Account of the 21 January OG field trip to the HL&P cooling ponds by Ted Eubanks,
The good news is that the field trip came off as scheduled, with several noteworthy
species being observed. The bad news Is that most of my toes have yet to thaw, several wind-blown tears are permanently frozen to my cheeks and I am being forced to dictate this story to my wife instead of typing It myself because my fingers are still
paralyzed from the numbing cold and tee+h-cha++erlng chill which characterized the
day. Twelve hardy souls (hardy or bananas, I can't decide) gathered that frigid morning at the roadside park on I —10 near Baytown. With vigorous back-slapping each
trooper congratulated the other on the bravery and stoutness they displayed by showing
up. The temperature hovered (wallowed?) at 27°, a mark from which It would rise only
3_ degrees during the day. The slight northeast breeze proved to be one of the few
blessings nature bestowed on the group, for it cleared the cooling ponds of the fog
which tends to form over their warm waters during cold weather. Fortunately the trip
made up in birds what It lacked In creature comforts. And, as If to keep with the
icy atmosphere created by the day's weather, the outs+andlng species seen were typical
of more northerly climes. A total of seven scoters were recorded—three Surf, three
White-winged and one confusing individual which must remain simply as "scoter species".
Excellent numbers of diving ducks were observed, with 750 Canvasbacks, 50 Goldeneye
and 300 Bufflehead being among the most noteworthy. Four Horned Grebes were cooperative in their association with several Eared Grebes, thus allowing birders the comparison necessary for an easy identification. Certainly the best birds of +he day, a+
least in my eyes, were the two Oldsquaw sighted by Elric McHenry and John Trochet.
These two, a male and a female in exquisite winter plumage, were first spotted some
75 yards from the cooling ponds levee, and remained at tha+ range un+iI each member
of +he group received thoroughly satisfying looks. So although the day's weather
tended to put a chill on the group's activities, all agreed that the species seen made
it all worthwhile. And, If my fingers have thawed enough to where I can focus my
binoculars, I plan to return with the OG to the cooling ponds at the same time next
year. Who knows, if the weather Is in anyway like it was this year, even an eider
might be attracted!.
Minutes, Regular Meeting, Or-ltholoqy Group, 2 February 1978
The regular meeting of the OG at Bayou Manor auditorium was called to order by Chairman Dauphin at 7:30 p.m. with 84 members and guests In attendance. After several announcements of upcoming ONC trips, programs and weekends, Dauphin reported on the purchase of 985 acres of land in West Harris Coun+y, bordering on Ka+y-Hockley Road,
Jack Road and Cypress Creek, wi+h a garbage dump +o be built on the proper+y. This
si+e Is wi+hin a mile of the Warren Lake wintering Bald Eagle roost. Dauphin reported
on the recent oil spill on Bolivar Flats also.
Treasurer Mary Gillette reported that the 0G had $177.21 Income, $120.16 expenses,
from Dec. I to Jan 31, 1978, with a Jan. 31, 1978 balance on hand of $1236.45. Mary
reported that the new Jim Lane Gulf Coast books were In print and were ordered.
Marilyn Crane announced the March program on garden plants to attract birds,
banks reported on the upcoming field trip to Brazoria Coun+y.
Margaret Jones repor+ed on how far the group has helped THE SPOONBILL +o come in the
last six years. Paul Jones urged everyone +o submit their sightings to THE SPOONBILL,
taking care to send In excellent field notes, following guidelines in Robbins' Birds
of North America. Paul also told the OG that Mary Ann Chapman had developed an excellent form to use to submit Clearing House reports.
David Dauphin reported several rare bird alerts that he received in the past month.
Avis Brister, librarian, urged OG members to use the library's many good bird books,
and introduced us to a few she brought with her. A motion was passed to have Melba
Drake discard the remaining old 0G checklists she has been storing and has been unsuccessful In finding anyone to use them.
Everyone was reminded that the OG has a telescope available to Its members for $1.00
a day. Bill Mealy spoke briefly on a new type of binocular that was very compact.
David Dauphin and Ted Eubanks then presented the program of 30 upper coast breeding
birds and their songs. Ted spoke at length on how to Identify birds by their songs,
showing slides of the birds while David played tapes of the songs.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Jan Dauphin In place of Janet Eubanks who was ill.