Some feel a little bit unmasked, others just get amused about well-known habits and a few think the portrayal is too exaggerated: In the film „The Big Year“ David Frankel shows partly realistic and partly overdrawn how three US Americans run a Big Year. The Big Year of birding originated in the Anglo-Saxon countries and nowadays has different new variations across the world. For exactly one year, more specifically from 0 o’clock at the 1st of January local time until 31st of December 24 o’clock, you have to see or hear as many different species of birds as possible. It could become high performance sport, but in the original positive sense it is a sabbatical in nature or enough leisure time for a favorite activity. We show some variants and facts about a Big Year.
2016 was a record year worldwide as well as in North America. The Dutch Arjan Dwarshuis set the world record with 6,833 bird species in one year. The most well-known competition for a Big Year certainly is the one in the ABA-area of North America that is defined by the American Birding Association. Thanks to “El Niño“ 2016 was a perfect year to see rare species in Northern America you usually do not see. Besides the meteorological phenomena John Weigel’s success is also due to some few new splits in species taxonomy, which enabled him additional listings. John Weigel surpassed all his predecessors with 783 species as well as his competitor for the year, Olaf Danielson.
Introducing the New ZEISS Victory Harpia Spotting Scope
From 11 through 13 September, ZEISS Sports Optics invited visitors to come to the city of Hamburg and check out the new ZEISS Victory Harpia spotting scope that will be available starting in January 2018. Invited guests not only got to attend the product demo, but also heard from the Dachverband Deutscher Avifaunisten (DDA), an umbrella organization for bird lovers, and took a boat ride to the Carl Zeiss Bird Station in the Wedel Marsh run by the NABU Hamburg, an environmental protection group.
There, participants had the opportunity to try out the new spotting scope, with its revolutionary optical system featuring a three-stage wide-angle zoom, in real-world conditions.
A chalkboard at the entrance to the Carl Zeiss Bird Station headed by Marco Sommerfeld informs visitors which birds they might see in the Wedel Marsh currently.
How many species can be recorded during a 24h race inside the WP? At the end of 90’s and beginning of this century, scores were increasing, especially in countries like Finland, France and Estonia. In the latter country the European record was set up by a Finnish team, composed by Mika Bruun, Sampsa Cairenius, Jukka Hatva and Jan Nordblad on 25th May 1998 with a total a 190 species. After these scores, the Tramuntana Birding Team won the Spanish bird race organized by SEO/BirdLife, several time arriving for first time at 200 species in 2004, then 202 species in 2005, 204 species in 2006 and 217 species in the race of 2007. This was the absolute best European record for the last ten years.
They offer detailed information of their races at their blog (www.tbt.cat), where many pictures and the chronicle of each marathon for every year is available from that Catalan team, composed by Jordi Sargatal, Oriol Clarabuch, Deli Saavedra, Aleix Comas, Ponç Feliu and Joan Carles Gimisó. This high diversity of species recorded during spring migration is possible in Europe because in NE Spain a wide array of habitats and altitudes are present, from the sea and coastal wetlands to high mountains with alpine pastures, and steppes and different types of forests, allowing to find more than 200 species during a whole day.
Stefan Glowacz and Markus Dorfleitner take on the “black wall”
On the Höllental path to Zugspitze mountain is a northward-facing cliff that is 400 meters higher than the Höllentalanger Hut. This “black wall” is not in the same league as the famous north faces of the Alps, but it is a real feat for climbers in the lower 11th degree and thus offers what is probably the most demanding in the Wetterstein mountain range, where they already have climbing experience. But what Stefan Glowacz, one of German’s foremost climbers, and his friend Markus Dorfleitner from the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen have been planning for years but haven’t quite managed, goes far beyond that. Their dream route for this face is vertical, the line of the “falling water droplet!”
Alpinists call it a direttissima, the straightest route, which is unadorned and highly treacherous. This is known as redpoint climbing, a style in which people climb freely and the cable and bolt are only there to keep you safe. The two climbers have used binoculars and photos to study the structures of the cliff face in different lights and map their route. Unfortunately, the original date for the first ascent had to be called off on account of the weather – but on 4 July 2017 it was time to get climbing. A beautiful sunrise, blue skies, and a dry cliff with plenty of grip were a great way to start the day.
Imagine being in one of the world’s best spots for visible migration, in right time, surrounded by talented and inspiring birdwatchers and doing this for good cause – doesn’t that sound good? Well, this is what Champions of the Flyway is about. It is a fund raiser against illegal killing of the migratory birds around the Mediterranean Sea and a famous bird race, which takes place in southern Israel each March. The Zeiss Arctic Redpolls is one of the teams that Zeiss Sport Optics has supported during many years.
We are a group of 4 birdwatchers from Finland. We had scored the 2nd place on 2015 and 1st place on 2016, so the burden of winning had worn off. We aimed to have a nice intensive day of birdwatching and lots of good time. We were also putting the new Gavia Conquest spotting scope on a hard test.
Will it be an asset in the game or should it be dumped? Well, we got what we aimed for and more – here is how it all rolled out.
ZEISS supports the Honduras Birding for Conservation Tour
The inaugural Honduras Birding for Conservation Tour took place in northwestern Honduras from November 4 to 12, 2016.
Five teams of ten birders, and two guides birded during proscribed hours each day, rotating between some of Honduras’ most famous birding hotspots, including Santa Barbara, Pico Bonito, and Meambar Blue Mountain national parks as well as Lake Yojoa, the Lancetilla Botanical Gardens, and the Mayan ruins at Copán.
The purpose of the tour was to raise awareness of the birding opportunities in Honduras, to encourage more eco- and avitourism there, and to raise money and awareness for conservation of Honduran birds and habitat. Everyone – from tour organizers to guides to participants to the Honduran government and the national media outlets – seemed to agree that the inaugural Honduras Birding for Conservation Tour (HBCT) was a grand success. Carl Zeiss Sports Optics was a major sponsor of the tour – more about that later on in this post.
Come see the Carl ZEISS Sports Optics team at the American Birding Expo, September 16 to 18, 2016, at the Grange Insurance Audubon Society/Scioto Audubon MetroPark in downtown Columbus, Ohio in the United States.
Not only can you see the entire ZEISS line of premier optics at the Expo, you can also enjoy the exquisite original artwork of Catherine Hamilton, one of five ZEISS Birding Ambassadors worldwide.
Welcome to the new ZEISS Nature Blog where you will find the latest stories about nature observation and birding.
Discover the unique world of birds, exciting travel destinations and helpful tips and tricks from our nature and birding experts - your outdoor adventure starts here.
To help you experience nature at first hand, we are giving away a pair of the latest ZEISS Victory SF binoculars. Look and identify the birds to be in the image with the chance of winning a pair of the latest ZEISS Victory SF binoculars.
Champions of the Flyway is an international bird race for conservation. All teams are competing to raise the greatest amount of conservation funding. Its primary purpose is to celebrate the extraordinary miracle of bird migration. The teams arrive in Eilat a few days prior to the race day.
There is one full day of touring the best sites in the Negev and the Arava Valley enabling all participants to get a good feel of the “playing field” and practical and logistical issues, led by Israel’s top birders. The following days, the teams explore the field on their own to plan their route for the race day.