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ABA Big Year 2016

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Old Friday 15th January 2016, 23:13   #1
Mysticete
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ABA Big Year 2016

Looks like someone is making a serious attempt to overthrow Neil Hayward's record from a few years ago and nab +750 birds for Canada and the continental US

As of January 14th, he is already at 314 (including 16 code 3 and above birds), and so far seems not have spent much more than 2 days in any one spot, nabbing practically all the vital code 3-5 birds hanging around North America right now (Still missing Barnacle and Pink-footed Goose, but presumably he can pick them up in the fall if he misses them by spring).

To put that in perspective, in the first half of his first month he has hit up St. Louis, Northern Minnesota, British Columbia, South Texas, South Florida, and southern Arizona, and appears to have only dipped Golden-crowned Warbler of all the birds he has twitched. He at least seems to be surpassing the rarity rate that Neil Hayward and John Vanderpoel from this part of the year, although the focus on rare birds is making the list a bit random (he didn't clock Canada Goose until his 12th day!)

He has a blog as follows but uh...NSFW, since their are adds for books he has written along the side of the blog, which seem to involve a lot of naked women.

http://olafsbigyear.blogspot.com/
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Old Saturday 16th January 2016, 05:40   #2
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This might be an interesting one to watch. Olaf definitely looks to be an interesting character, especially considering he seems to be known as "the nude birder", and in 2013 he saw 594 species while birding naked.
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Old Saturday 16th January 2016, 16:20   #3
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Olaf definitely has a good chance of beating Neil Hayward; the last two serious big year attempts were not planned in advance and so attempts at some early year rarities were not made. Presumably with a dedicated effort (and it seems no shortage of money or time), the existing record of 750 should be beatable.

And yeah...from uh following his attempt, it uh should definitely be an "interesting" year to watch.
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Old Saturday 16th January 2016, 16:49   #4
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Thanks for posting this Mysticete. It certainly will be fascinating to watch! I like his tactic of prioritising the rarities. Given that Neil Hayward didn't start really going for the big year record until April if I remember correctly, I would certainly back Olaf to beat it. I can't wait to see how he does! It is one of my life aims to do an ABA big year, I just need to move there first!
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Old Saturday 16th January 2016, 17:00   #5
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Sounds great! Maybe Olaf (exposed!) will help the birding/listing world to escape from its overwhelmingly dull/boring/anorak image...
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Old Saturday 16th January 2016, 17:10   #6
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So ABA List contains 490 Category 1 and 181 Category 2 birds totalling 671?

So he needs 80 Category 3 and above and a perfect record. He currently has 16:-
1. Western Spindalis, Florida (3)
93. Clay-collored thrush TX (3)
98. Northern Jacana TX (4)
126. Crimson collared grosbeak (4)
159. White-collared seedeater TX(3)
180. Streak-backed oriole AZ (4)
190. Rufous-backed robin AZ (3)
199. Sinoloa Wren AZ (5)
223. Rufous-capped warbler AZ (3)
236. Ivory Gull MN (3)
250. Redwing BC (4)
293. Skylark BC (3)
281. Siberian Accentor BC (4)
302. Aplomado Falcon TX (3)
305. Flame-colored tanager TX (3)
313. Black-tailed gull IL (4)

Excellent stuff.

All the best
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Old Saturday 16th January 2016, 21:12   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Klim View Post
Sounds great! Maybe Olaf (exposed!) will help the birding/listing world to escape from its overwhelmingly dull/boring/anorak image...
If he heads up North for Spectacled Eider he'll miss that anorak....

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Old Saturday 16th January 2016, 21:30   #8
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If he heads up North for Spectacled Eider he'll miss that anorak....

John
well apparently he has birded Attu in the buff. I got to imagine that was a surprise for the other people on the tour with him.
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Old Saturday 16th January 2016, 21:41   #9
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Interesting. Here we get naked hikers sometimes, but naked birders not yet. The US setting the trends, as always. He wrote a book about his nude big year titled "Boobies, Peckers & Tits".

But this year's big year seems to be with clothes on.
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Old Sunday 17th January 2016, 08:52   #10
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There's a old thread...

