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August 2009 cover image Franklin Mountains

Fall 2009/ Early Spring 2010 Birding Calendar

As migration begins, the birdwatching just gets better.

By Shelley Plante

In addition to the events listed here, a regularly updated calendar of all events at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department facilities can be found online at www.tpwd.state.tx.us/calendar. Search this calendar by “Events and Activities” or by “Regions” of the state to find more outdoor adventures for you and your family year round. Bird walks, butterfly hikes, hawk watches, breakfast with the birds and owl prowls are only a few of the many activities available not only at the World Birding Center state parks but also at state parks throughout the state.

Brown pelican

Year Round

Every Wednesday

Guided Bird Walks. Harlingen Arroyo Colorado Birding Center, Harlingen. Guided bird walks through this World Birding Center site. 7:30 a.m. Free.  (361) 676-6416; www.worldbirdingcenter.org

Second Saturday of Each Month

Beginners’ Bird Walks. Judson Nature Trails, Alamo Heights. Binoculars are provided. All are welcome. Helps newcomers and beginners learn the birds of the area. 8 a.m. each month (except August, when groups meet at 7:30 a.m.) Free. (210) 342-2073; www.saaudubon.org

Second Saturday nature program.

Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, Sherman. Nature programs open to the public, informal talk, photo presentation and/or field trip on refuge. Topics include birds, birding, natural history, more — geared to all ages. 10 a.m. Free. (903) 786-2826; www.friendsofhagerman.com

Third Saturday of Each Month

Bird Banding — Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, Lake Jackson. Public welcome to observe as staff work to collect baseline data on bird populations at the sanctuary. Nature store is open until noon each banding day. 8 a.m. – noon. Free. (979) 480-0999; www.gcbo.org

Bird watching couple on man made overlook

Events by Month

August 12

Perseid Party — Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, Mission. A variety of activities focused on both the skies and the park’s wildlife, including viewing the peak of this year’s Perseid meteor shower (weather permitting). Bring bug spray, food and drinks, blankets or folding chairs, plus a red-filtered flashlight that will not spoil your night vision. 9 p.m. Free with park admission. (956) 584-9156; ww.worldbirdingcenter.org

Daily, August 15 – November 15

Smith Point Hawk Watch — Candy Abshier Wildlife Management Area, Smith Point. Join the annual raptor migration count on the Texas coast. 8 a.m. Free. (979) 480-0999; www.gcbo.org

Every Sunday

16th Annual Bluebird Festival — Wills Point.
Xtreme Hummingbird Xtravaganza — Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, Lake Jackson. Watch bird banding, adopt a hummingbird, browse the nature store, walk the nature trails, or buy a plant to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Guest speakers. 8 a.m – noon. $2 per adult; kids are free.  (979) 480-0999; www.gcbo.org

September 12

Bird Walk — Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area, Lewisville. Birders of all skill levels are invited to join a master birder as the group searches the wetlands, prairies and woods for just a few of the 289 avian species documented there. Ages 10 and up, reservations are required. 7:30 a.m. $7 per person. (972) 219-7980; www.ias.unt.edu/llela. Also October 10, November 14, February 13, March 13 and April 10.

September 17 – 20

Hummer/Bird Celebration — Rockport. Over 14 speakers and programs, outdoor exhibits, a banding site, nature-related vendor booths, Hummer Home visits, birding boat excursions, guided field trips and much more! Costs vary. (800) 242-0071; www.rockporthummingbird.com

September 26

Kleb Woods Hummingbird Festival — Kleb Woods Nature Center, Tomball. Everything you want to know about hummingbirds including identification tips and gardening for hummingbirds. Games and activities for the whole family. No food or drink will be available at this event. Free. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (281) 357-5324; www.pct3.hctx.net/parks/klebwoodsnaturepres.aspx

September 26

Fall Hawk Watch — Fennessey Ranch, Bayside. Witness thousands of hawks lift off from the Mission River on a private Texas coastal ranch. Up to 15 species of hawks possible as you watch kettle after kettle rise. Lunch included. 7:30 a.m. $62 per person.
(361) 529-6600; www.fennesseyranch.com

October 10

Bird Walk — Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area, Lewisville. (See September listing for details.)

