Is birding better at Lake Jackson when it’s dried down?

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We met at 7 am to answer a question. For the previous couple of months, I’d been wandering Lake Jackson’s exposed bed, and observing the area around Porter Sink. The lake had been down since November, and on and off since June of 2021. With all the rising and falling of water, I began to wonder how plants and animals reacted to this ever changing habitat. At the same time, Cait Snyder wondered more specifically about birds.

Cait is Resource Manager for the Lake Jackson Aquatic Preserve. In her own wanderings around the lake, she’d gotten to know a group of birders who had been especially active since the June 2021 dry down. Cait could see a lot birds in the lake when it was down. But it’s one thing to see. She wanted to know, numerically- do more birds, and bird species, visit when the lake is down?

November 4, 2022- the area around Lake Jackson's Porter Sink just after drying down. Birds are active in and around the remaining water.
November 4, 2022- the area around Lake Jackson’s Porter Sink just after drying down. Birds are active in and around the remaining water.
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Rob Diaz de Villegas is a senior producer for television at WFSU Public Media, covering outdoors and ecology. After years of producing the music program OutLoud, Rob found himself in a salt marsh with a camera, and found a new professional calling as well. That project, the National Science Foundation funded "In the Grass, On the Reef," spawned the award-winning WFSU Ecology Blog. Now in its tenth year, the Ecology Blog recently wrapped its most ambitious endeavor, the EcoCitizen Project.

Rob is married with two young sons, who make a pretty fantastic adventure squad.