In 2015, USA birder Noah Strycker set a 'World Record' by notching up an amazing 6042 bird species across 41 countries in a single year. On the first of January 2016 a Dutch birder by the name of Arjan Dwarshuis started his 'Biggest Year' with the aim of being the first twitcher to record 6500 species in a calendar year.
With six months done and over 3200 species in the bag Arjan has begun the South African leg of his birding quest. On his journey through this part of the world he will be ably assisted by the Birding African guides.
After landing in Johannesburg on Friday 27 May, Arjan and Ethan Kistler set out for Suikerbosrand and Zaagkuildrif. Polokwane was the next stop and on Sunday 29th May Joe Grosel joined Arjaan for a few hours to track down close on 25 'tricky' species on his hit list for the Polokwane region. Some of the target species included Short-toed Rock-thrush, Tinkling Cisticola, Shaft-tailed Whydah, Barred Wren-warbler, Ashy Tit, Cape Penduline-Tit, Shortclawed Lark and Burnt-necked Eremomela. Fortunately we got all those and a few more that he didn't expect to see here. From Polokwane Arjan headed east to the Kruger National Park and flew down to Cape Town on the first of June to be guided by Callan Cohen. From Cape Town he continues onto Ghana.
Apart from attempting to set a new World record Arjan is using the opportunity to raise at least €100000 for Birdlife International's 'Preventing Extincions Programme' in collaboration with Vogelbescherming Nederland and the Dutch Birding Association.
You can follow Arjan's travels and progress on his website and blog http://arjandwarshuis.com/#biggestyear