Texas
Ornithological Society
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March 24-26, 2017: Colorado City Weekender
TOS is happy to announce a Colorado City Weekender this coming spring. Click for more...

If the name Colorado City has you reaching for your Texas map, then you need to sign up for this trip. Colorado City is in the western Rolling Plains, 70 miles west of Abilene on IH 20, 250 miles west of Dallas, and 275 miles northwest of Austin.

This trip will have three focal points: Lake Colorado City State Park, Maddin Prairie Preserve and to a lesser extent, Ruddick Park - all in Mitchell County. Resident birder and Lake Colorado City State Park Superintendent Kyle O’Haver will be our guide and will acquaint us with the birds of this under-birded region. Kyle’s name may be familiar to you– he used to be based in the Lower Rio Grande Valley at Estero Llano Grande State Park and World Birding Center.

Mesquite shrubland and savannah to juniper woodland and shoreline overlooking the thousands of acres of water will provide many places to search for birds in this “zipper location” where eastern and western birds meet. Cassin’s, Vesper, Black-throated, and Brewer’s meet with Field and Grasshopper Sparrows, Eastern and Western Bluebirds, Pyrrhuloxia and Northern Cardinal. Other potential birds of interest are Vermilion and Ash-throated Flycatchers along with many potential waterfowl.

Since only a few birders document anything with regularity in this under-birded spot, this trip will be a huge boost to data collection and may get you motivated to check out other under-birded areas.

Plan for a 3 p.m. arrival to take advantage of a couple hours Friday afternoon birding with Kyle at Lake Colorado City State Park. After dinner on your own, Kyle will give a talk on local birds at 7:00 p.m. at Lake Colorado City State Park’s Recreation Hall. Note: Colorado City is about a 15 minute drive from the park. After the talk, or on Saturday night, we may look and listen briefly for night birds (Great Horned Owl, Barn Owl, Common Poorwill.) There is high potential for Great Horned and Barn Owls and Common Poorwill is hit and miss.

Saturday morning, (sunrise at 7:30) we will visit the Maddin Prairie Preserve, an 1,114 acre prairie owned and managed by the Native Prairie Association of Texas (NPAT). NPAT Board President Kirsti Harms, Executive Director Pat Merkord and NPAT volunteer Kelly Walker will join us there. This private property has remnant and restored mixed-grass prairie, and mesquite savanna. A tributary of Champion Creek passes through the property and features a diverse riparian area. After lunch our plans will be flexible, based on recent bird sightings and habitat conditions. We may drive about an hour west to Big Spring State Park (Howard County), eating dinner in Big Spring, OR continue to bird Maddin, followed by a visit to some other local spots or to Ruddick Park in the town of Colorado City for birds like Swamp Sparrow and Inca Dove.

Pack a sack lunch for Saturday. Transportation will be by car pool. Bring your walkie-talkies. We will plan to use as few vehicles as possible. AWD or 4WD is desirable at Maddin Prairie.

Sunday morning we will meet at the state park to look for birds we missed on Friday and visit Ruddick Park if we did not do so on Saturday. The field trip will end by 11 a.m.

The registration fee is $75 for TOS members, and there are only 20 spaces available to assure a quality experience. We expect this trip to fill fast, so register soon. Registrants will be sent a confirmation email with further information later.

Lodging: The State Park has cabins which sleep 1-4 people. They have heating and air conditioning, and two sets of bunk beds, with the lower bed a small double and the top bunk a single, accessed by a ladder. There is a small refrigerator, and a table and four chairs. There is a picnic table on the covered porch. Bathrooms are a short walk away on a paved road/sidewalk. The cost is $60+tax per night plus entrance fees. We hope that you will consider supporting the state park’s cabins (or camp in the campsites.) To reserve a cabin, please email Kyle ASAP after you register and he will give you instructions. Kyle.Ohaver(at)tpwd.texas.gov To reserve a campsite call central reservation system at 512-389-8900. (There is a daily entrance fee to the state park that will be reduced to $2 for this group, or if you have a Texas State Parks Pass, or ride with someone who does, your entrance fee is covered)

If you are not a camper, there is lodging in Colorado City at the Super 8 or other hotels in town.

Field trips will depart from the State Park.

Registration will open to current TOS members on January 7 at 6 a.m.


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April 22-30, 2017: South Florida
TOS Goes to South Florida Click for more...

This trip will focus on South Florida specialties. We will begin our trip in Orlando (arriving by early afternoon if possible) and over the next nine days bird our way out to the Keys and a day trip to the Dry Tortugas.

Attendees should plan on flying out of Miami on April 30th after noon.

This is the first time TOS has offered this trip and it should be a great one because we will be there at the best time of the year to find south Florida specialties as well as a period when rarities often show.

The trip cost includes airport transfers, 8 nights lodging (double occupancy), a day trip to the Dry Tortugas by boat, all group transportation, all group admissions and National Park and Forest permits, some meals (breakfast at some hotels, breakfast and lunch on the Dry Tortugas trip) and guide service. Guide service is provided by Kim Risen of NatureScape Tours.

