Friday, 30 January 2015

Big Year Norway Results

Well, soon it's February. Lots of rarities and semi rarities have already been spotted in Norway - unlike last year - my Big Year. When aiming as high as I did, I certainly needed some luck as well as skills and time to be able to succeed. This year has certainly started better than mine did, and I was almost tempted to go for two in a row. But no...this year I need to focus on my photography business. Yes, I do. Or, do I? hmm. Yes, I should.

Last weekend, I did a presentation of my Big Year for a bird club. It forced me to think back on the year and again realising all the great birding and experiences I had through the year. Despite not taking the record, I must anyway be very happy with the result.

I had a lot of time to do my own birding. This was important to me as the very best birds are always the ones you find yourself - without anyone pointing their whereabouts out to you. In Norway, we call these edelkryss - or the nobel twitches.

And to be honest - to find 254 bird species out of a total of 303 seen in Norway within one year myself is something most birders in Norway is going to struggle to beat. On my list of 254 species, some obvious ones are missing - like corncrake and spotted crake for instance - both realtively easy to find myself with some effort involved. The truth is, that this list was not really on my mind - I just realised while thinking back on the year that 2014 was actually a very good year for birds found myself.

Of the 254 species, these are some of the rarer birds I found myself: Great egret (egretthegre), Surf Scoter (brilleand), Black Kite (svartglente), Red kite (glente), Montagus's harrier (enghauk), Red-footed falcon (aftenfalk), Caspian tern (rovterne), Greater short-toed lark (dverglerke), Red-rumped swallow (amursvale), Olive-backed pipit (sibirpiplerke), Citrine wagtail (sitronerle), 2 x Rose-colored starling (rosenstær), Melodious warbler (spottesanger), Corn bunting (kornspurv). 

My Norwegian list increased by 18.

Of the 348 species recorded in total in Norway during 2014, I missed only 19 that was twitchable. Most of these I did actually try for, but came too late for different reasons - mostly because of work. I have defined a bird as twitchable if it was seen at least once more after it first was discovered with at least one night in between. This means I potentially had the time to get there in time if I would have made the effort or time.

To make 303 species in one year in Norway - you need to travel a bit. This also
means seeing places you never have seen before - some of them extremely beautiful.
This is picture show the sky above Northern Norway somewhere.

The effort can maybe be summarised like this:

- 33048km driven in my own car.  
- 28 nights spent in my own car
- 6 roundtrip flights
- 3 times (total 9 days) rental car.
- Visited all the counties of Norway (3 times in Finmark). 
- Did get yearticks in 61 different municipalities.

So, if you are out there wondering what it takes to do a Big Year - this is at least a guiding line to your planning.

Myself and my Swarovski - two inseperable items in 2014.

- EG -


  1. Hi Eirik, thanks for sharing. Great effort and valuable experience for round number 2, whenever you decide to take it on. Enjoy what 2015 has to offer! Cheers, Eric

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