De vogelwereld, inclusief mijzelf, maakt een diepe buiging voor deze prestatie. Top, maar ga vooral nog even door. Vanaf 1 jan. mag je uitslapen...
He did it! On 10 November Dutch birder Arjan Dwarshuis broke the world record in birding. The Northern Jacana he saw in Costa Rica was the 6.119th bird species he recorded this calendar year alone.
With this sighting he has now broken the already incredible record of American birder Noah Strycker, that was set as recent as 2015. Arjan still has another 51 days to increase his new record.
“I’m very, very pleased. Pleased that I broke the record, pleased that I broke it so early in the year. For the first time this year I had two beers instead of the one a day that I allowed myself this year” Arjan says on Whatsapp.
“But I’m not done yet”.
This list or that list: it now doesn’t matter
The two fanatic world listers used different lists to keep track of their records: Noah used Clements, while Arjan used the more progressive IOC (that acknowledges more species). However, a quick calculation reveals that Arjan has now passed Noah on both lists.
Is 7000 doable?
Record or not, Arjan will press on further to increase his bird list. He has even altered his schedule. Originally he planned to visit Central-America and North America till the end of the year, but by spending less time there, he saves time to head back to Asia – the continent where he started his big adventure.
“In hindsight I should have planned more time in Asia, but fortunately I found a way to fix that. Due to visa issues I can’t enter China, but I will go to Vietnam, Taiwan and then end the year in Japan.”
In line with his energetic and ambitious personality, he’s set a new goal that raised eyebrows: to end the year with 7000 birds. The more serious followers on fora say it’s impossible: between 6.500 and 6.700 seems more likely. 7000 means he has to see 17 new species a day – an awful lot at the end of a big year.
“We’ll see how far I get. But I think 7000 is doable” Arjan says. “If you don’t aim high, you won’t reach high” he says with a smiley added to the message. And maybe that’s precisely what characterizes him – and got him his amazing record in the first place.
No time for cooking just yet!
When asked if birding every day to achieve a specific number doesn’t stress him out, Arjan says: “Of course it’s stressful to have only shot at a specific target. Day in day out.”
But is he done with it, after more than ten months of straight birding?
“No way, man!”
“Of course I long to see my girlfriend, family and friends more often than I did this year. Go to a bar with friends and have more than one beer. Or god, to stay in bed for the morning. And to have time for my other big hobby: cooking. I really miss that.”
But don’t let this fool you:
“But all those things are for 2017. Mind you, I now do what I like the most: seeing spectacular birds at spectacular places. So yes, I’m still highly motivated. I love it.”
Who ever said the Dutch were cheap?
While trying to break the world record, Arjan is also collecting money for BirdLife International. Though he collected a considerable amount of money, Arjan is not on schedule for the goal he set. All of the money wired to this fundraiser goes directly to those species that are on the verge of extinction (BirdLife’s Preventing Extinction Programme).Until now he has collected 15.000 euro out of the targeted 100.000. While the Dutch have a reputation for being cheap, they – as well as Flemish birders - have donated generously. 15.000 euros, not bad for the tiny Low Countries!
“On behalf of the birds I’d like to thank everybody who has donated. I’m sorry I did not have the time to thank everybody personally, but it’s very, very much appreciated”.
Arjan has however reached few people outside the Low Countries – even though he’s being followed word wide by 1000s of birders. Hits on his pictures on Observation.org for instance run into the 100000s. Hopefully the broken record is a very good reason to donate money for those species that really need it! Go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Biggest-Year
“Please donate”, Arjan says, “it’s not for me, it’s for the birds that need it the most”
If you have trouble wiring money, or do not own a credit card, please don’t hesitate to contact me at v.vanderspek at gmail dot com
* Note that 5.000 euro is not visible on JustGiving as it was send as a cheque.