Saturday, March 9, 8 or 10 a.m.
WHY: That's right. You don't have to drive to the shore or to Galveston to see some of the most impressive water birds (and other kinds of birds) that are present in the Greater Houston area. With only a short drive of 20 minutes or so you can be in the Westpark Tollway and Hwy 6 area and ready to view some of the winged wonders that pause at the large ponds there. Expert bird watcher and ARRUF member Mark Kulstad will show us where to go and what to look for. Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to say you’re in!
WHAT: When Mark was there in January with some of his Master of Liberal Studies students, lots of big, showy birds were in evidence, including American White Pelicans, both species of Texas cormorants, wintering ducks of multiple species, the occasional Roseate Spoonbill and Black-crowned Night-Heron, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, White Ibis, raptors, etc. Since over 200 species of birds have been recorded at the park, there are lots of interesting small birds present also, but they can be harder to see.
TAKE A PEEK: For a sampler, with photos, see https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50904274.
For a more thorough listing of the birds of the site, also with photos, see https://ebird.org/hotspot/L366758/media?yr=all&m=.
WHEN: 8:00 or 10:00 a.m. As many know, birds are more in evidence earlier in the day. However, humans aren’t always eager to join the birds at these earlier hours. This bird outing offers a solution. Participants can come either earlier (8 am) or later (10 am) – or both,to join the group for both of the two walks involved in this event.
WHERE: The site, as mentioned, is near Westpark and Hwy 6 and is one of the new parkland areas in the Houston area, ones associated with flood prevention retention basins — in the present case, along Brays Bayou. As a side benefit, it has great walking opportunities and has been amazingly successful at attracting birds. It is also a place where you can actually climb a hill and see a lot of Houston (optional, but fun).
Each walk begins at a parking lot, at 8 a.m. at Archbishop Fiorenza Park (more exactly, Archbishop Fiorenza Park, Phase II – west of Eldridge Rd.), and at 10 a.m. at Brays Bayou Park, where the hill is. Since the larger birds typically remain visible for most of the day, we will focus more on them during the 10 am walk. Yes, it’s a little bit complicated, not least because of the multiple park names. But that’s why we provide the detailed information below.
Bird Walk # 1
Meeting point is a parking lot for Archbishop Fiorenza Park, Phase II,just west of the intersection of Eldridge Pkwy. and Westpark Dr. (NB: This is different from the Archbishop Fiorenza Park that is east of Eldridge Pkwy and right next to Westpark Tollway.)
There is no exact address to plug into GIS systems for the relevant parking lot, but one that should work for the nearby intersection of Eldridge Pkwy. and Westpark Dr. is 501 Eldridge Parkway S.
More exact coordinates for the parking lot are 29.719862, -95.625634.
Bird Walk # 2
Meeting point is a parking lot for Brays Bayou Park, accessible from Hwy 6, on Schiller Rd., a bit less than 1/2 mi. east of Hwy 6. The parking lot is near a big hill overlooking the water.
A workable address, for GIS systems, is, 14108 Schiller Rd. More exact coordinates for the parking lot are 29.717878, -95.635243.
So, send an e-mail to email@example.com to say we should look for you. Please specify which bird walk you plan to participate in, or just say both.
A thermos of coffee or tea or a bottle of water, and you'll be ready to see amazing sights!
OPTIONAL / MAYBE / SPONTANEOUS ADD-ON
Lunch on our own dime at a nearby cafe after the 10:00 a.m. walk to discuss our trips. No promises, but maybe.