For as many years as the Great Texas Birding Classic has existed (this was the 19th year), the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce sponsored teams have been winners in their categories. The "Port Aransas Spoonbills" BIG SIT! tournament team secured a second place win in the Central Coast division. The BIG SIT! team has staked out its birding spot at the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center for many years and this year, counted 111 species of birds. Team leaders Dr. Joan and Scott Holt were joined by faithful birders Bobby Sherwood, Georgia Neblett, Julie Findley, Tony Amos, Mikael Behrens, Suzette Freeman and Becky Corder, and recruited newbies Sheri Henneberger, Jacob White, Beverly and Burt Moorehouse. In a new category this year, the Human-Powered Tournament division, the “Local LOONatics” came in first place by spotting 126 species. Congratulations to Dr. Joan and Scott Holt and Julie Findley for seeing so many bird species to bring home the win!
One of two youth teams competing was the Woody’s Sports Center’s sponsored team, “Port A Chickadees” who won third place in the Roughwings Regional Tournament. This fine group, chaperoned by Dr. Joan Holt, consisted of Hannah Ramsden, Maddy Nienow, Calligraphy Lauseng, Samantha Ogle, and Zoey Montgomery. These young ladies spotted 96 species. Following just behind the “Chickadees” in the Roughwing Tournament with a fourth place win were “Toth’s Birders”, another Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce sponsored team. With Julie Findley as chaperone, this team of young men spotted 72 species and consisted of Max Nienow, Casey Feil, Thomas McGrady, Zane Bailey, and Dylan Linder.
Dr. Joan Holt commented that “birding was fun and busy this year with the youth teams, the ‘energy saver’ three-some and the Big Sit participants. Fog all morning during the Big Sit slowed down our numbers but we plan to be back in the lead for next year’s 20th anniversary of the Classic. "Port A" birding is the best,” she continued.
Ann Bracher Vaughan, President/CEO of the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce sends “congratulations to all of our dedicated and enthusiastic birders and delighted to see the youth become so involved” and is “proud that there is so much interest and support in our community to enjoy all that nature provides.”