David's reminder yesterday of Brent's challenge got me to thinking. How many species did I tally on the 5 CBCs in which I participated? I didn't have any count with particularly his numbers and I only did 5 counts rather than the 6 or 7 I have done in past years. I also stayed closer to home rather than wandering all over the state.
So I tallied them up and came to 121 species with total count ticks of 266. Not close to David's 199 species. I expect Brent blew right past his 230 species goal with 10 or more counts.
What was the best bird? The only write-up bird we had was the Burrowing Owl on the Jackson-Calhoun count.
But looking at it from a different standpoint, I used the percent of checklists that eBird shows on its Target List for Texas in a year. Looking at it that way, the Attwater's Greater Prairie-chicken is reported on 0.05% of the checklists in the state. One of the benefits of the Attwater NWR count is that toward the end of the day, you hop in a van and the rangers drive you out to the prairie-chickens. But the second best bird from this viewpoint was also on the Attwater count, three Short-eared Owls that we saw on the ride out to the prairie-chickens. These are 0.1 percenters.
The third rarest bird was Palm Warbler, actually seen on two counts, San Bernard and Jackson-Calhoun. This is a 0.3 percenter.
My favorite bird on the counts was probably the Leconte's Sparrow. I saw them on the Attwater and the Jackson-Calhoun counts, with great views on both counts. But they were a lot easier to find at Attwater. In the early morning they popped up right next to our refuge vehicle several times. We didn't have to get out to find them. At the Formosa-Tejano wetlands on the Jackson-Calhoun our section leader led us out into a high grass prairie and spent about ten minutes before he was able to coax one up where we could see it. LeConte's Sparrows are 0.4 percenters.