When I did my ABA big year in 2008, I had an initial goal that I hoped was a realistic goal that I could reach without difficulty if I just kept on keeping on. That goal was 650 bird species in the ABA area for the year. When I got to 650 on August 1st, I revised my goal to 700, and when I got to 700 on October 24th, my goal until the end of the year was “just one more”. My final total was 723 species.
In the coming year, my goal is to just bird as much as I can in Alaska, trying to see as many bird species as I can see, one by one. For my 2016 Alaska big year, my initial (hopefully realistic) goal is 250 bird species. In 2015 (not a “big year”) I visited many of the Alaskan hotspots at least once and I reached 227 species in Alaska, so 250 should be possible if I just keep on keeping on and am more intentional about chasing rarities. Beyond that, according to eBird records, Brad Benter is currently at 273 species and I understand that others have reached similar numbers, so something in that range may be possible. We’ll see. Right now, 250 is what I’m thinking.
Meanwhile, I soon will be seeing #1 for my Alaskan big year, and then the fun will begin, one by one.
PS. For my thoughts on preparing to do a big year, go to the ABA blog for today (December 29)(blog.aba.org/).