Date: 1/6/19 1:20 pm
From: Brent Ortego <brentortego...>
Subject: [texbirds] Matagorda County CBC challange
I posted a friendly challenge before the season for birders to attend as many CBCs as possible and see how close they can come to the CBC in Matagorda County.

I gave it a shot and attended 12 CBCs with most within 110 miles of the Matagorda County CBC. I kept them close to not greatly go outside of ecoregion of Matagorda County.

I am sort of numb from getting up around 3 most mornings and driving roughly 100 miles to a count. Also feeling kind of strange just sitting at the desk watching feeders rather than being outside doing something.

Matagorda County produced 237 species during one day with the help of 123 birders during 352 party hours. The CBC is made up of 12 sections with each reporting their daily tally. In comparison I attended 12 counts with help most days from others in my party and managed to tally 215 species with 108 party-hours. Somewhat less productive than David Sarkozi's 2.7 species per party-hour. Our efforts, I suspect, were not designed to maximize species diversity but to help the compiler in the best manner possible to achieve their goals. I had Great assignments on some days where I was able to travel across most of the count circle and other days I was more focused on smaller areas. My daily production ranged from 45 species on the Kenedy County CBC to 135 on both the Matagorda and Guadalupe River Delta CBCs.

The quest was fun and increasingly points out to me how diverse the Texas coastal CBCs are.

I often wonder how did Matagorda County report 250 species in 2005 and can this be duplicated again. In planning to try to achieve this high species level you are hoping for about 10 irregularly occurring species which can be obtained on most years. However, the factor which gets the high species tally is finding almost all of the "regularly" occurring species. This requires planning, skill and some luck. Mad Island missed 25 species this year that had occurred with some regularity. Something to think about.

It was a Great CBC Season. I hope you enjoyed it.

Brent Ortego
Texas CBC Editor
Victoria, TX

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