To join Greg on one of these tours visit BigYearTours.com or call 888-875-9453

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!

Category Archives: DIY Big Year

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.

DIY Big Year: 10 Long Weekends Species Master List (with Alaska & Hawaii)

DIY Big Year: 10 Long Weekends Species Master List (with Alaska & Hawaii)

Laysan Albatross off Monterey, CA
Laysan Albatross off Monterey, CA – photo by Greg Miler

Here is a big list of all 553 “possible” species listed in eBird format. By possible I mean any species that has been submitted to eBird, an online database of checklists, between 2006 and 2016 as of mid September 2016. I have further filtered the data so that what is listed are all at least moderately possible. But not all species are likely. Some are far less common than others. All target species have an eBird Frequency of Checklists that is greater than or equal to 7% on at least one of the trips. Here is list of priorities I am going to use for the master list:

1 – Species is a year target. This is not only the best location to find this species. It is the only location where one can expect to see this bird on this tour schedule.

2 – Species is a year target. This is the best location to find this species. But it can also be found on other trips.

3 – Species is a year target. But some other location has a better probability of adding this bird to your year list.

4 – Bonus birds. This uncommon species is not a year target. It has an eBird Frequency of Checklists greater than or equal to 2% but is less than the 7% target threshold. This is the best location on this year’s trip schedule to see this species.

Long weekends should fit as closely to the following time ranges as possible.

  • Trip 1 – April 22-30 Galveston County, TX
  • Trip 2 – May 1-7 Hidalgo County, TX
  • Trip 3 – June 1-7 Cochise County, AZ
  • Trip 4 – June 8-14 Flathead County, MT
  • Trip 5 – July 15-21 Albany County, WY
  • Trip 6 – August 8-14 Barnstable County, MA
  • Trip 7 – September 1-7 Kauai County, HI
  • Trip 8 – September 8-14 Monterey County, CA
  • Trip 9 – December 1-7 Clallam County, WA
  • Trip 10 – December 15-21 Cameron County, LA

 

