Date: 1/1/18 8:38 am
From: matt V. <fickity...>
Subject: [AZNMbirds] 2017 Yuma County Big Photo Year
Happy New Year! Last year on January 2nd, I began an effort to
photograph as many species of birds as I could in one year in Yuma County
AZ. I also worked full-time and tried to have a social life... Henry
Detwiler told me the greatest number of species he tallied in a Yuma Big
Year effort (non-photographic) was 234. He had achieved this total twice
over the past two decades. I formulated a conservative goal to try to
photograph 200 species during 2017. It seemed achievable, and would be a
good way to learn my new County and local areas. All along, I had the
benefit of Henry birding alongside me, and giving me tips. We worked
together to routinely assist one another in birdfinding and chasing species

I designed a folder on my Smugmug site to document my progress. On
May 20, 2017 I photographed my 200th species for my contest! Apparently, I
was too conservative in my totals goal? I decided to dedicate the rest of
the year to seeing how many more species I could add. By July, Brain
Johnson had joined the team and was helping Henry and I by finding great
birds in the Yuma area. Chris McCreedy joined the effort in late July,
after alerting us to a HOODED WARBLER he found in Dateland in May. Brian
brought Caleb Strand along on forays during autumn migration. This
cooperative effort between all of us helped in dividing and searching the
County and turning up incredible finds.

On October 9, 2017 I photographed the coveted 234 species mark, and
tied the record. After that, the number of rarities in Dateland exploded,
and Brain, Caleb and I discovered some great finds: PYRRHULOXIA,
Finch and Rose-breasted Grosbeak to name a few! Though the Dateland magic
ended abruptly in early November, the area added most of the very rare and
uncommon sightings for 2017.

December 17, 2017 was the last date I found a new bird and
photographed it for my Big Year. The flock of LAWRENCE'S GOLDFINCHES was
still present on New Years Eve in Dome Valley. My final tally is 262
species photographed, and sets a new Yuma County record. You can see all
the results of my Yuma County Big Year here:

Interestingly enough, I was able to photograph 100% of all my bird species
this year. The last time I tried a photo big year in Santa Barbara County,
I missed photos of 7 species, so this was a great achievement. Overall, I
have 99.62% of my Yuma County life list photographed in 2017. Alas, the
Bay Breasted Warbler I found in November of 2016 did not return this
year... Many thanks to Henry, Chris, Brian and Caleb!! Next year, I
think I'm going herping...


Matt Victoria
Mesa del Sol
Yuma, AZ 85367

My photos can be seen here:

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