During the first half of August in recent years, Swallow-tailed Kites have congregated 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 those who want will probably do quite a bit on the trails. The trip will probably not last much beyond noon. Bring water or other drinks as it could be quite warm. Insect repellent is advised. Traditionally, many participants proceed to JAX Hamburgers in Liberty for lunch.
We will check the area along Highway 90 between Liberty and Dayton, perhaps several times, and also the Liberty Municipal Park area. 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 and a few other songbirds that may well nest in that area. . In addition to the Swallow-tailed Kites, there will be 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).
Wendy is the Forest Program Manager for the Texas Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Wendy received an A.A.S in Fish & Wildlife Technology from the State University of New York in Cobleskill in 1978 and a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colorado in 1981.
Wendy has over 25 years of work experience with The Nature Conservancy. She was hired as the first Preserve Manager of the Colorado Chapter for Phantom Canyon Preserve in the foothills near Ft. Collins. She worked for the Conservancy’s National Fire Management Program on wiregrass and longleaf pine ecosystem restoration. With a move to Texas in 1993, Wendy has worked in various roles on east Texas preserves with the Conservancy.
She currently with public and private partners for protection and conservation of land and water resources of the state including nine preserves and associated conservation easements from Caddo Lake to Beaumont, Texas. Her career has focused on the restoration and management of longleaf pine forests and associated ecosystems, prescribed fire application, and rare species. She served on prescribed burn and wildfire suppression operations for twenty-two years and continues to review fire operation plans. She serves on the Steering Committee of the Northeast Texas Conservation Delivery Network, the Texas Longleaf Implementation Team, and is the Sub-Committee Chairperson for the Herbaceous Understory Committee of Team. Recognized as the 2008 recipient of the R.E. Jackson Conservation Award by The Big Thicket Association, Wendy is currently serving as Secretary of the Big Thicket Association.
Wendy’s interests include promoting the arts and humanities (she is the former Hardin County representative for Southeast Texas Arts Council Board. When not busy with work she creates recycled/repurposed jewelry under the name Gas Station Chicken. Her favorite bird is Teal, her 27-year-old daughter.
Note the change in date from that shown in the June Brown Pelican.
Meet the leaders at the vehicle barrier at Bolivar Flats at 8:30 a.m. Take Highway 124 south from Winnie about 20 miles through High Island. At the shoreline, turn right along Highway 87 and proceed approximately 25 miles through Gilchrist and Crystal Beach until you come to the intersection with Loop 108. At that intersection, turn left (south – the opposite direction from Loop 108) on Rettilon Road to the beach. If conditions permit, drive onto the sand and turn right to the vehicle barrier (about 1/2 mile). It is about a 90-minute drive, with no allowance for stops, from Beaumont or mid-County to the Flats.
This trip will occur as fall shorebird migration is well under way for most species, but while the summer birds are mostly still present. Bolivar Flats is an internationally important shore-bird location. We know that a lot of birders are intimidated by shorebirds, but they are not nearly as difficult to identify as is sometimes alleged! This trip offers an opportunity to compare many of the "true" shorebirds with lots of help in identifying them.
Usually, after birding the flats, the group proceeds to Fort Travis to use the facilities and eat lunch. Most participants will bring their lunch, as options to purchase locally are limited.
The group may stop at Rollover Pass and will probably visit High Island on the way home, checking there for early southbound neo-tropical migrants
To park on the beach, you will need a Galveston County Beach Parking Permit, obtainable for $10 from most merchants on the Peninsula. (The Big Store opens at 7:00 a.m.)