2015: The Year in Birds

Between my eye surgery in March that took 6 months to fully recover from and a major writing commitment that occupied most of my weekends before that, 2015 was not my best birding year. Nonetheless, I did manage trips to Oregon and Hawaii; and some rarities visited my “backyard.”

According to eBird, I added 20 species to my life list in 2015, though many of those are introduced exotics in Hawaii. Hawaii doesn’t seem to have a bird records committee, so there’s no one to rule on which ones “count” and which ones don’t. Clearly native birds like Wedge-tailed Shearwater and Hawaiian Coot count, but what to do about Red-crested Cardinal and Hwamei?

  • Tundra Bean-Goose Nestucca Bay NWR US-OR 28 Feb 2015
  • Pacific Loon D River Beach Wayside US-OR 02 Mar 2015
  • Marbled Murrelet Boiler Bay State Wayside US-OR 06 Mar 2015
  • Bicknell’s Thrush Prospect Park–Vale of Cashmere US-NY 22 May 2015 (Almost certainly present every year, but unless they sing they’re really hard to distinguish from the more common Gray-cheeked Thrush)
  • Spotted Dove Maluaka Beach US-HI 27 Jul 2015
  • Zebra Dove Maluaka Beach US-HI 27 Jul 2015
  • Red-crested Cardinal Maluaka Beach US-HI 27 Jul 2015
  • Hawaiian Coot Kealia Pond NWR US-HI 27 Jul 2015
  • Japanese White-eye Maluaka Beach US-HI 27 Jul 2015
  • African Silverbill Maluaka Beach US-HI 27 Jul 2015
  • Wedge-tailed Shearwater Molokini Islet US-HI 28 Jul 2015
  • Great Frigatebird Molokini Islet US-HI 28 Jul 2015
  • Hawaiian Goose (Nene) Hanalei NWR — Ohiki Rd. US-HI 01 Aug 2015
  • Hawaiian Duck Hanalei NWR — Ohiki Rd. US-HI 01 Aug 2015
  • White-rumped Shama Hanalei NWR — Ohiki Rd. US-HI 01 Aug 2015
  • Chestnut Munia Hanalei NWR — Ohiki Rd. US-HI 01 Aug 2015
  • Red-tailed Tropicbird Kilauea Point NWR US-HI 01 Aug 2015
  • Red-footed Booby Kilauea Point NWR US-HI 01 Aug 2015
  • Chinese Hwamei Westin Princeville Path US-HI 04 Aug 2015
  • Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush Westin Princeville Path US-HI 04 Aug 2015

Closer to home I added 10 species to my Kings County list including my life Bicknell’s Thrush, my ABA area Black-headed Gull,
and our visiting superstar Painted Bunting:

  • White-winged Scoter Bush Terminal Piers Park US-NY 21 Feb 2015
  • Glaucous Gull Bush Terminal Piers Park US-NY 21 Feb 2015
  • Bicknell’s Thrush Prospect Park–Vale of Cashmere US-NY 22 May 2015
  • Alder Flycatcher Prospect Park US-NY 24 May 2015
  • Franklin’s Gull Plumb Beach US-NY 30 May 2015
  • Dickcissel Brooklyn Botanic Garden US-NY 15 Oct 2015
  • Common Raven Bush Terminal Piers Park US-NY 07 Nov 2015
  • Cave Swallow Coney Island Creek US-NY 15 Nov 2015
  • Painted Bunting Prospect Park US-NY 30 Nov 2015
  • Black-headed Gull Prospect Park US-NY 13 Dec 2015

My total for Brooklyn is around 259 although that includes several obvious escapees like Budgerigar and European Goldfinch. There are still a few birds I should have in Brooklyn that I don’t including Short-eared Owl, Cliff Swallow, Eastern Screech Owl, Iceland Gull, Evening Grosbeak, Glossy Ibis, and Northern Wheatear. Maybe in 2016. And of course there’s usually a mega-rarity or two. I don’t think anyone expected Painted Bunting this year, Gray-hooded Gull in 2011, or Western Reef Heron in 2007.

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