the news of the
VOL. 4 NO.3
Let's share a moment of silence in honor of the grand ideas that
quietly died when the Annual Meet1ng did not take place ..
Ideas are most alive when they bear the fruit of actio n. Th is requires
the pollination of people meeting, talking, getting together
and sharing their ideas. Without th is pollination of communication,
ideas become sterile, devoid of meaning, and they ultimately exp ire.
I had been particulary eager about the Annual Meeting because of
my sense that Bexar Audubon is po ised at a critical juncture. We
have a great deal of momentum now, coming off of a year which has
seen a leveling or our growth, but an expansion in terms or our
activities and goals. We have tremendous potential, but whether
we develop that potential or sl ip into mediocrity depends on how
we respond to a gnawing problem.
Our problem is that we are top-heavy. We have become overly reliant
on a few individuals to provide the energy. Not that there is
anything wrong with Bexar Audubon leadership. Far from it. But just
as a tree without sufficiently developed roots will topple, so will
we. We need more input from the grass-roots level. That is why I was
looking forward so to the Annual Meeting. That is where we have
gotten much root-level input in the past two years, and I am afraid we
will lose valuable momentum th is year without it.
So don~t let your ideas die! Share them with your leadership. And
be persistent! People sometimes get the notion that we have our own
ways of doing things and we don't want to heR.[ about any others.
I don't feel that way. The general membership ~serves to be heard.
The newsletter is also a potential forum for the type of pollination
I referred to above. But we have a problem there, also. We
need an editor. Char Mi ller and Judy Lipsett did an exce llent job
the last few months, and set a new standard for production, but •
other commitments (two young children, mainly) prevented them
from continuino as co-erlitors. So Susan and I wi ll ed it in the interim.
But as you see, we need a real ed itor; we need an ed itor who is not
part of the "top brass", someone who can exercise some autonomy
and independence in making decisions about what goes into and
stays out of the newsletter, someone who can maKe sure that we
continue to get that cross-po llin ation o.f ideas from other sources
which has made us such a vital organ ization. Otherwise, I fear we
will become just another group of show-and-tell nature lovers. I
don't want that to happen. So if there's anyone out there man- o r
woman-enough to be a newsletter ed itor, give me a ca ll. I'd like
to kick around some ideas with you.
Kevin Coryell, student at Boerne High School, rece ived an award
from Bexar Audubon at the Boerne Science Fair this past January.
Kevin's project dealt with the contribution of different types of
leaf litter to the acid ification of water systems. Kevm compared
the pH of water after passing through leaf litter of different central
Texas tree species. His report stressed the importance of natural
processes in influencing aquatic ecosystems. Susan Rust made the
presentation on behalf of Bexar Audubon. The award consisted of a
certificate of merit and a year's subscript ion to BEXAR TRACKS.
BEXAR AUDUBON SOCIE1Y
P 0. BOX 6084 · SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS 78209
Thursday, March 20
'<'.The Ants are Coming"
You may remember that last year's presentation on Fire Ants, to be
given by Mr. Mark Trostle, Fire Ant Specialist for the Texas Department
of Agriculture, was pre-empted by Dr. Merlin Tuttle's bats.
Well , this month you'l l have a second chance to learn about these
potent insect pests- just in time for their emergence this spring!
Imported Fire Ants arrived in Texas in 1956. Less than 10 years
later, the populations had spread into nearly every county of the
Gu If Coast and were showing no signs of slowing down. The advancing
front reached Bexar County in the late 70s and is continuing to
spread north and west. As is the case with most exotics, they upset
the ecological ba lance by outcom.peting native species. Perhaps
we'd be less aware of this phenomenon if it weren't for the fact that
these unwelcome creatures so often interact unpleasantly with man.
Since most of us have probably had one or more run-ins with these
li tt le im ports, and might welcome some insights into their history
and ecoloov. as well as some clues about how to discouraqe them.
th is month's prog ram will be of special interest. You've heard many
ads and seen lots of products on the market guaranteed to rid your
yard of the ants, bu t how many rea lly work? Maybe you have some
ideas that have worked in your own garden, and you'd be willing to
share the secret. Why not plan to bring both questions and answers
to this month's meeting.
