2011 is in the books, and 2012 greets a handful of new records in New Jersey birding. Tom Reed is the new champion of The Garden State, totaling a mind-boggling 362 species of birds during the 2011 calendar year. Others also broke the old record, including Michael Fritz, who traded the lead with Reed throughout the latter part of the year and ended up with 359 species – an incredible feat.
Eighteen birders broke the 300-bird barrier last year, and three (outside of Reed and Fritz) cracked 340. The reasons for all the listing success can be speculated upon, but at least some of the credit can be given to a far-reaching network of information – birding email chains, text messaging services, and a community searching far and wide for rarities, sharing their findings in real time with other birders.
ebird.org is a great resource for both novice and experienced birders, helping to keep track of lists, report rarities, and map out trends over time and space.