About this time each year on my blog, I make two lists of predictions for the coming year in Maine birding. The first is my (somewhat-educated) guesses of the next 25 birds to be added to Maine’s state list. The second is my predictions of the next 25 birds that I will add to my own personal state list.
But first, let’s recap 2013. This past year, only one new species was added to the Maine list (although there was a report of a Rock Wren in Washington County this fall; I know little of the details): Eurasian Collared-Dove that appeared at a Falmouth feeder on 5/28. This was my #1-ranked bird for each of the last two years. I was hardly going out on a limb with this one, as this bird continues to rapidly colonize North America. While reports in New England continue to be sparse, we can only foresee these becoming much more regular and eventually colonizing much of Maine.
For 2014, I added Neotropical Cormorant to the list, based on the expanding population in the interior of the continent and increasing vagrancy to distant corners of the continent. I also replaced Bermuda Petrel with Barolo Shearwater. Recently split from Little Shearwater, this pelagic waif has been detected near the mouth of the Gulf of Maine. It seems it’s only a matter of time before a research vessel or even a whale-watch trip (especially following a tropical system) finds one within Maine waters. I also shuffled around a few species based on increasing populations and/or trends in vagrancy.
So here goes my Top 25 Next Species for Maine list:
1) California Gull
2) Ross’s Gull
3) Graylag Goose
4) Roseate Spoonbill
5) Little Stint
7) Hammond’s Flycatcher
8) Black-chinned Hummingbird
9) Spotted Towhee
10) Audubon’s Shearwater (on “hypothetical” list)
11) Neotropic Cormorant
12) Black-tailed Gull
13) Anna’s Hummingbird
15) Allen’s Hummingbird
16) Barolo Shearwater
17) Long-billed Murrelet
18) Common Ground-Dove
19) Western Wood-Pewee (my gut still tells me a bird I found on Monhegan last fall was actually this species, but a good voice recording is going to be necessary to confirm identification).
20) Spotted Redshank
21) Yellow-legged Gull
22) Brown-chested Martin
23) Bermuda Petrel
24) Gray Flycatcher
25) Common Scoter
As for me personally, 2013 was a productive year. I added eight birds to my state list (with last year’s rankings):
a) Hoary Redpoll (#2), Bowdoinham feeder, 2/4.
b) Northern Lapwing (honorable mention), Range Hill Road, Poland, 5/6.
c) Acadian Flycatcher (#22), FortFoster, 5/21.
d) Mew Gull (#21), Thomaston, 8/8.
e) Black-necked Stilt (honorable mention), Eastern Road, Scarborough Marsh, 6/23.
f) Kentucky Warbler (#12), East Point, Biddeford Pool, 9/9.
g) Bell’s Vireo (#23), Bailey Island, Harpswell, 10/23.
h) Hermit Warbler (honorable mention), Harpswell feeder, 12/12.
Of those, only the Acadian Flycatcher and Bell’s Vireo were “self-found,” which is always the more fulfilling way to add to one’s state list. I’ll have to do better with this in 2014. Unfortunately, it brings my self-found list down to 88.7% of my total state list (363).
I also “dipped” on the St. George American White Pelican in September, waiting until it was no longer being seen before going to look for it. I chased enough in 2013, but I could have chased much more. In fact, I never made the effort, was away, or just didn’t get lucky enough for some other potential state birds (American Three-toed Woodpecker, the collared-dove, Great Skua, Yellow-headed Blackbird, and Bullock’s Oriole all immediately come to mind).
There are lots of options for birds to add to my own list in the coming year(s), so narrowing it down to 25 and ranking them is really just a guessing game. Of course previous records and trends are taken into account.
1) Slaty-backed Gull
2) American Three-toed Woodpecker
3) Great Skua
4) Eurasian Collared-Dove
6) Graylag Goose
7) Say’s Phoebe
8) American White Pelican
9) Western Grebe
10) Boreal Owl
11) Fork-tailed Flycatcher
12) Tundra Swan
13) Yellow Rail
14) Ivory Gull
15) Franklin’s Gull
16) Sabine’s Gull
17) Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
18) California Gull
19) Calliope Hummingbird
20) Ross’s Gull
21) Roseate Spoonbill
22) Sage Thrasher
23) Hammond’s Flycatcher
24) Yellow-headed Blackbird
25) Loggerhead Shrike
So there ya have it. Now, let’s go birding and see what 2014 will bring!
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