Date: 1/2/18 3:41 pm
From: David Reynolds <david.reynolds...>
Subject: RE: [AZNMbirds] 2017 Yuma County Big Photo Year
WOW. Congratulations on a great year. I really enjoyed your fantastic photos.

David Reynolds


From: <aznmbirds-request...> [mailto:<aznmbirds-request...>] On Behalf Of matt V.
Sent: Monday, January 01, 2018 9:38 AM
To: <aznmbirds...>
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 down.

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, Rufous-backed Robin, MAGNOLIA WARBLER, WOOD THRUSH, RED CROSSBILL, Cassin's 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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