As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday 17 January 2013

Lower bird species numbers attributed to two-year drought

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 1:06 AM CST

The drought affecting South Texas during the past two years has had an impact on area bird populations according to numbers from the Dec. 28 Christmas Bird Count. According to Rockport Christmas Bird County compiler Claudia Dorn, 31 adults and 11 young people participated in the all-day count. This year, 150 different species were counted, down from last year’s total of 172.

“We had a good turnout with participants,” said Dorn. “A couple of years ago we had a hard time getting enough participants so it was nice to see so many people helping. We had fourth and fifth graders helping in Area B under the tutelage of Bron Rorex and Martha McLeod.”

With the good participation numbers the count area was divided into seven sectors. “We covered the area from Newcomb Point in Lamar to FM 188 and into Bayside,” said Dorn

Dorn recalled best birds by area as follows:
• Area A (from Newcomb Point, both sides of Copano Bay to Myrtle Street in Fulton):  Common Goldeneye, Ring necked Duck, Kiskadee, Coopers Hawk, and Seaside Sparrow.

 • Area B (Including Little Bay and Rockport Beach):  Mallard, Merlin, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Black-chinned Hummingbird, eight Couch’s Kingbirds, Great Horned Owl, and Pine Warbler.

 • Area C (South of Rockport Beach Park to Shell Ridge Road and across to the Country Club area):  14 Common Loons, Eared Grebe, Anhinga, more than 2,000 Pintails, more than 10,000 Redheads, Ruddy Duck, Clapper Rail, eight Belted Kingfishers.

 • Area D (including Salt Lake and Cape Valero):  Harris’ Sparrow.

 • Area E (from Cape Valero and FM 188 to the Port Bay Bridge):  Widgeon, Bufflehead, 55 Green wing teal, nine Little Blue Heron, 12 White-faced Ibis, Common Paraque, Yellow–bellied Sapsucker, Brown Thrasher, White crowned Sparrow.

• Area F (from Port Bay north of 188 to Bayside) : 13 Red-breasted Mergansers, White-tailed Hawk, Merlin, Peregrine, Western and Least Sandpipers, Gull billed tern, Roadrunner, Tree Swallow, American Pipit, 80 Savannah Sparrows.


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