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2017 Western Palearctic Big Year

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Old Sunday 10th December 2017, 00:46   #2776
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There's still plenty of birds around. Allen's Gallinule on Fuerteventura, Green Heron on Pico (Azores), Grey-throated Martin and Shikra in Kuwait...
Abyssinian Roller and Slaty-backed Gull still there, but no movement visible from the team. I kinda prefer the way things go in North America :/ One day I'll have the money, time and support and then I'll have it my way...
(Or most probably not :( )
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Old Monday 11th December 2017, 02:17   #2777
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Been following this thread for a few months. Very exciting, and especially thanks to Paul Chapman and Maffong for keeping track of possible species.

In my opinion they were not prepared or willing to an ABA Big Year full hard core twitching. From their blog in March: http://www.bigyearwp.com/index.php/2...tching-iberia/
"In order to get a really high year-tick number, we don’t only have to go bird all the different countries in WP, but we must also do some twitching. So when those rare and lost vagrants appear, we must pick at least some of them. We cannot go for all of them, that is just too much." And then explain that they will not twitch the White-Throated Bee-Eater in Morocco. Some of it must be financial: through the year they have mentioned in their blog and Facebook that availability of cheap/reasonable priced flights have influenced their twitching trips.

I think only major mistake they have made this year is the Corvo episode - leaving early cost them 10-15 species - they could have reached 780 and that would have been very hard to break unless an unlimited budget for twitching.
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Old Monday 11th December 2017, 02:32   #2778
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Species missed in Corvo:
6 while there:
Upland Sandpiper
Greater Yellowlegs
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Belted Kingfisher
Scarlet Tanager
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

11 leaving too early:
Cedar Waxwing
Grey-cheeked Trush
Swainson's Trush
American Robin
Black-and-white Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Indigo Bunting
+ more chances for Sandpiper, Cuckoo, Tanager and Grosbeak

3 missed earlier in the season:
Black-throated Blue Warbler (1.10.)
Canada Warbler (28.9.)
Solitary Sandpiper (26.9.)
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Old Monday 11th December 2017, 08:11   #2779
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Species missed in Corvo:
6 while there:
Upland Sandpiper
Greater Yellowlegs
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Belted Kingfisher
Scarlet Tanager
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

11 leaving too early:
Cedar Waxwing
Grey-cheeked Trush
Swainson's Trush
American Robin
Black-and-white Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Indigo Bunting
+ more chances for Sandpiper, Cuckoo, Tanager and Grosbeak

3 missed earlier in the season:
Black-throated Blue Warbler (1.10.)
Canada Warbler (28.9.)
Solitary Sandpiper (26.9.)
Great analysis and summary of "their Corvo mistake", thanks! Does anybody know if the Slaty-backed Gull is still in Poland and if they are willing to try to twitch it? I can understand that they don't want to go to Kuwait or Marokko just for 1-2 species, but Poland is just across the Baltic Sea!
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Old Monday 11th December 2017, 08:33   #2780
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Does anybody know if the Slaty-backed Gull is still in Poland and if they are willing to try to twitch it? I can understand that they don't want to go to Kuwait or Marokko just for 1-2 species, but Poland is just across the Baltic Sea!
After all they've achieved, if I was in their shoes (or nice warm slippers) I'd be spending the rest of the month by a cosy fire with a glass of something warming, and trying to spend some time with family, to paraphrase:
All birding and no play
makes Jack a dull boy
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Old Monday 11th December 2017, 09:01   #2781
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Great analysis and summary of "their Corvo mistake", thanks! Does anybody know if the Slaty-backed Gull is still in Poland and if they are willing to try to twitch it? I can understand that they don't want to go to Kuwait or Marokko just for 1-2 species, but Poland is just across the Baltic Sea!
I think the book will be titled 'The Corvo Insufficiency'......still a great effort, wish someone would pay for me to have a go!


