Text by Paula Dittrick, TMNCPC blogmaster. Photos by Paula Dittrick and Robbin Mallett, TMNCPC communications director.
The 2020 Great Texas Birding Classic started at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 25 at Seabourne Creek Nature Park (SCNP) in Rosenberg under an overcast sky.
The count ended under the threat of rain with a final count of 64 species. The list was submitted to eBird.
This year marks a one-time fall edition of the US bird-watching tournament, which is typically a spring event. The Texas Master Naturalist Coastal Prairie Chapter competed for its first time in the Big Sit, a 24-year-old competition.
The Rosenberg Development Council sponsored the TMNCPC team, the Seabourne Prairie Perchers. TMNCPC member Margo Johnson coordinated the Big Sit event.
Typically, Big Sit participants count bird species from a 17-foot-diameter circle. Only birds seen or heard by team members from within the circle can be listed on eBird. But given COVID precautions, the 2020 circle was expanded to 50 feet to ensure social distancing for participants.
The team members took shifts throughout the day, working from a site near the SCNP prairie demo garden parking lot. The circle provided a good view of both the marsh and prairie.
This circle location enabled the team to count birds ranging from hawks to shorebirds.