Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mar 23 (Day 82) - Turning west, lots of press, Canon camera special from Hunt's

Today represents a big turn in my year. I have been moving almost exclusively along a North-South axis for the first 11 weeks of the trip. Today, I turned to the west for a run that will end in Tucson, Arizona approximately 3 months from now. At that point I will turn North and head into the Central Rockies of Colorado. This is going to be a very challenging run, particularly the stretch from Austin, Texas to Tucson.

Knowing this, I have entered into a 5-week phase that is centered on energy conservation and muscle maintenance. I am current in Madison, FL and I would like to be in Sabine Pass, TX on April 14th. This means I will need to cover these ~850 miles in 21 days or so. This is an average of ~40 miles per day which should be completely manageable.  I will spend April 14-30 birding Sabine Woods, High Island, Anahuac NWR, and the Bolivar Peninsula. These birding areas are very close together and should not require much riding as I collect what will surely be a ton of new species for 2014. This plan will give me 5 weeks of light and moderate riding before I start the daunting run across Texas and New Mexico to reach Southeastern Arizona by June 10th or so.

***Click for mud bigger image***
If you live near this line and could house me for a
night, please email me at

I rode a quick 53 miles today to reach the Best Western outside of Madison, FL. I left at 9:30 and arrived at 1:30pm, so this was basically a half day of riding. I plan to swim in the hotel pool, rest, watch basketball, and send out lots of logistical emails this afternoon. I would not be doing my due diligence as a college basketball fan if I did not mention that my alma mater and 10-seed in the NCAA tournament, the Stanford Cardinal, knocked off the 2-seed Kansas Jayhawks this afternoon. I arrived in time to watch the entire second half of what was a very exciting game!

53 quick miles

There have been a number of nice Biking for Birds articles of late. I have been lagging on posting these, but since today was slow bird wise, this will be the perfect time to highlight these pieces. Here is a great write-up from the Santiva Chronicle, and here is brief mention I got in an article on ESPN about Red Sox spring training!

Lastly, many people into whom I have bumped on my trip have asked about camera gear. Most of them are looking for a good, inexpensive camera that will enable them to document their sightings and share pictures of the birds they see with friends and family. Few people want to lug a DSLR with a 400mm lens on it, so most of them are looking for something smaller and more portable. While I am a dedicated SLR shooter, I have talked with many people about the Canon SX50 HS Super Zoom Camera. This seems to be the go-to camera for bird photographers with budget and weight constraints. I have knocked into many people who now use this camera in place of binocular because of its zooming and documentation advantages. As I am constantly trying to put good gear into the hands of other birders, I asked the folks at Hunt's Photo to work up a special 10% discount on this item for readers of this blog. This special can be found here. The promo code is 40SX50 should you need to physically input this. If you have been on the fence about making a camera purchase now is the time and Hunt's is the place! This would be great paired with the MeFoto tripods I mentioned in a  previous post. My MeFoto Globetrotter has been fantastic so far!


  1. Dorian, Have you considered contacting Outside magazine for extra publicity, which would help with the fund raising?

  2. Yes, I really need to do this. I know they are would totally dig it!

  3. I'm one of those birders with the SX50HS. I also have a Nikon D4 with a 300mm lens, but I almost always use my SX50 because of the extra reach. While I don't get the bokeh and autofocus speed of my Nikon, most of the time I'm just trying to document what I'm seeing, not creating photos to sell/display. A DSLR with quick lens has it's advantage if you're trying to get warblers quickly moving through brush. But if you're going for a "sitting duck" out in a pond, the 1200mm reach of the Canon SX50 works great. PLUS it shoots RAW. Nikon just released the P600 with a 60x zoom with a "birding" mode, but no RAW. I think Sony has one also. So they are getting better and better and might overtake the concept of Digiscoping soon

  4. I use the Canon SX50HS as well. I walk a lot - a scope, tripod, binoculars and a DSLR got to be a lot hanging around my neck and shoulders. Not to mention taking a DSLR backpacking with gear for a 8-10 days. I converted. While not as fast - it is much better than competition in terms of shutter lag, processing time, how many shots in sequence you can take - and it does HD video as well. You can also shoot in both jpg and RAW if you so desire (it will increase the processing time). I saw it was on "clearance" price at one electronics store - perhaps a SX60HS is coming?