A
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Old Monday 11th December 2017, 11:08   #2782
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In my opinion they were not prepared or willing to an ABA Big Year full hard core twitching. [...] Some of it must be financial: through the year they have mentioned in their blog and Facebook that availability of cheap/reasonable priced flights have influenced their twitching trips.
They were once asked if they had a budget for their Big Year on Facebook, to which they replied "Not really". So to me it seems that they are rather not willing to twitch and that money is less of a problem. And this is where I struggle to understand their behaviour. I fully accept, that it is THEIR personal Big Year and that they can do whatever they want. But what is the reasoning behind that??? If I were ever given the opportunity to travel around the world and be birding I don't think I would be sitting at home half of the time doing nothing. To me this seems like time wasted (even without the birding part). What is the reason to actively NOT travel? To stay at home and do nothing? To not see a super rare bird?
There might be reasons, but which?
Money? See above
Exhaustion? They took time off for almost half a year in total. Are the people who did Big Years in America, Australia or around the world super humans?
No birds to chase? Currently around 5+ birds available
Family? Probably the reason, but why won't they mention it. I and many others would be much more understanding.

Many people here seem to be understanding as to their behaviour. Could anyone explain to me please? It's not that I want to be bitter or mean. I simply just don't understand!

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Old Monday 11th December 2017, 11:25   #2783
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I think that if they'd had a definite target to beat that was going to be a challenge, we may have seen more dedication? I do think that once they beat the old record (fairly easily) then they should have tried to set a record that would stand for a while and be a real challenge to beat.

I want to see a dedicated team / individual, set their sights on 800


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Old Monday 11th December 2017, 13:17   #2784
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They were once asked if they had a budget for their Big Year on Facebook, to which they replied "Not really". So to me it seems that they are rather not willing to twitch and that money is less of a problem.

...

Money? See above

Maffong
I think there is a big difference between 'unlimited funds' and 'No real fixed budget'.
With what I understand that they could blow another 10k € on twitching those 5 extra birds, but that they don't want to and know that this 10k will give them some other nice birding trips the coming years.
If 10k would be pocket change they probably would do these twitches.
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Old Monday 11th December 2017, 14:02   #2785
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I think there is a big difference between 'unlimited funds' and 'No real fixed budget'.
With what I understand that they could blow another 10k € on twitching those 5 extra birds, but that they don't want to and know that this 10k will give them some other nice birding trips the coming years.
If 10k would be pocket change they probably would do these twitches.
I wonder why they did it at all then if this is the mind set? The money spent on this adventure could have taken them around the World and back a couple of times I'd guess with who knows how many amazing birds.

Two months in Africa or south America alone would have got them more birds than this and for a fraction of the cost.

10K (is that per person?) would be a lot to throw at 4-5 birds though.

Will they realease the final 'per person' cost of the project at some point?


A

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Old Monday 11th December 2017, 14:10   #2786
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They were once asked if they had a budget for their Big Year on Facebook, to which they replied "Not really". So to me it seems that they are rather not willing to twitch and that money is less of a problem. And this is where I struggle to understand their behaviour.

Many people here seem to be understanding as to their behaviour. Could anyone explain to me please? It's not that I want to be bitter or mean. I simply just don't understand!
I have the same interpretation as Jeroen: not having a pre-planned, fixed budget is different than unlimited funds. I think they have planned their itinerary at some cost, have some funds for twitching and are making decisions case-by-case. And I have the feeling that they were (and are) not planning to make an unbreakable record, but get a reasonable result and have nice time birding.

I know that for a German it must be incomprehensible not striving for absolute perfection and not having a strict budget, but that's why you guys win at football and we don't.

Last edited by Tikli : Monday 11th December 2017 at 14:11. Reason: fixed typos
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Old Monday 11th December 2017, 14:12   #2787
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A nice account of their latest (and probably last) additions of the year on their Home page: http://www.bigyearwp.com/
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Old Monday 11th December 2017, 15:11   #2788
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Exhaustion? They took time off for almost half a year in total. Are the people who did Big Years in America, Australia or around the world super humans?

