Musing over a life list
Outdoor Ontario

Musing over a life list

Dinusaur · 92 · 20934

Rotarran

  • Old Timer
  • *****
    • Posts: 1354
Ah yes that's exactly it.  Thayer's Gull and Iceland Gull.  Sorry for the mixup  :oops:

I guess I better get out and see a Glaucous Gull.   :D

Sorry for the dragging this off-topic.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »
Today is a good day to bird!


American Redstart

  • Old Timer
  • *****
    • Posts: 282
Seeing a new bird is always an extremely happy moment.
Getting your list to climb is always nice, but just watching that bird that you've never seen in your life is a spark.
My lifelist is currently at 252 species.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


Leslie Kinrys

  • Old Timer
  • *****
    • Posts: 375
Adding new birds to my life list is always a thrill. Although, seeing birds again, like the Great Gray Owl today, is also wonderful. I have to agree with Reuven that it is super to find something on your own. Often I'm chasing one bird, and instead, I find another bird on my most wanted list.

I have 278 species on my Ontario list. My North American list is at 496 species. (One of my goals this year is to break 500 for North America.) My life list is at 638 species.

Happy new year to all. I hope there are lots of great bird sightings for all of us in 2014.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »
The bird lady of the tower.


Dr. John

  • Old Timer
  • *****
    • Posts: 348
Although my wife and I do record every species we see, we have no idea what the total number is. I think we are more thrilled by the individual experiences and are less interested in the numbers. So we can end up spending a bird watching walk focusing on a bird we have seen many times before that is doing someting interesting, rather than scouring the territory for something we have not yet seen.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


Brian Bailey

  • Old Timer
  • *****
    • Posts: 1375
    • http://ccfew.org
This topic has certainly spawned an active discussion!  I have no idea what my life list total is, but I'd guess it's closing in on 1000.  The majority of those would be from outside North America.  I completely agree with several others that not all lifers are created equal.  Some are burned permanently in my memory, but many more are totally forgotten.  Much depends on the circumstances, the bird, the location, and even who you were with.

25 years ago, I was a dedicated lister.  I documented every birding excursion and could tell anyone willing to listen, exactly what my year and life list totals were at any time.  There were several factors that made me stop.  One was the time required to manually record it all, but another was the realization that I was becoming a slave to the list.  I would go places that had the best listing potential rather than ones that might actually be more interesting or provide great viewing opportunities for only a few species.  The thing that really "cured" me from listing was travel:  enjoy the moment and don't worry that you just missed 5 lifers that you may never have the opportunity to see again!

Lately, I have fallen off the "non-lister" wagon and started using eBird.  I still don't fret about the numbers, but it seems like a worthwhile exercise when the observations become part of a public database instead of sitting in a filing cabinet.  I think the database is important.  I've seen significant changes in bird populations in the time I've been birding.  I see the value of a database, rather than just my feeble memory for tracking those things.

BB
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »
Brian Bailey
Etobicoke


Leslie

  • Old Timer
  • *****
    • Posts: 279
I don't keep a formal life list, but I do keep a yard list.
The first year (1990) it was just a species list, but after (yet another) visit to Algonquin Park & inspired by the checklist, my family & I recorded the first sighting of the spring/fall migration.
Life gets in the way, & our commitment & skills varied over the years, but we do have 78 species on the list.
Twenty years later I was so glad I did.
In 2009 the City of Toronto produced a study of migratory stopover habitat using TOC data 1990-2007, and a developer wanting to build in much of the ravine (the north border of Lithuania Park, a block north of High Park) appealed to the OMB.  I was able to use my yard list to show the ravine in its current state served an ecological function.  (The OMB denied the appeals, not solely or even mainly on my yard list.)
I should say I believe my yard list to be accurate, if incomplete (eg warblers).  I save my wild speculations and fond hopes for this board, where I can be wrong and know I can rely on the kindness of strangers for a reality check.  You've never let me down.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


Dinusaur

  • Old Timer
  • *****
    • Posts: 1470
    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/60250038@N02/
Just about a year ago I started this thread - it is time to review where we stand and how much fun we had growing the list.

As the year went by I went around photographing birds and adding to my life list at every opportunity I got. It has been a fun journey despite being branded 'bird crazy' by my wife and daughter. My first introduction to spring migration in the months of April and May last year produced 39 lifers and a series of some very colorful photographs. I came to know a little bit about warblers, vireos, flycatchers and their allies. Together with many successful trips I also made quite a few abortive ones in search of that one elusive bird (e.g. Prothonotary Warbler in Thickson Woods) - no regrets. Through some of the contributors in this site I found that wonderful place called Carden Alvar. I even waded through lake Ontario to get to Gull Island in search of a special few. Then towards the end of the year a two week social visit to India produced an incredible 78 lifers. My total now stands at 280, of which 167 were in Ontario. It is fun and this continuous search kept me in shape. As rime progresses, instead of looking for new lifers I will be musing more and more over some of the mysteries e.g. why there's no more house sparrows or Baya Weaver in my ancestral village despite abundance of grains and palm trees. The village myth attributes this to newly erected cell towers - I don't think that adds up. Anyway, enjoy the rest of the year going out birding.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


JW Mills

  • Old Timer
  • *****
    • Posts: 1491
My life list consists of about 250 birds, all from Ontario and BC. I've been at it so long that a lifer isn't that exciting anymore. I get more joy when my gf adds a lifer than when I do. It's almost to the point where a lifer is a tick in the back of my old Golden Guide. I still enjoy going out and seeing birds as much as I used to, its just that adding a lifer doesn't seem to have the significance it once did.
 
