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The Spoonbill, Vol. [40], No. 10, October 1991
Image 4
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The Spoonbill, Vol. [40], No. 10, October 1991 - Image 4. October 1991. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. August 5, 2021. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/2007_023/item/5879/show/5874.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(October 1991). The Spoonbill, Vol. [40], No. 10, October 1991 - Image 4. Outdoor Nature Club Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/2007_023/item/5879/show/5874

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

The Spoonbill, Vol. [40], No. 10, October 1991 - Image 4, October 1991, Outdoor Nature Club Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed August 5, 2021, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/2007_023/item/5879/show/5874.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title The Spoonbill, Vol. [40], No. 10, October 1991
Alternative Title The Spoonbill, Vol. XXXX, No. 10, October 1991
Contributor (Local)
  • Mueller Boyce, Judith
Publisher Outdoor Nature Club
Date October 1991
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Ornithology
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • newsletters
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
Original Item Location ID 2007-023, Box 12, Folder 9
ArchivesSpace URI /repositories/2/archival_objects/9876
Original Collection Outdoor Nature Club Records
Digital Collection Outdoor Nature Club Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/2007_023
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://libraries.uh.edu/branches/special-collections/
Use and Reproduction In Copyright
Note Incorrect volume number, XXXX, printed on front page.
File Name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Image 4
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
File Name uhlib_2007_023_b012_f009_010_004.jpg
Transcript migrations, both Merlins and Peregrine Falcons perch on and along the beaches, waiting for an unsuspecting shorebird to wander their direction. Coastal grassland Approximately 600 acres of park property were originally mi-grass grassland of the seacoast bluestem - gulfdune paspslum series. Until purchased by TP&W for the creation of a state park, this grassland was heavily grazed by cattle. After acquisition by TP&W, this disturbed grassland, left ungrazed and unburned, quickly began a succession to woody shrub. Baccharis (Baccharis halimifolia) and the exotic Chinese tallow (Sapium sebiferuro) came to dominate these upland areas, and many of the grassland species of birds were replaced by those more typical of eastern woodlands. TP&W recently began a program to restore these critical coastal grasslands through a program of cyclical mowing and burning. As these grasslands recover, many species of prairie-inhabiting birds will return to occupy this unique coastal habitat. For example, we should expect to see birds such as Short-eared Owl, Sprague's Pipit and LeConte's Sparrow become increasing common in the winter. Bobolinks will hopefully appear again in late springs, and many of the grassland shorebirds (the endangered Eskimo Curlew, Long-billed Curlew, Upland Sandpiper and Buff-breasted Sandpiper) may be attracted to the shortgrasa prairie created by late winter burning. Coastal acrub/woodland Before the srrivat of European man, Galveston Island lacked significant tracts of native woodlands. Historical records Indicate that woodland vegetation was limited to a few live oaks (Quercus viroiniana) near the western tip of the island. The trees and shrubs in the park, therefore, have become established since and as a direct result of the arrival of European man. Species such as eastern live oak, Hercules club (Zanthoxvlum clava-herculis). red mulberry (Horus rubra), wollybucket (Buretia lanuginosa), sugar hackberry (Celtis laevigata) and willow (Salix so.) are native to the Texas coast and their presence in the park, although a result of man's activities, should be considered natural. Exotic species, such as Chinese tallow, slash pine tPinus elliottii). salt cedar (Tamarix oallica). Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera iaponica) and chinaberry (Helia a.edarach) originated either as ornamentals cultivated around the homes of early homesteaders or as windbreaks planted for cattle. These exotics are decidedly anomalous and are being eradicated from the park as a part of the program to restore the native ecosystem. Baccharis, although a native woody shrub, is being reduced in the disturbed grasslands where the species once thrived. As a result of this prairie restoration program, woodland habitat within the park Is being significantly decreased from that which existed in the park's previously disturbed state. Simultaneous with this reduction, however, is TP&W's expansion of the live oak mottes within the park to enhance the native woodland habitat available for neotropical Migrants such as flycatchers, vireos and warblers. Substantial native woodlands will continue to exist in the perk, therefore, and the overall diversity of bird species will increase as grassland and prairie species become reestablished. Freshwater pond/swale assemblage In general, fresh water la restricted and its sources are ephemeral on a barrier island, and Galveston Island State Park is no exception. An impressive array of wetland birds, however, can be found in and around the feu freshwater swales and ponds in the park. Many of these ponds and swales, particularly those immediately landward of the fore-island dunes, are lined with dense stands of cattail (Tvpha sp.) and common reed (Phragmites austral is). This assemblage includes both the open waters of these ponds themselves, and the freshwater marshes which border them. Species such ss Pied-billed Grebe, Lesst Bittern, Marsh Wren and Common Yellowthroat nest in the vegetation in and around these ponds. Several species of dabbling ducks winter in these shallow waters, and herons and egrets are always present feeding on the shores. Many migratory species of shorebirds only appear in the park to feed on the exposed mud around these ponds, and these birds are therefore more common in the park in years when a lack of rain has lowered freshwater levels. Tidal slough/saltmarsh assemblage Unlike the narrow stretch of sandy beach and low dunefields on the seaward side of the island, the bay side is characterized by broad expanses of smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) marsh. Several sloughs and tidal bayous indent the bay margin, and these shallow tidal waters teem with a profusion of fishes and invertebrates. These wetlands are critical for the health of Galveston Bay. Juvenile fish and invertebrates are sheltered by the roots and stems of the grasses, and the marshes are sheltered by the roots and stems of the grasses, and the marshes are a major source of detrital export for the bay system as a whole. The abundance of prey in these wetlands attracts hundreds of individual herons and egrets. Long-legged waders such as Roseate Spoonbill and White Ibis can best be seen in this habitat. The distribution of several saltmarsh specialists, such as Clapper Rail and Seaside Sparrow, is restricted to these smooth cordgrass marshes. The muddy substrate exposed at low tide offers a rich feeding ground for species of shorebirds such as Black-bellied Plover, Willet, Dunlin and Short-billed Dowitcher. Grebes, cormorants and loons are attracted by the fish that crowd the sloughs in winter. Even diving ducks such as Bufflehead, Ring-necked Duck and Hooded Merganser may at times venture into the deepest waters of Oak and Carancahua bayous during that season. Bay margin/tidal mud flat At ebb tide, particularly during winter "northerns" when the bay waters are at their lowest, vast areas of normally inundated mudflats and oyster reefs are exposed to feeding shorebirds, herons and egrets. The reefs may attract one or two American Oystercatchers, and an extreme low tide is ordinarily the only opportunity to see this rarity in or near the park. Reddish Egrets will often prey upon the fish left stranded by the receding tides, and Marbled Godwits, normally absent in the park, will wade through the shallow waters looking for bristle worms. A distinctive tidal flat vegetation has evolved upon the saline soils found immediately inland of the bay margins. Species such as glasswort (Salicornia europaea). saltwort (Batis maritima). saltgrass (Distichlis spicata) and sea ox- eye daisy (Borrichis frutescens) predominate. Within this relatively sparse landscape nest several species of birds, such as Wilson's Plover, Willet and Horned Lark. Long- billed Curlews and Whimbrels search these "salt flats" for fiddler crabs and roosting shorebirds, gulls and terns congregate on the flats above the high tide line. Open waters of West Galveston Bay Like the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, many interesting waterbirds are limited in the park to the open waters of West Galveston Bay. Swimming and diving birds are most common in the bay because of the relative calmness and clarity of its waters. Brown Pelicans, once extirpated but their numbers now increasing annually, will dive for fish in the near-shore waters. Skeins of migrating ducks and geese are blown by "northerns" out over the bay in fall and winter. Large flocks (rafts) of Eared Grebes, at times numbering in the thousands of birds, will mass in the bay, and diving ducks such as Common Goldeneye and Lesser Scaup can be relatively common there in some years. The bay is