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Old Saturday 3rd June 2017, 00:04   #1
Paul Chapman
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ABA Big Year 2017

Anyone reckon that somewhere someone's looking at Attu at the moment thinking, I wish I'd gone for it this year?

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S37329412

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Old Saturday 3rd June 2017, 00:29   #2
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An incredible day of E Palearctic vagrants!
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Old Saturday 3rd June 2017, 15:02   #3
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The top list on ebird this year appears to be Ruben Stoll on 648 as at 28th May having arrived that day in Alaska:-

http://ebird.org/ebird/top100?locInf...=aba&year=2017

At the equivalent point last year, Olaf was on 693 and John on 653. Maybe Ruben was en route to Attu and may have just started some mental calculations about the next six months?

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Old Friday 9th June 2017, 01:24   #4
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And Stoll doesn't appear to have birded in Hawaii (yet), so these are all 'classic' ABA Area birds. Quite an impressive list if he's not doing a big year.
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Old Friday 9th June 2017, 12:26   #5
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You could probably rack up a pretty big list in the ABA even without a whole lot of twitching (and Florida and AK have so far this year been pretty good, maybe better than 2016). Every year there are people who do a "big year" without going for a record, so we will have to see if the numbers here start leveling off after mid summer.
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Old Tuesday 20th June 2017, 12:21   #6
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Yve Morrell is at 660 through 13 June. Her goal appears to be 700.
http://thedancingbirder.com/

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Old Tuesday 20th June 2017, 13:50   #7
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Ruben & Victor Stoll through 700 but perhaps neither showing the potential appetite to challenge last year's ridiculous numbers?

http://ebird.org/ebird/top100?locInf...=aba&year=2017

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Old Friday 23rd June 2017, 01:11   #8
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Honestly, if I really wanted to go for the record (which I don't...I have nowhere near the time, money, or dedicated focus for such an endeavor), I would probably wait until the Hawaii checklist changes were input into the existing list and finalized. That is suppose to happen this fall, but it wouldn't surprise me if some of the exotics weren't fully sorted out until the close of 2018.
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Old Wednesday 28th June 2017, 15:28   #9
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I'm thinking we should start a new forum. I have the up-to-date lists in my two spreadsheets. The three who are in it this year (as far as I know) are Yve Morrell, Ruben Stoll and Victor Stoll. I'm waiting for the Stolls to proofread what I have before I can make them public. Their eBird list contains some exotics, so they're not at 700 just yet.
Yve is at 673 (her blog, "The Dancing Birder," stays pretty current); the difference between the lists for Ruben and Victor is that Victor needs Golden-winged Warbler.
I've heard that the Hawaii list will be published later this summer when they do the yearly update, so anything a birder gets this year will count as long as the species makes the list.
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Old Thursday 29th June 2017, 12:43   #10
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Yeah the Hawaii birds will be added, but I am still not sure how complete the addition of exotics will be. If the ABA decides a thorough review is needed for all the exotics (or at least all of those which are not super abundant, like Japanese White-eye), than it may not be a "complete" list.
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Old Thursday 29th June 2017, 15:00   #11
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Here is the first "score," confirmed by all involved:
Ruben Stoll - 695 (481+156+40+11+6+1)
Victor Stoll - 694 (481+155+40+11+6+1)
Yve Morrell - 673 (479+140+34+16+4+0)

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Old Sunday 2nd July 2017, 14:15   #12
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Odds are some of these folks lost at least one tick with Thayer's Gull. Wonder if any of them are going to bother to swing by Idaho for the Cassia Crossbill
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Old Sunday 2nd July 2017, 20:08   #13
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Here are the updated lists. Besides the three 2017 Big Years, I've also added John Vanderpoel's 2011 Big Year to the "By Codes" sheet. I'll likely add another past Big Year before too long.
The difference between Yve's total on her blog and in my lists is that she's keeping the location of her Long-eared Owl secret.
Thayer's Gull will be included until the ABA officially releases the changes to the list.

Joe
Attached Files
File Type: xlsx BigYears2017.xlsx (80.3 KB, 15 views)
File Type: xlsx BigYears2017ByCode.xlsx (568.6 KB, 19 views)
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Old Sunday 2nd July 2017, 20:38   #14
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ABA Big Year 2017

Another year ... another attempt (or more?) on the ABA Big Year record?

Following on from last year's thread (see - ABA Big Year 2016 - http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=318073).
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Old Sunday 2nd July 2017, 22:51   #15
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Originally Posted by trptjoe View Post
The difference between Yve's total on her blog and in my lists is that she's keeping the location of her Long-eared Owl secret.


Joe
Is there some deep meaningful reason for that? I didn't think it was a particularly difficult one to catch up with, so is the individual in a vulnerable place?

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Old Monday 3rd July 2017, 13:20   #16
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Is there some deep meaningful reason for that? I didn't think it was a particularly difficult one to catch up with, so is the individual in a vulnerable place?

John
Depends on where she encountered it and also where she is from. Here in the NYC area, even reporting the nest/roost of a Great Horned Owl (even if in a super obvious and high traffic area) is sufficient to get banned from relevant listing email groups.

If the LE Owl is from an area where it would be likely pestered by photographers, or if she learned birding in an area where owl paranoia exists, I could see why she didn't report it.
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Old Monday 3rd July 2017, 17:42   #17
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Depends on where she encountered it and also where she is from. Here in the NYC area, even reporting the nest/roost of a Great Horned Owl (even if in a super obvious and high traffic area) is sufficient to get banned from relevant listing email groups.

If the LE Owl is from an area where it would be likely pestered by photographers, or if she learned birding in an area where owl paranoia exists, I could see why she didn't report it.
Fair enough, I certainly wouldn't report one over here for a variety of reasons from birder enthusiasm to morons with crossbows.

