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Aug 2011 cover image State parks

Wing It: 2011 Fall/Winter Birding Calendar

Take a flight of fancy and watch for the fall migration across Texas.

By Shelly Plante and Kinsey Junek

In addition to the events listed, Texas state parks host frequent birding activities. Check our regularly updated calendar of all events at Texas Parks and Wildlife facilities, online at www.tpwd.state.tx.us/calendar/birds-bats-more, to find more outdoor adventures for you and your family year-round!

Recurring Events

Daily

Laguna Atascosa Bird Walks and Tours — Los Fresnos. Discover South Texas specialties at this birders’ paradise. Refuge entry $3 per vehicle. www.friendsofsouthtexasrefuges.org; (956) 748-3607.

Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge Bird Walks — Alamo. Join knowledgeable guides and explore this jewel of the national wildlife refuge system. Refuge entry $3 per vehicle.
www.friendsofsouthtexasrefuges.org; (956) 784-7500.

Weekly

Interpretive Programs — Bentsen–Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission. Programs include viewing tropical butterflies and exploring the park at night in search of nocturnal creatures. Family programs focus on learning more about local critters, seasonal changes and more. Free with park admission. www.theworldbirdingcenter.com/Bentsen.html; (956) 584-9156.

Every Sunday

Sunday Walks at Post Park — Big Bend Birds & Nature, Marathon. Weekly guided bird walks at Post Park. 8:30 a.m. Other dates may be available; please call ahead. (254) 424-6144; bigbendtx.blogspot.com.

Second and Third Sunday, Second Tuesday

Birding Tour — Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, San Antonio. Join some of the best birders for a tour where you are sure to spot a diversity of beautiful birds while enjoying gorgeous scenery. 8 a.m. $3 members, $5 non-members. (210) 628-1639; www.mitchelllakeaudubon.org.

Most Mondays and Wednesdays and some Saturdays (Oct. 29–March 7)

Half-Day Winter Birding — King Ranch, Kingsville. Winter birding tours cover a variety of habitat where you can see winter migrants and South Texas residents. 8 a.m. to noon. Cost varies. (361) 592-8055; www.king-ranch.com.

Every Tuesday and Saturday

Weekly Bird Walks — Resaca de la Palma State Park, Brownsville. Join a park naturalist on an avian adventure through a 1,200-acre subtropical riparian woodland. 8:30 a.m. Free with park admission. (956) 350-2920; www.theworldbirdingcenter.com/Resaca.html.

Every Wednesday (October–April)

Hugh Ramsey Park Weekly Nature Walk — Harlingen. A member of Arroyo Colorado Audubon will lead you to Harlingen World Birding Center Park. Native plants, wild animals and birds abound in this beautifully revegetated park. 7:30 a.m. Free.
(956) 428-2603. See Arroyo Colorado Audubon Society Facebook page.

Every Wednesday

Birding on the Boardwalk — Port Aransas. Join us for weekly guided birding at the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center. 9 a.m. Free. (361) 749-5919; www.portaransas.org.

Second Thursday (most months)

Arroyo Colorado Audubon Society Program Meetings — Harlingen Public Library, Harlingen. Program meetings feature top speakers from the Rio community. 6:30 p.m. Free. (956) 428-2603; see Arroyo Colorado Audubon Society Facebook page.

Saturday after the Second Thursday

Arroyo Colorado Audubon Society Field Trips — Harlingen. Field trips to various locations in the Rio Grande Valley include destinations not often accessible to the general public. Trips meet at Hugh Ramsey Nature Park at 7:30 a.m. $5 for nonmembers. (956) 428-2603; see Arroyo Colorado Audubon Society Facebook page.

Second Saturday

Beginners Birdwalk — San Antonio. Meet leader Georgina Schwartz and set off on an exciting birdwalk. Binoculars available; everyone is welcome. 8 a.m. (7:30 a.m. in August.) Free. (210) 308-6788; saaudubon.org.

Fourth Saturday

Bird Count and Survey — Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, San Antonio. Help with the monthly bird count, a citizens science project that will have you coming back month after month! 8 a.m. $3 members, $5 nonmembers. (210) 628-1639; www.mitchelllakeaudubon.org.

Second Saturday

Bird and Nature Walk — Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, Athens. Expect to see 25 or more different species as we explore our Interpretive Wetland Trail and other areas of the hatchery. Bring binoculars and field guide if you have them (not required). 9 to 11 a.m. Adults $5.50, senior citizens $4.50, and $3.50 for children ages 4 through 12. (903) 676-2277; www.tpwd.state.tx.us/tffc.

Every Saturday and Sunday in April (except Easter Sunday)

Blucher Birdwalks — Blucher Park, Corpus Christi. Participants will go bird watching at Blucher Park and the expansive lawn behind the Nature Conservancy House across the street. Guides will accompany participants through the park and assist in bird identification as needed. 7:30 a.m. Free. (361) 443-0744; www.ccbirding.org.