.. and, why not come a little early and sign up for some of the
outings, read the conservat ion bu ll et in board and qet to know other
members and guests. ' -
It's almost that time again. A celebration of the world of plants;
the sights and smells of Texas in the spring; a chance to share the
camaraderie of all who love the li ving world; and a time jo tell
others about the goals of Audubon.
Our booth was so much fun last year that we plan to set it up
again this year. Many hands make light work, so how about contributing
your hands and an hour or two of your time to make this the
best eve r. All that is requ ired is manning the booth for a little
while on Saturday or Sunday, Apri l 12 or 13, and passing out inform
ation about Bexar Audubon.
Call Nancy Kent (824-8199) to get your name on the volunteer list
or be sure to sign up at the March meeting."
MAJOR WETLANDS DONATION- Ducks Unlimited, Inc. has raised
over $1.4 million to acquire wetlands for the National Wildlife Refuge
System. This is the largest single cash donation ever made to the
Migratory Bird Conservation Fund. This fund is used by USFWS to
buy wetlands and other waterfowl habitat.
CORPS PROJECT THREATENS GALVESTON BAY- The Army
Corps of Engineers is about to release a plan for the expansion
of the Houston & Galveston ship channels. Many environmentalists
believe this plan, if implemented, could destroy the
Galveston bay fishery. (read details on Conservation bulletin
board and please express your views.)
BAD NEWS- BLACK-FOOTED FERRETS- The combination of
distemper raging through both the captive and wild ferret
populations plus an outbreak of plague reducing the prairie dog
populations on which the ferrets feed, may spell the end of '
this species. It is believed that only 6 individuals remain
in the wild.
GOOD NEWS- WHOOPING CRANES- Not only did all94of'our'
whooping cranes return this winter, but 2 have moved out of
the confines of Aransas NWR, and 3 additional birds were re- ~
ported to have been sighted near Uvalde. (This Uvalde sighting
was unconfirmed as of news time.)
FARM ACT PASSED- The 1985 Farm Act was signed into law. It
contains major conservation measures including the swampbuster,
sodbuster, conservation reserve and conservation easement
provisions. (Read details on conservation table at the
SIXTY SPECIES ADDED TO ENDANGERED LIST- Of these 60
species added to the endangered species list in 1985, 58 are
found in the US. The US list now totals 883! Among the additions
were: interior least tern, Carolina & Virginia northern
flying squirrels, and the Conasauga logperch.
Condor Capture Capped
Removal of the last six California condors
from the wild ground to a halt with a
January 9 court order. The court action was
sought by the National Audubon Society,
until recently the only major environmental
group still supporting the controver-sial
Condor Recovery Program. A full-scale
hearing is now in the offing. Meanwhile US
Fish & Wildlife Service condor-catchers
have been recalled from the mountains. The
restraining order came too late for one
female condor taken from a nest in Santa
Barbara. The condor, one-half of the last
known breeding pair in the wild, was found
suffering from shotgun wounds and lead
poisoning, the result of eating game felled
by lead bullets. The San Francisco Chronicle
reports scientists are monitoring the
weak and malnourished condor with Xrays
"to determine when it will be safe to
resume feeding it."
A MUST conference for those who are really concerned about the
state of wildlife conservation. The events will begin at 1:30pm on
Monday, April 7, and conclude Tuesday afternoon. The list of speakers
is formidable and includes Tom Lovejoy, Russell Mittermeier,
Fred Gel bach, Garry Mauro, and a host of others. Topics to be covered
include environmental ethics, po11cy makmg, economiCS and
status reports on wild cats, migratory birds, sea turtles, bats,
fishes, etc. For further information call Susan Rust, 826-4698, or
Campbell Read, 214-692-2456.
For the third year, Bexar Audubon will be participating in the
National Audubon Society's annual major fundraiser this spring.
Contributions to the event are tax-deductible and the proceeds are
split evenly between the Regional Office and our Chapter. We will
use our half primarily to continue our community education efforts
such as the Audubon Adventures classroom sponsorships.
WHAT'S A BIRDATHON?
It is similar to a walkathon or jogathon except the focus is
birds. You can participate either as a spunsor or a counter, and
everyone is encouraged to recruit additional sponsors from among
your neighbors, friends, strangers on the street, people in line
in the grocery store- just anyone who might be willing to support
As a sponsor you pledge a certain amount per species seen by
the counter of you choice from dawn to dusk of one day (on the last
weekend of April or the first weekend of May). For example if you
sponsor Billy Birder for 10 cents/spec1es and he sees 75 species
on his spotting day, your tax-deductible donation would be $7.50.
