Numbers (10-07-11)

I’m on another United Airlines Flight  (late departure of course), this time from Victoria to San Diego with a connecting stop in San Francisco.  It’s a perfect opportunity to go over the numbers with you. So the Skylark has put me at 724, which means I’ve passed Lynn Barber’s 723 year-list of 2008.  Chris “The Hitman” Hitt would argue that there have been two splits since Lynn did her “Big Year” – 1) Mexican and Eastern Whip-Poor-Will and 2) Pacific and Eastern Wren.  He figured that Lynn would have seen both of those birds so I should really aim at 726 to “feel good” about beating Lynn.  Actually I feel pretty good right now, but I see his point. Besides my agreement with Rick Dorazil requires me to reach 725 before he doubles his donation to Citizens For Conservation.

I now turn my sights to my next target, which is Bob Ake’s 731 achieved just last year.  Bob did a remarkable job to reach that lofty number. I guess the number should remain at 731.  Bob’s September of Blyth’s Reed Warbler was rejected this year by the Alaska Records Committee, but if it wasn’t a Blyth’s Reed Warbler, it was certainly some species of Reed Warbler. So 732 is my target. There are four birds remaining on my target list that would normally be expected.

  1. Black-Vented Shearwater
  2. Least Storm-Petrel
  3. Eurasian Tree Sparrow
  4. Gray Partridge
  5. Least Storm-Petrel is normally a “given” on tomorrows boat trip, but could be troublesome this year. It’s a cold water year in the Pacific and there have been surprisingly few seen in US waters.

Other Probable Possibilities Include:

  1. Barnacle Goose has become annual now in the Northeast and sure enough one arrived earlier this week in Maine.  My current plan is to not chase that goose…yet.  Hopefully a Pink-footed Goose will wander in this fall and I can combine the two birds or I’ll combine it with the Brookline Bird Club’s November trip, which will be a chance for Great Skua.
  1. Northern Lapwing has become almost annual in Newfoundland and they seem to remain until things freeze up.  Both Bob and Lynn ticked Lapwing during their Big Years with an early December trip to St. John’s.  Of course, I’ve already been there in early March and did quite well, but I’d certainly entertain another trip.  Hopefully a Redwing will show up and I can make the trip a 2-bird affair.
  1. McKay’s Bunting. Since I missed it on St. Paul, I most likely could return to Nome and get multiple birds at feeders or at the town dump.

Very Possible Birds

In addition to the above three there are some additional birds that are very possible and they include Rose-throated Becard, Great Skua and Streak-backed Oriole.

After that it would be “Full Chase Mode” on any rarity that might show up anywhere such as:


Whooper Swan

Wood Sandpiper

Kelp Gull

Green-breasted Mango

And then there’s Florida and Texas and I have a good feeling about this winter in Texas.  I’ve got a few other tricks up my sleeve (also know as wild goose chases) that you’ll learn about soon enough.  Stay tuned, I’m on the high seas tomorrow.

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4 Responses to Numbers (10-07-11)

  1. Tom Wilberding says:

    “Be grateful for luck. Pay the thunder no mind – listen to the birds. And don’t hate nobody.”
    Eubie Blake

  2. DS says:

    Keep your eye on the Alaska listserve. McKay’s sometimes shows up in places easier to get to then Nome and there maybe something else to chase in SC Alaska.

  3. John Vanderpoel says:

    Hey thanks. That would be nice. I’m concerned about geting trapped in Nome by weather.

  4. Joe Roller says:

    Keep up the great work! I loved the paragraphs about “Numbers” and the list
    of possible birds, plus there is always the “who knows, could be” category. I
    will follow it along. Where on your blog can I find other historic numbers, the
    years when folks posted numbers higher than your aim for?
    Joe Roller

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