Cost is $2,375.00 per person for TOS members and $2,400.00 for non-members (includes a one year membership) and does not include transportation to or from Florida or meals and incidentals other than noted above. Single occupancy requires an additional $575.00.

This trip has a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 14. A deposit of $350 is due on registration, and the balance is due by January 15.

I suspect the trip will fill quickly, so if you want a spot don’t hesitate. If you have questions feel free to contact me, Jim Hailey, irasciblej@gmail.com.

Please note: By making a deposit for this trip you agree to the TOS Trip Cancellation Policy below.

Texas Ornithological Society Cancellation Policy for TOS Field Trips: This policy applies to TOS field trips or other events that require non-refundable deposits to retain guide services, hotel rooms or transportation.

In the event you have to cancel, refunds are made according to the following schedule:

• If cancellation is made more than 90 days before departure date, your deposit less $100 will be refunded.
• If cancellation is made between 60 and 90 days before departure date then 50% of the trip fee is refundable.
• If cancellation is made fewer than 60 days prior to departure date, there will be no refund of the trip fee.

Note: If you cancel late (less than 90 days before departure), but you are able to find a substitute to take your place (or we have a substitute on a waiting list), once the substitute has paid Texas Ornithological Society in full for the trip, a refund of your deposit less $100 will be made.

For your protection, the purchase of trip cancellation insurance should be considered. If you take out trip insurance, the cost of the insurance is not refundable. Therefore it is best to purchase the policy just prior to making full payment for the trip or at the time you purchase airline tickets, depending upon the airline’s restrictions. TOS reserves the right to cancel any tour prior to departure, in which case full refund of the trip fee will constitute full settlement to the participant.

We strongly advise that you wait to purchase non-refundable airline travel until you receive notice from the TOS trip leader or coordinator that the trip meets minimum participation requirements.

Register & Pay

May 4-7, 2017: TOS Spring Meeting in Rockport
More info coming soon.
June 3-18, 2017: Alaska
TOS Alaska Trip with Jim Hailey and Byron Stone Click for more...

Yes, I know I said the 2015 trip was my last one. However, Byron Stone talked me into doing one more and he will join me as co-leader of this trip.

The trip cost is $3,550 for TOS members and $3,575 for non-members. The fee includes all transportation within Alaska (including flights to Nome and Barrow), entry fees, pelagic trip and guide fees. It does not include lodging (you will be provided with information about making your reservation at our host hotels), meals, incidentals or transportation to or from Anchorage.

You should plan on arriving in Anchorage on June 3 by 6 PM or sooner if you so choose. The trip will begin with a meeting at 6 PM in the lobby of the Puffin Inn (our base of operation while in Alaska) in Anchorage.

The following day we will fly to Nome where we will spend the next four days driving the three roads out into the tundra in search of birds like Bristle-thighed Curlew, Bluethroat, Northern Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail, Red-throated Loon, Wandering Tattler, Bar-tailed Godwit, and who knows what unusual species we can encounter there.

We will return to Anchorage where we will spend a day looking for Red-throated Grebe, Varied Thrush, and various shorebirds before departing the following day for Barrow, the farthest northern point of North America. In Barrow, we will hopefully find four eiders, Snow Bunting (they are like House Sparrows there) and Snowy Owl.

We will return to Anchorage and spend the next 3 days there before traveling to Seward and our trip out into Kenai Fjord NWR where we look for Kittlitz’s, Marbled and Ancient Murrelets, Red-faced Cormorants, Rhinoceros and Parakeet Auklets, Horned and Tufted Puffins and many pelagic species nesting there.

Following our return from Seward we will head for our final 3 days traveling the old Denali Highway where we hope to see Trumpeter Swan, Smith’s Longspur, Arctic Warbler and many more.

We again return to Anchorage on June 18 and our trip will end and you can return home.

This is truly a trip of a lifetime and has been enjoyed by over 150 TOS members and guests in the past. This is a very popular trip so don’t wait to secure you spot.

Texas Ornithological Society Cancellation Policy for TOS Field Trips

In the event you have to cancel, refunds are made according to the following schedule:
• If cancellation is made more than 90 days before departure date, your deposit less $100 will be refunded.
• If cancellation is made between 60 and 90 days before departure date then 50% of the trip fee is refundable.
• If cancellation is made fewer than 60 days prior to departure date, there will be no refund of the trip fee.
Note: If you cancel late (less than 90 days before departure), but you are able to find a substitute to take your place (or we have a substitute on a waiting list), once the substitute has paid Texas Ornithological Society in full for the trip, a refund of your deposit less $100 will be made.

For your protection, the purchase of trip cancellation insurance should be considered.

If you take out trip insurance the cost of the insurance is not refundable. Therefore it is best to purchase the policy just prior to making full payment for the trip or at the time you purchase airline tickets, depending upon the airline’s restrictions. TOS reserves the right to cancel any tour prior to departure, in which case full refund of the trip fee will constitute full settlement to the participant.

We strongly advise that you wait to purchase non-refundable airline travel until you receive notice from the TOS trip leader or coordinator that the trip meets minimum participation requirements.

Register & Pay

Contact TOS


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