LOGO Arjan Dwarshuis Biggest Year

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In 2016 I will attempt the ultimate in global birding; in the context of a fundraiser for the Birdlife Preventing Extinctions Programme I will try to see more than 6000 species  –  more than half of all the bird species in the world – in one year.


You can follow the whole journey on my website. I’ll keep an up-to-date blog and via observation.org you can keep track of the sites I visit and the number of species I record. At the end of the trip this will result in an unprecedented dataset of records from all over the world.


During my ‘Biggest Year’ I will raise money for the groundbreaking Birdlife Preventing Extinctions Programme in a collaboration with Vogelbescherming Nederland and the Dutch Birding Association.

This programme aims to prevent the extinction of all globally threatened bird species by applying an active, innovative and highly effective methodology. The programme works with two growing communities ‘Birdlife Species Guardians’ and BirdLife Species Champions. The ‘Species Guardians’ are the world-leading experts – local scientists and conservation professionals (recognised as such by BirdLife) who put their years of hands-on knowledge and experience, heart and soul into the protection of the bird species in their care – ones facing imminent extinction.


For example Aquasis – a small but highly skilled conservation organisation based in the remote Araripe Plateau in the Atlantic Rain Forest of Brasil are the ‘Birdlife Species Guardian’ for the beautiful and increasingly rare Araripe manakin – a bird only discovered in 1980 – by them!


Furthermore the programme is globally active for hundreds more charismatic species such as the Spoon-billed Sandpiper, the Giant Ibis and the Azores Bullfinch and in doing so they make the difference between future and destruction. Over the course of the last decade the programme has saved many such wonderful species from extinction.


The other community are BirdLife Species Champions – people who provide or raise funds and awareness for the guardian’s work. I’m proud to now be among their number – sitting alongside Sir David Attenborough and HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco.


My aim is to raise 100.000 euros over the course of 2016


My aim is to raise 100.000 euros over the course of 2016. From October 16th, 2015 onwards you will be able to contribute via a link on my website. Additionally this link will be available on the websites of my Sponsors and partners: Swarovski Optik, Canon, Dutch Birding, ROOTS magazine, ObservadoVogelinformatiecentrum Texel and Bruggink & van der Velden. The concept is simple: You can ether decide to make a one-time contribution or you can decide to sponsor an amount for every species I record. Upon completion this amount will be multiplied with the total number of species recorded and added to the grand total.


Of course I am fully aware that travelling around the world for a whole year will leave a significant carbon footprint. Therefore, I will follow a carbon offset program with my sponsor ATPI.

This adventure has been my lifelong dream. Still my world record attempt will require skilful planning, determination, endurance and 366 days of travelling and birding; without taking a single day’s rest… Additionally, I have to stay healthy throughout the entire journey.


Noah Strycker, an American birder, has just broken the world record and I’m following his journey with great interest. Naturally, I am very curious what I will have to see to break the record after him!


On the 1st of January 2016 this epic adventure will commence and I already have determined my route. Flights for Asia are already booked and the itinerary for Africa is almost finished. I will kick off my 2016 Biggest Year with a Big Day in the Netherlands before I set off to the UAE for 1,5 days of fanatic birding. Next up is Sri Lanka where I aim to see all possible endemics and specialties in just 5 days. I will continue to India for 7 days birding in the Delhi area and a wild 15 day expedition through Eaglenest, Kaziranga and the Mishmin hills. Next up is 7 days Thailand. After Thailand I will travel for 14 days through West- and East-Malaysia. Straight on to the Philippines for 10 days of birding on the islands of Mindanao, Luzon and Palawan.


After this hectic part comes 3 days on Java and 7 days on Sulawesi, followed by 9 days in Papua New Guinea. Next up is 10 days in all corners of Australia and a 2 day extension to North Island, New Zealand.


On April 1st I will be back for 1 day in the Netherlands before I depart to Israël, for 3 days of hammering new species during peak migration. Then comes Africa. I will kick off with 1 week Ethiopia followed by almost a month of continuous birding in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.


A growing number of top-notch local guides will help me to maximize the number of species even more!


Next up is 4 days Madagascar and a week Malawi followed by 2,5 weeks touring through South Africa. My last 14 days of birding on the mighty continent of Africa will be in Ghana with my dad.


After 1 day of promo in the Netherlands comes 3-4 days in northeastern Spain. The second week of July I will arrive on the continent in South America, starting with one week in the Dutch speaking birding hotspot of Surinam, followed by 3 weeks in Brazil.


Over the next 2,5 – 3 months I will travel almost continuously over land through Argentina, Chili, Peru, Ecuador and of course Colombia. November and the first two weeks of December will be spend in Costa Rica, northern Panama, Guatemala, southern Mexico and the islands of Jamaica and Cuba. I will finish up with a final 3 weeks of birding in Mexico and the United States with my dad!


Many Dutch birders will travel with me for parts of this journey, these very motivated people will keep me on the cutting-edge and with an extra pair of sharp eyes, more species are bound to be added to the list. In addition to these Dutch birders a growing number of top-notch local guides will help me to maximize the number of species even more!


Of course I will need all the sponsoring I can possibly get because especially the plane-tickets don’t come cheap! So if you know an organization that might be interested in sponsoring my ultimate world record attempt; send me an email via birding@arjandwarshuis.com


I will post all progress and news about my Biggest Year on my blog!

Happy birding!

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