• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Two people break 10,000 species, and on the same day? Can it be? (3 Viewers)

I do find the denigration of such achievements astonishing. I can only marvel at the endurance and efforts to achieve such a species total. Also presumably, with a bit of effort, one could just look up the checklists....

Personally, I suspect that very few could replicate such an effort. I know a few people quite well with very large 8,000/9,000+ lists and to be blunt, I suspect that I could not match any of them!

All the best

Paul
Something that younger birders perhaps don't appreciate is just how much easier it is to see a very large number of species in a short space of time than a few decades ago. There's almost infinite information, recordings of almost everything, and often local guides who have stake-out for really tricky birds. It's incredible how efficient you can be in almost cleaning-up a country in a matter of weeks now that historically would have taken months or even years. Just think of Borneo, for example. In recent years I've seen Bornean Ground-Cuckoo, Black Oriole, Dulit Frogmouth, Bornean Peacock Pheasant and Bulwer's Pheasant - all now standard fare - and every one of which would have felt like a lifetime achievement award when I first visited the region.
 
Two remarkable species from Jason Manns list on iGoTerra:
Manipur Bush Quail (no sightings since 1932, then a sighting by an Indian ornithologist in 2006, but not seen by any birders in the area, no records on Ebird (only historical ones).
New Caledonian Nightjar: collected in New Caledonia in 1939. No sightings since then. By no one. But him, obviously.

There are certainly more dodgy species. So either this guy is the luckiest birder alive, having rediscovered several lost species. Or his list is not to be trusted.

This says it all. Manipur Bush Quail has not been seen but anyone conclusively. There have been only 3 claims in the last 20 years and none of them are confirmed (2 in Assam, 1 in Nagaland) and none of them were accepted. Even the folks who reported them didn't treat their sightings as confirmed. Letting a great ornithological discovery go unshared in the age of insta is suspicious. Regardless of the truth behind his 10k, this guy is already a legend is all I can say :).
 
Remember Record Breakers and someone would be standing with a clipboard and deciding whether the record would stand? With this we're just taking their word for it? ;)
 
The following species claimed by J Mann seem outright impossible to me:
Manipur Bush Quail, New Caledonian Nightjar, Buff-breasted Buttonquail, Pohnpei Starling, Bates's Weaver, Duida Grass Finch, Auckland Rail, Tachira Antpitta, Guadalupe Junco and unless he flew his own helicopter to those tepuis also Buff-breasted Sabrewing, White-faced Whitestart, Guaiquinima Whitestart, Scaled Flowerpiercer seem very unlikely.
The following must have been seen several decades ago, as they are now lost or extinct:
Purple-winged Ground Dove, Zapata Raíl, Jerdon's Courser, Streseman's Bristlefront, Bahama Nuthatch, Cozumel Thrasher, Javan Pied Myna, Cebu Flowerpecker.
Bare-legged Swiftlet, Dusky Tetraka and Jambandu Indigobird seem like misidentifications to me.
 
Last edited:
I was at Colibri del Sol last Saturday so only missed Jason Mann by two days. Neither the Starfrontlet or the Flowerpiercer were ticks. Urrao Antpitta and Paramillo Tapaculo were however.
 
Personally, I suspect that very few could replicate such an effort. I know a few people quite well with very large 8,000/9,000+ lists and to be blunt, I suspect that I could not match any of them!
Certainly, having a large list doesn't mean you are not a talented birder. But, as DMW indicates, it's not so difficult nowadays to amass a large list quickly; there are talented guides for hire almost everywhere anxious to get you on the birds. And it is surely not a coincidence that the 10k milestone is being achieved only now in the age of the explosion of access to information--and in particular the ready availability of bird recordings and playback--made possible by the internet and digital technology.
 
Certainly, having a large list doesn't mean you are not a talented birder. But, as DMW indicates, it's not so difficult nowadays to amass a large list quickly; there are talented guides for hire almost everywhere anxious to get you on the birds. And it is surely not a coincidence that the 10k milestone is being achieved only now in the age of the explosion of access to information--and in particular the ready availability of bird recordings and playback--made possible by the internet and digital technology.
Yeah...I am not denigrating the achievement as a personal accomplishment. I am pointing out that a large list doesn't inherently say anything about "how good" a birder is. Some of the best birders I've ever met have rarely birded outside the country. At some level a high list is as much about having the time and finances to pursue the goal as it is about skill and endurance.
 
Certainly, having a large list doesn't mean you are not a talented birder. But, as DMW indicates, it's not so difficult nowadays to amass a large list quickly; there are talented guides for hire almost everywhere anxious to get you on the birds. And it is surely not a coincidence that the 10k milestone is being achieved only now in the age of the explosion of access to information--and in particular the ready availability of bird recordings and playback--made possible by the internet and digital technology.

Yeah...I am not denigrating the achievement as a personal accomplishment. I am pointing out that a large list doesn't inherently say anything about "how good" a birder is. Some of the best birders I've ever met have rarely birded outside the country. At some level a high list is as much about having the time and finances to pursue the goal as it is about skill and endurance.

To be honest, I remain of the same view of the people that I know personally who have done it and do not really give the same weight to people who have not expressing opinions....

There are some who have been led by the nose but for most with whom I have discussed such things, even those discussions left me feeling exhausted. Easy to talk a good game....

Possibly some cultural transatlantic differences but not my experience of the Brits that I know.
 
To be honest, I remain of the same view of the people that I know personally who have done it and do not really give the same weight to people who have not expressing opinions....

