Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Feb 4 (Day 35) - Back to the coast, finally!

Today I sprinted the 51 miles from Greenville to New Bern, NC. I am actually staying just outside the city, and I will visit it tomorrow. I am very excited to be back on the coast. I have previously birded on the Outer Banks, but I have not visited the areas upcoast and downcoast from Wilmington. I know these areas provide really good birding, so I am sure that I will be able to tack on quite a few species in the next week. I arrived at my place of refuge with few hours of daylight to spare this afternoon, so I decided to take a walk through the neighborhood to see what birds I could find. This proved to be a wise decision as I was able to find Brown-headed nuthatch (#133), Gray catbird (#134) Forster's tern (#135), and Brown thrasher (#136). I have covered 292 miles in the last 5 days; This has not left much time for birding. However, I have deliberately powered through these miles knowing that there would not be many birds in this stretch. Now that I am back on the coast where I am likely to find more species, I plan to cut the riding down a bit and build in more off-days that are strictly dedicated to birding. I am very excited about this!

Brown thrasher from my stock 
Click for bigger image

I hope to post more images of the actual birds that I see each day in the next few weeks. Right now it is a royal headache is take pictures when I am on the bike. I must assemble the camera each time I want to take a photo, and in 99% of instances it isn't worth doing this since the bird will have flown off by the time I have everything ready. I thought about getting a wire basket on the front of my bike where I could keep the camera assembled so it would be easier to grab when a photo opportunity presented itself. I decided against this as I do not want to advertise that I have a camera with me and thus make myself a target for a thief. I also don't want the camera to go flying out should I have an accident. Someone suggested that I get something more substantial than a see-through wire basket. However, this would cause more drag on the bike. The problems are just endless! These are things that we all take for granted when riding and birding in a car. 

I will confess that I really do miss taking photographs of birds. In the three years that led up to this trip, my main interest shifted from pure birding to bird photography (I will at some point, probably on a slow day, provide a lengthy dissertation on the ongoing feud between these two groups). It is now interesting for me to step back from my photography interest and return to my former birding self. I have been birding for about 25 years, and I consider myself a very good but far from an outstanding birder. Conversely, I have been photographing birds for only 3 years, but I feel that my work in that time could be confused for the work of people with much more experience. I am hoping that I will get some good subjects and good light once I get a bit further south. I will be sure to share when I do, please stay tuned. I heard lots of frogs along the road today, so I'll share an old frog photo as I sign off to head to bed. You can see many more photos of birds and other animals at www.dorianandersonphotography.com.


  1. When touring I use an Ortlieb handlebar bag that has served me well. It's waterproof, and can be locked to the bike. (Though it can still be opened, it can't be easily grabbed.) Just an idea.

  2. A friend of mine really liked the Topeak handlebar bag for his DSLR camera while touring. It is internally padded, and deep enough to allow you to keep a reasonably large lens on it. I know REI usually stocks these bags, and I expect many other bike stores will as well.

    Your whole itinerary is very exciting. I'm a long time bike tourer who just got interested in bird watching, so maybe I will replicate your tour in a few years.