Species T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 T7 T8 T9 T10
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 3 2
Fulvous Whistling-Duck 1
Greater White-fronted Goose 1
Snow Goose 1
Ross’s Goose 1
Brant 1
Cackling Goose 1
Canada Goose 2 3 3 3 3
Hawaiian Goose 1
Mute Swan 4
Trumpeter Swan 1
Wood Duck 1
Gadwall 3 3 2
Eurasian Wigeon 1
American Wigeon 2 3
American Black Duck 1
Mallard 3 3 3 3 3 2 3
Mottled Duck 3 3 2
Hawaiian Duck 1
Blue-winged Teal 3 3 3 2
Cinnamon Teal 1
Northern Shoveler 3 3 3 2
Northern Pintail 3 2
Green-winged Teal 3 2
Canvasback 1
Redhead 2 3 3
Ring-necked Duck 3 2
Greater Scaup 1
Lesser Scaup 3 3 2
Common Eider 1
Harlequin Duck 1
Surf Scoter 1
White-winged Scoter 1
Black Scoter 1
Long-tailed Duck 1
Bufflehead 2 3
Common Goldeneye 3 2
Barrow’s Goldeneye 4
Hooded Merganser 2 3
Common Merganser 3 2
Red-breasted Merganser 2 3
Ruddy Duck 3 3 3 2
Plain Chachalaca 1
Scaled Quail 1
California Quail 3 2
Gambel’s Quail 1
Northern Bobwhite 4
Montezuma Quail 4
Black Francolin 4
Red Junglefowl 1
Ring-necked Pheasant 1
Ruffed Grouse 4
Wild Turkey 1
Red-throated Loon 1
Pacific Loon 1
Common Loon 3 2
Least Grebe 1
Pied-billed Grebe 3 3 3 2
Horned Grebe 1
Red-necked Grebe 1
Eared Grebe 3 2
Western Grebe 1
Clark’s Grebe 4
Black-footed Albatross 1
Northern Fulmar 4
Kermadec Petrel 4
Hawaiian Petrel 1
Bulwer’s Petrel 1
Cory’s Shearwater 1
Pink-footed Shearwater 1
Great Shearwater 1
Wedge-tailed Shearwater 1
Buller’s Shearwater 4
Sooty Shearwater 3 2
Christmas Shearwater 1
Manx Shearwater 1
Newell’s Shearwater 1
Black-vented Shearwater 1
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel 1
Ashy Storm-Petrel 4
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel 4
White-tailed Tropicbird 1
Red-tailed Tropicbird 1
Magnificent Frigatebird 4
Great Frigatebird 1
Masked Booby 1
Brown Booby 1
Red-footed Booby 1
Northern Gannet 1
Brandt’s Cormorant 2 3
Pelagic Cormorant 3 2
Neotropic Cormorant 3 3 2
Double-crested Cormorant 3 3 3 3 3 2
Anhinga 1
American White Pelican 3 2
Brown Pelican 3 3 2
American Bittern 4
Least Bittern 4
Great Blue Heron 3 3 3 3 3 3 2
Great Egret 3 3 3 3 2
Snowy Egret 3 3 3 3 2
Little Blue Heron 3 3 2
Tricolored Heron 3 3 2
Reddish Egret 1
Cattle Egret 3 3 2 3
Green Heron 3 2 3
Black-crowned Night-Heron 3 3 2
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 3 2
White Ibis 3 3 2
Glossy Ibis 4
White-faced Ibis 3 3 2
Roseate Spoonbill 3 3 2
Black Vulture 2 3
Turkey Vulture 3 3 3 3 3 3 2
California Condor 4
Osprey 3 2 3
White-tailed Kite 1
Golden Eagle 4
Mississippi Kite 4
Northern Harrier 3 3 3 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Cooper’s Hawk 3 2
Bald Eagle 3 3 2 3
Harris’s Hawk 1
White-tailed Hawk 4
Gray Hawk 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 3 2
Broad-winged Hawk 1
Swainson’s Hawk 2 3
Zone-tailed Hawk 4
Red-tailed Hawk 3 3 3 3 3 3 2
Ferruginous Hawk 4
King Rail 1
Clapper Rail 3 2
Virginia Rail 1
Sora 3 2
Purple Gallinule 1
Common Gallinule 3 3 3 2
Hawaiian Coot 1
American Coot 3 3 3 3 3 2
Sandhill Crane 1
Black-necked Stilt 3 3 3 3 2
American Avocet 3 3 3 2
American Oystercatcher 3 2
Black Oystercatcher 2 3
Black-bellied Plover 3 2 3 3 3
Pacific Golden-Plover 1
Snowy Plover 4
Wilson’s Plover 1
Semipalmated Plover 3 2 3 3
Piping Plover 1
Killdeer 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2
Whimbrel 3 2 3
Long-billed Curlew 2 3
Hudsonian Godwit 4
Marbled Godwit 3 2 3
Ruddy Turnstone 3 2 3 3
Black Turnstone 2 3
Red Knot 1
Surfbird 4
Stilt Sandpiper 2 3
Sanderling 3 2 3 3 3
Dunlin 3 3 2
Baird’s Sandpiper 4
Least Sandpiper 3 3 2 3 3
White-rumped Sandpiper 4
Buff-breasted Sandpiper 4
Pectoral Sandpiper 4
Semipalmated Sandpiper 3 2
Western Sandpiper 3 2
Short-billed Dowitcher 3 2 3
Long-billed Dowitcher 3 2
Wilson’s Snipe 3 2
American Woodcock 1
Wilson’s Phalarope 2 3 3
Red-necked Phalarope 1
Red Phalarope 4
Spotted Sandpiper 3 3 2 3 3 3 3
Solitary Sandpiper 4
Wandering Tattler 1
Greater Yellowlegs 3 3 3 2
Willet 2 3 3 3 3
Lesser Yellowlegs 3 3 3 2
South Polar Skua 4
Pomarine Jaeger 1
Parasitic Jaeger 1
Long-tailed Jaeger 4
Common Murre 2 3
Pigeon Guillemot 1
Marbled Murrelet 1
Cassin’s Auklet 4
Rhinoceros Auklet 1
Tufted Puffin 4
Black-legged Kittiwake 4
Sabine’s Gull 4
Bonaparte’s Gull 1
Laughing Gull 3 3 2 3
Franklin’s Gull 1
Heermann’s Gull 1
Mew Gull 1
Ring-billed Gull 3 3 3 3 2
Western Gull 2 3
California Gull 3 2 3
Herring Gull 3 2 3
Thayer’s Gull 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull 4
Glaucous-winged Gull 1
Great Black-backed Gull 1
Brown Noddy 1
Black Noddy 1
Blue-gray Noddy 1
White Tern 1
Sooty Tern 1
Gray-backed Tern 1
Least Tern 3 3 2
Gull-billed Tern 1
Caspian Tern 3 2
Black Tern 3 2
Roseate Tern 1
Common Tern 3 2
Forster’s Tern 3 3 3 2
Royal Tern 3 2
Sandwich Tern 1
Elegant Tern 1
Black Skimmer 2 3
Rock Pigeon 3 3 3 3 3 2
Band-tailed Pigeon 1
Eurasian Collared-Dove 3 3 3 3 3 2 3
Spotted Dove 1
Zebra Dove 1
Inca Dove 3 2 3
Common Ground-Dove 1
White-tipped Dove 1
White-winged Dove 3 2 3 3
Mourning Dove 3 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Groove-billed Ani 1
Greater Roadrunner 1
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 3 2
Black-billed Cuckoo 4
Barn Owl 1
Eastern Screech-Owl 2 3
Whiskered Screech-Owl 4
Great Horned Owl 1
Northern Pygmy-Owl 4
Elf Owl 4
Spotted Owl 4
Short-eared Owl 4
Lesser Nighthawk 4
Common Nighthawk 2 3 3
Common Pauraque 1
Common Poorwill 4
Chuck-will’s-widow 4
Mexican Whip-poor-will 4
Black Swift 4
Chimney Swift 3 2
Vaux’s Swift 1
White-throated Swift 1
Magnificent Hummingbird 1
Blue-throated Hummingbird 1
Lucifer Hummingbird 4
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 3 2 3
Black-chinned Hummingbird 3 2 3
Anna’s Hummingbird 3 2 3
Costa’s Hummingbird 4
Broad-tailed Hummingbird 3 2
Rufous Hummingbird 1
Calliope Hummingbird 1
Broad-billed Hummingbird 1
Buff-bellied Hummingbird 1
White-eared Hummingbird 4
Elegant Trogon 1
Ringed Kingfisher 4
Belted Kingfisher 3 3 3 2
Green Kingfisher 1
Acorn Woodpecker 2 3
Gila Woodpecker 1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Williamson’s Sapsucker 4
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
Red-naped Sapsucker 2 3
Red-breasted Sapsucker 1
Ladder-backed Woodpecker 2 3
Nuttall’s Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 3 3 3 3 2
Hairy Woodpecker 3 3 3 3 2
Arizona Woodpecker 1
American Three-toed Woodpecker 4
Northern Flicker 3 2 3 3 3 3
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Crested Caracara 3 2
American Kestrel 3 2
Merlin 3 2
Peregrine Falcon 3 2
Prairie Falcon 1
Red-crowned Parrot 1
Green Parakeet 1
Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet 1
Tufted Flycatcher 4
Olive-sided Flycatcher 1
Greater Pewee 1
Western Wood-Pewee 2 3 3
Eastern Wood-Pewee 2 3
Acadian Flycatcher 4
Willow Flycatcher 1
Least Flycatcher 1
Hammond’s Flycatcher 1
Dusky Flycatcher 1
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 1
Cordilleran Flycatcher 1
Buff-breasted Flycatcher 4
Black Phoebe 1
Eastern Phoebe 3 2
Say’s Phoebe 1
Vermilion Flycatcher 3 2
Dusky-capped Flycatcher 1
Ash-throated Flycatcher 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 3 2 3
Brown-crested Flycatcher 2 3
Great Kiskadee 1
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher 1
Tropical Kingbird 1
Couch’s Kingbird 1
Cassin’s Kingbird 1
Western Kingbird 3 2
Eastern Kingbird 2 3 3 3
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 3 2
Loggerhead Shrike 3 2
Northern Shrike 4
White-eyed Vireo 3 2 3
Bell’s Vireo 1
Hutton’s Vireo 2 3
Yellow-throated Vireo 1
Cassin’s Vireo 1
Blue-headed Vireo 3 2
Plumbeous Vireo 1
Philadelphia Vireo 1
Warbling Vireo 3 3 2 3
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Kauai Elepaio 4
Gray Jay 4
Green Jay 1
Steller’s Jay 3 3 3 2
Blue Jay 3 2 3
California Scrub-Jay 1
Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay 4
Mexican Jay 1
Black-billed Magpie 1
Clark’s Nutcracker 1
American Crow 3 3 2 3 3
Northwestern Crow 4
Fish Crow 1
Chihuahuan Raven 4
Common Raven 3 3 3 2
Horned Lark 1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 3 2
Purple Martin 3 2
Tree Swallow 3 2 3 3 3
Violet-green Swallow 2 3
Bank Swallow 3 2 3 3
Barn Swallow 2 3 3 3 3 3 3
Cliff Swallow 3 3 2
Cave Swallow 1
Carolina Chickadee 1
Black-capped Chickadee 3 2 3
Mountain Chickadee 3 2
Mexican Chickadee 4
Chestnut-backed Chickadee 2 3
Bridled Titmouse 1
Oak Titmouse 1
Tufted Titmouse 1
Black-crested Titmouse 1
Verdin 1
Bushtit 3 2 3
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2 3 3 3
White-breasted Nuthatch 2 3
Pygmy Nuthatch 1
Brown Creeper 1
Rock Wren 1
Canyon Wren 1
House Wren 3 3 3 2
Pacific Wren 1
Winter Wren 4
Sedge Wren 1
Marsh Wren 3 3 2
Carolina Wren 3 2 3 3
Bewick’s Wren 2 3 3
Cactus Wren 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
American Dipper 4
Golden-crowned Kinglet 3 2 3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 3 3 3 2
Japanese Bush-Warbler 4
Millerbird 4
Wrentit 1
Japanese White-eye 1
Chinese Hwamei 1
White-rumped Shama 1
Eastern Bluebird 1
Western Bluebird 4
Mountain Bluebird 3 2
Townsend’s Solitaire 3 2
Veery 1
Gray-cheeked Thrush 1
Swainson’s Thrush 3 3 2
Hermit Thrush 3 2
Wood Thrush 1
Clay-colored Thrush 1
American Robin 3 2 3 3 3 3
Varied Thrush 3 2
Gray Catbird 2 3 3 3 3
Curve-billed Thrasher 2 3
Brown Thrasher 3 2
Long-billed Thrasher 1
California Thrasher 4
Crissal Thrasher 4
Sage Thrasher 1
Northern Mockingbird 3 2 3 3 3 3
European Starling 3 3 3 3 3 3 2
Common Myna 1
American Pipit 3 2
Cedar Waxwing 3 2 3 3
Phainopepla 4
Olive Warbler 4
Chestnut-collared Longspur 1
McCown’s Longspur 1
Ovenbird 2 3
Worm-eating Warbler 4
Louisiana Waterthrush 4
Northern Waterthrush 3 2
Golden-winged Warbler 1
Blue-winged Warbler 1
Black-and-white Warbler 2 3
Prothonotary Warbler 1
Tennessee Warbler 2 3
Orange-crowned Warbler 3 3 2
Lucy’s Warbler 1
Nashville Warbler 1
Virginia’s Warbler 4
MacGillivray’s Warbler 1
Mourning Warbler 4
Kentucky Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 3 3 3 3 3 2
Hooded Warbler 1
American Redstart 3 3 2
Cerulean Warbler 1
Northern Parula 1
Magnolia Warbler 2 3
Bay-breasted Warbler 1
Blackburnian Warbler 2 3
Yellow Warbler 3 3 3 2 3 3 3
Chestnut-sided Warbler 2 3
Blackpoll Warbler 1
Palm Warbler 1
Pine Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 3 3 3 2
Yellow-throated Warbler 4
Prairie Warbler 4
Grace’s Warbler 1
Black-throated Gray Warbler 1
Townsend’s Warbler 2 3
Black-throated Green Warbler 2 3
Canada Warbler 4
Wilson’s Warbler 3 2 3
Red-faced Warbler 1
Painted Redstart 1
Yellow-breasted Chat 3 2 3
Red-crested Cardinal 1
Botteri’s Sparrow 4
Le Conte’s Sparrow 1
Nelson’s Sparrow 1
Saltmarsh Sparrow 1
Seaside Sparrow 1
Olive Sparrow 1
Chipping Sparrow 2 3 3 3
Clay-colored Sparrow 4
Field Sparrow 1
Brewer’s Sparrow 1
Black-throated Sparrow 1
Lark Sparrow 1
Lark Bunting 1
Fox Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco 3 3 3 2
Yellow-eyed Junco 1
White-crowned Sparrow 3 3 3 2
Golden-crowned Sparrow 1
Harris’s Sparrow 4
White-throated Sparrow 1
Vesper Sparrow 2 3
Savannah Sparrow 3 3 3 2
Song Sparrow 3 3 3 3 2 3
Lincoln’s Sparrow 3 3 3 2
Swamp Sparrow 1
Canyon Towhee 1
Abert’s Towhee 4
California Towhee 1
Rufous-crowned Sparrow 1
Green-tailed Towhee 1
Spotted Towhee 3 3 2
Eastern Towhee 2 3
Hepatic Tanager 1
Summer Tanager 2 3
Scarlet Tanager 1
Western Tanager 3 2 3
Northern Cardinal 3 2 3 3 3 3
Pyrrhuloxia 1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 2 3
Black-headed Grosbeak 2 3
Blue Grosbeak 3 2
Lazuli Bunting 4
Indigo Bunting 2 3
Varied Bunting 4
Painted Bunting 2 3
Dickcissel 3 2
Bobolink 1
Red-winged Blackbird 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2
Tricolored Blackbird 4
Western Meadowlark 2 3
Eastern Meadowlark 3 2
Yellow-headed Blackbird 2 3
Rusty Blackbird 4
Brewer’s Blackbird 3 3 2 3
Common Grackle 3 2 3
Boat-tailed Grackle 3 2
Great-tailed Grackle 3 2 3 3
Bronzed Cowbird 2 3
Brown-headed Cowbird 3 3 3 3 3 2
Orchard Oriole 2 3
Hooded Oriole 2 3
Bullock’s Oriole 2 3
Altamira Oriole 1
Baltimore Oriole 2 3 3
Scott’s Oriole 1
Brown-capped Rosy-Finch 4
Pine Grosbeak 1
Nihoa Finch 4
Apapane 4
Anianiau 4
Kauai Amakihi 4
House Finch 2 3 3 3 3 3
Purple Finch 1
Cassin’s Finch 1
Red Crossbill 1
Pine Siskin 2 3 3
Lesser Goldfinch 2 3 3
American Goldfinch 3 3 2 3 3
Evening Grosbeak 1
House Sparrow 3 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Red Avadavat 1
African Silverbill 1
Scaly-breasted Munia 1
Chestnut Munia 1
Java Sparrow 4
DIY Big Year: 10 Long Weekends Species Master List