 

August 2011–May 2012

August

Laguna Madre Kayak Tours — Los Fresnos. Explore the bay ecosystem by kayak. Catch a glimpse of dolphins, sea turtles and a variety of birds while learning basic kayak skills. Contact the refuge for reservations. Entry fee of $3 per vehicle plus $30 per-person program fee. (956) 748-3607; www.friendsofsouthtexasrefuges.org.

Aug. 5–7

Bird Rookery and Wetlands Photography Tour — Fennessey Ranch, Refugio. Work with pro photographer and degreed biologist Todd Steele to capture images of large bird nesting rookeries and surrounding wetlands. Dawn and dusk. $250 for half-day; group discounts available. (361) 529-6600; www.fennesseyranch.com.

Aug. 20

Summer Symposium — Glen Rose. Naturalist Keith Kridler will speak and other presentations will include information about nestbox installation, gardening to attract bluebirds, sparrow control for bluebirds, success with NestWatch and nestbox housekeeping. 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Advance registration ends Aug. 6. $12 per person, includes fajita buffet. On-site registration is $6, does not include buffet. (254) 968-6663; www2.texasbluebirdsociety.org.

Sept. 10 and 17

Xtreme Hummingbird Xtravaganza — Lake Jackson. Join us to see hummingbirds being banded, adopt a hummingbird, browse the Nature Store, walk the nature trails or buy a plant to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. 8 a.m. to noon. Free. (979) 480-0999; www.gcbo.org.

Sept. 15–18

Hummer/Bird Celebration — Rockport. Multiple speakers and programs, outdoor exhibits, a banding site, nature-related vendor booths, Hummer Home visits, birding boat excursions, guided field trips and much more highlight this annual festival along the central Texas coast. Cost varies. www.rockporthummingbird.com; (361) 729-6445.

Sept. 16–18

Hummingbird Photography Tour — Fennessey Ranch, Refugio. Work with pro photographer and degreed biologist Todd Steele to capture images of hummingbirds during the peak fall migration. High-speed flash rental available. Dawn and dusk. Cost varies. Group discounts available. (361) 529-6600; www.fennesseyranch.com.

Sept. 17 and Nov. 5

Kids Birding 101 — Mitchell Lake Audubon Society, San Antonio. Great program for kids to learn about bird identification and habitat. Learn how to use binoculars and take a hike to see which birds we can identify! 9 to 11 a.m. Free. www.mitchelllakeaudubon.org; (210) 628-1639.

Sept. 17

Kleb Woods Hummingbird Festival — Tomball. This event celebrates the peak migration of hummingbirds. Activities include presentations and children’s activities about hummingbirds, bird watching, capturing and banding hummingbirds. Free. (281) 357-5324; www.pct3.hctx.net/parks/klebwoodsnaturepres.aspx.

Sept. 23

Hawk Watch — Fennessey Ranch, Refugio. Witness the spectacular sight of thousands of hawks lifting off for migration on a private coastal ranch. 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. $74 per person. (361) 529-6600; www.fennesseyranch.com.

Oct. 8, 15 and 22

Rose Festival Birding Weekends — Tyler State Park, Tyler. Go bird watching in the park in the morning for early fall migrants, and in the afternoon learn about the amazing woodpeckers of the region. $5 per person older than age 12. (903) 597-5338; www.tpwd.state.tx.us/tyler.

Oct. 9

Big Sit at Wild Bird Rescue — Wichita Falls. Join us behind Wild Bird Rescue Inc. to bird watch at the edge of Lake Wichita. 7:30 a.m. to noon.
Free. (940)-691-0828; www.wildbirdrescueinc.org.

Oct. 22

2011 Fall Festival — Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, San Antonio. The  annual Fall Festival will include a plant sale, hayrides, raptor show, birdhouse building, reptile exhibit, butterfly walks and more. Fun for the whole family! Free. www.mitchelllakeaudubon.org; (210) 628-1639.

Nov. 9–13

Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival — Harlingen. Speakers/leaders Kenn Kaufman, Jon Dunn, author Mark Obmascik (The Big Year) and artist Debby Kaspari are attending. Visit the website to see activities and which field trip will take you to that special Valley bird. Cost varies. (800) 531-7346; www.rgvbf.org.

Nov. 19

Adult Birding — Mitchell Lake Audubon Society, San Antonio. Learn all about birding. Dress for a walk and come out and enjoy the day! Members free, $5 nonmembers. (210) 628-1639; www.mitchelllakeaudubon.org.

