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 February 16, 2017  7:00 p.m.

Garden Center, Tyrrell Park, Beaumont 


The Birds of Northeast Mexico

“Tip of the Neotropical Avifaunal Iceberg”


Quick -- what location comes to mind if you wanted to add the following species to your lifelist: Bat Falcon, Boat-billed Heron, Pale-billed Woodpecker, Masked Tityra and Red-legged Honeycreeper? Destinations such as Belize, Costa Rica or Panama among others might seem likely locations. But it’s also possible to tick off these exotic denizens of the American Tropics, and many others, an easy five hours drive south of Texas’ Lower Rio Grande Valley at an amazing wonderland of birds called El Cielo Biosphere Reserve. Rising out of flat, thorn-scrub choked coastal plains, the eastern flanks of Mexico’s Sierra Madre block moisture laden Gulf air, forcing it upwards. This results in heavy seasonal rains along the foothills, and higher up, a special type of tropical rainforest called Cloud Forest. El Cielo contains the northernmost example of Cloud Forest habitat in the Western Hemisphere. It’s a misty place of Bromeliad festooned oaks with affinities much closer to the highlands of Guatemala than anywhere in North America. Once characterized as “the tip of the Neotropical Avifaunal Iceberg,” families such as Guans, Curassows, Motmots and Potoos have representatives here. Mexico’s most northeastern state of Tamaulipas, home to El Cielo, contains several decent sized cities including Cuidad Mante that can serve as a base of operations. Join GTAS member Gerald Duhon as he takes us on a guided tour up from stream crossed flatlands to true Cloud Forest environs, stopping along the way to visit birdy urban parks and small mountain villages.

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 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 3/4 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 3mile to the first light.

At the light go straight over Highway 124 onto Tyrrell Park Road and go about 3/4 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 February 18, 2017

Field Trip to Anahuac NWR

IMPORTANT NOTE. We have decided to change this field trip back to one of our normal winter destinations, Anahuac NWR.

We plan to meet at the Visitor Information Station just beyond the entrance at 8:30 a.m. There are public toilets there accessible even when the Information Station is not open. To reach Anahuac NWR from Winnie, take Highway 124 south to FM1985. (It is 11.0 miles from IH-10 and half a mile less from Highway 73.) Turn right (west) on FM1985 and proceed about 11 miles to the well-marked MAIN Anahuac NWR Entrance Road on the left (south). (Do not be tempted by your GPS to enter the East Unit which is only about four miles from Highway 124.) The entrance to the Main Refuge is just over 3 miles down the Entrance road. Obey the speed limits, especially the 15 mph limit in the information station area! Watch along the entrance road, especially the west side, for Crested Caracaras, and nearer the entrance to the refuge on the east side for White-tailed Kites.

We will probably visit both the main unit ("Old Anahuac") and the Skillern Tract, looking primarily for waterfowl but also raptors and sparrows. We may also bird some of the rice field areas in Chambers County, mostly north of IH-10.

On one memorable occasion (2012), this trip was spectacularly successful in seeing more than 35,000 geese flying over, seven Bald Eagles and one Golden Eagle among other species. There are geese and Bald Eagles in the refuge area this winter, and duck numbers and variety have been quite good recently. Cinnamon Teal have been seen regularly. As this is being written, the wintering Burrowing Owl is still being seen from the road along the shore of East Bay near Frozen Point.

While it is not anticipated that this field trip will necessitate extensive walking, it is a 400 yard (1/4 mile) walk from the Skillern Tract parking area to the observation platform. All roads that we will use will be easily passable in ordinary vehicles. However, car- pooling is very desirable, especially for the drive round Shoveler Pond because the road is one-car wide and there are only a few pull-offs most of which will only accommodate three or four cars. There is space to leave vehicles close to the meeting place.