BIRD NOTES

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September 23, 2009

BIRD NOTES

About a week ago, Mike Zeltner thought that he had seen a Whooping Crane north of Huntsville. Thanks to Bert Frenz, he was able to make a more accurate determination of the species seen. It turned out to be a Wood Stork. The next day Zeltner observed 6 Wood Storks at the same location but hasn't seen any since then.

Around 10:30 in the morning of Sunday, 20 September 2009, flocks of White Pelicans were observed soaring south along FM 980 just to the w of Lake Livingston. There were several flocks of between 100 and 200 birds and the total is guestimated to be more than 1,000, which is a far cry from the 40,000+ that wintered on the lake in 1998-1999.

On 22 September 2009, I observed a Tri-colored Heron perched on a log next to our church steamboat at the Pelican Sanctuary on Lake Livingston. I do not recall ever having seen that species before.

Later that afternoon a juvenile Bald Eagle was seen perched on a dead pine tree on the other side of the cove from the steamboat and another juvenile was seen only a minute or two later by the tractor barn.

George H. Russell

Hummingbirds

(click above to view)

August 28, 2008

Waterwood, Texas 7-30-2008 12:08 PM

At first I thought I was witnessing a thoughtful Papa redbird. He was jumping into the feeder picking up a sunflower seed and taking it to another place to hull and eat. What I didn’t see was the baby redbird hidden from my view that that he was feeding the sunflower kernels to. Closer examination revealed he was rapidly hulling the seed and taking the kernel to the fledgling that had hopped into my view. I was disappointed. I thought I had witnessed a polite redbird that did not leave the hulls on top of the other seeds in the feeder. But Rascal thought he could catch a bird and that was the end of the show.

A young Blue Jay is eating the corn that Sue put out for the squirrels. I don’t see how he manages to swallow the big kernels but he is. But the squirrels still prefer the sunflower seeds.

Kenneth L. Russell
14 June 2008

Ethician Family Cemetery 6:40 p.m.

I was walking through the RCW habitat in our cemetery obtaining GPS readings
at the various graves when I observed a woodpecker foraging along the
branches in the crown of an old-growth pine somewhere between the two RCW
cavity trees on the cemetery property.

The woodpecker spent less than a minute foraging in the pine and then flew
to an adjacent pine crown where it continued foraging. I was intently
studying the bird which was the size of three woodpecker species: Hairy
Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and Red-cockaded Woodpecker.

There were two other woodpeckers of the same size traveling with the
woodpecker but they were foraging in different trees and as I was intent on
studying the first woodpecker observed, I maintained by gaze upon the first
woodpecker that I saw.

The bird was about 70 feet up in a live pine which was about 40 feet from
where I was standing, so without binoculars, I was looking for any sign of
red on its head. I didn't see any so I elminated the Sapsucker from the
possibilities. Hairy Woodpeckers have small red patches on their heads but
I didn't see any evidence of a red patch and normally Hairy Woodpeckers
don't travel with two companions.

After determining through a process of elimination that the birds which were
foraging in prime RCW habitat were RCW, I hurried back to my Jeep to grab my
binoculars and camera. By the time that I got back to the area where the
birds had been foraging I couldn't find them. I did however hear a
woodpecker call in the distance that I believe came from an RCW.

The only other time that I have personally observed RCW was around 2005
about 1/2 mile from the cemetery. I have however seen quite a bit of
evidence that RCW had been visiting live old-growth pines on our properties
in the vicinity.

The cemetery RCW's were feeding in trees that SHECO has marked for
destruction within 40 feet of the forest verge.

I wanted to be certain that the woodpeckers observed were indeed RCW's
before reporting the sighting. After reviewing the foraging habits of the
other two possibilities I am now 100% certain that the woodpeckers were RCW.

George H. Russell
12 May 2008

11:45 am

Eagle Sanctuary

Two baby Bald Eagles were playing tag in front of my window and then
both flew over to the Eagle Sanctuary to rest up.

I take that to be a good sign and omen.

ghr

4 May 2008

PELICAN POINT
LAKE LIVINGSTON

About 10:15 am I noticed 4 Pelicans soaring above Pelican Point. Three
birds were White Pelicans and one of the birds was a Brown Pelican.

In ten years I have only seen 2 or 3 Brown Pelicans on Lake Livingston.

A little later in the day, a juvenile Bald Eagle was spotted perched in
a dead tree above Princess Point just about 100 yards from the abandoned
Eagle nest.

ghr

American songbirds are being wiped out by banned pesticides

By Leonard Doyle in Washington
Friday, 4 April 2008
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/american-songbirds-are-being-wiped-out-by-banned-pesticides-804547.html

The number of migratory songbirds returning to North America has gone
into sharp decline due to the unregulated use of highly toxic pesticides
and other chemicals across Latin America.

Ornithologists blame the demand for out-of-season fruit and vegetables
and other crops in North America and Europe for the destruction of tens
of millions of passerine birds. By some counts, half of the songbirds
that warbled across America's skies only 40 years ago have gone, wiped
out by pesticides or loss of habitat.

Forty-six years ago, the naturalist Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, a
study of the ravages caused to wildlife, especially birds, by DDT. The
chemical's use on American farms almost eradicated entire species,
including the peregrine falcon and bald eagle.

The pesticide was banned and bird numbers recovered, but new and highly
toxic pesticides banned by the US and European Union are being widely
used in Latin America.

Because of changed consumer habits in Europe and the US, export-led
agriculture has transformed the wintering grounds of birds into
intensive farming operations producing grapes, melons and bananas as
well as rice for export.

Ornithologists say another silent spring is dawning across the US as
birds are being poisoned by toxic chemicals or killed as pests in their
winter refuges across South and Central America as well as the
Caribbean. They say that many species of songbird will never recover,
and others may even become endangered or extinct if controls are not put
in place or consumer habits changed.

More problems await those birds which make it home. Millions of acres of
wilderness the birds use as nesting grounds have been ploughed under in
the drive to grow corn for ethanol, for bio-fuel.

Some 150 species of songbirds undertake extraordinary migrations up to
12,000 miles every year as they move from the south to nesting grounds
in the US and Canada every spring. Ornithologists say that almost all
these species are at risk of poisoning.

The migratory songbirds in most trouble include the wood thrush, the
Kentucky warbler, the eastern kingbird and the bobolink, celebrated by
the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson as "the rowdy of the
meadows".

Bridget Stutchbury, an ornithologist and professor at York University in
Toronto, said: "With spring we take it for granted that the sound of the
songbirds will fill the air with their cheerful sounds. But each year,
as we continue to demand out-of-season fruits and vegetables, fewer and
fewer songbirds will return."

The bobolink songbird has experienced such a steep decline, it has
almost fallen off the charts. The birds migrate in flocks from
Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay to the east coast of the US, feeding on
grain and rice, prompting farmers to regard them as a pest. Bobolink
numbers have plummeted almost 50 per cent in the past four decades,
according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey.

Rosalind Renfrew, a biologist who studied bobolinks as they were feeding
in rice paddies in Bolivia, found about half of the birds had been
exposed to toxic chemicals banned in Europe and the US. Some 40 to 50
species, which include the barn swallow, the wood thrush the dickcissel
as well as migratory birds of prey, are starting to disappear.

It is only recently that the decline has been definitively linked to the
use of toxic pesticides in the Caribbean and across Latin America.
"Everyone who has looked for pesticide poisoning in birds has found it,"
Professor Stutchbury said. "When we count birds during our summers we
are finding significant population declines in about three dozen species
of songbirds."

She wrote in the comment pages of The New York Times: "They are the
modern-day canaries in the coal mine." She said: "The imported fruits
and vegetables found in our shopping carts in winter and early spring
are grown with types and amounts of pesticides that would often be
illegal in the United States."

Growers are using high doses of pesticides, which the World Health
Organisation calls class I toxins. These are also toxic to humans and
are either restricted or banned in the US and EU. But controls in Latin
American countries are easily flouted.

"I believe that if we don't make drastic changes quite literally many
birds which are common now are going to become rare," said Professor
Stutchbury.

Testing by individual EU countries and the US Food and Drug
Administration reveals that fruits and vegetables imported from Latin
America are three and sometimes four times as likely to violate basic
standards for pesticide residues.
26 March 2008

Janet in Florida shares with us her owl pictures.

Janet writes:

Attached is the gallery link for the owl photos. The baby, my nephew named him Bubba, showed up on the ground under a tree in my sister's back yard. Mom and dad did what they are supposed to do when that happens. They stayed very close by, caught rodents to feed the baby, and dive-bomb or scream at anyone who gets close. The folks at the Birds of Prey Center have made a couple trips out to my sister's so far putting Bubba back in the tree. They say after another couple of weeks, he will be old enough to fly. What a blessing to have the opportunity to meet such a devoted family and darling baby.
Janet
PS. Hope all is well with ya'll.


22 February 2008

Lake Livingston

There are around 100 female Red-Winged Blackbirds feeding in the trees
in front of my window and 1 male.

Question: Is it unusual or normal for the females to flock together
with only a single male?

The Eagles on the Eagle Sanctuary peninsula have disappeared. The Eagle
nest is empty at the time of year when the babies should be learning to fly.

It was last year at this time that poachers killed either the mother or
father Eagle. I can only assume that the same poachers killed the other
Eagles.

Question: When one of a pair of Eagles is killed do the other Eagles
abandon the nest and the habitat?

ghr
25 January, 2008

Several small flocks of Purple Martins were observed at the intersection of Hwy 190 and Waterwood Parkway and at the Waterwood Marina on January 25, 2008.

ghr

January 7, 2008

by George H. Russell

FAT CHANCE ANYTHING WILL BE DONE TO PUNISH THE JUVENILES!!! I can
almost guarantee that even if the perps were adults the fine would be
something like a hundred bucks--no more than a $100 permit to kill
Pelicans!!!

1. I have witnessed harassment of Pelican flocks by jet skiers. I have
called TPWD and "Operation Do Nothing" several times because of many
poaching problems." NOTHING DONE ABOUT IT. The huge Pelican flocks are
gone. 40,000 birds down to an isolated flock of 200 and couple of
individual birds. (Two TPWD Game Wardens assaulted me from behind and
threw me into jail after I had asked them to stop the killing and poaching.)

2. When I discovered the body of the headless and footless Bald Eagle
about two or three hundred yards from our Eagle Nest the TPWD "Eagle
Guy" was on our properties but was too busy doing White-tail browse
counts to even bother to drive five miles to come and take a look at the
dead Eagle.

3. Juvenile Bald Eagle observed this morning but no adults or juveniles
for several weeks.

4. Quite a few ducks but the illegal hunters kill them against the law
within 200 yards of shore. That really hurts our shore loving Wood Ducks.

5. SHECO has filed a lawsuit to CONDEMN our Red-cockaded Woodpecker
habitat and cavity tree in blatant violation of the RCW Recovery Plan
but the criminal elements in USFWS are promoting said destruction due to
the fact that Jeff Reid personally hates my guts because Ned Fritz and I
actually filed the lawsuit to protect the bird and Jeff, by his actions
against the protection of critical habitat, works for the timber
industry and SHECO against the ultimate survival of the endangered species.

6. Who would be willing to join us in our last-ditch fight against
SHECO and USFWS?

ghr

P.S. We dedicated around 2,000 feet of shoreline worth a couple of
million dollars for a Pelican Sanctuary in 2007 due to the fact that for
years Pelicans roosted there. This year, ZERO PELICANS so far!!!

January 6, 2008

Bert Frenz
>bert2@bafrenz.com
>Birds of the Oaks & Prairies of Texas
>www.bafrenz.com/birds/
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Birding discussion list for Texas [mailto:TEXBIRDS@LISTSERV.UH.EDU] On
>Behalf Of D D Currie
>Sent: Sunday, January 06, 2008 4:30 PM
>To: TEXBIRDS@LISTSERV.UH.EDU
>Subject: Re: [TEXBIRDS] Operation Game Thief
>
>---> Texbird help file http://www.texbirds.org <---
>
>Correction:
>
>Law Enforcement Section: 1-800-792-GAME
>
>D.D.
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Birding discussion list for Texas
>[mailto:TEXBIRDS@LISTSERV.UH.EDU]On Behalf Of D D Currie
>Sent: Sunday, January 06, 2008 3:53 PM
>To: TEXBIRDS@LISTSERV.UH.EDU
>Subject: [TEXBIRDS] Operation Game Thief
>
>
>---> Texbird help file http://www.texbirds.org <---
>
>Dell and I participated in a CBC yesterday and had the misfortune of
>witnessing 2 teenagers shooting and killing an American White Pelican.
>
>We saw the bird circling as we were traveling down a county road and pulled
>over to view a private lake to see if there were other birds present. We
>heard a gun shot, then I saw the bird drop very near a private residence.
>Shortly, two young men were seen emerging from the residence to exam the
>bird that they had just shot.
>
>I called the local police department. Although they were courteous, they
>did not seem to appreciate the matter. I then called someone I know with
>Texas Parks and Wildlife, and he referred me to "Operation Game Thief". I
>called the Law Enforcement section of Operation Game Thief and submitted a
>report. In less than 2 hours, a local Game Warden contacted me for more
>information.
>
>The Game Warden contacted me two additional times last night for additional
>info and to provide updates on the situation. The last contact was to
>report that he had located the 17 year-old perpetrator, had confiscated the
>young man's shot gun, had located the bird that had been hidden in some
>woods and that he was promptly processing a report. The teenager will
>likely be the recipient of a hefty fine and a record for his misdeeds.
>
>Please program the following numbers into your cell phone in case you
>observe similar misdeeds regarding not only birds, but other non-game,
>protected species:
>
>Contact numbers for Operation Game Thief:
>
>Main No.: 1-800-792-1112
>Law Enforcement Section: 1-800-7902-GAME
>
>D. D. Currie
>Arlington, TX
>
>For answers to questions about this list, as well as current Texas
>Birding Links, visit the Texbirds Reference Page at http://www.texbirds.org
>
>For answers to questions about this list, as well as current Texas
>Birding Links, visit the Texbirds Reference Page at http://www.texbirds.org
>
>
>

30 October 2007

Pelican I
Lake Livingston

I was standing at the water's edge when I spotted an adult Bald Eagle
flying rapidly toward the opposite shore. The Eagle spied a bass below
and dove down to catch it. It flew back to the high cliffs over Bay
Hill Road and perched in a tree out of sight.

Krissie and I went to the foot bridge to attempt to spy the Eagle eating
the fish. I said, "I wish that Eagle would fly over here and show us
that fish."

Immediately, the Eagle flew from its hidden perch and directly toward
us. About 40 feet from our heads, with the fish dangling in its talons,
it circled and returned to its hidden perch.

Krissie said that the Eagle was Grandmother showing off her catch of the
day. (Grandmother never did like fish.)

Maybe Grandmother Eagle has developed a fondness for bass in her new
life and body as a soaring Eagle.

I guess that beats being reincarnated as a Buzzard and having to eat
nothing but "road kill".

ghr

Waterwood
23 October 2007

A large white Egret and a white Egret half the size of the large one was
standing nearby. The large Egret was obviously a Great Egret but the
small one seemed odd looking. It was the color and size of a Snowy
Egret but it had a bright yellow bill and black feet and legs.

Perhaps Bert Frenz can solve the mystery for me.

ghr

17 October 2007

Eagle Sanctuary Lake Livingston

I was looking out the window at the lake when I spied an immature Bald
Eagle circling a Great Egret perched on a floating log. The Eagle
circled several times, examining the Egret. Finally it swooped down as
if to attack the big bird. The Egret held its ground and jabbed at the
Eagle with its long bill. I think that the sharp bill of the Egret may
had made contact with the Eagle. The startled Eagle retreated to the
Eagle Sanctuary while the Egret calmly returned to fishing from the
floating log.

ghr

29 September 2007

Five Bald Eagles!!!

About 1:30 pm I got an excited cell phone call from The Chapel of the
Nativity at the intersection of Waterwood Parkway and PM 980. Three
Bald Eagles had circled the Chapel at a low altitude while joined by two
Bald Eagles at high altitude. I arrived in time to observe the two late
arrivers fly toward the southeast. The other three birds had flown
toward the northwest.