Nov. 25

“Walk off the Bird” Bird Walk — Tyler State Park, Tyler. Walk off that big meal and avoid the crowded shopping malls with a peaceful day of birding in the pineywoods of the park. 8 a.m. or join during the day. $5 per person older than age 12. (903) 597-5338; www.tpwd.state.tx.us/tyler.

Dec. 14–Jan. 5

Christmas Bird Count — Resaca de la Palma State Park, Brownsville. Help collect data in the longest-running national wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations and to help guide conservation action. $5 per person. www.theworldbirdingcenter.com/Resaca.html; (956) 350-2920.

Dec. 17

Wichita County Christmas Bird Count — Wichita Falls. Local birders will participate in the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Sunrise to sunset. $5 per person. (940) 723-4174; wichitaaudubon.org.

Jan. 28

Eagle Fest — Emory. The festival includes educational displays, exhibitions and lectures, Native American art and performances, live music and nature tours. $1 per person. (800) 561-1182; www.eaglefest.org.

February

Sparrow Fest — Lago Vista. This workshop will focus on field identification of the 20-plus species of native sparrows that occur regularly each year in Central Texas. Cost varies. (512) 339-9432; www.friendsofbalcones.org.

Feb. 17–20

2nd Annual Great Backyard Bird Count — Lake Livingston State Park, Livingston. Local birders will be on hand to help with identification. Birders of all skill levels are welcome. Free. (936) 327-4929; www.polkchamber.com.

Feb. 23–26

16th Annual Whooping Crane Festival — Port Aransas. Activities and events include lectures and workshops by world-renowned experts in ornithology and wildlife, guided boat trips and bus tours, as well as a nature-related trade show. Cost varies. (361) 749-5919 or (800) 452-6278; www.whoopingcranefestival.org.

March 3

Nature Fest — Houston. This event is ideal for visitors of all ages and highlights local nature-related topics, guided tours, lectures, pontoon boat tours, crafts and a variety of exhibitors. Free. (281) 446-8588; www.hcp4.net/jones.

Mid-April

18th Annual Migration Celebration — Lake Jackson. This event has booths, exciting speakers and birding field trips. Haven to more than 350 species of birds, the area’s diverse habitats include coastal prairie, hardwood forests and southern bayous. Free. www.migrationcelebration.org; (866) 403-5829.

April 12–15

Galveston FeatherFest — Galveston Island. See 200-plus bird species during early spring migration in world-renowned upper Texas coast birding hot spots like Bolivar Flats and High Island. Experts lead nature and photo adventures by bus, boat or kayak to beach, bay, marsh, costal prairie and wood motte habitats. Cost varies. www.galvestonfeatherfest.com; (832) 459-5533.

April 14

Bluebird Festival — Wills Point. Wills Point celebrates its birds with educational and entertaining programs. Driving tours afford festival attendees access to hundreds of bluebirds and nesting boxes lining the roads into town. Arts and crafts, games and educational booths are set up throughout the brick-lined streets of downtown. (903) 873-3111; www.willspointbluebird.com.

April 14–15

Attwater’s Prairie Chicken Festival — Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, Eagle Lake. Experience the courtship dance of the critically endangered Attwater’s prairie-chicken and develop a greater appreciation for coastal prairie habitat and its wildlife through the many different tours offered. 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free. www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/texas/attwater. (979) 234-3021.

April 14–22

Great Texas Birding Classic — Texas Coast. This friendly but serious birding for conservation tournament is held each year to coincide with the spectacular spring migration. To date, $736,500 has been contributed to direct habitat conservation through this event. Registration fees vary. (979) 480-0999; www.birdingclassic.org.

April 14 and 28

Spring Migration Tour — Fennessey Ranch, Refugio. Tally up more than 100 species while birding on a private coastal ranch. 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. $74 per person. (361) 529-6600; www.fennesseyranch.com.

April 21

Migratory Songbird and Wildlife Photo Tour — Fennessey Ranch, Refugio. Work with pro photographer and degreed biologist Todd Steele to capture images of migratory songbirds and other wildlife. Dawn and dusk. Cost varies. Group discounts available. (361) 529-6600; www.fennesseyranch.com.

April 25–28

Nature Quest — Concan. During Nature Quest you'll enjoy learning from experts about Texas Hill Country birds, bats, butterflies, insects, natural history, native plants, invasive plants and how to make your own backyard a wildlife habitat, all through field trips, workshops and programs. (830) 966-2320; www.texasnaturequest.com.

April 27–30

Balcones Songbird Festival — Lago Vista. Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge offers excellent habitat for two Texas endemic endangered birds — the golden-cheeked warbler and the black-capped vireo. The festival includes opportunities to view both of these species on birding walks as well as butterflies, wildflowers, reptile exhibits and family events. Cost varies.  www.friendsofbalcones.org; (512) 339-9432.

 

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