Date: 1/11/21 7:35 am
From: Fischer David (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Re: 2020 Big Years in NC
Congrats to Steven!  I finished a distant second with 340 species.  My goal at the beginning of the year was 300 species.  But that seemed plenty ambitious since my NC life list at the time was around 270.  I never expected to get anywhere close to 340.  
I put together a summary of my Big Year which I've shared via dropbox at the following link2020 NC Big Year Summary.docx (

To anyone contemplating doing a Big Year in 2021, my advice is go for it, but stay sane and realize that you are not going to be able to find everything that gets reported.  My results were more like 40%.  And realize the real value of doing a Big Year is traveling to and experiencing new places and making new friends who share your passion for birds and nature.   
Dave FischerCary, NC
-----Original Message-----
From: Steven Howell <carolinabirds...>
To: Sherry Lane <slane360...>
Cc: Harry LeGrand <hlegrandjr...>; carolinabirds listserve <carolinabirds...>
Sent: Mon, Jan 11, 2021 5:55 am
Subject: Re: 2020 Big Years in NC

What a year it was! Started off real slow with birds hard to find then the pandemic hit us and thing almost came to a stop.  But, by the middle of the year birding started to get real interesting.  The last half of the year was a gift of a lifetime.  More rare birds came our way and stayed in place.  I don’t think anyone can remember a better birding year than last year.  If anyone was hoping to find lots of birds 2020 was the year.  
In one respect birding has become a lot easier with instant notifications of sightings.  Today’s birder will be chasing other people’s finds.  Years ago someone chasing large numbers had to find each species themselves.  On the other hand probably a lot more birds and habitats back then too.  
If you took advantage of last years gift of so many wonderful species visiting us you were no doubt rewarded with a lot of new lifers!  Thanks for the kind words Harry and Sherry.  As I have often said I am not the best birder by far.   I am always amazed at the talent and skills of birders that I run into.  I have been birding seven years now and still consider myself a fairly new birder.  
I will upload my list as soon as I can find time and figure out how to do it.  I was only able to get about 95 percent photos of each species seen.  By the way almost 34,000 miles driven, 13 pelagic trips, more than 4,000 photos uploaded, more than 700 list submitted and around 150 audio recordings uploaded.  Still have thousands of photos to go through.  My advice to anyone thinking about doing a “Big Year”.  Don’t !!!
On Sun, Jan 10, 2021 at 8:12 PM Sherry Lane <carolinabirds...> wrote:

Congratulations Steven! Thank you Harry for letting us know!


On Jan 10, 2021, at 7:41 PM, Harry LeGrand <carolinabirds...> wrote:

We all noted that a few birders were doing Big Years in NC (and maybe also in SC) last year, based on several comments and also from the numerous times Person X was jumping across the state chasing rarities!  However, no one has stepped forward to say anything yet about their final tallies and exploits, at least on this listserve -- nor on ABA Listing Central or on the CBC HomePage (more about that in a moment).  So,  I wondered -- where might I or we find these totals of 2020?
So, I queried eBird, under  theTop 100 tab.  I clicked North Carolina and 2020, and was able to get the # of species many of us tallied on our eBird lists in NC in 2020.  For me and many others, that would not represent our FULL totals, as I'm sure some of us saw some additional species we didn't bother making out an eBird list for. But, for folks PURPOSEFULLY doing a Big Year, I assume they wanted to use eBird to tally their lists.
Now, for the good stuff.  Prior to 2020, the highest Big Years seem to be a tie between Jamie Adams (2018) and Derb Carter (2008) -- 351 species.  Their totals AND full species lists are found on the Carolina Bird Club home page; go to the green Features tab, scroll all the way to the bottom, and click on More articles and reports ....    There, click on State Big Years in the Carolinas, and then North Carolina, to see the only two people who have placed their lists for public viewing (nobody in SC yet).  Note also that they gave the dates when each species was first seen.
As for 2020:  Here are the Top 3 lists on eBird:
Steven Howell 359  !!  A new record by a whopping 8 species.  Congrats!David Fischer  340Ed Corey 330
Some of you, at least Steven, might want to put your complete list on the CBC website (email Kent Fiala, the CBC webmaster about that), so we can see what species you got and what you might have missed (though misses can be hard to spot if the list is indeed in chronological order from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31.)
At any rate, Steven saw 359 of the approximately:471 Definitive12 Provisional6?  new in 2020 489 total species -- about  73% of the total NC species in one calendar year!
Good luck to you folks trying a Big Year in 2021!   It's gonna take 360 or more to get a new record!

Harry LeGrandRaleigh
P.S.  I would NEVER even consider doing a Big Year!  After the first "rarity chase" miss in January, I would quit!

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