DIY Big Year: 10 Long Weekends Species Master List

Green Jay in bush
Green Jay in bush. Estero Llano Grande State Park. Digital art by Greg Miller

 

Here is a big list of all 509 “possible” species listed in eBird format. By possible I mean any species that has been submitted to eBird, an online database of checklists, between 2006 and 2016 as of mid September 2016. I have further filtered the data so that what is listed are all at least moderately possible. But not all species are likely. Some are far less common than others. All target species have an eBird Frequency of Checklists that is greater than or equal to 7% on at least one of the trips. Here is list of priorities I am going to use for the master list:

1 – Species is a year target. This is not only the best location to find this species. It is the only location where one can expect to see this bird on this tour schedule.

2 – Species is a year target. This is the best location to find this species. But it can also be found on other trips.

3 – Species is a year target. But some other location has a better probability of adding this bird to your year list.

4 – Bonus birds. This uncommon species is not a year target. It has an eBird Frequency of Checklists greater than or equal to 2% but is less than the 7% target threshold. This is the best location on this year’s trip schedule to see this species.

Long weekends should fit as closely to the following time ranges as possible.

  • Trip 1 – April 22-30 Galveston County, TX
  • Trip 2 – May 1-7 Hidalgo County, TX
  • Trip 3 – May 8-14 Davis County, UT
  • Trip 4 – May 22-31 Yakima County, WA
  • Trip 5 – June 1-7 Cochise County, AZ
  • Trip 6 – September 1-7 Atlantic County, NJ
  • Trip 7 – September 8-14 Monroe County, FL
  • Trip 8 – September 15-21 Monterey County, CA
  • Trip 9 – December 1-7 Clallam County, WA
  • Trip 10 – December 15-21 Cameron County, LA

 

