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Common Nighthawk

Super Bird 53 Record Attendance and Upset

The teams were set. The playing field determined. The weather was cooperating. Super Bird 53 arrived on Saturday, February 2, 2019, to gray skies and a few sprinkles from overhead clouds. The weather did not deter the teams from arriving at the appointed time.

Over 40 hardy birders, both young and old, gathered on the blacktop to divide and conquer. At 10 AM sharp the eBirding started for both the Superb Owls and the Gridiron Goatsuckers. The Goatsuckers were playing it cool but inside were truly out for revenge and glory. The Owls silently flew off to the south end of the park while the Goatsuckers headed north and logged 30 species in 15 minutes!

They could taste victory, but knowing the Owls had some very wise birders on hand did not build up their confidence at this early stage in the game. The time was ticking and both teams were counting cormorants and pipits. The Goatsuckers were a bit distracted by a cooperative Osprey and Red-shouldered Hawk. The Owls were circling the ponds and finding snipe and yellowlegs. The Goatsuckers were searching for munia and desperately searching for a single Little Blue Heron.

As the clock neared noon, the Goatsuckers realized that the end zone was a good distance away. They elected their quarterback, Mary Anne Weber, and one of the youngest birders, Brie, to run the mile plus back to the lot to make the deadline. They ran as fast as possible as the team continued to text species to them as they arrived in the end zone at 11:58 AM and submitted to eBird at exactly Noon. Both teams then gathered round for the results show.

The Superb Owls ticked 54 species and, in a moment of utter glory, the Goatsuckers realized they had squeaked past the raptors with a single Muscovy Duck that gave them 55 species. The Goatsuckers will tour other birding areas for the next year, so there will be many opportunities to meet and greet the winning team. But in all seriousness, everyone had a great time and the Superb Owls and Gridiron Goatsuckers look forward to Super Bird 54!

Click here to see a photo gallery of the event showing the birds and the people that participated.

Here are the two checklists:

Gridiron Goatsuckers:

Archbishop Fiorenza Pk.--W.of Eldridge Pkwy (Eldridge Retention Basin), Harris, Texas, US
Feb 2, 2019 10:00 AM - 11:59 AM
Protocol: Traveling
2.736 mile(s)
54 species (+1 other taxa)

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) 1
Muscovy Duck (Domestic type) (Cairina moschata (Domestic type)) 1
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) 3
Gadwall (Mareca strepera) 4
Mottled Duck (Anas fulvigula) 5
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) 3
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Feral Pigeon)) 45
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) 1
White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica) 12
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) 1
American Coot (Fulica americana) 3
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) 15
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius) 1
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) 10
Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia) 1
Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) 45
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) 2
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) 15
Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) 1
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 4
Great Egret (Ardea alba) 3
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) 1
Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) 1
Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) 1
Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) 8
White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) 1
Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) 4
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 1
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) 2
Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) 1
Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) 1
Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens) 2
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) 3
Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) 3
White-eyed Vireo (Vireo griseus) 1
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) 2
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 6
Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) 4
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) 5
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 36
American Pipit (Anthus rubescens) 6
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) 37
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) 2
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) 5
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) 7
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) 1
Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus) 33
Orange-crowned Warbler (Oreothlypis celata) 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) 6
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) 4
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) 6
Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata) 3

View this checklist online at

Superb Owls:

Archbishop Fiorenza Pk.--E. of Eldridge Pkwy
Feb 02, 2019
9:59 AM
2.91 miles
122 minutes

2 Northern Shoveler
1 Gadwall
1 Mallard
2 Mottled Duck
1 Pied-billed Grebe
15 Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
2 Eurasian Collared-Dove
1 White-winged Dove
3 Mourning Dove
2 American Coot
1 Killdeer
1 Wilson's Snipe
1 Spotted Sandpiper
1 Greater Yellowlegs
1 Ring-billed Gull
1 Neotropic Cormorant
1 Double-crested Cormorant
1 American White Pelican
1 Great Blue Heron
1 Great Egret
1 Snowy Egret
1 Little Blue Heron
1 Black-crowned Night-Heron
1 White Ibis
1 Roseate Spoonbill
1 Black Vulture
1 Turkey Vulture
1 Osprey
1 Red-shouldered Hawk
1 Red-tailed Hawk
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Eastern Phoebe
1 Blue Jay
2 American Crow
1 Carolina Chickadee
1 Carolina Wren
1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
2 Eastern Bluebird
1 Northern Mockingbird
1 European Starling
5 American Pipit
9 Cedar Waxwing
3 House Finch
1 American Goldfinch
6 Chipping Sparrow
1 Savannah Sparrow
1 Swamp Sparrow
1 Eastern Meadowlark
2 Red-winged Blackbird
1 Great-tailed Grackle
1 Pine Warbler
5 Yellow-rumped Warbler
1 Northern Cardinal

Number of Taxa: 54