Skip to main content

Team "Eager Egrets" shows us how to do Birdathon while social distancing

We'd like to share this wonderful report from Jim Winn of Birdathon team Eager Egrets, which includes our friends Skip Almoney, Ben Hulsey, and Betsy and Jim Winn. It's a great example of how to participate in Birdathon during these unprecedented times. In addition to a "virtual team," you can also participate in Digital Birding! Click here to learn more.
---
Friends,

Lots of migrants have come through our area this spring.  We know that from reports of our Galveston friends.  However, the big invasion was the week prior to our Birdathon day, Thursday, April 16th.  Nevertheless, 103 species were found. The weather was perfect for time spent outdoors and we certainly need some of that.

With six feet apart restrictions, the Birdathon rules were revised to allow us to bird different areas on the same day.  Betsy and I birded from the roads in the Katy Prairie, Skip birded the wooded east side of Hermann Park and around McGovern Lake, and Ben birded Willow Waterhole, Archbishop Fiorenza Park, Cullinan Park, and finally out to Attwater’s Prairie Chicken NWR to look for the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken, one of the most endangered birds in North America.  It didn’t show.

The team did find 103 unique species (97 by Ben, 42 by Skip, and 36 by Betsy & Jim). The list is somewhat short on warblers, but does have many other interesting birds.

Also of interest were the  exotic species seen, but not included on the Birdathon checklist - Red-vented Bulbul, Scaly-breasted Munia, and Egyptian Goose.

And our candidate for the “Best Bird That Got Away” is the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken, which Ben found and photographed the following morning!  Arrrr …

On behalf of Houston Audubon, a special Thank You to those who have donated or will be doing so.  The door for donations closes on May 11th.

Jim Winn, on behalf of Eager Egrets
Houston Audubon Advisory Board Member

Photos by Ben Hulsey
---
Eager Egrets Covid-19 Birdathon Checklist
April 16, 2020

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
Wood Duck
Mallard
Mottled Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Bobwhite
Least Grebe
Pied-billed Grebe
Neotropic Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant
Anhinga
American White Pelican
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Cattle Egret
Green Heron

Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
White Ibis
White-faced Ibis
Roseate Spoonbill
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Mississippi Kite
Northern Harrier

Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Sora
Purple Gallinule
American Coot
Black-necked Stilt
Killdeer
Upland Sandpiper

Least Sandpiper
Long-billed Dowitcher
Spotted Sandpiper
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Laughing Gull
Rock Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove
White-winged Dove
Mourning Dove

Eastern Screech-Owl
Chimney Swift
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Crested Caracara
American Kestrel
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Eastern Kingbird
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Loggerhead Shrike
White-eyed Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow

Cave Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Sedge Wren
Carolina Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird

European Starling
Sprague's Pipit
Cedar Waxwing
Black-and-white Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Northern Parula
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow

Northern Cardinal
Blue Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Painted Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Common Grackle
Great-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird

Orchard Oriole
House Finch
House Sparrow

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Creating a Pocket Prairie in an Urban Backyard

In September of 2017, my girlfriend Amanda and I, along with our dog Scout, moved out of our apartment and into a house in Houston’s Sunset Heights. One of the selling points of this house was that it had a small backyard the three of us could enjoy together. It was a simple space comprised of zoysia grass, Japanese yew, and bamboo.

In June of 2018, Scout was sniffing around our backyard and decided to eat a couple of Japanese yew berries that had fallen on the ground. This led to her getting sick and spending the next two nights recovering at a veterinary clinic. This is the event that made me start to question everything growing in our backyard. Why did we have grass, shrubs, and bamboo from Asia? Why had we never seen a butterfly in our yard?

We decided we needed to make some changes. To begin my research, I read The Houston Atlas of Biodiversity by Houston Wilderness, Bringing Nature Home by Douglas W. Tallamy, and Native Texas Plants by Sally Wasowski and Andy Wasowski. After rea…

Critical habitat is closer than you think - Rice University students create a Habitat Conservation Plan to support wildlife in our city

Across the world, species are rapidly disappearing before our eyes. This is a biodiversity crisis. Urbanization has caused habitat degradation, loss, and fragmentation, which contribute to the decrease in global biodiversity. At Rice University, fifteen students signed up for Dr. Cassidy Johnson’s Conservation Biology Lab in hopes of making changes on their campus and in their city to protect and enhance the local biodiversity. These students are creating and communicating their desires to implement a Habitat Conservation Plan at Rice University in order to contribute to urban conservation efforts right here in Houston. Their project tackles specific biodiversity concerns including critical habitat, bird conservation, pollinator gardens, medicinal gardens, carbon sequestration, and wetland restoration.

The following piece is written by students in the Conservation Biology Lab who are taking part in developing that plan. This is the first post in a series.
----- When people walk through…

Houston, we have an announcement. We’re now a Bird City!

We know that Houston is a vital city for birds, but now it’s official. Houston Audubon’s Conservation Team worked tirelessly in partnership with Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) Natural Resources Program to submit the application, and it paid off. Houston was honored as one of the first four cities to receive the Bird City Texas certification – an inaugural program by Audubon Texas and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).
So, what exactly does being a Bird City mean? The big picture is that we have demonstrated that our community cares about birds, habitat, and conservation. The growing popularity of planting native plants, restoring prairies, bird-friendly education programs, and the Houston Lights Out for Birds program to reduce collisions for migrating birds were among the many efforts and programs that got us this designation. (Go Houstonians!)
I personally witnessed the large amount of work that went into this application and was curious about what it entail…