VOL. 4 NO.2
Conservation Notes .....
DIAN FOSSE MURDERED - After 18
dedicated years of studying and protecting
the last population of mountain gorillas, Ms.
Fosse was found l:lrutally murdered in her
Rwanda field camp. The conservation community
has lost a committed, eloquent
spokesman for species survival. She wil l be
buried in the cemetery which she built for
the animals she worked so hard to protect.
ALL AMERICAN PIPELINE - In an historic
hearing held last month by the Texas
Railroad Commission, the testimony was
overwhelming against construction of that
section of the hot oil pipeline which is to
cross the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone.
Unfortunately, the pipeline company is
within the limit of the law in going ahead
with the construction. It is clear that the
activities of the pipeline company in Texas
have been highly questionable, and that
potential contamination of the Aquifer is a
very real threat. It can only be hoped that
sufficient pressure can be brought to bear
to convince the company to, at the very
least, re-route the pipeline. Letters to the
Railroad Commission are definitely in
order. Please write.
DEGRADABLE PLASTIC- Although degradable
plastic has been available for
some time, it is not being used because of
the fear that the demand would be so great
as to create a market for only degradable
plastic. In 8 states, however, degradable
plastic is required for six-pack carriers.
STATE CONSERVATION CORPS -
Texas has established a year round state
conservation corps (TCC). If you would be
interested in becoming a volunteer educator
to lead field trips, teach canoeing, put
together slide presentations, or in a variety
of other ways introduce disadvantaged
young people to the natural wonders of
Texas, please contact Madge Gatlin, TCC
Board, 312 Canyon Ridge Dr. , Richardson,
CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION-
Austin, Texas, is now the location
of the Gulf Coast States Regional Office
of CEE. The group is one of America's
leading advocates for the protection and
enlightened use of the ocean and its marine
life. They will be working on public education
programs regarding the State's sea
turtle populations and on promoting the
conservation of our coastal resources.
BEXAR AUDUBON SOCIETY
P 0. BOX 60H4 • SAN ANTONIO, TEXA~ 7H209
' FEBRUARY 1986
Bexar Audubon Annual Meeting
Come one, come al l to BAS's Annual
Meeting I It's not too late if you send in your
pre-registration form now (dead line: Saturday,
February 8-we need 50 part icipants
by that date or no meeting).
LOCATION: Texas Lions Camp, Kerrville.
Allow about 11/2 hours. See map.
REGISTRATION: From 11:00 till noon in
the camp parking lot. "Day-on ly" participation
is also possible, but please notify Susan
Rust in advance.
MEALS: Provided only for those who register.
You may bring your own food if you
WHAT TO BRING: Sack lunch for Saturday
Bedding and towels
Musical Instruments for campfire
Special "unknowns" and slides you wish to
WHAT NOT TO BRING: pets, firearms,
radios, alcoholic beverages, recreationa l
ACCOMMODATIONS: spacious, wellheated
dormitory-style build ings with central
bath areas. A huge recreation hall with
stage and corner fireplaces will be the hub
of operations. And, we are not far from the
Guadalupe River and Kerr Wildlife Management
Area for fie ld work.
PROGRAM: Pau l Robertson, Evolutionary
Ecologist, wi ll begin with an overview of
population bio logy: what it means, and why
it is important to those who care about conserving
our natural world. Plan to eat your
sack lunches while you listen.
Next, we carpool to Kerr WMA where we
will break into groups to experience just
how some types of census work are done.
Donnie Harmel, Wi ldlife Biologist, wi ll teach
his group some of the techn iques of determining
the populations of deer and turkeys,
whi le Floyd Potter, Herpetolog ist, will teach
his group a few of the techniques used to
gather information on populations of reptiles
We'll return to camp to hear a fascinating
presentation by Ruth Buskirk, Behavioral
Ecologist, on the development of social
structure in popu lations. Her model is based
on her intense study of spiders!
