Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Ann Bracher Vaughan, President/CEO

Port Aransas Wins Birding During Great Texas Birding Classic Tournament

(Port Aransas, TX) The Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce sponsored team, the Port Aransas Spoonbills, once again won the Big Sit! award for the Central Coast division during the recent state-wide Great Texas Birding Classic. The Spoonbills, catching sight of the most species of birds during a 24 hour period, swooped in to “sit” and spotted 107 species this year. The team consisted of team leaders Joan and Scott Holt who were joined by Mikael Behrens, Suzette Freeman, Nick Lorette, Tony Amos, Bobby Sherwood, Julie Findley, and Glenn Martin. The group gathered at their traditional spot, the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center Observation Tower, May 3, with temperatures a little chilly. Joan hoped her bright serape wouldn’t “scare the birds away” but indeed it didn’t.

According to the Holt’s, “the team enjoyed the breezy day and had some interesting sightings including a great alligator show, two Purple Gallinules , lots of shorebirds on the mudflats, courting Ruddy Ducks with bright blue bills, and great participants on the tower. Birding was fun and we were pleased to get over 100 species.”

The Chamber of Commerce also sponsored the Seaside Sparrows. Team members Joan & Scott Holt and Kyle Jones, experimented this year by birding in a new category called All Ages: Sunrise to Noon. The team placed third by spotting 108 species, a great number for a short period of time. Sightings were at several Port Aransas locations including the Nature Preserve, North Jetty beach, Paradise Pond, Birding Center and finished by boat in Piper Channel. Kyle Jones has become a great birder, having been mentored by Joan Holt for many years.

Two new children’s teams participated in the Roughwings Regional Tournament division this year. Toth’s Birders, sponsored by the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce, placed fourth in the tournament spotting 82 feathered species on May 9. Brayden Martin, Casey Feil, Maxwell DeHart, and Thomas McGrady were on the team along with their mentors Julie Findley and Becky Feil. Woody’s Warblers, sponsored by Woody’s Sports Center, spotted almost that many on April 27 with 79 species, placing fifth. The team of girls included Hannah Ramsden, Zoey Montgomery, Elish Brennan, and Taylor Alcorn with Julie Findley and Katy Brennan as mentors. Congratulations to both of our children’s teams for keeping a watchful eye on the sky and spying so many birds! According to Findley,” since this was the team’s initial try as a team, they plan on returning next year as an experienced, highly competitive team.”

The Chamber of Commerce has participated in the Classic since its inception in 1997. Without exception, all the teams they have sponsored over the years have placed every single year. “That is a testament to the outstanding birding venues and birders in our community”, stated Ann Bracher Vaughan, President and CEO of the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce. “I couldn’t be more pleased than to see some of our youth getting involved in this wonderful sport. Appreciation goes to the adults who are spending time introducing them to the wonders of nature here in Port Aransas.”

The Great Texas Classic helps promote bird habitat conservation, community nature tourism development, and increases public awareness of Texas bird diversity. For more information on the Great Texas Birding Classic, please visit the Texas Parks & Wildlife website at