Audubon Florida Records, 1900-1970, Box 3 Folder 29 : Corpus Christi Area, TX

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Audubon Florida Records, 1900-1970, Box 3 Folder 29 : Corpus Christi Area, TX

Material Information

Audubon Florida Records, 1900-1970, Box 3 Folder 29 : Corpus Christi Area, TX
Audubon Florida
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Florida
University of South Florida
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
1 folder
Physical Location:
Box 3 Folder 29


Subjects / Keywords:
Audubon societies -- Diaries ( lcsh )
Ecology -- Florida ( lcsh )
History -- Gulf Coast (Fla.) -- 20th century ( lcsh )


The daily journals of Audubon wardens and statewide reports on certain sites and projects cover activities from 1900 to 1970, with most of the materials concentrated between the 1930s and 1950s.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
This object is protected by copyright, and is made available here for research and educational purposes. Permission to reuse, publish, or reproduce the object beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to copyright law must be obtained from the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
032958557 ( ALEPH )
890709008 ( OCLC )
A47-00098 ( USF DOI )
a47.98 ( USF Handle )

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Mixed Material


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Report on Osprey Sightings and Nest Locations in Coastal Mexico and British Honduras ALEXANDER SPRUNT, IV, National Audubon Society, Tavernier, Florida Abstract: An aerial survey of water birds along the Gulf and Caribbean Coast of Mexico and British Honduras, 23 April-4May 1971, included counts of Ospreys and Osprey nests. Locations for the 78 Ospreys and 48 nests observed during the survey are presented In late April and early May 1971, an aerial survey was made along the entire Gulf and Caribbean coasts of Mexico and along the coast and among the cays of British Honduras The dates of 23 April through 4 May were spent on the actual surveys. The principal purpose of the trip was to determine, insofar as possible, the locations of breeding colonies of wading and sea birds and to gain some idea of the numbers of these species present. This information will be presented elsewhere During the flight, notes were kept on observations of individual Os preys and all Osprey nests observed. Most of the locations were noted directly on charts which were used for navigation (Operational Naviga tion Chart 1: 1,000,000), thus a fairly close approximation of locations is possible. The aircraft used was a Cessna 206, piloted by C. Eugene Knoder. Observers were Alexander Sprunt, IV and Mrs. Bradley Fisk During our time in British Honduras, we were joined and greatly aided by Mrs. Dora Weyer of Belize Her intimate knowledge of that country and familiarity with place names and the terrain was invaluable. Most of the flights were made at an elevation of 200 ft or less. No special effort was made to search for either Ospreys or their nests so that the figures given are certainly minimal and in no sense constitute a careful census. SURVEY RESULTS No Ospreys were seen in the Laguna Madre in Tamaulipas. The first birds were seen in the vicinity of a nest a short distance up the Rio Car rizal from its mouth. The nest was in a large tree on the bank of the


248 SPRUNT river and leaning out over the water Both birds were near but not on the nest, which was empty This is located about 60 miles north of Tam pico. Moving south from Tampico, we saw one bird in the Laguna de Tamiahua, three near the mouth of the Rio Tuxpan, and another single bird on the Rio Cazones. None of these was associated with a nest and indeed no nests which coul9 have belonged to this species were seen South of the city of Vera Cruz one individual was seen near the Lagu na de Alvarado. Just east of a rather extensive marsh area around Al varado is a small group of mountains which reach an altitude of about 6000 ft and are quite close to the coast. We saw no Ospreys or nests along this part of the coast. From the town of Coatzacoalcos eastward and north around the Yu catan Peninsula, the land is low and there are many lagoons, replaced by salt flats and mangrove lagoons north of Campeche. Ospreys were more numerous along this part of the coast than they had been previ ously and a total of 17 birds, or 22% of those observed, were seen. They were spaced out over the whole area with 7% of them being seen in and around the large Laguna de Terminos in the state of Campeche This last region completes the Gulf coast of Mexico with a somewhat arbitrary but ecologically significant break at the border between the state of Yucatan and the territory of Quintana Roo. A total of 25 Ospreys and only a single nest were noted on the Gulf coast. From the northeastern corner of the Yucatan Peninsula down the en tire Caribbean coast of Quintana Roo and British Honduras, the situa tion with Ospreys changed In this area we saw 53 Ospreys, 68% of the total. The first really significant Osprey breeding area that we saw was the Bahia de la Acension This area is very similar to Florida Bay, Monroe County, Florida, with shallow salt flats, scattered mangrove islands, and an abundance of fish. Nine Osprey nests were seen here None of the nests was in use and from their appearance it would seem likely that the birds here were on a nesting schedule close to that used in Florida Bay, laying in late fall and fledging the young in early spring. We did not see any obviously young birds in the area. South of the Bahia de la Acension is Bahia del Espirito Santo. This bay is smaller and deeper than the preceding one and does not seem to be a favorable habitat for Ospreys. Five nests were noted here. The swampy coastline and extensive shallows of British Honduras, with many small mangrove-covered islands, seems to be quite suitable for Osprey habitat. Again, the similarity of. much of the area to Florida Bay or the 10,000 islands in southern Florida was marked. Nests were much in evidence here. We noted six along the coast and in the cays ...


