Texas Sits Are Bigger
This weekend I'll be participating in The Big Sit category of The Great Texas Birding Classic on a team composed of some birding pals from hither and yon. Bird Watcher's Digest and Eagle Optics are the sponsors of our team, which is named The Groovy-Billed Anis.
We'll be sitting near the convention center on the northern end of South Padre Island. It's a great spot with brackish marsh nearby and the Gulf of Mexico too, plus a line of trees surrounded by sand, making them into a veritable oasis for migrants coming off the gulf. Last year the winning Big Sit category team had 124 species from this very spot. We're hoping to beat that this year, if the birding gods be with us.
I've done one other Big Sit in Texas (where everything is bigger) also during the GTBC way back in 2003. Our team, The Couchless Kingbirds, had 92 species and finished in the middle of the category pack. Team members for that year were Jeff Gordon, Liz DeLuna, Jim McCormac, and yours truly. We chose the dike wall outside of Bentsen State Park as our circle location—something that baffled the Border Patrol officers who drove past during the night.
It will be fun to have nothing else to do for an entire day except watch birds. I'll try to offer some updates here at BOTB if I can get Internet access. We'll start Saturday night, April 26, at midnight and we'll end sometime late on Sunday night. The competition ends at midnight.
The really cool thing about the Great Texas Birding Classic is that each team that wins a category, gets prize money to donate to a conservation cause of their choice. That concept, and the fact that we're sitting—not racing all over in an SUV trying to find birds—makes The Big Sit category of the GTBC a fairly green option among all the competitive birding events that are held each year.
Comprising the Groovy-billed Anis, you will find the following people: Jeff Gordon, Liz Gordon, Ben Lizdas (Eagle Optics), Marci and Terry Fuller, and moi (Bird Watcher's Digest).
I'm hoping the skies are full of warblers, orioles, tanagers, and painted buntings! Wish us luck!