Five Bald Eagles at the same place at the same time is the most that I
have heard of being observed above FM 980.. Sadly the three low flying
Eagles could easily have been killed had SHECO erected its totally
senseless 138kv transmission towers along FM 980.

ghr
13 September 2007

8:30 a.m. Eagle Sanctuary - Lake Livingston

White Pelicans began landing in the water near the Eagle Sanctuary. At
first there were nine birds which were soon joined by several others
over the next five minutes making a total of 23 White Pelicans. A
straggler came by at 8:40 boosting the number of White Pelicans to 24.

Hummingbird numbers seem to be significantly lower this year.
New picture galleries

Buzzie Love August 2007

Woodstorks July 2, 2007

Woodpecker Trees July 2007

13 August 2007

I hadn't seen an Eagle for quite some time and was wondering if the
birds had flown North toward cooler weather during the heat of the Texas
Summer, and then---

On August 9, 2007 at 7:40 a.m. I saw a Bald Eagle fishing offshore from
Pelican I.

Mandy Zeltner reported a Bald Eagle circling her swimming pool between
Huntsville and Riverside in Walker County on August 12, 2007.

At 10:30 a.m today,. a Bald Eagle flew from across the cove at Water I
to the Eagle Sanctuary.

It appears that now we have some full time resident Eagles in E. Texas.
Lake Livingston, E. Texas
July 22-31, 2007

Sue's dog and I were at the Pyramid when an Osprey flew out and circled
us several times appearing to judge the size and flavor of the dog.
Since the dog weighs over 80 pounds the Osprey finally decided to fly
away to search for smaller prey.

There have been more Scissortail Flycatchers this year than I have seen
in many years.

A juvenile White Faced Ibis flew overhead toward dusk one evening near
Pelican Point.

The Black and Turkey Vultures enjoyed eating Sue's old dead horse. They
consumed all of the meat within a week.

I will put up a photo gallery of the Vulture's progress as
www.georgerussell.net.
30 July 2007

Osprey pair fishing Lake Tye, Monroe, WA
 
The pair live near Lake Tye, in the town of Monroe, WA, each evening it seems that the pair makes a last swing by the lake to hunt.
This evening on our ride around the lake, my wife and I watched as the (female?)  Osprey made a catch that drew the attention of a local bald eagle. The eagle was on the wing in an instance; up to its usual tactics of steal the fish form the Osprey, something that it has done more than once.
Not his evening, our Osprey was having nothing to do with that game. The flying demonstration lasted 5 minutes and covered the sky above the lake. The Osprey won out, didn’t drop the catch and made a save exit homeward bound Trout in tow.
 
 
 
David Teeters
AMS Technical Services
11831 North Creek Parkway N. | Bothell, WA 98011
Ph: 425-354-6069| Fax: 425-402-9569
dteeters@amsservices.com | www.amsservices.com
 

2 July 2007

Bert,

Thanks so much for the insight into the current status of our
Woodstorks. Hopefully, they will someday nest again in Texas. I will
post your discussion at my www.birdnotes.org web site.

ghr

2 July 2007

George,

Wood Storks do not nest in Texas, but rather in Florida and a few areas in
surrounding states. They also nest on both coasts of Mexico, south to El
Salvador and Honduras.

After the nesting period is over, they wander along the coast and pass
through Texas, the first ones arriving in late June. Other Texas sightings
this season include 8 seen 26 June at Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge on the
Texas-Mexico border and ~100 seen 28 June in northwest Houston.

Texas sightings of Wood Storks have dramatically increased during the years
I have been tracking bird reports in Eastern and Central Texas, so I think
they are doing quite well as a species.

Thanks for letting me know of your sighting.

Bert

-----------------------------------------------------------
Bert Frenz
bert2@bafrenz.com
Director, Texas Ornithological Society
www.texasbirds.org
Subregional Editor, North American Birds
Birds of the Oaks & Prairies of Texas
www.bafrenz.com/birds/

8:15 PM

1 July 2007 BAD BOY POINT, E. TEXAS

I was driving to Bad Boy Point (Lake Livingston), when I saw the
silhouettes of some very large birds in a dead tree. They looked like
Wood Storks and indeed they were--the first that I had seen in several
years. With my binoculars I was able to pick out at least 8 Storks.
Counting was made difficult by the presence of a live Sweet Gum tree
which blocked the dead tree depending on where I stood. After multiple
attempts to be totally accurate I came up with 8 birds for certain and
perhaps a ninth.

I am hopeful that there are some breeding pairs amongst the Storks and
that they have nested on our nearby Eagle Sanctuary or other safe haven.

ghr
17 June 2007

6 pm On the Ethician Queen at the Russell Pyramid

I was sitting at the back of the steamboat watching 10 Vultures cavorting around in the updrafts.

I said to myself, “I wish the Eagle would come out.” Instantaneously, an adult Bald Eagle flew from Pool Creek and landed in a dead pine tree just across the cove from where I was sitting.

Yesterday, I left my father’s house and as I was approaching the intersection of Doral and Bay Hill a Bald Eagle flew directly toward my vehicle, not 30 feet in the air and then down Bay Hill under the canopy of the trees.

The Eagle, after perching in the tree for around 15 minutes, took off
and flew toward 980 along the Pool Creek flyway. If SHECO prevails, we
are certainly going to lose some Eagle to the 138 kv.

Also, more fresh peckings on live old-growth pines on the golf course.
Saw a pair of Red-headed Woodpeckers in hardwoods but not on the pines.
15 March 2007

The last time that I had checked on the baby Eagle he was perched on a limb next to his nest.

This evening I went out to see if he was still there and the nest and nest tree were empty.

I looked over to the lookout tree used by his dad and there was an Eagle perched there but instead of being the dad it was the baby.

The dad always looked straight ahead in a regal and dignified way. The baby was craining his neck every which way as if he had just entered a whole new world for the first time, which of course was exactly the case.

He was really cute and sassy.
12 March 2007

Great Spirit Wilderness

Yesterday evening I took the grandchildren on a hike to check on the baby Eagle. He had left the nest and was perched on the same branch beside the nest that his parent had been seen perching on a few days ago. The grandchildren didn't think that he was cute and cuddly because he was already as big as his dad. We haven't seen him fly yet so don't know if he knows how.

GHR

10 March 2007

Great Spirit Wilderness and Half Moon Bay Retreat

I took Ryan Nelson, Project Manager for Crouch Environmental Services, to visit our Bald Eagle nest at Princess Point in the Great Spirit Wilderness. The daddy bird was perched on his usual lookout perch about 200 feet to the left of the nest tree. When he spotted us he left his perch and flew around the nest tree to make sure that everything was aok and then went back to his perch. At first we didn't see anything in the nest, but after the dad flew over the nest the baby popped its head up so that we, for the first time, were able to confirm at least one Eagle baby. The baby was as big as the dad and seemed to be fully fledged.
This is the first confirmation that we have a breeding success on our Sanctuaries.

This morning I was reading the paper in bed and I heard a chirpping sound coming from the Eagle Sanctuary across the cove. I grabbed my binoculars and sure enough a juvenile Bald Eagle was perched on a tree in the Sanctuary, happily chirping until a big bad crow chased him away.

THE BAD NEWS!!!

Ryan and our enviro-attorney, Lanny Ray examined the dead bird remains at Half Moon Bay and feel just as certain as I at this point that the bird is an Eagle. Half Moon Bay is only a couple of hundred yards from a notorious poacher camp, but of course poachers in San Jacinto County are everywhere and kill anything alive just for the fun of it. Because the head and feet have been missing since I first discovered the bird several weeks ago, I am convinced that they were taken as trophys by the poachers.

Ryan will show photos that he took to the bird experts in his firm.
March 07, 2007 2:11 PM
Pelican Point

5,000 or more cormorants and about 50 white pelican just now flew past my window... They flew into the bay, turned around, and flew back to the main body of the lake where they formed an island for fishing. Ten minutes later they had all disappeared. Fishing must not have been very good.

Kenneth L. Russell
23 February 2007

This morning a friend of daughter Karen volunteered to dig graves for me, my wife, my mother and my father with his Bobcat. Shortly after the machine began digging an Eagle flew over to check out what we were doing, flew overhead in a circle and then flew off after having satisfied its curiosity. I was happy that the bird was an Eagle rather than a Vulture.
22 February 2007

Hwy 105, Vidor, Texas

From James Linscomb

George here are some pictures of the eagles that you seeded here in Orange County close to my land. You must have released them at night and got turned around thinking that you were on my land.

They are pretty cool even if you did it!
James Linscomb

The eagle lands.....on Hwy 105 Vidor TX,

Here are some pictures of the eagle's nest that is off of Hwy. 105 in Orangefield.  This is located on the left side of Hwy. 105 going towards Vidor, west of the intersection of 1442 and Hwy. 105.

22 February 2007

About 6 pm I went down the dirt track to Princess Point to check on the Eagle nest. I had not seen any bird on the nest so was worried that perhaps the possible dead Eagle was the female bird.

What I preceived to be the male was standing guard on a nearby treetop but still no sight of a second Eagle.

Swoosh!!! An Eagle emerged from the nest and flew off at a rapid rate toward the cove. I am hopeful that there are hungry babies and that she was out to hunt for a fish to feed the babies (if any). That is the first evidence that a bird was on the nest which was a relief since that fact confirmed to me that the possible dead Eagle was not part of the nesting pair.

The guard bird was on his perch again this evening (23 February 2007). I stay several hundred feet from him and the nest and he seems used to my presence because he just looks my way in an arrogant way and is not disturbed in the least.

Three New Photo Galleries

February 19, 2007

Dead Eagle?

Eagle Nest

Eagle Habitat

Voyeur Vulture

18 February 2007

Lots of birds of many species, especially Chickadees, Titmice, Goldfinches, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Wrens, Kinglets, Warblers, Sparrows, various Woodpeckers and others and in various traveling groups in several places.

I hadn't been successful calling in the birds for some time and thought that I had lost the art but decided to see if they would come if I called. Within a minute about 50 birds of various species had come to see what I was up to. The Kinglets get especially close -- in fact sometimes within a foot or two.

This morning a juvenile Turkey Vulture had its wings outstretched soaking in the sun on one of our balconies. I took several photos, some as close as 3 or 4 feet from the bird who seemed bored by my presence.

Later in the day I noticed a raft of 18 Pelicans, 500 or more Cormorants and 50+ Gulls fishing in Waterwood Bay.

As I wanted to document the bird parts that I believe are part of an adult Bald Eagle, I went to Half Moon Bay and took several photos.

Across the cove is the tree with the Eagle nest in it. I wanted to determine if one of the nesting pair was the victim of the white trash poachers that infest Lake Livingston.
I called the Eagles and within 30 seconds an Eagle flew out from the Great Spirit Wilderness headed directly toward me. Within a few seconds a second Eagle flew out and joined the first Eagle. Then both birds seemed to frolic together flying past a second pair of large soaring birds, one of which turned out to be an adult Bald Eagle. I was unable to confirm whether the second bird was an Eagle or a Vulture but they had been flying around together just like the pair that had emerged from the vicinity of the nest.

I can definitely confirm the presence of three adult Eagles at Half Moon Bay and Secret Cove on this date.

This evening Fang (the dog) and I traveled to Princess Point to look for tresspassers or poachers or anyone that might disturb the (hopefully) nesting Eagles.

At the end of the road at the shore was a huge Ford dual cab diesel truck. A speedboat was very close to shore with a man in it. A second man soon emerged from the trail that goes toward the Eagle nest with a wheelbarrow. He saw me but continued onward without speaking and put the wheelbarrow in the truck.

I told him that he was trespassing on POSTED private property and that the area was off limits to visitors at this time.

He acted pretty unconcerned because he claimed that his friend knew me and that they were both from Emerald Point, an area known as a haven for wildlife killers across from The Holy Trinity Wilderness Cathedral. Last night at Church the widow of one of our departed Deacons told me about Emerald Point neighbors that had been killing our Alligators and other wildlife.
The man in the boat said that he had been far back in the cove leading to Alligator Loop, "Just resting and looking around" but that when he tried to restart his (speed) boat the battery was dead.

His name was FRANK MIXON and his friend with the big truck and wheelbarrow was BILL SOREY (936-891-5959).

I advised Mr. Sorey to call me next time that there might be some legitimate need to enter our private properties and mud up our primitive road with his overweight truck. I gave him my card and he said he would.

Had I called the Sheriff to report the tresspassing, the Sheriff, based on my experiences since 1998 would have done absolutely nothing just as he did absolutely nothing when I reported the assault and battery that I experienced at Bad Boy Point. Yet it was I who was recently arrested for driving down my own deeded easement that the Sheriff had a copy of.
The current County Judge has a "hunting camp" on about an acre adjacent to about 1,000 acres of our Preserves and the dead (probable) Eagle is only a short distance from where some of his "sketchy" hunters hang out. WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT SAN JACINTO COUNTY? In my opinion, it says "White Trash and Poacher Heaven -- Come on In and Kill at Will -- You Will NOT be Arrested or Molested by the Local Law 'cause We Will be Out There With 'ya IF 'ya Furnish the Beer, Bitches and Booze".

Texas Parks and Wildlife has known about the suspected Eagle death for seven days now and yet I have not received even a phone call to set up an appointment to examine the remains in order to confirm or deny that the dead bird in an Eagle.

I couldn't find anywhere on the USWFS web site where to report the death of an endangered or threatened species.
SUNDAY 18 February 2007

Last Sunday, we discovered what we believed to be parts of a dead Bald Eagle in an area frequented by "white trash" hunters and poachers on our Preserves and Sanctuaries that Texas Parks and Wildlife has NEVER helped us to protect.

We also discovered an Eagle nest for the first time since we established an Eagle Sanctuary on our properties.

These facts were given to our Wildlife Manager who was with the TPWD Eagle Specialist the very next day. I offered to show the TPWD biologist the evidence of the possible Eagle killing as well as the nest but so far have heard nothing.

If "white trash hunters" are killing the Eagles that I have spent millions of dollars attempting to protect from harm, and TPWD typically doesn't care to even investigate, then I will be even more angry than knowing that TPWD actively assaults, handcuffs and jails people who attempt to protect Alligators.
February 9, 2007

Ospreys at Walden

From James Scanlon:

We have been enjoying the flying skills of an adult Osprey at the Walden on Lake
Conroe / Poe Drive boat ramp. He is out there almost every day and seems to be fed well. It's a beautiful bird and a real joy to observe. I'm new to the area so I don't know how common this is in this area. It has been a pleasant surprise to living in this area though.

11 January 2007

Bad news at Half Moon Bay Retreat

We discovered parts of what we believe to be a dead Bald Eagle on the
beach. Rogue hunters and poachers run rampant around and through our
preserves and sanctuaries.

Duck hunters are especially bad. I have had reports of them shooting
ducks just for the fun of it and not even bothering to retrieve them to
eat. Other reports are of them shooting Pelicans and any other bird
that happens to be in their gun sights. Some days it sounds like a war
zone in the area of our NAPA Preserves with shotguns blasting away.

The fact that the Eagle has no head or feet leads me to believe that
they were taken as trophies.

Texas Parks and Wildlife has been totally unconcerned and unresponsive
to requests for assistance. Just a couple of weeks ago a man disrupted
our Church services by shooting far too close to shore in violation of
TRA rules at the Wilderness Cathedral. The Game Warden said that it
wasn't his responsibility to enforce TRA rules so he did nothing. The
next week the same person was back.

A few years ago, I was taking a Parks and Wildlife official to see our
seven baby alligators. He watched as poachers netted the gators and
took them away. He didin't even bother to write down their boat number.

In September 2003, I complained to two Game Wardens about TPWD's lack of
concern about protecting our wildlife, especially Pelicans and
Alligators. As I walked away, they assaulted me from behind and threw
me in jail.

Good News at The Great Spirit Wilderness

While examining the dead Eagle we observed a live adult Bald Eagle
perched in a tree across the cove in The Great Spirit Wilderness. We
drove down the mile long road to Princess Point and began walking toward
Debbie Beach. The Eagle was still perched in its tree. The bird then
flew from one tree top to another one nearby while chirping.

