Friday, September 22, 2006

List of Lists

Though I've always kept detailed bird notes, and I've periodically tallied up various lists, I've not really been a heavy duty "lister." The only bird list I've ever really worked at building up is my Georgia list. Since moving away from there in 1992, I've mostly indulged my more innate tendency to be a "locality birder.'' Fundamentally, I like birds in context, not purely as tickies. My biggest interest is experiencing the birds of an area as a part of the natural environment. I get a much bigger thrill finding a localized nester on its breeding grounds (say, Elfin Woods Warbler in the cloud forests of Puerto Rico) than spotting something that is 5000 miles from where it belongs (say, Common Skylark in a cow pasture at Point Reyes. I much preferred the ones I saw 20 years later in flight diplay over Stonehenge). Don't misunderstand, I do chase rarities some. But most of my trips are multipurpose integrated things, of which birds are one element.

One of the interesting side effects of having put my lifetime of field notes into eBird is that I am now presented with a vast array of automatically generated list totals -- every major region, every Country, State, and County I have ever birded in in the Americas. Being who I am, I actually find the County and State totals more interesting than the Big Numbers. Although, that ABA area total does make me feel like turning into a lister for just 10 more species to hit the last Century mark I am likely to ever pass. I'm not the sort who will ever get ABA 700.

Here's a sampling, including all the County lists that are over 100 species. As you can see, outside of Georgia I've pretty much been a homebody. The counties with asterisks are the ones I have lived in.

AOU: 647
ABA: 590 ("Total Ticks": 4071)

California: 325
      Monterey: 209*
      San Mateo: 182
      Santa Clara: 179*
      Alameda: 125
      San Benito: 118
      Santa Cruz: 105
      Lassen: 104
      Siskiyou: 103

Georgia: 313
      Glynn: 204
      Clarke: 171*
      DeKalb: 162*
      Camden: 157
      Cobb: 155
      Liberty: 148
      McIntosh: 143
      Greene: 141
      Quitman: 125
      Chatham: 124
      Rabun: 122
      Effingham: 122
      Baker: 119
      Fulton: 118
      Walker: 115
      Jackson: 110

Colorado: 263
      Larimer: 249*

South Carolina: 251
      Georgetown: 223*
      Charleston: 161
      Jasper: 141

Florida: 189
      Wakulla: 149

Tennessee: 172
      Lewis: 154*

Wyoming: 160
      Park: 124*

Puerto Rico: 78


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