Me, Noah, Dub
As a self-acknowledged perfectionist, the decision to give up on these remaining birds is incredibly difficult for me to make. I had a list of birds that I needed to find on the Texas Coast, and I am going to fall several species short of a full quorum. I knew that I was not going to find every possible bird, but it still stings when the actual concession is finally made. It would have been nice to find at least one of the outstanding birds today, but as most of these are late migrants, I simply cannot wait around for them to arrive. I must keep moving, and as I am going to have favorable winds the next 2-3 days, the time is right for me to start the next leg of my journey. I hope I can use this a lesson moving forward. I know full-well that few aspects of this trip will go perfectly. I need to periodically remind myself that just because something isn't perfect doesn't mean it isn't valuable.
Scarlet tanager from today
(far from perfect, but still nice!)
I plan to spend the next ~4 days riding to Austin. I must decide if I am going to make a stop at Attwater's Prairie Chicken NWR for the Attwater's subspecies of the Greater prairie chicken. I assume these are ABA countable, but someone please correct me if I am wrong. This would represent a significant detour for me. The refuge does tours to the restricted areas where the birds are most easily found on Saturdays, but I am not going to make tomorrow's (4/26) tour since its 170 miles (or 2-days ride) away. I am trying to work something out with the refuge to get access to the best areas on Monday or Tuesday of next week. If I can get access, I will very likely see the bird and the trip will be worth the extra riding and logistics. If I must use the general auto tour route, the chances of seeing the bird drop markedly, and I must decided if the detour is worthwhile. The problem is that I won't get an answer about access until Monday afternoon, so I have to make my decision without all the information in hand. If I pass on this bird now, it is unlikely that I will get another crack at it. I do not think I will be back in its range this summer. My original route map showed me going into Nebraska, but I now doubt that this will actually happen. The point is that this is a big decision that I must make in the next day or so.
The northeastern-most red dot in Texas is the Attwater's
NWR refuge where I could see the bird.
I do not think I will have that much trouble covering decent miles each day on the ride to Austin (i.e. the next 4-5 days). However, I have no idea how difficult the riding is going to be west of Austin. I do know that it will be hilly and it will be hot. I am going to have to drop some gear so that I can carry additional water (I can hear everyone saying "Camelback" now so please know that I have that under control). There is very little infrastructure in this part of the country, so I will have to be constantly mindful of exactly where I am and how far it is to the next water source. It is going to be exceptionally challenging.
NOTE: This is NOT the exact route. It's jus to
give people an idea of what I am facing.
And yes, that is a fully occupied,
Texas-shaped, Purple martin house
here in High Island.
I hope to look for a few birds along the road tomorrow, so I'll be sure to let everyone know how that goes!
Bonus Short-billed dowitcher shot leftover from
yesterday (this bird had 2 legs unlike his
one-legged friend from yesterday)