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Master Naturalists: Rockport's HummerBird Celebration

By By Paul and Mary Meredith
Aug. 30, 2012 at 3:30 a.m.

This buff-bellied hummingbird was photographed near Weslaco at the World Birding Center.  Buff-bellieds are sometimes seen at HummerBird Celebration.  They're large, aggressive (often dominant on feeders and flowers); and have a red bill, dark green head, buffy underparts and rusty tail.  Winter finds them up along the Gulf Coast into Louisiana.  They prefer the dry woodlands of the Gulf Coast slope's lower elevations and are sometimes seen nesting south or west of the Lower Guadalupe River Valley on the central Texas coast.

Workshops and speakers' related field trips

"Shorebirds by Impression" - Two-hour identification workshop, Friday, Kevin Carlson

Shorebird Field Trip - Saturday, to Tule Lake and Indian Point, with Kevin Carlson

"Learn to Identify Texas Hawks" - Friday, Glenn Olsen

Hawk Field Trip - Sunday, to Hazel Bazemore State Park Hawk Watch

"Rockport's Original Winter Texans" - Two-hour sparrow identification workshop, Byron Stone

You may already know that Rockport's HummerBird Celebration happens Sept. 13-16. It offers fans of hummingbirds, other birds, butterflies and Coastal Bend wildlife opportunities to enjoy viewing and learning more about their interests in many ways and places. Its events cover such subjects as hummers, other birds, bird habitats. It also covers related subjects, such as wildlife photography and equipment.

Our previous article contains additional information about Hummer Homes, pre-event activities, Keynote Speakers' presentations and some tours. More information is also available at rockporthummingbird.com.



Hummer Homes

One core activity is Hummer Homes, where visitors can view banding of the little birds, and learn more about them while enjoying sharing their interests with other folks. Visitors often learn from others.



Other opportunities

Speakers and other events offer visitors many additional chances to expand their knowledge about hummers' habitats, various hummer species and their lives - including fall and spring migrations.



Sessions, speakers

Several speakers and sessions concern hummers. David True explains hummingbirds' pollinating by feeding. Brent Ortego discusses creating a backyard hummer magnet. Juan Bahamon shares amazing facts about hummingbird migration, and Jeanette Larson explores hummer facts and folklore.

Kris Kirkwood explores plants that run amok. Bill Lindemann has two different topics. One topic is wormy landscapes, giving butterflies a chance. The other topic is an exploration of who's knocking in the woods. Ro Wauer describes what is so special about Texas birds. Jessie Barry and Chris Wood talk about the biggest day in Texas.

Several presentations concern raptors. Kevin Gaines discusses Sky Kings Falconry raptors, and Glenn Olsen explores learning how to identify Texas hawks. There is a Saturday field trip to Hazel Bazemore State Park Hawk Watch for those who are interested.

There, visitors can view raptors migrating south in increasingly large numbers, as the migration rises to its peak (typically next month). The raptors present opportunities for practicing identifying various species as they head for their winter homes.

Glenn Olsen will also explain "lasagna" (layered) gardening, which can offer delicious habitat.

Most sessions are offered more than once.



Photography classes, sessions

Several expert wildlife photographers will offer classes. John Martell will offer classes on "Photographing Hummingbirds and Other Small Birds" on Friday and Saturday. Bruce Sherman will offer a class on "Photographing Birds of Texas" on Friday, and Stephen Fisher will offer classes on "The Basic Gear for Bird Photography - From iPhones to Super Telephoto Lenses" on Friday and Saturday.

Tom Kuenzli also presents sessions on what's new with optics.

And don't forget the two malls where you can shop for bird-related products.

Sources: Rockport HummerBird Celebration, rockporthummingbird.com; Clifford Shackelford , Madge Lindsay, and Mark Klym, Hummingbirds of Texas, 2009 Printing.

Paul and Mary Meredith are master naturalists. Contact them at paulmary0211@sbcglobal.net.

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