Species T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 T7 T8 T9 T10
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 3 2 3
Fulvous Whistling-Duck 1 3
Greater White-fronted Goose 1
Snow Goose 1
Ross’s Goose 1
Brant 1
Cackling Goose 1
Canada Goose 3 2 3 3
Mute Swan 1
Trumpeter Swan 1
Wood Duck 2 3
Gadwall 2
Eurasian Wigeon 1
American Wigeon 2 3
American Black Duck 1
Mallard 3 3 2 3 3 3
Mottled Duck 3 3 3 2
Blue-winged Teal 3 3 3 3 3 2
Cinnamon Teal 2 3
Northern Shoveler 3 3 3 3 2
Northern Pintail 3 3 2
Green-winged Teal 3 3 2
Canvasback 4
Redhead 2
Ring-necked Duck 1
Greater Scaup 1
Lesser Scaup 3 2
Harlequin Duck 1
Surf Scoter 1
White-winged Scoter 1
Black Scoter 1
Long-tailed Duck 1
Bufflehead 2 3
Common Goldeneye 1
Barrow’s Goldeneye 4
Hooded Merganser 2 3
Common Merganser 1
Red-breasted Merganser 2 3
Ruddy Duck 3 2
Plain Chachalaca 1 3
Scaled Quail 1
California Quail 2 3 3
Gambel’s Quail 1
Northern Bobwhite 4
Montezuma Quail 4
Chukar 1
Ring-necked Pheasant 1
Ruffed Grouse 4
Sooty Grouse 4
Wild Turkey 1
Red-throated Loon 1
Pacific Loon 1
Common Loon 1
Least Grebe 1 3
Pied-billed Grebe 3 3 3 3 2
Horned Grebe 1
Red-necked Grebe 1
Eared Grebe 2 3
Western Grebe 2 3
Clark’s Grebe 1
Black-footed Albatross 4
Northern Fulmar 4
Pink-footed Shearwater 1
Buller’s Shearwater 4
Sooty Shearwater 1
Black-vented Shearwater 4
Ashy Storm-Petrel 4
Magnificent Frigatebird 1
Brown Booby 4
Brandt’s Cormorant 2 3
Pelagic Cormorant 3 2
Neotropic Cormorant 3 3 3 2
Double-crested Cormorant 3 2 3 3 3 3
Anhinga 3 2
American White Pelican 3 2
Brown Pelican 3 3 3 2
American Bittern 4
Least Bittern 4
Great Blue Heron 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2
Great Egret 3 3 3 3 3 3 2
Snowy Egret 3 3 3 2 3 3 3
Little Blue Heron 3 3 3 3 3 2
Tricolored Heron 3 3 3 3 3 2
Reddish Egret 3 2
Cattle Egret 3 3 3 2 3
Green Heron 3 2 3 3 3
Black-crowned Night-Heron 3 3 2 3
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 3 3 3 3 2
White Ibis 3 3 3 2 3
Glossy Ibis 2 3
White-faced Ibis 3 2 3
Roseate Spoonbill 3 3 3 3 2
Black Vulture 2 3 3
Turkey Vulture 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2
California Condor 4
Osprey 3 2 3 3
White-tailed Kite 3 2
Swallow-tailed Kite 1
Golden Eagle 4
Mississippi Kite 4
Northern Harrier 3 3 3 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Cooper’s Hawk 3 3 3 2
Bald Eagle 3 2 3
Harris’s Hawk 1 3
White-tailed Hawk 4
Gray Hawk 1 3
Red-shouldered Hawk 3 3 2
Broad-winged Hawk 1 3
Short-tailed Hawk 4
Swainson’s Hawk 2 3
Zone-tailed Hawk 4
Red-tailed Hawk 3 3 3 3 3 2
King Rail 1
Clapper Rail 3 2 3
Virginia Rail 1
Sora 2
Purple Gallinule 1
Common Gallinule 3 3 3 2
American Coot 3 3 3 3 2
Sandhill Crane 1
Black-necked Stilt 3 3 3 3 2
American Avocet 3 3 2 3 3
American Oystercatcher 3 2
Black Oystercatcher 2 3
Black-bellied Plover 3 2 3 3 3 3
American Golden-Plover 1
Snowy Plover 1
Wilson’s Plover 1
Semipalmated Plover 3 2 3 3 3
Piping Plover 1
Killdeer 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2
Whimbrel 3 2 3
Long-billed Curlew 2 3 3
Hudsonian Godwit 1
Marbled Godwit 3 3 2 3
Ruddy Turnstone 3 3 2 3
Black Turnstone 2 3
Red Knot 2 3
Surfbird 4
Stilt Sandpiper 3 3 2 3
Sanderling 3 3 3 3 3 2
Dunlin 3 3 3 2
Baird’s Sandpiper 2
Least Sandpiper 3 3 3 2 3 3 3
White-rumped Sandpiper 1
Buff-breasted Sandpiper 1
Pectoral Sandpiper 1
Semipalmated Sandpiper 3 2 3
Western Sandpiper 2 3 3 3
Short-billed Dowitcher 3 2 3 3
Long-billed Dowitcher 3 3 3 2
Wilson’s Snipe 3 2
American Woodcock 1
Wilson’s Phalarope 2 3 3
Red-necked Phalarope 2
Red Phalarope 4
Spotted Sandpiper 3 3 3 3 2 3 3
Solitary Sandpiper 1
Wandering Tattler 4
Greater Yellowlegs 3 2 3 3 3
Willet 3 3 2 3 3
Lesser Yellowlegs 3 3 3 2 3
South Polar Skua 4
Pomarine Jaeger 4
Parasitic Jaeger 1
Long-tailed Jaeger 4
Common Murre 2 3
Pigeon Guillemot 1
Marbled Murrelet 1
Cassin’s Auklet 4
Rhinoceros Auklet 1
Black-legged Kittiwake 4
Sabine’s Gull 4
Bonaparte’s Gull 2 3
Laughing Gull 3 3 3 2 3 3
Franklin’s Gull 1
Heermann’s Gull 1
Mew Gull 1
Ring-billed Gull 3 3 2
Western Gull 2 3
California Gull 2 3 3
Herring Gull 3 2 3
Thayer’s Gull 1
Glaucous-winged Gull 1
Great Black-backed Gull 1
Least Tern 2 3 3 3
Gull-billed Tern 2 3
Caspian Tern 3 2 3
Black Tern 3 2
Common Tern 3 2
Forster’s Tern 3 2 3
Royal Tern 3 3 2 3
Sandwich Tern 3 2
Elegant Tern 1
Black Skimmer 3 2 3
Rock Pigeon 3 3 3 3 3 3 2
White-crowned Pigeon 1
Band-tailed Pigeon 1
Eurasian Collared-Dove 3 3 3 3 3 2 3 3 3
Inca Dove 3 2 3 3
Common Ground-Dove 3 3 2
White-tipped Dove 1 3
White-winged Dove 3 2 3 3 3
Mourning Dove 3 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Groove-billed Ani 1 3
Greater Roadrunner 1
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 3 2 3
Mangrove Cuckoo 4
Black-billed Cuckoo 4
Barn Owl 2
Flammulated Owl 4
Eastern Screech-Owl 2 3 3
Whiskered Screech-Owl 4
Great Horned Owl 2
Northern Pygmy-Owl 4
Elf Owl 4
Burrowing Owl 1
Spotted Owl 4
Short-eared Owl 4
Lesser Nighthawk 4
Common Nighthawk 2 3 3 3
Common Pauraque 1 3
Common Poorwill 4
Chuck-will’s-widow 1
Mexican Whip-poor-will 4
Chimney Swift 3 2 3 3
Vaux’s Swift 1
White-throated Swift 1
Magnificent Hummingbird 1
Blue-throated Hummingbird 1
Lucifer Hummingbird 4
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 3 2 3 3
Black-chinned Hummingbird 3 3 3 2
Anna’s Hummingbird 3 2 3
Costa’s Hummingbird 4
Broad-tailed Hummingbird 2
Rufous Hummingbird 4
Calliope Hummingbird 1
Broad-billed Hummingbird 1
Buff-bellied Hummingbird 1 3
White-eared Hummingbird 4
Elegant Trogon 1
Ringed Kingfisher 4
Belted Kingfisher 3 3 3 3 3 2
Green Kingfisher 1 3
Lewis’s Woodpecker 1
Acorn Woodpecker 2 3
Gila Woodpecker 1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker 1 3
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3 2 3
Williamson’s Sapsucker 4
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
Red-naped Sapsucker 1
Red-breasted Sapsucker 1
Ladder-backed Woodpecker 2 3 3
Nuttall’s Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 3 3 3 3 3 2
Hairy Woodpecker 3 3 3 2
Arizona Woodpecker 1
White-headed Woodpecker 1
Black-backed Woodpecker 4
Northern Flicker 2 3 3 3 3 3
Pileated Woodpecker 4
Crested Caracara 3 3 2
American Kestrel 3 3 2
Merlin 3 3 3 2
Peregrine Falcon 2 3 3 3
Prairie Falcon 4
Red-crowned Parrot 1 3
Green Parakeet 1 3
Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet 1 3
Tufted Flycatcher 4
Olive-sided Flycatcher 1
Greater Pewee 1
Western Wood-Pewee 2 3
Eastern Wood-Pewee 2 3 3
Acadian Flycatcher 4
Willow Flycatcher 4
Least Flycatcher 1 3
Hammond’s Flycatcher 1
Gray Flycatcher 1
Dusky Flycatcher 2
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 3 2
Cordilleran Flycatcher 1
Buff-breasted Flycatcher 4
Black Phoebe 1
Eastern Phoebe 3 2
Say’s Phoebe 2 3
Vermilion Flycatcher 3 2
Dusky-capped Flycatcher 1
Ash-throated Flycatcher 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 3 3 3 3 2
Brown-crested Flycatcher 2 3 3
Great Kiskadee 1 3
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher 1
Tropical Kingbird 1 3
Couch’s Kingbird 1 3
Cassin’s Kingbird 1
Western Kingbird 3 2 3 3
Eastern Kingbird 3 3 3 3 3 2
Gray Kingbird 1
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 3 2 3
Loggerhead Shrike 3 2
Northern Shrike 4
White-eyed Vireo 3 2 3 3 3 3
Bell’s Vireo 1
Hutton’s Vireo 3 2
Yellow-throated Vireo 1
Cassin’s Vireo 1
Blue-headed Vireo 3 3 2
Plumbeous Vireo 1
Philadelphia Vireo 1
Warbling Vireo 3 3 3 2 3
Red-eyed Vireo 2 3 3
Black-whiskered Vireo 1
Green Jay 1 3
Steller’s Jay 3 3 3 2
Blue Jay 3 2 3 3
California Scrub-Jay 1
Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay 4
Mexican Jay 1
Black-billed Magpie 2 3
Clark’s Nutcracker 4
American Crow 3 2 3 3
Northwestern Crow 4
Fish Crow 1
Chihuahuan Raven 4
Common Raven 2 3 3 3
Horned Lark 1
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 3 3 2
Purple Martin 3 3 3 3 2
Tree Swallow 3 3 2 3
Violet-green Swallow 1
Bank Swallow 3 3 3 3 2
Barn Swallow 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 3
Cliff Swallow 3 3 2 3
Cave Swallow 1 3
Carolina Chickadee 2 3
Black-capped Chickadee 3 2
Mountain Chickadee 1
Mexican Chickadee 4
Chestnut-backed Chickadee 2 3
Bridled Titmouse 1
Oak Titmouse 1
Tufted Titmouse 1
Black-crested Titmouse 1 3
Verdin 1
Bushtit 3 2 3
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2 3
White-breasted Nuthatch 3 2 3
Pygmy Nuthatch 1
Brown Creeper 2 3
Rock Wren 2 3
Canyon Wren 1
House Wren 3 3 2
Pacific Wren 1
Winter Wren 4
Sedge Wren 1
Marsh Wren 3 3 2
Carolina Wren 3 3 3 2 3
Bewick’s Wren 3 2 3
Cactus Wren 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2 3
American Dipper 4
Golden-crowned Kinglet 2 3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 3 2
Wrentit 1
Eastern Bluebird 1
Western Bluebird 1
Mountain Bluebird 1
Townsend’s Solitaire 1
Veery 3 2
Gray-cheeked Thrush 1
Swainson’s Thrush 2 3 3
Hermit Thrush 3 2
Wood Thrush 1
Clay-colored Thrush 1 3
American Robin 2 3 3 3 3
Varied Thrush 1
Gray Catbird 3 3 3 2 3
Curve-billed Thrasher 2 3 3
Brown Thrasher 3 2
Long-billed Thrasher 1 3
California Thrasher 1
Crissal Thrasher 4
Sage Thrasher 1
Northern Mockingbird 3 2 3 3 3 3 3
European Starling 3 3 3 3 2 3 3 3 3
American Pipit 1
Cedar Waxwing 3 2 3 3
Phainopepla 4
Olive Warbler 4
Ovenbird 3 3 3 2
Worm-eating Warbler 1
Louisiana Waterthrush 4
Northern Waterthrush 3 2
Golden-winged Warbler 1
Blue-winged Warbler 1
Black-and-white Warbler 2 3 3 3 3
Prothonotary Warbler 3 2
Tennessee Warbler 2 3 3
Orange-crowned Warbler 3 2
Lucy’s Warbler 1
Nashville Warbler 2 3 3
Virginia’s Warbler 4
MacGillivray’s Warbler 1
Mourning Warbler 4
Kentucky Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2
Hooded Warbler 1
American Redstart 3 3 3 3 2
Cape May Warbler 4
Cerulean Warbler 1
Northern Parula 3 2
Magnolia Warbler 2 3 3
Bay-breasted Warbler 1
Blackburnian Warbler 2 3 3 3
Yellow Warbler 3 3 3 2 3 3 3
Chestnut-sided Warbler 2 3 3
Blackpoll Warbler 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1
Palm Warbler 1
Pine Warbler 3 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler 3 3 2
Yellow-throated Warbler 1
Prairie Warbler 1
Grace’s Warbler 1
Black-throated Gray Warbler 1
Townsend’s Warbler 3 2
Black-throated Green Warbler 2 3 3
Canada Warbler 4
Wilson’s Warbler 3 3 2
Red-faced Warbler 1
Painted Redstart 1
Yellow-breasted Chat 3 3 3 2 3
Botteri’s Sparrow 4
Grasshopper Sparrow 1
Le Conte’s Sparrow 1
Nelson’s Sparrow 1
Saltmarsh Sparrow 1
Seaside Sparrow 2 3
Olive Sparrow 1 3
Chipping Sparrow 2 3 3
Field Sparrow 1
Brewer’s Sparrow 1
Black-throated Sparrow 1
Lark Sparrow 3 2
Fox Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco 3 3 2
Yellow-eyed Junco 1
White-crowned Sparrow 3 3 2
Golden-crowned Sparrow 1
Harris’s Sparrow 4
White-throated Sparrow 1
Vesper Sparrow 2 3
Savannah Sparrow 3 3 3 2
Song Sparrow 3 3 3 2 3
Lincoln’s Sparrow 3 2
Swamp Sparrow 1
Canyon Towhee 1
Abert’s Towhee 4
California Towhee 1
Rufous-crowned Sparrow 1
Green-tailed Towhee 1
Spotted Towhee 3 3 3 2
Eastern Towhee 3 2
Hepatic Tanager 1
Summer Tanager 2 3
Scarlet Tanager 1
Western Tanager 2 3
Northern Cardinal 3 2 3 3 3 3 3
Pyrrhuloxia 1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 2 3 3
Black-headed Grosbeak 2 3
Blue Grosbeak 3 2 3
Lazuli Bunting 2
Indigo Bunting 2 3 3
Varied Bunting 4
Painted Bunting 2 3 3
Dickcissel 3 2 3
Bobolink 3 2
Red-winged Blackbird 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2
Tricolored Blackbird 4
Western Meadowlark 2 3
Eastern Meadowlark 3 2
Yellow-headed Blackbird 2 3
Rusty Blackbird 4
Brewer’s Blackbird 2 3 3 3
Common Grackle 3 3 2 3
Boat-tailed Grackle 3 3 2
Great-tailed Grackle 3 2 3 3 3
Bronzed Cowbird 2 3 3
Brown-headed Cowbird 3 3 3 3 3 3 2
Orchard Oriole 2 3 3
Hooded Oriole 2 3 3
Bullock’s Oriole 2 3
Altamira Oriole 1 3
Baltimore Oriole 2 3 3
Scott’s Oriole 1
House Finch 3 2 3 3 3
Purple Finch 1
Cassin’s Finch 1
Red Crossbill 1
Pine Siskin 3 2
Lesser Goldfinch 2 3 3 3
American Goldfinch 3 2 3 3
Evening Grosbeak 1
House Sparrow 3 2 3 3 3 3 3 3

