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Meetings and Field Trips

You are welcome to attend monthly meetings, featuring speakers on birding and natural history topics, and including a delicious member-provided evening meal -- with desserts! Our monthly field trips are fun and educational, and focus on locations along the coast, marshes, prairies, and forests of the area.

  

Membership Meeting
Thursday Sept. 18, 2014  7:00 p.m.
Garden Center, Tyrrell Park, Beaumont
 
Butterflies - SE Texas and Beyond
Dr. Harlan Stewart


           Butterfly watching and bird watching have much in common. Both involve colorful and active subjects of wide diversity and distribution. Interestingly, while the world holds innumerable insect species (a million? multiple millions?) and huge numbers of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths - well north of a hundred thousand species) bird and butterfly species occur in roughly similar numbers world wide, in North America, and in Texas. While a distressing number of butterfly ranges seem to avoid the upper Texas and western Louisiana coastlines, Southeast Texas does not lack for a wide and fascinating range of species. This program will review some of the commonly occurring butterflies that are found in Southeast Texas, as well as their place in the wider scheme of butterfly diversity in North America.

             Harlan Stewart is a retired pathologist from Nederland who has had a life-long fascination with insects, including butterflies, that extends from childhood in Montana through adulthood in Texas. He has graduated over the years from accumulating a collection of several thousand insects from Montana, Central Texas and Southeast Texas to the beginnings of a photographic insect collection, facilitated by the advent of digital photography.

             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.

 

 

Directions to Garden Center in Tyrrell Park

 

From the south

Go "north" on US69/96/287 around the south side of Beaumont.

Take Texas 124 (south or west, whichever it is signed) towards Fannett (left turn under the highway).

Travel about a mile to the first light.

At the first light, turn left onto Tyrrell Park Road and go about 1/2 mile.

Turn left into Tyrrell Park through the nice new arch.

Almost immediately turn left at the conservatory into the parking lot for the Garden Center.

 

From IH10

Exit at Walden Road on the west side of Beaumont

Go south of Walden Road for about 1/2 mile to the first light

At the light go straight over Highway 124 onto Tyrrell Park Road and go about 1/2 mile.

Turn left into Tyrrell Park through the nice new arch.

Almost immediately turn left at the conservatory into the parking lot for the Garden Center.

 

Saturday September 20.
Jefferson County Fall Migration Count.

 

     A number of our regular participants will not be available this year, and we will welcome your offers to help. We will be in the field from sun-up to sun-down covering as much of Jefferson County as possible, but the morning hours are particularly important, as bird activity is highest then, and bird are more easily detected. We can accommodate feeder watchers and in-city birders also.  If you have no previous experience with bird counts, we can pair you up with a more experienced observer. More eyes equals more birds seen! Please contact John Whittle (johnawhittle @aol.com or 409-722-4193) to volunteer to help in this count.

 

Saturday September 27
Field Trip to the Smith Point Hawk Watch

 

Our leaders will be there from about 8:30 a.m. This trip will be one week later than our normal field trip schedule.

     Broad-winged Hawk migration typically peaks around the 25th-26th-27th of September in southeast Texas, but the exact timing is dependent on weather conditions along the routes the hawks take. However, the Hawk Watch is manned every day, and if the 27th is not convenient, you could consider going a day or two earlier or later. The Broad-winged Hawk migration is tracked quite extensively in New England and especially over the famous mountain ridges in Pennsylvania. But there are no organized Hawk Watches that we know of between the mid-Atlantic states and the Texas watches at Smith Point and Hazel Bazemore near Corpus Christi. So it becomes somewhat of an interesting exercise to "guesstimate" the progress of the large concentrations of hawks as they work their way between the mid-Atlantic and Texas. (They usually takes about a week.) There is also another population of Broad-winged Hawks that funnels between Lakes Erie and Huron over the Detroit area, and presumably joins the other stream somewhere in Texas. There is some evidence that some of the flights go west of Hazel Bazemore, but all the Hawks certainly funnel through the east coast of Mexico at Veracruz where the coastal plain between the Gulf of Mexico and the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains is very narrow.

     To reach the Smith Point Hawk Watch site from Winnie, take Highway 124 south towards High Island. After 12 miles, turn right on FM1985 and follow it about 14 miles (two miles past the access road for Anahuac NWR) until it meets FM562. Follow FM562 (south) another 14 miles to Smith Point. At the end of FM562, there are usually signs to the Hawk Watch. Continue straight until almost reaching the bay, and turn left on a shell/limestone oilfield road, bearing left again to the parking area next to the Hawk Watch Tower on the Candy Abshier Wildlife Management Area. It takes at least 90 minutes from the Golden Triangle to reach the site. This Field Trip is much more a come and go as you wish trip, and help on hawk identification is always available on the tower!

     Our leaders may lead a group into the nearby woods looking for migrants, but you may stay on the tower if you wish. Mosquitoes are not normally a problem on the tower, although they almost always are in the woods. Availability of food and fuel is limited or non-existent in Smith Point, so bring your lunch!

      The Smith Point Hawk Watch is conducted every day from August 1 through the end of October by the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory. 

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