Hogg Bird Sanctuary
Upcoming Survey: Monday, December 2, starting at 7:30 AM
Leader: Skip Almoney
We are conducting a monthly survey at Hogg Bird Sanctuary. The surveys are held on the first Monday of the month. Skip Almoney is our leader. The Hogg Bird Sanctuary is adjacent to Bayou Bend and shares its parking facility at 1 Westcott Street. Meet at the parking lot at the dead-end on the south end of Westcott Street. We meet at 7:30 AM in the parking lot. If the gate is locked, we can park in the upper parking lot and then walk down to the lower parking lot to meet. Everyone is welcome -- beginners, experts, or even if you're just curious. Please bring binoculars. If you don't have any, let us know in advance and we'll provide them.
The Eastern Glades portion of Memorial Park is also included in the survey. The Eastern Glades will be a pretty short survey (30 minutes to an hour max). We should finish both by 9:30. If you can't stay that long, no problem. Right now the Eastern Glades is still under construction, and our access is limited. However, in 2020 there will be a nice boardwalk and lake, so it should eventually become a great birding area. For more information about the Eastern Glades, please see below.
If you have any questions or need a pair of binoculars for the survey.
About Hogg Bird Sanctuary
The Hogg Bird Sanctuary is located at the south end of Westcott St., just off Memorial Dr. It is across Buffalo Bayou from River Oaks Golf Course. It shares the parking lot with Bayou Bend. It has been managed by Houston Parks and Recreation Department since its origin on October 21, 1958. The Hogg Bird Sanctuary is a special place, being a small natural area essentially unchanged by development. It is more a sanctuary than a park and contains no recreational equipment. It remains a natural area with many native plants. It also has quite a few non-native invasive plants. Efforts to control the invasives are continuing. For example, most of the large rain trees have been removed, but new growth trees continue to be a problem.
The First Monday Bird Survey began in 2010. At that time it was fairly difficult to get around in the area. Since then the Houston Parks and Recreation Department has continued to create and maintain a number of hiking trails, resulting in a much more accessible sanctuary. The bird population varies as seasons and weather change. The average number of species seen during a survey is 23. The total number of species recorded is over 60. Included are mostly local nesting species such as Northern Cardinal, Blue Jay, American Crow, Carolina Wren, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, White-winged Dove, Northern Mockingbird, Pileated, Downy, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, to name a few. Because much of the boundary of the sanctuary is Buffalo Bayou, a few waterbirds have been recorded such as Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Wood Duck, Belted Kingfisher, two varieties of cormorants, etc. There have been a few migrants, but it is difficult to know if they will nest or move on to Minnesota or the Arctic. A nesting Red-shouldered Hawk was a favorite until the sycamore branch that held the nest broke.
About the Eastern Glades
The Eastern Glades is the first major Master Plan project to be implemented. It is set to be completed in 2020. This area was once inaccessible due to a lack of trails and heavy overgrowth within the forest. The main feature of the current project will be a large pond surrounded by wetland plants. It will serve the dual purpose of new wildlife habitat and stormwater retention. This survey will help assess the bird diversity within Eastern Glades. Master Plan on the Memorial Park Conservancy website.