Our duck watching was Interrupted suddenly by the discovery of an Australian Pratincole, newly alighted
on the road ahead of us. What a delight! Pratincoles
are among the most beautiful and graceful of the
charidriformes. The first Impression is that a plover
and a swallow have interbred and produced a long-
winged shorebird with the soft plumage of a waxwing.
As it turned out there were hundreds of Pratincoles
on the pond and each one was a charmer.
ed wi t
s Pi pi
rel , one
see. Deli of a
d wings form
Ith the shorebirds on the shelf was a small, olive-
Folored passerine which confused us at first, but
eventually proved to be a Rufous-banded Honeyeater,
a member of a large group of birds found throughout
Australasia. The total incongruity of finding a
honeyeater feeding in sewage was not lost on the
group. As sunset rapidly approached our trip around the
dike was taking on a degree of urgency. The aim of
identifying even half of the birds there was ludicrous, but Australian Pel lean, Black and Whist!1ng
Kites and Pied Stilt were added to our list be-
fore we settled down to scope the thousands of
ducks on the water. More Grey Teal, Black Ducks,
and Burdekins were everywhere, but careful scrutiny found large numbers of White-eyed Ducks and
finally a small number of Pink-eared Ducks. This
strange apparition was built like a shoveler, and
turned out to be one of our most desired finds as
it capped off a perfect day at "rose acres".
Although later in the trip we were to visit the sewage
ponds at Alice Springs where we got another infusion
of water birds, Darwin will always remain for me a gem
among the world's treatment plants.
FREEPORT CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT RECORDS 222 SPECIES
by Jim Morgan
A Freeport record of 159 participants, aided by nearly perfect weather and a good year for wintering birds
recorded the second highest CBC in 26 years, and the
third highest ever in the U.S. - a grand total of 222
species! Hats off to all who made this count such
a huge success!
In addition to the near record total, two new species
were recorded for the UTC - a Wil1iamson 's Sapsucker
and a Tropical Parula. Kelly Bryan, one of our steady
out-of-town participants, found the woodpecker, and
the bird was later seen by Tony Gallucci and three
other observers. Details and a good sketch of the
bird have been submitted to the Clearing House.
The warbler was located in a yard 1n Jones Creek and
was seen by Victor Emanuel, Fred Collins, Walter
Piper, Kurt Huffman, Louis Lopilato (from New York)
and Bob Warren (from Florida).
Other good species recorded with supporting details
were: Red-necked Grebe, Masked Booby (adult), Yellow
Rail, Whimbrel, Black-necked Stilt, black-backed gull
species, two Black-legged Kittiwakes, two White-
winged Doves, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, myiarchus species
(not Ash-throated), Rough-winged Swallow, Red-
breasted Nuthatch, three Bewick's Wrens, Warbling
Vireo, Tennessee Warbler, two Northern Parulas, Western
Meadowlark, Western Tanager, Pyrrhuloxia, two Clay-
colored Sparrows and a Harris' Sparrow.
The Freeport CBC co-compilers Tom Collins, Victor
Emanuel and Jim Morgan wish to thank all participants
for their efforts on this great count. In addition, we
want to thank the count's area leaders for their continuing hard work which is a major reason the Freeport
CBC is so successful. We also thank the generous and
kind property owners who allow us access to their land,
and Dow Chemical who always hosts our count-down
dinner. Special thanks also goes out to the Houston
Audubon Society for its continuing sponsership of the
count, and to the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service for
access to the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge and
for use of the marsh buggy and air boat.
I also wish to thank the many participants who came
from so far out of our area to help out. Again, many
thanks to all of you!