> Sean Dooley wrote:
> At the start of the year I boldly and somewhat mischievously announced that I
> was not only going to break the Australian birdwatching record, but that I
> would actually see seven hundred birds for the year. I got the derisive
> reaction I'd hoped for amongst the birdwatching community. Nobody thought it
> could be done. I always thought it was definitely achievable - just not by me.
> But I thought I would give it a go anyway.
I would like to add my congratulations, and my appreciation of your amusing
accounts [a bit of livening up does not hurt this list].
I would also note that records are there to be broken. The total number of
birds that might be observed "in" Australia is not fixed - it varies both with
bird populations and movements [increases, declines, introductions, extinctions
and vagrants] and with taxonomic whims [lumps and splits]. The taxonomically
oriented will be able to confirm whether splits have outnumbered lumps in recent
years [I suspect they do]. The bottom line I suspect is that the Australian
list has grown over the last couple of decades and will continue to grow.
Furthermore, I think technology and improved knowledge will increase the
capacity for people to find more birds. The hotspots continue to be marked, and
the net means that the location of vagrants and difficult to find birds can be
broadcast. I also suspect that more pelagic trips are being run and that more
of the outback is becomming accessible.
Wearing my futuring hat, I suspect that the number of species identified in a
year will eventually approach the theoretical ceiling [somewhere about 800?],
and that perhaps the challenge may change to the greatest number of birds
photographed in a year, or seen by a team [aka twitchathon rules]. There might
also be a special relay event.
Ah well Sean, the technology is getting to the stage where you could atlas while
undertaking a big twitch, which is something the record keepers would
appreciate. I wonder when the next atlas project will happen - 2020? Hmmm,
that reminds me Hugo, how many species were atlassed in 1999, 2000, 2001 and
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