We’re down to the last five days of 2016, the sharp end of a year that saw four birders break the ABA Big Year record set in 2013 by Massachusetts birder Neil Hayward. This is a quick roundup of where our four birders are with fewer than 200 hours left to chase birds for the year.
John Weigel has effectively cracked the 780 mark with trips to Oklahoma and Rhode Island to nab Smith’s Longspur and Greylag Goose respectively. The former was his last Code 2 species in the ABA Area and the lowest hanging fruit left to him on the continent. The latter is a wild-acting bird that has gotten a fair bit of attention in recent days. The status of Graylag Goose in the ABA Area is a muddled one. It almost certainly occurs on the continent, as its wild breeding population in Iceland has increased in much the same way as Pink-footed and Barnacle Goose, two species that are now annual in eastern Canada and New England, but its status is complicated by the presence of domestic barnyard-type Graylags across the ABA Area. Local birders seem to be treating this individual as a good candidate for a natural bird, a fair assumption given the exceptional year we’ve had for other Euro geese. In any case, its presence on the ABA Checklist means the decision is ultimately that of the birder. John is at 778 (+3).
You can follow John at Birding for Devils.
You can follow Olaf at his blog, The Bad Weather Big Year.
You can read Christian’s blog at The Birding Project.
Good luck in the last week!