So I am headed to Costa Rica in a couple of weeks and was thinking ......"hmm, I wonder how many new birds I can get there?" I am at 1949 for the world right now so I was wondering if I can get 51 new species on this trip.
So I decided to explore Avibase ( http://avibase.bsc-eoc.org/avibase.jsp
). This is a free online bird database which will import your ebird data and do all sorts of stuff that ebird doesn't.
- create country, state, region checklists
- create a checklist showing just which species you need based on regularly occurring species only or including rarities.
- show you what time of year is best to visit an area to maximize the number of birds that would be new for you
- show you where in the world or a given country you can find the most new birds (including or excluding accidentals)
All of this data can be viewed on checklists, graphs, or maps. The coolest stuff is under "Reports" under MyAvibase.
As an example, here's my world map for where I can see the most new species:
On the real map, you can hover over a country and it will tell you how many species you have left in that country. So I might as well not bother making a birding trip to Greenland where there are only 24 regularly occuring species that would be new for me. Indonesia offers me the most lifers. Interestingly, even though I have been to Ecuador, there are still 1000 potential lifers left for me there!
Here's my US map for comparison -
So there are only 12 regularly occurring Texas birds left for me (from my world lifelist) and Louisiana can only offer 5 new species. If I want new birds in the US, I have to go to Alaska (70 species), Hawaii (68 species), California (52), etc..
Interestingly, although the neighboring states offer me less than 20 new species, Ohio offers me 36! What's going on up there in Ohio? Is it the new birding hotspot of the US? You Ohio guys seem to be on to something!
It is a fun tool and gives you some interesting ideas about how to look at your data on ebird. It is yet another good reason to have your data on ebird!
In answer to the question I set out to answer, there are 243 potential lifers in the province of Alajuela where I will be. But wait, there's more....if you order now....
Here's a graph showing how many checklists that have been reported to ebird (by others) and how many lifers for me they include. It is based on that area (Alajuela) for each different week of the year. Unfortunately, reported diversity is low when I am going to be there because it is the rainy season and most ecotourists are wimps and don't like to get wet, but the checklists from that area at the time I will be there still had 50.194 species that would be lifers for me.
Hopefully I can squeeze out 51!