you're helping to support bird conservation in the Americas. You can become a member on our website or just give us a call and we'll take your information over the phone (979-480-0999).

A Special Piping Plover

On August 6th, GCBO biologists Susan Heath and Amanda Anderson were on Follet's Island beach looking for an oystercatcher that had fishing line wrapped around one foot. They didn't find the oystercatcher but they did find this little guy. The band information for this Piping Plover revealed that it was banded as a 7-day old chick on June 6th, 2016 at a lakeshore housing development in Dodge County, Nebraska. A mere 60 days later the bird had flown 900 miles to the Gulf coast for the winter. That's pretty amazing! Here's a photo of the little guy at banding.

Dow Community Grant Completed

In 2015 GCBO was awarded a Dow Community Grant to improve access to our woodland wetland by extending a boardwalk and to improve our parking area for easier and safer access to the boardwalk. We are thrilled to announce that the $8,100 project has been completed. Dow retirees were the work force behind this project from original design to installation. We hope you will come out soon and take a short stroll on the boardwalk. Also, as reported in our last enews, Craig and Roland from the San Bernard NWR spread 200 tons of crushed concrete over a major section of our parking lot. With all the rain lately, that has been much appreciated. Thank you Billy Heck, Tom Taroni, Roy Morgan & Sam Dufilho for all your hard work and sweat on the boardwalk!  

Non-breeding Shorebird Monitoring Project

GCBO has worked with American Bird Conservancy on a joint Beach Nesting Birds project for many years. Now with funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Coastal Program we are expanding our partnership to include monitoring wintering shorebirds including Piping and Snowy Plovers. We will monitor plovers at Bryan Beach in the fall (September and October) and spring (March and April) at least once a week on both the beach and the back dunes. The information gained from these surveys will be used to help the City of Freeport develop a management plan to protect this habitat for wintering shorebirds. We will be posting roosting areas with symbolic fencing and engaging in stewardship on the beach to educate the public about the importance of this site for wintering shorebirds as well.

Smith Point Hawk Watch Photography Workshop(price reduced!)

photo by Michael Gray

Surprisingly we have not had much response to our Photography Workshop at the Smith Point Hawk Watch on October 1, 2016 with famed photographer Alan Murphy. This workshop is one of the main avenues of financial support for the hawkwatch. Alan is an award winning photographer with numerous publications, a Nikon Professional Service member, a Wimberley Professional Service member, and the author of many instructional ebooks and videos. He leads numerous photography workshops throughout North America which are normally sold out almost immediately. We are offering a morning with Alan at the Smith Point Hawk Watch to refine your raptor photography skills for only $300. This is a REAL bargain and all proceeds go to suppor the hawk watch! Check out Alan's Photography at his website. You can find out more on the Smith Point Photography Workshop here along with how to register. This workshop is limited to 12 people.

Hummingbird Feeder Tender

photo by Tony Leukering

Over the summer, Sciobhan Short has been a dedicated volunteer changing our hummingbird feeders once or twice a week to keep these tiny birds happy. Thank you Sciobhan! She is ready for a break and we put out a lot of extra feeders in September while the heavy hummingbird migration is underway, so we need a couple volunteers to take over this responsibility for the fall. We have about 10 feeders out and they need to be changed twice a week. We realize this is a big commitment for one person, so if we could get two hummingbird loving folks to volunteer, they could each do it once a week. If you can dedicate some time to this task, please contact Sue.

Experiences Auction - Pico Bonito Honduras

From James Heller - Experiences Auction Winner


What do you get when you combine a tropical forest with luxury accommodations? The Lodge at Pico Bonito, Honduras! The premier item in the 2015 GCBO Experiences Auction, the trip to the Lodge at Pico Bonito exceeded all the expectations of a coastal Texas birder. Not a stranger to the tropics due to previous SCUBA diving trips, this was my first focused tropical birding trip. Led by Santos, a birding guide who can spot a Long-billed Gnatwren in dense tropical understory and a Lovely Cotinga across the Rio Coloradito gorge, and throw in daily sightings of Collared Aracari and motmots including the Keel-billed Motmot, this birder revisited his early birding days of the excitement of new bird discovery. And after daily logging of new species (more than 120 new birds), every day was concluded with the impeccable service and cuisine of Itzuma Restaurant, with a level of attention and detail that has been long lost in �better� restaurants in Houston or other U.S. cities  (yes, this Brazoria/Victoria/Goliad County boy does know the difference, Surprise!). The Lodge at Pico Bonito fulfills the wishes of birder to epicurean to adventure traveler, and should be on your wish list!



Purchase your "experience" in November 2016!


GCBO Wish List


Our wish list has shrunk considerably! Thanks to all who donated. There's only a few items left. Can you 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.

  • 40 inch tv or bigger
  • washing machine
  • several loads of crushed concrete ($200 value)
  • stackable plastic chairs for hawk watch (up to 20)

Monthly Bird Banding at GCBO

Photo by Tony Leukering

September is here and that means hummingbirds! This month  we will hold our XHX festival on bird banding day so unless we run out of hummers we won't be banding any passerines. See above for XHX details. See the map on our webpage for directions or use your GPS to take you to 299 Hwy 332 West, Lake Jackson, TX.







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