Saturday was the inaugral effort for the Gas Saver division of the Great Texas Birding Classic. In an attemp to create a venue for a more environmentally friendly birding big day, Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Gulf Coast Birding Observatory initiated a division where birders must cover a minimum of fifty miles and scoring is determined by number of birds seen per mile. Normally teams cover several hundred miles in an attempt to see as many species as possible. Well I'm proud to announce the winners are our own Weslaco "Slice of the Good Lifers" who scored 176 species in 52 miles to edge out John Arvin's GCBO Cuckoos who saw 167 species in 51 miles.
The winning effort garnered an award of $10,000 to be donated to an environmental cause, most probably Frontera Audubon Thicket in Weslaco. Here's the exhausted winning team as they scored #175 (Cape May Warbler) and #176 (Blackburnian Warbler) at the convertion center on South Parder Island. From left to right are Jim "Ears" Booker, Wayne "Frontera Director" Bartholomew, JD "rookie" Cortez, Martin "Valley Nature Center Director" Hagne and Antshrike.