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....=Naked+birding
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Old Sunday 17th January 2016, 10:23   #11
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As someone who knows nothing about ABA listing is the coding system a simple way of describing the relative rarity of a particular bird ?
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Old Sunday 17th January 2016, 10:28   #12
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As someone who knows nothing about ABA listing is the coding system a simple way of describing the relative rarity of a particular bird ?
Yes. See: Checklist Codes.
  1. Common
  2. Uncommon
  3. Rare
  4. Casual
  5. Accidental
  6. Cannot be found
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Old Sunday 17th January 2016, 11:04   #13
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Thanks, Richard
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Old Sunday 17th January 2016, 11:50   #14
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Category 1 and 2 in full as per link:-

'Code-1 and Code-2:Regularly occurring North American avifauna.
Includes regular breeding species and visitors. There is no firm designation between Code-1 and Code-2 species, except that logically Code-1 species are more widespread and are usually more numerous. Code-2 species have a restricted North American range, are more widespread, but occur in lower densities, or are quite secretive making their detection often difficult. We readily acknowledge that some Code-2 species are harder to find than some species that have higher codes.'

Note the cautionary final sentence.

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Old Sunday 17th January 2016, 13:31   #15
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Category 1 and 2 in full as per link:-

'Code-1 and Code-2:Regularly occurring North American avifauna.
Includes regular breeding species and visitors. There is no firm designation between Code-1 and Code-2 species, except that logically Code-1 species are more widespread and are usually more numerous. Code-2 species have a restricted North American range, are more widespread, but occur in lower densities, or are quite secretive making their detection often difficult. We readily acknowledge that some Code-2 species are harder to find than some species that have higher codes.'

Note the cautionary final sentence.

All the best
I seem to rememeber that the only code 1 or 2 bird missed by Neil Hayward was Ringed Plover?
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Old Sunday 17th January 2016, 13:41   #16
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I seem to rememeber that the only code 1 or 2 bird missed by Neil Hayward was Ringed Plover?
I think so? The code system is set up so that it covers ALL of the continental US and Canada. Which means something that breeds in numbers in remote arctic Canada and migrates to the old world can have a much lower code than extralimital vagrants, even though its arguably a much harder bird to get.

Also the codes don't get updated regularly, so sometimes they can be a bit behind on vagrancy patterns. Most of the time though they do a fair job of describing rarity.
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Old Sunday 17th January 2016, 13:45   #17
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I recall Great Grey Owl (or Great Gray Owl) was the only breeding species that Sandy Komito missed.

All the best
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Old Sunday 17th January 2016, 13:49   #18
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Also he is currently up to #337, with some regularly occurring southern California birds. Wonder if he plans on heading to Alaska for the Common Porchard or back east for the Kelp Gull. Also wonder if he is planning on either Northern Minnesota or Newfoundland soon...could potentially knock off some problematic birds earlier (Winter owls, NE seabirds/European waterfowl) if visited soon.
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Old Sunday 17th January 2016, 14:00   #19
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well apparently he has birded Attu in the buff. I got to imagine that was a surprise for the other people on the tour with him.
Where does he keep his notebook and pen?

John
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Old Sunday 17th January 2016, 16:48   #20
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Where does he keep his notebook and pen?

John
Perhaps he has an accommodating Anas crecca?

...carolinensis, of course.
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Old Sunday 17th January 2016, 17:55   #21
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Perhaps he has an accommodating Anas crecca?

...carolinensis, of course.
It's Anas crecca nimia on the Aleutians

I fear your allusion re the notebook is lost on me, though!
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Old Sunday 17th January 2016, 19:49   #22
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Where does he keep his notebook and pen?

John
Same place as Gromit kept his purse in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit?
MJB
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Old Monday 18th January 2016, 07:38   #23
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Up to 346 nw according to eburd, seemingly after a Pelagic as his most recent addition is Pink-footed Shearwater. Of course this gap will close rapidly once Olaf runs out of regular birds, but it took Neil Hayward until March to get to 346!
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Old Monday 18th January 2016, 21:50   #24
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I read the blog this evening from the start. No talk of carbon-offsetting that I noticed. No worthy messages about spreading awareness or that he is spending a fortune to raise a fortune for charity or accidentally noticing that he is setting about a record-breaking year. Pure unadulterated hairy-arsed (literally I presume) twitching.

Go Olaf go. I hope he gets it!

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Old Tuesday 19th January 2016, 10:02   #25
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I think that this link may work to monitor progress:-

http://ebird.org/ebird/top100?locInf...ode=aba&yr=cur

All the best
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