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 March 21, 2019 7:00 p.m.

Garden Center, Tyrrell Park, Beaumont 

DIY Costa Rica

Michael Cooper, Gerald Duhon and Steve Mayes

A birders first view of Fruit Loop Toucans (well, technically, Keel-billed) playing follow-the-leader, landing in open view and commencing to joust one another with those impossibly swollen, day-glow colored bills is likely not to be their last.  There’s just something magnetic about the American Tropics.  Of all locations within, say, six hours flight time from Houston it’s hard to top Costa Rica for a birding getaway. A collection of 921 species in an area smaller than West Virginia make the country a listers paradise. Huge swaths of land, much of it primary cloud and rain forest, set aside in national parks and other protected areas means easy, comfortable access to those birds. “CR” has been catering to birders for decades, and its system of ecolodges with feeders and other bird friendly habitat is probably preeminent among other similar destinations. For example, we explored hotel grounds with bird lists of 512, 228 and 337 — our temporary digs in the middle of San Jose boasted 153. It really doesn’t get much better than that! Many will opt for a fully structured visit organized by one of the major tour groups, and others will go the opposite direction staying in hostels or even camping, employing public transportation to get around. Between these two extremes there is a “do it yourself option” where one gives up nothing to a organized tour. By acting as one’s own “general contractor” the savings can be substantial, the agenda flexible, site visits customizable even on the fly, and everyone gets a view of the bird. Come along with Steve, Michael and Gerald as they retrace their trek to perhaps the most popular neotropical birding location, Costa Rica, and discuss how to assemble the elements of such an “avication” (Hint: there’s really just one step). Lots of bird photos of course!

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 1/2 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 1/2 mile 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 March 23, 2019

Field Trip to Bolivar Flats

This trip will occur as spring shorebird migration is getting well under way, but while the wintering 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.

Meet at the vehicle barrier at 8:30 a.m. From Winnie, take TX 124 south to High Island. At the shoreline, turn right (west) on TX 87 and proceed through Gilchrist and Crystal Beach until you reach the intersection where Loop 108 turns right (north). Turn left (the opposite way to Loop 108) along Rettilon Road. At the beach, if conditions permit, turn right (west) about 1/2 mile to the vehicle barrier. Follow recent tire tracks, and be careful to avoid any cuts that may have developed. It takes at least one and a half hours to drive from the Golden Triangle. We will leave the vehicle barrier at about 8:45 a.m., although the group will be visually obvious on the flats should you be a few minutes late.

The Flats in winter always have lots of plovers, sandpipers and other wading species. A large flock of American Avocets winters there.

Some walking is necessary on this field trip. If the tide is a long way out, the leaders may walk up to a mile from the vehicle barrier, but you can turnaround at any point. Depending on the mud flat conditions, we may visit to the North Jetty to view the birds from that side.

We normally stop at Fort Travis Park to eat lunch and use the facilities. We may stop at Rollover Pass and often stop at High Island on the way back to check in High Island for any "very early" Neotropic songbird migrants. Bring drinks and lunch (or buy locally, but that is not particularly easy), sunscreen and insect repellent.


Important Note: Galveston County operates a parking permit program on the Bolivar Peninsula. If you park on most parts of the beach, including the part next to the Flats, you must have a parking permit on your windshield. The fee for the permit is $10.00 a year and permits are obtainable from most merchants on the Bolivar Peninsula including the Big Store, which opens at 7:00 a.m. Currently, the permit also entitles you to park at Rollover Pass.