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ABA Big Year 2019

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Old Sunday 17th November 2019, 19:14   #251
andyadcock
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Can I ask, ignorantly, why 'lower 48', only Alaska is higher whilst Hawaii is 'lower' than all others?

Setting myself up to look a tool I feel!
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Old Sunday 17th November 2019, 19:19   #252
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Originally Posted by andyadcock View Post
Can I ask, ignorantly, why 'lower 48', only Alaska is higher whilst Hawaii is 'lower' than all others?

Setting myself up to look a tool I feel!
Andy - So named before Hawaii was added I believe. Maybe now Middle 48?

Joe - 12 seems a big gap. Are there easy targets?

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Old Monday 18th November 2019, 12:28   #253
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yep, as mentioned "Lower 48" is slang that was created before the addition of Hawaii. And a lot of birders that want to do a big year but don't have the money to be flying off to either of those two states pursue a Lower 48, because even with twitching it's just going to be cheaper.
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Old Monday 18th November 2019, 17:02   #254
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Thanks fellas, scraped through that with dignity intact!
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Old Tuesday 19th November 2019, 15:59   #255
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I feared that this may happen:-

https://birdingyear.com/good-bad-and-ugly/

In light of the bush fires in Australia, John has returned to Sydney. Everything crossed for the situation there improving which is plainly more important than any Big Year.

All the best
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Old Friday 22nd November 2019, 18:48   #256
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Short update:-

https://birdingyear.com/smoking-intermission/

All the beat
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Old Friday 29th November 2019, 11:02   #257
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I see that John is back in the US and adding new species, namely Barnacle Goose and Yellow-faced Grassquit, https://birdingyear.com/sketchy-return-to-action/

He is now showing his total to be 833. Next stop is a reported Northern Lapwing!

I have a question on the grassquit. Is it countable as heard only? Perhaps Joe or others could comment.
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Old Friday 29th November 2019, 22:09   #258
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Great Cormorant added. Now at 830 + 4 provisionals.
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Old Friday 29th November 2019, 23:53   #259
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heard only birds are countable under ABA guidelines
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Old Saturday 30th November 2019, 22:37   #260
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Mysticete is correct. Most Big Year birders have at least one heard-only owl on their list.

That being said, John picked up Purple Sandpiper and Dovekie, so he's unofficially tied the Big Year record! And with a month to go.
He's finished off all the Code 1 species, with a handful of Code 2s still out there.

Joe
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File Type: xlsx ABABigYears2019.xlsx (138.3 KB, 3 views)
File Type: xlsx ABABigYears2019ByCode.xlsx (618.1 KB, 13 views)

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Old Sunday 1st December 2019, 10:38   #261
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trptjoe View Post

That being said, John picked up Purple Sandpiper and Dovekie, so he's unofficially tied the Big Year record! And with a month to go.

Joe
Joe

Can you please explain why he has tied the record. Surely the 2016 record of 836 included Thayers Gull and therefore with the taxonomy change to this being part of the Iceland Gull complex the record is 'only' 835.

Even if it was regarded a 836 at the time, it would need to the adjusted to 835 now ..... or am I missing something?
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Old Sunday 1st December 2019, 13:03   #262
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Once a Big Year record is set it isn't changed, because that would be too much of a hassle. This applies to splits/lumps aswell as to introduced species or ABA range changes. The only exception to this rule are the provisionals and to some degree when Hawaii was added and the Big Year birders began twitching birds before they were accepted to the ABA list
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Old Sunday 1st December 2019, 14:10   #263
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The other reason is that it isn’t fair from both sides. Birders will make an effort (time & money) to clean up Thayer’s Gull (for example), but they wouldn’t have gone to Idaho to pick up the possible Red Crossbill split that didn’t exist in 2014 (for example). It pretty much evens out. Each year is its own game.

That being said, your point is one of the two reasons I started comparing Big Year lists, which I started doing even before the fun and frolic of 2016. I wondered two things: a) how did the lists change from year to year, and b) which species do Big Year birders tend to miss?
My conclusion is that Dovekie is a prized tick.

Joe
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Old Sunday 1st December 2019, 14:50   #264
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John is missing 38 species seen by him in 2016. Those marked with asterisk have been seen this year by other Big Year birders, according to Joe's sheet.

* Short-tailed Hawk (2)

Whooper Swan (3)
Common Pochard (3)
* Steller’s Eider (3)
Smew (3)
Mariana Swiftlet (3) - HAWAII
* Curlew Sandpiper (3)
* Black-headed Gull (3)
* Ross’s Gull (3)
* Least Storm-Petrel (3)
Gray-headed Chickadee (3)
* Eyebrowed Trush (3)
Flame-colored Tanager (3)

Common Shelduck (4)
* Plain-capped Starthroat (4)
Northern Jacana (4)
Far Eastern Curlew (4)
* Black-tailed Gull (4)
Yellow-legged Gull (4)
Kelp Gull (4)
* Blue-footed Booby (4)
Tufted Flycatcher (4)
Dusky Warbler (4)
Redwing (4)
Streak-backed Oriole (4)
Blue Bunting (4)

Graylag Goose (5)
Common Scoter (5)
Pin-tailed Snipe (5)
Amazon Kingfisher (5)
Nutting’s Flycatcher (5)
Variegated Flycatcher (5)
Pine Flycatcher (5)
Cuban Vireo (5)
Sinaloa Wren (5)
Common Chiffchaff (5)
Pine Bunting (5)

Thayer’s Gull LUMP
****
Not seen by John in 2016, but seen by other Big Year birders this year:
Stejneger's Scoter (2) POSSIBLE SPLIT
Trindade Petrel (3)
Yellow-browed Warbler (4)
Middendorff's Grasshopper-Warbler (4)
Great White Pelican NOT YET IN ABA LIST
House Crow NOT YET IN ABA LIST

No Big Year birder has seen Gray-backed Tern (2) this year.