Maffong
I think that previous Big Year attempts over last few years (especially global ones of Noah and Arjan) have spoiled us a bit. They were indeed done by (hyper-)competitive guys with full determination, amazing stamina, mental fortitude, luck etc. I feel like these feats were indeed almost 'super human'.

For example, even if I had unlimited funds I simply can't imagine myself travelling great distances (depending on circumstances - traveling alone can be very taxing) and doing non-stop hardcore birding for a whole year without any breaks. 200 days - probably 'easy'! 250 days - maybe? 300 - pushing the limit...

So I can understand these guys if they maybe have similar mindset, or have any other reasons why they didn't go hardcore, non-stop birding for a full year. Yeah few mistakes were made (Corvo...), but they got the record in the end, so their goal is achieved. And as history shows - first attempts usually don't hold too long anyway as next BigYear attempts will be able to analyze their attempt, learn from their mistakes etc. So 3-5 species added now in December wouldn't mean much in the grand scheme of things as future attempts will most probably target 780-790 species or maybe even 800?
All in all their attempt was very entertaining and joy to follow. Congrats to them!
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Old Monday 11th December 2017, 15:49   #2789
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A nice account of their latest (and probably last) additions of the year on their Home page: http://www.bigyearwp.com/
Worth a look for the Pin-tailed Wydah photo alone! (Bizarrely in September 1988, I didn't see a reported Red-winged Blackbird in South Wales when I was twitching my first British Woodchat Shrike. That turned out to be a female Pin-tailed Wydah and 29 years later, I have got a British Red-winged Blackbird back any way... )

All the best
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Old Monday 11th December 2017, 15:56   #2790
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I know that for a German it must be incomprehensible not striving for absolute perfection and not having a strict budget, but that's why you guys win at football and we don't.
Oh please, no clichés! I am German, I never won at football and I give a shit about absolute perfection!
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Old Monday 11th December 2017, 17:31   #2791
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Oh please, no clichés! I am German, I never won at football and I give a shit about absolute perfection!
That's "don't give a...."

(As in, I'm British and I don't give a s*** about football!)

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Old Monday 11th December 2017, 18:35   #2792
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Yes, congratuations to the team, great birds by the bucketload and great fun

Although my meagre contributions to this thread have been limted to harpin' on about Rüppell's Vultures in Portugal, I must say I've enjoyed it tremendously. Also, I've learnt a bit too so many thanks to all, especially Paul Chapman, Maffong, Daniel Doer and everyone.

I'd been thinking that maybe its a very good thing that they slowed down some here and there: If they'd managed closer to 800 species future attempts may be rarer, or not even happen for some time. With the total they have, hopefully more potential WP record thrashers will take up the challenge and entertain us mortals more

Saying that though, it would be a mountainous feat to better the score.
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Old Monday 11th December 2017, 19:02   #2793
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I'd wondered if anyone is tallying to see who's got the most WP ticks that the team didn't get? Pretty useless thing to do I suppose, but who can resist? I've only got one or two.
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Old Monday 11th December 2017, 20:20   #2794
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I'd wondered if anyone is tallying to see who's got the most WP ticks that the team didn't get? Pretty useless thing to do I suppose, but who can resist? I've only got one or two.
Simon

I suspect one of the Corvo regulars will have up to ten from there - possibly one or two of the species that occurred in Britain (Black-billed Cuckoo, Cliff Swallow, Grey-cheeked Thrush, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Amur Falcon, Cedar Waxwing, Radde's Warbler, Red-winged Blackbird, Yellow Warbler, Wilson's Phalarope, etc), the Russian additional species (Swinhoe's Snipe & Pallas's Reed Bunting) & maybe some of the species seen elsewhere (White-throated Bee-eater, Pied Bushchat, Shikra, Ruppell's Griffon, etc).

So I reckon the highest total could be say 15 species.

