|Image Source: Wikipedia|
I'm a bit embarrassed to say that this is still the only Mountain Quail I have ever seen!
Which leads me to wonder, should life birds expire at some point? Since it has been almost 30 years since I saw this bird, what does it mean for me to have it on my list? Surely I can't say that I really know this bird.
Since I moved away from Oregon after high school, and am only back to the West Coast for infrequent visits, I've got several other long-lost lifers from that era on my list. Mountain Quail is my oldest long-lost lifer, but I've got a couple others from the early 1980s, including Short-tailed Shearwater from my first pelagic trip in 1983, White-headed Woodpecker and South Polar Skua from 1984. In reviewing my ABA list, there are at least 10 birds on there that I've only seen once, back in the 1980s!
In the 1990s, I was chasing more ABA rarities--so perhaps I can be forgiven for only ever seeing one Black-tailed Gull (VA, 1995) and Siberian Accentor (ID, 1997), but a full review of my ABA list shows 19 birds on there that I only ever saw once, back in the 1990s. A few of them aren't even all that rare!
There are many other birds that I've only seen a few times. I hesitate to even count up how many species I haven't seen for the past ten years (but now that I think about it, I'm going to have to do it!). But what do you think? How long can you keep a bird on your list without seeing it again before you should remove it? Back in Y2K some people decided to start over with their lifelist, and started keeping a new Millenium List. I'm not sure I'm ready to do that (he says, clinging to the memory of that Mountain Quail!). But what about you, do you have any embarrassing long-lost lifers, birds you are embarrassed to admit you've only seen once a long time ago?