There are some who have been led by the nose but for most with whom I have discussed such things, even those discussions left me feeling exhausted. Easy to talk a good game....
I have over 4000 sp. (under eBird taxonomy not IOC) while working full time (until recently) and only going on one or two limited int'l trips during non-pandemic years since 2012. (My focus has actually been ticking bird families rather than big species numbers.) I think I have some idea of what is involved in wracking up big species totals nowadays, and what could be readily achieved with more time and money.
 
Just had a look at Igoterra but it doesn't let you do anything except view the 'league table' if you're not a member. I did notice one birder I met, the late Derrick Wilby is at no. 34 with 7,694.

There is this feature on the Manakin Tours website about Jason Mann:


Surely the extremely rare species he'd rediscovered would need to pass some sort of verification process?
you can see the whole list by country for free - click the litte green thing on rankings on the right, not his name. It's got highly dodgy stuff on it
 
I have over 4000 sp. (under eBird taxonomy not IOC) while working full time (until recently) and only going on one or two limited int'l trips during non-pandemic years since 2012. (My focus has actually been ticking bird families rather than big species numbers.) I think I have some idea of what is involved in wracking up big species totals nowadays, and what could be readily achieved with more time and money.

It is the marginal differences that produce 8,000+, 9,000+, etc. Those are big totals. The clean up trips. The effort for marginal returns. The less salubrious places. The less safe experiences. That is why there are so few people with such numbers. Many would like to have done the same.

I will not denigrate your efforts but I remain of my view that believing that with time and money, you can achieve something is the game of pretenders. I am honest in believing that I do not believe that I am capable of it. Maybe you are cut of different cloth....

As these totals increase, then the additional species get more difficult. The Brits that I know well personally who have achieved such feats work full time. Their differences are not time and money but dedication, effort, determination, longevity, obsession, etc.

My world birding is limited but I have done a little in the last year or so.

All the best

Paul
 

Attachments

  • Screenshot_20240209_231102_Gmail~2.jpg
    Screenshot_20240209_231102_Gmail~2.jpg
    114.3 KB · Views: 46
Elaborating on my earlier point, anybody with a list that is genuinely in the 8k+ region will have been doing this for decades and spent a lot of time and money on foreign trips, but a lot of the earlier trips will have been very inefficient by modern standards. By the time you get into these numbers, you've probably visited all the major birding countries several times, with increasingly low returns of new species (and many of these probably splits you didn't try for previously as they weren't recognised). For example, I've probably spent more than a year backpacking around India and there's not much new there for me, but I reckon a really keen and motivated birder willing to pay for custom guided tours could see more or less the same birds in a couple of months.
 
The following species claimed by J Mann seem outright impossible to me:
Manipur Bush Quail, New Caledonian Nightjar, Buff-breasted Buttonquail, Pohnpei Starling, Bates's Weaver, Duida Grass Finch, Auckland Rail, Tachira Antpitta, Guadalupe Junco and unless he flew his own helicopter to those tepuis also Buff-breasted Sabrewing, White-faced Whitestart, Guaiquinima Whitestart, Scaled Flowerpiercer seem very unlikely.
The following must have been seen several decades ago, as they are now lost or extinct:
Purple-winged Ground Dove, Zapata Raíl, Jerdon's Courser, Streseman's Bristlefront, Bahama Nuthatch, Cozumel Thrasher, Javan Pied Myna, Cebu Flowerpecker.
Bare-legged Swiftlet, Dusky Tetraka and Jambandu Indigobird seem like misidentifications to me.
The buttonquail could conceivably be in the misidentification column too, given that all recent records are most likely Painted Buttonquail.
 
To get something accepted on ebird, in my county - maybe early / late, high number etc (not even genuinely rare) - we require at least some level of documentation…photo, field notes etc.

So, to have a list chock full of globally rare, near extinct species without at least the same level of required documentation is mind boggling.
 
Elaborating on my earlier point, anybody with a list that is genuinely in the 8k+ region will have been doing this for decades and spent a lot of time and money on foreign trips, but a lot of the earlier trips will have been very inefficient by modern standards. By the time you get into these numbers, you've probably visited all the major birding countries several times, with increasingly low returns of new species (and many of these probably splits you didn't try for previously as they weren't recognised). For example, I've probably spent more than a year backpacking around India and there's not much new there for me, but I reckon a really keen and motivated birder willing to pay for custom guided tours could see more or less the same birds in a couple of months.

Entirely valid point. Undoubtedly, it is easier now from an information perspective. I suspect that it is balanced to a degree by three factors - political instability rendering some areas inaccessible or more dangerous, declining bird populations mean some species require more significant efforts (eg Masked Finfoot) & increased cost. (Of course, there are also some species lost forever - a few so far.)

On balance easier but for the really high numbers still a very real challenge. For how much longer will safe really global travel be possible?

Another advantage now is that taxonomic knowledge and fieldguides mean that you are less likely to overlook or ignore a future split... A number of friends end up with clean up trips due to inadvertent misses!

All the best

Paul
 
Last edited:
All good points.
I will not denigrate your efforts but I remain of my view that believing that with time and money, you can achieve something is the game of pretenders. I am honest in believing that I do not believe that I am capable of it. Maybe you are cut of different cloth....
I never said I could do 10k. And I never said big global lists aren't an achievement. But I do not believe they are necessarily correlated with birding skill. (They are likely correlated with other qualities though, such as endurance and willingness to endure hardship, as well as having access to resources of time and money.) That was my main point.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Back
Top