Post-Ike Upper Texas Coast Birding Update
Boy Scout Woods-Boardwalk pieces and debris (W. Burkett)
World famous birding destination High Island became a true island during the storm and most Texas Ornithological Society (TOS) and Houston Audubon Society (HAS) Sanctuaries remain closed. From the HAS website:
"High Island: Once again, High Island's woods were impacted by a hurricane; trees are down, trails blocked, boardwalks damaged, and branches and leaves are everywhere. Several of our ponds were inundated with salt water and we are not sure what the long term impact of that will be. Most of the vegetation in those ponds is already dying. Hopefully we will soon have adequate rain to dilute the salt. Claybottom Pond where the Rookery is was not inundated with salt water but all of the trees on the island are gone. The cypresses on the east end of the pond did not appear to be damaged."
The Gulf Coast Bird Observatory Hawk Watch at Smith Point was cancelled for the season as Smith Point is devastated
From the GCBO website:
"...the destruction at Smith Point is incredible but that the hawk watch tower is still standing. The debris was up to the lower level of the tower so he was unable to actually climb it and see if it is still solid.
We ask that people do not attempt to access the area until further notice. The amount of debris in the area containing parts of houses, appliances, wood with nails, dead animals, etc. make entry dangerous at this point. Based on our previous experience assisting our Louisiana site partners cleaning up after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, this debris field surrounding the tower, in some places 4 to 6 feet deep must be considered hazardous waste, and thus will have to be professionally cleared and disposed of – not an inexpensive task."
Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge remains closed.
HAS's Monthly bird counts at Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary have been suspended until ferry service from Glaveston to Bolivar is restored and roads re-open. Bolivar Peninsula was one of the hardest hit areas with entire communities wiped out and the bridge at Rollover Pass damaged.
Brazos Bend State Park has reopened.
Edith L Moore Nature Sanctuary has reopened
Galveston Island State Park remains closed.
Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary is damaged but open.
TOS Sabine Woods Sanctuary remains closed. From the TOS website:
"In the early morning hours of September 13th, Hurricane Ike made landfall near Galveston. It brought a destructive storm surge that virtually wiped away the town of Sabine Pass. Our Sabine Woods sancutary there had understory cleared away with many of the boardwalks. The good news is that most of the trees have survived the wind and we hope the salt water incursion. "
There will be a TOS Work Day At Sabine Woods - Sat October 18th starting at 7:30AM.
In East Texas, The Angelina National Forest, including Bannister Wildlife Management Area (Unit #903), has reopened. Portions of the Davy Crockett National Forest, including Alabama Creek Wildlife Management Area (Unit #904), reopened Sep. 27. Sam Houston National Forest Wildlife Management Area (Unit #905) reopened Oct. 1.