Lost Pines Christmas Bird Count Celebrates Citizen Science, Eco-Tourism
Central Texas bird count uniquely features a series of workshops – including bird sketching with National Geographic’s Jonathan Alderfer – to grow birders’ skills as well as enthusiasm for birding
AUSTIN, Texas and BASTROP, Texas, Nov. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa, LCRA’s McKinney Roughs Nature Park, Bastrop County Audubon Society and TPWD’s Lost Pines Master Naturalists invite birding enthusiasts to join them for the Third Annual Lost Pines Christmas Bird Count Saturday, December 28 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. A special dinner presentation and a menu of complimentary birding workshops will also be offered Friday, December 27.
Started by the National Audubon Society in 1900, The Christmas Bird Count is the longest running citizen science survey in the world. The wildlife census is held across North America every year from December 14 to January 5. The 2013-2014 count marks the 114th year of the event, which lures thousands of birding volunteers to venture out to count birds and add another layer to more than a century’s worth of data.
The Lost Pines Christmas Bird Count distinguishes itself from other counts by offering a unique menu of workshops and programs the day before the census. Hosted at Hyatt Lost Pines, these experiences allow novices and longtime birders to sharpen their birding skills while discovering new ways to celebrate their feathered friends. The Lost Pines count circle is also unique in that it may be the only circle with a resort in its boundaries, creating an opportunity for birders to combine census participation with a Texas vacation.
The Lost Pines Christmas Bird Count is one of nearly 50 counts taking place in the Lone Star State this season. More than 630 species of birds have been seen across Texas, and about 250 of those make their homes in the Lost Pines Region.
In 2012, 68 Lost Pines Christmas Bird Count participants tallied 134 species of birds inside the Lost Pines circle for a total of 9,193 birds. Last year’s numbers – as well as the 112 species spotted in 2011 – will serve as a benchmark for 2013 and the years to come, taking note of the new and different bird species that make their way into the region as vegetation continues to fill in following the 2011 Central Texas wildfires.
Registration for the Lost Pines Christmas Bird Count is required, but workshops are free of charge, as is count participation. A special dinner with a keynote presentation will be held on the eve of the count, Friday, December 27, at the cost of $39 per person. Program details follow.
Lost Pines Christmas Bird Count Workshops and Programs
Friday, December 27
1 to 2:30 p.m.
Birds and Blooms Workshop with Jonathan Pixler, horticulturist at Hyatt Lost Pines, graduate of Texas A&M and theLongwood Graduate Program at the University of Delaware, and consultant to projects such as United States Botanic Garden, UC Berkley Botanic Garden, The Darwin Institute, Welkinwier Arboretum and more. (complimentary)
2:45 to 3:45 p.m.
Seeing Double: Identifying Birds that Look Alike Workshop with Glenn Olsen,expert birder/photographer, Rice University and Houston Audubon Society instructor, Texas Master Naturalist and founder/operator of GOBirding Ecotours, a company that hosts birding tours throughout the world. (complimentary)
4 to 5:30 p.m.
Bird-Sketching Workshop with Jonathan Alderfer, author, illustrator and bird consultant to National Geographic Books and four editions of the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America and with Jon Dunn co-authored the recently published sixth edition. He has co-authored or edited other National Geographic works, including Backyard Guide to the Birds of North America (2011). His paintings and drawings of birds were exhibited at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C., in 2009. (complimentary)
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Bird Feather Identification Presentation and Dinner with Dave Scott, co-author of Bird Feathers: A Guide to North American Species, founder of Austin’s Earth Native Wilderness School and one of only 15 individuals in North America qualified as a track and sign specialist through the Cybertracker Conservation evaluation system.($39 per person)
9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Owl prowl with Glenn Olsen (complimentary)
Stargazing with a McKinney Roughs naturalist through Hyatt Lost Pines ($5 per person)
Saturday. December 28
6 a.m. to late afternoon
Registration in the Hyatt Lost Pines lobby, with options for participation including all-day land, all-day river, morning land excursions. Birders will depart around 6:30 a.m.
Birding 101 begins, offering an abbreviated, 90-minute bird count experience is great for all ages and levels and takes place on the 405-acre Hyatt Lost Pines property. Birders will begin this experience at 10 a.m.
5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Birders’ countdown at Hyatt Lost Pines, with tallying of species spotted.
Hyatt Lost Pines has created a special room rate for the nights of December 26, 27, 28 and 29. Rates start at $146 per night plus tax and resort fee. To book, call 512-308-4757 or visit www.lostpines.hyatt.com (Special Offer Code: BIRDS).
Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa
SOURCE Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa