Pennsylvania Birdlists Summary 1999

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Compiled by Peter Robinson

A total of 84 reports were submitted for 1999, including 44 Pennsylvania state annual lists.

There are now 52 birders whose Pennsylvania life lists are above 300. Joining this group for the first time are Bruce Carl and Mike Fialkovich. Number 300 for Bruce was a Bicknell’s Thrush that was in northern Lancaster County May 15-17 (seen well by several people and identified by its song), followed by a Red-necked Phalarope on August 22 at the Conejohela Flats (Lancaster County), and a Red Knot (#302) September 4, also at the Conejohela Flats. Mike’s 300th state species was the Purple Gallinule at Presque Isle on October 15, which was followed by a Parasitic Jaeger November 7 at Presque Isle (#301), and the Spotted Towhee at Export (Westmoreland county) on December 31 (#302).

It is interesting that even those with the top Life Lists are able to keep adding a few new species to those lists. Frank and Barb Haas added Lark Sparrow and Black Guillemot to their Life Lists in 1999. Deuane Hoffman added Black Rail, Gull- billed Tern, Royal Tern, Purple Gallinule, and Black Guillemot. Eric Witmer added 5 species and Tom Garner added 3 species since their last reports. Jerry Book added Lark Sparrow, Bicknell’s Thrush, and Black Rail during 1999.

There were 7 birders who found 250 species or more in Pennsylvania during 1999. Another 9 birders found 225 to 250 species. Deuane Hoffman’s reported total of 296 for 1999 was the high, 23 species more than John Fedak’s 273 species. It will now take 255 species to be included in the top 50 PA Annual Lists.

There are now six birders who have County Life Lists of over 300 species. One of these lists is from Erie County. The other five are all from Lancaster County. Deuane Hoffman has the top County Life List for 11 of the 67 Pennsylvania counties. There are still 14 counties with top lists under 200. It will now take 255 species to be included in the top 50 County Life Lists.

New highs were established for County Annual Lists for 19 counties in 1999. On the other hand, John Miller’s high Philadelphia County Annual List of 225 was established back in 1965.

County Annual Lists in the all time top fifty were submitted by Ken Lebo (240 for Berks), Gerald McWilliams (238 for Erie), and Deuane Hoffman (230 for Lancaster). It will now take 226 species to join the top 50 County Annual Lists.

I’m wondering how much interest there would be in adding another “List” category for 2000 and beyond. The first question is what to call the list. “PA Life List – Unassisted”? The list would be those species of birds that a person finds and identifies in Pennsylvania ON THEIR OWN. The list would NOT include “chase birds”, the birds that someone else finds first, you find out about, then you go to see (a “chase trip”). Your “unassisted” list WOULD include a bird spotted first by someone with whom you are birding at the time. It also WOULD include a bird that you found and did not yet know that someone else had already found. I think that this list would be an interesting category, would certainly be a different set of numbers, and a different mix of PA birders than the usual PA Life List.