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Old Monday 3rd July 2017, 20:41   #18
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Dan,
Thanks for facilitating the new thread!
Yve has added Baird's Sparrow & McCown's Longspur; the Stolls have added Little Gull. Ruben has added Saltmarsh Sparrow to his eBird list; I'm thinking that Victor merely hasn't done his eBird update just yet.

I believe that the birders will get to keep Thayer's for this year's list; I'm waiting to hear back from a member of the ABA Recording Standards Committee (a fellow IL birder) for clarification. I need to know from a couple of sides, as I'm the list compiler for the Illinois Ornithological Society. Needless to say, I'll share the answer here.
Joe

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Old Tuesday 4th July 2017, 00:59   #19
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My understanding is that the AOU updates are usually factored into the annual checklist update, which comes out around November in the annual Lister's Guide. So likely that is when the lump would go into effect?
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Old Tuesday 4th July 2017, 01:45   #20
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I believe that the birders will get to keep Thayer's for this year's list;
Sounds odd . . . so as of next year, they'll have Thayer's on their 2017 yearlist but not on their life list. That just doesn't make sense!
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Old Tuesday 4th July 2017, 13:46   #21
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Sounds odd . . . so as of next year, they'll have Thayer's on their 2017 yearlist but not on their life list. That just doesn't make sense!
Actually Thayer's won't be on the 2017 list either. As I stated, the annual checklist update goes into effect with the November publication.

Traditionally the big year in North America is treated as a snap shot of the current state of bird knowledge. You can only count what is still on the list by the close of the year, and can't keep in reserve future splits/introductions, nor is it influenced by future lumps and extirpations. The only exception being ABA first records which may not get voted on until after the year comes to a close.

Why this exists is because:

Tradition: strict rules for ABA big years were never laid down in an organized manner, rather early participants (Sandy Komito and others) created the rule.

Archival: I would imagine many big year participants with significant years have already passed away or our otherwise out of birding. There is no official "record keeper" for these past attempts who can continually update those lists. It's also likely that even if there was, I am skeptical that notes and journals may always be sufficient to correctly identify split taxa. Thus, by allowing them to be snapshots in time, there are stable numbers that can be compared over the years. It would be a huge pain in the butt if ABA had to go and update each list every year, especially since people doing big years only have to provide a number, not a list of taxa and dates/locations.

Knowledge: Finally, I suspect the actual ease in identifying different forms to be split is something that has grown incredibly easy with the aid of the internet. I am not sure how readily available that data was, or even if it really existed. We know way way way more about bird identification and phylogeography nowadays than we did then. Birders might have never recorded sufficient knowledge or gone after an easier to ID population because they didn't realize they had to.
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Old Tuesday 4th July 2017, 17:25   #22
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Very interesting post Mysticete. Thinking about it, would a better way of comparing the exploits of past 'Big Years'
to the present be a % of total recorded species for that year? For example, John Weigel recorded 780 species, or 95% (??) of the total number of species in 2016.

How would this compare to Sandy Komito's or Neil Hayward's efforts? While it may be complicated for some older records, at least this has the benefit of only needing to be calculated once.
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Old Tuesday 4th July 2017, 21:22   #23
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Useful clarification, thanks!
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Old Tuesday 4th July 2017, 23:40   #24
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Very interesting post Mysticete. Thinking about it, would a better way of comparing the exploits of past 'Big Years'
to the present be a % of total recorded species for that year? For example, John Weigel recorded 780 species, or 95% (??) of the total number of species in 2016.

How would this compare to Sandy Komito's or Neil Hayward's efforts? While it may be complicated for some older records, at least this has the benefit of only needing to be calculated once.
Probably a better measure. Hopefully some of the data crunchers can provide that.

although even then I think the idea of comparability across years is perhaps an unobtainable goal.
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Old Wednesday 5th July 2017, 16:14   #25
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Jeff Thomas, an occasional contributor to the 2016 thread, came up with a system for comparing Big Years. It isn't a percentage of possible species (which I'm sure Jeff could easily do, as he's kept track of all the ABA changes), but a formula for comparing birding years. Jeff calls it the X-factor. He gets full credit for this: X = C - M
C is the number of Coded Birds (Codes 3, 4, 5 & 6).
M is the number of missed Code 1 and Code 2 (regular) species.
Jeff's sheets, even more comprehensive than mine, also keep track of X. I don't think he's up to speed yet this year, but he'll get there.

If you look at my sheets you'll see some numbers in bold at the very bottom. That indicates that a birder "closed out" either the Code 1 and/or Code 2 species for the year. As we all know, Olaf and John had unprecedented success last year; they are also the only two birders to get all the Codes 1 & 2 in a single year.
Their X-factor is easy to calculate: John is at 112 (109+3) and Olaf at 107 (105+2). The previous record was Sandy Komito in 1998, who had a 91. He had 96 coded birds and missed five regular birds. Laura Keene had a C of 92 (89+3) and missed two regular birds, for an X-factor of 90. As many of us have discussed, Laura's year was incredible from an historical standpoint. And Sandy's two years rank as #3 all-time (91 in 1998) and #5 all-time (82 in 1987). Christian nailed all but one regular bird, so his X-factor is 81 (C=82 - M=1).
For the moment, I'm still counting the Condor as a 6; Jeff counts it as a 2, which is what the code was back in the day.
Anyone can figure out the rest from my "By Code" sheet, but Neil Hayward had an 80 and John Vanderpoel a 79; there's a drop-off after that.
Again, all credit goes to Jeff! (well, and the Big Year birders)
Joe

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