Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Keeping up with the Big Listers ... and some news

Quick post today. Time to catch up with BirdCouple's favorite big listers. At the top of our listers' list, of course is our dear friend Peter Kaestner. Peter saw a Great Indian Bustard on July 5, putting his life list at an incredible 8,189. It's an almost unimaginable feat, given that there are roughly 10,000 bird species in the world-- many in remote and dangerous places.



Peter has done a lot more than tally birds. Among his accomplishments (including a succesful diplomatic career and a lovely family) are his discovery some years ago, of a previously unknown species, the Cundinamarca Antpitta.



Meanwhile, as BC's regular readers know, two British birders, Alan Davies and Ruth Miller, are trying to break the record for most bird species seen in a year. We're having trouble accessing their site, http://www.thebiggesttwitch.com/ , this afternoon, but according to Surfbirds, they are currently at 2,809. Oops - now make that *2,829* The single-year record is 3,662.



To put these numbers in perspective, with all their birding, Lisa and Warren have world lifelists in the 500-600 range. In North America, Warren is at 398, closing in on the big 400!!

Listing is fun, not that the birds care...

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Warren's employer, McClatchy Newspapers, has been doing a bunch of interesting "bird journalism" lately.

* Here is an arresting article by South American correspondent Jack Chang about the endangered Andean Condor.

* Jack did another piece recently on hundreds of Magellanic Penguins that have turned up on the shores of Brazil, far from their home in Patagonia.

* And the Raleigh News & Observer, one of our 31 daily newspapers, did a story recently on how North American birds sing with regional accents. Most birders know that, but most of the general public probably didn't.

Good writing! Good birding!

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