Photos courtesy – Erich Neupert
An impressive percentage of our BPTMN tribe volunteers at the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center which has taken positive measures to keep the center in operation and the volunteers safe through modified schedules.
As of June 18 Raptor Center rehab has treated 275 birds.
Now here is the fun. Who can tell us what the abbreviations stand for.
HINT that will help: https://bpraptorcenter.org/
Under Rescue – Raptor Med
Sixty-three have been released but many are in flight activity areas learning to catch their own prey, which is the requirement for releasing.
Release rate? 80 percent.
There is an old song; How High is the Water Mama? Well, Al Baume and Bob Milne were at Rowlett Creek in Connemara to verify. Vines, stuff and part of a bridge came through.
Find out more –
Laurie has been staying home for the past couple of weeks and will be careful on the way north, to New Hampshire. We hope the stops along the way will be safe, and she has masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer with her.
Till we see her again she gave us some wonderful Hagerman pics.
Happy Summer Solstice, everyone – Laurie
Bird birthing updates, Duane’s cool labyrinth, news from a New Mexico naturalist you may know and grass and forbs contest ready for viewing. Keep the info coming folks. You are making many people very happy by sharing your time in nature.
Terry Comingore – Proud Grandpa of Heron Chicks
Jim Dulian – Backyard Heron Nest
Greg Hayden – Greetings from New Mexico
Duane Mortenson – Lockdown in Backyard Oasis
Clyde Camp WildLife Blog
Jim Dulian’s – Grasses & Forb Quiz
The response and number of hits to the site from our members has been remarkable, y’all. Keep the experiences and joys coming and remember that if you have some needs we can meet, give us a holler. What you have continued to accomplish during this unfamiliar part of our journeys is amazing!
Texas Master Naturalists,
A small victim of this current quarantine and shelter in place is the missed opportunities of spring. So many of our Master Naturalist volunteer service projects literally take bloom during these spring months each year – we have a new crop of trainees joining in some chapters, plant sales and plantings of native butterfly gardens, youth education programs as Texas students cycle into earth sciences in the spring, bird and butterfly migrations, and so much more that isn’t able to happen in its traditional form right now!
To that end, I would like as many of you as possible to respond to this statement: “In this unprecedented moment of the pandemic, reflect upon what nature means to you and what benefits it provides you, especially in times like these.”
If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know. While this is a video exercise, if you would rather share your written thoughts, a meaningful poem or quote relevant to this task, and/or a nature photo you took, please share those as well!
Again, stay safe and healthy, and thank you for your participation in this exercise! It’ll be so nice to hear your voices and see your faces at this moment in time!
Mary Pearl Meuth
Texas Master Naturalist Program Assistant State Coordinator
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Laurie Sheppard – Rare skipper at Hagerman NWR
Dave Powell – Walking and healing his wing
Clyde Camp – Owl Blog Surprise coming through in the clutch
John Garbutt – Woodpecker wonders
Dick Zartler – Fire on the prairie is success
Deborah Canterbury – Insect “didja-knows”
Paul Napper – East Texas Live
Terry Comingore – Blue Heron update
Mikel Salsgiver: Once a Teacher…
Beverly Carpenter – It’s baby season!
Members of our BPTMN Chapter visited the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (aka BRIT) in Fort Worth. BRIT houses several herbariums (collection of dried plants), seed bank, botanical art collections, children/ adult classes, educator programs and more.
by Laurie Sheppard
May, 2017 marks two years since heavy rains caused damaging flooding at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge and other parts of north Texas. By May 10, 2015, many roads on the refuge were impassable and public access was curtailed. Ultimately, 9,000 of the refuge’s 11,320 acres were under water. It was August before the main roads were fully exposed and repairs could begin. At its worst, parts of the refuge were under as much as 24 feet of water, displacing wildlife and causing permanent changes to some habitats.
Rainfall totals along the Red River can vary greatly and periods of flood often follow seasons of drought. Such was the case starting in 2015. Three years of markedly reduced rainfall had left Lake Texoma’s conservation pool several feet below normal but spring rains filled the lake and kept on coming. The water receded in the fall, but a second closure of the refuge occurred in December, 2015 and a third in May and June, 2016.
Flooding can have a positive impact on fisheries by bringing water to areas of woody or herbaceous habitat for fish to feed and spawn. The spring floods of 2015 may have been too late for spawning, but observations by anglers seem to indicate an increase in survival by some valued species. On the other hand, some of the larger sport fish were released downstream when the Denison Dam floodgates were open for several weeks. Flooding also brings with it a large influx of sediment, filling in portions of the lake creating shallows where Carp and Gar species flourish, but also adding nutrients that fuel the microscopic plants and animals at the base of the aquatic food chain.
The deer population at Hagerman NWR appeared to move to higher ground in the summer of 2015 and then return as the waters receded. The refuge performs a deer census each fall, following the same route over multiple days, so they have decades of data with which to compare. The deer count in 2015 did not vary greatly from previous years, which was very encouraging. However, in 2016, the flooding occurred at birthing time and the number of surviving fawns identified was much lower.
Birders noticed a reduction in raptors in the winter of 2015-16. Barred Owls that had previously nested in known areas were no longer seen or heard but seem to be gradually returning. The Friends of Hagerman NWR organization has tracked Bluebird nesting for several years. Volunteers check nest boxes weekly throughout the refuge. In 2014, 272 Eastern Bluebirds fledged. Nest box monitoring was halted mid-season in 2015 when the nesting areas flooded. Some nest boxes spent weeks underwater but when access was restored volunteers saw others with new nests built on top of old nests. Only 103 fledglings were counted in 2015, and with a smaller flood in 2016, 152 bluebirds fledged.
The largest impact identified in these past two years is to hardwoods, especially oak trees, which notoriously don’t do well with prolonged “wet feet”. Many trees have died, changing the landscape, which will affect the mix of wildlife in the long term. The public responded to a plea for acorns in the fall of 2015 and thousands were planted by volunteers, but then more floods occurred. It will be a few more years before it is well known what the long term impacts will be. Change is constant but nature will prevail.