Then, one of my companions, cried out in amazement! In an old pine tree
to the right of the Eagle's perch was a huge Eagle nest!!!

We decided that it would be in the best interests of the bird and the
babies we hope that will hatch or have hatched, for us to leave the area
and allow the Eagle(s) some peace and quiet.

Hopefully the dead Eagle is not one of the parents.

If Texas Committee on Natural Resources (now Texas Wilderness
Federation), Natural Area Preservation Association, Texas Land Trust
Alliance, Lone Star Sierra Club, Texas Audubon, and Texas Ornithological
Society would join forces and demand that TPWD and TRA declare the coves
and shoreline that border our sanctuaries off limits to hunting,
trapping, shooting, fishing, and trot lining, then our wildlife would
have a chance to survive.

Our State Representatives should take a leading role into seeing these
protective measures be implemented.
30 January 2007

Alligator Ranch

This morning I was just about ready to step into my shower when I
spotted a Turkey Vulture perched on the railing just outside my window.
He looked at me and I looked at him, all the while stepping closer and
closer. Eventually my face was just 24 inches away from the bird. We
were each obviously attempting to determine which one of us was the ugliest.

Finally the big bird made his decision, left a large evil looking
deposit on the railing and sailed off.

Sometimes, Mr. Peck, the Pileated Woodpecker perches on that same spot
and peers into my bathroom.

I forgot to write down the exact day, but a few days ago a flock of 50+
Black and Turkey Vultures were perched in trees in front of our house as
well as flying about.
22 January 2007

Great Spirit Wilderness

David Bezanson of NAPA, along with one of his assistants, went on a tour
of our proposed 2007 Sanctuaries.

At Princess Point our Jeep got stuck in the mud and we began to walk
out. Almost immediately an Eagle flew to the top of a nearby tree.
Soon after, the Eagle was joined by another adult bird.

The birds put on a nice display of flying overhead, seeming to check us
out. When they disappeared, they were replaced by a a juvenile Eagle.

In the meantime Great Blue Herons were flying all about squawking their
heads off as if coyotes were biting their tails.

As darkness set in a Night Heron began crying.

ghr

13 January 2007

40+ Turkey Vultures roosted in trees in front of our Alligator Ranch house.
24 December 2006
11 AM
ALLIGATOR RANCH
LAKE LIVINGSTON

From 1,000+ to perhaps several thousand Cormorants, with a sprinkling
of White Pelicans in some of the numerous flocks, just flew past our
window, heading North. They were practically skimming the tops of the
waves on the lake.

Yesterday, at Half Moon Bay Retreat, the Crows drove a very majestic
adult Bald Eagle from the Eagle Sanctuary. It escaped by rapidly flying
to the mouth of Palmetto Creek.

11:12 AM

Another flock of 500+ Cormorants and 20 White Pelicans just flew in and
are now feeding in the lake to the East of our house.
21 December 2006
Winter Solstice at the Alligator Ranch

10:45 a.m.

39 White Pelicans just flew over the house toward the Eagle Sanctuary.

ghr
20 December 2006

Russell Preserves - Waterwood

Our forest have been alive with birds of many species for the last 10
days or so. This morning when I went into the bathroom to take my
shower, an immature Turkey Vulture was perched on the railing of the
balcony less than three feet from where I was standing. The bird was
very tame and just looked at me -- perhaps attempting to predict when I
would become its dinner. I called to Sue to come up and observe the
bird. It apparently didn't like her as much as it liked me and flew off.

April Fand flew in from Arizona to observe our Vultures and visit our
future "Sky Burial" site. The Vultures were nowhere to be seen. We
drove over to the marina to look at our River Otter Sanctuary and low
and behold, two trees on our Longleaf Pine Sanctuary hosted 39 Black
Vultures and 7 Turkey Vultures.

Hords of Robbins, Cedar Waxwings, American Goldfinches and all sorts of
little birds that I am too blind to see and/or identify have been
swarming about. Also present have been Red-headed Woodpeckers, Pileated
Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Barred Owls, Common Crows, Common
Grackles, Tufted Titmice, Carolina Chickadees, Brown Creepers, Blue
Jays, Cardinals, and others.

Others include our resident Carolina Wrens that constantly try to fly
into the house when the door is open. One had to spend the night
recently when it hid in the fake ficus tree and refused to go outside.

Ringbilled Gulls, Belted Kingfishers, flocks of various Ducks, Great
Egrets, Great Blue Herons, and Cormorants are the most abundant water
birds. I haven't seen any Pelicans for at least a week now.
4 December 2006

EAGLE FUN AT HALF MOON BAY RETREAT

We have been enjoying the antics of the Eagles hanging out at Half Moon
Bay Retreat. When we hear a gang of Crows squawking we are pretty
certain that we will soon see one of our Eagles.

The evil Crows constantly torment the Eagles yet until just yesterday I
had never seen an Eagle make a concerted and valient effort to catch a Crow.

I heard Crows scolding, looked up and two Crows were chasing a juvenile
Bald Eagle. The Eagle decided to retaliate and for at least a minute I
witnessed a World War I dog fight in the air. The Eagle came close to
catching a Crow on more than one occassion. Then a second Eagle flew
out toward the Crows to even the odds and the Crows fled the scene.

The two Eagles then sailed about, unmolested before disappearing.

Earlier in the week our Chocolate Lab was playing in the shallow water
when we saw him looking up. An Eagle was checking him out but decided
that at 100 pounds he was a little on the large side. As the Eagle
soared off at a low elevation, the dog began chasing the bird, jumping
up in a futile attempt to capture the Eagle.

In addition to the two baby birds, there is at least one adult Bald
Eagle that loves to perch in a tree just above Debbie Beach. He is
extremely stately and arrogant as he surveys the surrounding area. The
Crows seem to leave him alone. Perhaps he has taught them a lesson and
they know better than to molest him.

Today there were hundreds of tiny birds flitting about in the woods
along with several Woodpeckers of various species.

In addition, there are numerous Ring-Billed Gulls, Terns, Peeps,
Cormorants, Ducks, Kingfishers, Great Blues and Great Egrets. I haven't
seen a Pelican in at least a week.
1 November 2006

Alligator Ranch
Lake Livingston

As I was walking from the house to my car I saw two juvenile Bald Eagles (baby eagles) fly overhead in a game of tag. They flew in circles cavorting with one another, the second bird trying to catch the lead bird and eventually flew out over the lake. I don't know if this was play or some kind of sibling aggression.

A flock of 20+ Eastern Bluebirds was seen at Longleaf Ranch.

The Pelicans are suffering predation from suspected Coyotes and Bobcats as the rising lake has inundated their isolated sandbar islands and they have been forced to roost on the shores of the lake.

USFWS or Texas Parks and Wildlife need to provide the birds with artificial islands so that they can rest in peace.
14 October 2006

Lake Livingston

2 adult Bald Eagles and 1 juvenile curious about our activities at Secret Cove. The baby flew directly overhead just above the tree tops.

At Sunset Services this evening we were visited by 2 Bald Eagles during the "Meditation Moment". There were also 20 Turkey Vultures perched at the Vulture Sanctuary with many others flying overhead. 100+ Cormorants were perched on the power poles in the lake. At least 300 While Pelicans were also guests at Church services.

There were at least 50 other Vultures at Secret Cove and many others over the Alligator Ranch house today.
9 October 2006

Alligator Ranch 12:15 p.m.

500+ White Pelicans swimming in front of the house and heading toward Princess Point. Every few minutes a small flock and sometimes
individual Pelicans flies past my window.

There have been quite a few Belted Kingfishers flying about as well as a Bald Eagle that has been hanging around Half Moon Bay.

Only a few Hummers are stopping at the feeders.

99 White Egrets were counted perched on stobs off shore from Pelican Point.
October 1, 2006

At 2 p.m. I noticed a raft of 700+ Cormorants feeding outside my window. I originally guestimated 300 birds while they were swimming in a counter-clockwise then clockwise circle and were so tightly spaced that a head count was impossible.

Another difficulty in getting an accurate head count is that at times more than half of the birds will be swimming under water.

One bird on the outer edge of the raft caught a rather large fish and several Cormorants began to swim toward the bird in an attempt to take the fish away. This caused the entire raft to break up and begin swimming in a long line after the lucky bird. That made it easy to get an accurate head count. I quit counting individual birds after the
first 500 and then estimated that I had not counted a portion of the line up representing more than 200 birds and quite possibly 300, thus the conservative count of the raft of Cormorants is 700+.

The Cormorants then regrouped and formed their contiguous raft again. At 2:45 p.m. the Cormorants began flying in a long alignment just over the top of the water, toward the SE.

There are two large groups of White Pelicans of an estimated 1,000+ birds each plus some smaller groups of 50-100 birds that I can see from my window.
October 1, 2006
from Sue Russell


This morning about 11:30 a.m., I looked out our bedroom window and saw a flock of white pelicans taking off from the water in our cove. It looked like maybe a hundred birds when I started watching. I called to George to look out the window, but he had already left the house in his Jeep. Still the pelicans kept coming and coming. It was amazing!

From the yellow bedroom window, I saw a whole cove still filled with white birds who were in the process of taking flight in an orderly fashion. They didn't just all scatter at the same time like most birds do. The pelicans were probably fishing there in our cove, but it took quite some time before the birds were gone. I don't know how many there were--maybe a thousand?

I called Pelican 1 to alert the grandparents, because the birds were flying their way. The phone was busy, but I finally got granddaddy on his cell phoneat Pelican 2, and he said he would keep an eye out for them.

After the pelicans had gone, I saw Zimmerman, wife and dog walking along the beach in front of our house, heading toward their house. They probably saw the pelicans also and may have startled them, causing the birds to fly away.

Sue
My "Bird Notes" Sept.30, 2006

30-40 mixed Black and Turkey Vultures feeding on a dead Armadillo.

A fresh swarm of Hummingbirds have arrived at the feeders. The guestimated maximum number of new arrival birds is less than 50 but more than 25 by head count at the feeders at one time.

114 Great and Snowy Egrets were counted perched mostly on stobs off of Pelican Point.
24 September 2006

Alligator Ranch

It was cool enough to sleep with the door to the balcony open. At 8 A.M. I was awakened by Caspian Terns squawking, Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets grunting, Hummingbirds squeeking, Blue Jays calling, Blackbirds chattering, Crows scolding, and a couple of Belted Kingfishers calling.

This afternoon, several flocks of White Pelicans were just cruising about on the warm updrafts. Three flocks were composed of about 50 birds each and a couple of groups of about half that number and a few strays. In the meantime at least 1,000 were resting offshore from the Cathedral.

Numerous Turkey Vultures and two Black Vultures have been taking advantage of the updrafts to cruise about.

Still at least 100 Hummers at the feeders.


Only around 25 Least Sandpipers at Princess Point.

A lone Cormorant just swam by at 5:30 pm.
23 September 2006

Dozens, if not hundreds of Caspian Terns have arrived. It would be impossible to judge the numbers. (Two are fishing just in front of my window as I write this.)

They seem to be everywhere and are the predominant Tern after the earlier arrival of very small Terns (perhaps Least) and followed by medium sized Terns (perhaps Common) They were at Church at the Cathedral, at the Eagle Sanctuary, at Princess Point, at Pelican Point and thus all along the lake. They can be quite loud and obnoxious, especially when I am attempting to get my beauty rest.
Pelican Point, Lake Livingston

18 September 2006

An estimated 3,000 to 5,000 White Pelicans flew past Pelican Point between 7:15 pm and 7:25 pm and landed on the water in a long raft of birds that was estimated to be between 1/4 to 1/5 mile in length. I estimated that the last batch of birds to join the others numbered an estimated 1,200 so I believe my total estimate to be conservative, since several large flocks had passed by before the last birds arrived.

While the Pelicans were flying downstream an Osprey flew upstream.

Night Herons and Great Blue Herons were squabbling after dark.
16 September 2006

100+ Least Sandpipers feeding on the shore at Princess Point.

A Bald Eagle flew along the shore of the Eagle Sanctuary about 1 pm.
15 September 2006

The Pelicans are still hanging out on the sandbars.

A juvenile Turkey Vulture with a black head just flew past my windowalong with an adult bird.

A Great Blue Heron is stalking a Great Egret across the cove.

The Hummingbirds are reduced in number by around 50% from this time last week, so I guesstimate that there are still around 50 birds.
14 September 2006

Wilderness Cathedral
Lake Livingston

1,000+ White Pelicans were resting on sandbars in the lake out from the Wilderness Cathedral.

Alligator Ranch
Lake Livingston

6:07 PM 13 Sept 2006

19 White Pelicans just flew past my window.

A deer is hanging out with a few Great Egrets on the shore of the Eagle Sanctuary.

There seem to be fewer Hummingbirds this evening and less juice gone from the feeders. Some must have departed for points South.
Numerous medium sized Terns feeding over the lake.

One Snowy Egret and at least 30 Great Egrets are sitting on stobs in the middle of the lake.

9 Turkey Vultures were soaring over the house and the Eagle Sanctuary this morning.

7:40 PM 12 September 2006

Alligator Ranch, Lake Livingston

Sue asked me if she was seeing a new sandbar or if there was a flock of White Pelicans at the shore of the Eagle Sanctuary. Without looking up I said, "Sandbar". She insisted that I take a look through the binoculars and lo and behold a flock of 100+ White Pelicans was feeding at the shoreline of the Eagle Sanctuary.

We still have at least 100 Hummingbirds at our feeders.

A few days ago I was sitting in the water at Princess Point and there were around 35 Turkey Vultures soaring around. In addition there have been 35+ tiny Sandpipers hanging around on the shore as well for a week or so.

As I hadn't seen an Eagle in several weeks, I called out, "Eegie come here". Within less than 60 seconds an Eagle flew out of the woods and over my head and continued across the lake at a rapid rate. I called out, "Eegie come back" and a couple of minutes later the Eagle flew back across the lake and over my head.

There have also been many Terns fishing as well as numerous Great Blue Herons, a few Green Herons, many Great Egrets and some Snowy Egrets.
August 23-28, 2006
Alligator Ranch House
Lake Livingston

Hummers started coming in on the 23rd of August. (We had had a few throughout the Summer) Each day since their numbers have increased. Impossible to count them but I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't 50 or more. They are emptying the feeders very quickly with up to 12 birds hovering at a time around the most popular feeder.

We have had more Snowy Egrets around the house this year than in years past.
6 August 2006

Alligator Ranch, Lake Livingston

A pair of Mississippi Kites were circling over our house this morning. The day before a pair was seen in a large pine tree about a quarter mile from the house and later in the day another was heard in our forests about a half mile from the house.

Last week I was sitting in the water at Princess Point counting Vultures (10) when one of the "Vultures" turned out to be a Bald Eagle.

There has been a pair of Snowy Egrets hanging out just across the cove in the Eagle Sanctuary for several weeks now.

The Purple Martins must have flown South for the Winter as I have been seeing very few at dusk the last week or so.

Two Whistling Ducks just flew past my window.
16 July 2006

Princess Point, Lake Livingston

8 p.m.

I was sitting in the water off Princess Point sifting the rocks feeling for Indian rocks when a Great Egret flew down to fish about 20 feet from me. When the Egret saw who its companion was it flew off.

Now here is the really weird thing that happened next:

A ROSEATE SPOONBILL flew down to the shallows not 25 feet from where I was sitting. Thinking that the bird would probably fly off the moment
it saw what was in the water beside it, I made no attempt to stop what I was doing or stay particularly still. The Spoonbill studied me for a few moments, determined that I was friend rather than foe and even walked toward me while looking for food.

In the meantime, I found a few pretty interesting Indian rocks that I dropped into the basket beside me. The bird seemed disinterested in what I was doing

After a period of more than 10 minutes the bird determined that there was nothing to eat at that spot and flew off. In the meantime, dozens of tiny Terns were diving into the water about 50 feet out from shore and little groups of Purple Martins were feeding overhead on their way to the 190 bridge where they roost this time of year.
24 May 2006

Princess Point, Lake Livingston, Texas

About 3 P.M.

