FeatherFest Events by Day –
Sunday, April 13, 2014

Details of Sunday’s events are listed below. To make it easier to plan your day, please click here to download a one-page schedule.

Festival registration and other important information are here.

Activity Levels: Easy; Moderate; Strenuous
Skill Levels:  Beginner; Intermediate; Advanced.
= Led by recognized birding and photography experts and showcase Galveston birding at its best

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North Deer Island Rookery by Boat

Price: $60
Date: Sunday, April 13
Time: 7:15am - 11:45am
Field Experts: Stennie Meadours, Sid Steffens, Elizbeth Foster, David Hanson
Bring water, snacks and jacket
Bus & Boat Trip
Activity Level: Easy
Skill Level: All

North Deer Island has 1.7 miles of protected shoreline which supports nesting habitat for the threatened Reddish Egret and 16 other bird species. This rookery is located in Galveston Bay between Tiki Island and West Galveston.

A bus will shuttle you from FF headquarters to the Galveston Harbor to board the SS Seagull II. During this fabulous boat ride to the rookery, which takes about an hour, you will hone your skills for identifying bay birds in flight: American White and Brown Pelicans, Royal, Forster’s and Caspian Terns, cormorants, gulls, plus pods of dolphins.

The SS Seagull II will drift around this protected, no-trespassing rookery, observing nesting herons, Brown Pelicans, Reddish Egrets, Roseate Spoonbills and other wading birds in their full breeding plumage. The viewing distance will be determined by the tides and prevailing winds.

The boat is a 45-passenger open air catamaran with restroom on board. The approximate time to the Island is an hour each way but you’ll enjoy looking for birds and dolphins throughout your trip. Don’t forget your jacket as it is usually windy & very cool on the boat. Although many photo ops will be available, this is not a photography trip and large cameras with tripods are not recommended.

Saving North Deer Island Bird Rookery: Texas Parks and Wildlife video

North Deer Island: Houston Audubon webpage about North Deer Island and the shoreline restoration project

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FeatherFest’s Most Wanted

Price: $60
Date: Sunday, April 13
Time: 7:30am – 12:00pm
Field Expert: Glenn Olsen
Bring water, snacks
Bus & Moderate Walk
Activity Level: Easy/Moderate
Skill Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Is there a special bird spotted this week that you didn't get to see?  This trip will seek out the "most wanted" birds of the week.  We'll search for that rare bird spotted in Lafitte's Cove or the life bird at East End Lagoon.  It will be a day of searching for the best birds in the Galveston Area! 

Targets: You name it!

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What’s Hot on Sunday

Price: $60
Date: Sunday, April 13
Time: 7:30am – 11:00am
Field Experts: Skip Almoney
Bring water, snacks
Bus & Walk
Activity Level: Moderate
Skill Level: All

This fast-paced event will visit Island sites where birding over the prior three days has been the best, recognizing that weather conditions may be different. It’s a shorter version of the ever-popular Galveston Complete Birding Sampler.

Targets: sandpipers, plovers, herons, egrets, ibis, spoonbills, gulls, terns, ducks, early migrating songbirds and much more!

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Galveston Complete Birding Sampler

Price: $60
Date: Sunday, April 13
Time: 7:45am – 1:45pm
Field Experts: Professor Dick Peake, Jim O’Donnell
Bring water, snacks, lunch
Bus & Frequent in-and-out Walk
Activity Level: Moderate
Skill Level: All

Explore the entire island on a fast-paced trip. Our local leaders know the birding spots well, and will take into account the weather, tides and what they have seen just prior to or during the festival to decide what to view and where to go. In that regard, the tour is not fixed rigidly in advance, but is more a birding adventure.

Targets: American Avocets, Black-necked Stilts, Roseate Spoonbill, sandpipers, waterfowl, prairie birds, sparrows, raptors, herons, egrets, and dowitchers. If early migrant songbirds are on the Island, these leaders will find them!

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Birding by Kayak

Price: $45
Date: Sunday, April 13
Time: 8:00am-11:00am
Field Expert: Mort Voller
Meet at the Galveston Island State Park, North side of highway (away from beach)
Activity Level: Moderate
Skill Level: All

Drive your own car to the Galveston Island State Park for an easy, delightful natural experience. Enjoy paddling in a provided kayak while slowly exploring the open lagoons and marshes of Galveston Island State Park, one of the area’s premier ecological jewels. This 2,000-acre public park offers a multitude of habitats that support a wide variety of birds: waders like herons, egrets, Roseate Spoonbills and shorebirds; the elusive resident Seaside Sparrow; and waterfowl and overhead raptors like ospreys, White-tailed Kites and Northern Harriers, looking for cotton-tailed rabbits and rats. If you have time after the event, visit the Nature Center (open Saturday & Sunday).

Guests are advised to wear sunscreen, lace-up, closed-toed shoes, and fingerless cycling gloves. Be ready to get a bit muddy, and bring a water-proof bag for your gear. No flip flops.

Kayaks are two-seaters so you will be paired with another registrant.  You will be required to wear a life jacket. If you're coming from FeatherFest HQ or downtown, please allow 30 minutes to drive to the park. Driving directions will be emailed to you and also available at the Registration Desk.

