Exploring Bird, Bat, & Butterfly Migrations at Old Tunnel State Park
Another in a series of Texas State Parks field trips – Led by Amy Sugeno
Saturday, September 21, 2019
6:15 am to 12:00 pm
Fall is the perfect time to immerse yourself in the wonders of long-distance migration. By mid-September, many different bird species will be migrating through central Texas on their way to warmer locales in Mexico or Central or South America. The majority of Mexican Free-tailed Bats are biding their time, waiting for strong northerly winds to help them along on their southward journey. Among North American insects, Monarchs are the only butterfly species to undertake a round-trip, north-south true migration. Old Tunnel SP sits right in the heart of this species’ migration route, as they literally funnel through the state in September and October in a swath from northeast to southwest Texas (aka the “Texas Funnel”). Many other species of butterflies, such as the American Snout Butterfly, also disperse and migrate shorter distances in late summer and early fall in search of food, host plants, and mates.
Old Tunnel State Park lies in the southeastern edge of the Texas Hill Country. The park supports surprising habitat diversity within its steep slopes and mesic canyons. Live oak-Ashe juniper and Cedar elm woodlands predominate, and a small perennial creek flowing out of the tunnel creates small pools for birds and other wildlife. Over 130 bird species have been reported at Old Tunnel SP.
This unique trip will begin before dawn as the bats are returning to the tunnel from their nightly feast. We’ll watch them plummet down from over a mile high, ripping through the air and into the tunnel at speeds of 60 mph. After the sun rises and most bats have returned, we will bird along the park trails, stopping to glance at the bats flying around inside the tunnel. Butterfly expert Patty Leslie Pasztor will come along to teach us about the butterflies of the area as well as the plants upon which they depend.
Anyone who wishes to stay and visit over lunch is welcome to join the group at Alamo Springs Café, next to Old Tunnel SP.
Please contact Amy Sugeno at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions.
Registration is required for this trip and further details for meeting the group will be provided to registrants prior to the date of the trip. Limited to 12 registrants.