On 3 July, just under four months ago, I published a blog post predicting the next ten birds I would add to my all-time Queens list and promising to revisit the topic when I found ten more birds.  Well, yesterday I added four more species for Queens meaning that since my last post I have actually seen twelve new species in my home borough.  Despite the two extra birds on the list I still somehow only managed to predict four of the new birds correctly as I reached 269 in Queens (270 on eBird because the non-native and undoubtedly escaped Black Swan is still on my eBird list).  What birds have I added, what did I guess about correctly, and what will my next ten birds in Queens be?  Join me below for some serious naval gazing where the naval is actually lists of birds and much more fun to look at than my actual naval.

First off, I should share what my next ten predicted birds were back on 3 July.  Looking at the list now I wonder how I made some of the mistakes I did.

  1. Cory’s Shearwater
  2. Eurasian Wigeon
  3. Yellow-breasted Chat
  4. Marbled Godwit
  5. Brown Pelican
  6. Royal Tern
  7. Eastern Bluebird
  8. Long-eared Owl
  9. Turkey Vulture
  10. Purple Martin

Here are the twelve birds I have actually added since that list, the date I spotted them, and a bit of discussion of each.

  1. American White Pelican, 15 July.  I guessed the wrong pelican!
  2. Black-bellied Whistling Duck, 30 July.  I don’t think this one was on my radar at all.
  3. Marbled Godwit, 6 August.  The first one I guessed correctly and long overdue.
  4. Common Moorhen, 2 September.  In retrospect, this would have been a good bird to guess.
  5. Broad-winged Hawk, 20 September.  Surprisingly scarce in Queens.  Still, I should have seen this one coming.
  6. American Pipit, 17 October.  If I had realized how easy these birds were in fall migration once one learns their flight calls they would have been on the list.
  7. Yellow-breasted Chat, 17 October.  Yes, another one correct!  Now I need my Connecticut Warbler in Queens.
  8. Royal Tern, 17 October.  Two in a row!  This bird was seen in numbers all along the south shore of Long Island this fall.
  9. Eastern Bluebird, 30 October.  Guessed this one correctly.  It is a difficult bird in Queens anytime other than fall migration.  I spotted 85 yesterday!
  10. Horned Lark, 30 October.  Finally.  This bird should have been checked off long ago
  11. Red Crossbill, 30 October.  A surprise flyover flock during yesterday’s stupendous morning flight.
  12. Cave Swallow, 30 October.  If anyone had told me I would have this bird on my list before the Purple Martin I predicted I would have laughed at them.  I guess the joke is on me, but a pleasant joke as Cave Swallow was a lifer!

So, I got four out of twelve correct for a 33% rate.  That would make me an all star as a baseball player so I will take it.  Still, I hope to hit at least 40% in my next set of predictions, which take the upcoming winter into account.  Therefore, my next ten birds in Queens will be:

  1. Snowy Owl
  2. Long-eared Owl
  3. Short-eared Owl
  4. Snow Bunting
  5. Lapland Longspur
  6. Common Eider
  7. King Eider
  8. Harlequin Duck
  9. Eurasian Wigeon
  10. Western Tanager

At least one of those owls should be gettable.  Snow Bunting and Common Eider are long overdue.  The longspur and the other waterfowl will be tough, but possible, with the Eurasian Wigeon probably the most likely.  The Western Tanager is a more or less random decision about a western passerine that has a history of showing up in the region and I figured, heck why not?

If anyone else has stuck through this post until the end what do you think of my predictions?  And am I boring you to tears yet?

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.