The evening social wi ll feature the sharing
of items and information of particu lar interest
to you. If you want to stump others
with someth ing unusual you've collected, or
you want to know more about something
you've found, or you want to share some Interest
ing news or some slides of Bexar
Audubon Outings, or .if you have i n~ormation
about conservat ion, natural history,
other organizations, etc., plan to bring it
with you. We'll have lots of tab les set up for
displays, and also provide the snacks, wine
and punch. This is a real opportunity to exchange
information. PLEASE PARTICIPATE.
Also, please let Nettie, Stu or Judy
know how much space you might need 697-
This will lead into an excellent dinner, followed
by a 'State of the Chapter' meeting.
Then, an unusual presentation by Social
Demographer, Richard Harris. We usually
focus on modern man's adverse impact on
our natural environment, but this time Dr.
Harris wil l be looking at the effect of man's
population growth on his own future. A different
perspective, which may surprise you.
The Saturday events will conclude with
campfire activities. Hopefully, some of you
will bring musical instruments and the late
hours will be filled with song.
On Sunday, it's up before the birds to help
Biologist Jim O'Donnell set up the mist nets
in hope of trapping some sleepy, feathered
friends. Jim will explain bird censusing
techniques and why they are important,
and we wil l get a chance for some up-close
looks at the critters.
After a hearty breakfast, Zoologist Rex
Wahl will let us 'run' the trap lines he'd set
out the night before to see what small
mammals may have wandered in. He'll explain
the techniques and problems in studying
these populations, and introduce you to
some of the species you might be likely to
find in the Hill Country.
Then we'll shift gears completely and
spend the rest of the day learning about the
floral characteristics of our natural world.
We'l l carpool down to the UTSA campus
where Bill Van Auken, Community Ecologist,
will discuss aspects of plant populations
while we eat lunch.
After lunch we'll break into groups for
some experience in censusing the herbaceous
components of the environment
with Horticulturist Patty Leslie, or the
woody components of plant communities
with Conservation Ecologist Susan Rust.
At the conclusion of this year's annual
meeting, we believe you will all have new
perspectives, appreciation and understanding
of the world around you . That, after all ,
is the whole idea!
..........................................................•..•................................ ~ ··········
PRE-REGISTRATION FORM ~'-"
Please return no later than January 31 , 1986 EVENTS:
Name: Indicate number of participants:
<Zip> <Phone f>
Cost Each Total
Make checks payable to: BEXAR AUDUBON SOCIETY
Return this form to: Susan P. Rust, 168 Chevy Chase, SA, TX 78209.
For further information call (512) 826-4698. (7:00-8:00 a.m. is a good
time to catch me, otherwise just be persistent.)
Introduction to Populations
Deer/game bird census
Small Mammal Census
I ~" / ~
d/ d, ~. ,
Kerrville A ~) "'->\
TEXAS LIONS CAMP \ ' ·. \ .
South of Kerrville ..,d-/......-- \\
.. /_ , ,..-'-
Approx. 3 miles ~ _: \ \
i27 "'__.....---"': <7
Comfort s an Anto nl. o
BEXAR AUDUBON SOCIETY
Byron Stone, President ... .. ....... . ... 699-1971
Bruce Makuk, Membership ....... . . . ... 696-2392
Judi .Lipsett, Char Miller, Editors . ... . . . 821-5675
Jim Beall, Outings .. . ...... . ........... 657-9655
Rock Creek Development
Dan Moulton's presentation at January's
meeting painted a disturbing picture of a
trends towards destruction of this nation's
wetlands. We now have an opportunity to
aid in the reversal of this trend. The Rock
Creek Area of San Antonio is being considered
for develooment for retail , hotel. and
office facilities. This site is characterized by
three wetland areas connected by a stream ,
cattail / rush marshes oaks and other, wetland
All ponds on this site have fish in them and
are used by herons and other wading birdS.
If approved , the 4.3 acres would be reduced
to two ponds total ing, 1.1 acre. The
U.S. Department of the Interior, after conducting
a study, does not feel that this pond
construction would be of adequate quantity
or quality to offset the impact associated
with this project.
