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Fw: [TEXBIRDS] Vanishing Egrets

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  • larry arnold
    FYI, an interesting thread about Cattle egrets in Texas 1. ... From: Brush Freeman Reply-To:
    Message 1 of 1 , May 30, 2006
       
      FYI, an interesting thread about Cattle egrets in Texas
       
       
      1.
      ---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
      From: Brush Freeman <brushf@...>
      Reply-To: brushf@...
      Date:          Fri, 19 May 2006 12:34:56 -0500

      >Took off early this AM for
      northern
      >Bastrop very extreme eastern Williamson and southern Lee
      Counties on a
      >yearly breeding warbler survey which quickly went by the
      wayside. As I
      >drove about the various back roads it soon became apparent
      Cattle
      Egrets
      >were not apparent at all. As I continued along my back
      roads "route"
      the
      >total absence of these things invigorated me to the
      extent that I
      decided
      >to hope that I couldn't find any and by gum I
      couldn't despite the fact
      the
      >fact that I adhered strictly to the
      exacting requirements of the
      "Gladys
      >Birding Protocols"  In a
      shameless, likely stupid, disregard for the
      $25.00+
      >in gas I wasted, I
      covered portions of 5 counties with a large circular
      >pattern (Utley to
      Elgin, Coupland, Lincoln, Northrup, Serbin, Warda,
      >Smithville, Flower
      Hill, Cistern , Kovar, Rosanky, Waterson and Shiloh
      >areas)...Not a single
      Cattle Egret to be found anywhere!  As if someone
      in
      >a DC3 had
      dusted the whole region with Bittern-B-Gone!  I am not the
      first
      >to comment on this or even notice it but it is becoming
      fairly clear
      that
      >there has been a decline of these things in this
      region of Texas over
      the
      >past 5-6 years if not in Texas as a
      whole.  Matt White has carefully
      noted
      >this on-going trend in his
      region for instance.  I don't want to jinx
      our
      >good fortune here
      but getting shed of these things may yet be something
      we
      >can see on
      the horizon.
      >
      >  Even though I did not find any on this long
      drive this morning I know
      >that there are perhaps a 100 or so just to the
      south of this route in
      the
      >Delhi area of Caldwell Co.  I saw them
      there on Tuesday.  I see them
      there
      >every week on the long 220
      mile haul I make from Utley to
      >Kingsville/Sarita...But that is the one
      and only spot I see them at on
      the
      >route that takes me through
      Gonzales, Cureo, Goliad, Refugio, Sinton,
      Odem,
      >Robstown etc....Where
      are they?  Maybe in Edna, Kilgore, Comanche  or
      >Gainsville....If so, please keep them there :-)
      >
      I did have a Swainson's Warbler in a new location but under the
      >"protocol" it was passed up quickly and was HO as was a
      singing
      >Yellow-throated Warbler near Kovar.  I did stop to rescue an
      ancient,
      >slick-shelled and battle-scarred, female Three-toed Box Turtle
      from
      highway
      >153 near Winchester...The first I have seen in the region
      in very good
      >while.  Also a Coral and Texas Rat Snake were
      seen.  Mississippi Kites
      seen
      >in two locations may be worth a
      follow up down the road.  Off to water
      the
      >T 'maters. Its that
      blessed small they emit when the day gets
      hot...Just
      >gotta love
      it.
      >
      >
      >Brush Freeman
      >
       
      2.
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Birding discussion list for Texas
      [mailto:TEXBIRDS@...] On Behalf Of Brent Ortego
      Sent: Friday, May 19, 2006 6:23 PM
      To: TEXBIRDS@...
      Subject: Re: [TEXBIRDS] Trash bird in peril.?....

      ---> Texbird help file http://www.texbirds.org <---

      I have surveyed most of Texas east of I-35 for nesting herons and egrets
      from the air during the last 4 years.  There has been a noticeable
      decline in nesting Cattle Egrets and Little Blue Herons.

      I have attributed the decline of Little Blue Heron to lost of native
      wetlands and the ageing of man made reservoirs.  There used to be huge
      Little Blue Heron colonies near Dallas.  These no longer exist.

      The Cattle Egret probably is declining because the bulk of the native
      grasslands remaining after clearing for farming has been converted to
      introduced grasses like Bermuda.  This does not bode well for the Cattle
      Egret and the other species depending on native grasslands.

      There has also been efforts from landowners to get rid of nesting
      colonies from upland sites where the nesting birds kill landowners trees
      and produce unhealthy situations on their land.

      Brent Ortego
      near Raisin, TX
       
       
      3. 
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Birding discussion list for Texas
      [mailto:TEXBIRDS@...] On Behalf Of Brush Freeman
      Sent: Friday, May 19, 2006 7:41 PM
      To: TEXBIRDS@...
      Subject: [TEXBIRDS] Vanishing Egrets

      ---> Texbird help file http://www.texbirds.org <---

      Brent et al. While most readers of this list know of my dislike/distain
      of
      Cattle Egrets for reasons previously presented or whatever numerous
      times
      (I ain't going there again), I do share with Brent here a serious
      concern.
      During the aforementioned route this morning I visited a number of large
      private "lakes" per maps I reviewed from the USGS websites. I did not
      visit
      any large public lakes in the region however. Many of these ponds or
      lakes
      I have visit before with usually good birding luck. While my post
      centered
      basically on Cattle Egrets, I noticed virtually no herons or egrets of
      other species anywhere on the route. Shipp/Stagner lakes were the
      exception
      with a couple of Little Blues, Great and Snowy Egrets.  Another "lake'
      north of Cistern which I call the "Anchor Ranch Lake" sported 2 Greats
      and
      a single Snowy...I should  say I visited an area I had not visited in
      8-10
      years in Lee Co.  There I found what was once pretty much farmland now
      much
      reduced to hobby farms with the aforementioned Bermuda grass that Brent
      speaks of spreading like a cancer throughout and mowed to boot.
      Over-all,
      the most commonly encountered heron/egret I encountered today was Green
      Heron.

      . I have rec'd 11 posts thus far on Cattle Egrets from around the
      state...I
      should have asked that same info be forwarded also to Brent, and Mike
      Parkes who are plotting the status of these critters state wide. Of the
      11
      responses I have had so far, ...all have allowed to having seen less
      than
      100 birds as a group anywhere this spring and several especially up in
      the
      DFW/McKinney Texas area attest to having seen none at all!....It is sort
      of
      important that any breeding colonies be noted to Texbird, the
      individuals
      mentioned above or even to me so I can relay that info........They may
      be
      proving to be an indicator species for some otherwise serious problem we
      are seeing in the state.........And just to set the record straight, no,
      no, no I do not wish to see the species eradicated from Texas, are you
      nuts?.  Heck I think it is fine to have 10-12 of these invaders around
      somewhere at least for the chasers/listers out there.
       
      Brush

      For answers to questions about this list, as well as current Texas
      Birding Links, visit the Texbirds Reference Page at
      http://www.texbirds.org

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