As an aside, Rotarren noted that you could have species taken away through the merging of two species. That has happened three times to me;
Oregon Junco and Slate-coloured Junco now Dark-eyed Junco
Audubon and Myrtle Warblers now Yellow-rumped
Red-shafted and Yellow-shafted Flickers now Northern Flicker
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »
Open Channel D


Rotarran

  • Old Timer
  • *****
    • Posts: 1354
Quote from: "zed"
My life list consists of about 250 birds, all from Ontario and BC. I've been at it so long that a lifer isn't that exciting anymore. I get more joy when my gf adds a lifer than when I do. It's almost to the point where a lifer is a tick in the back of my old Golden Guide. I still enjoy going out and seeing birds as much as I used to, its just that adding a lifer doesn't seem to have the significance it once did.
 
As an aside, Rotarren noted that you could have species taken away through the merging of two species. That has happened three times to me;
Oregon Junco and Slate-coloured Junco now Dark-eyed Junco
Audubon and Myrtle Warblers now Yellow-rumped
Red-shafted and Yellow-shafted Flickers now Northern Flicker

Hmmm...that's interesting.  How did that make you feel?  When I get a lifer, I feel happy, but to have one taken away due to some species/subspecies technicality would probably illicit less joyful feelings.

But since that has never happened to me before, I don't know exactly how I'd feel.  I might be annoyed or completely indifferent or maybe even glad for the advancement of ornithology, which is, after all, the study of birds.  

To date I have seen 358 species including 301 in Canada (Ontario only) but also quite a few in Cuba as well as in Eastern Europe.  I go with a hybrid approach.  I like listing and getting lifers but I also love getting out in nature, seeing old friends again even if they're common (Chickadees, Long-tailed Ducks) and looking for some of my favourites that I've seen previously (Snow Buntings for example).  And I carry my camera around everywhere and always try to take good pictures if the opportunity presents itself.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »
Today is a good day to bird!


Reuven_M

  • Old Timer
  • *****
    • Posts: 1393
    • http://www.reuvenmartin.blogspot.ca
In the year since I last posted here I've added 8 species bringing my Ontario list to 303.
4 I chased (Piping Plover, Varied Thrush, Yellow-crowned Night-heron, Eared Grebe)
4 I found myself (Neotropic Cormorant, Lark Bunting, Lark Sparrow, Laughing Gull).
The latter four certainly feel a lot better, especially as they were number 298, 299, 300 and 301 for my Ontario list!

In terms of subspecies/species issues, I try (with varying success) to be just as interested in a distinctive unique taxon regardless of whether it meet some definition of species (which is an incredibly fuzzy concept to begin with). One of my most wanted birds for Ontario is Hornemann's Redpoll, even though it's currently classified as a subspecies of Hoary. If only I could make eBird display a life list with distinctive subspecies marked as separate!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


Dinusaur

  • Old Timer
  • *****
    • Posts: 1470
    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/60250038@N02/
300+ Ontario lifers - what a great achievement. Something to strive for. Cheers
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


thouc

  • Old Timer
  • *****
    • Posts: 2643
I'm closing in on the 300. 12 new Ontario birds last year and 1 so far this year has gotten me up to 286.

Lifers last year: Varied Thrush, Louisiana Waterthrush, Sedge Wren, Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron, Nelson's Sparrow, Painted Bunting
Lifer this year: Evening Grosbeak
New for Ontario last year: Great Gray Owl, Long-eared Owl, Laughing Gull, Red Knot, Black Vulture, Eurasian Tree Sparrow
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


Henrique Pacheco

  • Old Timer
  • *****
    • Posts: 101
Last year I was a couple away from 200. Coincidentally, I'm currently tied with thouc at 286. I'm closing in on 300 and some birds should be easy to get. The easiest lifers for me would be Carolina Wren, Laughing Gull, American White Pelican, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and Olive-Sided Flycatcher. But of course, nothing goes to plan. Who knows, maybe the next mega will be my 300th  :wink: .
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


Reuven_M

  • Old Timer
  • *****
    • Posts: 1393
    • http://www.reuvenmartin.blogspot.ca
286 without Carolina Wren, they must be avoiding you deliberately! It took me 4-5 between 200 and 300 so that's pretty awesome.
I've cleaned up most things that are very likely without twitching now, Le Conte's and Nelson's Sparrow are about the only I can reasonably expect to find without lots of travel or lots of shorebirding. I've really stopped much twitching recently, but that may change as the time between lifers increases!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


Rotarran

  • Old Timer
  • *****
    • Posts: 1354
Quote from: "Henrique Pacheco"
Last year I was a couple away from 200. Coincidentally, I'm currently tied with thouc at 286. I'm closing in on 300 and some birds should be easy to get. The easiest lifers for me would be Carolina Wren, Laughing Gull, American White Pelican, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and Olive-Sided Flycatcher. But of course, nothing goes to plan. Who knows, maybe the next mega will be my 300th  :wink: .

Carolinas were singing loudly on Sunday at the Woodland Cemetary in Hamilton.  It's near that cliff that overlooks the bay...not far from one of the Screechies.

Coincidentally I planned for my 300th to be the Boreal Chickadee, a bird that I personally hand-picked to be #300 based on which lifers were available at the time, how easy it would be to get and also based on my own personal affection for these enchanting little titmice.  

And then I found out that I messed up on the Glaucous Gull and the Boreal Chickadee dropped to #299.  Oh well, it's ok...my number one priority is to have a clean list and truthful reports.  The White-winged Crossbill became #300 then but that's also a very interesting and cool bird...it is my only lifer of 2015 so far.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »
Today is a good day to bird!