Registration open for 2018 Birding on the Border program

April 23-26 program will include sites in Kinney, Val Verde counties

Writer: Paul Schattenberg, 210-859-5752, paschattenberg@ag.tamu.edu

Contact: Dr. Maureen Frank, 830-278-9151, mgfrank@tamu.edu

BRACKETTVILLE – The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will present a Birding the Border program from April 23-26 of next year at locations in Kinney and Val Verde counties.

The program will begin at 5:30 p.m. April 23 and conclude at 10:30 p.m. April 26. Birding locations will include sites at Fort Clark Springs, private ranches, Kickapoo Caverns State Park and San Felipe Creek.

Fort Clark Springs will be one of the Birding on the Border program sites. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

“The goal of this program is to provide attendees with a unique birding experience in southwest Texas that goes beyond a typical birding tour,” said Dr. Maureen Frank, AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist, Uvalde. “It will feature both public and private lands, and educational talks about bird ecology and management.”

Frank said while she expects many experienced birders to be interested in this program, birders of all experience levels are welcome to participate.

Frank said “target birds” for the program include the golden-cheeked warbler, black-capped vireo, white-collared seedeater, gray vireo, green jay, great kiskadee, varied bunting, black-tailed gnatcatcher, elf owl and three species of kingfishers.

During the program, Frank will also provide educational presentation on migration phenology, building a native bird habitat and preventing invasive species, and basic bird biology, habitat and behavior.

Lodging for four nights and meals will be provided, as well as transportation to the various birding sites. All nights will be at the same lodging locale in Fort Clark Springs.

The program cost is $625 per person, $525 if sharing a room and $425 if there’s no lodging. To register online, go to https://birdingtheborder-tamu.ticketleap.com/bb2018/.

“The field trips will include easy to moderate terrain and a combination of walks, short to moderate hikes and roadside birding,” Frank said.

Upon arrival, participants will have a meal at historic Fort Clark Springs in Brackettville where they will learn about the area and the bird species they can expect to encounter.

“We will spend time birding at Fort Clark Springs, where dozens of species of migratory birds pass through on their way north,” Frank said. “We will also have the opportunity to bird at a local private ranch with golden-cheeked warbler habitat, then enjoy a catered picnic at Kickapoo Ranch State Park in time to watch the bats depart and listen for owls.”

Attendees will spend one morning at a local ranch known for its populations of painted buntings, northern bobwhite and orioles. Lunch on that day will be in the native plant garden at the ranch and will include a program on habitat management for songbirds.

Frank said the birding experience will also provide numerous photographic opportunities for those who would like to bring cameras.

“April in southwest Texas usually offers beautiful weather with warm days and mild nights, but rain is possible,” Frank said. “Please check the weather forecast before your trip and pack accordingly.”

To see an event flyer, go to http://counties.agrilife.org/kinney/files/2017/07/Flyer.pdf .

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