OSPREY SIGHTINGS IN COASTAL MEXICO AND BRITISH HONDURAS 249 north of the city of Belize and ten to the south, again on both the coast and in the many cays. The most concentrated group of nests seen, how ever, was located on Turneffe Islands, one of the famous atolls of British Honduras. We found a total of 17 nests in this group. This probably constitutes the majority of those present as we did a rather thorough search of this group Unfortunately, we were not able to visit the Chinchorro Bank off the coast of Quintana Roo or Lighthouse or Glovers Reef off British Honduras In summary, we observed a total of 78 Ospreys, 25 of them on the Gulf coast of Mexico and 5 3 on the Caribbean coasts of Mexico and British Honduras. Of 48 Osprey nests observed, only a single one was on the Gulf coast and the remaining 4 7 on the Caribbean coasts of the two countries.


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E-c 0 z WARDEN'S WEEKLY REPORT FORM \ j J NATIONAL SANCTUARY DEPARTMENT SANCTUARY (or General Area) ..... .. .. ...... .. ............ STATE ............. ... ............ ........................................................... .. INCLUSIVE DATES ............... ............ ................... ....... .......... 3-. ........ .. ../ D 1 / I '-'Y 4--") NOTE: Outline work done, mileage covered, areas patrolled each day. List species observed, giving estimated numbers. State whether roosting, feeding or nesting. Date ... .&:::: .............. j. ................ .... O..................................... v --{p // .:? "!;' Jt:-0 J o-U\._o\ G)-'O .--,_..... '\._ 0 Q Date .......... '.:::: ... ::= .... /. ...... J. ......... =: .............. :'.'............. t. \


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WARDEN'S WEEKLY REPORT FORM l NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF AUDUBON SOCIETIES .. 1006 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y. SANCTUARY DEPARTMENT SANCTUARY (or Gener rea) .... ..................................................................... .... : ATE. ................ ....................... L .................................................... INCLUSIVE DATES ........................... ............... ....................... ..!....................... I NOTE: Outline work done, mileage covered, areas patrolled each day. List species observed, giving estimated numbers. State whether roosting feeding or nesting. E-c lo-I i:i:: E-c 0 z 0 0 Each warden sign or initial here: (Use additional sheet to aJJoid crowding)


WARDEN'S WEEKLY REPORT FORM NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF AUDUBON SOCIETIES 1006 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y. SANCTUARY DEPARTMENT 4 1 SANCTUARY (or General Area) ........ ......... ... ............................................................................ STATE.. ....................... ........ ........................................... ................................ INCLUSIVE DATES ......... .................. .................. 1 ................................ ..\.......... \ NOTE: Outline work done, mileage covered, areas patrolled each day. List species observed, giving estimated numbers. State whether roosting, feeding or nesting. u -< Po. V) V) .... ::i:: E--z .... E--.... p::: E--0 z 0 Q Date ... Each warden sign or initial here: -1-/J! .. ::::::::::: .. :: .. .. :::r.I::.:::.:: ... :.:.:.::::: : .. :::: (Use additional sheet to avoid crowding) ...........................................................


Mr. John Baker, National Audubon Society, New York City. Dear Mr. Baker: c 0 p y Ground School, AS Corpus Christi, Texas Apri 1 ?.7, 194<"). Last Sunday, April 26 I briefly visited South Bira Island in a kayak, accompanied by Sterling Hutcheson .. The more interesting birds there were: White Pelicans 1500; with and chicks. Caspian Terns (e.m not sure I could tell a Royal) aoont 300; with e ggs and a few chicks. Cabot Terns -about 50; with egg-s Skimmers -about 50; with a few ect7S; some h"'an' t la ta yet it appeared. Blue Herons -abo1t 150; with and young. Great Blue Heron -about 25: with ergs an young. Snowy Egret -about 30; possi 'l)ly with nests mi er'! in .. j_ th Little Blue Herons. touisiana Heron a out 20 ; with Also there were the usual laughing gulls, grackl-e8, s caup, a few shovellers, and others, but no of these seen. Our investigation was of course hBsty as we did not wish to frighten the bir s Near north end of the islRnd, we found a few bare footprints; other,....tse there we,s no sign of a.ny iAecent ;risit. n old trot line l net inflicr-;te that commerciql fishermen may have been there several meeks or mont s old practice bomb v1as f onnd ne"'r south en<'l of' the i sll'l ncl. The nearest bombing range is a little more thRn a mile away, and on Padre island. The lou est explosions the re are of 10 gmige shotgun shells 1 however, so they shou d not g:rel:'1 tly di sturh birds. Planes are not allowed to fly low in thAt area. The only WArning sign is one la-rge woo en one in good condition, ,oin quite f'ormidf!ble looking. It bore no carving which might indic-=i .te visitors. access to King Ranch, the islan would e to reAch a. r:::iotor boat. With an outboar it coulO. be rePche i tb a .bout 1 0 miles of motoring -not too much to restrain 8n collector. The beauiy end variety. of there is the most striking I have ever seen. The pelicans monopolize at helf of the island, and the egrets and herons stick to the cactus ps, tches, while the terns and skimmers stay on the sRnd From the air practically al 1 you can see is the pPlicans. KAs I wrote bAfore, I Q,m in ten ing to r i8s11i with the elloggs about the mi of May, and o r 1 n


