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In 1998, Greg zig-zagged 130,000 miles across the USA, while trying to hold down a full-time job, aspiring to reach at least 700 species of birds in one calendar year. "The Big Year," a novel by Mark Obmascik detailed his travails alongside two competitors. The book was later turned into a movie of the same title that starred Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson!

DIY Big Year: Breaking It Down By Strategy By Trip By Priority

DIY Big Year: Breaking It Down By Strategy By Trip By Priority

Below sea level at the Salton Sea in Southern California.
Below sea level at the Salton Sea in Southern California. – photo by Greg Miller

In the first section I discussed with you several strategies for doing a working person’s Big Year using 4 weeks (or 20 days) of vacation. The four strategies are:

  1. Four one-week trips for 400+ species without Alaska & Hawaii
  2. Four one-week trips for 400+ species with Alaska & Hawaii
  3. 10 Long Weekends without Alaska & Hawaii
  4. 10 Long Weekends with Alaska & Hawaiii

Previously I gave you the overview of each strategy and a master list of all the species by trip. And each of those was broken down into priority buckets. The priorities went generally like this:

  1. These birds can only be reasonably expected on this trip. Thou shalt not miss priority 1 birds!
  2. This trip represents your best opportunity to see these birds. You will have a chance again on one more other trips. But since this is your best shot get it now.
  3. Other trips in this strategy will give you better chances of seeing these birds. Take them when you can get them. But don’t waste extra time here on this trip.
  4. These are bonus birds. None of these are targets. These birds are possible but far less likely on your trip. But, if you were to look for them, this would be your best opportunity on this plan/strategy.

This section will be a little more aggressive for me to complete by the end of the year. Here’s what I hope to accomplish. I want to go trip-by-trip within each Big Year strategy and list all the priority 1’s and 2’s with my own personal notes to help you find these species.

I hope to have an eBook with all of these posts put together into one place. I am hoping that the eBook format will be an easy way to print off any lists you want and any other pertinent information. And I am hoping that I will be able to offer this for free from the Wildside Nature Tours website.

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