Large Eagle/Vulture sized dark bird feeding on dead fish on shore. When bird flew, the only white was on the tail. Only saw the top side of bird as it was rising and then disappeared around the point.

Was not a Vulture. Did not look like any Bald Eagle, either adult or immature that I have observed over the last eight years that frequent the Eagle Sanctuary nearby.

Only bird in Sibley resembling this Eagle is pictured as an immature Golden Eagle.

I give a 90% probability that the bird was as pictured in Sibley.

QUESTION: Is there such a thing as a Bald Eagle-Golden Eagle hybrid?

ghr
20 May 2006

Eagle Sanctuary - Lake Livingston

This morning I was awakened by the call of Mr. Peck, our curious Pileated Woodpecker. He had landed on the balcony railing just three feet from Zander, the dog. I turned over in bed and opened my eyes in order to see the spectacle of the two curious beasts staring at one another.

I rolled back over to get some more "beauty rest" and was later awakened a second time by the chirping of what I believed to be an Eagle. I got up and searched the shore of the Eagle Sanctuary with my binoculars but no Eagle was in sight. Meanwhile a couple of Whistling Ducks flew past, so I thought that it must have been the Ducks that had awakened me, so I returned to bed to read the paper.

A little while later, I heard both chirping and loud piercing cries. I jumped up again and scanned the sky and treeline. No Eagle. I then spotted a bird wading in a puddle at the shore. At first I thought it was a Turkey Vulture, but when it flew off it had a white head. It was indeed the Eagle.
Eagle Sanctuary
Lake Livingston
13 May 2006

8:00 a.m.

57 Great Egrets sunning themselves in the trees at the shoreline of the Eagle Sanctuary along with 1 Night Heron, 1 Great Blue Herson and 1 Snowy Egret.
Meanwhile, the pair of Little Blue Herons flew over to the shore to fish along with 3 Great Blue Herons. Several Turkey Vultures and a pair of Whistling Ducks were hanging out on the beach.

Several Eastern Kingbirds were in the trees in front of my window.
12 May 2006

Eagle Sanctuary

An adult Roseate Spoonbill flew past my window at 10:40 A.M., heading into the cove. I ran out to the boathouse and went onto the roof to try to locate it but it had flown too deeply into the cove to be spotted. The pink color of the bird was so brilliant that I thought that I must be hallucinating and had just seen a Scarlet Ibis pass by.

11:00 A.M.

A pair of Little Blue Heron flew over to the beach at the Eagle Sanctuary. Meanwhile three White Pelicans flew overhead, the Hummingbirds are fighting at the feeder, and two Great Egrets just flew past my window.

11:45 A.M. A pair of Snowy Egrets just flew past my window. Several individual and small groups of White Pelicans are flying over the lake. The bird activity this morning has been quite spectacular.

While I was typing this a Green Heron just flew past my window. There have also been some Great Blue Herons but I didn't mention them earlier because they are almost always here.

11 May 2006

Chapel of the Nativity

Flock of about 20 White Ibis flying SE over the Chapel of the Nativity at the intersection of Waterwood Parkway and FM 980.
26 April 2006

Lake Livingston E. Texas

Mississippi Kites in singles and in pairs have arrived. Yesterday, three were flying over the Country Club. Today, around noon, 20+ were circling over the Ethician Family Cemetery. Toward dusk, a pair flew over Waterwood Parkway.

Last week 50+ Great Egrets were playing the "Dating Game" at Pelican Point. The boys were quite elegant in their breeding plummage. That same morning about 100 White Pelicans were cruising around over our house.

Mr. Peck, our resident Pileated Woodpecker is a voyeur. He likes to perch on the deck railing outside my bathroom and watch me go into the shower.

The Red-headed Woodpeckers that had lived in a dead pine for several years at the Chapel of the Nativity have not been seen this Spring. A lady riding a bike stopped this afternoon and reported a pair of Red-heads had taken up residency in her yard.

The Whistling Ducks have been really loud and obnoxious the last few days.
8 April 2006

Eagle Sanctuary - Lake Livingston

7:45 A.M.
Andrew called from Pelican Point to let us know that a flock of about 100 White Pelicans were flying toward the Eagle Sanctuary. We looked out the window and sure enough they flew over to the shoreline of the Sanctuary and began to fish in two groups. On the shore were about 20 Great Egrets and a dozen or so Great Blue Herons.

The Blues were squabbling with the Whites, but the Pelicans were oblivious.

Shortly after 8 A.M. an Osprey flew over to the Eagle Sanctuary from the lake with a fish, where it perched high up on a tree on the shore and began to consume the fish.

About a dozen Coots, a pair of Mallards and a few Whistling Ducks have visited during the last couple of days, plus a few Hummingbirds.

After being absent for two or three years, Great Blues have built their nests on the S. shore of the Wilderness Cathedral. Toward dusk their squawks could be heard from over 1/2 mile away. I will try to get a nest count.

22 March 2006

Eagle Sanctuary - Lake Livingston

This morning, a little after 7 a.m. I heard an Eagle chirping. By the time I found my binoculars and got to the window, three crows had apparently heard the Eagle chirping and tormented it until it flew away.

My mother has been reporting sightings of 50 or more Great Egrets across from her house. There have also been a much larger number of Great Blue Herons. This morning at dawn Sue said that there were so many of them squawking that it sounded like a pack of dogs barking.

Screechie, the Screech Owl has been warbling all night for at least a week now. Yesterday evening he began his song well before sunset. The first night I heard him, I thought that someone's cell phone was ringing in the distance. When the ringing didn't stop I went outside around 3 a.m. and determined that Screechie was singing.

Right now at 9 a.m. there is not a bird in sight.

Yesterday evening, I saw around 30 or more Turkey Vultures circling their traditional roost that they use duriing Spring and Fall migration. I went to the Marina to get a better look and an Eagle was flying with them. The Vultures continued to their roost and the Eagle flew down to the shore of Firecracker Point and began to wade in the shallow water. It seemed to be having a good time because every once in awhile it would seem to skip and dance in the water. I watched it for about 5 minutes and then left it to its water ballet.
21 March 2006

Waterwood

At 7 a.m. I heard an Eagle chirping. I got out of bed and went over to
the window. A baby Eagle flew out from the Eagle Sanctuary and out over
the lake followed by an adult. The adult Eagle chased the baby away.
A few minutes later the baby flew back to the Sanctuary but I didn't see
the adult again.

Yesterday about 40 White Pelicans flew over Pelican Point.
25 February 2006

At this moment I am watching 12 Turkey Vultures eating dead Piggie #1 and picking at remnants of dead Piggie #2.

This is the first day that Turkey Vultures have visited the Piggies in any numbers. Heretofore, up to 40 Black Vultures were busy feasting.

Dead Piggie #1 appeared abandoned on the dining table for a couple of weeks and seemed hard as a rock. After two days of rain, he has softened up making him much easier to eat.

Yesterday, Garcia reported an adult Bald Eagle on the Parkway just before Long Leaf Ranch. It was the first one that he had ever seen.

Andrew's puppy and I were looking for Indian Rocks at Princess point earlier today. I heard an Eagle back in the woods and the puppy whimpered and would only walk between my legs.
24 January 2006 PLANTING PROGRESS REPORT

60 LL from tree #8

Planted in what appears to be a 20 X 20 meter section laid out by Jeff. Since we are also attempting to restore RCW habitat as well as LL, we planted at closer intervals than the silvicultural recommendation of Harry of 10 feet. I fear that if we fill in all the gaps where there is sunlight hitting the forest floor we will soon find ourselves in the same thicket of mid-story pines that we had before eliminating the overabundance of Loblollies. Thus, in the RCW areas my theory is that it is best to plant in clusters as one would find in nature and then let nature do the thinning over time. This leaves the type of open spacing that RCW seem to prefer throughout most of the area and at the same time allows for regeneration to make up for the loss of the old pines over time. In my opinion, this is how nature solved the problem and kept the RCW with a never ending supply of old pines for their colonies.

100 LL from tree #5

Planted in an opening to the E. of he Sewer Plant that was created by (1) me cutting hundreds of Loblollies, Sweetgums, and Yaupons (2) Rita knocking down a large canopy Red Oak. (3) this year's Prescribed burn. This is the place where Harry fell flat on his face in the wet ashes.

100 LL from tree #15

Planted in a portion of the relative open spaces found at the NE corner of WW Parkway and 980.

125 LL from tree number 12

Planted between the N. road leading the The Chapel of the Nativity and the N. property line.

235 LL from tree number 2

Planted in the open spaces at the SE corner of WW Parkway and 980 where I had mowed down hundreds of Loblollies and then burned this year.

Seedlings that had lost most of the soil surronding the roots were kept separate for random planting outside the "control" areas.

Some of the boxes of seedlings were very neatly packed and nearly 100% of the trees had the soil on their plugs intact. One box from tree #2 was very neatly packed. Some of the other boxes had the seedlings sort of thrown in haphazardly and in attempting to untangle the trees several lost some or all of their protective soil. These trees we planted using the old-fashioned "dibble".

The seedlings from tree #13 that has too many Loblolly genetic characteristics will be segregated geographically from the historic Longleaf area and planted in an 11 acre clearcut over a mile from the nearest native Longleafs.

ghr
December 23, 2005

Please visit our new web site ADOPTANEAGLE.ORG and help us if you can. It'll make God smile.

9 November 2005

Alligator Ranch

Just before 8 a.m. a juvenile Bald Eagle flew out from the Eagle Sanctuary and had a good workout flying back and forth in front of my window not more than 50 feet away.
Lake Livingston
6 November 2005

I took the boat from Pelican Point to Aztec Island and back to check out the bird life. Numbers of birds are conservative estimates.

WHITE PELICANS:
500 across from Emerald Point on a sand bar.
2,000 at the mouth of White Rock Creek swimming and feeding.
2,500 far shore of White Rock Bay resting.

CORMORANTS
1,000 in various small flocks and individually

TERNS & GULLS
500 large (Caspian), medium, and small Terns plus a few Gulls resting on a sand bar adjacent to the sand bar with the Pelicans across from Emerald Point.
500 mixed Terns and Gulls feeding adjacent to the Pelicans at the mouth of White Rock Creek.

EGRETS & HERONS
1,000 Great Egrets on the shores and perched on stobs exposed by the low water.
250 Great Blue Herons feeding alongside the Egrets

EAGLES
1 juvenile Bald Eagle at Goat Island
Bird Notes
Nov 4, 2005

Alligator Ranch

Today is Sue's 60th birthday, so to celebrate, we were sitting on the deck watching the world come to life as the sun rose. Nary a creature was stirring until suddenly an Eagle began to sing "Happy Birthday" to her in its own language.

The Eagle, a beautiful adult bird with piercing eyes was perched on one of its favorite trees just across the cove in the Eagle Sanctuary. We took the telescope out on the deck and were able to fill the entire field of view with the bird.

Below is a link to a recording that sound much like what we heard this morning. Click to the second call.

http://www.friendsofblackwater.org/eagle_cam_blog/archives/2005/04/19/

A little after 9 am. the Paramedic came to give me my insurance physical. I asked her if she had ever seen an Eagle and she had not. The big bird was still in its tree so she got to see her first Eagle. At that very moment a baby Eagle flew in front of the house and toward the Eagle Sanctuary. The big Eagle swooped out of its tree and attacked the poor baby. The baby flew off as fast as its wings could flap with the mean adult Eagle in hot pursuit.

Wilderness Cathedral
Lake Livingston

Oct 31-Nov 2, 2005

BELTED KINGFISHERS: Very active and quite noisy the last few days.

BALD EAGLES: Not as many sightings as last week but a friend and I were at Princess Point one morning and I looked up and observed two adult Bald Eagles flying together. My friend, who has lived here for 25 years or more, exclaimed that he had never before seen one. Not a "Strange Convergence" as we hadn't been discussing Eagles before looking up to see one, but coincidental non the less.

ROSEATE SPOONBILLS: Four Spoonbills seen feeding on a mud flat in front of the River Otter Sanctuary. Incidentally, son Andrew observed seven River Otters playing near the pyramid.

GREAT BLUE HERONS: Four Deer were wading in the shallow water just beyond our bedroom window. They joined a Great Blue that was trying to fish. For quite some time the Blue tolerated the Deer stirring up the water around him, but eventually got disgusted and flew off to calmer fishing grounds.

TERNS: Just off Pelican Point, with plenty of fishing areas to go around, a big Caspian Tern began chasing and harrassing a Common Tern. The big bully had no justification to be so mean and greedy in my opinion. The Caspian reminded me of a typical bully Hummingbird.
Greed is not just a human trait.

PILEATED WOODPECKERS: After an unusually long period of silence the Pileateds have become raucus.

HAWKS: A rather large Hawk has taken up residence in the area of Pelican Point. I failed to identify him in the field but took numerous photos as he perched on the top of the flag pole. The bird is virtually tame.

PELICANS: During the weekend illegal vehicle traffic on the beach across from Hawg Heaven frightened the 1,000+ White Pelicans that had been using an adjacent sandbar for their daytime roost. Yesterday they came back and I can hear them feeding at various hours during the night. Sometimes they are only about 50 feet outside my window and make quite a racket driving fish toward shore with their huge wings.
30 October 2005

For some reason the lake was practically devoid of birds near the Eagle Sanctuary, save a few Vultures, a Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, a few Cormorants and a Snowy Egret. Gone were the thousands of Pelicans, Cormorants, and large flocks of Vultures that had been parading in front of the house the last few days. I decided to take a walk along the shores of the Eagle Sanctuary. A small gathering of Turkey Vultures were hanging out on the beach and as I approached they flew into the air and began circling overhead. Soon they were joined by a juvenile Eagle. The Vultures soared onward but the Eagle seemed interested in me and where I was going. The curious bird followed me for at least 200 yards as I walked slowly down the beach. Almost everytime I looked up the Eagle would be soaring almost directly over my head. As I was walking rather slowly looking for Indian rocks, the big bird must have spent several minutes following me and hovering over me.

Eventually it flew down to Princess Point where it perched in a tree waiting for me to arrive on foot.
28 October 2005 Wilderness Cathedral

A lady who loves Waterwood because of the wildlife was being interviewed for an infomercial. She said that she had never seen an Eagle. At that moment a flock of Vultures began circling over the Wilderness Cathedral. I said, "sometimes Eagles fly with the Vultures" and suddenly at that very moment two adult Bald Eagles flew from the Cathedral and joined the Vultures. After the Vultures left they put on an acrobatic display which lasted several minutes.

A few weeks ago I was talking to my parent's next door neighbor about birds. He is 70 years old and said that he had never seen an Osprey. I told him to stay alert and he might see one. Within a minute an Osprey flew right overhead.

A couple of years ago I encountered a group of bird watchers on Doral near my parent's house. I told them that if they were lucky they might see an Eagle even though I hadn't seen one in some time. One of the couples said that they had never seen an Eagle. At that very moment I looked up and three Eagles were flying overhead. The bird watchers were sore amazed.

Now if we had a resident population of these birds these strange convergences might not seem so strange. For example, Ospreys had been missing from this part of the lake for many months. Sometimes months go by without a single Eagle spotting, much less two or three at a time, and then at the very moment that I was discussing those birds with elderly bird watchers who had never seen one in their entire lives, the Eagles present themselves in all their majestic glory. Waterwood seems to be a spiritual vortex for the apparition of "Strange Convergences"!!!
25 October 2005

Alligator Ranch -- Lake Livingston

AMAZING SIGHT!!!

Daughter Karen Lee called from England around 8 a.m. I was staring out our bedroom window while talking to her. Suddenly a beautiful adult Bald Eagle glided past about 40 feet from the window and directly over the American flag in the front yard.
Sometimes I could kick myself for not always having a video camera by my side.
Around 10 a.m. I was chatting with Eric Estrada (old Chips star) near Pelican Point when two Eagles flew out and frolicked together.
25 October 2005
Lake Livingston, Lake Conroe and NW Houston

We saw a Roadrunner in Montgomery County today. A few years ago there were several at Waterwood but I haven't seen any for some time. I haven't seen an Avocet for a few years but suspect there are more because of the exposed mud banks. There have been flocks of up to 40 tiny Sandpipers on the lake.

