During the first half of August each year, Swallow-tailed Kites congregate in the Trinity River bottomlands between Liberty and Dayton for two or three weeks before they migrate south for the winter. We will meet at 8:00 AM at the McDonalds at 1923 Highway 90 in Liberty. This is on the north side of the Highway at the intersection with Travis Street, one block west of Main St/Highway 227. Carpooling is highly desirable on this trip. The part of the trip looking for kites does not necessitate extensive walking, although the group will probably do quite a bit on the trails in the Park and Refuge. The trip will probably not last much beyond noon.
We will check the area along Highway 90 between Liberty and Dayton, perhaps several times, and also the Liberty Municipal Park area. Recently, there have been trail improvements and a new boardwalk has been constructed so that a section of the Trinity River NWR can be easily accessed from the Park. We will check that area for early southbound migrants. In addition to the Swallow-tailed Kites, there are usually Mississippi Kites flying low in the residential areas of Liberty north of US 90. Depending on how wet the area is, there may be other birds characteristic of bottomlands.
For more information, contact Steve Mayes (firstname.lastname@example.org or 409-722-5807).
Dana Nelson and Harlan Stewart will be presenting photos and anecdotes on the September 2016 trip by the “Whatabirders” to the Rockport Hummerbird Festival, Lower Rio Grande Valley, and the Hazel Bazemore Hawkwatch. The seven Whatabirders include Jana Whittle, Ross Foreman, Royce Pendergast, Girish Doshi, Christine Sliva, Dana Nelson, and Harlan Stewart. The presentation will feature numerous photos by Dana Nelson and Harlan Stewart of many subjects, not all avian, beginning in the early morning hour at High Island, through Galveston East Beach, Brazoria NWR, Goose Island State Park, Rockport, a Falfurrias rest stop, Bentsen-Rio-Grande Valley State Park, Santa Anna NWR, National Butterfly Center, Estero Llano Grande State Park, Sabal Palms Sanctuary, South Padre Island, Laguna Atascosa NWR, and the Hawk Watch at Hazel-Bazemore County Park. The Rockport Hummerbird Festival is well known and celebrates unique circumstance where the large population of eastern Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are funneled into the region of the Texas coastal bend during fall migration. The above national and state parks are deservedly major hotspots for birding, allowing birder visitors to observe many species unique to South Texas, such as Green Jays, Plain Chachalacas, White-tipped Doves, Groove-billed Anis, White-tailed Hawks, Aplomado Falcons, Altimira Orioles, Hooded Orioles, Olive Sparrows, and Long-billed Thrashers. The coastal bend phenomenon works for raptor just as it does for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, allowing one to view amazing flights of large migrants, particularly Broad-tailed Hawks, at the Hazel-Bazemore Hawk Watch.
We will plan on having the doors open by 6:00 p.m. and the program will start at 7:00 p.m. sharp. A light supper will be available from 6:15 p.m.