Whether you are looking for a field trip, a nature talk, exhibit or more, you will find it at BirdFest Texoma, set for May 3 - 5, at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge. In this week’s post you will find details of events and activities planned for Day One of the festival. You can register online, at birdfesttexoma.org, OR by downloading and printing a paper form to complete and mail, OR pick up a form in the Nature Nook at the Refuge. We are encouraging registration for the free events, as well as for paid events, to guarantee a place in the events of your choice.
Start the day at the 7:30 - 9 am - Bird Banding, with Dr. Doug Wood. Get to see songbirds up close and personal! Dr. Wood and his assistants will measure, weigh and record pertinent statistics on birds before applying the identification band and releasing them, at the Refuge. You may even get to listen to a bird's heartbeats! Great for close-up photos! No registration needed for this free come and go event.
Enjoy a morning walk or hike on one of these field trips:
8 am - Noon- Birding Hagerman NWR (A) - Bird one of the trails at Hagerman NWR with Master Naturalist Jack Chiles. Hagerman NWR has a variety of habitat types that are used by over 270 species of birds. While the auto tour route provides ready access to several of these habitats, woodland birds are not well represented on the tour route. Caravan will depart from Visitor Center for designated trail. Pick up an HNWR Bird Check List to take along. This walk will visit areas not accessible by car, focusing on woodland and prairie birds. Exact location(s) to be visited will depend on weather and on the birds found on the refuge in the previous few days. Walking on well-maintained trails with only moderate change in elevation, about 2 miles total distance. Cost of field trip, $10 (FOH members)/$15 (non-members); advance registration required; limited to 12 participants.
8 am - Noon - Birding Denison Dam, with Sandy Beach, local birding expert. Caravan will depart from the Visitor Center at 8:00 am and return to the Center by 12:00 noon. As some hiking will be on loose rocks down by the creek, good hiking shoes or boots are recommended; bring water and binoculars. Should see gulls and terns below the dam, and possibly Osprey and Bald Eagles will still be feeding there although it may be too late in spring. Baltimore Orioles, Orchard Orioles, and Warbling Vireos should be beginning to nest in the picnic area; expect Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Western Kingbirds, and Eastern Kingbirds, and we may see Red-headed Woodpeckers and Pileated Woodpeckers too. Migrant Warblers and Vireos are often in the trees in the campground. Cost of field trip - $10 (FOH members)/$15 (non-members); advance registration required; limited to 12 participants.
9 – 10 am - Wildflower Walk with Dr. Hugh Garnett, wildflower enthusiast and amateur expert. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along roadsides and or trail at the Refuge to view the spring show of North Texas wildflowers in bloom, as well as any wildlife attracted to them! Walkers will meet at the Visitor Center. Sturdy shoes, water, and sun hats are recommended for this easy walk. May want to bring cameras and pocket field guide. Cost of field trip - $10 (FOH members)/$15 (non-members); advance registration required; limited to 12 participants.
9:30 – 10:30 am - Roll and Stroll Harris Creek Trail - Explore the newly completed handicapped-accessible trail, a loop of Harris Creek Trail, with Gailon Brehm, expert amateur birder and naturalist. Expect to see woodland birds, native trees and wildflowers along the trail. A photo blind is adjacent to the trail for camera enthusiasts. Meet at the Visitor Center and walk to the trail-head; participants who are mobility-impaired may park at the trail head and join the group there. Cost of field trip - $10 (FOH members)/$15 (non-members); advance registration required; limited to 12 participants
OR – get aboard the Refuge van or the C&E Express Tram for a tour:
10 am - Noon - Refuge Tour by Van, with Refuge Manager, Kathy Whaley. Learn history of the Refuge and of the area, Refuge operations and view wildlife as you travel into areas of Refuge closed to private vehicles on this two hour tour. Binoculars welcome. Free; advance registration required due to limited seating – maximum 12 participants.
11 am – 12:30 pm AND 2 – 3:30 pm - Shorebird Tram Tour, with Rick Cantu Refuge Assistant Manager. Enjoy a clear view with binoculars or camera on this open, all electric tram as you glide along Wildlife Drive and the Pad roads to view the shorebirds migrating through the Refuge. Dress for the weather. Free, advance registration required due to limited seating – maximum 9 participants.
Look, Listen and Learn! Seminars, talks and workshop:
9:30 am - Noon - Beginning Birding, with Dick Malnory, local birder. Learn key bird identification tips, how to choose and use optics and field guides, and more. Free; advance registration requested. Meet in the Audio/Visual Classroom, FOH Center – maximum 30 participants.
10 am - Noon Rainwater Harvesting, with Dotty Woodson. Texas Agrilife water expert Woodson will teach practical ways to save and use this valuable resource as well as cover the why's and how's of wise water use for the home landscape. Visitor Center; Meeting Room B. Free; advance registration requested – maximum 50 participants.
1 pm - Bird Diversity, with Mark Klym, Texas Parks and Wildlife Information Specialist for Wildlife Diversity and coordinator of Texas Wildscapes and the Texas Hummingbird Roundup for TPWD. Visitor Center; Meeting Room A. Free; advance registration requested - maximum 50 participants.
2:30 pm - Attracting Birds & Butterflies, with Gary Clark, nature columnist. Just in time for spring and summer, ways to make your home landscape attractive to these winged visitors with bird-friendly plants, water features and more. Visitor Center Meeting Room A. Free; advance registration requested – maximum 50 participants.
1 - 4 pm - Advanced Nature Photography Workshop with Kathy Adams Clark. Take the next step in your photography with this workshop led by former president of NANPA. Kathy will also lead a field trip on Saturday, May 4 (requires additional registration). Bring your camera, manual and your questions! Cost of workshop - $30 (FOH members)/$35 (non- members). Visitor Center Meeting Room B, advance registration required – maximum 50 participants.
Showtime from 1 - 4 pm! Nature Videos - continuous showing of selected films, free; Audio Visual Classroom.
PLUS – Food and shopping! Nature-themed merchandise from retail vendors, 9 am – 4 pm; food vendor hours 7 am – 4 pm. Free coffee in the FOH Center all day.
And that’s just the events for Day One of BirdFest Texoma – next week – Saturday, May 4 event details – stay tuned!