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Kevin Karlson: Birding by Impression Field Trip

Price: $65
Date: Sunday, April 13
Time: 8:00am – 12:00pm
Field Expert: Kevin Karlson
Activity Level: Easy
Skill Level: All

Birders everywhere have experienced frustration trying to identify birds that have no outstanding plumage characters or are seen under challenging conditions.  Birding by Impression provides a different approach to identification using non-changeable impressions for initial field study.  It provides a simple, yet effective foundation for beginning birders and enhances existing field skills. You can learn and practice this approach with Kevin Karlson in the field on this trip.

This trip is best paired with Birding by Impression Workshop with Kevin Karlson.

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Wintering and Migrating Shorebirds Workshop

Price: $20
Date: Sunday, April 13
Time: 8:00am – 9:00am
Expert Leader: Alice Anne O’Donell
Skill Level: All

Participants new to coastal birding and novice birders will find this workshop the perfect opportunity to learn about shorebirds. This workshop will focus on identification of wintering and migrating shorebirds seen on the Upper Texas Coast. Slides of common shorebirds found this time of year will be presented and tips on becoming a better coastal birder will be shared.

For the best experience, we suggest you combine this workshop with the Wintering and Migrating Shorebirds Field Trip

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Island Birding with Stephan Lorenz

Price: $55
Date: Sunday, April 13
Time: 8:30am – 12:30pm
Field Expert: Stephan Lorenz
Bring water, snacks
Bus & Strenuous Walk
Activity Level: Moderate
Skill Level: Intermediate/Advanced

This field trip is an opportunity for FeatherFest guests to spend time studying bird habits and identification in more depth than during other weekday events. The trip will cover selected locations on Galveston Island.

Targets: everything from possible migrant songbirds, shorebirds, herons, egrets, waterfowl, whistling ducks, Blue-winged Teal, Mottled Ducks, assorted other dabblers, raptors, terns, gulls.

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Galveston Bay Birding from the Texas City Dike

Price: $45
Date: Sunday, April 13
Time: 9:00am – 1:30pm
Field Experts: Gay York, Greg Whittaker
Bring water, snacks, lunch if over Noon hour
Bus & Frequent in-and-out Walk
Activity level: Moderate
Skill Level: All

This field trip is one of our best kept secrets! Participants in the past have been surprised at the variety of birds seen on this outing. The Texas City Dike projects approximately 5 miles into East Galveston Bay, almost to Pelican Island. The newly built recreational area along the dike is an excellent vantage point to see birds that prefer a true marine environment.

This underappreciated birding spot is an excellent location to see Eared Grebes, Common Loons and late wintering waterfowl. Along the shoreline we will look for Roseate Spoonbill, Great and Snowy Egrets, Ruddy Turnstones, various sandpipers, and other shorebirds. Out in the bay we will look for Red-breasted Mergansers, Lesser Scaup, and Ruddy Duck. We may even see a Peregrine Falcon perched on a structure or flying overhead! Rarities such as Greater Flamingo, Pacific Loon and the white morph of the Great Blue Heron have been seen here in the past.

There are colonies of Cave and Cliff Swallows nesting under several bridges. If time permits the trip will seek out one of several colonies of Monk Parakeets colonially nesting atop the power transmission towers, and perhaps an Anhinga along the freshwater canal at Highland Park.

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Wintering and Migrating Shorebirds Field Trip

Price: $30
Date: Sunday, April 13
Field Trip: 9:15am – 11:15am
Field Experts: Alice Anne O’Donell, Allen Hardee
Bring water, snacks
Bus & Walk
Activity Level: Easy
Skill Level: All

Early stage birders will find this event the perfect opportunity to learn about birding and experience the fun of FeatherFest! It is recommended that you attend the Wintering and Migrating Shorebirds Workshop beforehand, so you can take what you learned into the field.

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Early Migrant Songbirds Workshop

Price: $20
Date: Sunday, April 13
Time: 11:30am – 12:30pm
Expert Leader: Alice Anne O’Donell
Skill Level: All

Participants new to coastal birding and novice birders will find this workshop the perfect opportunity to learn about songbirds. The workshop will focus on identification of wintering and early migrating songbirds seen on the Upper Texas Coast. Slides of common songbirds found this time of year will be presented and tips on becoming a better birder will be shared. For the best experience, take in conjunction with the Early Migrant Songbirds Field Trip.

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Early Migrant Songbirds Field Trip

Price: $30
Date: Sunday, April 13
Time: 12:45pm – 2:45pm
Field Experts: Alice Anne O’Donell, Allen Hardee
Bring water, snacks
Bus & Walk
Activity Level: Easy
Skill Level: All

Early-stage birders will find this event the perfect opportunity to learn about birding and experience the fun of FeatherFest! It is recommended that you attend the Early Migrant Songbird Workshop beforehand, so you can take what you learned into the field.

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For Further Information

Email: FeatherFest@gintc.org
FeatherFest Hotline: 832.459.5533
Nature Tourism Info: 409.789.8125
Mail: Galveston FeatherFest, P.O. Box 1468
Galveston, TX 77553-1468

FeatherFest is a project of the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council which supports nature tourism and education, and promotes the value of area natural habitats.
www.GalvestonNatureTourism.org





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