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).

John Fussell
Morehead City, NC


 
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