Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My Big Year's a Comin' and its coming down the tracks...

As I count down the days until 2016, my final tune-ups for my grand birding marathon will bring me to South Texas (January); North Carolina (Feb); Colorado (March); Newfoundland (April); Michigan (May); Nome (June), Glacier NP/ British Columbia (July); Ontario (August)  and then I will be going to Germany and going to bed because sleep will be a premium come January of 2016!

First...who am I?

I'm Olaf Danielson, born in Wisconsin, learned to bird in 3rd grade, I now live in Northeastern South Dakota.

Why me?

Well in 2012-13 I did two big years, I took my clothes off for 365 days and saw 594 species in a slightly modified area to the ABA and wrote a book about it, Boobies, Peckers, and Tits:  One man's naked perspective.  I then went out and put my clothes on and chased for two months and ended up with an ABA total of 610 for a year.  I'm still in pretty good birding shape and had a good 510 year last year and found some really cool stuff.  I now got 800,000 frequent flier miles saved up, a rather aggressive budget and you know, I figured out a lot in those days, and well, I'm not getting any younger.  Do I really want to climb Pinnacle Peak Trail in Big Bend National Park when I'm 60?  So if I'm going to do it, my 50th year on this earth might as well be the year.  I should have died when I was 15, so I'm already on borrowed time, we all are.

In 2016 I WILL break 700 species for the year which is no small feat, and of that I have little doubt.  In my 610 year, I didn't do south Florida and I was out of the ABA for 5 weeks, and went fishing for a week in Canada twice to the same spot.  It was tough to truly chase rarities nude.  I didn't want to get I didn't..although I did nude bird on Attu. 

The question is can I realistic break 749?  No one thought Pete Rose would break Ty Cobb's record either but well with a little luck, persistence, and who knows? A lot depends on the vagrants...what and where?   Weather, timing, the end, my success or failure wont be for lack of trying. 

Golden dreams and memories

  Today brings me to the north suburbs of Chicago.  Although not for a bird even though a lifer bird had been flying tantalizingly close to ...