Game of Firsts

You can tell that we are in something of a weather dictated birding slump when a blog post like this appears!

I know that I am unusual, no, we birders are all unusual in that when not out looking at birds we are thinking about them, reading about them, researching them. It is probably a syndrome of some sort but abnormal people, that would be all the others who are not birders, suffer equally with their own little quirks and so there is no need to worry. In very much the same way that Pythons, when gathered, will perform the Parrot Sketch then birders, when gathered – even only electronically, will take part in the Game of Firsts.

The rules are quite simple, make an educated guess as to what the next new species to be added to the Provincial bird list will be. You do need to know what the province bird list currently is, if you don’t you can look it up. You also perhaps need to know of the dark list, the one not mentioned in polite birding society as it has species on it that were never ratified by ‘them’. We in Nova Scotia have such a list, I am only learning about it via word of mouth, each statement carefully weighed for veracity, for example, we don’t have an official Common Redshank, a Eurasian shorebird, but they have been seen in Nova Scotia, possibly more than once.

That aside, we can only deal with the approved facts and so Common Redshank might be considered a very reasonable prediction, especially as our trailblazing (in all things avian) neighbour, Newfoundland and Labrador, has had them recently. So there it is, a public challenge, what will be the next new species added to the Nova Scotia list? To qualify it cannot be one pending, obviously, but must be found, enjoyed, documented, vetted and accepted, oh and preferably photographed.

This really is a bit of fun and nobody will laugh at your prediction unless it is already extinct, which, thinking long-term, might form the basis of the next prediction. What species on the Nova Scotia list not already having shuffled off this mortal coil will follow to join the choir celestial? You can guess any/all insectivorous warblers that will lose their food source through spraying trees to produce the paper for wrappings for goods that have built in obsolescence, if you like.

Send me you choice, I’ll add it to the blog and we will see what happens over the next twenty years.

My five predictions, you can have more than one go, are based on the SWAG system (scientific wild-assed guess) first is Elegant Tern. In the scheme of things there are regular east coast records and if they can reach Europe…

Out on a limb a bit but I fancy a Sandplover. We have the habitat and they are vagrants in western Europe. I think there are a few east coast records so why not. My choice is dictated by a photo from my own library so Greater Sandplover it is.


With recent east coast records, White Wagtail must be possible. It would need to be nominate though, a British race would be a ship-assisted bird although I personally have no problem with that.


And yes, Common Redshank, why not?


I don’t think Anna’s Hummingbird has shown up yet, certainly not up to McLaren (2012). Seems an obvious choice, given that Quebec has had a couple in recent years.


I can’t resist an extra, Mediterranean Gull – long overdue this side of the Atlantic.


Further detailed reading on potential firsts can be found at David Bell’s blog:

Here are your predictions.

Ronnie d’Entremont: Smew. Best photo I have.

Alix d’Entremont went for Cassin’s Vireo, I don’t have a photo of one, and Yellow-legged Gull


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