TPW TV – Up on the (Green) Roof

November 16th, 2018
Austin Central Library rooftop garden.

Austin Central Library rooftop garden.

This is Passport to Texas

The new public library in Austin is an oasis in the midst of a steel and concrete desert.

[opens w/ambience] This is the, uh, rooftop garden, which we also call the butterfly garden.

John Gillum is library facilities manager. Native plants sway in the breeze six stories above busy thoroughfares.

It is a green roof. It means a roof that’s actually landscaped. We wanted to do something to help out our little pollinators. We will do anything we can to attract them. If we can come up with different plants we think will draw more butterflies, we’ll do it.

An oasis of native plants help bees and butterflies make their way through increasingly urban landscapes. It also makes for a nice spot to sit and read.

This is really the best part of the library as far as a natural setting to sit in.

Putting a park on a building saves space and lowers energy costs when temperatures soar.

As opposed to the concrete around us, this is going to be an area that really absorbs heat rather than reflects it out, so even in the kind of summers that we get here in Austin, this is still going to be a pretty pleasant place to be.

Can’t get to the library? Then get to a television. Explore the Austin Central Library rooftop garden on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS, the week of November 25th.

In an age when news about nature is not always cheery, look for some good news on the top shelf of Austin’s new library.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

How to Talk Turkey for a Successful Hunt

November 15th, 2018
The turkey of your dreams.

The turkey of your dreams.

This is Passport to Texas

Making sounds like a hen turkey can mean the difference between bagging a bird this fall and going home empty handed.

Now you want the call of a hen turkey to try and attract the Tom, or male turkey, over to your position.

Steve Hall, oversees hunter education at Texas Parks and Wildlife. Using a box call, you can make enticing sounds.

One is called the basic cluck [clucks]. Now, a cluck is a call that says: ‘Hi. I’m here.’ And if you put the cluck in a series of calls, it would be a yelp [yelps]. Now a yelp call says: ‘Come over here; I’m having fun.’ Now, a slate call is much the same as a box call and you can make that basic ‘cut’ sound [cut sound]. And, you can also make a purr, which says ‘I’m on my daily rounds.’

Now, I like to use a diaphragm call; it’s a little more complicated call. But it allows me, if I’m hunting, to move my arms and hands with my bow or my gun. It fits in the top of your mouth, and you can do it quite easily [cackle]. That was a cackle or a yelp. If you hear a ‘put’ though, that’ll scare a bird away – and that’s the alarm call [put call]. Put them all together and you can have fun imitating a flock of turkeys. [07-of turkey calls…fade under last script]

Fall turkey season runs through January 6th in the North zone and January 20th in the South Zone. Check your Outdoor Annual for more information.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Where to see Bald Eagles

November 14th, 2018

Bald Eagle at Lake Texoma. Image by: Hilary Roberts

This is Passport to Texas

After nearly disappearing from most of the United States decades ago, the bald eagle is now flourishing. It was removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species in 2007.

The symbol of our nation got its name from an old English word “piebald”—which means white faced.

You’ll find bald eagles in every state but Hawaii; the largest US concentration thrives in Alaska.

These impressive birds also spend time in the Central and East Texas. Want to see one?

You’ll have the best luck finding eagles on lakes and rivers during peak season, which is October through March. Start your search at a Texas State Park.

Visitors to Fairfield Lake State Park, southeast of Dallas consistently spot bald eagles. They’ve also been seen at Martin Creek Lake State Park, near Longview.

There’s a bald eagle nesting site at Lake Texana, 35 mi. northeast of Victoria. Visitors can see them from the viewing stand on the east side of the parking lot.

In Central Texas, folks often spot the birds around Lake Buchanan, which is 70 miles northwest of Austin.

If you see bald eagles this fall or winter, document your observation at the Texas Eagle Nest project on iNaturalist.org.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW Magazine — Christmas Bird Count

November 13th, 2018

Having fun during the Christmas Bird Count. Image: Audubon.org

This is Passport to Texas

Mark December 14 through Saturday, January 5, 2019 on your calendar. Those are the dates of the 119th Annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC), organized by the National Audubon Society.

In the December issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine, writer, Melissa Gaskill, takes readers to the Texas coast, and Matagorda County, where they become immersed in last year’s counting activities.

Gaskill writes: In the 2017 count, Matagorda County reported 220 species, ranking it number one for total species for the 11th year in a row and 25th time overall.

The article is part of the magazine’s year-long celebration of Epic Texas Challenges. Gaskill says: Between the wildlife, unpredictable weather, occasionally remote locations, and subtle but unmistakable air of competition, the Christmas Bird Count qualifies as bona fide adventure.

Researchers compile the data collected by birders and use it to guide allocation of conservation dollars, land management decisions, and wildlife policy.

To participate in the CBC, visit audubon.org and find a counting circle near you.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Shell Collecting and Wildlife Viewing (You)

November 12th, 2018

Matagorda Island. Image: USFWS

This is Passport to Texas

A leisurely stroll along one of Texas’ public beaches might include finding a sand dollar or two.

But at Matagorda Island WMA—you can pick up dozens of sand dollars, as well as giant Atlantic cockles and even shark’s teeth.

Shells are abundant on the island. And don’t be surprised if while sifting through the sand, you feel like you’re being watched.

It’s not uncommon to look up from your collecting pursuits to see members of the island’s white-tailed deer population a comfortable distance away, keeping tabs on your every move.

Or perhaps one or more of the 300 species of migratory birds that visit the island will fly in for a closer look, waiting to see what your efforts uncover.

During fall and winter, you might even see endangered whooping cranes.

Be mindful of when you visit, as the island is popular with hunters during whitetail season.

Matagorda Island WMA consists of nearly 57-thousand acres and is an offshore barrier island. All interior access is via hiking, biking, or TPWD vehicles during scheduled hunts or tours. No private motorized vehicles! There’s more information on the TPW website.

Out show receives support from RAM Trucks: Built to Serve.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.