Sponsors may stipulate a maximum pledge amount or give a straight
donation, if they wish. Pledges are collected from the sponsors
during the week following the event. In this game, its fun to be
competitive and pit YOUR counter against the others and then go
out with him and be a helper, so he doesn't miss something.
As a counter you're out to make the most for your sponsors, so
it's up early and out late, to spot as many species as you can.
It's fun to have some or all of your sponsors along to help.
Everyone can be involved and have a great time. No expertise
is required, just the spirit of fun and a will to help with our
Grand prizes are awarded for the person who raises the most
money, gets the most sponsors, sees the most species, and a special
prize for the novice who spots the most birds. Prizes are also
awarded to each participant who raises $100.00 or more.
TO PARTICIPATE just mail in this form before April 4 to: BYRON STONE, 4614 Chedder, SA, TX 78229.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
_____ I would like to be a sponsor. Please let me know who the counters are:
__ I would like to be a counter. Please send me the forms I need.
__ I need a form to record the sponsors I am recruit;ng.
(Print Name) ____________________________________________________________________________ __
(Address) ________________________________________________________ _ (Zip)------------------
(Office phone) (Home phonel -------------------------------
WHOOPING CRANES UP CLOSE ... (Saturday, March 8, Stu &
Nettie Birnbaum, 697-8093) This is always an exciting trip. It provides
a chance to get close to these beautiful birds and a number of
other coastal species by boat. Participants will depart San Antonio at
7:30am to be sure to be at the boat for its 1:00 departure. The trip
takes 4 hours and afterward participants have the option of staying
!he night in the Rockport area or return ing to San Antonio. The cost
of the boat is $14.00. There is a 20 person limit to this BAS outing and
1t IS nearly full, so 1f you haven 't gotten your reservation in
already, call immediately.
CHAPARRAL WMA ... (Saturday, March 15, Holly Morgan,
496-6556/ 226-5544) Here's your chance to see the TEXAS WILD exhibit
live! The wildlife management area is situated about 100 miles
south of San Antonio, and preserves a wonderful example of the
south Texas thorn-scrub habitat type. In addition, a number of protected
and excitino Texas animals are found there in abundance.
Among them, the Texas desert tortise, horned lizard, java /ina, jackrabbit,
roadrunner, etc. By this time of year the wil dflowers shou ld be
prime, so be sure to bring your camera. The tr ip will depart SA at 8:00
am from Witte Museum parking lot, 3801 Broadway, and participants
will be back by 5:00 p.m .
ZEN OF BIRDING ... (Sunday, March 16, Byron Stone, 699-1971)
No experience needed; hightened awareness is the reward. When
the birder is ready the birds will come.
SANDYLANDS BURN ... This turned out to be a very special weekend
. Everyone made his way to the Beaumont area Friday evening,
and we all convened at the preserve at 9:00 on a pleasant, foggy
Saturday. Preserve manager, Ike McWhorter, took us to the burn site
and explained the equipment and 'game plan '. We worked in two
teams setting the lines of fire and monitoring its progress. The
burning was being done as part of a longleaf pine restoration project,
and everyone learned lots about smoke, flames, piney woods,
and fire ecology. The weather was perfect, as was the burn. We successfully
completed over 50 acres, and the last embers were extinguished
as the sun set. Bathing , eating and a little stargazing capped
the day. We all felt we'd already had enough 'campfire ' for one day,
so retired early. Sunday, after a wonderful taco breakfast, and
brief introduction to the southern section of the preserve, Ike
toured us through some areas which had been burned in previous
years so that we could see what 'our' area would look like in the
future . We returned to SA feeling that we'd accompl ished something
BRAZORIA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE OPEN HOUSE ... . It
was a cool, though pleasant day when we met the Collins in Clute
to accompany us to the refuge. The Coll ins are members of the
Brazosport Birders, and know the hot spots of the Freeport area
very well. There were a fair number of like-minded fo lks at the
refuge, since this is one of only 4 times all year that the refuge
is open to the public except by special permission, and the bird ing
is usually stunning. We were treated to a large flock of roseate
spoonbills demonstrating banking maneuvers, but the large numbers
of various specie9 which are usually much in evidence there
simply didn't materialize. In spite of the absence of major displays
we counted over 40 species during our brief time at the refuge,
as well as a number of non-avian animals. On the way back to SA we
stoppped by Attwater Prairie Chicken NWR, saw many additional
species, and wished that we had had more t ime.