The huge gatherings of Pelicans have been breaking up into smaller flocks. I was awakened this morning around 5:30 am by 100+ fishing outside our bedroom window.

Yesterday evening at least 250 Turkey Vultures were circling before roosting near Waterwood Bay.

Today's big sighting was NW of Houston. A huge swarm of Hawks were spiraling on the updrafts at great heights and drifting at high speed SW toward Mexico. This was at 2:45 pm. Attempts to get an accurate count were futile, as they were almost up against the sun by the time I was able to retrieve my binoculars from the car, but I feel confident in stating that there were far more than 1,000. It was the biggest Hawk migration that I have seen for several years.

ghr
23 October 2005

Greater Wilderness Cathedral
Lake Livingston

PELICANS: The huge flocks of White Pelicans have sub-divided into smaller flocks of from 50 to 1,000 birds. Today the updrafts were great and many flocks were soaring to great altitudes of at least several thousand feet, apparently just for fun. About 1,000+ were chilling on the far shore across from the Alligator Ranch.

TURKEY VULTURES: The Turkey Vultures and a few Black Vultures were having a great time soaring about. There had been 70 or so on the power lines yesterday at the Cathdral and today flocks of up to 30 or so birds were hovering about the house and the Eagle Sanctuary. 6:18 pm 30+ Vultures are soaring just outside my window. The Eagle was not with them.

BALD EAGLES: At lunchtime a 3 yr. old Eagle flew over to a tree in the Sanctuary and hung out for quite awhile. Another junenile bird and an adult were also seen flying about with the Vultures at the same time. Later in the afternoon an adult and a juvenile were flying together. The young bird flew behind the adult and then appeared to attack it. (Bad Baby) The adult was calling out in a loud voice and for about five minutes I watched them circling the cove adjacent to the house. The video camera was in the car and I ran to get it but by the time I got back the two Eagles had departed.

OSPREYS: Ospresy were seen at the Cathedral and at Zwickey Creek. Ospreys, Vultures, and Eagles were all seen soaring around together both at the Eagle Sanctuary and at Zwickey Creek. One Osprey dove down to harass an Eagle.

ALERT: 6:12 pm The adult Bald Eagle just flew past my window and is now soaring with the vultures. I ran to the car and got the camera. The Eagle was up pretty high but I got some fairly good video.
GREAT EGRETS: At 6:00 pm 21 Great Egrets flew past my window. Greats are all around the lake.

GREAT BLUE HERONS: The Great Blues were also enjoying the beautiful weather and the updrafts and were seen soaring with the Eagles, Ospreys, and Turkey and Black Vultures this afternoon at the Cathedral.

CORMORANTS: The Cormorants were having fun just roosting on the power line towers as well as fishing in flocks of 100 birds or so.

ALERT: 6:25 pm The adult Eagle and the two babys are flying together above the Eagle Sanctuary along with a dozen or so Vultures.

SANDPIPERS: I have seen flocks of up to 20 tiny Sandpipers during the last few days. None today.

TERNS: A few Common Terns and Caspian Terns have been fishing today.

SNOWY EGRETS: The Snowy Egrets seem more numerous this year.

KINGFISHERS: Solitary Kingfishers have been sighted at various points along the shoreline including one that hangs out at Pelican Point and likes to fly under the boathouses.

DANGER ALERT: It is not wise to venture alone and unarmed around the lake, especially at this time. With the water down 4 feet "Pot Hunters" have access to miles of beaches. At about 5pm I was at Princess Point when two "Deliverance Movie" types walked up. They had been hunting for Indian rocks. I told them that it was illegal to take Indian rocks from a State Archaeological Landmark but they kept hunting anyway. One man reached down and picked up an arrowhead. I had already told him that anything that they found had to be turned over to me for safe keeping. After he handed it to me he wanted it back. He and his buddy were quite threatening in both appearance and disposition. I told them that I was leaving and walked toward the jeep. They followed me. I reached inside and grabbed my .380 and stood behind the door with it hidden behind the door. They kept coming toward me in a threatening manner and were definitely on our property at that point.

I pulled out the .380 and told them to get the hell away, popping off a round into the dirt for effect. They jumped back and started walking away but very slowly as they were still looking for Indian rocks. I popped off another round and told them to move faster which they did. I followed them in the jeep on our new road as they walked around the shore toward their boat which was just beyond Debbie Beach.

With my binoculars I made out the number on their boat: TX 5705 XE. I would like Steve to find out who the owner of the boat is and if that person has a criminal record. They certainly looked like ex-cons. In the future I will carry my weapon with me. I was lucky that they didn't assault me before I got to the Jeep and grabbed my gun.

6:50 pm. The Vultures have nearly all gone to roost but one of the Eagles is still soaring about in front of my window.

6:55 PM

Several flocks of Pelicans have flown past in the dusk, totally at least 1,000 or so. One small flock landed in the water in front of the house and was soon joined by a few others -- perhaps 100 or so in all.

7 PM

Now there are 200+ Pelicans in the flock swimming in front of the house. More keep coming in.

16 October 2005

Lake Livingston

3 Scissor-tailed Flycatchers perched on a wire on the N. side of the lake in Trinity County.

3:45 PM An adult Bald Eagle just flew over our house and over to the Eagle Sanctuary.
Several thousand White Pelicans were still roosting on a sand bank across from Emerald Point.

The Hummingbirds are all gone. I haven't seen any for several days now.

Great Egrets are in great abundance and Cormorants are numerous.

As I was typing this a pair of Ospreys suddenly flew out from the Eagle Sanctuary. One seemed to the chasing the other one. They took several turns in front of the house and then flew back to the Sanctuary.
10 October 2005

Alligator Ranch

9:45 a.m.
It was raining and an Osprey was out fishing in front of the house, then flew past my window.

Another thing that has occurred with the lowering of the lake is the exposure of thousands of stobs. The Great Egrets are especially fond of perching on the stobs while fishing. I counted 140+ Great Egrets while scanning the stobs within view from Pelican Point yesterday.
9 October 2005

Lake Livingston

Lowering Lake Livingston 4 feet in order to repair the dam damaged by "Rita" has certainly changed the shorelines. I have been curious to watch for any changes in bird behavior due to that fact.

One effect has been to expose mud and sandbars that are normally under water. This has given various shore birds much larger areas to scour as well as to roost. They especially seem to like the new islands in the lake since they are devoid of Racoons and other predators.

From Pelican Point we looked North and saw huge numbers of Pelicans resting on some of the newly exposed mud and sand islands.

Fortunately, our boat house at Pelican Point is over a channel and we are one of the few who can still lower their boats into the water. I stupidly failed to take my video camera and only took a still camera.

We went first to The Wilderness Cathedral and an Osprey flew out of a nearby tree and circled us before flying on. As we headed up river a Bald Eagle flew past.
To our right was a sandbar with an estimated 3,000 Pelicans resting on it. Further upstream near Emerald Estates we estimated that there must have been another 7,000 Pelicans in two groups. There were also numerous Gulls resting adjacent to the main body of Pelicans. We were careful to not get close enough to frighten the Pelicans as they needed their beauty rest, having just arrived from the North.

We went back to the house to get the video camera and tripod, and then drove over to Emerald Estates to get photos of the Pelicans. Unfortunately, several residents had arrived in their vehicles, which had frightened the majority of the closest Pelicans away.

The worst problem faced by shore birds on the lake at present is the fact that vandals and thrill seekers are violating the law by hot rodding their 4-wheelers and SUVs up and down the newly exposed beaches.

Normally, the Pelicans, when they first come in from the North, rest in the greatest numbers closer to the Trinity River Bridge at Hwy 19 because of the mud flats. With the lake down, they decided to take advantage of the exposed sand and mudbars closer to our part of the lake.

Later, while walking up Pool Creek, 12 Night Herons flew out of a single tree where they had been hanging out waiting for dusk.

In the afternoon, an Osprey and an Eagle flew over Pelican Point. They were perhaps the same birds that we had observed in the morning at the Cathedral.

8 October 2005

Wilderness Cathedral

Andrew reported an estimated 300 White Pelicans resting on a mud flat NE of the Wilderness Cathedral. Closer inspection with binoculars indicated 1,000+ Pelicans.

A resident of Emerald Point, which is opposite the Cathedral, reported that on October 4th, there were at least 3,000 Pelicans at the same place but that many had left. He stated that they arrived in several flocks of from 30 to 100 birds and that he had counted them as they came in.

3,000 is a pathetic remnant of the flock of 40,000 that I observed in a single day several years ago.

Several hundred Great Egrets were either perched on mud flats or in trees around the Cathedral today as well as numerous, but far fewer Great Blue Herons.

There were also about a dozen tiny Sandpipers on the shoreline.

7 October 2005

Alligator Ranch, Lake Livingston

Most of the Hummers have flown south for the Winter. There are perhaps a half dozen left from a peak of as many as 250.

Yesterday I startled a rather large raptor on the beach in front of the house. While I turned around to look for my binoculars the bird flew off. The glimpse I caught of it indicated the features of either a Marsh Hawk or Osprey.

This morning, while studying the pictures of Ospreys and Marsh Hawks in my Sibley Guide, Sue said, "Look, is that Mr. Blue or Eegie?" It was neither. It was an Osprey gliding right over the same beach that I had seen the raptor fly from yesterday which indicates to me that the large bird I saw must have been the same Osprey.

While I was writing these Bird Notes, flocks of Cormorants began flying over. Each flock consisted of around 100 birds or more and there were numerous waves of birds passing. I would guestimate somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 birds.

While I was watching the Cormorants an adult Bald Eagle flew toward me and about 300 feet out dove down and plucked up a fish which he carried over to a tree on the shores of the Eagle Sanctuary.

Overhead were several Turkey Vultures soaring about above the Eagle Sanctuary and flying with them was a second Bald Eagle.

A single White Pelican flew by as well.
September 23-October 2, 2005

Wilderness Cathedral

Notes on Hurricane Rita and its effects on bird life at the Wilderness Cathedral, San Jacinto County, Texas: September 23-October 2, 2005

Hummingbirds:

I was worried about the Hummingbirds during the storm but they hunkered down and seemed to prefer the feeder on the E. side of the house where they had to fight the estimated 20-40 mph winds after the storm passed through rather than visit the feeder on the S. side that was wind free.

Although we had not power we visited the lake each day to refill the feeders. I am concerned about the thousands of feeders in E. Texas that suddenly either disappeared after the storm or went unattended. We won't know the effect of the collapse of the artificial food supply on the birds just before their trip to Mexico until next year. On Oct 1 we still had around 50 birds in our yard.

Great Blue Herons:

I drove around in my Jeep to see how the large birds faired. During the course of the drive I only saw three Blues. All three were inland from the lake crouched on the ground. Subsequently, I have seen no dead large birds and two Blues are currently fishing outside my window.

Snowy Egrets & Great Egrets:

The day after the storm I saw more Snowies than I can recall ever seeing on the lake. They must have come N. to weather the storm and now are no longer about in great numbers. They must have gone back S. The usual number of Great Egrets have been flying about and fishing.

Night Herons:

This year's crop of Night Herons was the best that I have seen on the lake. The day after the storm passed through the juveniles seemed frightened and disoriented. They flushed without provocation and flew about in mid-day.
Kingfishers:

Single Kingfishers have been spotted at numerous points around our Sanctuaries.

Terns:

After the storm had passed through, there were approximately 300 small Terns hunkered down on a mudflat by the River Otter Sanctuary. Medium sized Terns were fishing in spite of the winds and there have also been a number of Caspian Terns fishing in the area as well.

Cormorants:

Several small flocks of Cormorants showed up after the storm.

Ospreys & Eagles:

The storm must have brought in a few Ospreys. One was observed just down from the Eagle Sanctuary a few days ago and yesterday two were observed by Andrew Russell and David Zellar, who also saw one Eagle in the same vicinity. (Andrew and I also observed an Eagle at Cape Royal to the S.)

Pelicans:

12 Pelicans have been hanging out at the mouth of Palmetto Creek. They seem to be remnants of the same small flock that stayed throughout the Summer.

Spoonbills:

21 Roseate Spoonbills flew overhead at the Wilderness Cathedral on the 29th of September. They were flying together in several small groups toward the SE. A single bird seemed confused, broke away, and headed in a northerly direction. A couple of pink feathers were discovered near Cormorant Island yesterday but no sign of the birds.

Ducks:

Wood Ducks, Whistling Ducks and unidentified Ducks have been observed. More than the usual number for this time of year.

Swallow-tailed Kite:

A Swallow-tailed Kite was soaring over the water across from the Eagle Sanctuary. I failed to write down the date. The usual Kites here are Mississippi. This was the first Swallow-tailed that I have ever seen.

Vultures:

Flocks of us to 40 birds of both Turkey and Black Vultures have been observed.

18 September 2005

Waterwood

For the last few days the number of Hummingbirds has been increasing. As I am writing this post to "Bird Notes", a swarm of Hummingbirds is at our three feeders.

It is impossible to even guesstimate how many there are. There are up to 100 or more at or directly around the feeders at a time while others are resting in the nearby trees and others are flying back and forth from their rest perches to the feeders. I suspect that if it were possible to count them that there would be at least 250+.

The mean bird with the crest was thwarted by moving the feeder he was terrorizing away from his domain. My mother named him "Hitler".
We took a small feeder to my mother's house yesterday. Almost immediately two Hummers showed up and this morning my mother woke me up to refill the feeder as about 15 birds had already emptied it.

A friend dropped by and I told him to watch birds perch on my finger. He said, "No way". Within 15 seconds an adult male perched on my extended finger.

I was really worried about the Hummingbird population as there were very few birds last year.
12 September 2005

Alligator Bay

2 Anhingas soaring. Lots of Green Herons in addition to the usual numbers of Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons. Lots of Night Herons at dusk.
Alligator Ranch
9 September 2005

The Hummingbirds have been increasing in number at our two feeders. This morning Sue noticed a strange and extremely aggressive hummer dominating one of the feeders. He would perch on the top of the feeder and defy any other bird to come close. About 25 or so hummers had to share the other feeder, which they did in relative peace.

The strange thing about his macho bird was that he had a top-notch much like Woody Woodpecker. I checked my "Sibley Guide" and the only hummer mentioned that had a raised crest was the Magnificent Hummingbird, but the bird did not appear "blackish overall".

I spent time in the morning and then again in the afternoon attempting to determine what kind of hummer this mean-spirited bird was and statistically, he must be a Ruby-throated, but I have never seen one with a pronounced crest and at one point I detected the color red in the crest just like Woody.

It would be very helpful if a hummingbird expert were to come and study the hummers at our feeders and especially the mean macho one with the erect crest.

ghr
16 August 2005

Pretty Princess Point

A Great Egret was followed by a Snowy Egret. The Snowy gained ground in the race and soon passed the Great. It was a very funny sight.
14 August 2005

Was exploring our proposed Canebrake Rattlesnake Sanctuary and flushed at least 6 Green Herons. Also present were Great Blues and Great Egrets and one Wood Duck.
13 August 2005

Wilderness Cathedral

At Sunset Services, 7:30 pm, I looked up as two Ibises passed overhead. I was concentrating on the beaks rather than the coloration but I feel relatively confident that they were juvenile White-Faced Ibises.

They were flying almost directly from South to North.
Bird Notes
17 July 2005

Steve Loy reported a Bald Eagle at Bad Boy Point. He was mowing our 11 acre pasture when the Eagle spotted a mouse, swooped to the ground, grabbed it and then flew off.

Around noon it started to rain very heavily and I heard a Mississippi Kite screeching near the Chapel of the Nativity. The bird was soon spotted on a branch at the top of a dead pine.
Bad Boy Point
Lake Livingston
San Jacinto County
14 July 2005

9 White Pelicans roosting at mouth of Palmetto Creek.
Hundreds of Purple Martins flying around point and over water.
10 July 2005
4:15 PM Eagle Sanctuary

Three Caspian Terns feeding just outside my window.
10 July 2005
Palmetto Creek
San Jacinto County

MYSTERY BIRD

At first I thought that the bird was a Great Blue Heron but it was extra small--more the size of the Great Egret that it was standing beside, but it didn't look like a Great Blue because it had patterns of whitish color.

