Day 202 – Patagonia, AZ

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This was my 4th trip to Arizona in 6 months. The birding here is phenomenal and I always hate to leave. The time has come to return to my home state of Florida. My car is at the airport, I think.

I was talking to Larry Manfredi today to see if he could go with me for the Flamingoes and Black-faced Grassquit on Saturday in Florida. Not too many people want to go to Snake Bight Trail in Everglades National Park at this time of year. The hardcore have already been.

Larry said yes and then pointed out: “You know Yve, by the end of the month you will probably have seen more birds in the ABA area in one year than I’ve seen my whole life.” This realization took my breath away. Larry has been birding a long time.

I’ve had many veteran birders and guides, whom I respect a lot, echo this sentiment. It speaks to the true enormity of an ABA Big Year. I don’t ever forget the privilege that I’ve been given. It means the world to me to have reached and surpassed 700.

The reality of 700 birds in 6 months has not sunk in! Laura Keene told me that I reached this number quicker than her.

I achieved this number while still keeping the promise that I made my mother before she died in March. I visit my father every month no matter what. I missed the Bahama Woodstar because I couldn’t leave my father. That’s real life.

Nobody does a Big Year in a vacuum.

Today I went to Ramsey Canyon in Sierra Vista to follow a report of a Berylline Hummingbird. I “dipped” on the bird but had a chance to do one of my favorite hikes in North America. Took some time to smell the roses!

I leave AZ having added 6 birds to bring my total to 702+2 provisionals. A big thanks to Ken Blankenship, my guide and buddy, for everything. Most of all, driving to the California Gulch. Even though it was foolish, we came away with Mr. 700 Buff-collared Nightjar!

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