With a Rustic Bunting in Homer, Alaska, Neil Hayward has tied Sandy Komito’s American Birding Assocation area big year record of 745 (+3) species. That is a lot of birds in what is essentially Alaska, Canada, and the lower 48 states in one year.
But whats with the (+3)? That’s where things get kind of fun. In Sandy Komito’s record-setting big year he saw 745 species that were already on the ABA checklist and three that were not yet on the checklist. Amazingly, Neil Hayward, has had the exact same thing happen. But of his (+3) there is one that may not pass muster, a Eurasian Sparrowhawk that was photographed, but not photographed well. That might mean that it does not get approved as a first North American record.
Will he break the record? He has less than two weeks but there are a couple of birds he could see. An Ivory Gull would make him very happy right now and he has to decide whether or not to go for and count an Aplomado Falcon, which Komito did count during his big year, despite the questionable origins of most of those birds because of the reintroduction program.
Follow along on Hayward’s marvelously entertaining blog and root him on to the record!
He’s actually seen the Aplomado Falcon. The question is whether to count it or not. Hopefully he gets a couple more and it’s a moot point.
That’s crazy. Schrodinger’s Falcon counts and doesn’t count at the same time. And then I guess since you can never be certain you can never count it….
Ah, thanks. Any idea if Komito’s APFA was seen in a location where it might have been more likely to be a naturally occurring vagrant?
You made me laugh.
That makes up for all the albatrosses you see. Well, almost.
He may need more than 745+3 because of some splits that have occurred since Komito’s record? I don’t know if there were any, but would guess so…
If you really want to beat Komito, you’ve got to do it with the ABA list of his time.
Jochen, you compete on the list that you have and your big year list does not get the benefit of future splits (or the problem of future lumps). With splitters ascendant this seems to make it more likely that the record will continue to be broken.
I guess one could argue that the only real way to see who had the “best” big year would be if everyone competed during the same year. Different birds show up during different years and while Komito and the rest of the folks who had amazing big years back in ’99 (I think it was 1999) had the benefit of lots of twitchable rarities, they did not have the internet or the splits that have occurred since then.
Well, Corey, if the list changes so frequently, it is not possible to compare different Big Years. If the record of Komito is broken, the lucky birder may say he saw more species than Komito, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he actually beat him and therefore had the better Big Year. It will always be “yes, but…”. Therefore, if you not only want to see the most species in a year but want to make sure no birder before you was “better”, you will have to beat Komito with his list.
And your second statement isn’t entirely valid as the changes in climate/weather and technology are unpredictable and cannot be influenced whereas the setting of rules isn’t and can.