When it flew there were much larger patches of white. At first I thought it must be a Tri-colored Heron, but when I consulted my Sibley guide, the picture of the Tri seemed different and the white patches larger.

Is it possible that I saw a hybrid between a Great Blue Heron and a Great Egret? Is there a Great Egret morph that has patches of gray-blue?

ghr
Princess Point, Lake Livingston, San Jacinto County
9 July 2005 5:00-5:15 pm

I watched a BROWN PELICAN diving for fish for about 15 minutes this afternoon. The bird was quite fearless and was fishing at relatively close range to me and even closer to a boatload of beer swillers who were making quite a bit of noise.

The bird would dive head first for a fish, then fly up about 50 feet and dive again every few seconds.

The Purple Martins were staging at Bad Boy Point in the evening before heading toward the Hwy 190 bridge over Lake Livingston.

ghr
21 May 2005
Holy Trinity Wilderness Cathedral 6:30 pm

A beautiful Osprey was perched in the top of an old oak overlooking "The Rock of Anointment". I feared that the bird would fly if I got too close but it seemed so tame that I allowed the boat to drift just offshore beneath the tree. Unfortunately I neither had binoculars or video camera.

After a few minutes the bird spied a fish and swooped down from the tree making too failed attempts to catch the fish and then flew around the little point and disappeared.

Just as we were about to begin the "Meditation Moment" during our sunset services around 7:25 pm, the Osprey returned to the same tree just a short distance away. Everyone grew so excited attempting to get a glimpse of the bird through the branches that it flew off.

Returning home by boat a Little Blue Heron flew past. The first I have seen this season. Several Night Herons flapping about in the dusk.

22 May 2005
Eagle Sanctuary 2 pm.

For the first time, Snowy Egrets outnumbered Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons on the shore across from my window.
4 Snowy
3 Great Egret
1 Great Blue

Eagle Sanctuary 3 pm.

The tables have turned and now the Snowys are outnumbered again.

There are at least three places where Red-headed Woodpeckers may be observed at this time.

The Country Club
Along the Golf Course
At the Chapel of the Nativity

There are just a few White Pelicans left at the mouth of Palmetto Creek

Two Eagles were hanging out at the Pyramid last week. The Osprey doesn't like the Eagles very much and so may have chased them off.

One lonely Gull today at Pelican Point along with a few very pretty and tameWhistling Ducks.

The Barn Swallows and the Purple Martins at Pelican Point seem to get along very well together. One mud Barn Swallow nest was so full of babies that I couldn't count them all. The Martins hate the Crows and are very mean to them. Strange how a Martin can chase off a crow that can chase off an Eagle.
9 May 2005

Waterwood

About 30 Common Nighthawks feeding over the Waterwood Firestation at dusk.

Mississippi Kites seem to be everywhere. No way to determine if I am seeing the same birds in different locations or not but up to five at one time.

8 May 2005

Waterwood

A beautiful male Baltimore Oriole flitted around between two trees in front of my window for some time this morning, giving me the best look I have ever had of one of these birds. It was the second Oriole I have seen this season.

Several Hummingbirds are enjoying the feeder.
Great Egrets are still lining the shore from time to time during the day.
The prettiest male Prothronotary Warbler I have ever had a chance to admire up close, hung out in a bush just outside my window last week.

Several species of Flycatchers have been moving through including Scissor-tailed.

The Red-headed Woodpecker is spending more time in his favorite cavity. The other day, I stopped the car at his snag and did not see him to told him to stick his head out of his hole, which he promptly did.

There are still numerous Terns on lake as well as Turkey Vultures.

A few Black-bellied Whistling Ducks have been hanging out at my Pelican Point.

The woods are full of various Warblers and the like but they are high in the trees and I am too ignorant to be able to identify them from their various twitterings.

I hear numerous Summer Tanagers in the trees but haven't seen one yet.
7 May 2005

Waterwood

6:15 pm
From my porch I watched a mating season comedy. A Great Blue Heron and a Great Egret, both males in full courtship plumage were standing on the same log not 18 inches apart. No females were anywhere nearby yet both "boys" preened and seemed to compete with each other as to which was the grandest bird of all. After a few minutes preening one or the other would look cockily at the other in the most humerous show of macho madness I have seen in a long time. I laughed so loud that it scared the Great Egret away. Mr. Blue stood alone and defiant.

There have been up to five Mississippi Kites flying around the area in a group. It seems as if either the local population is growing or Kites are coming through during migration.

ghr
Alligator Ranch 27 April 2005

8-9 am

48 Great Egrets on shore and roosting in trees along shore of Eagle Sanctuary.


April 25, 2005
Waterwood Parkway 7PM

A juvenile Eagle flew W. on the Parkway toward the Chapel of the Nativity just above the tree tops. Several crows called out as the Eagle passed by but did not chase it.
April 26, 2005
Alligator Ranch
7-8 AM

A great deal of bird activity along the shore of the Eagle Sanctuary this morning including:

1 White Pelican
27 Great Egrets
3 Snowy Egrets
6+ Great Blue Herons
2+ Turkey Vultures
25+ Terns (small and medium sized)
April 25, 2005

4:50-5:10 PM
Waterwood on Lake Livingston

2 Pelicans and numerous Great White Egrets at Alligator Ranch

On the way I stopped to say hello to our Red-Headed Woodpecker that is almost always at its cavity tree on the grounds of the Chapel of the Nativity.

The woodpecker was missing so drove on toward the Cemetery.

"Reddie" was discovered perched on a wire in the middle of FM 980 between two Eastern Bluebirds.

I had never before seen a Red-Headed Woodpecker behaving like it was a fellow Bluebird by perching on a wire in the middle of a highway.

At this moment at 5:12 PM about 25 Cormorants flew past my window.

Yesterday at sunset we saw 200+ White Pelicans in two groups roosting on sandbars at the mouth of Palmetto Creek.

14 April 2005

4 PM
1409 19th Street
Huntsville, Texas 77340 (Walker County)

Our most ancient Sam Houston (formerly) owned pine tree died and was in the process of being topped. It is in the 200 year age class of Shortleaf Pines. (We always leave a 20 foot tall snag for woodpeckers.)

A monster Loblolly just up the street from our home in Huntsville, (also on the Sam Houston virgin forest Homestead) was struck by lightening about a year ago and subsequently killed by pine beetles. I advised the owners to leave a 20 foot snag which they did. They were so excited to report about a month ago that a family of Pileated Woodpeckers had made the snag their home.

During the process, as I was watching the bucket truck manouver, a WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH flew over to the tree, not 6 feet from me and began to search the flaky bark for insects.

In over 50 years of "bird watching" I had never seen this species of Nuthatch so studied it in great detail so that I could confirm the sighting by studying the Sibley Guide.

The bird eventually flew from tree to tree in close proximity to me and was extremely unconcerned with my presence. I wished for my video camera as I could have filmed at least 2 to 3 minute of very close-up footage of this really beautiful bird.

Also of note is the recent sound of Summer Tanagers singing.

For a couple of days the Chuck-Wills-Widows have been calling in the evening. Around 8 PM this evening, we heard the Widows calling and our activity working on a trail apparently startled them. We thought that huge croaking frogs were in the trees at first, but shortly thereafter two of the birds began circling us at close quarters croaking like bull frogs of some type. That also was a new experience for me.

11 April 2005

8PM Bad Boy Point at mouth of Palmetto Creek

About 75 White Pelicans resting at the mouth of Palmetto Creek at 8 PM.

Shortly thereafter groups of 5 to 12 Pelicans began flying from their resting place directly over my head at a very low altitude until by 8:10, the entire flock had departed toward the main body of Lake Livingston.

It was quite a spectactular sight to have these large and impressive birds fly within a few feet of the top of my head as they cruised toward their fishing grounds for the night.

MR. PECK

Mr. Peck, our resident Pileated Woodpecker, has spent his mornings the last few days, resting on the balcony rail of my bathroom. In the mornings I encounter him weaving and bobbing, apparently examining his reflection in the glass of the balcony door. The only thing that seems to frighten him away is when I take off the last vestiges of my clothing before entering the shower.

I must admit that the sight would be enough to frighten a bull elephant or Satan Himself.

ghr

Alligator Ranch
5 April 2005

This morning I went out to take down the old tattered American flag in front of the Alligator Ranch house and replace it with a new one. Just as I lowered the old flag, an Eagle flew out of the Eagle Sanctuary and down the shoreline across from the flagpole as if to check on the raising of the new flag.

ghr

30 March 2005
Eagle Sanctuary

The Whip-Poor-Will awakened me at around 5 am and sang for around 20 minutes. The other night, when the bird was singing there was a pause between verses. This morning the bird sang verse after verse in rapid succession.
29 March 2005
Alligator Ranch

At around 8:20 pm I drove up La Jolla to our driveway and parked in the street. I had a strange premonition that Screechie the Screech Owl was somewhere about althouth I hadn't seen him for many weeks. A few seconds later I heard a Screech Owl off in the far distance beyond the house.

I walked up the drive and looked up at the basketball goal. There was Screechie perched on the hoop looking down at me. I talked to him but he didn't reply--just sat there staring at me so I went into the house hoping that Screechie would find a juicy little mouse for supper.
27 March 2005
Holy Trinity Wilderness Cathedral - Easter Sunrise Service Avian Attendees

Cardinals
Chickadees
Titmice
Great Egrets
White Pelicans
Warblers
Cormorants
Great Blue Herons
Gulls
Terns
Turkey Vultures
11 PM 25 March 2005
Eagle Sanctuary

Whip-Poor-Will calling from the Eagle Sanctuary. First I have every heard out here. Chuck-Will's-Widows far more common.

ghr

February 11, 2005

Waterwood, Texas

9 AM Eagle Sanctuary - Lake Livingston

A juvenile Bald Eagle flew over from his Sanctuary on the other side of the cove from our house and began circling about 100 feet from the house. He would dip down to the water surface as if looking for something to eat.

Eventually he perched in a tree about 30 feet away from our bedroom window. A couple of crows harassed him until he flew over to one of the Eagles favorite trees in the Sanctuary.

Sollie Jackson reported this morning that he had observed an adult Bald Eagle perching in a tree just outside Bennett's gas station in Oakhurst right on Highway 190 E. Bennett told Jackson that the Eagle had been hanging out at the gas station for about three days.

George H. Russell

December 4, 2004

Waterwood, Texas

10:31:06 AM

Something new on the lake. We could not understand or see what was obviously swimming near the surface of the water. It was leaving long streaks of disturbed water. At first we though it might be an alligator. With the binoculars all we could see was a moving streak on the water.

Finally some of the mystery came closer to our deck and then at the head of the streak a cormorant head and neck would appear then it would dive just below the surface of the water again leaving a streak of disturbed water in the wake.

We have seen these birds dive many times and then reappear a 100 feet or more from where they disappeared. This is the first time we have seen them swim so close to the surface as to leave disturbed water

In China we saw men fishing with these birds. They put a ring around the bird’s neck so he couldn’t swallow his catch. The bird was on a string so he could be pulled to the owner to extract the fish from the mouth of the cormorant. A dirty trick to be played on this bird that can swim under water for considerable distances.

Kenneth L. Russell

November 24, 2004

Waterwood, Texas

We awoke this morning to one of those sights of nature that people travel thousands of miles to see and are frequently disappointed At day break the sky was blue with not a cloud in the sky. Soon the clouds started drifting in as a few white pelicans started arriving, presumable to spend the day sleeping as they have several mornings this past week.

This morning was entirely different. Instead of settling in for their day for their long nap they started fishing only about a hundred feet from our bedroom window. There were about 40 with their heads bobbing up and down coming up with the shad, a small food fish for birds that form schools in our bay. They formed special patterns of small groups as their heads bobbed down under the water and came up with one of these small fish in their mouths. We could tell that when they were successful as the head would be tipped back as they swallowed their breakfast. A few were individuals as they would swim out from the group but most of the time they formed groups of three to six or more. Twice we saw four birds raised their heads to swallow a fish at the same time. The fascination of these great birds fishing together in unison reminded me of a large group of oil well pumps going up and down together.

The point of land where they usually spend the day is covered with water from the flooding. They have disappeared for a more suitable place to spend the day before another night of fishing. Sometimes we can see them on the far shore during the day but they must have found a better place for this cloudy, cold windy day.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Kenneth L. Russell

November 23, 2004

Waterwood, Texas

The Dance of the Pelicans

We experienced a wondrous sight this morning from 6:30 till around 9.

There were about 40 white pelicans celebrating Thanksgiving a day early!

Although they were in groups, some in a line, others on their own, the most amazing were the ones that formed circles. One group of 5or 6 especially caught my eye. The beautiful birds dropped their heads in unison and lifted them at the same time, then swam around in circles as if choreographed. They feasted and feasted. I can’t imagine their being able to hold so much . I hope we get to watch them again sometime.

Marjorie H. Russell

November 20, 2004

Waterwood, Texas

An immature Bald Eagle flew past my window around noon. A lone Crow was chasing it, scolding. The bird flew over to the Eagle Sanctuary where it perched midway down the crown of a Sweetgum tree with bright red leaves. The Crow could not rouse the other resident Crows so, finding no fun in harassing the Eagle, flew away, allowing the Eagle to enjoy its view of the lake from its perch.

The Red-headed Woodpeckers are still utilizing the same dead pine as in the previous two years. The tree is leaning more and more and I fear that the poor Woodpecker will lose its cavity tree before the year is over.

Between 100 and 150 (estimated) Pelicans have been day-roosting in my parent's yard at Pelican Point. They spend the day preening and sleeping, then depart for a night of fishing. We cordoned off the driveway to prevent vehicles from disturbing them.

Several Belted Kingfishers have arrived for the Winter and are having noisy fun, fishing. One woke me up this morning with its chatter outside out bedroom window.

November 14, 2004

Waterwood, Texas

10:30 A.M. 50+ Black Vultures and a few Turkey Vultures feeding on a deer carcass and hanging out in trees nearby.

11:35 A.M. As I entered our house, an immature Bald Eagle flew at low altitude about 50 feet from the house, and over to the Eagle Sanctuary. He may have been the eagle-sized bird that flew within 20 feet of our bedroom window early this morning.

November 12, 2004

Waterwood, Texas

About 1 P.M. I looked out my window and saw a raft of at least 1,000 Cormorants on the lake. Flying, diving and swimming along with them were the first Gulls that I have noticed this season. The Cormorants were quite sedate as they floated along, but the Gulls, of which I counted 24 individuals, were extremely active.

In the afternoon, I encountered several groups of various species including Warblers, Titmice, Chickadees, Kinglets, along with several Pileated Woodpeckers. These birds were enjoying our Longleaf Pine Sanctuary.

November 10, 2004

Waterwood, Texas

A family of Red-headed Woodpeckers were quite active at The Chapel of The Nativity this morning around 9 A.M. A dead pine is their favorite gathering place. The Red-heads have inhabited this spot and fledged young for the past several years. The only other Red-heads that I have regularly encountered have been active on our properties adjacent to the Country Club.
Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and Pileated Woodpeckers were also active at the same site, which is also prime RCW habitat with its stand of old-growth pines of three species.

At exactly midnight a Loon made a single plaintive cry far out on the lake. I had heard the Loon for the first time this season around 9 P.M.

I feel relatively confident that it is a Common Loon.

ghr

November 8, 2004

11:30 a.m.

Huntsville

We were driving north toward our bank when we spotted a flock of hawks spiraling at a rather high altitude on updrafts. When the hawks underside was showing they appeared in the bright sunlight to be bright white, when their top sides were showing they appeared to be very dark. I did not have my binoculars with me so we rushed home to get them for a better look. By the time we got the binoculars and returned to where the hawks had been spiraling upward they had disappeared over the horizon to the right of I-45, apparently heading for the Texas coast. I "guestimate" their number to have been around 100 birds.

