Rio Brazos Audubon Field Trips for 2000-2001For a more up-to-date listing of the field trips, please click here.
September 9 : Fall migrant discovery in Washington county.
Best-kept birding secret in the heart of Texas. A repeat of a great trip in 1999. Orchard Orioles, Blue Grosbeaks, Eastern Kingbirds, Epidonax flycatchers and a variety of warblers along FM 2447 and the Brazos River outside of Chappell Hill. Meet in downtown Chappell Hill in front of Lesser’s store (first building on the right on the way into town from the North) at 8 AM. Trip will include a visit to Polk’s Lake north of Chappell Hill. Should finish birding by 2-3PM. Darrell Vollert leads.
September 23: Smith Point Hawkwatch.
A special one-day early-risers trip to the coast. We will get to the coast by 9:00 AM to see low-flying Merlins, Mississippi Kites and, perhaps Swallow-tailed Kites pass through. As the morning winds pick up, we can start to see Accipiters, Broad-Winged Hawks and Peregrine Falcons. A van will leave the College Station conference Center at 5:30 AM sharp. If you want to go on your own, leave College Station in the predawn hours (or the night before), head to Houston and pick up I-10 East. Continue on I-10 past Baytown to Lake Anahuac and then exit south on SH61. Continue on 562 to Smith Point. Follow the road to Robbins Park and turn at the signs. Drive into the field and park by the tower. We will stay until after lunch, then round out the day with a trip to Bolivar Flats, hopefully getting back by dinner. Bring a lawn chair, lunch, and water and contact Larry Griffing (693-9059) for van info. Scott Brandes leads.
October 7: Brazos Bottoms Hawkwatch.
Broad-winged and Swainson’s Hawk migration peaks around this date in Burleson County. Early on, we will look for falcons and accipiters. After exploring the bottoms by courtesy of Buffalo Ranch, we will watch for hawks around midday. Bring a lawn chair for watching the hawks as they soar overhead. The group will meet at the College Station Conference Center at 7:30AM. Bring a sack lunch and water. Darrell Vollert leads.
October 21. Shorebird Migration at Hornsby Bend.
Hornsby Bend, the water treatment plant area outside Austin, is a great place for viewing shorebirds. After a morning out looking at water birds, we’ll picnic in the pines at Bluscher State Park between Bastrop and Smithville and view the forest birds. Bring a sack lunch and water. Leave at 7:30AM from the College Station Conference Center. Plan on getting back by dinner. Darrell Vollert leads. Might join with some fellow Auduboners from the Austin group (Travis Audubon).
November 11: Lick Creek Park.
Flora and fauna are on parade at our local "wilderness" park, Lick Creek Park. This is the time to see our veteran of the Endangered Species Act, the Navasota’s Ladies Tresses (Spiranthes parksii), fully decorated. Scott Brandes will review the newly arrived winter bird recruits. Our local general botanist, Jim Manhart, will scout out the plants. Meet in the Lick Creek Park parking lot at 8AM. We should be done by 1 or 2PM. Will probably be done jointly with the Society for Conservation Biology and the Sierra Club.
December 2: Eagle Lake & Attwater NWR
Under the control of the Colorado River Authority, the Eagle Lake site offers a wide variety of wildlife experiences. Previous years we’ve watched Vermilion Flycatchers, thousands of ducks and geese, a Sharp-shinned Hawk eating a Ribbon Snake, Great Horned Owls, Mule Deer, Alligators and Wild Pigs. We'll stop for lunch in Eagle Lake and then spend the afternoon at Attwater Greater Prairie Chicken NWR watching White-tailed Hawk, Crested Caracara and other species of the open prairies. Meet at CSCC at 7 AM for an early start and plan on returning at dusk.
December 16 (NOTE NEW DAY!!!): College Station Bird Count
The National Census awaits. Help with the oldest and largest volunteer scientific endeavor in the world. We’ll try to count and identify as many birds as we can within a 7.5 mile radius of College Station. Mike Manson leads and tabulates. Come to December 21 meeting for assignments.
December 28: Gibbons Creek Bird Count
This is the second count handled by the Rio Brazos Audubon Society. A very different bird population makes this count an interesting contrast to the College Station Count. Bert Frenz leads and tabulates. Come to December 21 meeting for assignments.
January 4-6 : Sabal Palm NAS Sanctuary and selected Rio Grande Valley birding.
