Friday 21 December 2007

Hello All,

Some people have asked me about the name of this count. There was 
for a number of years a Mt Dora Xmas Count. In fact, over 20 years
ago the first date I had with my now wife was participation in the
Mt Dora count. Our area in the southern part of the count circle 
included the northern part of what is now the Lake Apopka 
Restoration Area. In 1998 the St. Johns Water Mgt. District bought
out the farms in the area & left the agricultural fields in a 
flooded state for weeks. This condition led to unprecedented
numbers of species & individuals. The Mt. Dora Christmas Count
by that time had become defunct, so I decided to create a new count
that would include almost all of the North Lake Apopka area.
Because so much of the old Mt Dora Christmas Bird Count falls 
within the Zellwood count area the powers that be in N.Y. said
the the old name needed to be incorporated into the new counts
name. The center of the Zellwood - Mt. Dora Xmas Bird Count is the
intersection of Highway 441 & Jones Ave. on the north side of the
town of Zellwood, which is exactly one mile south of the center of
the old Mt. Dora Christmas Bird Count.

The first Zellwood - Mt. Dora Xmas Count took place in 1998. At that 
time, the only inland Florida Xmas Count to crack 150 species was 
Lake Placid, & they did it twice. I guess I should say we did it,
because I had the pleasure of participating in both counts. Well,
that first year not only did we join Lake Placid as the only other
inland Florida count to crack the 150 mark, we totaled 174 for the
best inland count in the history of North America. In the 9 year
history of the Zellwood count we have always hit 150 species or 
more. But all was not rosy, please check out the following web site:

Last year Florida had 11 counts that broke the 150 species
mark. Gainesville again joined the ranks of inland counts to record
150 or more species with a total of 153 species. The Zellwood count 
recorded 161 species, the forth highest count in the state.

Two years ago the big highlight was the first Fork-tailed Flycatcher
ever recorded on a North American Xmas Count. Many thanks to Trey 
Mitchell!! There were 11 Florida Counts that recorded 150 or more
species. For only the second time in 9 years
we broke the 170 total. Our 170 finished second to Bill Pranty's
West Pasco count that recorded 171 species.

Three years ago Gainesville became only the third inland Xmas bird
count in Florida to record 150 or more species. This was the first 
of three consecutive years of the state recording 11 counts with
over 150 species. Zellwood Tied Cocoa for fifth place with 158.

This is an invitation to all past Zellwoodiens & all other
experienced birders to be a part of something really grand, one 
of the very best Christmas Bird Counts on the continent.

Please contact Wes Biggs at [log in to unmask]

H 407-384-9766
C 407-376-6967

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