Bird Watching Katy TX

Local resource for Bird Watching in Katy. Includes detailed information on local businesses that provide access to birdwatching, birding, bird identification, birdhouse, wild birds, nature, binoculars, telescopes, as well as advice and content on what to look for and how to distinguish what birds are in our area.

Birding Texas

Planning a birding trip to Texas? Check out these top birding spots and helpful references.

Top Texas Birding Spots

by Roland Wauer

Sam Houston National Forest

Here is the state's largest concentration of red-cockaded woodpeckers (156 breeding clusters). Brown-headed nuthatches and Bachman's sparrows are year-round residents. In spring and summer, add Swainson's warbler to the list of most-wanted species. The forest also contains the nesting grounds for several additional high-profile Neotropical migrants. These include broad-winged hawk, chuck-will's-widow, Acadian and great crested flycatcher, wood thrush, gray catbird, northern parula, American redstart, Louisiana waterthrush, indigo and painted buntings, and yellow-breasted chat, among others.

In winter, ospreys and bald eagles frequent Lake Conroe, and weedy fields in the forest and surrounding area support winter and sedge wrens, eastern and spotted towhees, and a wide assortment of sparrows.

High Island & Bolivar Flats

Made famous as a fall-out location for Neotropical migrants in spring, especially from mid-April to early May, High Island contains woodland stands that provide a first landfall for millions of trans-Gulf migrants. Storms over the Gulf, especially with strong winds out of the north, tire the migrants so that they arrive at midmorning to midday so exhausted that they literally fall from the skies into the woods. After a brief rest they begin feeding to rebuild their energy for the next phase of their journey. They may remain to feed for a few to several hours or even several days. If it rains overnight, the migrants are more likely to wait for more favorable weather.

Thousands of songbirds can sometimes be found within a couple of acres. What's more, Boy Scout Woods and Smith Oaks Sanctuary, both owned and maintained by the Houston Audubon Society, have been developed so that hundreds of birders can have easy access with only minimal disturbance to the birds. With a fall-out, up to 23 warbler species, along with vireos, flycatchers, tanagers, orioles, grosbeaks, buntings, and numbers of other Neotropical birds can be expected.

If waterbirds are your target, nearby Bolivar Flats (25 miles south of High Island), including the Houston Audubon's Shorebird Sanctuary at the southeast end of the peninsula (take Highway Loop 108 east then south on Highway 87) features a vast array. Some of the more exciting species to be expected here include reddish egret, roseate spoonbill, piping and Wilson's plovers, whimbrel, marbled godwit, red knot, white-rumped and pectoral sandpipers, least tern, and black skimmer. I once recorded 125 species in about two hours from one location at the tip of the peninsula. In addition, High Island and Bolivar Peninsula have a history of rare bird sightings. Curlew sandpiper, bridled tern, mangrove cuckoo, greenish elaenia, sulphur-bellied flycatcher, and yellow-green and Yucatan vireos have all been recorded in this area.

Calhoun Count...

Author: Bird Watcher's Digest

Copyright2010 Bird Watcher's Digest

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Birding the Adirondacks

A Bird-watching Haven: the Adirondacks

Courtesy visitadirondacks.com

The Adirondack Park of New York state is a bird-watching haven. All birds that migrate to the Adirondack region for the summer arrive by June. More than 100 bird species can be found nesting in the region, including the spruce grouse and Bicknell�s thrush, and birding enthusiasts have been flocking to the area in increasing numbers each spring. The area has support from Audubon New York, more festivals, and the grand opening of a new birding exhibit at the Wild Center/Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks. Many organizations have put together weekends with guided outings, workshops, and lectures to help facilitate wildlife viewing and education.

New York's Adirondack Park is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States. It is larger than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier, and Grand Canyon national parks combined.

Hamilton County is the third largest in land size and the least populated county in New York State. The county is entirely within the Adirondack State Park, and more than 60 percent of the land area is either wilderness or wild forest. There is not a single traffic light in the entire county. The county�s million acres of forest, 1,500 miles of rivers and streams, and more than 56,000 acres of lakes and ponds provide unlimited birding and wildlife watching opportunities.

For the bird watcher, the Adirondacks offer some of the southernmost, and most accessible, boreal bird habitat in the United States. In addition, the region is home to dozens of species that rely on the Great Northern Forest.

Courtesy visitadirondacks.com

The birding festivals include:

  • Great Camp Sagamore hosts an Elderhostel event, Boreal Birds of the Adirondacks. The program includes lodging, meals, lectures and field trips.
  • The Great Adirondack Birding Celebration is held at the Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) in Paul...

Author: Bird Watcher's Digest

Copyright2010 Bird Watcher's Digest

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How To: Bird Watching Journals

Keeping a Bird-Watching Journal

Alan and Linda Zuckerman

It is said that the difference between a person who simply enjoys nature and a true naturalist is that a naturalist keeps a field journal. Amateur and professional bird watchers, artists, and philosophers have long kept such records of their thoughts and observations, but now an increasing number of regular folks are taking up the pastime of journaling.

Keeping a journal, regardless of our ultimate goal, helps us "see" more clearly and completely. Noting what you see in a journal makes your eyes active participants, requiring a visual judgment: What exactly am I seeing? How would I describe it - its color, texture, movement? What is it doing?

Journals versus Field Notes for Bird Watching

Although field notes and nature journals do overlap, they sometimes serve different purposes. The goal of keeping field notes is usually to document key points of your bird observations for the purpose of identification, data collection, or other purposes. Size, distinctive markings, habitual movements, unusual postures, voice, and flight behavior - all of which are critical in credibly documenting bird sightings - are typically captured in field notes. Journals, while often including some of the same types of observations as recorded in field notes, are intended to document the observer's increasing personal understanding of the observed creatures - and of oneself.

The only discoveries that matter in a journal are personal. Our journal entries, for example, document the behaviors that species exhibit in the spring versus the fall, because we want to know more about how they live and what their life experiences are like. We also have many entries describing how individual birds relate to us, the observers.

While the field note resides in the realm of the scientist, the nature journal is a way to tap into the creative flow, to generate a meditative tranquillity through a creative act. But one need not be a professional scientist, philosopher, writer, or artist to keep a bird-watching journal: The benefits are the same for anybody who takes the time to observe and ponder the wonders of nature.

Journals are personal. It is entirely up to you what to include in your journal, and no one should tell you how to keep one. What follows are ideas that others have used - not rules.

Some Journaling Guidelines

  • 1. If you are intimidated by your lack of writing ability, remember that you don't need to share your journal with anyone if you don't want to. You don't even have to reread what you've written. The point of journaling is the activity itself. On the other hand, we strongly encourage you to make the nature journal a family entertainment and to share your work with other people who are keeping journals. You may even wish to start a journaling circle among your friends, and compare and discuss your observations over time. But if you do, set a ground rule at the beginning: You don't have t...

Author: Bird Watcher's Digest

Copyright2010 Bird Watcher's Digest

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