The last couple of weeks have been crazy in terms of my Biggest Year. Most importantly my fundraising-page for the Preventing Extinctions Programme is currently under construction and will officially go online during the Dutch Birding Weekend on Texel, October 16 – 19. During this weekend, hosted by the Vogelinformatiecentrum Texel, I will give a talk about my progress, collaborations, tactics, promo and basically everything that I have been working on so frantically for the last year. I’m proud to say that already Amsterzonian B&B agreed to sponsor 0,10 cents for every species I record during my Biggest Year; this means that the first step towards raising 100.000 Euros for the PEP has been made.
I’ve had enormous help from my sponsors; www.natuurdigitaal.nl, Swarovski, Canon, ATPI (especially you Ciska van der Lee and of course my mum), Bruggink & van der Velden (special thanks goes out to you Rogier!), Veldshop and ROOTS magazine. The Dutch Birding Association and especially my friend Marten Miske play a crucial role in laying contacts, thinking with me almost every step of the way end helping me out with bringing the fundraiser for the PEP online. The talented artist Steven Rutgers agreed to sponsor me, in addition to this he will make several fantastic works about critically endangered birds that I encounter during my travels; how cool is that?! My close friend Michiel van den Bergh advises me every step of the way and makes sure that I don’t drown in enthusiasm and make overhasty decisions, you need a shoulder to lean on with a mega-project like this.
Besides these sponsors many world class bird guides and tour-operators offered their help; without them several places would not even have been possible to include. It is so incredibly awesome that birders all over the world are helping me out with planning and strategies. Without Justin Jansen and Johannes Fischer I would have missed about 150 species in Australia and New Zealand. Rob Hutchinson of Birdtour Asia fine-tuned Southeast Asia and helped me enormously with laying some important contacts in the Philippines; contacts in the likes of Rommel Cruz, Bram Demeulemeester and Pete Simpson. Laurens Stijn of Birdingbreaks is helping me out with Sulawesi and a custom made birdbook for that particular island. The local Birding community in the UAE (Oscar Campbell, Tommy Pederson and Mike Barth) is fine-tuning the two days that I have over there with meticulous precision. I can’t even begin to thank Peter Lobo of Allindianbirdingtours and Vikram Singh for all their help, expertise and hospitality; if you guys ever visit the Netherlands, you know who to contact 😉 Keith Wijesuria persuaded me to include Sri Lanka, thank you so much for helping me make that excellent choice, I can’t wait for those 5 days of frantic birding in The Garden of Eden with the Ceylon Bird Club! And of course my dear friend Stratton Hatfield of African Birding Safaris, who is building on a record braking itinerary on his continent Africa.
Currently I’ve started working on South-, Central- and North America and the Caribbean (Jamaica and Cuba). Already the Dutch Godfather of Peruvian birding, Wim ten Have, offered his expertise in the Birding hotspots of Peru and Colombia…
And than there are my birding buddies who will travel with me and subsequently will give me support, expertise, an extra pair of eyes and lots of laughs along the way. Max van Waasdijk (maxbirding.com) will travel with me for the first full 2,5 months. Sander Smit and Arnoud Postema will join us in India and Sander Bot will join in Malaysia. I will team up with Johannes Fischer for a two-day-North-Island-clean-sweep on New Zealand. Rogier Karskens will join me for a week in Malawi and Ies Goedbloed will travel with me for a month in South America. My girlfriend (and birdwatcher!) Camilla will join me in Southern Africa and Peru and my dad will travel with me in Ghana, Mexico and the US. To all you birders; I want to make this a communal thing as much as possible so if you wan’t to do a couple of weeks of every-day-big-days and contribute in a world record attempt, send me an email 😉
Noah Strycker is closing in on Ruth Miller and Allen Davies’ record and within the next month he will pass the magic marker. You will set the pace for me and you showed me that it is indeed doable. My enormous respect and admiration goes out to you, my friend.
In between sending and answering emails almost non-stop, sponsor meetings, giving two talks on the Dutch Vogelfestival, shooting the new KRO-NCRV television series Binnenstebuiten, figuring in the new television show ‘In de ban van de Condor‘ and giving a talk about that on the the Dutch talk show ‘Tijd voor Max’ I managed to pick up two new species for my Dutch List: Citrine wagtail and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. The wind has switched to east and there’s nothing on the agenda yet for tomorrow morning, so I’ll be sweeping the dunes of Meyendel in search of rarities 😉
My site will be updated over the coming week. The most important change will be that the Biggest Year page will become my homepage and subsequently will be completely updated. All my sponsor-logos will figure on this page.
See you next week, happy Birding!