Saturday, May 10, 2014

May 10 (Day 130) - More riding, Fundraising plea/update, Wilson's warbler at #366

Before I dive into the main blog, I would like to thank everyone who has donated money to my beneficiaries. I have raised roughly $11,600 to date. This is a great accomplishment, but fundraising has really stalled in the past 2 weeks. I know the blog is not as exciting as when I am in the prime birding areas, so perhaps people are waiting for me to reach Arizona before they tune back in. This is perfectly understandable, but let me remind everyone that I set a rather lofty goal of $100,000. Donations of any amount are welcomed and will count towards this goal. As I have said, I am in potentially the most challenging stretch of riding, and it would really help my spirits to see the fundraising needle moving in the right direction as I fight the hills, heat, and wind on behalf bird conservation. Please click the BIG GREEN DONATION BOX at the upper right to make a contribution.

Today's ride took me from Van Horn to Fort Hancock, TX.  I only know about Fort Hancock as the place where Andy Dufrense crossed the Mexican border en route to Zihuatenejo in the classic film "The Shawshank Redemption" (a personal favorite of mine). I thought about pushing onto Fabens, but my legs are really tired at the moment. I am feeling rather beat up right now, but I should be out of Texas in just 2 more days. I do not want people to think that West Texas is some huge waste of space. On the contrary, its rather rustic and unspoiled, but it probably best enjoyed from the car. As I have said, the lack of infrastructure makes biking through this area a bit of a logistical headache. For those that have never visited this area, the birding can be great. Big Bend National Park is fantastic, but there is NO way I could bird it by bike. As a friend told me, "I nearly died of thirst birding Big Bend in a car." I will return to Central and Western Texas at some point (hopefully with my big camera), but I plan to be driving when I do!

68 more miles today!

I made a roadside stop to rest about 55 miles into my ride today. I noticed a small, yellowish bird hopping around in a shrub about 50 feet away. I broke out the binoculars to spy a Wilson's warbler for year bird #366. This is bird a I expected to find at some point, but was nonetheless a welcomed addition during a moderately long ride today. I haven't taken many photos in the last week, but I did snap a few quick ones here and there. Here are two of them.

Ash-throated flycatcher

Cave swallow - need 1DX, stat! (1DX is Canon's 
newest DSLR with the best AF system on the planet. 
It would be helpful for fast moving birds such as this guy!)

Sonia and I spent more time relaxing this afternoon. There isn't too much to do in Fort Hancock, but we did take an after dinner walk through the town. It has a very Mexican flavor to it, and we heard NorteƱo music being played at numerous outdoor gatherings. Here is a photo of a nice little church we passed on our evening walk. It is really nice having the company of Sonia in these smaller Texas towns!

Fort Hancock church

Tomorrow I will head to El Paso. We are planning on staying at the Best Western on the North side of town. I just hope my legs will make it that far (~61 miles).

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