RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – The most important nesting island in the Lower Laguna Madre is having a banner year. Richard Moore takes us out to historic Green Island where it is peak nesting season.
Historic Green Island is a paradise of birds this year. The 35-acre Audubon sanctuary just north of the mouth of the Arroyo Colorado is teeming with nesting colonial waterbirds.
It is peak nesting season, and thousands of spoonbills, egrets and herons noisily crowd into the thick brush to build nests and raise their young.
This abundance of birds is a wonderful sight for Audubon warden Brian Beller, a Valley native, who has protected the island for the past several years.
Brian Beller, Audubon Warden, “This year is even better than last year, so we are real happy.”
The thickly wooded island is one of the most important nesting sites along the entire Texas coast, and like all other nesting islands is protected by law from trespass.
The National Audubon Society manages some 178 islands stretching 600 miles from the Louisiana coast to deep South Texas, and Beller is one of a handful of wardens patroling the fragile nesting sites.
“I remember going fishing down here and coming past and thinking boy that place would be really neat. I wonder how anyone would ever get out there. And, this opportunity came up, and I have been real pleased to be able to help and enjoy our native brush and birds.” says Beller.
Fishermen are encouraged to give the island a wide berth, as when birds are scared from their nests the abandoned eggs and young can quickly be damaged by sun or predated by grackles.
Another good deed fishermen can accomplish is to stow their trash, as discarded items are both unsightly and dangerous to wildlife, particularly fishing line.
Beller adds, “That is a big part of what we have to do is keep these islands clean, because these birds, especially top water lures and stuff like that, these birds fall for that.”