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YOUR TURN: Photo Big Days

“On April 21, 2014, at 9:28 a.m., in Angelina National Forest, Texas, a team of dedicated birder/photographers armed themselves with cameras and headed out to set a new North American record for the number of species of birds photographed in a 24-hour period.”

That’s how Scott Whittle and Tom Stephenson begin the tale of their “Photo Big Day” in the October 2014 issue of Birder’s Guide to Listing & Taxonomy. Joined by Cameron Cox and Sam Galick, they attempted and succeed to set a new record!

You can read the extended online-only version of the article (for free) by clicking on the image below. It contains a play-by-play of their big day effort that you won’t find in the printed magazine. If, after reading the article, you have a question for the authors, please leave it in the comment field, below. I courage you to offer any other comments, as well. Have you also done a photo big day? Please share your experience with us. Birder’s Guide welcomes your input!

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Michael Retter
Michael L. P. Retter is the editor of the ABA's newest magazine, Birder's Guide. He also wears his ABA cap while working as a Technical Reviewer for Birding magazine. When not at home, Michael is often leading tours in Middle America (Mexico through Panama). He currently lives with his fiancé, Matt, in Fort Worth, Texas. In his fleeting free time there, he pursues interests in horticulture (especially orchids), music, cooking, and numismatics. Michael also runs GBNA, the continent's informal club and email list for LGBT birders.
  • Gil Eckrich

    Did a Photo Big Day at the Caroline Spring, Independence Creek Preserve of TNC on 30 April 2011. Photographed 76 species of birds, ranging from the mundane House Sparrow to a nice Tropical Parula.

    • Michael Retter

      Thanks for sharing, Gil. I take it that’s in Texas?

  • Keith

    Last summer I read the ABA blog about the photo big day. As a graduate student who had recently gotten into birding (I discovered ebird just the previous month!) and was getting into bird photography along with my housemate, the photo big day seemed like a fun challenge: a good way to learn about birds and a bit of a treasure hunt. We set our “big day” during fall migration around our hometown of Davis, Ca. The two of us got up at sunrise on Sept 10th and checked out our favorite local spots for warblers, fly catchers, and other central valley birds. Then we drove the hour to the ocean stopping along the way to pick up a broader range of species including a lifer- a vagrant chestnut-sided warbler! By sundown we were exhausted and had full memory cards, but had totalled 109 species, as chronicled in a picasa album:
    https://picasaweb.google.com/117030447213925367025/BigPhotoDay91014?authuser=0&feat=directlink
    It was a fun and challenging day and I look forward to attempting something similar in the future.

    Keith Bailey
    Davis, Ca

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