Date: 1/13/21 5:48 am From: John Fussell <jofuss...> Subject: Big Years and Pelagic Trips
Another big change since the early days of NC Big Years (that I don't think has been mentioned) is the availability of high quality pelagic trips nowadays--thanks to Brian Pattteson, and also to Kate and other excellent spotters).
In those early days we did a few chartered trips, mostly in late spring-summer. Many of the early ones were on a slow boat, unsuitable for chasing anything. Some were on a faster boat, but the captain and mate were more interested in catching fish than in helping passengers see lots of birds. (I often thought to myself, "It sure would nice to be treated like a paying customer.")
And on those early chartered trips, on winter trips we continued to have the mindset that you have to get out into the Gulf Stream (which was often nearly birdless in winter), not knowing how productive the waters inshore of the Stream N of Cape Hatteras could be.
We did have the option of going out on fishing headboats, mostly out of Morehead City and Carolina Beach, at any season. These were very inexpensive for non-fishing passengers, but most went to waters that were often nearly birdless. And there was no chasing of anything, of course.
Today's excellent pelagic trips provided by Brian Patteson are a world of difference from those early days!
Derb has pointed out that breaking the Big Year in NC record would require luck in having a year like 2020, with lots of rarities to chase. I believe that the other big factor would be going on several pelagic trips, in both winter and late spring-summer, and having a lot of luck on those trips.
The next person to break the record must be ready to spend a lot of time and willing to spend a lot of money (especially in terms of the cost of gasoline and car depreciation).