Happy new year everyone!
I hope everyone had a very birdy holiday season and is enjoying having
their year bird lists reset back to zero. I just wanted to take a moment to
give a quick summary of my photo big year and to give a HUGE thank you to
everyone who donated and offered advice to help me find birds I was in
It was a long, exciting, busy year that ended up far exceeding my
expectations when I first made the decision to attempt to photograph as
many species as I could in Vermont during 2016. My original goal was to
shoot for 240 species photographed, a target that I thought would be very
difficult and I was skeptical of my ability to see that many species in a
year, let alone photograph that many. My photo big year was also a
fundraiser to go towards a scholarship from the Otter Creek Audubon Society
to help cover the cost of tuition for the Hog Island Audubon summer camp in
Maine for a young teen birder, since I was given a similar grant when I was
younger to attend another bird oriented summer camp. The annual scholarship
that OCAS offers is $600 to cover half of the $1200 tuition. I honestly
would've been thrilled to raise even $300 to help OCAS in providing such a
great opportunity to a kid, as I can personally attest to the difference it
can make in a kids life.
At the beginning, I was hesitant to put forth my photo big year idea to the
VT birding community because I was worried people might see it as annoying
or inappropriate. After all, it is a place to share bird sightings, not ask
for money, right? Or at least my fear was that people would see it that
way. Boy, was I wrong.
By December 31st, I had far exceeded my own fantasies about how many
species I could accumulate, and on December 27th, I photographed my final
species of the year, a Lesser Black-backed Gull on Lake Dunmore to bring my
final total to 259 species, painfully just one bird shy of a nice round
number....but I'll take it! Not only did I blow past my species target, but
the amazing people in the vtbird community helped me blow past another
target. With donations from over two dozen people, I was able to raise just
over $2,000, enough for a full scholarship for one student, and nearly a
full scholarship for a second. On top of that, OCAS agreed to keep our
usual $600 scholarship and offer that to a teacher to attend the Hog Island
Audubon educators week so they can pass on their new knowledge to their
students and creating new VT birders!
Again, thank you all SO much for all the help. We are all very lucky to be
a part of such a caring community. I have had the good fortune to spend
time living and birding all across the country, and I can honestly say
Vermont has one of the best birding communities out there. Thank you, and I
hope those of you who followed along had as much fun as I did!
One last time, here is a final link to my photos from 2016. Enjoy.