Sunday 11 December 2016

If Someone Had Done an Ontario Big Year

2016 was, and continues to be, truly for the birds (in a good way). We have had dozens of rarities show up, and I'm sure that if someone really tried, and chased almost everything, it wouldn't have been hard to break the 2012 record of 343. Personally, my Ontario year list stands at 227, not bad considering that I've only successfully chased a few rarities (Gyrflacon, Cattle Egret, etc.), and that I missed a bunch of "easy" birds (Prothonatary Warbler, Gray-cheeked Thrush). Other birders' year lists are well into the three hundreds by now. Rather than making a list of all 355+ bird species seen so far this year in Ontario, I've only included the "big" rarities that were necessary to beat the record.

1. Pacific Loon
2. Crested Caracara
3. Thick-billed Murre
4. White-winged Dove
5. Snowy Egret
6. Cattle Egret
7. Western Sandpiper
8. Marbled Godwit
9. Ruff
10. Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
11. Pink-footed Goose
12.  Common Eider
13. Barrow's Goldeneye
14. Eared Grebe
15. Western Grebe
16. Shearwater sp. (Manx?)
17. Neotropic Cormorant
18. Little Blue Heron
19. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
20. Glossy Ibis
21. Mississippi Kite
22. Yellow Rail
23. King Rail
24. Swainson's Hawk
25. American Avocet
26. Black-necked Stilt
27. Common Ringed Plover
28. Red Phalarope
29. Black Guillemot
30. Black-headed Gull
31. Laughing Gull
32. Chuck-wills-widow
33. Prairie Falcon
34. Vermilion Flycatcher
35. Ash-throated Flycatcher (caught in mist net, most likely wasn't chaseable)
36. Cave Swallow
37. Mountain Bluebird
38. Townsend's Solitaire
39. Varied Thrush
40. Western Kingbird
41. Swainson's Warbler
42. Grace's Warbler (not chaseable)
43. Townsend's Warbler
44. Golden-crowned Sparrow
45. Harris's Sparrow
46. Spotted Towhee
47. Western Tanager
48. Painted Bunting
49. Bullock's Oriole
50. Eurasian Tree Sparrow
51. Least Tern (wasn't chaseable)
52. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
53. Brambling
54. Lark Sparrow
55. Gyrfalcon

There are about 74 annual species that I haven't seen this year that others have (this will change). I've seen 4 of the species above this year.

227 + 74 = 301

301 + 51 = 352

Subtract the three non-chaseable ones = 349

Obviously one couldn't see all 52 rarities, and to break the record they would only have had to seen 47 of them.  This would require a lot of travel and a lot of luck, but the record would have been possible.

Cattle Egret - Blenheim, November 18 

But....nobody (to my knowledge) did a big year. Josh, your record has stood for yet another 366 days.

I used eBird as my source of research, so I'm probably missing some rarities. If there are any birds missing, just let me know, and I will update.

Eurasian Collared Dove - Guelph, July 31

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