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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

ABA Big Year 2016 (1 Viewer)

Hmmmm. Ok. I've never done a truly large year list but from British & Irish Listing and also a bit of a British Yearlist in 1994, a lot of the fun and spirit of twitching is sharing updates and information with 'competitors'. The true spirit is far more collaborative than appearing out of the shadows nearly half way through?? Albeit we all know people who operate in that way.

Come on Noah. It seems there will be a genuine three way scrap - just like the iconic book - and surely there will be a new record.

I'll get the other two lists into the spreadsheet later:-

http://www.thebirdingproject.com/birdlist/ - 600 as at 9th May

http://www.birdingfordevils.com/p/this-is-listing-of-species-so-far.html - 632 as at 11th May

http://olafsbigyear.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/the-swinging-bunt.html - 654 as at 13th May

The comments on Alaskan strategy attached to the blog are fascinating. This year will be written up in the same way as the book. Let's hope we get as good an author:-


I'm now more excited about this than a Dalmatian Pelican. I hope it lives up to my expectation.

All the best
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I will be interested to see how things shape up in the Spring. Skimping on Alaska in the spring is an incredibly bold move; Alaska migration is so weather dependent that you really do want to maximize the time you spend up there, especially since most of those vagrants don't really show up in the lower 48.

This is going to be a really close race: While Olaf is leading in numbers it seems like rarities are what matters: John Weigel seems to have done fairly okay on that, getting some stuff Olaf dipped and Olaf getting some stuff he dipped. Without crunching the numbers, it seems like Weigel might be behind in some "regular birds", which means he could close the gap pretty quickly, but also means he might be spending a lot of time running around this summer searching for birds on their breeding territory (which could free Olaf up for hunting down more vagrants in long run).

it will be interesting to see how the blogs shape up. Starting a blog midyear seems weird, on the other hand Neil Hayward got a late start on his big year.

At any rate, the big year record looks like its almost certainly going to be beaten this year.

Indeed. Still looking through. It seems that Noah is beaten unless John Weigel misses some regular species. He seems to have seen far more to date on the rarities.

All the best

The Birding Project's 600 does not add up. Species missing, Swan Goose included & Black-billed Magpie added twice. I'll try and reconcile when available in the future. He has a few rarities on Olaf but none on John.

So the main comparisons are Olaf and John:-

Olaf - 654 species
Code 1 - 464
Code 2 - 138
Code 3 - 31
Code 4 - 18
Code 5 - 2
Code 6 - 1

John - 532 species
Code 1 - 441
Code 2 - 129
Code 3 - 37
Code 4 - 20
Code 5 - 3
Code 6 - 1
Pending - 1

In addition to differences on Codes 1 & 2, John has on Olaf - nine Code 3's, two Code 4's, one Code 5 & one pending:-
Hawaiian Petrel
White-tailed Tropicbird
Red-billed Tropicbird
Curlew Sandpiper
Slaty-backed Gull
Ruddy Ground-Dove
Buff-collared Nightjar
Five-striped Sparrow
Yellow-legged Gull
Kelp Gull
Tufted Flycatcher
Cuban Vireo

In addition to differences on Codes 1 & 2, Olaf has on John simply three Code 3's:-
Great Skua
Rose-throated Becard
Red-throated Pipit

All the best
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Thanks Paul for that break down. You mean 632 for John right?

So it looks like, IMHO, even though Olaf has the numbers, John is actually in the lead. of the three coded birds Olaf has over John, 2 of them should be things John can easily pick up, and even the Rose-throated Becard is a regular enough bird that another could show up. Maybe an additional 4 or so birds are things he SHOULD be able to get but could still dip on. Hawaiian Petrel, Cuban Vireo, Kelp Gull, Curlew Sandpiper are very likely to be birds that Olaf is going to be unlikely to get, and to compensate he will need to get some equally rare coded birds.

It's hard to read Olaf's reply outlining his Alaska strategy in his blog. Skipping Attu means at the very least John is going to get Short-tailed Albatross and Mottled Petrel by default over Olaf. Kind of wondering why he went with his option. dislike of dealing with boats? A spring blitz through Arizona might narrow the "code bird" gap but odds are remote he will be able to grab more than 1 or 2 rarities that John either doesn't already have or that won't stick around or be seen later this year.

I presume that John will also be spending extensive time in the fall in Alaska, so it's not like the rarities Olaf sees then will counteract the rarities he might be missing out on this spring.

Yes. 632. This may well be close but the Aussie record holder seems likely to set a new higher ABA record even if Olaf does the same. Olaf needs to improve his twitching.

All the best

Yes. 632. This may well be close but the Aussie record holder seems likely to set a new higher ABA record even if Olaf does the same. Olaf needs to improve his twitching.

All the best

I am kind of wondering exactly why they are doing so differently? Olaf is certainly twitching things, but perhaps not as fast? Does John simply have a bigger purse enabling him to get to places faster? Or has he just been super lucky to be closer to rarities than Olaf when they show up? Better networking? Olaf seems to basically do everything himself, so also have to wonder how much assistance John is getting from professional or quasi-professional guides.
To be fair to Olaf, after going through John list, there are a vast assortment of birds, especially eastern spring migrants, that John has so far missed. Olaf has done much better there and has also tried to wrap up birds while he is "in the neighborhood" John is going to need to do a lot of traveling this summer to nail those down, and some will be progressively tougher to get later in the year or on their breeding territories. Olaf looks like he will have much more time to twitch as needed, so this could give him an edge in the lower 48 this summer and fall. He might also get an edge on ticking off the east coast Pterodromas doing Hatteras in Spring.
Reading the latest blog a few initial thoughts -

Rather a bit of justification going on? ;) Rattled? Chilled?
Rather disappointed if he is going to start messing around with what he reports or doesn't report - there really is no need to lower himself that way.
Not really enjoying the slagging off the opponents thing. Understand the need for him (and supporters in comments) to get a handle on the situation - or is it really just justifiable banter/posturing and actualy adds to the competitiveness (and let's face it - he is pretty competitive ;) )

Strategy - if db John really is that far up on him, then a non-attu strategy could indeed be the thing to make the difference if things play out in a certain (but rather unlikely, unfortunately) way - ie some more lower 48 rares and a quiet Alaskan spring.

... and pot/kettle/black springs to mind wrt eg Black Noddy - seem to recall him not calling his one at the time to the other birders, because his views weren't good enough at the time, but then ticking it anyway? Something like that ...
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Yeah...ABA big years are competitive, but typically they are some what friendly affairs. Olaf's blog post is sour grapes and petty. And there is absolutely zero reason to hold back sightings at this point, unless you yourself are planning to string if you need to bump things up. Other than Alaska (which is basically is not conducive to chasing anyway), it's not like these folks are going to find there own rarities. They are mostly running after stuff other people have found.

John secretive birding isn't really helping him though. There is really no reason to not share your sightings, if only on ebird or rarity list serves. Give back for god sakes if you are going to take advantage of everyone else's reporting. In the age of the internet there is really no reason not to keep an updated blog if you are performing this undertaking. Even the Global big year folks can pull it off, and some of them are hitting up places like Papua New Guinea! Seems like both people are not really engaging in terribly sportsman like behavior.

Man I totally rooted for Neil Hayward and John Vanderpoel, but at this point I really don't want either to win. Maybe Noah Stryker or someone else can swoop in next year and beat there records?
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