Our Belize trip on Feb 14-22, 2015 is rapidly approaching. Our meeting and fieldtrip for February will be in Belize; therefore we will have no meeting in Liberty on Feb 14 or local fieldtrip on the Feb 21. In place of our regular February activities, you may want to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count.
We had good activities in January. Al Barr, the outreach coordinator at Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center, gave an interesting presentation over dragonflies and damselflies. Also, we enjoyed having Al join us for lunch after the meeting.
LTVBC fieldtrip Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, Jan 17, 2015 (see fieldtrip article for details) was fabulous. We had great weather, impressive birds, and good friends. It was great to have John and Annie Benzon with us: John was in good spirits and looked good.
During the Belize trip, we will try to keep you updated through our Facebook page.
Dayton rice dryer to be demolished
Reprinted from The Dayton News
By MELECIO FRANCO
The American Rice Growers Dayton Division rice dryer will be demolished through the efforts of a local business owner and the Dayton Community Development Corporation.
The rice dryer was originally built in 1949 and consists of three concrete structures that were used to dry and store rice. The buildings were last used in 2004. They suffered some damage to the metal roof from Hurricane Ike in 2008.
Randy Ripkowski, of Dayton Sand, Clay and Construction, acquired the approximately two-acre tract of land underneath the dryer from American Rice Growers and he will demolish the structure.
The DCDC will assist Ripkowski with a grant that is approximately 10 percent of the cost of the demolition. The amount of the grant is $46,550 and the total cost of the demolition is $465,500.
The board approved the grant amount for one year and also offered a bonus of $5,000 per month for each month that the demolition is completed early up to $20,000.
The incentive to finish early was offered to help minimize the impact of the demolition process on the city and the surrounding businesses. The offer is void if the demolition takes longer than one year.
Once the structure is removed, approximately two acres of land will be available for commercial development at the intersection of SH 321 and W. Clayton in the heart of Dayton.
"It will definitely change the face of Dayton," said Chris Potter, DCDC executive director. "Randy will be tackling an enormous monolithic structure. He will be making the single biggest improvement possible to Dayton's image and our city will be thanking him for years to come."
Counting Chimney Swifts at the Rice Dryer in Dayton
Have you wondered what those folks, sitting in lawn chairs at Dayton's rice dryer parking lot on Thursday evenings around sundown, looking through binoculars and spotting scopes are doing??? Members of the Lower Trinity Valley Bird Club are counting Chimney Swifts as they go to roost in some of the holes of the old American Rice Growers Association rice dryer.
The Bird Club invites you to join in for a "Swift Night Out" on Thursday, August 26 at 7:30 pm in the parking lot of the rice dryer located at the intersection of FM 1960 and State Hwy 321 in Dayton. This is usually the week we count the highest number of swifts, sometimes over 300. To keep up with the progress of "Swifts Over Dayton" check our page on the Houston Audubon Society's web site at http://www.houstonaudubon.org/index.cfm/menuItemID/689.htm
We will continue to meet on Thursday evenings in the parking lot until the birds migrate south in November. Stop by just before sundown to begin counting. It takes about ½ hour as the swifts go to roost right at dark. Sometimes we even spot a raccoon or great-horned owl in the area looking for a "swift" meal. Bring a lawn chair.