John has not missed much and of course some birds are always dipped, but I think 850 is very possible in the future.

Last edited by Tikli : Sunday 1st December 2019 at 14:53.
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Old Sunday 1st December 2019, 16:23   #265
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Originally Posted by Tikli View Post

John has not missed much and of course some birds are always dipped, but I think 850 is very possible in the future.
According to eBird there have been 866 species seen in the ABA area this year.

I assume this includes some species that will not count as escaped exotics etc, and perhaps some species seen are not recorded on eBird

Of course there is still a month to go but seeing 96.5% of the available species is some going. Expecting over 98% to me is not 'very possible'.

A quick look suggest 872 species were seen in 2016 when John set the record and last year there were 878. (on eBird).

As the numbers increase, the likelihood that they are single observer/one day birds increases. This increases the likelihood of dipping and burns up time (& cash) trying.

He has been very lucky on a number of records and saying that will happen 4 or 5 days more is difficult to accept. I agree that bad luck and bad planning has cost him possibly up to 5 species but after to that IMO there would need to be a really good rarity year to go beyond 845 (unless someone splits a few more species).
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Old Sunday 1st December 2019, 16:54   #266
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Originally Posted by Muppit17 View Post
According to eBird there have been 866 species seen in the ABA area this year.

I assume this includes some species that will not count as escaped exotics etc, and perhaps some species seen are not recorded on eBird

Of course there is still a month to go but seeing 96.5% of the available species is some going. Expecting over 98% to me is not 'very possible'.

A quick look suggest 872 species were seen in 2016 when John set the record and last year there were 878. (on eBird).

As the numbers increase, the likelihood that they are single observer/one day birds increases. This increases the likelihood of dipping and burns up time (& cash) trying.

He has been very lucky on a number of records and saying that will happen 4 or 5 days more is difficult to accept. I agree that bad luck and bad planning has cost him possibly up to 5 species but after to that IMO there would need to be a really good rarity year to go beyond 845 (unless someone splits a few more species).
I have 872 species seen in ABA area (compiled from ABA blog rare bird reports). Anyway, I think "very possible" might be an exaggeration, but I think it's certainly possible.
- It's likely that there will be new splits if current taxonomic trend continues.
- There's additional species potential from Hawaii (pelagic species + species form outer islands like Millerbird, Nihoa Finch etc.).
- As you said, John has spent some prime birding time in Australia, definitely costing him species.

Of course it requires a good rarity year, very large budget and no hindrances like work, but I still think 850 is the next "ultimate" goal to break.
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Old Sunday 1st December 2019, 17:23   #267
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For what it's worth, the ABA Big Year leader in Fantasy Birding - where players pick each day's spot and get credit for species eBirded nearby - is currently at 858. I designed the game to approximate what would be possible for a real-life birder going "all out," though of course fantasy birders have some major advantages (as well as a few disadvantages, chiefly being confined to a 10-kilometer circle every day). One big advantage was access to Midway, where many of us picked up a good 7 or 8 birds that wouldn't have been possible elsewhere. A couple of species were added in other places like Shemya Island with degrees of restricted access. Still, I think it demonstrates that 850 is well within the realm of possibility - especially given that this year was far from a standout in terms of vagrancy.
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Old Sunday 1st December 2019, 19:25   #268
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muppit17 View Post
According to eBird there have been 866 species seen in the ABA area this year.

I assume this includes some species that will not count as escaped exotics etc, and perhaps some species seen are not recorded on eBird

Of course there is still a month to go but seeing 96.5% of the available species is some going. Expecting over 98% to me is not 'very possible'.

A quick look suggest 872 species were seen in 2016 when John set the record and last year there were 878. (on eBird).

As the numbers increase, the likelihood that they are single observer/one day birds increases. This increases the likelihood of dipping and burns up time (& cash) trying.

He has been very lucky on a number of records and saying that will happen 4 or 5 days more is difficult to accept. I agree that bad luck and bad planning has cost him possibly up to 5 species but after to that IMO there would need to be a really good rarity year to go beyond 845 (unless someone splits a few more species).
The ABA area in eBird doesnt include Hawaii. Checking the United States (closest you can get) lists 926 species so far for 2019.

Laura Keene
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Old Sunday 1st December 2019, 19:39   #269
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Originally Posted by Muppit17 View Post
Joe

Can you please explain why he has tied the record. Surely the 2016 record of 836 included Thayers Gull and therefore with the taxonomy change to this being part of the Iceland Gull complex the record is 'only' 835.

Even if it was regarded a 836 at the time, it would need to the adjusted to 835 now ..... or am I missing something?
The ABA Big Year Rules http://listing.aba.org/big-year-rules/

Laura Keene
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Old Tuesday 3rd December 2019, 06:22   #270
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John's in Arizona trying Blue-footed Booby and Nutting's Flycatcher, and has some equipment problems: https://birdingyear.com/going-where-...ts-my-clothes/
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Old Wednesday 4th December 2019, 14:58   #271
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Another update including some nice pics but as yet no record-breaker:-

https://birdingyear.com/4167-2/

I presume that we are due an ABA list update soon that should include the Parakeet to change (832 + 4) to (833 + 3)? Is that right?

All the best
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