Birder's Guide

AUG 2018

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 28 of 35

ing a one-eyed Summer Tanager (who clearly hadn't learned her lesson) continue to feast on a hive of bees. Further down Chachalaca Trail, I find the tree which houses an immense Great Horned Owl nest, viewed by thousands of birders who quietly watched from a distance a few winters ago. Barn Swallows feed hun - grily over the lake. A Great Kiskadee shrieks nearby. The wind picks up, and the dragon - flies hunker down. For a moment my cares drift away, all is still. Walking back to the visitor center from the trailhead, I note the depth of vegetation which would be cleared. A border wall here would have required the standard 150-foot enforcement zone for a cleared, dirt, milita - n At least 44 acres of imperiled Tamaulipan thorn- scrub habitat would have been bulldozed at Santa Ana NWR in order to make way for the border wall. Photo © Vince Smith rized road, nearly eliminating the entire trail- head path among a total of 44 demolished acres. Only 3% of the U.S.'s Tamaulipan thornscrub habitat remains. Yet my walk is thankfully met with some semblance of serenity for the first time in many months. It's strange: the way in which we appreciate something so much more when we know that we might lose it. My doz - ens of visits here from June 2017 to March 2018 have felt frantic, anxious, and nauseat- ing, as each time I wondered whether our re- sistance efforts would be enough to keep this place open to public visitation, and to allow wildlife to move freely from Mexico, into the refuge, and through the rest of south Texas. 27 August 2018 | Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community Mission, Texas Tiffany Kersten

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