Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dec 12 (Day 346) - Sabal Palms, eBIrd initiation, goodbye to the LRGV

Yesterday at Sabal Palms was so enjoyable that I decided to repeat it today. Like yesterday, I did not expect to find any new birds; I simply wanted to have a relaxing day of birding as I waited for some big weekend winds to arrive. As a fun challenge for myself, I set a goal of finding 50 species in the park today. In 6.5 hours, I found 52 species! The highlight of the day was certainly what I assume was the same Tropical parula as yesterday. Otherwise, the species were fairly similar to yesterday. Clay-colored thrush and Northern parula were also notables. It was really, really nice to just wander around without a specific bird-finding agenda. I also spent a bit of time checking out the butterflies, bugs, and turtles. An Indigo snake also cruised through the reeds as I enjoyed a Solitary sandpiper resting on the shore. In other big news, I created my first eBird checklist ever today! Now to figure out how to add photos - ugh, not as simple as I thought it might be.

Tropical parula from today

Northern parula

When I am birding by car, I find that I often check out a spot only to move on if there isn't immediate bird activity. In a car, the time and energy cost of moving to another spot is really low. However, on a bike, the cost of moving is significantly higher. I find that the bike has really slowed me down for the better these last two weeks in the LRGV. I have birded Bentsen, Anzalduas, Estero Llano Grande, Resaca de la Palma, and now Sabal Palms with a diligence of which I am very proud. I know each of these parks and the diversity of birds within them very well. In many instances, I birded my way through slow points to find nice birds later in the day. There is something very satisfying about diligently, repeatedly, and thoroughly combing through these parks. I hope to apply this approach to more of my future birding beyond 2014. 

44 miles today

Tomorrow I will ride the 28 miles to Raymondville and then the 72 across the King Ranch to reach Kingsville. There will be some nice SE wind tomorrow (10-15 MPH) afternoon. This should be a big help as the terrain is plum flat the entire way. Sunday I plan to ride ~80 miles northeast to Rockport. This ride will also be wind aided (15-20 MPH SSE). The winds are supposed to die down on Monday, the day I have blocked out to look for Whooping crane. As you can see, the next 3 days are completely structured around the wind forecast. This is why I decided to chill/bird at Sabal Palms again today.

Incidently, I am staying at a very interesting place tonight. I am staying in San Benito with Marci and Terry Fuller. They have an incredible property with a yard list of 312 species! The have found amazing birds like Green-breasted Mango, American Flamingo, Crimson-collared grosbeak, and Mangrove cuckoo just out the backdoor. As they plan on doing lots of traveling the next few years, their house is actually for sale right now. They would love to see it go to birders, so I said I would mention it here in case any of my readers are looking for a place in the LRGV. You can check at the house/property at

I also found lots more butterflies today. I had access to a field guide tonight. With the help of my butterfly-expert host, I sorted out IDs on all of them. Here are a few of them.

Red-bordered pixie

Common mestra

Common buckeye


  1. You may find this useful for adding photos:

  2. Hi, the link above it what you need to get started embedding, however if you are using Picassa it has become a little trickier in the last few years if you have Google+ going because you can't see and access the embed code for a photo anymore. But if you use this link you get to the "old" Picassa and after you make an album publicly accessible then the embed links are accessible in the toolbar on the right side of the screen. Good luck!

  3. Dorian, you are really coming to the end now. What a spectacular year you have had. You have set the mark so high that I wonder if your efforts will ever be surpassed. In addition to such a spectacular bird list, funds raised and friends made, you have come to know this country so well - especially around the edges where most of the birds are. You're an expert on weather, wind, altitude and changing bicycle tires. Like graduating from college or graduate school, the past year is an experience that you will have all of your life. You will be telling your children and grandchildren about this and it will inspire them to do big and different things. I know you did it for the birds and the fund raising, but when its all said and done I think you will reflect on the bigger things. Very well done. I'll keep reading until the end.

  4. Dorian, use the link from the first comment from "Anonymous". Just upload your photos to Flickr then follow those instructions.

    Good Luck!

    —Miles Brengle

  5. Hi Dorian,

    I've been reading you for a few months now and what an adventure!
    I'm passionate about travelling, national parks, the West (I live in northeast) and I like birds.
    I also love maps, lists and statistics.
    I guess you're the same by reading your blog lol !

    That being said and with all you've live and see, I would love to read (blog or future book) all kinds of lists on your adventures.
    Best/worst weather, best/worst food, best/worst beds, coolest mammals seen, best landscapes, best view, places with the more wildlife, places with the most nothing at all, weirdest persons you've cross, most costly mistake, most helpful thing you found, when you had the worst fear, when you laughed the most...

    Cheers !

  6. Love the eBird checklist, Dorian! Really cool to see the list of all the birds you saw at Sabal Palm.

  7. I posted the html code below for your Tropical Parula photo above. It's just basic html script. Just right click the image and copy the image location and then change the title of the photo using these paramaters (delete the parentheses though) ; (<)img src="URL of image" alt="Title"(>)

    (<)img src="" alt="Tropical Parula" /(>)

  8. Dorian, it's great to see your eBird checklist. I just want to add another vote for using Flickr to include photos in eBird checklists. It's very easy after you've done it once.


  9. I'm thrilled to hear you are the next upcoming MEGA eBirder! To give your astounding accomplishment even more recognition, I would encourage you to consider a username of "Dorian Anderson BGBY" or the like exclusively for this year. Your year has been simply incredible and I've enjoyed following it closely! It will take absolute diehard serious genius and perseverance to beat your BGBY record. Get those records in for every one of your days on the bike this year!

    Best of luck as you wrap up this year!
    Zach DeBruine