Monday, October 27, 2014

Oct 27 (Day 300) - The chase is on!

Despite all the reasons that I articulated yesterday NOT to chase the Rufous-backed robin, this is exactly what I decided to do. There have been several nights this year when I made a decision how to handle the following day only to change the plan once I actually got on the bike. The day that I finally found Greater sage-grouse was one example of this. I think this can be attributed to how I feel at night versus the morning. I was very tired last night (like every night!), and I had no desire to ride 150 miles one-way to chase a bird. I think the tone of the yesterday's post reflected my lack of excitement. However, once I go on the bike this morning, I felt great. I decided that I would take a run at the robin; Even if I missed it I would have the story to tell. Ten years from now, I would rather know that I chased it and missed it than bypassed it to take the easier route. Plus, the bird is in an area near Joshua Tree National Park that I have not visited, so at least I will see yet another new area of the country. The trick with chasing birds is that you have to be willing to miss. It's the same as in life. Its impossible to be successful unless you are willing to fail along the way. 

The robin was seen in at the 29 Palms Motel and Cabins in Twentynine Palms, CA on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I could not do the 150-mile ride (and ~4500' of climbing) to Twentynine Palms in one day. It would have to be split into two days. I decided to do the first, relatively flat ~110 miles today. Along this route I would slowly climb ~1,500'.  Tomorrow morning, when it is nice and cool, I will tackle the remaining, big climb into the mountains. During the first 21 miles, I will climb 3,000'. I will then give back 1,500 feet over the next 23 miles to reach Twentynine Palms. I think this ride should take about 3.5 hours. If I leave at 6 am or so, I can be there by 9:30-10am and spend most of the day looking for the bird. 

111 miles today. I felt great all day. Less wind than forecast too.

Skirting the Salton Sea (love the slant!)

Roadside scenery

As I rode today, I kept a very vigilant eye on the SoCal rare bird alerts. I was hoping to see a post early in the day that the robin was being seen just as it has been the last 3 days. Knowing the bird was present today would really help to buoy my spirits as I pedaled north.  However, I did not see any mention of the robin this morning - or this afternoon. This does not mean that the bird is gone. It is a Monday today, and presumably fewer folks were able to make it to Twentynine Palms today than on either weekend day. I was going to try for the robin regardless of what came across the posting wire today, but it would be nice to hear something. Finally, after I had arrived at my spot for the evening, a post came in that said the robin was seen as per usual this morning in its usual spot. YES! Now I just need the bird to stay put for one more night (Everyone say your prayers!). It has both food and water at the pseudo-riparian motel grounds where it has been seen. There isn't much of either beyond the motel grounds, so hopefully he'll realize how good he has it and stay put!


  1. I was hoping you would change your mind. You make us proud. Good luck tomorrow.

  2. How awesome will it feel tomorrow to wake up just 40 miles from a Rufous-backed Robin?! -Dave

  3. Congratulations on the gulls, good job! If you have the time I highly recommend that you go into Joshua Tree NP, it really is a stunning place! You should also get a genuine $5 marine hair cut in 29 Palms and post pics of it to the blog. Good luck tomorrow!
    Allt the best,
    Erik (who got a squacco heron lifer this mornings, 15th record for sweden!)
    Gothenburg, Sweden

  4. Steady as she goes....
    success is at hand.
    Prayers launched as per request.
    Sending many rufous thoughts your way!
    Feral Cyclist

  5. Way-to-go Dorian! What's next, Nutting's Flycatcher at Lake Havasu?

  6. Now this is EXACTLY the narrative arc we've been looking for!

  7. What are the Arizona Target Birds?

  8. Good luck, Dorian!

  9. WWCR at Sandia Crest today, too.