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Support Visualizing the Pitayal!


Over the years I’ve been working on Wingtrip, I’ve visited a number of locales in search of birds, nature, and adventure. While I never try to rank my experiences, because I learn as much in a local park as in Borneo, there’s been a few that have stood out. One in particular was in February of 2010, to Northwest Mexico.

We drove the dusty freeway all day from Nogales to a small town south of Navajoa, Sonora and struck west on the beaten earth road in the dark. Sneaking in under the cover of darkness, we were all so tired that we barely took in our surrounding, flopped out our tents, and slept hard. In the morning, I found myself in a wonderland of fog, lichen, and cacti.


The following days at the Navopatia Field Station were nothing short of magical. Some of our group had spent months of their lives as interns at the station, others, like me, had never set foot in the state of Sonora. All of us were convinced this was a winter paradise, full of life. Seeing the biodiversity of the Pitayal, the coastal thorn-scrub dominated by the organ-pipe cactus, I soon understood why my friends went into raptures just thinking about it. This ecosystem found nowhere else in the world was so unlike how most people see the desert.

I explored the scrub, bustling with life, seeing the desert birds in the field station’s mist nets and at dawn and dusk. I sat along side the Agiabambo estuary and saw how many ducks, terns, herons, and shorebirds called it a full or part-time home. I paddled out to the islands and the mangroves and listened to mangrove warblers and the constant clacking of the crabs that lived about the stilted roots. In short, I was thoroughly captivated.


The locals, who alternate between this winter fishing village on the saltwater and further inland during the insect heavy summers, enjoyed a truly special place. However, it was also clear there was no guarantee it would be around for many more generations to come. Industrial agriculture and aquiculture threatened to turn the vibrant desert and waters into wastelands. That was the reason the Alamos Wildlands Alliance (AWA) was working at the Navopatia Field Station and had been for 8 years at the time of my visit.


So I vowed to come back and by the time that opportunity arose, I decided that I could do more than simply visit for fun. I could make myself useful. A plan was hatched and this February I’ll be visiting Navopatia to create a portfolio of images that will aide AWA in their fundraising, their bids to convince those in power of the necessity of an intact landscape, and of course, in educational outreach for locals and those abroad.

The reason I’m writing about this here is that I need your help. One of the age old traditions of photographers, writers, and adventurers is finding sponsors for personal projects. I am doing all this work for free, because I believe in AWA’s work and because I want to use my talents to help conservation efforts and to spread knowledge. That said, I can’t completely self fund this trip. Ten days ago I began a Kickstarter Campaign and I’m hoping you’ll support it. I’m not asking for a lot, I’m asking for enough to cover costs.

When I’m finished with this project I’ll come away with photos and video of the landscape, the people who live there, the work AWA is doing, and the animal and plant inhabitants. I’ll be using a large number of devices at all hours of the day to create vibrant imagery for you to enjoy and to help AWA. I hope you’ll support an artist with a journalistic bent, a non-profit working to save an endangered landscape, and most of all the Pitayal itself. Thanks for your support!



  1. Pingback: Visualizing the Pitayal Pt. 4 – The Act of Early Morning Data Collection | Wingtrip

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  3. Pingback: Visualizing the Pitayal Pt. 3 – Birds in the Hand | Wingtrip

  4. Pingback: Visualizing the Pitayal Pt. 2 – The Long Way South | Wingtrip

  5. Pingback: Visualizing the Pitayal Pt 1.: Stalled…Just for Sec | Wingtrip

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