Note: This item is more than 12 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references.
Northernmost Texas Nest of Least Grebes Discovered
RICHLAND, Texas — The most northerly least grebe nest ever recorded in Texas has been spotted at Richland Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
Hayden Haucke, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologist, was surprised to see two least grebe adults and five half-grown chicks last month while visiting a pond in the south unit of Richland Creek WMA, where least grebes were first seen this past spring.
This northerly sighting is highly unusual because the birds are a non-migratory species and are predominantly found south of the Nueces River in South Texas. There is only one record of a more northerly nest globally, reported in California in 1946.
The least grebe is a water bird that resembles a small duck and is dark gray with a bright yellow eye as its distinguishing marker. Least grebes can fly but do not migrate. Once settled into a particular body of water, they generally do not move. While not rare, least grebes are sought after by ornithologists and birdwatchers, who travel to South Texas in order to pump up their life lists with species generally not found elsewhere in the United States.
"Least grebes breed almost any month of the year on the coast and in South Texas," Cliff Shackelford, TPWD Nongame Ornithologist said. "The climate is typically mild and the environmental cue there is the water depths in the wetlands and resacas."
Shackelford believes that the least grebe pair spotted at Richland WMA is likely a function of dispersal possibly in response to drought or overcrowding in the south. He is concerned though about the birds surviving when the first real cold front hits Texas this winter.
"Time will tell if they will survive there permanently or not," Shackelford said.
The Richland Creek WMA is located east of the Richland-Chambers Reservoir dam in Freestone and Navarro Counties. The area is split into two units. The north unit is located north of US Hwy 287 and the south unit is accessible from FM 488.
The public is welcomed to go and see the rare bird. Visitors 17 years of age and older must possess a $48 Annual Public Hunting Permit (APH) or a $12 Limited Public Use Permit (LPU). Visitors who still have a Texas Conservation Passport may also enter the WMA until the pass expires. Entry to the WMA is permitted only during daylight hours and at designated entry sites.
For more information about Richland Creek WMA call (903) 389-7080 or visit the Web (http://tpwd.texas.gov/wma/).
Publication — Permission is granted to publish, in whole or in part, any news releases on this page.
Print — A print-friendly version of the news release shows only the release with font sizes set to the browser default.
Plain Text — Plain text versions of TPWD news releases are provided for copying and pasting into editing software.
To copy text into an editing software:
- Click a Plain Text link to display the plain text page in your browser.
- Select all.
- Paste in a document in your editing program.
Permalink — This is a direct link to the news release, omitting the navigation context from the URI.
English/Spanish — News releases posted in both English and Spanish have one of these links.
If you have any suggestions for improving these pages, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and mention Plain Text Pages.