I wanted to send out a preliminary total for the Aransas NWR CBC held last Friday 20Dec. This year our preliminary total has surpassed the previous two years post-Harvey: 154 species with 10 sp. This is up from 145 in 2018 and 135 in 2017. This compares favorably with the 20yr average of 159 species.
This year certainly proved the adage "bad weather brings good birds." Amongst our rare birds and write ups:
FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER at HQ and found for the next several days near the entrance (and ultimately in the road before the entrance; first report for the count) BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER at the fishing pier picnic area (first since 1991) PALM WARBLER on the Tatton Unit (first since 2000) LEAST TERN in St Charles Bay (first since 1974) WHITE-WINGED SCOTER on the way out to Matagorda Island (first since 2001)
We also benefitted from birders visiting during count week and reporting their sightings to Ebird. Thanks to everyone that came out before and after the count! GROOVE-BILLED ANI from the Rail Trail on 17Dec (first since 1997) YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT from 23Dec WINTER WREN from 22Dec YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER from 22Dec BONAPARTE'S GULL from 22Dec VIRGINIA RAIL from 23Dec
Thanks again for everyone that came out to help with the count, especially those that went out in the boats, and thanks to the Aransas NWR Staff for help with scheduling and driving. It's great to have such excellent access to the private area of the Refuge- it really benefits the count!