Edited 14-Oct-2018 (now 314 species)
By Dianne Cooper
With the recent publishing of the Checklist of British Columbia Birds by British Columbia Field Ornithologist (BCFO), and the sighting of another new species in the East Kootenay, I thought I would tally up the changes over the past 2 ½ years to our newest bird checklist published in 2016.
The East Kootenay Bird Checklist was published May of 2016 in preparation of the BCFO meeting that month in Cranbrook. Every BCFO member in attendance received a free copy. Our 2016 checklist replaced the previous one published in 2003. The earlier one covered the traditional Rocky Mountain Naturalist birding area from the US border to Canal Flats and from halfway to Creston to the Alberta boundary. The new checklist, with the advent and popularity of eBird, covers the Regional District of East Kootenay, the “administrative” area used by eBird.
The BCFO checklist records 301 species in Ecoprovince #4, which includes the RDEK. The Southern Interior Mountains ecoprovince goes north almost as far as Prince George and west to the other side of the Monashee Range, bordering on the Okanagan. There are many species further west and north that we haven’t gotten yet.
36 species found in Ecoprovince # 4 have not yet been found in the RDEK. Perhaps some of these are more likely to show up here? Watch for:
What will show up next! There’s always something new!
The BCFO records 265 species of what we do have.
EK birds not on the BCFO checklist number 48 species.
At time of publishing our last checklist, we had 303 species.
Now (12 Oct 2018) we have 313 species. We also have 4 hybrids, but we won’t count those.
Now (14 Oct 2018) we have 314 species! (see below: Species not on eBird but seen prior)
Species that were seen after May 2016 are:
- Oct 2016, Wasa Lake, Dean Nicholson
- Nov 2016, Wycliffe, Lil McPhail (Dean Nicholson)
- Nov 2017, Cranbrook, Katrin Powell (Greg Ross)
- July 2018, Canal Flats, Gord Littlejohns
- Aug 2018, Fernie, Mike Bentley, Liz Creighton
- Oct 2018, Wycliffe, Dianne Cooper, Joe Rothermund
Of course, these are all classified as “accidentals” – one or two individuals sighted in the past couple of years. They are all recorded on eBird.
Species documented after May 2016 – but seen before then
a. Now on eBird
These are historical records entered into eBird by people documenting their own or others’ birding journals, much like I did with Mildred White’s records. The oldest “new” species (added after May 2016) goes back to 1984 (Pacific Golden-plover, Harmer Ridge, 26 Sep 1984, David Fraser). The oldest “first” record on eBird goes back to 1930.
- 1984, Sparwood, David Fraser
- 1992, Fort Steele, Doug Brown
- 1997, Richard Guillet
- 1998, Michael Preston
- 1984, Mildred White
b. Species not on eBird but seen prior
eBird records 301 species in the RDEK but not all species on our checklist are on eBird. Missing on, or not included on eBird are:
- escapees, sightings discouraged on eBird
- 2010, Ta Ta Creek, reported to the Breeding Bird Atlas
- 2010, Columbia Lake, Jason Rogers
- 1919, Newgate, Birds of British Columbia
- 1944, Columbia Lake, Walter B. Johnstone, specimen, Royal BC Museum (RBCM)
- 1915, Cranbrook, unknown collector, specimen, RBCM
- 1976, Spillimacheen, Birds of BC
- 1930, Tobacco Plains, R. M. Anderson, specimen National Museum of Canada (NMC)
- 1930, Tobacco Plains, Rand, specimen, NMC
- 1996, Spillimacheen River, unknown obs, Birds of British Columbia
Black-throated Blue Warbler
- 2002, Kimberley, Ruth Goodwin
- 1971, Wasa Park, Neil Dawe, in Dawe 1971
- 1997, Cranbrook, G. Ross, G. Ross, J. Lawrence, G Davidson, in Am. Birds, Vol 51 No 4 Fall 1997
The BCFO Checklist lists 522 species for British Columbia and eBird records 517.
We have contributed some eBird firsts for the province.
Go to https://ebird.org/canada/region/CA-BC?yr=all and click on “First Seen” to see the BC list on eBird.
There was the Northern Cardinal last winter of course, and the Curve-billed Thrasher last July. Also (but maybe more, and it’s always changing as more people upload historical data):
- 1992, Fort Steele, Doug Brown
- 1967, Forst Steele, Tom Briggs
- 1998, Dutch Creek, Cam Gillies
- 1930, Newgate, Ian McTaggart-Cowan
In summary, changes to our checklist to date are:
chart section of RDEK 2016 checklist 245
RDEK 2016 checklist total 303
seen and added after 15 May 2016 6
seen before, added after 15 May 2016 5
RDEK total to 13 Oct 2018 314
If you have an eBird account, for some fun online browsing of birds of the world, head to the eBird “Explore” tab at:
- hit the “Surprise me!” link under the box: “Enter species name”, to see a randomly selected world species.
- hit the “Change species” link at the top right, then in the popup, again hit “Surprise me!” to see another.
It’s so fun! I didn’t know there was such a thing as a “Melancholy Woodpecker”! It lives in Ghana. Or a “Quailfinch Indigobird”. What the heck is that! There are only a handful of records of it on eBird and no photos. It is from Cameroon.
This feature is in development on eBird and hopefully will soon be available to the general public.
And don’t forget the RMN Photo page at:
Happy birding and um, er, naturing!