From San Antonio, exit
at Comfort to Hwy. 27
Letters voicing your objection to this wetland
destruction may be addressed to:
Col. A.J . Genetti, Jr.
U.S. Army Corp of Engineers
P.O. Box 17300
Fort Worth . Texas 76102-0300
February is a month that I await with great
anticipation. Much of it is cold and dreary,
and 1he post-holiday blues linger; still I am
eager for February's arrival. It is a time of reawakening.
Take time this month to see how
nature is stirring. First the Redbuds bloom,
followed closely by fragrant Mountain
Laurel. White-winged Doves are well into
their courtship activities, and the House
Finches are singing gaily. But what really
turns me on about February is that the Purple
Not many birds provide the continuous
pleasure and entertainment that Purple
Martins do. To have these friendly birds
nesting in one's yard, constantly singing
their pleasant, almost conversational song
while performing splendid aerial antics high
above, is a rapturous experience. Now is the
time to prepare for them. It's not hard to attract
these birds to your yard, but certain
conditions must be met.
1. Time-Feb. 15 is plenty early. Any earlier
and you will give the House Sparrows an insurmountable
head start. April1 is the latest
you should put up a martin house in our
2. Space- martins require their house to be
at least 12 feet off the ground (14 is better) in
the most open space you can provide. Nearby
telephone wjres or tree branches from
whence a squirrel could leap will cause the
birds to look elsewhere for a home.
3. Community - Purple Martins are communal
nesters; their motto seems to be "the
more the merrier." This is why their houses
always look like miniature apartment
houses; it's not done just to look cute. Unlike
almost any other birds (except House
Sparrows), more houses in your yard attract
more martins in a geometric ratio, i.e. , two
houses attract more than twice as many
birds as one house alone.
4. Dimensions - almost all Purple Martin
houses fit the bill , but just in case: each
apartment should be a 6-inch cube (a little
smaller is o.k.). and the entrance hole
should be 21;, inches in diameter, 1 inch off
Now get thee out and erect a martin house!
The above are the essentials; following are
a couple of conveniences:
a) a pole which raises and lowers straight
up and down makes it possible to inspect
the house (and remove incipient sparrow
nests) after the martins have moved in. I
have seen fancy rope and pully affairs, but I
accomplished the same thing by using an afoot
section of 1 y, inch diameter metal fencing
pipe nested inside a 7-foot section of
1% inch-diameter pipe.
b) a roof which comes off makes it much
easier to clean out the house at the end of
One last thing- the martins leave in late
July. After you have thoroughly mourned
their departure, take the house down, clean
it out, dust it lightly with Sevin dust. and
store it until next year. Leaving it up will only
result in (guess) House Sparrow nests! For
more info about these great birds, read R.B.
Layton's The Purple Martin.
The other great thing about February is
that our annual meeting is this month! It
looks like it's going to be another great one.
1 hope to see many of you there.
In March, look for the Zen of Birding toreturn.
Also. I hope to share with you some of
the insight I have gained regarding nurturing
native plants in the Arizona Ash desert.
THANK YOU to Dan Moulton. Wetlands
specialist. for sharing his knowledge on
problems for waterfowl at our January
Since 1975 there has been public
recognition of a growing problem in
Comal County. The principle focus is a
25-mile section of the Guadalupe
River, from Canyon Dam to New
Braunfels. This scenic stretch of waterway
has a swift current. numerous rapids,
and a road running alongside
most of its length. Campgrounds and
"float-craft" rental agencies have increased
public accessibility. This
combination of conditions is very
attractive to many people,so many
people, in fact, that the heavy visitation
has begun to ruin the resource.
Studies have been done and developments
proposed to manage river use
but every plan , has faltered for lack
of funds. Citizens groups established
in Comal County and the City of New
Braunfels have been pressing for a
comprehensive rivers action plan . The
present Rivers Oversight Committee
was formed in March 1985, and is composed
of twelve members representing
a diverse range of interests.
