Planning takes a variety of forms. Until now most of planning for my 2016 Alaska big year has been basic review of birds that might be found in Alaska and where and when I might find them and lists. All of a sudden, however, I realized that January was almost here and I needed to be a bit more specific in my planning. I need to make actual travel plans, including actual reservations. The only ones I have made so far are for some of the must-go-to spring spots – Adak, St. Paul, Gambell, Nome. But there are 5 months between now and then, and lots of potential birds to see before then. So, yesterday I looked into flights to Juneau and Ketchikan, and hopefully tomorrow I will bite the bullet and commit to particular dates and flights. It’s always so hard because sure as fate as soon as I do that I will learn that I really need to be somewhere else then. The hardest thing about planning big years is balancing commitments, including getting a place on particular flights, with spontaneity (and more costly last-minute flights or lack of ability to get the flights that I want). The closer the new year gets, the harder it is for me to sleep as visions of birds (not sugarplums) dance in my head.