Thursday 14 July 2016

2016 Life List Goals

Yes, I'm a lister. I'm sitting at 208 species as I write this post (not bad, I started birding Feb. 2015). We are just over halfway through the year, and I think that 250 species is reachable. Obviously, since spring migration is over, I've missed out on a lot of "easy" birds (Prothonatary Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler etc.), so I'll have to relay on fall migration and a few trips to help me reach my goal.

I've put together a list of 42 species (208+42=250) that will be fairly easy to observe in the next 5 or so months. These are species that are going to pass through this autumn sometime, and I'll just have to be in the right place at the right time! But, these are birds. Birds don't have calenders, so we could get some pretty weird stuff that I would never imagined we'd get. With El NiƱo, I'm sure some "strays" will show up. Anyway, enough with the chit-chat (Ah, Yellow-breasted Chat. Where are you?), lets take a look at the list!

1. Red-throated Loon - A good number of these birds go through in the fall.
2. American White Pelican - Lake St. Clair maybe an area to check out in august
3. Least Bittern - Chatham-Kent would be a good county to find this species
4. Black-crowned Night-Heron - Peer's Wetland, just outside of Wallaceburg seems great.
5.White-winged Scoter - Still can't believe I don't have any of the scoters! They all move through in fall, and L. Ontario is a good spot in the winter.
6. Surf Scoter - see above
7. Black Scoter  - see above
8. Black Vulture - Niagara-on-the-Lake is a reliable spot.
9. Red-shouldered Hawk - Fall migration at Hawk Cliff should yield some.
10. Golden Eagle - Hawk Cliff in October
11. Spruce Grouse - Algonquin Park in the Fall
12.Common Gallinule - Lake St. Clair area looks good.
13. Ruddy Turnstone - Sewage Lagoons across SW Ontario
14. Sanderling - The Great Lakes
15. Red Knot - The Great Lakes
16. White-rumped Sandpiper - Sewage Lagoons across SW Ontario
17. Baird's Sandpiper - Sewage Lagoons across SW Onatrio
18. Stilt Sandpiper - Sewage Lagoons across SW Onatrio
19. Short-billed Dowitcher - Sewage Lagoons across SW Ontario
20. Wilson's Phalarope - Blenheim Sewage Lagoons has had them in past years
21. Red-necked Phalarope - Blenheim looks promising.
22. Little Gull - Erieau in late November....Niagara in December
23. Thayer's Gull - Niagara in December
24. Lesser Black-backed Gull - Niagara in December
25. Northern Mockingbird - Anywhere in SW Ontario really.
26. Black-billed Cuckoo - Anywhere in SW Ontario really....Skunk's Misery?
27. Long-eared Owl - Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto.
28. Short-eared Owl - Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto
29. Northern Saw-whet Owl - Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto
30. Olive-sided Flycatcher - Migration in SW Ontario.
31. Gray Jay - Algonquin Park
32. Boreal Chickadee - Algonquin Park
33. Gray-cheeked Thrush - Migration in SW Ontario
34. American Pipit - Migration in the fall
35. Tennessee Warbler - Fall Migration (Ugh! Fall warbler plumage!)
36. Common Redpoll - Hopefully this is a good winter for them. Feeders in SW Ontario.
37. Vesper Sparrow - Fall Migration
38. Lapland Longspur - Early Winter
39. Yellow-headed Blackbird - Angler Line in Chatham-Kent. Known Location.
40. Rusty Blackbird - Migration throughout SW Ontario. A few will stick around.
41. Evening Grosbeak - Algonquin? Hopefully it's a good winter.
42. Purple Finch - Winter in SW Ontario. Rondeau feeders seems like a good place to start.

   There are some other birds I have a chance of seeing, but are a tad bit more hard to find. These birds may be very nomadic, meaning they don't stay in one place to long, or the birds many occur in just one or two locations. Some of the species are regular, but few are seen each year. Here it is:

1. Eared Grebe - One may show-up this fall in L.Erie.
2. Ross's Goose - Some should show-up this fall. Will the be chaseable? Hopefully!
3. King Eider - L. Ontario looks like the best place. They usually hang out with Scoters.
4. Piping Plover - Can I get to the nests before they leave?
5. Willet - It was a good spring for them, so hopefully fall is the same.
6. Purple Sandpiper - Niagara is my best bet. They may appear at other locations though.
7. Long-billed Dowitcher - Less common then Short-billed, but may be found in sewage lagoons.
8. Parasitic Jaeger - A lake watch on a good day will have one.
9. Black-legged Kittiwake - Unlikely, but Niagara might have one.
10. Sabine's Gull - L. Ontario on a good day. L. Erie had one last year.
11. Franklin's Gull - L. Erie is the area I should check out.
12. White-winged Dove - Provided the Rondeau one hangs out.
13. Eurasian Collared-Dove - They will start to appear at feeders in the fall and winter.
14. Black-backed Woodpecker - Algonquin
15. Fish Crow - Niagara has a population.
16. Cave Swallow - Hopefully we get some weather that pushes them up here!
17. Bohemian Waxwing - Nomadic but regular.  Pinery is a good spot.
18. Prothonotary Warbler - I'm being hopeful...these have managed to elude me for 2 years!
19. Pine Grosbeak - Algonquin in winter is almost a guarantee...Pinery on a good day.
20. White-winged Crossbill - Almost anywhere in SW Ontario in winter (providing it's a good winter)

Barn Swallow (Not a Cave Swallow!)

Now, of course, keeping a life list, year list, or even trip list is fun, but it isn't why we bird. We bird because it gets us outside and we meet new people. We bird because birds intrigue us, whether it be their plumages - with the exception of fall warblers :) -, their songs, or their behaviours. We bird because it calms us down. Birders bird for moments like this;

Of course, some birders (me) bird because we have no choice. Man...I miss the good ol' days when if a saw a little bit of movement in the top of a tree, or heard a "chip" note, I didn't have to know what it was! (Just kidding...I bird because of all the reasons above too)

Okay...I now have the "wisdom" part of the post :)

As much as I hope I can get 250 species, and as I said earlier, it is possible,  just being outside and listening to a Veery or a Red-eyed Vireo is worth 1000 species (hyperbole).


Anyway, hopefully I can reach my goals and see some pretty awesome birds. I'll do a post sometime in early January 2017 to re-visit my "wish list' and see if I completed what I set out for.

Horned Grebe (Not an Eared Grebe!)

Good Birding!


  1. Good luck on these goals. Some will be very easy! It is always exciting to get a lifer.

    1. Thank-you Blake! I agree that some will be easy I can't believe that I still haven't seen them!

  2. Hi! You sure have done your research. Good luck on finding these birds...near and far away. Have fun! :)