If you're new to Travis Audubon, why not come to a monthly meeting? These fun and informative events are free to attend, and will allow you a chance to both get to know your fellow Austin-area birders and learn more about the variety of programs, events, and volunteer opportunities available through Travis Audubon.
Doors open at 6:30 for social time; program begins at 7 PM. This month, Hornsby Bend's Kevin Anderson will be speaking about "The Birdchasers: 53 Years of Birds and Birding at Hornsby Bend":
In November 1959, "Pancho" Oatman, a teenager from Austin, was looking for arrowheads along the Colorado River in Del Valle when he noticed large flocks of waterfowl across the river at Hornsby Bend. He crossed the river and became the first birdwatcher to discover the "Platt" sewage ponds at Hornsby Bend. On his initial visit, Pancho spotted four female Common Goldeneyes and a single Bonaparte’s Gull—both firsts for Travis County. Local experts Edgar Kincaid, Fred Webster, and John and Rose Ann Rowlett joined Pancho over the next two days and discovered two additional Travis County firsts—a Dunlin and two Lapland Longspurs. Since those first visits in 1959, Hornsby Bend has played a key role in Austin birding history as a special place for birding. Over the decades, many rare birds have been documented and many birdchasing adventures (and misadventures) have occurred at the site. Kevin Anderson will share tales and images of Hornsby Bend birds and birdchasers while discussing the environmental history of this famous 1200-acre site along the Colorado River. He encourages you to bring your own stories of birding at Hornsby Bend to share.
Dr. Kevin M. Anderson has been the coordinator of the Austin Water – Center for Environmental Research at Hornsby Bend since 2000. His environmental career began on a Pennsylvania farm, and it has since ranged from running an organic farm in Maryland to helping start a river conservation foundation in Northeastern Hungary as a Peace Corps Volunteer. He received his Master’s degree in Philosophy from Ohio University, where he taught philosophy and symbolic logic for several years. He was beginning his dissertation for a Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin when he went birding at Hornsby Bend with some UT geographers in 1995, and they convinced him to switch programs and become a geographer. In 1999, he and another geography graduate student, Rob Fergus, started the Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory Program. His Geography dissertation focused on nature in urban wastelands like Hornsby Bend. He is a co-founder of the Texas Riparian Association and a Research Fellow with the University of Texas – Texas Natural Science Center.