The List Goes Ever On…

I read in To See Every Bird on Earth, the biography of the late Big Lister Richard Koeppel, that the great listers are so in tune with the sport that they can predict, with fascinating precision, the trip or location where they will see a landmark bird.  While my numbers pale in comparison to some of the great birders in the world, I may have finally developed this talent myself.  When Melanie and I were still preparing to move to South Korea, I had the delightful thought that I could reasonably expect to break the 600 mark by the end of 2013 with some effort.

Here it is the end of November, and that prediction has come true.

I took a birding trip with Jason Loghry and Mike Friel to Suncheonman Bay, hoping to nab some overwintering buntings.  We never really found the buntings (though a few individuals did make brief appearances) but we had an excellent time observing hundreds of newly arrived hooded cranes foraging in the rice fields of Anpung-dong.  And hidden among the enormous flock, careful eyes spotted three white-naped cranes.  And so, in just a few short months, my Life List catapulted from 500 to 600, with one more month of 2013 left to go.  Here’s a complete list of all the species we saw throughout the day.

Now that Melanie and I have signed on for another year with our schools in South Korea, I look forward with nervous anticipation at all the birds I will (hopefully) see in 2014.  I tempt fate by making another prediction: by the end of 2014, I should be close to or just beyond 750.

So now that the bar has been set, let the games begin!

#599:  Hooded Crane (Grus monacha)

#600:  White-naped Crane (Grus vipio)
Only seen from a distance, these large pale cranes were like water in the desert

But why stop there?
#601:  Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus)

5 thoughts on “The List Goes Ever On…

      • Definitely not. Birding is a recent passion/obsession of mine. I started birding in March, bought a camera and 300 mm lens to begin taking photos in June. I’m TOTALLY hooked. Reached and passed 150 birds on the life list just recently. I’m trying to figure out when I can work out a trip to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, as several Snowy Owls have been seen there in recent days/weeks. Best wishes on your adventures in South Korea. And good for you for supporting your wife’s passion – I am also a teacher, so I understand her passion, also!! Take care.

  1. That’s awesome, Pat! Congrats!

    I have “To See Every Bird on Earth” on my shelf, too, but haven’t read it in a few years. I should give it another read once I run out of library books!

    My life list is hovering just under 300 at 295, all seen in Canada. I wish I lived in southern Ontario as a lot of good birds have been seen there this fall (Lark Sparrow, Brown Booby, Elegant Tern) and they seem to get more diversity than we do in Ottawa even in winter. I think it’s going to be a quiet winter – no finches this year – so unless some rarity turns up I may be spending less time outdoors this winter.


    • Hey Gillian:
      I thought that about Ottawa for years…it always seemed like the best birds were being found around Hamilton, Pelee, Carden, and the Bruce Peninsula. Occasionally something would turn up at Prince Edward Point, but that’s still a 3-hour drive from Ottawa, and I never had luck when I chased things there (I dipped on both the Black-bellied Whistling-duck and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher that were reported there in past years).
      Ontario is just too big. Better think about moving to Nova Scotia or PEI.

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