Oystercatcher Diaries 2019: Field Week 10

By Susan Heath Wind, wind, wind. Where does it end? I could go on but I’ll stop there. You get the drift. That’s a boat joke in case you didn’t catch it. There wasn’t an option to change our Wednesday monitoring day so even though the wind was predicted to be 18 mph we made a go of it. Alan … Read More

Nature Notes: Awaken Your Inner Scientist

By Jennifer Horton We’ve all heard the saying “two heads are better than one.” Well, it’s true. Even scientists agree, which explains why many of them now rely on volunteers to help them answer their most pressing questions. It’s called “public participation in scientific research (PPSR)” or more commonly, “citizen science.” Though in the case of citizen science, two heads … Read More

Oystercatcher Diaries 2019: Field Week 9

By Susan Heath On Monday I headed out to East Matagorda Bay with Taylor Bennett and Amelia Grider, our summer Beach Nesting Birds team, and Kaitie Braddock, our intern. I was pretty happy to get out there since we hadn’t been able to get out on last Friday due to the wind. The wind forecast today was not great either … Read More

Oystercatcher Diaries 2019: Field Week 8

By Susan Heath Well this week was a challenge, but before we get to that I think a lesson in wind driven tides is in order. The tidal range here on the Gulf Coast is only a foot or so but because of the orientation of bay inlets/outlets to the Gulf of Mexico and the shallowness of our bays, we … Read More

Oystercatcher Diaries 2019: Field Week 7

By Susan Heath Surprise! We have a nearly fledged chick! What? Who? Where? Patience my friends. On Thursday, I checked out West Galveston Bay with Alan Wilde, Jennifer Horton, and Dianne Forthman. While we were putting the boat in the water, we saw one member of the boat ramp pair on the dock. Hum. Where’s the other one? If you’ve … Read More

Oystercatcher Diaries 2019: Field Week 6

By Susan Heath On Monday, Alan and I went out to Bastrop and Drum Bays to do a reef survey and of course we checked on the oystercatchers while we were out there. It was cold! I was back in long underwear, waders, and two coats. 50 degrees with a north wind is not fun on a boat! In 2011 … Read More

Oystercatcher Diaries 2019: Field Week 5

By Susan Heath On Monday, I was able to check out the oystercatchers in Tres Palacios Bay and part of Matagorda Bay with Bob Friedrichs and our Experiences Auction winners Jean Booth, Liz Garney, and Alice Ann O’Donnell. The weather was beautiful and I was able to wear my sandals and no coat for a fantastic change. photo by Susan … Read More

Oystercatcher Diaries 2019: Field Week 4

By Susan Heath On Monday, Alan, Kaitie, and I headed out to do some reef surveys in Bastrop and Drum Bays. Since we were out there anyway, we decided to check on a pair of oystercatchers that nests in the very west end of West Galveston Bay near Alligator Point. I don’t get out there much because it’s too far … Read More

Oystercatcher Diaries 2019: Field Week 3

By Susan Heath Chicks! We’ve got chicks. Ok well maybe just one chick but it’s so cute! I know you can’t wait to see it! Ok take a couple deep breathes, calm down, and I’ll tell you the story. We had to rearrange the schedule this week due to the weather so we went to West Galveston Bay on Tuesday … Read More

Oystercatcher Diaries 2019: Field Week 2

By Susan Heath On Wednesday I was joined by Alan Wilde and GCBO shorebird technician Taylor Bennett for a tour of West Galveston Bay and Swan Lake. First off – it was cold! If you know me at all, you know I don’t do cold. I live in Texas for a reason and not being cold is a big part … Read More

Oystercatcher Diaries 2019: Field Week 1

By Susan Heath Welcome to the 2019 edition of the Oystercatcher Diaries! Although this week was the first official week of oystercatcher monitoring, I’ve been out in the bays a couple of times each month this winter on another project so I’ve been keeping an eye on the birds. On January 31st, we found that 12 & unbanded had laid … Read More

Smith Point Hawk Watch 11/15/18 (809 raptors)

Bob reports 809 migrating raptors today. Broad-winged Hawk 134 Red-tailed Hawk 186 Swainson’s Hawk 2 Red-shouldered Hawk 2 Harris’s Hawk 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk 7 Cooper’s Hawk 14 Turkey Vulture 444 Black Vulture 9 Osprey 1 Northern Harrier 9 A spectacular last day of the count. Highest ever one day Red-tailed count by far. We’ve only had five years with more … Read More