birding-aus Re: mammal ticks

To: Richard Johnson <>
Subject: birding-aus Re: mammal ticks
From: "Lawrence E. Conole" <>
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 1999 10:48:49 +1000
> Lawrie's and Keith's mammal ticking idea isn't a new one; there are a
> few of us around (yes, that is a confession!).

True - but it's a little more 'underground' than bird twitching.

> I suppose that there should be a 'gun' standard equivalent to the '600
> club' of birders, but I don't know where you'd set the bar. The question

I've given this some thought.  Let's start with some basic facts, plus a
wild generalisations:

   * There have been about 810-815 species of birds and 380 (345-350
left after extinctions) species of
     mammals recorded in Australia since Captain Cook and others came on
     very early twitching trips in the 18th century.
   * The 'gun' marks in birding are 600 and 700 - about 75% and 85%
     respectively.  Birds are on the whole dead easy to find and see
     (skulkers & vagrants notwithstanding).
   * A great chunk of the bird list includes vagrants and other
     inclusions.  The number of vagrant mammals (constrained somewhat by
     being unable to fly but for bats) is tiny.
   * A disturbingly sizeable chunk of the mammal list is extinct.
     taxonomists continue to push the total up with zealous splitting of
     Pseudomys, Sminthopsis and Mormopterus species).
   * Directly comparable 'gun' score in mammaling would be about 260 and

I can't imagine anyone getting to the point of seeing 300+ Australian
species given the restrictions (both natural and legal) that Richard and
others have outlined - even 250+ seems out of reach.  About 20-25
have dropped off the list in many parts of Australia since European
settlement.  A different set of values is clearly required.

My suggestion is fairly arbitrary - 150 and 200 (~45% and 60%).  Rohan
Clarke mentioned the sometimes mentioned mark of 100 - but I think that
might be a bit low (~30%).  I'm open to suggestions .....

I should declare an interest here - that my total is 166.  If my numbers
were acceptable, that would put me in the 'also ran' category for birds
(617) and mammals (166).


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