Spring 2011 Newsletter

Saturday April 9 FoFWP Members Tour to Windgate Natural Area
8 am - about Noon
Leader - Jayne Neal

Windgate Natural Area is part of 3,000 acres in northwest Bexar County purchased as part of the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program. This guided walk, suitable for adults with moderate to good walking abilities, will traverse a high ridgeline with views over central and southern Bexar County. Don't miss what may be the last opportunity for some time to visit this property as it is expected to be transferred to Texas Parks and Wildlife as an addition to Government Canyon State Natural Area. Registration is limited to twelve. Members may also register up to two guests. Wear good walking shoes and appropriate clothing for the weather. Water is also necessary and snacks may be desired. Consider sunscreen. Call 372-9124 to register.

Golden-cheeked Warbler Research

It is a combination of factors that makes Texas the prime destination for not only humans but also songbirds. One such songbird, the golden-cheeked warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia), (GCWA), has been known to fly over 1100 miles from its wintering grounds in Guatemala and other Central American countries to central Texas. Recently, the Natural Areas was lucky enough to have Mike Quinn come and talk with volunteers to shed more light on this subject. According to his thesis work, the GCWA, unlike some other species of warblers (Dendroica spp.) can be seen as a generalist in its feeding behavior. According to Quinn’s research, GCWA’s appear to arrive and leave during the peak arthropod season (Quinn 2011). Of the four tree species commonly found in known GCWA habitat (cedar, Texas red oak, live oak, and cedar elm, he found that these four different trees harbor different levels of dominant arthropod species at different times of the breeding season. Quinn (2000) found the greatest food source in the first part of the season, in March and early April, was on the Texas red oak. From March to April, the caterpillar larvae and the plant hoppers are the major food source found on these trees. From April to May, Quinn (2000) found that the live oak was the major food source, providing caterpillar larvae, treehoppers, and crab spiders. From May to June and early July, the elms and the junipers were found to become an important food source providing large numbers of the juniper budworms and spiders. To read the complete essay, please check the Ecosystem Notes on the Friends website, www.fofriedrichpark.org.

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