Birder's Guide

OCT 2017

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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Page 28 of 51

27 October 2017 | Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy as we waited for dark, and then seemingly perfect owl- ing conditions—but nothing much was calling, only Whiskered Screech-Owl (245) and no big owls (sev- eral were possible). Our last bird was a female Mexican Whip-poor-will (246) that hunted from perches in the trees by our car as we ate and waited in vain for owls—great scope studies of it (and nice to have time to actually watch a bird), and a good chance to become familiar with its frequently given soft call (not the on- omatopoeic song). But then it was time to leave. We couldn't pull out anything else on the drive back to the hotel, not a potoo on a fence post, nothing... Dinner and our tally revealed the total, and how close we had come to the 250 target. If only no fog, if only a Red- faced Warbler had been in one of the flocks, if only the Eastern Phoebe and Western Kingbird we found when scouting had been there. If only. Out of interest, we found 31 additional species in our previous two days scouting in the very same places, for a total of 277, and with playback I'd guess we could have added another 10–15 species on the day (think rails, owls, some skulkers we know were there but just not vocal when we passed by). Still, we didn't feel too bad for a first try, and we came in above the number 3 Mexico Big Day total of 244 species from Oaxaca (30 April 2012). You'll perhaps notice the other Big Days were all in spring, when birds are more vocal, plus there's another hour of daylight and passing migrants can swell the totals (OK, enough excuses). But surely we have a non-playback record Big Day for Mexico? Until 2018, that is... CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: n We heard Colima Pygmy-Owl (#244) at 5:50 p.m., by which time our luck, and birds, had almost come to an end. Tecuitata, Nayarit, 30 January 2013. Photo © Steve N. G. Howell n The synchronous wing molt of Anhinga made this flightless bird a stake out (#125); this image was taken two days later, when not racing past. San Blas, Nayarit, 8 January 2017. Photo © Steve N. G. Howell n Eastern Meadowlark (#79) was heard in the fog—and the next day seen here in slightly nicer conditions! San Blas, Nayarit, 7 January 2017. Photo © Steve N. G. Howell n Likely the very same roadside Russet-crowned Motmot we saw on the Big Day (#118), but there was no time then for photos. San Blas, Nayarit, 8 January 2017. Photo © Steve N. G. Howell Distance covered: 295 km (about 185 mi.) driven, 3 km (about 2 miles) on foot Species detected: Steve - 245 species, Jonathan - 245 species 99.6% of species were shared

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