As of today I have seen 442 species. I have about ~17 species left to find in Southern Arizona. In my plan for the year I delineated 7 phases to this year. These were:
Northeast in winter
Florida in March
Texas Coast in April
Southeastern Arizona in May/June
Mountains in June/July/Aug
California in Sept/Oct
Lower Rio Grand Valley in December
I should be finished in Southeastern Arizona in just about a week, and then I will move into the mountains phase of the trip. Looking at the rest of my year, there are ~135 ABA code 1 and code 2 species that I could potentially find along my proposed route. I spent the day binning these species into the phase of the trip during which I was most likely (or first) to encounter them. I have included a list of 10 species for "California Pelagics" that could come into play with either a kayak, a sailboat, or extended periods of sea watching from Point Reyes or Point Pinos. Sooty Shearwater is guaranteed from shore with zero effort.
MOUNTAINS (NM, CO, WY, IA, OR) in JUNE, JULY, AUGUST- 55 species
Mountain quail (CA too)
Sooty grouse (CA too)
Greater sage grouse
Gunnison sage grouse (I would need TONS of help to get this)
Great gray owl
Pine siskenEvening grosbeak
CALIFORNIA in SEPT/OCT- 50 species
Greater-white fronted goose
Le Conte’s thrasher
Lawrence’s goldfinchPurple finch
CA PELAGICS - 11 species
TEXAS RIO GRANDE VALLEY in DECEMBER- 21 species
Looking at these bins, what I have concluded is that I am going to need less time than I thought in both California and Texas and more time in the mountains. The mountain species are going to be more spread out, harder to find, and more difficult to access because of very high elevations than species in the other two areas. The riding is going to be very difficult, but it should be incredibly beautiful as a consolation. I am going to have to do lots more hiking into the woods, and this is time consuming and a logistical headache. Woodland birding is a headache since I have to walk (often very far) away from the bike. Most people wouldn't leave their child unattended while they went on a 9-hour hike. This is sort of how I feel about my bike this year.
Many of these mountain species are going to be very tough to find: Flammulated owl, Black swift, Rosy finches, all the grouse/partridges, Mountain plover etc. I have not even listed birds like Boreal owl as I believe it will not be to possible to find this bird unless someone has a nest in his/her yard. I have no idea how to go about finding many of these species as I have done little to no birding in WY, IA, and OR. I have spent much time staring at these mountain species in eBird, but any additional help would be greatly appreciated. Right now I am thinking of something like this for a potential route. I am sure that this will be heavily modified as I go along.
I hope this gives everyone an idea of what the next few weeks and months will look like. I am always looking for birding help and lodging along this route, so if you want to become part off the adventure, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!