TEXAS WILD .... It was a drizzly, cold Saturday afternoon, but
it didn't detract from the excitement of the wonderfu l new ecology
exhibit at the Witte. Holly Morgan explained how some of the effects
were created and pointed out the face lifting work on a number of
complimentary exhibits. The walk into the brush country is rea lly
amazing, and the animals are so rea li stic sometimes you don't even
see them stalking their prey. Th is is rea ll y a marvelous add 1t1on
to our natural history museum. Don't miss it.
Texas Academy of Sciences Meeting
for information call 826-4698
Whooping Crane Boat Trip (BAS outing)
Stu & Nettie Birnbaum, 697-8093
SA Audubon general meeting
7:00 p.m. , Witte Museum
Chaparral Wildlife Mgt. Area (BAS/NPS outing)
Holly Morgan , 226-5544
The Zen of Birding (BAS outing)
Byron Stone, 699-1971
Sierra Club general meeting
7:30 p.m. , Unitarian Church
BEXAR AUDUBON SOCIETY general meeting
7:30 p.m., Witte Museum Auditorium
"Fighting Fire Ants"
Mark Trostle, Texas Dept. Agriculture
25 Native Plant Society general meeting
" Importance of Mesquite in South Texas"
7:00 p.m. , SA Botanical Center
27 Bexar Audubon Board Meeting 7:30 p.m.
Marge Flandermeyer's, 6427 Wurzbach , #6
30 HAPPY EASTER!!
5-6 Open House at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge
7-8 International Wildlife Conference
SMU, Dallas - see article this newsletter
or call Susan Rust, 826-4698
9 Outings Meeting TENTATIVE
6:30 p.m. , Patty Leslie's
328 Larchmont, 824-1235
10 SA Audubon general meeting
12-13 VIVA BOTAN ICA! !
15 Sierra Club general meeting
17 BEXAR AUDUBON SOCIETY general meeting
"Bats - What Good are They?!"
Pau l Vordenbaum , Mgr. Bracken Bat Cave
18-20 North Rosillos Mts. work weekend
Jim Beall , 657-9655/Susan Rust, 826-4698
22 Native Plant Society general meeting
26 Texas Wi ldflower Day in Denton
call Patty Leslie, 824-1235
27 Clymer Prairie work day
ca ll Susan Rust, 826-4698
"Texas Wild: Ecology Illustrated,"
an in-depth exhibition
exploring the ecological diversity
of the Lone Star State, opens Jan.
31 in three of the Witte Museum's
The exhibit focuses on the
plants and animals native to
Texas, including those common to
us all and those rar~ creatures
more elusive to detection.
A light-hearted film narrated by
Texas humorist John Henry Faulk
introduces the exhibition. There is
a walk-through diorama recreating
the South Texas thornbrush teem·
ing with wildlife such as javelina,
the horned lizard and the armadillo.
A third gallery, especially
designed for children, will feature
live animals such as snakes, taran·
tulas and the Texas tortoise.
THANKS ... To Dan Moulton for his
excellent presentation on waterfowl
problems in Texas given at
our January Meeting.
.......... To all of the experts
who were willing to share their
knowledge with us at our Annual
.......... To all of the members
of Bexar AUdubon who were willing
to help with the Annual Meeting.
SOC I ElY
P 0 HOX oOH~ e SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS 7H20')
BEXAR AUDUBON SOCIETY
Officers and Board
Byron Stone, President
Susan Rust, Vice President
Russell Smith, Secretary
Thelma Nungesser, Treasurer
Outings, Jim Beall
Membership, Bruce Makuk
Conservation , Judi Kroger
Finance, Starr .Kavanagh
Education, Nora Bonsignore
Adopt-a-park , Bruce Makuk
Programs, Stu & Nelli Birnbaum ~-
U. S. POSTAGE
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
Permit No. 590
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