published: Friday, February 01, 2013
Birders stand up to be counted
Special to the South Lake Press
The Inaugural Cler-mont Christmas Bird Count took place on a cold and dreary January 4.
Thirty-five devoted birders converged on the Florida Scrub-Jay Trail-house at 5:30 a.m. for breakfast and maps of their assigned territory, a section of a 15-mile circle surrounding Clermont.
This event is ramping up for next year's Audu-bon Christmas Bird Count, a national event.
After breakfast and briefings, the teams went out and scoured their territories for 12 hours, documenting their sightings. At the end of the day, they all reconvened at the trailhouse to report their sightings, and feast on a fabulous dinner, generously donated by Clermont's Carrabba's Restaurant.
The results were very impressive: 123 species were counted, totaling 10,800 birds.
Cathy Brown, executive director of the Florida Scrub-Jay Consortium, which hosted the event, said the consortium was glad to be a part of the first-ever count.
When John Thomton, the organizer of this count, came to us and asked if we would host the event and provide the 'base camp,' we jumped at the opportunity," said Brown. "We are very proud to be a part of bringing this important event to South Lake County and recognizing our abundant bird population, including Florida's only endemic species, the Florida scrub-jay.
"We are looking forward to hosting this event next year and for many years to come, and encourage parents and children to go outside and experience nature, South Lake County style," she said.