PAST EVENTS by Glenn Cureton
The Ornithology Group's December 13 field trip to the Houston Lighting & Power cooling
ponds turned out to be educational as well as exciting. Our able leader, Ben Feltner,
pointed out two identification difficulties: double-crested versus olivaceous cormorants, and horned versus eared grebes.
Double-crested and olivaceous cormorants flew side by side, perched on adjacent posts,
and swam near each other, magnifying their differences in size, color, and form. One
horned grebe was seen and compared with the much more numerous eared grebes.
The highlight of the day came fairly early, before we even entered the locked gates:
a male olds<?uaw duck, lacking full adult plumage, gave every observer close, detailed
looks, both in the water and in flight.
Other noteworthy sightings were several common goldeneyes, buffleheads, and an osprey
(at Old River). Although no western grebes or rock wrens were seen, the day could certainly be called successful with a total of 70 species.
UNUSUAL VISITORS AT SEA
For several months Marilyn Crane's job (Paleontologist for Exxon) has taken her, for
a week each time, several times to an exploration rig, Pacesetter III, 40 miles south
of Grand Isle, La. During the week of October 13 to 20, last fall, with north winds
blowing, Marilyn was surprised (to say the least!) to see the following birds appear
during this time:
Cattle Egrets (2), Green Heron, American coot. House Wren, Winter Wren, Long-billed
Marsh Wrens (2), Mourning dove, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Mockingbird, Catbird, Brown
Thrasher, Kentucky Warbler, Yellowthroat (4), Cape May Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler,
Redstart, Myrtle Warbler, NashviIle Warbler, Palm Warbler, Slate-colored Junco, Lincoln's Sparrow.
During a subsequent week, sometime later, with no north wind, she saw only five visitors: Mockingbird, Cape May Warbler, Groove-billed Anl, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Black-
throated Green Warbler.
Marilyn says there were insects aplenty during this time (especially during the north
winds), and some of the birds stayed several days, some the entire week she was'there.
AROUND AMD ABOUT
** Last month we reported that Nancy Moore of Wichita FalIs had sent word of their
visitor, the Northern Shrike, via ham radio operators. For the information of any of
our readers outside the Houston area who have access to this means of communication
about a rare bird in the state, we want to say that in the Houston area, Margaret Anderson - 2913 Amherst, Houston, Texas 77005, AC7I3 668-6405 - will relay the message to
birders on our Rare Bird Alert list; and Bessie Cornelius - 720 Wade, Beaumont, Texas
77706, AC7I3 892-6930 - will do the same In the Beaumont-Orange area. And many thanks
to the hams in the state who are so obliging.
** A youngster close to your editor received as a Christmas gift, a Little Golden Book,
that is delightful, called "Birds, A Child's First Book About Our Most Familiar Birds"
by Watson & Wilkin. If you have a young one who Is a Little Golden Book age, get this
for him (her - them?), it is a delightful way to introduce them to the joys of birding.
** Avis Brister is fast gaining a well-deserved reputation as a spokesman (pardon! -
spokeswoman.? — spokesbirder??) at various organizations, schoolrooms, or garden clubs
on "Hbw to Attract Birds to Your Garden'.'. This month she has given her slide-talk
shov to the Texas Star Garden Club of Spring Branch, and the Inverness Forest Garden
Cluk, near Spring, Texas. We need some more volunteers eager to spread "the word".
If you are interested in working up an informative program (alone, or as a team) on
any aspect of birding, contact Avis - 681-6456. There are many, many organizations
eage" for speakers at'.their meetings, and the more on our "speaker team", the more
people we can reach with our message that "Birding is a Fun Hobby".
** Of all the birds resident in our area, none Is more exotic or more desired by visitors than the Jacanas at Maner Lake. On a recent visit, P&MJ saw 8 adults and 3 irom.
while out In a boat with Joe DeLeon, guide (we were searching for tbe Masked Duck, reposed by Barbara and John Ribble of Austin, unfortunately with-no luck). Mike Wicker,
the manager, told us that at least 35 Jacanas, including many young, had been seen during the summer. Maner Lake, as most of you know, is a private Brown & Root hunting
and fishing preserve. If there Is a guide and boat available they are happy to take