October 22 – 24

14th Annual Texas Butterfly Festival — Mission. Celebrate the Valley’s 280-plus species of butterflies. Learn from internationally renowned speakers and explore the area’s natural habitats on guided field trips. Costs vary. (800) 580-2700

October 29 – 31

Wild In Willacy — Raymondville. A four-day festival celebrating the natural bio-diversity of Willacy County. Birding field trips by airboat, boating safaris, children’s programs and many other events throughout the weekend. Costs vary. (888) 603-6994; www.wildinwillacy.com

November 7

En-Raptor-Ed — Kinkaid School, Houston. The stars of the event are the raptors from the Raptor Project. Jonathan Wood will take you on a wilderness expedition with his raptor entourage, which includes live birds of prey from every habitat on the planet: arctic, desert, rainforest, wetland, prairie, woodland and tundra. Lunch included. 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. $100 per person. (979) 480-0999; www.gcbo.org

November 12 – 15

Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival — Harlingen. Join birders and nature lovers from around the world for the 16th year of Harlingen’s premier event. World-famous birders will share their experiences with you, plus enjoy seminars, keynote lectures, workshops, field trips, children’s programs and a first-class nature fair. Costs vary. (800) 531-7346; www.rgvbirdfest.com

November 14

Bird Walk — Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area. (See September listing for details.)

November 19 - 22

South Texas Wildlife and Birding Festival — Kingsville. This festival includes workshops and seminars, birding tours, vendors and exhibitors. Costs vary. (800) 333-5032; www.kingsvilletexas.com

December 5

Annual Open House and Holiday Sale — Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, Lake Jackson. Come and see what great items they have on sale for the holidays, from bird books to hummingbird feeders. There is a 10 percent discount for all GCBO members and all items are sales tax free. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Free. (979) 480-0999; www.gcbo.org

Holiday at the Cabin — Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center, Houston. Go green for the holidays and learn about native birds! Fun “green” activities, arts and crafts to take home, refreshments and special guests. 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Free. (713) 640-2407; www.houstonaudubon.org

December 19

Christmas Bird Count — Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, Sherman. Annual Christmas Bird Count in Hagerman Circle, with a 15-mile diameter, includes the refuge and surrounding area, adjacent to Lake Texoma. Birders of all levels of experience are welcome and will be assigned to teams. 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. $5 per person. (903) 786-2826; www.friendsofhagerman.com.

February 13

Bird Walk — Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area, Lewisville. (See September listing for details.)

March 13

Bird Walk — Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area, Lewisville. (See September listing for details.)

Every weekend (except Easter)

Blucher Park Bird Walks — Blucher Park, Corpus Christi. Participants will bird Blucher Park and the expansive lawns behind it. Guides will assist with bird identification as needed. Free. (361) 443-0744; www.ccbirding.com

April 10

Bird Walk — Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area, Lewisville. (See September listing for details.)

April 10 – 11

Attwater’s Prairie Chicken Festival — Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, Eagle Lake. Experience the beautiful courtship dance of the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken and virgin coastal prairie habitat through many different guided tours by vehicle or walking. Free.  (979) 234-3021; www.southwest.fws.gov/refuges

April 17 & 24

Fennessey Ranch Spring Migration Trip — Fennessey Ranch, Bayside. Full-day hayride-style tour with short hikes. Experienced bird guides may spot as many as 70 – 80 species of birds. Beginning to expert birders welcome. 7:30 a.m.  $62. (361) 529-6600; www.fennesseyranch.com

April 25 – May 2

Great Texas Birding Classic — Texas coast. Head for the Texas coast for some fun birding in teams to raise money for coastal habitat conservation. There are tournaments for birders of all skill levels and any age. Costs vary. (979) 480-0999; www.birdingclassic.org

Last two weeks of April

Spring Songbird Seminar — Upper Texas Coast. Professionally guided van tours throughout the Upper Texas Coast to the best bird sanctuaries during the height of songbird and shorebird migration. $400 per person per week. (409) 370-1515; www.galvestonbirders.org

May 1

Festival on the Bayou 2010 — Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center, Houston. Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day with Houston Audubon. Festival on the Bayou is full of educational bird games and activities, arts and crafts, live bird displays and lots of fun programs. 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. $5 per person. (713) 640-2407; www.houstonaudubon.org

western screetch owl

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