Monday, 21 November 2016

2012 Big Year - list update

Back in 2012 I completed a Big Year in Ontario, finishing up with 344 species. It was an incredible year and I observed a lot of interesting species, however I have come to the understanding that I likely observed one fewer species than I claimed. Some of you may recall the California Gull that was present on the Niagara River from January 29 until February 20, 2012 which was found by Jim Pawlicki. I subsequently reported the bird on February 9 from the Adam Beck power plants, and thought I photographed the bird as well.

Looking back at my photos, it appears that the bird I had claimed as the California Gull was in fact not a California Gull - it was most likely a Herring Gull that appears to have a slightly darker mantle than the surrounding birds due to its angle, and several other features do not add up as well. Four and a half years later, I cannot remember if I simply photographed the wrong bird, or if I indeed misidentified the California Gull. Unfortunately I did not see any other California Gulls during 2012, so I have decided to remove it from my list. I guess we all make mistakes...

As such, my Ontario year list for 2012 now stands at 343. I guess it will make it incrementally easier when someone inevitably comes along and beats the record!


  1. That sucks that you lose a species 4 years later, good on you for pointing it out. Shows how counts aren't always set in stone. Did you see an Audubon's butter-butt that year? Maybe if they split it again (as is being discussed) .. you will get the 344 back!

    1. Hi Steve,

      No Audubon's for me in 2012, and unfortunately I can't add species retroactively depending on whatever taxonomic lumps/splits occur. I'm using that policy as established in the ABA big year rules ( So 343 it is!

    2. Ahh! Interesting. I had not seen that link about big year rules, thanks. Your 343 is likely safe for a while, that's a big number!