Welcome to the Golden Triangle Audubon Society

Photo credit: Dana Nelson, Cattail Marsh, December 18, 2018
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.

Field Trip to Liberty Area

Saturday August 6, 2022

During the first half of August each year, Swallow-tailed Kites congregate in the Trinity River bottomlands between Liberty and Dayton for two or three weeks before they migrate south for the winter. We will also be on the lookout for Wood Storks and even Limpkins

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. The trip will probably not last much beyond noon.

We will check the area along Highway 90 between Liberty and Dayton, perhaps several times, and also the Liberty Municipal Park area. The relatively new Knobby Knees trail and boardwalk of the Trinity River NWR can be easily accessed from the Park. The part of the trip looking for kites does not necessitate extensive walking, but the trail does. We will check the trail for early migrants and a few other songbirds that may well nest in that area. In addition to the Swallow-tailed Kites, there will typically be Mississippi Kites flying low over the residential areas of Liberty north of US 90.

Typically, the group proceeds to Jax Hamburgers in Liberty for lunch.

Membership Meeting

Thursday August 18, 2022

The Amazon and the Marañon Rivers in Peru

Gary Kelley

In early June this year our GTAS member Gary Kelley joined a rafting expedition on the Rio Marañon in the highlands of northern Peru. Gary will present a slide show starting at the Chan Chan archaeological site near Trujillo, Peru, 13 days rafting, and a day birding with a guide south of Lima. The rafting includes some white water up to Class III and visits to villages, schools and an Inca tomb along the river.

The Rio Marañon is the main headwater of the Amazon. This 182-mile float in Peru begins at an elevation of about 4000 ft above sea level where the river flows through a deep canyon and has frequent rapids comparable to the Lower Colorado River in the U.S.  It is, unfortunately, threatened by a number of hydroelectric power projects with foreign backing.  So far, these projects have not gone forward due to intense local resistance with some international help. Interestingly enough, the Marañon runs into the Ucayali not far above Iquitos, beyond which it is traditionally called the Amazon.  At Iquitos, the river is 2000 miles from its mouth northeast of Belem, Brazil, but is at an elevation of only about 350 feet.

 We will plan on having the doors open by 6:00 p.m. and the program will start at 7:00 p.m. Refreshments will be available from 6:15 p.m.

Field Trip to Bolivar Flats

Saturday August 20, 2022

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 from Beaumont or mid-County to the Flats, assuming you do not stop to bird on the way! Depending on tide and wind conditions, the concentrations of birds may be 1/3 to 1/2 mile from the barrier.

Often, after birding the flats, the group proceeds to Fort Travis or to the Big Store to use the facilities and eat lunch. Many participants will bring their lunch, as options to purchase are limited. The group may stop at Rollover Pass and will probably visit High Island on the way home, checking there for early southbound migrants.

By the time of this trip, there will be some southbound shorebirds on the flats. There should still be at least some of the summer residents still present. Again this year, some Red Knots spent the summer on the flats.

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.)