VOLUME XVIV, No. 11
PUBLISHED BY THE ORNITHOLOGY GROUP, OUTDOOR NATURE.CLBB, HOUSTON, TEXAS
FIELD TRIP TO BRAZORIA WILDLIFE REFUGE by^Jerry.Baker .
The ears of Ornithology Group members and visitors almost filled the parking area
in front of the Angleton Courthouse by 7:30 A.M. January 30. The leader, Dirk
Hagemeyer, suggested some doubling up, so several oars were left behind. The still,
long procession wended its way out of town to the Brazoria Refuge southeast of Angleton,
This refuge has been in existence only a few years and is still inaccessible to
the public, because the only access is over private ranch roads. The Interior Department is in the process of bargaining for more land to build it up to approximately 12,000 acres.
The terrain is mostly pasture land with many clumps of thorny deciduous bushes.
Several small lakes and marshy ponds provide the habitat for many ducks and shore-
birds. Snow, Blue and Canada Geese in larj^e numbers were grazing in the fields.
Some time was spent in searching for Ross' Geese which had been seen on the Refuge
this winter, but none were feund. A flock of approximately 35 adult Black-orowned
Night Herons were flying around a grove of Salt Cedars.
Small groups began to scatter about to look for sparrows. At least three times a
Le Conte's and Grasshopper Sparrow were seen sitting near each other in the same
bush. But as more and more people joined in the search the Le Contes changed
their tactics. They would fly to a bush and go into the thick grass at the base.
The hunters (birders) would surround the bush and kick the grass, hoping to flush
the sparrow. Several times one would be seen sneaking through the grass away
from the bush, but usually they just disappeared. But whe'n a big rattlesnake in
a slightly somnolent state was found under a bush, the hunters quickly changed
their tactics, Le Conte's Sparrow hunting can be very exciting.
Sixty-eight species of birds were found by 39 birders.
Our thanks to Dirk, who filled in ditches for the cars to cross, helped maneuver
the many cars in and out of small turn-around places, and for the good birding
spots he found.
CINCO RANCH FIELD TRIP By Jane Dodge
The star of the Saturday, February 28, Cinco Ranch trip was the Le Conte's Sparrow, who sat patiently while most of the 31 birders viewed him from distances of
5 er 6 feet. The buffy ocher eye-line, the white stripe through the crown and
the pinkish brown collar on the nape were plainly visible marks whieh brought
group concensus that he was indeed Le Conte's Sparrow. The Fox Sparrow and the
Grasshopper Sparrows were others of the 11 sparrow species.
The hawk, red tail outstretched, circling in the sun, and two handsome male Cinnamon Teal swimming on the pond clese to the houses were notable sights.
Some others of the 70 species seen were Widgeons, Blue-winged Teal, Grebes, Coots,
Dowitchers, Yellowligs, Short-billed Marsh Wren, Purple Finch, Myrtle and Orange-
crowned Warblers and Sandhill Cranes.
Many plants were blooming including a hawthorn, a patch of tiny, dainty Texas baby
blue-eyes (Nemephila), western paintbrushes, bull thistles, toad flax, squaw weed