South Texas December 2012 Day 2

On December 5 more of our group arrived.  “Our group”?  Yes.  The very first informal meeting of the 700+ Club.  It’s that crazy group of birders who have done Big Years (trying to see as many species as possible in one calendar year) and have crossed the 700-species mark for North America in a single year.  To my knowledge, that is twelve people and ten of us are gathered here in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

And to answer the first question that must be running through your head, “Are the guys in the book, The Big Year, all here?”–the answer is “Yes, we are all here.”  Wouldn’t you just love to be a fly on the wall to listen to all the conversations and stories?  Haha.  I thought so.

I birded a half day on Wednesday, December 5.  I chose to go to Estero Llano Grande.  When I arrived, guess who I met?  Other big year birders: John Vanderpoel, John Spahr, and Bob Ake.

Common Gallinule - Estero Llano Grande - 2012-12-05

Common Gallinule – Estero Llano Grande – 2012-12-05 photo by Greg Miller

We chatted a lot about our big years, strategies, war stories, and birding adventures.  We also came across this gorgeous (but dangerous) Eastern Coral Snake.

Eastern Coral Snake - Estero Llano Grande - 2012-12-05

Eastern Coral Snake – Estero Llano Grande – 2012-12-05 photo by Greg Miller

Here’s a snowy egret that posed for us while we shared stories.

Snowy Egret - Estero Llano Grande - 2012-12-05

Snowy Egret – Estero Llano Grande – 2012-12-05 photo by Greg Miller

In the afternoon I went to the airport in McAllen to pick up my friend (and birder extraordinaire) Dan Sanders.  Dan is doing a Big Year this year in Ohio and is doing quite well.  It was hard to convince Dan to leave off a few days of Ohio birding to join the rest of us in Texas.  Of course, we all know what that feels like.

Our first meeting was at the Santa Fe Restaurant in McAllen, TX.  Jeff Gordon, President of the ABA–the American Birding Association was present to document our informal meeting.  I believe it was Jeff who dubbed this dinner as “The List Supper”.  Good one!

The List Supper - Santa Fe Restaurant - McAllen TX - 2012-12-05

The List Supper – Santa Fe Restaurant – McAllen TX – 2012-12-05 photo by Greg Miller

The List Supper #2 - Santa Fe Restaurant - McAllen TX - 2012-12-05

The List Supper #2 – Santa Fe Restaurant – McAllen TX – 2012-12-05 photo by Greg Miller

The List Supper #3 - Santa Fe Restaurant - McAllen TX - 2012-12-05

The List Supper #3 – Santa Fe Restaurant – McAllen TX – 2012-12-05
This is the reigning champion Big Year lister, Sandy Komito
photo by Greg Miller

The List Supper #4 - Santa Fe Restaurant - McAllen TX - 2012-12-05

The List Supper #4 – Santa Fe Restaurant – McAllen TX – 2012-12-05 photo by Greg Miller

The List Supper #5 - Santa Fe Restaurant - McAllen TX - 2012-12-05

700+ Club Big Year Birders, Dec 5, 2012

700+ Club - Santa Fe Restaurant - McAllen TX - 2012-12-05

From left to right: Benton Basham, John Spahr, Bob Ake, Al Levantin, Lynn Barber, John Vanderpoel, Dan Sanders, Greg Miller, Chris Hitt, Sandy Komito

 

2 thoughts on “South Texas December 2012 Day 2

  1. Wonderful! Now for the 800 + listers… get Red and Louise out to dinner! Love to see Benton there! And finally see what Sandy looks like!

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