The Baytown Tunnel was almost as fruitful, for here we immediately flushed a night-
hawk off a nest with two eggs in it. There were numerous boat-tailed grackle nests, also one nest in which we found two unlike eggs - one cowbird and one red-sAi-ija%eA,C black
bird! Here we saw numerous avocet, the least bittern, common and snowy egret, Bonaparte's
laughing and ring-billed gulls, great blue, green, little blue, Louisiana and yellow-
crowned night herons, kildeer, Wilson's phalarope (not whirling but feeding in their
distinctive back and forth swishing way) black-bellied and semi-palmated plover, sander-
ling, dunlin, least, pectoral, semi-palmated, stilt, western and white-rumped sandpipers,
black-necked stilt, bank, barn, cliff and rough-winged swallows, Caspian and least tern,
and lesser yellowlegs. The birds all seemed very undisturbed, and, with the benefit of
a little cover, we were able to get very close and study them well.
At Miller Cut-Off Boad, there was a stop to shinny up a tree and spy on some young
loggerhead shrike in a nest. The parent shrikes didn't offer us anything, so we stopped
at a beautiful secluded spot for lunch - who needs their old grasshoppers! Piokin's (other than dewberries) were poor here as the warblers were gone, but we did see the Swainson's
thrush, and the regular Joe Blows.
Along the road and on various stops we saw cowbirds, bobwhite, crow, bluebird, yellow-billed cuckoo, dickcissel, mourning dove, scissor-tailed flycatcher, blue-gray gnat-
catcher, common grackle, blue grosbeak, red-shouldered hawk, ruby-throated hummingbird,
kingbird, martin, meadowlark, mockingbird, orchard oriole, peewee, lark and Savannah sparrows, swift, summer tanager, titmouse, red and white-eyed vireos, turkey vulture, cedar
waxwings, pileated, red-bellied and red-headed woodpeckers, Carolina wren, and bay-breasted warbler.
Then the really, really BIG thing happened! Driving along Todville Road at Highway
146, a male marsh hawk was spotted carrying something. He dropped it, and it was retrieved
in mid-air by a female marsh hawk. Ben said "That means something! Watch where she lands"
Before ignition keys could be turned off, Ben was out in the field pointing excitedly and
calling "It's true, it's really true!" Everybody came running, and there was what we believe to be a FIRST RECORD - a marsh hawk nest with 3 young and 2 eggs. As explained,
the female sits on the eggs while laying successive eggs, so here we had a 3 day ohick,
a two day chick, and one that looked very newly hatched. This poor little tyke would rear
up and let out a few squawks for food, then flop over toopooped to peep. One egg was already pipped. By the side of the nest was the freshly caught mouse which the mother would
tear up and feed to the young. The male does not feed the young, but hunts and conveys
the food in mid-air to the female. Another interesting fact was brought out when we spotted a second female - the marsh hawk is polygamous, with both females rearing young.
Perhaps this is the time to acclaim Ben Feltner as an excellent birder - well versed
in the study of birds, a knowing and exceedingly cautious identifier, a keeper of thorough
records, and of infinite patience in passing on this knowledge to others.
Because of detours, we reached the east branch of the San Jacinto River near Crosby
quite late, but were fortunate in seeing the parula and black-and-white warbler, and the
yellow-throated vireo. A yellow-throated warbler was seen near what Ben took to be a nest.
Dark was falling, it was starting to rain, but doggedly we stuck to our guns, and were rewarded! Back came the warbler with a beak full of worms and entered the nest!
Enjoying the trip to the hilt were; Dudley Deaver (who helped lead the trip and was
dutifully standing by to take charge if Ben should have to work), Jerry Baker, Virginia
Parker, Mabel and Bob Deshayes, Louise and Henry Hoffman, Elmo Taldez, Katrina Thompson,
Eleanor Viutel, and Thelma Smith.
NAVIGATION DISTRICT POPULATION STUDY
Submitted by T. B. Feltner
On May 3rd Dudley A. Deaver and myself took a nesting and population count of the
birds of Navigation District. I am submitting our findings to the "Spoonbill" in hopes
that it may be of interest to some of its readers.
The area we covered is totally aquatic, and covers approximately one-fifth square
mile or 1,000 square yards. The whole area is from 2^ to 4 feet deep in water. Approximately three-fourths of the total yardage was covered with substantial aquatic growth
principally cattail with a few clumps of sedge and several salt cedars interspersed. In
the water itself is a healthy growth of algae, which I consider responsible for the very
unhealthy aroma that accompanied our passage through the marsh.
The three hour marathon was not without its exciting moments. In one instance, whil«
we were plunging through a particularly thick clump of sedge in waist deep water, Dudley
chanced upon a very large water snake. After the ensueing scramble to open water, I
asked him if he had seen any color bands on the reptile by means of which I might have
identified it. To which he quickly replied, "Color bands - who was looking for color
bands." Although we saw no turtles we encountered them quite freqently in a most die-