DIY Big Year: 4 Weeks 400 Species Master List (with Alaska & Hawaii)

Sunrise. Southwest Harbor, Maine. June 2, 2017.
Sunrise. Southwest Harbor, Maine. June 2, 2017. – photo by Greg Miller

 

Here is a big list of all 443 “possible” species listed in eBird format. By possible I mean any species that has been submitted to eBird, an online database of checklists, between 2006 and 2016 as of mid September 2016. I have further filtered the data so that what is listed are all at least moderately possible. But not all species are likely. Some are far less common than others. All target species have an eBird Frequency of Checklists that is greater than or equal to 3% on at least one of the trips. For all of these lists, eBird taxonomy has been used. Note that there may be a number of species that are listed here from eBird but are not ABA-countable (American Birding Association). Here is list of priorities I am going to use for the master list:

1 – Species is a year target. This is not only the best location to find this species. It is the only location where one can expect to see this bird on this tour schedule.

2 – Species is a year target. This is the best location to find this species. But it can also be found on other trips.

3 – Species is a year target. But some other location has a better probability of adding this bird to your year list.

4 – Bonus birds. This uncommon species is not a year target. It has an eBird Frequency of Checklists greater than or equal to 2% but is less than the 3% target threshold. This is the best location on this year’s trip schedule to see this species.

