THE OUTDOOR NATURE CLUB OF HOUSTON, TEXAS
Our Texas Coastal Bird
"The heavy rains and high water along
the Texas coast caused considerable damage to bird life this season . . . our most
important charge, the Roseate spoonbill,
did not raise as many young this year
due to the high water level."
Thus Sanctuary Director Robert P.
Allen injected a warning note in reporting, through National Association of
Audubon Socities' BIRD LORE, on the
1936 survey of Texas coastal birds by
Alexander Sprunt, Jr., Supervisor of
Southern Sanctuaries. Other interesting
information in Director Allen's report:
"The presence of the Reddish Egrets
nesting on the Vingtune Islands in Galveston Bay was recently reported to us
by Mr. Alston Clapp, Sr. of Houston . . .
This is the farthest point north and east
along the Texas coast that these interesting birds have nested and it is a gratifying indication of their condition as a
"The high tides reduced the large colony of various species located on Bird
Island in West Bay, off the western tip
of Galveston Island. The Reddish Egrets
nested on this island for the first time
last season, but only one nest was observed this year. Evidently no White
Pelicans nested this year on the Texas
"We are indebted once more to Mr. J.
J. Carroll of Houston, for his generous
cooperation in connection with our survey of bird life along the major portion
of the Texas coast. The Audubon Association and the birds of Texas have no
greater friend than Mr. Carroll."
Audubon Nature Camp
"One-eighth of a mile off the picturesque coast of Maine in sheltered Mus-
congus Bay is beautiful Hog Island, location of the Todd Wild Life Sanctuary.
Covered with a primeval stand of evergreens, its shores laved by the waters of
the Atlantic, the island is ideally situated for our nature study camp."
In these words the National Association of Audubon Societies described the
location of its 1937 Audubon Nature
Camp for Adult Leaders in a recent announcement. Six fourteen-day camp periods will be undertaken, beginning June
11, June 25, July 9, July 23, August 6
and August 20. The primary purpose is
to convey a knowledge of methods which
are considered as having been successful
in popularizing the study of birds, man-
mals, insects, flowers, marine and other
wild life. Instruction is concentrated on
actual field observation. Fifty dollars is
quoted as the fee for two weeks in the
camp, including board, lodging, tuition
and transportation on regularly scheduled field trips.
Included in the announcement was this
additional word-picture: "Wild life
abounds here—a great variety of birds,
including Eagles, Ravens, Ospreys, Great
Blue Herons and an extraordinary number of song birds nest on or about the
island, while on outcropping ledges and
small islands in the bay one finds breeding colonies of Gulls, Terns, Eiders, Cormorants, Guillemots and Petrels. On the
island grow a fascinating variety of
ferns, mosses and lichens. Over five
hundred kinds of wild flowers have been
recorded in the vicinity. The surrounding waters literally teem with marine
life; porpoises, seals and occasionally
whales are observed not far off-shore."
Adult leaders or other nature students
interested in the camp may write the
Camp Director, National Association of
Audubon Societies, 1775 Broadway, New
York, N. Y., for details.
Roemer's "TEXAS" Translated
The Texas Centennial has brought to
light much of the colorful and interesting history of the State. Among the
early writings, Dr. Ferdinand von Roemer's "Texas" stands unsurpassed. It
was based on personal observations and
presents a graphic, scientific and informative account of transitions during the
State's most romantic period of existence.
While studying the geological formations of Texas for the Berlin Academy
of Science, the learned young scientist
took occasion to scrutinize closely the
pioneer, the social conditions, the Indians, and the flora and fauna of Texas.
His impressions are recorded in his inimitable way. The author's sole mission
in writing this book seems to have been
to acquaint the foreigner with the Texas
of that day. Bias and prejudice are absent from Roemer's "Texas."
The book contains a geological preface by Dr. Donald C. Barton. The nine
sections following deal with the location, physical characteristics, the flora
and fauna, minerals, the inhabitants, the
history of the German settlements, and
early books on Texas. The second part,
consisting of twenty-four chapters, is a
travelog, relating Roemer's experience
from the time he left New Orleans, November 20, 1845, bound for Texas, until
he left Galveston on May 8, 1847, on his
return voyage to Germany. A map of
early Texas, indicating the trails, Indian
villages, and many hamlets no longer
in existence adds to the value of the
Roemer's "Texas" was translated by
Oswald Mueller, a member of the Outdoor Nature Club, and is now available
to the reading public.
The Roadrunner, or Chaparral Cock, is
a curious bird of great interest to people
everywhere. Though scarcer now, it has
for many years been common in territory where quail and other game birds
existed abundantly. To exterminate this
unique species in the hope of providing
better quail-shooting would be contrary
to reason and an offense against the
rights of many to favor the privileges
of a few.
More Sanctuaries Needed
It is now generally recognized that
the establishment of adequate reserves
and sanctuaries is the keystone of
effective wild life conservation po »^H|
The permanent, inviolate "natural ai ,w^^
reserve is the only provision that meet—
all requirements (aesthetic, recreational,
economic and scientific), but this fundamental conception can not be put into
operation in many instances where special action is required.
The recent establishment of large Federal forests in East Texas encourages
the hope that several natural area preserves, such as have been set up on suitable Federal lands elsewhere, will be
designated on selected tracts within the
East Texas forests. There are, however,
three other situations, known to conservationists in Southeast Texas, needing special attention at the earliest possible moment.
The dedication of adequate sanctuary
territory to save the Attwater Prairie
Chicken from the fate of the Heath Hen
is an emergency need. Probably of equal
importance is the fixing of a more definite and permanent status for the Vingtune lies, an area of unique scientific
and historical interest. The present ar
rangement whereby the Roseate Spo-
bills are protected through coopera* d^M
between the National Association of \ ™i^
dubon Socities and the Texas Game, F_.
and Oyster Commission, is a step in the
right direction and should be made the
basis for future plans. The Vingtune
area is distinct in its value, and deserves
a permanent status in accordance therewith. There are several possible methods that might be worked out to cover
fully the two cases just mentioned, and
these will doubtless have the earnest
consideration of sportsmen and scientific
and civic groups, as well as Federal and
Comparatively few residents of Southeast Texas seem to be aware of the
colorful pageant of bird life that occurs
during the spring and fall migration seasons, probably because, in this section,
most of the avian display follows closely
the Gulf Coast shore. Wooded tangles
attractive to birds are not common close
to the shoreline, and where such places
exist the migratory procession pauses
and offers fine opportunities for observation.
Such a place is a varied copse near
Kemah, known to Houston ornithologists
and nature lovers as "the Jungle." T
spring and fall, this relatively small a a
swarms with vari-colored birds of m ^^B
species, and during the remainder of "™*
year it has a remarkable resident pop^
lation of field, forest and shore birds.
Records kept furnish ample proof of this
statement, and a visit to this potential,
but at present unsecured, bird haven will
further confirm it. As stated in another
article in this Bulletin, the preservation
of this small tract in its original condition, as an outdoor laboratory and rendezvous for students and nature lovers,
is a challenge to all who realize its exceptional character. sn ,l