Meet the 2018 Corpus Crew

12 September 2018
photo by Earl Johnson, Broad-winged Hawks photo by Earl Johnson, Broad-winged Hawks

Text by Daniel Horton, Corpus Christi HawkWatch crew member

Hello! It's a new year and with it a new, wonderful season of hawk watching down at the Corpus Christi HawkWatch. It's been relatively slow this season in terms of numbers, but we've had a couple of both relatively standard and immensely productive days -- and we've got a fantastic crew to count them all!

Returning for his 15th consecutive season at Corpus, Dane Ferrell leads the team yet again this year. His 17th total project with Hawkwatch International, Dane brings a wealth of knowledge on all things raptor. He's had an illustrious time with the watch, being here for most every season at this particular watch -- even in the bad years. It's a pleasure to have his expertise on the team!

Her first time counting at the Corpus Christi HawkWatch, Casey Weissburg joins us this year after having counted the prior two years in the Goshute Mountains HawkWatch. and the Grand Canyon HawkWatch. Casey has been all over the country for birds -- birding, it's an infectious craze! -- including the South Texas area a couple of times to enjoy the magic of South Texas birding. Her most recent project involved working with yellowlegs and other breeding shorebird in Alaska, meaning she's just traveled the whole length of the country to count some hawks this year!

One of our first-time counters this year is RJ Baltierra, from eastern Washington. RJ had been counting breeding birds for Intermountain Bird Observatory in Idaho the past four summers, so this is his first field job outside of the Rocky Mountains. Having recently graduated from Washington State University, RJ is currently having a blast coming across countless lifers in his first time in Texas. Here's to hoping he finds his next 50 here!

I'll be the fourth counter this year, Daniel Horton. It's our first season with four counters, well needed, and it's my first time counting with HawkWatch International. Like our other wonderful counters this year, I've also visited most of the country for field work, most recently working with American Kestrels and Scrub-jays in Florida. In two different projects, I also spent last year counting breeding birds and banding saw-whet owls with Bird Conservancy of the Rockies. I relish the opportunity to enjoy birds through any sort of medium, so this stint down here should really be incredible.

I think that's it in terms of getting to know our very special crew this year, but before you go, I'd be remiss not to mention our upcoming Celebration of Flight Festival on Sep. 28, 29, and 30. It promises to be a fantastic event with opportunities to view prolific flights of Broad-winged Hawks, Swainson's Hawks, and many more. I'm certain there'll be events for the kids and all sorts of people, including a food truck for your midday cravings. So come on down this year, it'll be a blast!

Oh yea, and don't forget to follow our group page on Facebook!