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Work Day at Sabine Woods, March 13, 2009

Report on Sabine Woods Work Day March 13, 2009


We accomplished everything that we needed in the way of maintenance and we should be in good shape for the critical weeks of spring migration.  In addition to mowing all the trails, we cut and moved aside one tree that was across a main trail, installed a protected clipboard to record sightings, mowed round all the trees planted over the winter, cut excess vines, reopened several trails in the woods near the west boundary, and numerous other small items.


This year will be a critical one for the recovery from the storm surge of Hurricane Ike in September 2008. The El Nino related wet winter has surely washed away any remaining salt, and the ponds are fuller than any of us have seen before. Most of the oaks are budding out nicely on time, and we see no losses that are additional to those we noted last year. However, it is clear that, as we feared last year, many hackberries (sugarberries, to be more accurate) did not survive, nor did any of the willows. The underbrush was "knocked down" by the several freezes this winter, but we believe that occasional winters like that are good for the habitat, helping keep it composed mainly of native species. Almost all the new mulberry trees are budding out, and there has been plenty of moisture for the newly planted oaks.


Those who birded after we completed the work did find some apparently newly arrived migrants in the early afternoon. There were three Louisiana Waterthrushes, three Black-and White Warblers (all males), a Northern Parula (male), and a Yellow-throated Vireo. Wintering species were dominated by a very large number of Yellow-rumped Warblers, with several Gray Catbirds, two or three Golden-crowned Kinglets, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, a Hermit Thrust, a Brown Thrasher, a Blue-headed Vireo, a few White-throated Sparrows, at least one Lincoln's Sparrow


On Behalf of Texas Ornithological Society and Golden Triangle Audubon Society we thank everyone who haled: Andy Allen, Chuck Davis, Terry Ferguson, Sherry Gibson, John Haynes, Levie Horton, Steve Kuritz, Steve Mayes, Wendy Mires, Chuck and Sally Moffet, Sherrie Roden, Christine Sliva, and Jana Whittle.  Thanks again to each and everyone.


John Whittle


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