Saturday, January 5, 2013

Big Year summary.

So the ‘big year’ is over and the final total number of birds seen came to 388. Very pleased indeed!

Many thanks to the wonderful people encountered this year, for your advice, good company, encouragement and correction. Gratifying to hear how bits of this ramshackle blog have aided other’s explorations of Taiwan - and I hear, others starting a 2013 big year.

Spoonbill Sandpiper; most endemics seen many times; Asian Dowitcher; wintering Avocet; Paradise-Flycatchers; the generally excellent attitude here to birding and conservation; woodpeckers on my neighbor’s house; the offshore islands; the other stuff (flora/mammals/amphibians/reptiles/insects); Fairy Pitta...and many, many more.

Not to see: Chinese Crested Tern; Blue-tailed Bee-eater (just didn’t have the chance to go to Kinmen at the appropriate time); Oriental Plover; more cuckoos and owls better; Black Bear (let’s see what I have planned this year...); Hawfinch, more flycatchers; 2 pairs of high-end Zeiss binoculars failing (back-up service good); Black-chinned Fruit-Dove etc.

Stats (based on gut-feeling):
Number of possible ‘dodgy’ identifications or recordings: 5-ish
Number of birds I would never have spotted or identified without other’s expert help: 10-ish
There are a few introduced species I listed and arguably could have been skipped - then again there are a few other birds seen that I did not mention, but may be established.
Full list at Birdforum.

If I had nothing else to do - and more money to spend - and lived closer to Yehliu - and visited offshore islands more -I suspect 420 or 440 species would be within reach. Would I do it again - yes absolutely, maybe 2014 (anyone want to sponsor a photographic version?).

Taiwan is often described as ‘small’. This is nonsense. I have traveled it fairly intensively this year for regular guiding reasons and personal amusement, yet there are still many, places and areas I did not have a chance to visit. In addition to the human world, there are many aspects of the natural world deserving better introduction.

Future for this blog? Yes, it will continue, but still working on the details. Watch this space.