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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Mystery Lifer or Not


So a regional eBird reviewer in Oregon just sent me a note:

We are asking for additional details on the following observation:

Species: Cordilleran Flycatcher
Count: X
Observation date: Sep 17, 1982
Location: Malheur NWR--Headquarters, Harney, US-OR
Submission ID: S3092545


Hmmm. Good question. I submitted this record when I entered my North American life list. So this is a record from my very first Cordilleran Flycatcher when I was 14 years old.

Or not.

Back then, there was no such thing as Cordilleran Flycatcher--just Western Flycatcher. So this would have been the very first Western Flycatcher I ever saw. I have it on my life list spreadsheet as being seen 9-17-82 at Malhuer NWR. I remember that weekend trip with my dad and sister--I had lobbied heavy for months for him to drive us the seven hours one way from Portland so I could do some birding there. But I don't remember seeing this bird. Just part of the murky early birding past.

But it gets even murkier. When I went back to see what kind of records I might have on this bird I found this in my old Golden Guide, where I kept track of my life birds back in the day:

Western Flycatcher 9-17-83

Note the different year. Hmmm.

Then when I go back to a written version of my life list that I compiled in 1984, I have the following listed:

Western Flycatcher 9-17-83 Oaks Bottom, Multnomah Co

Double Hmmm.

Did I mess up the year of the observation when I wrote it down in my Golden Guide (unlikely)? How did I go from seeing a Western Flycatcher on 9-17-83 in Portland to seeing a Cordilleran Flycatcher 9-17-82 on the other side of the state?

I have no idea.

Fortunately I've seen many Cordilleran Flycatchers (and Pacific-slope Flycatchers, the other part of the old Western Flycatcher species) since the early 80s. But I may never really know now when I first saw either one!

So much for old records!

(Photo: Jerry Friedman/Wikipedia)

2 comments:

Murr Brewster said...

Jeez, here I am in Portland entering into my second week of being an official birder. If we can just make stuff up, I'll have a respectable life list in no time!

Must get to Malheur.

RennaSc said...

累死了…來去看看文章轉換心情~ ........................................

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