Thank you to all who have commented on our idea to try to see 800 species in just 8 years.
The consensus of your comments seems to be that it should be possible if we are willing to travel enough to make it happen. In other words, it might not be possible under the birding-on-a-budget model of limiting travel to a reasonable cost (what a typical birder might be able to afford from his or her budget).
The main sticking point is travel to Alaska. Your comments considered it to be impossible to get to 800 without seeing all the usual birds and many of the Eurasian vagrants that show up in Alaska. Traveling to and around Alaska is expensive compared to our budget birding ways. So, getting to Alaska on a budget is the key to making the “8 years to 800!?” idea work.
We are exploring some volunteer opportunities, some RV travel options, and even the possibility of finding seasonal work in Alaska as ways to get to Alaska without spending the typical $5000 to $7000 it costs to do dedicated birding tours. If you have any ideas we’d love to hear them.