Most of its work still lies ahead. The
committee has studied the issues and
has established priorities. Previous
studies and reports are being reviewed
and a fresh approach to funding is
being considered. The best prospect
appears to be the creation of a nonprofit
organization, the express purpose
of which would be the development
and implementation of a River
Management Plan. If such an entity is
formed, it will need your support to
achieve a cleaner, safer. less crowded
ARANSAS WILDLIFE REFUGE (March 8-9.
Stu Birnbaum, 697-8093) . Join us for a visit
to the Whooping Cranes and the Refuge.
CHAPPARAL WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT
AREA (March 15, Holly Morgan, h- 496-
6556, w- 226-5544) Join us for a joint
Native Plant Society/BAS outing to see the
South Texas Brush country. The Chapparal
Wildlife Management Area is located near
Dilley, 100 miles southwest of San Antonio.
We plan to carpool, leaving San Antonio
around 8:00a.m., and returning by 5:00p.m.
Bring a sack lunch and comfortable walking
THE ZEN OF BIRDING ... RETURNS (March
16, Byron Stone, 699-1971) What is the
sound of one wing flapping?
BAS needs someoneto puttogether"Bexar
Tracks" once a month. The job takes about
5-6 hours. The current editors will teach you
everything you need to know, and there are
lots of helpers. The job will be easiest for
someone with typing skills and access to a
word processor or computer. No writing is
required. Please call Byron Stone (699-1971)
or Judi Lipsett (821-5675) if you have an interest
in serving BASin this capacity.
Pesticide News ....
* The TDA Committee on Pesticides
recently recommended that the state
hire two more full-time pesticide inspectors,
establish a growing season
ban on 2,4-D, extend the reach of the
Herbicide Law. and develop recertification
programs for the aerial applicators.
* Representatives of the aqricultural
chemicals industry an ci environmental/
consumer groups reached an
accord over amendments to the Federal
Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide
Act. including registration deadlines
for products currently marketed
but inadequately tested, suspension of
products being marketed under false
testing data, and better testing and
monitoring of inert (but toxic) ingredients
in pesticide products. * The Texas Center for Rural Studies
and the Austin Sierra Club convinced
the Austin PARD to implement a pilot
pest management program in several
Austin parks. This model program
could demonstrate a way to greatly
reduce pesticide usage in Texas recreational
1-2 Open House at Brazoria NWR (BAS outing) Thelma Nungesser/Nancy
4 Demonstration Controlled Prairie Burn. For information call 224-8774
8 Walk through "Texas Wild" (BAS/NPS outing) Holly Morgan, 226-5544
13 SA Audubon General Meeting)Witte Museum, 7:00p.m.
16 Birding with Byron (BAS outing),TENTATIVE, Byron Stone, 699-1971
18 Sierra Club general meeting>Unitarian Church, 7:30 p.m.
22-23 BEXAR AUDUBON ANNUAL MEETING!!! Kerrville Get your reservations
25 Native Plant Society General Meeting,SA Botanical Center, 7:00 p.m.
"Attracting Wildlife to the Garden"
7-8 Texas Academy of Sciences Meeting. For information call 826-4698
8 Whooping Crane Boat Trip (BAS outing). Stu & Nettie Birnbaum,
13 SA Audubon General Meeting
15 Chaparral Wildlife Mgt. Ar.ea (BAS/NPS outing). Holly Morgan, 226-5544
16 Birding with Byron (BAS outing). Byron Stone, 699-1971
18 Sierra Club General Meeting
20 BEXAR AUDUBON SOCIETY GENERAL MEETING "Fighting F ~reAnts"
Mark Trostle, Texas Dept. Agriculture ~
25 Native Plant Society General Meeting:"lmportance of M squite in South
21 Bexar Audubon Board Meeting,7:30 p.m. Susan Rust's, 168 Chevy Chase
30 HAPPY EASTER!!
PO. BOX 6084 • SAN Al'ITONIO, TF.XA" 78209
U. S. POSTAGE
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
Permit No. 590
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