Start your New Year off right with some great birding. Right on the Rio Grande, just outside Brownsville, Sabal Palm is a small, beautiful State and National Audubon Society Sanctuary. Chachalacas, White-winged Doves, Green Jays, and Clay-colored Robins frequent the area near the visitor’s center. While in the valley, we will visit the Padre Island Birding Center, looking for six rail species, and could include other good birding regions like Laguna Atacosa NWR, Santa Anna NWR, Bentsen SP, Salineo, Chapena, Margarita Ranch, Falcon Dam and Zapata. On the way back, we will stop at some Central Coast birding hotspots. We’ll try to get a van and arrange dorm-style lodging near Sabal Palm. Call Larry Griffing or Scott Brandes for details.
Jan 27: Twelve Sparrow Species by Noon.
Mike Manson leads the perennial effort to record 12 different sparrow species by noon. Last year we did it while birding the area managed by Rangeland Ecology at Texas A&M (behind Easterwood Airport). We’ll do it again this year. Special permission and a key is required, so meet at the College Station Conference Center at 8AM.
February 17: Gibbons Creek, Lake Carlos.
Explore the Texas Parks and Wildlife Recreation Area and check out the water birds. At the reservoir there are Bald Eagles, Ospreys, hundreds of Black Vultures and American White Pelicans and thousands of Double-crested and Neotropic Cormorants. We will go around Carlos Lake to the TMPA lignite mine reclamation area, a haven for nutria, alligators, raccoons, and dozens of Anhinga and Northern Harriers, thousands of ducks and Savannah Sparrows. We need special permission from the environmental department of the TMPA, to be obtained by trip leader, Mike Manson. Meet at the College Station Conference Center at 8:30AM.
February 24: Brazos Bend State Park.
Scope out some of the 270 species of birds that live in this State Park (not to mention the 21 species of reptiles and amphibians and 23 species of mammals). After birding, weather permitting, we will stay for an evening of stargazing at the George Observatory, open between 3PM and 10PM. A van will leave the College Station Conference Center at 7:30AM and meet Darrell Vollert, the leader, at Newman’s Bakery in Bellville at 8:30AM. If the stars are shining big and bright, we’ll get back around midnight. Bring a sack lunch and dinner.
April 14: B/CS Parks.
Join us for a tour of some of the more active B/CS Parks for Spring migrants. This is a very easy half-day trip. Meet at the College Station Conference Center at 8AM. Dutch treat late lunch at Jason’s Deli with the Rio Brazos Audubon Board.
April 21 & 22. Upper Texas Coast: Anahuac, High Island, and Bolivar Flats.
To give this trip, a favorite of many, a bit more structure, we will reserve a block of rooms at the Best Western in Winnie. Meet at the Best Western at noon on Saturday (a 3-4 hour drive from B/CS). We will then go as a group down to Bolivar Flats and Anahuac NWR and finish the evening with dinner at the Stingaree restaurant. We will get out to High Island early Sunday and leave around noon, getting back to College Station by mid-afternoon. Call Larry Griffing by April 7 to get reservations.
May 5: Spring in Chappell Hill.
Find the newly-arrived Scissortails and Dickcissels doing their courtship songs and displys along the roads. Visit the wild, privately-owned Hughes Lake in Washington County to look for late migrants and early nesting activities. Darrell Vollert leads. Meet in downtown Chappell Hill in front of Lesser’s store (first building on the right on the way into town from the North) at 8 AM, or meet to carpool at the College Station Conference Center at 7AM. Should finish birding by 2-3PM.
May 12: Mother’s Day Birdathon and Barbecue.
Celebrate Mom, Apple Pie, and Audubon with this friendly competition to see who can see a lot of birds on Mother’s Day. Get her out of that ol’ rockin’ chair and into that lovely Texas Spring. This is a fundraiser, so get pledges from friend, co-workers and family to see how many birds or bird species you can see. Pledge forms will be available at the April meeting and at our internet site. At 7PM we will have a big barbecue, tally the results, and acknowledge the pledges. The venue for the barbecue has yet to be determined.
May 26: Warbler nesting in Sam Houston Forest.
This trip was first done last year and was quite a success, with 12 different warbler species sighted. We will be looking fro native nesting warblers in Sam Houston Forest and in Stubblefield State Park, located on the northern edge of Lake Conroe. We should also see Summer Tanagers, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, and Indigo Buntings, to name a few. Darrell Vollert leads.