Tuesday, 5 January 2016

6,042 reasons to get out of bed in the morning

An American by the name of Noah Strycker has just spent the whole of 2015 birding around the world. He started off on January 1st in Antarctica (with a Cape Petrel) and finished on December 31st in India (with a Silver-breasted Broadbill). He didn’t go home at all during the year, but kept on birding. The linear route he took seemed chosen to eliminate time spent travelling, visiting (in order) Antarctica, Falklands, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, USA, Iceland, Norway, Turkey, Spain, Ghana, Cameroon, South Africa, Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, UAE, India, Myanmar, China, Taiwan, Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Borneo, Sulawesi, Bail, Australia, Papau New Guinea, New Britain, Australia (again), New Zealand, Australia (third visit), Singapore and finally India (once more). He did see Citril Finch in France and Egyptian Goose in Germany, both lone products of what I can only assume were non-birdy transits through the respective countries. If you want to see exactly what he saw, where and when, then visit his site by clicking here.

His final total? A staggering 6,042 species, seeing off the previous record of 4,341 that had been set by Brits Alan Davies and Ruth Miller. But time does not stand still, and a challenger has already come forward. Dutch birder Arjan Dwarshuis is, as I type this and you read it, following a similar itinerary to the one that Noah had undertaken. He will need to go some to overhaul it.

Part of me would love to do something like this. A very small part. It must be a logistical nightmare. The planning must be immense. All those contacts to cultivate. Ali the gen to gather and check. And check again. The flights to book. And then the flights to catch. Forget about the birding, everything else involved would finish me off. Just think of all the field guides you need to take with you! What happens if you drop your bins in the jungle? Lose your scope halfway up a mountain? Fall ill for a fortnight and miss a big chunk of your precious time in Peru? Or Tanzania? Phew, I’m breaking out in a sweat just thinking about it…

As pointless as swimming the channel or walking the length of the Nile, but still the stuff of adventure and derring-do - life would be less interesting if it were not for the people who rise from their sofa and go off to test themselves. Me? I’ll just potter around Surrey for a bit...

4 comments:

  1. Blimey, it's hard enough to get a single rare bird accepted in Britain let alone getting people to accept that you've seen 6,042 worldwide.

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    1. Derek, there must be a great deal of trust involved because there is no way that all 6,042 could be confirmed.

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  2. The Kokako on Tiritiri are about as genuine as that emu on Rod Hull's arm...not that I'm in the slightest bit cynical or jealous... I did have my foot pecked by a Takahe on Tiritiri, so I'm allowed to have controversial views :)

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    1. Rod Hull's Emu wasn't real??........

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