Species April 22-30 Cameron County, TX May 1-7 Clallam County, WA May 8-14 Cochise County, AZ September 8-15 Kauai County, HI
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 1
Fulvous Whistling-Duck 1
Greater White-fronted Goose 4
Brant 1
Cackling Goose 1
Canada Goose 1
Hawaiian Goose 1
Wood Duck 1
Gadwall 1
American Wigeon 1
Mallard 3 2 3 3
Mottled Duck 1
Hawaiian Duck 1
Blue-winged Teal 1
Cinnamon Teal 3 2 3 3
Northern Shoveler 3 2 3
Northern Pintail 1
Green-winged Teal 1
Redhead 1
Greater Scaup 1
Lesser Scaup 4
Harlequin Duck 1
Surf Scoter 1
White-winged Scoter 1
Black Scoter 4
Long-tailed Duck 1
Bufflehead 1
Common Goldeneye 4
Hooded Merganser 1
Common Merganser 1
Red-breasted Merganser 3 2 3 3
Ruddy Duck 3 3 2 3
Plain Chachalaca 1
Scaled Quail 1
California Quail 1
Gambel’s Quail 1
Northern Bobwhite 1
Montezuma Quail 4
Erckel’s Francolin 1
Red Junglefowl 1
Ring-necked Pheasant 4
Sooty Grouse 1
Wild Turkey 1
Red-throated Loon 1
Pacific Loon 1
Common Loon 1
Yellow-billed Loon 1
Least Grebe 1
Pied-billed Grebe 1
Horned Grebe 1
Red-necked Grebe 1
Eared Grebe 1
Western Grebe 1
Black-footed Albatross 1
Hawaiian Petrel 1
Bulwer’s Petrel 1
Pink-footed Shearwater 1
Wedge-tailed Shearwater 1
Sooty Shearwater 3 2 3 3
Christmas Shearwater 1
Newell’s Shearwater 1
Band-rumped Storm-Petrel 4
White-tailed Tropicbird 1
Red-tailed Tropicbird 1
Great Frigatebird 1
Masked Booby 1
Brown Booby 1
Red-footed Booby 1
Brandt’s Cormorant 1
Pelagic Cormorant 1
Neotropic Cormorant 1
Double-crested Cormorant 3 2 3 3
American White Pelican 4
Brown Pelican 1
Least Bittern 1
Great Blue Heron 2 3 3
Great Egret 1
Snowy Egret 1
Little Blue Heron 1
Tricolored Heron 1
Reddish Egret 1
Cattle Egret 3 3 3 2
Green Heron 1
Black-crowned Night-Heron 3 3 3 2
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 1
White Ibis 1
White-faced Ibis 2 3 3 3
Roseate Spoonbill 1
Black Vulture 1
Turkey Vulture 3 3 2
Osprey 2 3 3 3
White-tailed Kite 1
Golden Eagle 4
Northern Harrier 1
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Cooper’s Hawk 3 3 2 3
Bald Eagle 1
Harris’s Hawk 1
White-tailed Hawk 1
Gray Hawk 1
Broad-winged Hawk 1
Swainson’s Hawk 3 3 2 3
Zone-tailed Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 3 2 3 3
Clapper Rail 1
Sora 1
Common Gallinule 2 3 3 3
Hawaiian Coot 1
American Coot 2 3 3 3
Black-necked Stilt 2 3 3
American Avocet 2 3 3 3
American Oystercatcher 1
Black Oystercatcher 1
Black-bellied Plover 2 3 3 3
American Golden-Plover 4
Pacific Golden-Plover 1
Wilson’s Plover 1
Semipalmated Plover 2 3 3 3
Killdeer 3 2 3
Whimbrel 2 3 3 3
Bristle-thighed Curlew 1
Long-billed Curlew 1
Marbled Godwit 2 3 3 3
Ruddy Turnstone 2 3 3 3
Stilt Sandpiper 1
Sanderling 2 3 3
Dunlin 3 2 3 3
Least Sandpiper 3 2 3 3
Pectoral Sandpiper 1
Semipalmated Sandpiper 1
Western Sandpiper 1
Short-billed Dowitcher 2 3 3 3
Long-billed Dowitcher 2 3 3 3
Wilson’s Phalarope 1
Red-necked Phalarope 4
Spotted Sandpiper 2
Solitary Sandpiper 1
Wandering Tattler 1
Greater Yellowlegs 3 2 3 3
Willet 1
Lesser Yellowlegs 1
Common Murre 1
Pigeon Guillemot 1
Marbled Murrelet 1
Ancient Murrelet 4
Cassin’s Auklet 4
Rhinoceros Auklet 1
Tufted Puffin 1
Sabine’s Gull 1
Bonaparte’s Gull 1
Laughing Gull 1
Franklin’s Gull 1
Mew Gull 1
Ring-billed Gull 1
Western Gull 1
California Gull 1
Herring Gull 3 2 3 3
Thayer’s Gull 1
Glaucous-winged Gull 1
Brown Noddy 1
Black Noddy 1
Blue-gray Noddy 1
White Tern 1
Sooty Tern 1
Gray-backed Tern 1
Least Tern 1
Gull-billed Tern 1
Caspian Tern 2 3 3 3
Common Tern 1
Forster’s Tern 1
Royal Tern 1
Sandwich Tern 1
Black Skimmer 1
Rock Pigeon 2
Band-tailed Pigeon 3 2 3 3
Eurasian Collared-Dove 2 3 3
Spotted Dove 1
Zebra Dove 1
Inca Dove 2 3 3 3
Common Ground-Dove 2 3 3 3
White-tipped Dove 1
White-winged Dove 3 3 2 3
Mourning Dove 2 3 3
Groove-billed Ani 4
Greater Roadrunner 3 3 2 3
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1
Barn Owl 1
Western Screech-Owl 4
Whiskered Screech-Owl 4
Great Horned Owl 1
Northern Pygmy-Owl 4
Elf Owl 1
Spotted Owl 4
Short-eared Owl 1
Lesser Nighthawk 2 3 3 3
Common Nighthawk 1
Common Poorwill 1
Chuck-will’s-widow 4
Mexican Whip-poor-will 1
Chimney Swift 1
Vaux’s Swift 1
White-throated Swift 1
Magnificent Hummingbird 1
Blue-throated Hummingbird 1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
Black-chinned Hummingbird 1
Anna’s Hummingbird 3 2 3 3
Broad-tailed Hummingbird 1
Rufous Hummingbird 1
Broad-billed Hummingbird 1
Buff-bellied Hummingbird 1
White-eared Hummingbird 4
Elegant Trogon 1
Ringed Kingfisher 4
Belted Kingfisher 3 2 3 3
Green Kingfisher 1
Acorn Woodpecker 1
Gila Woodpecker 1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker 1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 4
Red-breasted Sapsucker 1
Ladder-backed Woodpecker 3 3 2 3
Downy Woodpecker 1
Hairy Woodpecker 3 2 3 3
Arizona Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker 3 3 2 3
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Crested Caracara 1
American Kestrel 3 3 2 3
Merlin 1
Aplomado Falcon 1
Peregrine Falcon 3 2 3 3
Rose-ringed Parakeet 4
Red-crowned Parrot 1
Green Parakeet 4
Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet 4
Olive-sided Flycatcher 3 3 2 3
Greater Pewee 1
Western Wood-Pewee 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 1
Acadian Flycatcher 1
Least Flycatcher 1
Hammond’s Flycatcher 3 3 2 3
Gray Flycatcher 1
Dusky Flycatcher 1
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 1
Cordilleran Flycatcher 1
Buff-breasted Flycatcher 1
Black Phoebe 1
Say’s Phoebe 1
Vermilion Flycatcher 1
Dusky-capped Flycatcher 1
Ash-throated Flycatcher 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Brown-crested Flycatcher 3 3 2 3
Great Kiskadee 1
Tropical Kingbird 1
Couch’s Kingbird 1
Cassin’s Kingbird 1
Western Kingbird 3 3 2 3
Eastern Kingbird 1
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 1
Loggerhead Shrike 2 3 3 3
White-eyed Vireo 1
Bell’s Vireo 1
Hutton’s Vireo 3 3 2 3
Cassin’s Vireo 1
Blue-headed Vireo 1
Plumbeous Vireo 1
Philadelphia Vireo 1
Warbling Vireo 2 3 3
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Kauai Elepaio 1
Gray Jay 4
Green Jay 1
Steller’s Jay 3 2 3 3
Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay 1
Mexican Jay 1
American Crow 1
Northwestern Crow 1
Chihuahuan Raven 3 3 2 3
Common Raven 3 2 3 3
Horned Lark 3 3 2 3
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 3 2 3
Purple Martin 2 3 3 3
Tree Swallow 3 2 3 3
Violet-green Swallow 3 2 3 3
Bank Swallow 2 3 3 3
Barn Swallow 3 2 3
Cliff Swallow 3 2 3 3
Cave Swallow 1
Black-capped Chickadee 1
Mexican Chickadee 4
Chestnut-backed Chickadee 1
Bridled Titmouse 1
Black-crested Titmouse 1
Verdin 1
Bushtit 3 3 2 3
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
Pygmy Nuthatch 4
Brown Creeper 3 2 3 3
Rock Wren 1
Canyon Wren 1
House Wren 3 3 2 3
Pacific Wren 1
Marsh Wren 2 3 3 3
Carolina Wren 1
Bewick’s Wren 3 3 2 3
Cactus Wren 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
American Dipper 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2 3 3 3
Japanese Bush-Warbler 1
Millerbird 1
Japanese White-eye 1
Chinese Hwamei 1
White-rumped Shama 1
Townsend’s Solitaire 1
Veery 1
Gray-cheeked Thrush 1
Swainson’s Thrush 2 3 3 3
Hermit Thrush 1
Wood Thrush 1
Clay-colored Thrush 4
American Robin 3 2 3 3
Varied Thrush 1
Gray Catbird 1
Curve-billed Thrasher 3 3 2 3
Long-billed Thrasher 1
Northern Mockingbird 2 3 3
European Starling 3 2 3
Common Myna 1
American Pipit 1
Cedar Waxwing 1
Phainopepla 1
Olive Warbler 4
Ovenbird 1
Worm-eating Warbler 1
Northern Waterthrush 1
Golden-winged Warbler 1
Blue-winged Warbler 1
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Prothonotary Warbler 1
Swainson’s Warbler 1
Tennessee Warbler 1
Orange-crowned Warbler 3 2 3 3
Lucy’s Warbler 1
Nashville Warbler 1
Virginia’s Warbler 4
MacGillivray’s Warbler 1
Mourning Warbler 4
Kentucky Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 2 3 3
Hooded Warbler 1
American Redstart 1
Cape May Warbler 1
Cerulean Warbler 1
Northern Parula 1
Magnolia Warbler 1
Bay-breasted Warbler 1
Blackburnian Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 2 3 3 3
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1
Blackpoll Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 3 2 3
Grace’s Warbler 1
Black-throated Gray Warbler 3 3 2 3
Townsend’s Warbler 3 3 2 3
Hermit Warbler 1
Black-throated Green Warbler 1
Canada Warbler 1
Wilson’s Warbler 3 2 3
Red-faced Warbler 1
Painted Redstart 1
Yellow-breasted Chat 3 3 2 3
Red-crested Cardinal 1
Botteri’s Sparrow 4
Cassin’s Sparrow 1
Olive Sparrow 1
Chipping Sparrow 3 3 2 3
Clay-colored Sparrow 4
Black-throated Sparrow 1
Lark Sparrow 3 3 2 3
Fox Sparrow 4
Dark-eyed Junco 1
Yellow-eyed Junco 1
White-crowned Sparrow 3 2 3 3
Golden-crowned Sparrow 1
Savannah Sparrow 3 2 3 3
Song Sparrow 3 2 3 3
Lincoln’s Sparrow 2 3 3
Canyon Towhee 1
Abert’s Towhee 1
Rufous-crowned Sparrow 1
Green-tailed Towhee 1
Spotted Towhee 3 3 2 3
Hepatic Tanager 1
Summer Tanager 2 3 3 3
Scarlet Tanager 1
Western Tanager 3 3 2
Northern Cardinal 2 3 3
Pyrrhuloxia 1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1
Black-headed Grosbeak 3 3 2 3
Blue Grosbeak 2 3 3 3
Lazuli Bunting 1
Indigo Bunting 1
Painted Bunting 1
Dickcissel 1
Bobolink 4
Red-winged Blackbird 2 3 3
Western Meadowlark 1
Eastern Meadowlark 2 3 3 3
Yellow-headed Blackbird 1
Brewer’s Blackbird 1
Great-tailed Grackle 2 3 3 3
Bronzed Cowbird 1
Brown-headed Cowbird 3 3 2
Orchard Oriole 1
Hooded Oriole 2 3 3 3
Bullock’s Oriole 1
Altamira Oriole 1
Baltimore Oriole 1
Scott’s Oriole 1
Nihoa Finch 1
Apapane 1
Anianiau 1
Kauai Amakihi 1
House Finch 3 3 2
Purple Finch 1
Red Crossbill 1
Pine Siskin 3 2 3 3
Lesser Goldfinch 3 3 2 3
American Goldfinch 1
Evening Grosbeak 1
House Sparrow 2
Red Avadavat 1
African Silverbill 1
Scaly-breasted Munia 1
Chestnut Munia 1
Java Sparrow 1
DIY Big Year: Resources

