Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine − Aug/Sept 2013

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Aug/Sept - Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine

A quest to see birds brings the world into view for two high-achieving Texas birders. In Texas streams, native mussels act as canaries-in-the-coal-mine for water quality. To make the best jellies (recipes included), you have to harvest your share of local berries with care. Carter Smith sounds a call to action in the fight against zebra mussels. Meet Corpus Christi’s longtime columnist Phyllis Yochem, who carries on the newspaper’s birding legacy. Then read about Kerrville’s exemplary Riverside Nature Center, water willows and water otters, the lovely Lake Somerville State Park, tips to save water, and navigating photography's exposure triangle.


Feature Articles

The 8,000-Bird Club

Two Texas birders find high adventure in their quests to see most of the world’s avian species.

Shackleford at penguin rookery

By Russell Roe

David Shackelford can recall the moment that changed his life — the moment that set him on a path to become the youngest person to see 8,000 bird species. As a teenager at Pedernales Falls State Park, where his dad was superintendent, he was scrambling up a rock face to get a closer look at a plant when he noticed a golden-cheeked warbler. It fluttered around and landed on his finger. Read more.


Canaries in the Water

Mussels and fish tell us what is going on in rivers and streams.

mussels in a person's palm

Story and Photos By Larry D. Hodge

When you want to gauge the health of a stream, look at what lives there. Or died there. Aquatic insects, crustaceans, worms and mollusks that live in streams are widely used to determine a stream’s biological condition. These organisms can be found in all rivers and streams, even in the smallest streams that cannot support fish. Because they are relatively stationary and cannot escape pollution, these critters can be compared to canaries in a coal mine in detecting unhealthy conditions. Read more.


Wild Harvest

Use Texas’ bounty of native fruits for your next pie or jelly.

illustration mustang grapevine and jelly jar

By Dyanne Fry Cortez
Illustrations By Clemente Guzman

I still recall the summer I discovered mustang grapes. I was 18 years old, working in a Youth Conservation Corps camp at Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery. One of our projects was clearing undergrowth from the Colorado River bank west of the rearing ponds. When we started, the place was a jungle. It had huge, lovely shade trees, but they were hard to find in the tangle of weeds, shrubs and vines. Any visitor who wanted to bushwhack a path to the water risked a run-in with poison ivy. Within a week, nearly everyone on our crew had a rash. Less hostile, but equally abundant, were the gray-green, heart-shaped leaves and twisty, grooved wood of wild grapevines. Read more.


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