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.
- Cory’s Shearwater
- Eurasian Wigeon
- Yellow-breasted Chat
- Marbled Godwit
- Brown Pelican
- Royal Tern
- Eastern Bluebird
- Long-eared Owl
- Turkey Vulture
- 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.
- American White Pelican, 15 July. I guessed the wrong pelican!
- Black-bellied Whistling Duck, 30 July. I don’t think this one was on my radar at all.
- Marbled Godwit, 6 August. The first one I guessed correctly and long overdue.
- Common Moorhen, 2 September. In retrospect, this would have been a good bird to guess.
- Broad-winged Hawk, 20 September. Surprisingly scarce in Queens. Still, I should have seen this one coming.
- 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.
- Yellow-breasted Chat, 17 October. Yes, another one correct! Now I need my Connecticut Warbler in Queens.
- Royal Tern, 17 October. Two in a row! This bird was seen in numbers all along the south shore of Long Island this fall.
- Eastern Bluebird, 30 October. Guessed this one correctly. It is a difficult bird in Queens anytime other than fall migration. I spotted 85 yesterday!
- Horned Lark, 30 October. Finally. This bird should have been checked off long ago
- Red Crossbill, 30 October. A surprise flyover flock during yesterday’s stupendous morning flight.
- 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:
- Snowy Owl
- Long-eared Owl
- Short-eared Owl
- Snow Bunting
- Lapland Longspur
- Common Eider
- King Eider
- Harlequin Duck
- Eurasian Wigeon
- 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?
I think you should add Rufous Hummingbird to your list.
I find this aspect of listing (guessing what’s next, planning tactics) fascinating. I’m really surprised moorhen took you so long; I assumed there are plenty around the area but I quess there aren’t?
I think the owls are a good shout, as brown pelican still is. I will also predict you’ll get a shot at blackheaded gull at some point.
Those all look like reasonable possibilities. How about Iceland Gull or Rough-legged Hawk? If there is a big redpoll irruption, Hoary Redpoll would be an outside possibility too. I also agree with Will that Rufous Hummingbird is possible this month if you can find a persistent nectar source.
I think this is shaping up to be a strange year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you got birds totally off the radar, like Evening Grosbeak.
How about pine siskin? Steve P had some in his yard today!
@Will: Rufous Hummingbird is likely to be the next addition to my state list but I don’t know anyone in Queens who keeps hummingbird feeders up so I don’t know how likely it is that one will be spotted and stick here.
@John: Iceland is a definite possibility – I didn’t even consider gulls! Rough-legged Hawk would definitely be possible too, especially if I spend more time at the hawk watch.
@Donna: Or White-winged Crossbill.
@Jean: Shoot, I got siskins this year already, to say nothing of the one’s in Forest Park two winters ago. Though I would like looks at some sitting this year instead of flying over.
Lark and Clay-colored Sparrows seem like a bit of a gap. I would keep Purple Martin on there as well.
@Jason: I would have thought that I would have picked one of those sparrows this fall but, sadly, despite my best efforts, I have been unable to turn one of what must have been 1,000 chippies this fall into either. And Purple Martin will be knocked off next year, hopefully, but I hope to have reached ten more new birds before the martins come back…
@tai haku: Not sure how I missed your comment…moorhens used to be breeders in Queens but consensus seems to be that the marsh habitat has become too dominated by geese and swans. So maybe the Canada Goose culling will result in some breeding moorhens?
Black-headed Gull is another very good possibility, especially if I can find a nice flock of Bonaparte’s to pick through, and, yeah, hopefully the owls will cooperate this year. As for the Brown Pelican, if I spend enough time on the coast I will find one. After all, one let me see it two counties east of here this summer.
So, which are the two you’ve scored since? I’m guessing short-eared owl and snow bunting.
@Andy: Both eiders…my lack of Snow Buntings in Queens is driving me nuts!