Saturday, April 12, 2014

Apr 12 (Day 102) - YEE HAW! Texas arrival, a few new migrants!

Today I rode 83 miles from Sulphur, Louisiana to Sabine Pass, Texas. I am here for one reason: migrants. Sabine Pass is just up the road from Sabine Woods which is arguably the best migrant trap in Texas. I am going to be here for at least 3 full days, and I could be here for up to 5 depending on how the birding goes. Right now it looks as the weather could really heat up the birding Monday and Tuesday, but until then I will play the waiting game. Tomorrow I plan to get a lay of the land as I bird Sabine Woods and some of the other coastal areas. I expect the woods to be quiet tomorrow due to strong southeast winds, so hopefully I can break the camera out for a bit.

83 miles today

I got a very early start today since I saw that the wind was going to kick up in the afternoon. The morning ride was through endless marsh as I made my way south to the coast. I did not stop to do much birding since the wind was fairly strong, and I wanted to keep moving. The coast was really nice, and the southeast wind gave me a nice push once I made the turn to the west. The coast road here was just fantastic. It was in very good shape and had very little traffic (although that could a function of it being Saturday). I did a bit of birding around Holly Beach, LA where I was able to add Common tern (#289) to the list. I also made a 1.5 hour stop at a very quiet Peveto Woods about 2 miles west of Holly Beach. I did not expect much given the southeast winds, but I was able to squeeze out 3 new birds in Scarlet tanager (#290), Rose-breasted grosbeak (#291), and an immature Broad-winged hawk (#292). These are all birds that I expected to find at some point, so there was nothing really amazing here. The tanager was really pretty though. This bird is so pretty that an unbirder can see once and get hooked for life!

I reached Texas mid-afternoon and took the obligatory bike picture and selfie in front of the state sign. I then proceeded to take a very long detour to cross the Port Arthur shipping channel (loop to the north on map above). Port Arthur is nothing more than one enormous refinery, and it was very unpleasant to ride through it.  I had to cross a number of steep bridges, pass underneath many huge, hissing pipes, and deal with the nasty odor that these facilities produce. It was not fun. 

Gulf coast just west of Holly Beach, LA

Great road heading west!

Texas arrival. State #18!

Texas selfie

Unhappy refinery selfie - Ugh....

The next few days are going to be a bit of a culinary test. The one restaurant/diner in this tiny town has gone bust. This leaves me with only one option: the gas station around the corner. My motel room does have a fridge and a microwave, but the food at the gas station is really basic and quite limited. Tonight's main course was a pizza from the food counter inside the gas station. For vegetables, I forced down cold, unseasoned peas straight from the can (I have no plates/bowls). I also bought Raisin bran and milk, and I plan to use the motel ice bucket as a cereal bowl tomorrow morning. These are the types of food challenges I will face the next 4-6 days. It is certainly going to be interesting. The nearest restaurant is 15 miles away (back through the refinery), so it is not a realistic option. Ugh.......

In an effort to spur your earth friendly efforts this weekend, I want to highlight a movie call "Midway" that shows exactly what happens when we use lots of stuff - mainly plastics - and dispose of it improperly. I have not seen the film in its entirety yet, but I did donate money to its production. Its pretty heartbreaking, but hopefully it will clearly make my point about waste and how it affects birds.

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