Since I started blogging in around 1066, I have always done two things at the end of the year. Written a personal review of the highlights (pending) and put my stats out there for public consumption – should anyone wish to consume that is.
I don’t claim that these stats represent anything more than enthusiasm for birding and energy to do so. I’ll also admit to a strong thirst for learning, here’s hoping that some of the things I threw at my brain during the year stuck.
Year list: Because it was a split year in terms of residency in two different provinces, I’m posting the only year list that now matters, the one for Nova Scotia. Despite missing spring and the true winter I did reasonably well in accumulating 259 species in Nova Scotia for the year. The fact that my NS life list, currently at 263, is just four more shows that the majority of my experience of birding in Nova Scotia came in 2015!
I have had some difficulty in deciding where to bird as a local patch. In Quebec, the nicely delineated sand pit at St-Lazare was nearly perfect for such things, on Cape Sable Island (CSI) the situation is a little different. Logically the whole of CSI is the patch, but for aesthetic reasons it doesn’t work that way and so, for the first time since 2001, I am local patchless. For now it is CSI and I managed 206 species there, next years I hope to do better.
I have not seen a lifer since October 2014, when Vaux’s Swift was added in downtown Portland. I should have gone for the Chestnut-collared Longspur in NS earlier this year but was still finding my feet and I prevaricated too long and missed the opportunity. Splits and lumps always lead to changes if you’ve birded a few places. and so my Life list went up a touch to 2702. I may never hit 8000 now, even three thousand seems to be out of the question.
While I didn’t manage to add to my North America list, 601 species, I did have some success in adding to my rather shoddy Canada list. Sixteen new species was rather pleasing and, with Nova Scotia the preeminent Maritime birding province, I can be optimistic that I’ll continue to add to that total, currently standing at 358.
With a bit more planning I might have been able to take my year list, species accumulated in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario, up past 300 hundred. As it is I fell 12 short and there were a few glaring misses in there too! Because 2015 proved to be complicated in many ways, 288 is my lowest year score for 20 years however, I am not complaining.
One stat I keep is bird days, these are days when I went out actively seeking birds. My count starts around the year 1981, years previous to list were lost in a mother threw stuff away disaster. To the end of 2015, having logged 317 bird days during the year (210 in NS) I am now at 8563. While that number signifies the days spent birding, it does not reflect the locations visited, for example, in 2015 my eBird checklist submissions numbered 1048 and my total eBird (complete) checklists logged so far, I have notebooks and files full of stuff still to enter, is at 6127.
And so begins 2016 with all its non-bird related distractions called a real life. If you visit here often you know that I will be doing a CSI Big Year but I will also be going for NS ticks when I can and I will be going for lifers too, can’t be doing with another blank year.
Finally, to sign off 2015 I’d just like to thank my birding friends, new and old for making the whole thing so much more enjoyable, you may not have feathers but I like you all the same! The biggest thanks have to go to my patient wife Sandra, who now (after 25 years) knows that we go for it at the drop of a hat and she never, ever complains.
Have a great 2016 everyone. Below the obligatory photo – big twitch on CSI in May predicted.