Birder's Guide

MAR 2014

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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59 March 2014 | Birder's Guide to Travel I've made various additional birding trips (including a week in Costa Rica be- tween my trips to Thailand and Spain), which affected my personal results. In any case, my personal list now has 2,541 species, which represents about a quarter of the world's birds. I've en- countered 1,050 genera of birds, which is just under half of the world's total. Of the 229 bird families, I've crossed paths with 183, more than 80%. I essentially doubled my numbers in all those cat- egories since I initiated my plan and made the trip to South Africa. Does this mean I'm ready to put away my passport and revert to destinations closer to home? You probably can guess the answer to that question. Keith used the term "moderate" to describe the next level for world birders beyond dabblers, and I am ready to graduate. There are still so many places—and birds—I want to see, and I'll never get to all of them in my lifetime. But while I still have the ability and the means to travel, I'll have a lot of fun along the way. Addendum After I submitted this article, I contin- ued to take international birding trips. I call it "Phase 2" of my plan. Cost, tim- ing, and duration of the trips are still major factors, but I've also been choos- ing destinations in order to see areas of the world that are of particular interest to me. Southern South America was the frst place I decided to go after Spain. I spent two weeks in November 2012 birding Chile, from Santiago south to Tierra del Fuego. Chile's bird list is lim- ited compared to other South American countries, but I still saw more than 200 species, of which 144 were new, along with four new families. The scenery in the Southern Andes was as spectacular as I'd imagined, and I had an oppor- tunity to savor a lot of fresh seafood. I recommend conger eel stew (caldillo de congrio) if you haven't tried it. My most recent trip was to Brazil in July 2013. I'd wanted to see the rap- idly disappearing Atlantic rainforest. Because my non-birding wife was join- ing me and she prefers single-site vaca- tions, we chose to spend a week at the lovely Guapi Assu Bird Lodge in the mountains northeast of Rio de Janeiro. Bird diversity and endemism are high in that region. I picked up 173 new species out of a total of 275 seen and encoun- tered three new families. That puts my list today at 2,858 species, 1,160 gen- era, and 190 families. I hope many more trips will follow. I'm not typically one to give unso- licited advice, but I have some sugges- tions. If you're interested in building an Greater Striped-Swallow in South Africa. Photo © Jason Leifester Searching for larks near Belchite, Spain. Photo © Jason Leifester Tawny Frogmouths in Australia. Photo © Jason Leifester Gray-headed Tody-Flycatcher in Brazil. Photo © Jason Leifester 8-Dabbler.indd 59 3/4/14 1:18 PM

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