My life world list is somewhere around 400.
The whole thing is sort of crazy; in 2006 no one probably would have thought I would have ever really gotten into birding - yet here I am 2 years later with over 300 "lifers".
Yesterday I picked up a Grasshopper Sparrow and a Yellow-billed Cuckoo.
Sure these two are "common" species - the thing is you have to look and be out there at the right time to see them and care enough to tell the difference between them and other similar stuff.
Particularly with the sparrows. The Grasshopper Sparrow marks my 16th species of Sparrow. I hope to pick up all of the sparrows one day. They are little goofballs that just entertain me and pose a bit of a challenge in terms of keeping the species all straight in my head.
Some people in the AuSable world weren't all that impressed with a Grasshopper Sparrow. But the Audubon's society around here was pretty stoked that we all saw so many yesterday because locally they have been in significant decline including a 98% drop in New York State.
Others think that being a "lister" takes away from birding. It can but it also can add to it. I like knowing that something is new, I like being able to keep track of everything I've seen, know where I've seen it, where I haven't seen it. I like keeping location data and all of that. It helps me understand the world better and it can be a testament to devotion and the desire to never give up learning. Anyone who looks for something "new" and isn't content with the same 8 species in their backyard is a "lister" they just don't have an actual number. People keep track of what they see and don't see to an extent no mater what. Listing and not listing shouldn't be such a big deal. Its not like I do it to be better than anyone else - because I'm not better than a lot to most of the birders I know. I will never come close to someone like C.R. who has seen almost 600 species even if my species count ends up being the same (which it won't).
Its about getting out there and enjoying it. Its about spending time outside, knowing whats around you, enjoying everything this world has to offer.