DIY Big Year: Resources

Daybreak in Antelope Valley near Lancaster, CA
Daybreak in Antelope Valley near Lancaster, CA – photo by Greg Miller

 

The Basics

Binoculars

The best binoculars are the ones you are going to carry with you. Everywhere if you are doing a Big Year. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable carrying a pair of high end binoculars everywhere you go. Or maybe you are just scared of carrying a priceless gem for which you have just taken out a second mortgage. Generally speaking, the more you spend on optics, the better the quality. It’s hard to get around that. Buy as much glass as you can afford. You will thank yourself later. Waterproof and fog proof are a big deal when you have to find a lot of birds in out-of-the-way places. Oh. And shock proof if you are one of those folks who are prone to dropping optics.

Buy binoculars that are comfortable in your hands. You’ll be holding them a lot. And don’t forget to be nice to your neck. You may want to try a harness as opposed to a strap around the neck.

If you are new to binoculars you’ll notice there are two numbers like 7×35 or 8×42 or 10×50 or another combination. The first number represents how close a bird will look. The bigger the number, the closer the bird will appear when you look through the binoculars. And you say to yourself, why wouldn’t I get the biggest number possible? The drawbacks on the bigger number mean a smaller view. It will be harder to find the bird when you are using binoculars with a bigger number. And it is harder to hold them steady. And they are almost always bigger and heavier to carry.

The second number represents how much light is going to be in your view. The bigger the number, the more light will come in. If you take the second number and divide it by the first number, the resulting number should be about 5. In low light conditions this becomes important. A pair of 7×50 binoculars should pick up more light than your own eyes. But a small pair of 10×30 binoculars will pick up less light than your eyes. What you see through those binoculars will look darker than what you see without binoculars. Make sense? I hope so.

The Big Year movie came out in late 2011. Since then I’ve had the good fortune of carrying sponsored binoculars. I’ve carried both Swarovski and Leica glass and both are incredible pieces of perfection. I suppose you may be wondering what I own. I have 2 sets of binoculars I used previous to the movie. My best binoculars are a pair of Zeiss 10×40. I purchased them in 1997 and used them throughout my Big Year in 1998. I still have them. The other is a pair of KOWA 8×42. They are periwinkle blue. It is what I carried in the field in the years just before the movie came out. They are much lighter in weight. As I have aged, I have found binoculars feel heavier and heavier around my neck.

Telescopes

Yes. You will definitely want one. You will need to be able to identify shorebirds and waterfowl—often at pretty long distances. Again, better glass is going to be worth it. And you thought binoculars were expensive. Telescope prices will take your breath away. Get the best you can afford. The two numbers are similar for scopes as they are for binoculars. First number is how close a view you’ll get. The second number will govern the amount of light-gathering capabilities. You may be tempted with huge numbers on astronomical telescopes. But beware. The image you look at on land will be upside down. Not to mention the huge amount of heat shimmer you get on anything past about 50x magnification. And don’t be cheap on your tripod either. If you have wind, you will find out very fast whether or not you have a stable tripod. It will jiggle so badly on a poor tripod that you will not be able to see well at all. Avoid the disappoint and get something sturdy. But beware. If you hike any distance, that tripod is going to feel heavy. If you can swing the money, try a lightweight material like carbon fiber. Your shoulders will thank you.

I currently own a Swarovski ATX85 with a 25-50mm eyepiece and a light weight, Swarovski carbon fiber travel tripod. It provides me with a view that is crisp and sharp. And it is a marvel in darker lighting that happens often in the field (dusk, cloudy, or shade). The last couple years I’ve had the privilege of carrying a smaller, 65mm Leica telescope that was sponsored by Leica. It is an awesome travel scope. It’s much lighter and smaller and the image is sharp. I love that it fits into my backpack for travel on planes.