Personally, I only have four in the year - Red-winged Blackbird, Amur Falcon, Yellow Warbler & Wilson's Phalarope.

All the best

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Old Monday 11th December 2017, 21:03   #2795
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I think that previous Big Year attempts over last few years (especially global ones of Noah and Arjan) have spoiled us a bit. They were indeed done by (hyper-)competitive guys with full determination, amazing stamina, mental fortitude, luck etc. I feel like these feats were indeed almost 'super human'. ... (:
You are absolutely right with that. I think that they didn't want to spoil so much time (and meanwhile not being at their families I suppose) and money for single species to twitch. They did some twitch trips when they were able to add some species e.g. in the beginning of the year in GB. But I suppose they always saw the year as a great adventure (therefore they went to Svalbard although that didn't "produce" much species) and never planned to do non-stop-birding as Arjan or Noah did!! They wanted to see 700+ species and stand now at very reasonable 760! So they have every right to retire now. Although I would love to read of more adventures from them in this (!) year...
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Old Monday 11th December 2017, 21:34   #2796
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So I reckon the highest total could be say 15 species.
In a way that sums up just how well they did; I think even the most productive birders would struggle missing just about 15 species in a country, never mind the whole WP.

By the way Yellow Warbler would be an enormous OMG for me - I think I'd crumble, its painful enough to grovel at your photo (again) I mean look at that thing!
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Old Tuesday 12th December 2017, 06:10   #2797
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That's "don't give a...."
Thank you, John. I'm always happy to improve my business english
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Old Tuesday 12th December 2017, 09:14   #2798
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You are absolutely right with that. I think that they didn't want to spoil so much time (and meanwhile not being at their families I suppose) and money for single species to twitch. They did some twitch trips when they were able to add some species e.g. in the beginning of the year in GB. But I suppose they always saw the year as a great adventure (therefore they went to Svalbard although that didn't "produce" much species) and never planned to do non-stop-birding as Arjan or Noah did!! They wanted to see 700+ species and stand now at very reasonable 760! So they have every right to retire now. Although I would love to read of more adventures from them in this (!) year...
Not forgetting there were 3 of them ... that's pretty unprecedented in Big Year history. They had one or two spats I think, but looked pretty much united on the whole from what they'd been writing.

Imagine perhaps one of them may have wanted to go for it big time, but it was a Team Effort - all continue or none perhaps.

Achieved their aims, yes and nice one!
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Old Tuesday 12th December 2017, 21:27   #2799
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Not forgetting there were 3 of them ... that's pretty unprecedented in Big Year history. They had one or two spats I think, but looked pretty much united on the whole from what they'd been writing.

Imagine perhaps one of them may have wanted to go for it big time, but it was a Team Effort - all continue or none perhaps.

Achieved their aims, yes and nice one!
Well said! Despite this fact they received a fair bit of criticism. I think also that they have done well and entertained many people when they visited their regions and here at birdforum all year along.

Here are some trivia stats, a searched "big year" and recorded the replies and views generated by each thread I found:

- World big year 2015 by Noah Strycker: 1,119 replies and 175,210 views.

- World big year 2016 by Arjan Dwarshuis: 2,078 replies and 362,095 views.

- ABA Big Year 2016: 1,823 replies and 281,997 views. There is another ABA big year in 2017, but I don't know why it generated less interest here in birdform.

- WP Big Year 2017 (this thread): 2,797 replies and 363,948 views (and counting).

Everyone is free to compare!
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Old Tuesday 12th December 2017, 21:34   #2800
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- ABA Big Year 2016: 1,823 replies and 281,997 views. There is another ABA big year in 2017, but I don't know why it generated less interest here in birdform.
Mental Exhaustion (from following the 2016 thread at the time)

Competing with a 'European' based thread (this one) when this forum is predominantly this side of the Atlantic.

No blogs to follow the story of the 2017 ABA big year

??

(Cheers!)
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