Arjan Dwarshuis is a man with a mission: to break the world record for bird watching. More specifically, he wishes to spot over 6,000 species by the end of 2016, in an attempt to raise funds for the Birdlife Extinction Prevention Programme. That’s more than half of the global avian population he’s aiming to spot over a period of 365 days, and hopefully raise over 100,000 euros by the end of the year (the ‘Biggest Year’ as he calls it).
Arjan spent five days in Sri Lanka as part of his adventure, observing and photographing as many as 210 different species of birds, and he was kind enough to share with us the jaw-dropping images of some of the more magnificent birds (plus a bonus picture of a kangaroo lizard) captured by him and his travel partner and fellow birder, Max van Waasdijk.
The current world record for the most number of bird species spotted in a single year is 6,042, held by American birder Noah Strycker. Sri Lanka was Arjan’s third stop. With assistance from Jetwing Eco Holidays, he travelled to, among other locations, Sinharaja, Bundala, and parts of the Western province, and some areas in Sri Lanka’s dry zone, where he encountered 151 species of birds that he’d never seen before. He was also lucky enough to spot all 34 different species of bird endemic to Sri Lanka. By the time he left the island last week, his total international count had increased to 342. An auspicious start indeed.
“I want to show people how incredibly diverse our planet is, and to really get them to think about getting [the] local community involved in ecotourism and conservation. And show them that with a little bit of effort and money, a lot can be done,” he said.