Saturday, January 2, 2021

Round Rock Christmas Bird Count 2020

The Round Rock Christmas Bird Count (CBC) happened on Monday, December 28. This is a new CBC that Andrew Dickinson started organizing a couple years ago, and I quickly volunteered to organize the Area 6 team because this area includes my neighborhood and Lake Creek Trail! CBCs are a big part of my year-end traditions, and in a normal year I'd participate in five or six. But this year because of the pandemic and family health issues, I was only able to participate in two: the Port Aransas CBC and this one.

Christmas Bird Counts were a little different this year. Normally half the fun of these counts is birding with other people on a small team, and getting together with all the other teams at the end of the day for dinner and a species tally. This year the birding was solo, and data was gathered submitted to the count compilers over the internet. It just wasn't the same, but our Area 6 team still did great. Big thanks to Helen Mastrangelo, Steven McDonald, Sue and Steve Whitmer, Twyla Grace, Craig Browning, and Arman Moreno for splitting up and counting birds all over our area. We ended up collectively finding 75 species of birds in Area 6. You can see all the species found by all the teams in Andrew Dickinson's shared Google Sheet document here. (Our Area 6 total shows 79 because it includes a few subspecies and hybrids, which don't contribute to the official species count.) And the entire 15 mile diameter circle with all the different areas labelled is here. As of this writing, all the teams collectively found 119 species of birds!

I spent most of my birding time on the streets of Forest North Estates. I accumulated a good bird list in the morning but the overcast conditions were terrible for photography. In the afternoon the sun started to come  out and conditions became beautiful. Here's a female Eastern Bluebird near Forest North Elementary:

Eastern Bluebird

And here's a Cooper's Hawk on Quilberry Drive that let me get incredibly close before flying into a nearby drainage:

Cooper's Hawk

The most numerous warbler species observed was Yellow-rumped Warbler, specifically the subspecies Myrtle Warbler. Here's one on Chapel Down St:

Yellow-rumped Warbler

I spent the end of the day at the Parmer Village drainage pond watching under a dramatic sky:

Parmer Village Pond

I wasn't sure I was going to be able to participate in any CBCs during this difficult year. It was immensely satisfying to contribute to this one, in my own neighborhood, and to say hello to a few neighbors along the way.

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