Monday, December 15, 2014

Dec 14 (Day 348) - Moving north in terrible wind, flamingo plans

I started today in Kingsville, TX, and ended 83 miles later in Rockport. I had to take a frustratingly circuitous route in order to avoid Corpus Christie. A straight shot through the city would have required lots of riding on urban freeways where bikes are not permitted. It would have also required a number of dangerous bridge crossings. The city is also a bit of an industrial wasteland, so I wanted to avoid this after biking through a similar refinery-scape in Port Arthur, TX.

83 windy miles

While the route pictured above kept me on relatively bike-friendly roads with shoulders, it did create on huge problem. I knew the wind was going to be from the southeast, but I guess I just underestimated or forgot how hard riding into a 20 MPH headwind actually is. The first ~30 miles of the ride were relatively straightforward, but as soon as I turned towards the east the nightmare began. The wind was POUNDING. Each crank of the pedals was incredibly difficult. I gave serious thought to hanging it up for the day when I reach Taft at about the 50-mile mark. After I ate lunch I felt a bit better and was able to continue the remaining ~30 miles to Rockport. I arrived in time to do a bit of birding on the Gulf coast (checklist here). Not much to report as it was just the usual shorebirds, gulls, terns, waders, and pelicans. I did make a video of the conditions today. It's only appropriate that you won't be able to hear much even though I was shouting at my max volume. Also notice that the wind turbines are cranking!

OK, as for the next few days, it looks as though a plan for the flamingo is starting to congeal. Tomorrow I am going to ride to Port Lavaca via Goose Island where I should be able to tick Whooping crane. I will spend tomorrow night in Port Lavaca. I have a local with 2 kayaks who has offered to take me out on Tuesday to try for the birds. The big variable in this whole plan is wind. If the wind is heavy, it would shut this plan down. I can realistically spend all day Tuesday and Wednesday looking for the birds - by boat or squinting from shore. Thursday I will need to start moving north toward Freeport for the big Yellow rail hunt this weekend. Everyone say your prayers for good weather Tuesday/Wednesday!

I found a bunch of gulls perched on posts near Rockport Harbor today. I extracted headshots of a few of them for comparison.

Winter 1st year Laughing gull

Winter adult Laughing gull

Winter 1st year Ring-billed gull

Winter adult Ring-billed gull


  1. Love the gull head shots. Great comparison photos. Hope the winds have calmed down and that your plans for Tuesday and Wednesday work out.

  2. Thanks for the gull pics! Nice work.

  3. Oh man, those conditions must truly suck to bike in! Good luck!