Date: 9/5/20 11:05 am
From: Brush Freeman <brushfreeman...>
Subject: [texbirds] Re: the story of Travis County's first Red Phalarope
Just for the historical record, I want to recount something many of you may
remember but maybe have forgotten. It once was easy to get wind direction
at the ponds by looking at which side of a pond the thousands or tens of
thousands floating plastic Tampon plastics were piled against.

On Sat, Sep 5, 2020 at 12:45 PM Brush Freeman <brushfreeman...>

> We have pondered over that story for years, I can't fathom it. There was
> no digester then. Sewage came in right out of the pipe. ..The good stuff.
> ......... Related story to that....I was birding out there with Greg
> Lasley once before the Dillo Dirt concrete contaminants and we discovered a
> nesting Black-neck Stilt. Greg wanted to photograph it as it was the first
> nesting record for Travis county..(?) The nest was well out from the
> earthen berm. The surface looked sturdy enough, dry, cracked, and even
> supporting scattered vegetation, so he took off after the nest but before
> long that's surface gave way and he was thigh-deep in black sludge the
> consistency of pudding. Greg is never one to shy away from an adventure
> and I hope he does not mind me telling this.........Then there was the guy
> one weekend in a tractor that rn out of gas in the middle of deep sludge
> and could not get back to shore...This was before cell phone and he had sat
> out there all day hoping he could flag someone down....That's another story
> though.. Then the "It's a dirty job but someone has to do it" guy....It
> is amazing how many people have purposely entered that realm of sludge.
> On Sat, Sep 5, 2020 at 11:11 AM <bertf...> wrote:
>> You are correct. The birding group was Alan Brook, Bill Murray, Frank
>> Oatman, John Louis Rowlett, and Rose Ann Rowlett. The bird was
>> photographed and some suggest that Mary Anne McClendon was the
>> photographer. I have not seen the photograph and do not know if it still
>> exists. The captured bird was later released, but then recaptured again
>> when it was found emaciated and later died 18 Sep. --- Bert
>> *From:* <texbirds-bounce...> <texbirds-bounce...> *On
>> Behalf Of *Fred Dalbey (Redacted sender "fdalbey" for DMARC)
>> *Sent:* Saturday, September 5, 2020 11:03 AM
>> *To:* <bertf...>
>> *Cc:* <texbirds...>
>> *Subject:* [texbirds] Re: the story of Travis County's first Red
>> Phalarope
>> Of course, the “John” swimming in the sewage pond to capture the
>> phalarope was John Rowlett, one of the founders of Field Guides Birding
>> Tours.
>> On Sep 5, 2020, at 9:43 AM, <bertf...> <bertf...>
>> wrote:
>> Texbirders,
>> I have been reading old issues of Signal Smoke and came across this
>> interesting account of Travis birders attempting to identify a new species
>> for the county.
>> Signal Smoke, October 1963, "Birding with The Beavers. The afternoon of
>> September 15, found us at the Sewage Ponds, ... Then we noticed two
>> phalaropes swimming close together in the center of the largest pond. We
>> immediately recognized that they were quite dark-backed and generally had
>> the appearance of Northern Phalaropes; but one of the birds was obviously
>> much larger than the other. During the next hour of close scrutiny from
>> the bank, we became more and more suspicious of that larger, grayer,
>> stouter-billed phalarope.
>> "At last, suspicion grew into near conviction; and since a 'sanitary'
>> reputation is worth even more points among birders than an eager one, we
>> knew we must prove our potentially dangerous suspicion. In an act of
>> utmost 'eager beaverism' John stripped to his underwear and went after the
>> phalarope in its own element. John's slowly moving head must have looked
>> like a duck, for the two phalaropes showed virtually no alarm at his
>> approach. They simply swam slowly away, keeping just beyond arm's length.
>> "After about 40 minutes of dog-paddling, John was inches closer. He
>> reached slowly upward beneath the bird and -- and he had it! What wild,
>> ecstatic joy, what cries and leaps into the air from the beavers on the
>> bank accompanied his grasp of that bird, of that Red Phalarope. And a Red
>> Phalarope, indeed, it was, as Kincaid was soon to certify after careful
>> measurement and comparison with Ridgeway. A search of the literature
>> revealed that this normally pelagic species had been recorded but 7 or 8
>> times in Texas and, of course, never in Travis County. - The Beavers"
>> Bert Frenz
>> Oaks & Prairies of Texas
>> eBird reviewer, Central Prairie of Texas
>> eBird reviewer, Belize
>> NAB subregional editor, Central Oaks & Prairies of Texas
>> <Bert2...>
> --
> Brush Freeman
> <>
> Utley & Cedar Park, Texas


Brush Freeman
Utley & Cedar Park, Texas

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