Several Turkey Vultures were also taking advantage of the warm air currents and were soaring about but singly or in small groups but they were not going anywhere--just cruising.

Are there any reports of a flock of hawks arriving at the coast on the afternoon of November 8, 2004 that would match the description of these birds?

November 7, 2004

Waterwood

While writing this I have been watching 36 White Pelicans soaring over the Eagle Sanctuary, a Great Blue Heron with outstretched wings soaking in some sunshine, several Great Egrets flying to and fro, a few Cormorants and Terns flying about, a Belted Kingfisher resting in a tree, a Pileated Woodpecker calling, one Turkey Vulture soaring and about 200+ Pelicans resting on the far shore of the lake.

November 6, 2004

Waterwood

I need to revise my estimation of Pelicans in my last report. It was misty the morning that I was scanning the far shore of the lake which is from a mile to 1.5 miles or so from my window.

Starting from left to right with my binoculars I began adding estimations of the groups of Pelicans. Furthrest away and to the right in the area of uninhabited shore where the Pelicans like to rest was a long unbroken alignment that appeared to be a large group of Pelicans.

The next day the alignment was exactly in the same place. When the weather cleared, I searched the far shore again and this time the right hand alignment turned out to be some kind of bulkhead, probably galvanized steel that in the mist had appeared to be identical to a line of Pelicans in the mist.

I really hate to see the encroachment of development in the Pelican's regular zone of resting.

I really hate to be inaccurate in my reporting and always try to be conservative in my counts or estimations of bird numbers.

Therefore it is necessary to revise the 1,000 Pelican estimation down to 150 birds.

November 6, 2004

Waterwood

I had just emerged from the Ethician Family Cemetery were I checked on our latest burial and started to drive toward Waterwood Parkway when I saw a flock of raucous crows chasing what appeared to be a juvenile Bald Eagle from the grounds of the Chapel of the Nativity across FM 980 and down the Parkway toward the Country Club.

I grabbed my binoculars to confirm the Eagle sighting but wish I had grabbed my video camera instead so that I could have graphically proven to SHECO and the PUC that juvenile Eagles could easily be impacted by the presence of a 138 kv transmission line down FM 980 as the Eagle was flying just above the tree tops in its effort to escape the harassing crows. Had the line been there, the distracted young Eagle could very well have been a casualty.

The present cleared ROW for FM 980 and the current distribution line is already in excess of 140' wide. If SHECO prevails and clears another 40' of ROW then the gash across the face of the landscape will be a total of 180' wide. Not only would more essential bird habitat be lost but the extra flight distance for RCW and other species creates more exposure to predation.

I am hopeful that the TEXAS ORNITHOLOGICAL SOCIETY, and Texas Parks and Wildlife will join in our efforts to protect the bird habitat on our preserves and sanctuaries.

November 4, 2004

Waterwood

A flock of White Pelicans was soaring about with a flock of Black Vultures at high altitude.

The cold snap brought in around 1,000 White Pelicans that are resting across the lake from our house.

One Hummingbird was at the feeder.

Hundreds of Terns including several Caspians.

Numerous Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons.

Only a few Cormorants out today.

A dozen or so Turkey Vultures soaring about over the Eagle Sanctuary.

Yesterday my wife reported a Great Blue Heron was standing in the road adjacent to our frog sanctuary snapping up frogs as they hopped across the road.

One Red Fox just came up begging for a piece of chicken.

October 9, 2004

Waterwood

5 Bald Eagles

September 8, 2004

Waterwood

No Pelicans were seen on the far shore. Around 9 a.m. a lone Pelican landed in front of our house and then took off again and joined a second Pelican. They both appeared confused as they kept flying in circles as if trying to find their friends and then disappeared from sight.

September 5, 2004

Waterwood

I took the boat out to attempt to get close enough to the Pelicans to get an accurate count with binoculars at about 4 P.M. As I was heading toward the Pelican's resting place two jet skis out of Haawg Heaven began to harass the Pelicans. The poor birds would rise and fly in a circle as the jet skis ran toward or right past them then they would land again to attempt to rest. The jet skis returned to harrass the birds and force them to fly two more times until the poor things finally flew away toward the bridge at Hwy 190.

I was very concerned as Pelicans have suffered great harm during the last two breeding seasons. Last year it was reported that perhaps 50% of the chicks died due to West Nile Virus and this year 15,000 breeding pair abandoned their nests and mysteriously disappeared. I suspect that these Pelicans are a part of the dispersed flock Our Pelicans need their rest and do not need to be further stressed which could cause mortality.

I called Operation Game Thief and for once the person answering the phone seemed somewhat concerned. I asked her to call the Trinity County Game Warden and ask him to track down the jet ski operators at Haawg Heaven and advise them to cease and desist from harassing the Pelicans.

The Game Warden called me about a half hour later and seemed a little disgusted that he had received a call from Austin. I asked him to call me with the results of his investigation and as of 4 days later I have still not received a report.

September 4, 2004

Waterwood

About two dozen Hummingbirds have been consuming a large feeder full of sugar water a day.

An estimated 150 White Pelicans showed up in three groupings on the far shore of the Lake in Trinity County. This is one of their traditional resting spots but I cannot recall seeing this many Pelicans this early in the Fall.

August 8, 2004

Waterwood

White Pelican Report

This morning when I first opened my eyes I saw out the window beautiful rose colored sky, so I quickly put on my robe and shoes and went out to enjoy the sunrise. It was chilly for August and I was glad I had grabbed a warm robe. I took my seat down on the pier by the point and lo and behold I saw a row of birds that had the formation of white pelicans on the water. As this is August, I could hardly believe my eyes, but sure enough they were white pelicans. Not only that, but there were two other rows of them, about 22 in the closest row, over ten in the second and five on behind. I sat in awe and watched them with the brilliant colors of sunrise adding to the glory of the scene. After about ten minutes I decided to go get Kenneth so we could share the excitement. As I started toward the house a boat came by and the birds moved much closer to the opposite shore. By the time Kenneth came out and we settled on the bridge it was necessary for him to use the binoculars to be sure they were pelicans. They were!!! We have never seen white pelicans in the summer. George was surprised to see two of them a coupe of days ago. Bad things have been happening to them farther north making me wonder if they are changing their pattern. No matter what has caused the phenomena I am at least grateful for being privileged to see the 35 or so gorgeous creatures this morning. It pays to get up for the sunrise.

Marjorie H. Russell

August 8, 2004

Waterwood

7:15 A.M.

37 White Pelicans in three groups spotted offshore from Pelican Point. 2 Pelicans had been seen swimming offshore from the Eagle Sanctuary on the 4th. Perhaps a hundred Great White Egrets were perched on stobs and along the shore.

1:45 P.M.

I heard a great squawking from the shores of the Eagle Sanctuary. Apparently there had been an argument over who got to perch on a superior part of a fallen tree. A Great Egret and a Cormorant were so close together that you think that they were in love. A Snowy was a few feet away with two more Cormorants perched just above and a Great Blue still further to the right. I do not know what the configuration was before the fight.

Looking up I saw a sight that I had never seen before. There was a large Eagle sized bird that was very dark with splotches of white flying offshore. I grabbed my binoculars the bird turned out to be a Great Blue Heron with several pure white feathers scattered randomly about on its body amongst the dark feathers.

Could it be a hybrid between a Blue Morph and a White Morph?

At 1:20 on Thursday, the 5th, I was sitting at my computer working. A large bird cruising the Eagle Sanctuary caught my attention. It was the Eagle enjoying his domain.

July 25, 2004

Waterwood

About 4:30 p.m. I went into the house to work at my computer. Looking out across the lake I spotted a tiny black dot an estimated two miles away and had a premonition that it was an Eagle. Sure enough when I looked through my binoculars I was able to observe a really pretty adult Bald Eagle, fishing. The bird spotted a fish and swooped down talons first, then flew toward the far shore with his/her catch. This was the first Eagle I had seen since returning from Italy on July 4th.

The Mississippi Kite population seems to be increasing as I am seeing Kites in various parts of our properties and around Waterwood.

The Hummingbirds are active but not in great numbers and the Terns are arriving in greater numbers after being almost entirely absent a couple of weeks ago.

A dead horse was dumped at the end of FM 135 yesterday morning and by today at least 9 Turkey Vultures and 1 Black Vulture were hanging out waiting for the horse to ripen in the heat.

There has been a pair of Barred Owls around the house until the last couple of days. They would chirp to one another and then alight together on the same limb and snuggle. Owl love is quite cute. A third Owl sometimes joins in the chirping. One Owl is particularly found of Mr. McGreagor's rooftop to perch upon. I hope that McGreagor has not made Owl stew out of these pretty birds.

July 23, 2004

Waterwood

People travel all over the world and not see sights like we have seen the last few days.



This morning there were four big eight point bucks grazing in front of the house. No does. I guess that is what you call a stag party.

Last night at near sunset we took a boat ride to the bridge where the purple martins congregate this time of year before they start south for the winter. On the way, hundreds of terns were diving for the little fish. There were also many of the big egrets.

As the sun was setting there were a few martins in the air, then gradually more and more. As it got darker, great clouds of martins began circling high over our heads, then lower, and lower over the bridge. I now know why they installed a high fence on both sides of the bridge for about a third of a mile. Cars were killing them so it easy to see why the fence was necessary as they flew in circles closer and closer to the bridge.

It was almost dark before they started finding a spot on the girders under the bridge. There are five beams with an edge on both sides that provides a place for the birds to roost.

As they flew in to roost they were only a few feet above our heads. Gradually each side of the girders seemed to be a solid mass of birds. Since there is at least two miles of perches we estimated that there were between 60 and a 100 thousand birds.

Yesterday morning I looked out at the bird feeder and two baby raccoons were having fun climbing up and down the tree, sitting on the porch railing and having a good time. One raccoon has learned to hold the trip door open so he can get at the bird seed. Night before last, while eating supper on the porch, a mamma raccoon and a baby came up to Marjorie’s chair. This one has gotten very tame, much too much so for Marjorie. They can get to be a horrible nuisance and very destructive if they get in the house. We had to give up feeding them on the porch as they tore up two screen doors trying to get in the house.

A few evenings ago I had forgotten to close the garage door. Andrew went out to get something and there was a mamma raccoon with five babies feasting on the dog food.

Another day a woods rat with her two babies were swinging on the bird feeder trying get the seeds out of the feeder. These little rats are smaller than an ordinary rat and about three times bigger than a mouse. Their tail is twice as long as their body. Marjorie doesn’t like them that close to the house.

We have not seen the skunk or the otter lately. Poachers have just about captured all of our alligators. We saw a big one near the pyramid area about three weeks ago. The five babies that George could actually pick up out of the water have all disappeared.

The fox comes by occasionally. The possum cleans the food dish about as well as a the dishwasher. He eats everything the other animals don’t like.

We have some armadillos near the pyramid but none close to the house.

The huge water moccasin that frequently slept in a tree at the end of the Wilderness Cathedral peninsula has not been seen for several months.

Kenneth and Marjorie Russell

May 8, 2004

Waterwood

Mother's Day brought beautiful weather and several Snowy Egrets that joined the Great Egrets at Pelican Point. One might believe that the Snowies were the children of the Greats. All of the Egrets and Herons are in full breeding plumage and acting like teenagers in love. A Red-headed Woodpecker, the first of this Spring was observed examining a dead tree today.

During this time period the Kites returned. Some observers believe them to be White Tailed Kites but I still think that they are Mississippi Kites.

A lone Caspian Tern was also seen during this period.

May 3, 2004

Waterwood

I was even more surprised when perhaps as many as 300 Pelicans in associated flocks flew past just above water level and then circled, rising ever higher and higher into the sky until they were too small to see, even with binoculars. Does anyone know how high they can fly? They must have been well over a mile high.

May 1, 2004

Waterwood

A Summer Tanager joined us during our Sunset Services and perched on a branch just in front of us and sang a song.

April 26, 2004

Waterwood

I was even more surprised when over 100 Pelicans flew overhead.

April 25, 2004

Waterwood

I thought that all of the Pelicans must have gone north as I hadn't seen any since the Easter Sunrise Service so was quite happily surprised to see two White Pelicans soaring past on their way north.

April 12, 2004

Waterwood

I saw some strangers with binoculars at the intersection of Bay Hill and Doral. I stopped to talk and I told them that the Eagles liked to perch in an ancient pine at the top of the Bay Hill loop. The bird watchers, with one exception, had never seen an Eagle and were quite excited at the prospect of perhaps seeing one. I just happened to look up and circling right over our heads was the baby Eagle followed by both parents. Needless to say the bird watchers were sore amazed. One even went house shopping in Waterwood the next day because the bird watching was so good.

April 11, 2004

Waterwood

A great number of beautiful birds attended our Easter Sunrise services at The Holy Trinity Wilderness Cathedral including 27 Great Egrets, 12 Great Blue Herons, over 1,000 Cormorants, 1 juvenile Bald Eagle, 1 White Pelican, numerous Terns and Gulls, and Turkey and Black Vultures.

February 22, 2004

MUTE SWANS: Closer observation of the Swans this afternoon revealed that they are Mute Swans.

February 20, 2004

Huntsville, Texas

I received a call from a friend who owns a small lake a few miles north of Huntsville. He reported that a pair of Swans had arrived a couple of weeks ago and that they were joined by six additional Swans on Valentine's Day when they began mating rituals that were consumated. He believes that one or more pair are building nests in the reeds lining the lake.

I went to the lake and sure enough there were eight Swans. I was fearful of disturbing them so stayed about 200 yards away and thus am unsure of the species. My photographs likewise do not provide sufficient detail to identify the species but I suspect that they are Trumpeter Swans.

The owner of the lake is anxious for them to nest and reproduce on his property and would like to know what supplemental foods they might like to eat.

In the 53 years that I have observed birds in Walker County, I have never before seen Swans in the wild.

February 3, 2004


9:30 am An Eagle left the "Talking Eagle Sanctuary" across the cove and flew past my window on his way upriver.

January 9, 2004


Two Ospreys were perched on separate channel markers in the lake just offshore from Bay Hill.

December 23, 2003

2 Eagles


Just  offshore I saw two beautiful Bald Eagles in an aerial courtship dance. The were chirping like little birds, but louder.  The only sights that equal Eagles at play in my opinion are flocks of White Pelicans soaring and feeding and tens of thousands of Purple Martins converging for the night.  

George

December 11, 2003

Eagle Sanctuary

8:30 AM



I was on the telephone talking to my mother while looking out toward the Eagle Sanctuary. An Eagle flew past my window, past the American flag in our yard and on to one of his favorite trees on the shore of the sanctuary. I dropped the phone, put on my clothes, ran downstairs and out to the car, grabbed my camera, and ran back upstairs just in time to get a couple of pretty poor, backlit photos with the Eagle posed on his tree with the American flag in the foreground. Later he flew back past the flag and along the shore, heading toward Pelican Point.

December 9, 2003

Pelican Point

1 PM



Our “Green Cemetery” which also serves as a bird sanctuary has been getting some good press lately. An Associated Press reporter and photographer had come to visit the cemetery. We were in the parking lot by the flag pole at Pelican Point, about to leave when an Eagle swooped toward us, coming within 30 feet of so at very low altitude. Behind him was one our mean-spirited Crows. The Eagle continued to swoop and swirl in circles just above and in front of us attempting to out maneuver the Crow. Failing that, he escaped by flying at high speed to the opposite shore. The photographer, even though he had his camera in his hand, was so dumbfounded by the amazing spectacle that he remained frozen in awe, thus missing a great photo op.



The day was dreary with frequent showers. When we returned to the parking lot after visiting the cemetery and some of our bird sanctuaries, the clouds suddenly disappeared. The sun shown with great, but cold intensity, directly down the long drive. Suddenly a strong gale, seeming to come directly from the sun blew toward us, enveloping us in a swirl of hundreds of thousands of autumn leaves. The blast lasted no more than 15 seconds and then calm prevailed. 