Hearing devices

If you are starting to age like me and find yourself starting to lose some hearing then you will want to try out something to help. Hearing aids can be incredibly expensive. I am too cheap to buy them. So I did a little research and found a workable solution that I personally like. I bought a PocketTalker unit on Amazon. I bought a separate mic with a wire since the one that comes with the unit is attached right on the unit and is not high quality. I also bought a pair of headphones (with wires/not bluetooth). The headphones plug into one hole in the top of the PocketTalker and the mic plugs into the other hole on the PocketTalker. I can adjust both volume and a filter for pitch. It does not change the pitch. I can filter out high frequency when I’m in a room full of people. And I can filter out low frequency when I want to hear higher pitched warbler songs. I still cannot hear Brown Creeper, Cedar Waxwing, or Golden-crowned Kinglets. But when I put them on last spring I could hear Cape May Warbler for the first time in 10 years! I was elated. This is not a perfect solution, but for less than $250 total I am able to hear far more than I do without them.

Cameras

Yes. That’s plural. The one I use the most is my iPhone. If you carry a smartphone, it probably has a camera and it’s always with you. You can probably use it with steady hands and binoculars or with a telescope. But you’ll be greatly helped if you get a case for your smartphone that has an adaptor fit for your telescope’s eyepiece. I’ve used a PhoneSkope adapter and found them to be durable and very handy (available at www.phoneskope.com).

I also often carry a small, waterproof camera for the times I’m out birding in the rain—like the tropics. There are a number of good small waterproof cameras on the market. I currently use a Nikon Coolpix AW120. It’s good for landscapes, people, food, and of course, shots in the rain.

I do take a DSLR on some trips with a bigger lens. I have a Canon D7 body. I own a Sigma 50-500mm lens with image stabilization. It’s an awesome lens for my type of shooting.

The Geeky Stuff

This is the stuff that has changed the way we go birding. The electronic resources are being developed so quickly that it is hard to keep up. Facebook and Twitter are now both used by birders to make reporting with pictures so much easier and faster than ever. I am no longer 14 years old so I am probably already behind the latest and greatest apps out there. Of course, back before the invention of dirt when I did my Big Year I didn’t have a laptop, a GPS for navigation, or a cell phone. Egads! So I am going to give you what I currently use today. I hope it helps.

Birding apps

First, my apologies to Android users. I have an iPhone. Most of these apps (but not all) are available for Android as well.

The Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America

I don’t carry a physical field guide out birding anymore. I use an electronic one. I have several, but the one I use the most is The Sibley eGuide to the Birds of North America.

I use this app all the time in the field when I am guiding. My favorite feature is being able to compare any two species side-by-side. It has range maps, text, and plumages just like the book. But in addition, it also has bird songs and calls with regional variations. It’s a powerful app.

eBird

When I travel, I use eBird to enter all my sightings at every location. This submits all my sightings to the internet where millions of checklists from birders all around the world have submitted and stored. This is used for Citizen Science. It is also a really handy resource for finding birds. You can even set up alerts so you can be notified about birds that are seen but you still need for your list. And online, eBird has maps and information about all kinds of good birding hotspots, too. Go to eBird.org and check it out.

Birdseye

One of my favorite resources for finding what birds are near my current location is an app called Birdseye Bird Finding Guide. I have the North America edition. It will compare my eBird list (for year or life) and let me know what birds are currently being seen near me that I still need for my list. I can view maps with stickpins. I can click on a stickpin and it will show me when the last sighting occurred and I can click on directions to have map navigation to the site.

This is a fantastic resource. I can look at frequency maps for the year for any species in the area, too. If you are doing a Big Year, you will want this one.

Travel apps

Google Maps

Travel apps are now an integral part of a Big Year birder’s arsenal. There are many apps for navigation. The one I use the most is Google Maps.

iExit

If you do a lot of driving on interstate highways like I do then you may also like iExit Interstate Exit Guide. I like that it lists the exit numbers along the highway and has little icons for what is available at each exit. It’s quite handy to look forward easily to find the kind of exit I like best with gas stations, restaurants, restrooms and sometimes hotels.

GasBuddy

Since you will probably doing a ton of driving, why not save a few bucks overtime you have to fill up with GasBuddy. GasBuddy will let you know where the nearest gas stations are and list the current prices. Pretty cool.

Weather apps

Weather Underground

And what in the world did we ever do without weather apps at our fingertips? For weather forecasts I really like Weather Underground: Forecast. Temperatures, precipitation, and barometer in easy to read graphical representation makes this a good app. But what makes it great in my opinion are the customizable smart forecasts. You can choose what parameters you want for any smart forecast. For instance, I have a smart forecast I named “Miller Awesome”. I have my favorite temperature range, no precipitation, low humidity, not too windy, and mostly clear skies. The smart forecast tells me of any times in the next 10 days that those conditions are met. I also have smart forecasts set up for spring and fall migration for birding in eastern United States. I love the smart forecasts.

MyRadar NOAA Weather Radar

Another weather app I use often just to get current radar is MyRadar NOAA Weather Radar. It’s pretty simple but looks great. My favorite feature are the little moving marks indicating live wind direction.

WindFinder Pro

And yes, I use one more weather app fairly often. It is called WindFinder Pro. This is an app used by surfers, windsurfers, and of course, anyone who cares about winds. It is great for wind strength and direction, but it is also good for tides and wave heights and frequency as well. You’ll want this app if you bird during migration or visit a coastal location where tides are a big deal.

Lodging apps

Hotels.com

There are a plethora of apps in this category. I use hotels.com quite often. It may not be cheapest or best, but it is quite convenient since it is not limited to just one chain.

tripadvisor

Another app I use for lodging, restaurants, and sites of interest is tripadvisor. It has a pretty good ranking system and is a good all around app.

Food apps

Yelp

I think there are even more of these apps than for lodging. The one I use the most and have found to be pretty reliable for recommendations in a new area is Yelp. When I travel with a group I use this app often to find places that fit most everyone’s dietary needs. You can find vegetarian, gluten free, and a host of other things in this app. I like to pick things that are highly rated, have lots of reviews, are nearby, and open when I am planning to be there.

Camera apps

Last, but not least are a couple camera apps I use on my iPhone. These are indispensable for quick editing and posting to social media quickly.

Camera+

My go-to camera editing app for the iPhone is Camera+. It’s got lots of preset filters and effects. I can quickly crop or rotate an image. But my favorite part is the lab section. I can go in and tweak clarity, sharpening, brightness, contrast, exposure, highlights, shadows, and saturation just to name a few. It is a non destructive editor and I can save my edited photo in my camera roll without losing my original photo.

Flickr

And since I’m using an iPhone, I am always running out of storage. I use Flickr for my photos. It’s linked to a Yahoo! email account. I get one terabyte of free storage. Uploading photos from my camera roll is easy with the Flickr app. And then I can delete the photos off my iPhone and they are safely stored and untouched in the cloud in my Flickr account.

I carry a MacBook Pro laptop in the field. I do my serious editing (RAW images from my Canon camera) in a Mac app called Affinity Photo. I like it because I only had to pay for it once–not a subscription like Adobe products. And I get free updates. It does all the stuff I need to for good developing in RAW and editing and exporting to any format. So far, I’m a big fan.

Online resources

The last few days of listserv posts is saved online at the American Birding Association’s website. Most all of North America has coverage here. You can read posts by local birders about the latest sightings and even see listings of local Rare Bird Alerts. You can find this information at birding.aba.org.

Another good resource is the American Birding Association’s blog at blog.aba.org. Search for the hashtag #ABArare to find out the latest rare birds across North America.

Speaking of rare birds—have you used the ebirdmap at birdingonthe.net? It is pretty amazing. If you use a Mac you may be disappointed since the stick pins don’t show up. But in Windows PCs this is not an issue. All of the ABA difficult birds ranked 2 or greater are plotted on a zoomable map of the United States. If you click on a stick pin the latest sighting information is displayed. Data is retrieved daily (I think) from eBird.

You can check out my versions of Impatient Birder’s Guide at my website, gregmillerbirding.com. Click on the main “Birder’s Notebook” to see my research with eBird data. The oldest stuff is at the top. The newest stuff is at the bottom.

And lastly, don’t forget all the fabulous resources at ebird.org. If you haven’t looked already, the first time you visit you may be like me an not sleep for 2 or 3 days.

 

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