Ted Drozdowski hosted another of his fall BigSit! events at Lake Waxahachie on 10/8/2017 - his report follows:

We had an excellent turnout of twenty-one birders come out to our place on the west end of Lake Waxahachie. The weather cooperated nicely, with overcast skies in the morning, which shielded our view to the east when typically the light is bad in that direction for the first couple of hours after sunrise. The weather continued to cooperate when the wind shifted to the northwest around noon, right in time to give us a nice flight of hawks. It got a little warm in the afternoon but we were able to get some shade under the tent.

We started about 5:30am, but the only owl we got was Great Horned Owl. Mike Wease bought his night vision and we picked up four roosting Roseate Spoonbills before it was light enough to see them! The spoonbills left around sunrise and before most participants arrived, and they came back to roost after sunset after most people had left! Another good bird was a Green Heron before sunrise. Of all the common summer herons, Green Heron seems to become really scarce towards the end of September. We had eleven shorebird species throughout the day, with a great amount of mud and shallow water. Shorebird highlights were a dozen or so Stilt Sandpipers, two Semipalmated Plovers and a Semipalmated Sandpiper which took awhile to find.
Even though October 7 is the earliest date the Big Sit can fall on, we still struggled with migrant passerines, netting only two warbler species and two swallow species. No sparrows were found. Thankfully the two winter woodpeckers arrived and we picked up both flicker and sapsucker. We also pulled off a sweep of the Doves - getting all five species. The two tough ones at the lake are Rock Pigeon and Eurasian Collared-Dove. The raptor flight was a little light compared to past years and we did miss Northern Harrier, but we had plenty of Swainson’s Hawks showing nicely along with a few Broad-winged Hawks as well. We finished the day with 72 species, which was just four shy of breaking our record of 75 species set in 2015.

My wife and I really enjoy hosting this event at our house, and it was nice to meet some newer members of FWAS, and some older ones who we haven’t seen in awhile. Everyone had a great time, and we want to thank FWAS and everybody who came out to make the Big Sit an enjoyable success. Thank you! We’ll be doing it again next year!

Bird list with the number of individual birds seen or heard (72 species in all) below:
37 Blue-winged Teal
2 Northern Shoveler
10 Mallard
5 Green-winged Teal
5 Double-crested Cormorant
27 Great Blue Heron
7 Great Egret
3 Snowy Egret
22 Cattle Egret
1 Green Heron
85 White-faced Ibis
4 Roseate Spoonbill
75 Black Vulture
40 Turkey Vulture
1 Osprey
1 Sharp-shinned Hawk
6 Cooper's Hawk
5 Red-shouldered Hawk
7 Broad-winged Hawk
10 Swainson's Hawk
5 Red-tailed Hawk
1 Semipalmated Plover
25 Killdeer
11 Stilt Sandpiper
165 Least Sandpiper
1 Semipalmated Sandpiper
3 Long-billed Dowitcher
1 Wilson's Snipe
1 Spotted Sandpiper
2 Solitary Sandpiper
15 Greater Yellowlegs
3 Lesser Yellowlegs
1 Forster's Tern
2 Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
1 Eurasian Collared-Dove
4 Inca Dove
80 White-winged Dove
14 Mourning Dove
2 Great Horned Owl
10 Chimney Swift
3 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
2 Belted Kingfisher
4 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
4 Downy Woodpecker
2 Northern Flicker
2 American Kestrel
4 Eastern Phoebe
1 Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
1 White-eyed Vireo
6 Blue Jay
2 American Crow
50 Barn Swallow
8 Cave Swallow
4 Carolina Chickadee
2 Tufted Titmouse
1 House Wren
3 Carolina Wren
1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
7 Eastern Bluebird
6 American Robin
2 Northern Mockingbird
4 European Starling
9 American Pipit
1 Nashville Warbler
2 Common Yellowthroat
4 Northern Cardinal
2 Dickcissel
1 Red-winged Blackbird
11 Brown-headed Cowbird
3 Common Grackle
1 House Finch