December 7, 2003

Great Spirit Wilderness

9:10 AM



From my window, I watched an Eagle fly the entire coastline of our eagle sanctuary. He just kept on flappin’ along and didn’t bother to stop to enjoy his refuge.



Yesterday the frozen road-killed fox had thawed out enough to attract 12 Black and Turkey Vultures. Most hung around patiently waiting for the fox to “ripen”, while a few others took turns stripping the skin off of one leg. Toward dusk they all perched in a dead tree and then later left for their roost.



At Pelican Point, the Great Blues have been behaving aggressively toward the Great Egret. Normally they hang out together within a few feet of one another, but yesterday two Blues would not even let the poor Egret approach the peninsula.



Scanning the lake with my binoculars I detect little activity. Braving the cold are a few Terns, Cormorants, Gulls, Crows in the air and a few Pelicans swimming about.



ghr

December 4, 2003

Waterwood

8:45 pm



The sound of Pelicans fishing took us outside to view a most amazing sight. A ballet, with beautiful choreography, directed by an unknown force eons old was taking place as over 1,000 Pelicans drove fish toward us and then split into two dance groups, the merged, then spit again, then filed in a silent, gliding line at least 300 yards long swimming one direction and then reversing course, with some splashing the water with their wings as they left to form new groups and then converge with the others to reform long snaking lines.



They were still performing their beautiful dance routine when the cold forced us indoors.



8:45 am



I was exploring a part of our forests that I had never visited about 200 yards inland. I heard a large bird depart from the pine above my head and there was the most beautiful adult Bald Eagle that had apparently been disturbed by my tramping about. It took less than a minute for the gang of mean-spirited Crows to begin the chase to the amusement of a tree load of Turkey Vultures that seemed to be amused by the bullying, especially since they were not the Crow’s victims.



The area has been devoid of little Winter birds. This morning, several little groups flew overhead on their way South, but the feeders have not attracted any. Last year there were daily hordes. Several people have commented on the lack of birds at their feeders.



ghr

November 12, 2003

Pelican Point 2 P.M.



9 Caspian Terns

3 Gulls

1 Great Blue Heron



congregated and chillin’ together at the tip of Pelican Point



All of the resting birds seemed hot and had their mouths open like panting dogs. IT IS HOT TODAY!!!

November 3, 2003

4:30 PM

The lake was alive with Terns and Gulls. As I was leaving by boat to work on the Cathedral grounds to prepare for the arrival of a State Archaeologist,  I noticed an Eagle chasing the Terns and Gulls in either a playful gesture or an effort to secure a meal. After a few minutes the Eagle, having no success in catching either a Tern or a Gull gave up. The Eagle then flew directly to the Eagle Sanctuary to perch in a tree by the shores of the lake.  It always makes me happy when the Eagle(s) make use of the Sanctuary that Sue and I dedicated to their use and benefit last year. It makes me nervous too when the Eagle(s) choose to hang-out on shore-line properties scheduled for development. At some point only the Sanctuary will be left and they will have no choice but to stay there or perish.

November 2, 2003

4:30 PM

The Huntsville Unitarians decided to attend special services at The Holy Trinity Wilderness Cathedral, Sunday evening. I decided to go to the Cathedral by boat from Pelican Point. Just opposite the Point two adult Eagles were cavorting over the water of the lake and then chasing one another around. When they tired of having fun and showing off their aerial skills, they flew to the bluff we call High Point or Indian Ridge and perched in an old pine adjacent to a lot we recently purchased in our efforts to protect the shoreline from development. Upon arrival at the pier a third Eagle, this time a juvenile, flew overhead toward the Cathedral Prairies and Catahoula Barrens.

November 2, 2003
10:30 a.m.

For the past 10 minutes or so a continuous stream of Cormorants has flown past my window almost skimming the water. A conservative guesstimate would be 5000+ birds.

November 2, 2003
10:00 a.m.


I am witnessing an amazing sight as 1000+ Cormorants tightly packed in a raft led by three Pelicans is feeding less than 200 feet from where I am sitting. Hovering above the Cormorants are 50 or so Gulls with one Great Egret circling about and one Great Blue Heron investigating the goings on. About a dozen Caspian Terns are doing their own thing nearby while about a dozen smaller Terns are mingling with the hovering Gulls. 100+ Pelicans, meanwhile, are ignoring the activity, as they doze and preen on the opposite shore of the lake. Meanwhile one Hummer is at the feeder.
October 31, 2003

10:32 a.m.

Yesterday evening I saw bright flashes of sunlight coming from serious splashing in the lake about 100 yards offshore. Inspection with binoculars revealed dozens of Cormorants scaring fish by splashing vigorously with their wings, much like Pelicans do, except that the Cormorants were scattered while the Pelicans beat the water with their wings to drive the fish, as a team.

Normally the Cormorants float, with their bodies half-submerged in rafts of birds, diving occasionally to catch fish below the surface. I had not seen this behavior before and wonder if they learned it from the Pelicans.

October 26, 2003

1-1:30 pm Pelican Point-Lake Livingston

A cold front had just swept in bringing an amazing display of bird activity:

A juvenile Bald Eagle soared only a few feet above the new American flag that I had just raised on the flagpole. Had I had my camera in hand I could have gotten an amazing photo.

The Eagle was accompanied by groups of mostly Turkey Vultures (up to 50 Turkey V’s) and one Osprey and another darker juvenile Bald Eagle, as well as flocks of soaring Pelicans of up to 50 birds or so. About a half-dozen Caspian Terns were noisily flapping about as well as a dozen or more large gulls. The crows were busy as usual standing guard and squawking at the Eagles. A small unidentified broad-winged hawk soared alone.

As I was looking at some rather distant groups of Pelicans soaring, with my binoculars, a flock of rather high flying birds entered my field of view. They were in a disorganized V formation and were dark and sleek. They were not soaring in circles and just having fun like the other birds but were definitely heading down-river toward the South. The only species that I could think of that they could possibly be based on their silhouettes would be Mississippi Kites or perhaps White-faced Ibis. I could not see any down-turned bills so would weight the possibilities as 65% possible Kites, 20% possible Ibises, and 15% who knows what. There were up to around 50 birds in this flock.

Has anyone been watching for migrating flocks further north along the Trinity watershed today who might be able to identify the mystery birds that I saw?

October 20, 2003

Yesterday I was walking on the cemetery easement and spied a huge old pine. I saw pine sap on the bark high up under an old dead limb. There appeared to be a cavity as well so went back for my binoculars. There was indeed a cavity under the limb that appeared to be just the right size for an rcw. The tree is in the right-of-way of the proposed power line and would be destroyed. It is very near the other cavity tree. There are many old pines with red-heart and I discovered numerous Longleafs on the new easement that I had never seen before. Even if the colony is determined to be inactive, I believe that the rcw habitat in the general area is good enough to support the re-introduction of the bird.

October 18, 2003

CEDAR POINT, TEXAS

22 Brown Pelicans and 2 White Pelicans perched amongst thousands of Gulls on an old pier just offshore in Galveston Bay.

October 16, 2003

Crazy Courtship

I was greeted by a pair of love struck Yellow-shafted Flickers when I arrived opposite the Zwicky Creek Wildlife Sanctuary. The amazing courtship display continued for at least 15 minutes or more after I arrived.

I cannot imagine why the birds were so “in love” in mid-October. Is this normal for these birds?

Bird Wars

A Belted Kingfisher was extremely upset by the presence of a Red-bellied Woodpecker hammering on its favorite snag. It dive bombed the woodpecker until it flew off.

A Great Blue Heron acted like it was being prodded with a hot poker when a Turkey Vulture landed on an adjoining limb. The raucous squawking continued until the Vulture could not stand it any longer and left.

Other Notes

750+ Pelicans were preening on the shore opposite Pelican Point. The normal tens of thousands of Pelicans have not come by so far this year although one group was nearly a month early. 

Gulls have joined the three species of Terns on the lake.

Chickadees, Titmice and various other migrants were active and noisy but I was unsuccessful in calling them.

Pileated Woodpeckers are numerous and active.

18 Vultures were seen hovering over my parent’s house. One was enjoying a watermelon in the neighbor’s yard.

The Killdeer and the Spotted Sandpiper are still hanging out together at Pelican Point.

October 15, 2003

Today, I discovered what appears to be a Red-cockaded Woodpecker cavity tree on our new Green Cemetery Conservation Easement. Here are a few photos that I took of the tree and the cavities, one of which appears to have been enlarged by a Pileated Woodpecker.

I haven't seen the RCW yet so hope they are alive and well.

If you would like to see the photo collection of the woodpecker tree, please click the blue text.

October 14, 2003

2 Adult Bald Eagles cavorting between Pelican Point and the Cathedral.

A Spotted Sandpiper and a Killdeer have become friends at Pelican Point.

8 Turkey Vultures were hanging out on the roof of my 92 year-old father’s boathouse at Pelican Point. Hmmmm!

Last night’s cool front brought in a large flock of Great Whites and Snowys from the north.

October 10, 2003

3:15 a.m.

I was awakened by a crashing, splashing, and slapping sound coming from just outside my bedroom window. Jumping up and going over to the window I could make out the silhouettes of over a hundred Pelicans fishing less than 100’ away.

3:30 a.m.

Just as I was falling asleep from the first episode, I head similar sounds but this time coming from across the inlet about 100 yards away. It was a different group of around 50 Pelicans driving fish against the shore.

This time it took me two hours to get back to sleep. I had to take a nap this afternoon to make up for the excitement and subsequent loss of sleep caused by the Pelicans.


October 8, 2003

5 pm

28+ Eastern Blue Birds in a single flock over 11 acre pasture adjacent to you Alligator Refuge.

6 pm
3 species of Terns feeding offshore from the Cathedral

Several small groups of Caspians

Mixed groups of very small black-billed Terns that must have been Least, mixed with medium-sized, black-billed Terns that must have been either Common or Forster’s.

VERY STRANGE: A medium sized hawk that appeared almost totally gray joined the Terns, flying with rather rapid wing-beats only a foot or two above the water. He did not seem to want to be a part of them as he was heading in a straight line going downstream while remaining offshore, so quickly passed them by and was soon out of binocular range. Do you have any idea what he might have been?

7 pm

182 Great Whites roosting, with 3 stragglers joining a few minutes later.

7:30 pm

Several Great Blues fishing in the dark along the shores

One Night Heron flew over as well

October 7, 2003

11:30-12:00 noon

Went by boat along shores of our preserves—about five miles each way as the (Very Common) crow flies.

Caspian terns along entire way, both solitary or in groups of up to 6+ birds. A conservative guesstimate would be 50+ birds as compared to about a dozen small black-billed terns. The Caspians are very noisy and really crash into the water when they dive from heights of up to 40’ or so.

Cormorants are back but not in great numbers. Perhaps 500+ were roosting on the 138kv Power Lines that cross the lake from the Wilderness Cathedral.

5 Pelicans soaring for fun and the other 100+ hanging out on the far shore.

Great Egrets all along the way, flying, sitting on stops in the lake, fishing on the shore, or perched in trees along the shore.

Great Blues abundant but scattered.

NEWS OF THE DAY

2 immature Bald Eagles flew from snags along the shore of the Wilderness Cathedral followed by a single adult.

One of the young birds posed for photos after having become used to the presence of the boat passing by.

While writing this 1 Snowy flew into view. Other than the Pelicans on the far shore, the Snowy is the only bird currently in sight.

No Hummers, although one of the feeders is empty that had an inch or two of sugar water yesterday.

October 6, 2003

10 minute watch in front of house 8:45-8:55 a.m.

15+ Caspian Terns

0 small Terns

2 flocks of Pelicans on far shore and one perched on a stob (100+)

1 Downy Woodpecker

1 Carolina Wren

1 Vireo

1 Carolina Chickadee

1 Blue Jay

1 Turkey Vulture

50+ Great Egrets

2 Great Blues

1 Snowy

1 Red-Bellied Woodpecker

0 Hummingbirds

2 Cormorants

various unidentified tiny and medium sized birds flitting about in the treetops.

(I will only mention crows if I don’t hear or see any)

October 5, 2003

Late Afternoon—Holy Trinity Wilderness Cathedral

Bird species in descending order of numbers: (not counting common crows)

Cormorants 500+

Pelicans 200+

Great Egrets 100+

Great Blue Herons 25+

Caspian Terns 15+

Turkey Vultures 15+

Black Vultures 6+

Belted Kingfishers 3+

The Osprey and the Eagle were missing this evening.

One or two small Terns.

1 Snowy Egret.


September 20, 2003

At around 7:30 pm I was heading to my mother’s house by boat from Zwickey Creek. Floating over the Trinity River channel of Lake Livingston was a huge raft of Pelicans, perhaps &Mac185; mile long. They were tightly packed. When I got close enough for binocular exam but not too close to frighten them I was able to conservatively estimate between 1,500 and 2,000 birds. More flocks were flying in to join the raft and on the northeast horizon were other flocks of up to several hundred Pelicans. This seems very strange to me as the weather is quite warm and normally the Pelicans arrive with a genuine cool or cold front.

TERNS

I failed to report that near sunset on September 8, 2003, I estimated 2,000 small terns in my field of view with the aid of binoculars from my mother’s house. Only one large tern which had the characteristics of a Caspian.

Today there were perhaps no more than half a dozen terns on the lake during the entire day.


September 19, 2003

Pelicans
7:14 PM


We were sitting on the pier a few minutes ago and Marjorie saw a flock of white birds land on the shore across the lake. She said there were two flocks coming in from opposite directions. We both thought they might be the white pelicans but we could not be sure at that distance.

We walked back to the house and sure enough, with the binoculars, I could see they were the white pelicans. There must have been several hundred. As I watched another flock of perhaps forty birds flying in single file landed in the middle of the lake.

As I was preparing to report this wonderful news the following message from George greeted me.

“The first pelicans of the season came in today. Around noon there were two adjacent V-formations of around 50 each. Later, around 4 pm 20 birds flew overhead in a different direction. This seems early for pelicans.

Right now there are numerous hummers feeding at two of our three feeders. For some reason they are leaving the usually popular third feeder alone. This morning it had been invaded by carpenter ants which they hate but it was cleaned out and refilled so they must think it still has carpenter ants in it. There are nearly a dozen feeding at the middle feeder at the same time and being kind to one another.

Early this morning there were two Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers playing in a bush below my window.

Lots of Turkey Vultures and a few Blacks.

I am surprised at how the herons and egrets of various species seem to get along in the same fishing territory. Sometimes Great-Blue, Great, Snowy, and Little Blue are standing within a few feet of one another in my parent’s yard. Sometimes Great Blue and Little Blue fly around together as if they were mother and baby which I suppose most of the folks around here believe is the actual case. Sometimes Little Blue and Snowy hang out together as if they were personal friends.”


August 27, 2003

This evening at around six pm I went by boat to the Zwickey Creek area to work on trails. The Caspian? or Royal Tern? was still hanging out at my parent's house. Dozens of tiny Sandpipers (Least?) were flying about near the shoreline. Hundreds of small Terns were also feeding by splashing loudly into the water.

I took a photo of a Snowy Egret and Great Egret that acted like momma and baby by their behavior of standing together on the shore and flying together when disturbed.

A dark Ibis which had to have been either White-faced or less likely Glossy was flying in circles appearing to be lost and a little disturbed until a small flock of Great Egrets flew past. The Ibis joined the group and seemed to be accepted as a fellow traveler.

Great Blue Herons were a little more numerous than usual but were rather widely spaced along the shore.

I find it hard to believe that I seem to be the only bird observer on the lake.

For five years now, I have invited the members of Huntsville Audubon to visit and observe the fantastic variety of birds here but so far they would rather meet in a windowless building and socialize.

Maybe they look at the glossy bird pix in Audubon Magazine while they are meditating during elimination procedures and feel that they have done their duty.

April 6, 2003

George and Andrew Russell and Eric Keith were looking for Spider Lillies in our flat woods, that we call Frog Joy Woods, when we spotted an Indigo Bunting chasing a Cardinal with the same ferocity that a Crow chases and Eagle. The Bunting turned back toward his territory after making sure that the Cardinal was at least 100 feet away.


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