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Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Year List In Review

There's still a couple of days left in 2011, but with the unpleasant weather and no real outings planned it's looking like the year list is going to stay stuck at 203. The only realistic potential species is the gray jay, which occasionally visit my parents' feeders - so I'm still holding out a little hope!
It did, however, seem like a good time to look at the numbers for this year and compare them to last year, when I did my first year list.


2010
2011
Total # Bird Species
233
203
Dave's Total
237
206
#States/Provinces
6
4
# Life Birds
23
3
# SJ County Species
133?
157
# Species by Month


January
87
114
February
19
13
March
25
12
April
21
25
May
37
17
June
24
2
July
1
4
August
2
4
September
3
5
October
2
1
November
4
4
December
8
2

It's no real surprise that 2010 was a better year for bird sightings overall since it included my trip to Alaska! That's where most of the life birds came from, too. Entering this year, the 3 goals I set for myself were to see 200 species, reach 100 species before the end of January, and add 11 life birds to my list. I succeeded in doing the first two, but knew the third one would be a bit of a stretch, though that was the number I needed to bring my North American life list to 350 species. 

Alas, Dave, who just posted his own year in review, has beat me by just a couple of species to years in a row! It's amazing to me that he, in England, and me, in the Pacific Northwest end the year with such a similar number of species on the year list. His total last year was also higher than this year due to a trip to Florida.

Some of the birding highlights of 2011 included the following:
  • Starting the year off in New York allowed me to get eastern species like northern cardinal, blue jay, and tufted titmouse on this year's list. It's also where I got my first life bird, the common redpoll.
  • Coming back to Portland for a few days at the end of January before heading back north to the San Juans provided the time I needed to push my year list to 99 species (I had only 48 after returning from New York). The 100th species, a common raven, did indeed come in January and was seen while driving north on I5 to catch the ferry home.
  • It was a late spring, and the two real migratory peaks in my bird sightings occurred in mid-April and three weeks later a week into May. One major highlight for me was ten minutes spent standing in a single spot at British Camp where I heard and saw 15 species, including 4 year birds.
  • Unlike last year, which was most of the trip to Alaska, June of this year was spent entirely on San Juan Island, which resulted in the dramatically different year list totals between the two years. The highlight of this June was the huge number of cedar waxwings everywhere on the island.
  • During the fall migration in September, I saw my first-ever horned larks on San Juan Island, a sighting that turned out to be very valuable later when.....
  • .....in November someone pointed out to me that I was close to the published record for bird species seen in San Juan County. This led to a late rally to break that goal, leading to a couple of year list additions like the ancient murrelet, and some other memorable sightings like a rough-legged hawk. I ended up beating the existing county record by 1, but another birder bested my number by four species.
  • One of the most memorable birding moments of 2011 was the brief look I had of a snowy owl, my 200th species for the year, in November.
So, what lays ahead in 2012? With some tentative trips in the works that will take me beyond Oregon and Washington I should be able to beat this year's total of 203, and hopefully add some more life birds along the way. It would be nice to also beat Dave by a couple of species for the first time! As always, I'll report my progress here on the blog, so I hope you'll follow along with me for another year of wildlife sightings starting in January.

3 comments:

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

'So, what lays ahead in 2012? With some tentative trips in the works that will take me beyond Oregon and Washington I should be able to beat this year's total of 203, and hopefully add some more life birds along the way. It would be nice to also beat Dave by a couple of species for the first time!'

Ah...I see the gauntlet is thrown!!!
I have foreign trips planned too - Greece in May is possible at the mo and could be really good for year & life birds; Australia later in the year at Aussie Glen's (Maroo wildlife refuge) is likely to be less productive. At home diesel is now $10.20 a gallon and the Land Rover drinks like Oliver Reid on a bender so there might not be so many safari's to the outer reaches of Safariland. Really want to get 100 on the nature reserve though

Let the games begin!
Best wishes to you and yours for 2012

Cheers

Davo

Thomas and Shilpy said...

203 is still an stunning count.

Happy New Year 2012...Thomas

Monika said...

Uh oh Dave, despite the high price of diesel, your two trips will probably still be enough to best me. It will be another fun one either way :)