In 2012, four Calgarians - Phil Cram, Mike Mulligan, Ray Woods and me (Brian Elder) - will embark on a leisurely big year for both birds and mammals. I say leisurely because we would all like to stay on good terms with our wives and also have time for other pursuits. We have set a modest goal of 400 bird species and 50 mammals but, of course we will be hoping for more.
In 1994, I tried to do a big year while working full-time and helping to raise 3 young children. Needless to say, there was not time for everything and I stopped half way through the year. Now retired, as are my friends, I look forward to completing what I set out to do many years ago.
Ideally, we would like to visit every province and territory but budget constraints will likely prevail. We will be focusing on regularly occurring birds in Canada but will happily count any vagrants we should come across. Some of us have become interested in mammal sightings, thus their inclusion in our plans.
Each of us has some secondary goals for the year. I would like to get my Canada list to 450 from its current level of 433. There is a possibility of a few lifers including Yellow Rail - this bird is commonly heard less than 1/2 an hour from my house but I have yet to see one ... next year for sure! I am also a keen photographer and would like to photograph most of the birds that we see. I'll let the others explain their motives in their own words once I figure out how team blogging works.
During the course of our big year, we are looking forward to meeting many birders across the country. We would also like to enlist your help in identifying possible locations for some of the rarer birds. As we get further along in our planning, I'll post a list of these birds. For now, you can look at our list of bird possibilities to get an idea of what we are hoping to see and what our challenges might be.