For all of our friends who are passionate about protecting and improving the natural environment here in the Greater Houston Area, I encourage you all to register for the Saving Planet Houston Series. There are three classes being held on Wednesday evenings, the 8th, 15th, and 22nd of February and optional field trips on Saturday the 25th. You can register for any or all of the classes. On the 22nd, you can hear GBK's own Dr. John Jacob on saving Houston's wetlands.
Folks 'N Oysters on December 30, was a great success. We enjoyed an evening of oysters from Prestige Oyster, raw or grilled by David Popkin, beer provided by Saint Arnold's Brewing Company, wine from our own Martin and Vaness Hamilton, and an array of gumbo, sliders and oyster tacos from Liberty Kitchen. All of this was accompanied by music from the Anhinga Band. We announced Bruce Bodson as our new Executive Director/Baykeeper, and had a talk about organization mission for 2017. We kept that business stuff to a minimum so we could all get back to the oysters! We also want to say a special thank you to John and Leticia Jacob for hosting this event in their lovely home. How many board members let you bring all your river rat friends over for an evening? If you missed it, you'll have another chance to join us next year!
For those of you signed up, remember to join us this evening at 6:00 for Folks 'N Oysters! For those of you were unable to make it, remember you can still donate to Galveston Baykeeper's work to protect Galveston Bay and the watershed that feeds it.
December 27 was the Old River CBC, and as we have done for the last several years, a group of us set off into the morning fog to see what birds we could see and count them. Our crew consisted of. from left to right Dave Portz, Harmon Everett, and Christie Long, of the Houston canoe Club, and Bruce Bodson, of Galveston Baykeeper. Our route included Pickett's Bayou, The Cutoff, and Old River, going from Trinity River NWR, to FM 1409 in Old River-Winfree.
It was a warm foggy morning, which made the cypress look eerie, but kept the alligators comfortable enough to appear.
The birds were a bit elusive in the morning fog and the species mix was a bit surprising, with dozens of lingering tree swallows, and a large contingent of golden-crowned kinglets. Both species of cormorant were present along with a large number of anhingas. We also saw osprey, good numbers of wood ducks, a smattering of herons and egrets, and the usual winter residents. Altogether, we saw 43 species, which is a bit light for this count. The count as a whole will probably approach 150 species.
This area is as close to wilderness as we get around Houston, so boat management skills occasionally become as important as birding.
Note that Harmon is actually in the river instead of the boat.
We made it to FM 1409 with daylight to spare.
We covered about 14 miles in about 7.5 hours, including a lunch stop. It was a lovely day on the water, only marred by having to tiptoe around some rotting feral hog carcasses at the take out.
I'm not sure why boat launches and carcass disposal seem to go together, but they certainly do at Old River. I was told that the launch is actually considerably cleaned up from a couple of weeks ago.
Remember, there is still time to sign up for the San Jacinto Wilderness CBC, on January 1. Fifteen miles of Peach Creek, Caney Creek and the East Fork of the San Jacinto will help you work off your oysters from Folks 'N Oysters, and get right on that New Year's Resolution to exercise more!
Christmas Bird Count season is going full swing. All over the Lower Galveston Bay Watershed counters are out enjoying some of the richest species totals in the United States. Galveston Baykeeper encourages everyone to participate, whether they are experienced birders, or beginners wanting to learn. For those of you that are also paddling enthusiasts, we invite you to join GBK on the following counts:
Old River CBC
Waters: Old River, the Cutoff, and Picketts Bayou
Distance: Approximately 15 miles
Start: Put in at Champions Lake
End: Take out at FM 1409 in Old River
Hours on the Water: About 6
Odds of getting stuck out all night: 0%
Date: December 27, 2016
Meet: 07:00 at the FM 1409 Bridge
Trinity River CBC
Waters: Trinity River Main Channel
Distance: 19.5 Miles
Start: Put in at FM 787 at Romayor
Finish: Take out at SH 105
Hours on the water: About 8
Odds of getting stuck out all night 0% (So far)
Date: December 29, 2016
Meet: 07:00 At the SH 105 Bridge on the Trinity
San Jacinto Wilderness CBC
Waters: Peach Creek, Caney Creek, East Fork of the San Jacinto, Connected Sloughs
Distance: Approximately 12 to 15 miles
Start and Stop: Lake Houston Canoe Launch for both Put In and Take Out
Hours on the Water: About 6
Odds of getting stuck out overnight 0%- no matter what you’ve heard.
Date: January 1, 2017
Meet: 07:00 at the entrance to Lake Houston Park
The entire list of Texas counts can be found at www.houstonaudubon.org
Tuesday, November 29th is national Giving Tuesday, an opportunity for all of us to support those causes that matter to us, during the Holiday Season. For those of you who value the Galveston Bay Watershed, the habitats and recreational activities it provides and the water quality of the watershed, please consider donating to Galveston Baykeeper through the link provided here.
Agreement reached with EPA to adopt stronger standards in management of industrial stormwater pollution