Thursday, 10 November 2016

Quest for 400 - part 2

This post likely holds interest to only a select few - other birders who keep track of their respective state/province lists and try to add to them.

On January 14, 2014 I wrote a post titled "Quest for 400" where I predicted what bird species I would observe in Ontario to reach my goal of 400 species.. It was an idea that I had stolen from Brandon's blog. For those interested, Brandon's original post can be found here, and his update is located here. Since I will be on James Bay for three weeks with no internet access, I thought I would make a few pre-written posts that will auto-post on the blog....and this is one of them!

At the time of my original post, my Ontario list was 364, and now 2.75 years later it has climbed to 379. So let's get right to it - how well have I predicted the new additions? Here are my 15 additions in the past couple of years:

1. Smith's Longspur
2. Lark Bunting
3. Eurasian Collared-Dove
4. White Ibis
5. Eurasian Tree Sparrow
6. Mottled Duck
7. Wilson's Plover
8. Little Egret
9. Say's Phoebe
10. Pink-footed Goose
11. Bullock's Oriole
12. Vermilion Flycatcher
13. Black-necked Stilt
14. Ruff
15. Common Ringed Plover

Vermilion Flycatcher - Wallaceburg, Ontario (December 19, 2015)

In my original post, I figured that there were 25 species I was most likely to add while on my way to 400 (we will call them "Code 1" birds), and then I guessed 11 more species to round out the list to 400 ("Code 2" birds). I also provided a list of 18 other potential species which I guess you could call the "Code 3" birds. Out of my 15 additions in the time since, only 7 were "Code 1" species: Ruff, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Lark Bunting, Say's Phoebe, Black-necked Stilt, Smith's Longspur and Vermilion Flycatcher. A single "Code 2" species was added - Pink-footed Goose. And 2 "Code 3" birds were added - Bullock's Oriole and White Ibis.  The remaining 5 species you could say were not on my radar at all - Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Mottled Duck, Wilson's Plover, Little Egret and Common Ringed Plover.

Wilson's Plover - Toronto Islands, Ontario  (May 28, 2015)

I am now 21 species away from 400. What are the remaining "Code 1" birds? Well, I am going to cheat and create a new list of "Code 1" birds, since I think some of my guesses from the original post aren't that great...Here is the revised list of the Code 1 species - 10 birds which I think that I will add to my Ontario list before reaching 400.

1. Swainson's Hawk
2. Tufted Duck
3. Rufous Hummingbird
4. Ivory Gull
5. Swallow-tailed Kite
6. Tricolored Heron
7. Northern Wheatear
8. Cinnamon Teal
9. Barnacle Goose
10. Ash-throated Flycatcher

Swallow-tailed Kite - Nusagandi, Panama (March 14, 2014)

To get to 400 I will need another 11 species in addition to the 10 listed above. Here are my guesses:

Ross's Gull
Sage Thrasher
Western Wood-Pewee
Swainson's Warbler
Willow Ptarmigan
Ancient Murrelet
Snowy Plover
Fork-tailed Flycatcher
Black-headed Grosbeak
Gray Kingbird

In my original post I predicted that I would be 32 when I saw my 400th species for the province. I have been averaging about 5 new additions a year for the past four years, though that rate will no doubt decrease as fewer and fewer possibilities remain out there. If I am able to maintain a pace of 4 new birds per year, than it will likely take 5 or 6 more years until I see species #400, or when I am 31 or 32.

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