BIG THICKET FIELD TRIP
By Dick and Orbie Miller
This trip began auspiciously under a crisp, sparkling, cloudless sky on
Saturday, November 23rd. The meeting place was the Livingston Court House
and shortly after 9s00 AM a caravan of cheerful and anticipatory birders
moved eastward toward the forest's heart in search of the somewhat exiguous
Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Our leader was dashing Dr. David Marrack, who,
with the skill and resourcefulness of a mountain man or a coureur de bois,
guided us unerringly (well, at least, often) through the uncharted trails
and tangled fastness of this East Texas wilderness.
Also present were Beth Elount and Betty Roberts, two charming ladies from
San Antonio who proved to be capable birders. Members of the Houston
Ornithology Group present were Pat Ellis, Louise and Henry Hoffman, Ralph
Hunter, Nancy and Jerry Strickling and Orbie and Dick Miller.
On Saturday the area from Dallardsville to Warren was thoroughly covered
including the Big Sandy Creek and Wood's Creek sections. Saturday night
excellent accomodations were available at Woodville,and at 7:00 AM Sunday
the file of cars again set out to visit the area east of Warren and Kountze
including Big Turkey Creek, Drakes Brook, Village Creek and the tower near
the Hampton oil field. Here occurred the high spot of the trip when two
Red-cockaded Woodpeckers were observed which stayed in the vicinity long
enough for all to see. As we watched additional ones appeared until at
last five of these rare birds were seen working on one tree. After this
most satisfying experience the sublime ceremony most dear to a birder's
heart was joyously performed, namely lunch. We then proceeded to the
ranch of Mr. Williford (who says he has seen the Ivory-billed Woodpecker
many years ago) near Kountze for an additional walk and then left for home.
The weather, food, lodging and companionship were all of the best and a
most enjoyable time was had except for one jarring note when Ralph Hunter,
noted for his amiability and extensive knowledge of birds, gave us the
unwelcome news that he had accepted a position in Urbana, Illinois and
would shortly be leaving us. We are sorry to lose Ralph but wish him
good fortune in his new undertaking.
Oh yes, 66 species were identified including the House Sparrow. What's
that you say? The Ivory-bill? No doubt next year will be different.
Species seen; Brewer's and Red-winged Blackbirds, Mallard, Blue-gray
Gnateateher, Cooper's Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Sparrow Hawk, Red-shouldered
Hawk, Eastern Meadowlark, Mockingbird, Cardinal, Catbird, Brown-headed
and Red-breasted Nuthatches, Black and Turkey Vultures, Orange-crowned
Warbler, Yellow-throated Vireo, Rufous-sided Towhee, Brown Thrasher,
Carolina Wren, House Wren, Winter Wren, Eastern Phoebe, Robin, Myrtle
Warbler, Pine Warbler, Cedar Waxwing, Cattle Egret, Mourning Dove, Song
Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow,
Lincoln's Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow,Field Sparrow, Pine Siskin, Yellow-
bellied Sapsucker, Yellow-shafted Flicker, Downy Woodpecker, Pileated
Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, American
Woodcock, Loggerhead Shrike, Solitary Vireo, Hermit Thrush, Carolina
Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Belted Kingfisher, Killdeer, Common Crow,
Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Slate-colored Junco, Brown
Creeper, Empidonax Flycatcher, Common Grackle, American Goldfinch, Blue
Jay, Eastern Bluebird, Bobwhite, Little Blue Heron.
PELAGIC TRIP - CALIFORNIA STYLE 10-5-65 By Clinton Snyder
I did something I didn't think that I could do any more. I got 15 lifers
in 6 hours! Needless to say, the pelagic trip was a complete success.
We took two boats out of Monterrey and kept in sight of each other while
we kept in touch by radio. The boats were considerably smaller than the
Captain Doc. It was almost calm going out. We saw many sharks - in fact,
everywhere you looked you could see their fins. The water, of course, is
clear immediately offshore. We also picked up a school of porpoise.
Then, we started seeing Alcids - mostly flying away in pairs. We saw
them all the way out - 30 miles. Eventually 1 got a good look at all of
them; Xantus' Murrelet, Cassin's Auklet, Rhino Auklet, Tufted Puffin, and
Common Murre. About 5 miles out we started seeing Shearwaters - Sooty