Birders prepare for busy month, year
Grab your binoculars and your camera and be prepared for a glorious site. The Lower Trinity Valley Bird Club will be hosting a field trip to Anahuac Saturday, Feb. 18 and the public is invited to join them-and that includes novices who are curious to experience one of the many excursions taken by the club throughout the year.
The bird enthusiasts are not just any club, but actively helping in research, and volunteerism that helps the Trinity Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Audubon Society. And club members put their money where their mouth is with contributions to help fund research and much more.
The group was founded in the mid-1990s and has remained strong since.
“We are interested in preservation and identifying birds,” said Gary Holmes, president of the club. And that, he says, is no easy task at times.
“Like a puzzle, some are easy and some are hard. The plumage is never perfect so it can be challenging,” he said. But, that’s part of the fun with the group, all contributing to finding the answer and identifying the fowl.
Holmes said they club is active in bird counting.
“We do the Christmas bird counts, two or three of those each year, and the Bird Sit-In during the fall and this month in the Great Backyard Bird Count,” he said where birders will count the number of species and birds in their own yards.
Each month the group takes a trip to a different area, like Anahuac, to explore around the area. Trips to the Katy Prairie, the lower Texas valley, Rockport and a day trip to King Ranch are among some of the places the group has been or will travel to during the year.
But the trips aren’t limited to Texas only.
“We’ve been to Arizona, and taken major trips out of the country to Belize, El Salvador, Trinidad and Tobago just to name a few,” Holmes said.
The trip is spent bird watching, which many find relaxing and rewarding.
Not only are the birds a joy to watch, but they have intrinsic value to people as threads in the earth’s ecological tapestry, as pollinators, predators and prey.
The club meetings have the typical business aspects, but then focus on a special speaker who comes to share interesting and educational information with the members.
The February meeting will be on Thursday, Feb. 9, at 6:30 p.m. at the FLNB Corner, 1822, Sam Houston Ave. in Liberty across from the bank.
The guest speaker will be Lonnie Castleman and his presentation is on Eastern Bluebirds. Holmes said anyone who joins the Texas Bluebird Society ($15) at the meeting will receive a free bluebird nestbox and Castleman will teach everyone the correct way to mount and maintain the nestbox.
Castleman has an array of vast knowledge and experience with all things ‘bluebird.’ He is retired from Shell Oil and lives in Trinity and has been a board member, vice president and nestbox builder coordinator and distributor for Texas Bluebird Society and the North American Bluebird Society.
Holmes encourages everyone to come early for ‘birder’s chat’ time.
Those planning on attending the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge trip will car pool from White Park off I-10 past Wallisville at 6:45 a.m. and stay most of the day at the Refuge exploring nature and watching birds.
“We get there early because they’re excited when they wake up. The birds get up early and around noon they got to sleep and settle down,” he said.
So, early bird really does get the worm.