-2-suggestions of your last letter in regard to this trip. We 8re to be or ere to sea very soon, however, so something may interfe:r:-e with the trip I t ma.y b e too la.te to nut sii;rns on Bird Island, but I might be a le to hel p you on that s core if you think it worthwhile. yours, Carl B Koford \


. -# f J I ; I / MEMORANDUM December 14, 1938 "-., TO: FROM: MR. JOHN H. BAKER MR. ALLEN \ SUBJECT: \ EMPLOYMENT ,.ofL -ORPUS CHRISTI AREA ') _,..,, ______ ...... .---._.,,,,.. LEASED IN We have been negotiating with Louis E. Rawalt of Corpus Christi with regard to his possible employment as w arden this comin g spring for the following colonies: Lydia Ann Island (White Pelicans) Dagger Island (Reddish Egrets) Corpus Christi Spoil Banks (Brown Pelicans) Taylor Island (Reddish Egrets) Quarantine (Reddish Egrets) Crane Islands (Roseate Spoonbills) Bird I lands (Herons, Egrets, Terns, 9J(1t Gulls, Skimmers, etc.) have been obtained on Crane Islands and North and South Bird Islands. Rawalt has that the islands from Shamrock north to t hose lying above Lydia Ann Channel (Taylor and Quar antine) be patroled by boat. He has a skiff tha t he can haul behind his car and this is equioped with an outboard. motor. The Crane I lands and the North and South Bird Islands he c a n reach by driving down Mustang and Padre Islands and putting his skiff in the ater near these t o groups. The boat patrol will entail a round trip of 38 miles if Taylor and Quarantine Islands are not included (there may not be birds at these locations next season). He estimates the cost of t his round trip as approximately $2.00 (13 gals. gas and l qt. oil: $1.94). The patrol by car down Mustang and Padre will be a round trip of 136 miles, and including 1.50 ferry toll at Port Aransas each trip will cost $2.76 on the average Apparently hie car gets 18 miles to the gallon. Ra alt went over both these routes in order to have a definite basis for these figures. He proposes to make daily patrols either to the upoer end of his area or to the south bird region and to alternate these visits on an irregula r schedule. On this basis he figures tha t e ens es will a_p_Dro:ximat e 60 :er mo.lloth. and within th1 s amoun t he cs n also cover any nesting colonies that may be located in Callo del Oso, here White Pelicans and Spoonbills have nested in the past on Islands no w taken over by oil leases.


2 -(Memo' Mr. J.H.Baker-Dee. 14. 1938) I suggested that it might be possible for us to meet this rather high monthly amount for expenses if he could get along on $50 a month salary. And he replies that it would be agreeable for him to do so this first year in order to get the work started. Of course I have made no commitment beyond this coming season. Even so, on the above basis the monthly cost will be $110 and if the patrol is extended over three months as I believe it should be, this will total $330, which is $105 over the amount budgeted for the Corpus Christi item. My idea was for him to start as soon as Spoonbills showed up on the Crane Islands, and I would guess that date would be about May 15, possibly a little before that. There is a possibility of course that he would not be needed more than two months, which would get us in under the wire so far ae our budgeted amount is concerned. However. we would have to depend on him to advise us regarding the date the Spoonbills showed up. and to some extent regarding the date when he would .no longer be needed. In view.of the fact that such a number of colonies are involved. there 1s the possibility that we would have to put him on at the end of April and keep him on until the first of August. Before getting into a d1souss1on of salary and expenses, I indicated to Ra alt that the period of employment might extend from March 15 to July 15, or a period of four months. However we are not committed of course, to any definite period. I feel that we should now sign him up for two months definitely, at $50 a month salary and $60 a month expenses; and make it clear that we want to keep.him on a third month if this additional time is needed, and if our budget will permit. What do you advise? R P A -


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