Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 10 Birding Moments of 2011

It's the countdown to 2012, so it's time for a little Birding Review of  2011. It was a great year for birds! Personally, I had 377 Year Birds, 89 of which were lifers. It was a fun-filled year with rarities, first travelling experiences, new friends and good times. I think 2012 will be even better.


10.) Travelling all the way to Beaumont and back in a day with Marcin and Daria just to see a Fish Crow for my year list. (Plus, it was a good lifer.) We even had time to bird Bolivar Peninsula and 2 hours to spare at Brazos Bend State Park.

9.) Seeing my lifer Swallow-tailed Kite with Marcin and Daria and some other East Texas Specialties. (Red-cockaded Woodpecker, etc.)

8.) Birding the Guadalupe Mountains with Brad trying to rack up some last minute year birds. (White-breasted Nuthatch, Townsend's Solitaire, Red-naped Sapsucker (Lifer), etc.)

7.) Finding a Black-billed Cuckoo at Warbler Woods in Schertz, TX.

6.) Birding the Rio Grande Valley for the first time with my grandmother (Grana) and my wife to see some great rarities, including the Crimson-collared Grosbeak.

5.) Birding Big Bend/Chisos Basin and camping out with my brother, Zach, and our friend Jarrod.

4.) Tracking down a male Masked Duck with Marcin. It was on a small stock pond in Washington County with some domestics.

3.) Seeing two good lifers with Grana in one trip, including Yellow-faced Grassquit and the Little Gull.

2.) Seeing a Green Violet Ear Hummingbird in Ingram, TX. The next day it was nowhere to be seen. (Whew...)

1.) Being the first to see, report and photograph the Yellow-faced Grassquit on Jan. 30 at Goose Island State Park with my wife by my side. It felt like a once in a lifetime moment, but hopefully it won't be.     
Yellow-faced Grassquit (Not the original photo I took. I took this one during a return visit.)

                           HERE'S TO 2012... HAPPY NEW YEAR and HAPPY BIRDING!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Birding is BIG in Texas

Things are BIG in Texas. You probably know the Lone Star State is the largest state in the lower 48. You also probably know about the King Ranch, an 825,000 acre ranch that's one of the largest in the world. If you've been through Amarillo, TX you may have seen signs for a restaurant called the BIG TEXAN: Home of the FREE 72 ounce steak. (It's free if you can eat the whole meal in 1 hour.)

But something you might not know about Texas is that birdwatching is BIG. As of July 27, 2011, the official record of bird species seen and accepted by the Texas Bird Records Committee (TBRC) is 636. That's huge when you consider that 969 birds have been seen and accepted in North America.

To celebrate that fact and my love for the pastime, I'll be writing and sharing my experience right here in 2012 and hopefully beyond. I won't just write about Texas birds, but for the most part it will be about birding in my home state. On occassion, I'll go BEYOND on some great birding expeditions outside the state.

I'll be happy to share the adventure with ya'll.