Friday, June 13, 2014

June 13 (Day 164) - Fundraising plea, big climb conquered, slow birding, great scenery

First, let's give credit where credit is due! Kings win the Stanley Cup as they beat the Rangers in 2OT. Sonia tried to call me to celebrate but, due to uncontrolled enthusiasm, was unable to communicate much more than "WOOOOOOO!!! WOOOOOOOOO!!!".

I took a photo of the TV gangster style!

Second, I want to mention that fundraising has essentially stopped in the last 2 weeks. We have had only 3 donations in the last 2 weeks. This is by far the slowest stretch of fundraising for the entire year. As I continue in this challenging stretch of riding, it would be great to see the fundraising needle move a bit more than it has been. Remember, I do not touch any of this money; It all goes to bird conservation and bird-related programming. For those who have donated already, thank you. For those that have not, please think about doing so. For those who are feeling particularly motivated right at this instant, maybe you could see fit to give 1 cent for each foot I climbed today. This would be a donation of $56.30.

Let me try to put this into a bit more perspective. I set a fundraising goal of $100,000. This could be reached simply with 5,000 donations of $20. Right now this blog has 237,000 hits on it - almost a quarter million. Let's assume that everyone who reads this blog reads it every single day. Under this assumption, this means that there are ~1450 people who read this blog. However, this is the absolute minimum number since many people do not read every day. I'd say its safe to just double that number to 3,000 readers. The number of people who have visited the blog is certainly much higher than that, but we'll use 3,000 for the following calculation. This means that we have, at the absolute best, a 6% participation rate when it comes to fundraising. Roughly 1 person in 20 has donated to the birds and their conservation through this blog. Think about how much we collectively spend on optics, cameras, bird books, gas to go birding, birding tours, and so on and so forth. Please think about spending a few dollars on the very birds we love so much. If the assumed 2817 (3000 readers - 183 donors) readers who haven't donated yet each donated $20, we'd instantly raise $56,000! The exact numbers really aren't important; I'm just trying to show what can happen if lots of people give a little. Maybe you can donate 1% of the cost of your most recently purchased scope, binoculars, camera, or bird tour. I understand that some people are waiting until they see the final species count before they make their donation on a per species basis. However, if you are not doing this, then NOW is as good a time as any! Thanks for reading this, I appreciate the time it has taken. I just felt is was really important to address this at this time.


Well, today was the big climb from Durango to Silverton. I have known for weeks that this would be one of if not the hardest day of the trip to date. The journey was only 40 miles, but it took almost all day to complete. I climbed 5,460 vertical feet today, and I reached an elevation of 10,910' as I crossed Molas Pass. This was actually the second large mountain pass that I had to traverse today. Earlier in the day I crossed over Coal Bank Pass at 10,620'. These passes can be seen as the bumps on the elevation profile below.

This ride was exactly as challenging as I expected. The road was well graded and, minus one incredibly steep bit near the top of the second pass where I had to push the bike for 600 yards, I was able to ride the entire distance. The wind really kicked up in the afternoon. This contributed to a frustrating day of birding. There were very few birds all day. This is not entirely surprising as high altitude birding is notoriously slow. I was hoping that I could knock out at least one of Pine grosbeak, Red crossbill, or Cassin's finch. I was in great habitat for these species today, but the only finch that made an appearance was Pine silken (they were everywhere). I stopped at Haviland lake, Little Molas Lake, and Molas Lake; All were relatively thin on birdlife. I was really hoping to find a few high elevation birds as a reward for surviving the hard climb, but it was a struggle to say the least. I was able to salvage the day when 2 Gray jays (#474) flew across the road on my final descent into Silverton. I will have to climb back up over 10,000' to get out of Silverton, so I will be in more good finch habitat tomorrow or the day after. After expending so much energy to get up this high, I may take tomorrow to bird this area by foot. The more time I spent up high now, the less time will hopefully be required up high later.

Despite the lack of birds, the scenery was absolutely spectacular all day. Again, I will just shut up and let the photos do the talking.

Leaving Durango/Hermosa this morning

Haviland lake

Mountain pass #1

View between passes 1,2

Pass #2

Panorama from Pass #2

Final descent into Silverton!

OK, that's it for right now!


  1. Thanks for this crazy bike trip you are on, all the birds you see, and the enjoyment I get from checking in on you every day. Way to go, Dorian! Sent my donation today.

  2. Hi Dorian,
    I actually met you during the Rail Walks and Reeve viewing at Anahuac NWR. I just made my second donation for the year and it will not be my last. I also get company matching so I hope you get credit for that! Good luck on the rest of your journey
    Steve Bobonick
    Cincinnati, OH

  3. Gorgeous scenery, oh my gosh. I have recently donated but will work on spreading the word!

  4. To help you keep a good source of motivation for the duration of your adventure, I thought to make a donation equivalent to $0.25 for each species observed. In this context, I will only be able to confirm my donation at the end of the adventure. If a foreign (Canadian) blog reader is willing to donate $0.25 per species, I invite all other readers (especially American ones) to do the same, or even commit themselves to donate $0.50 per species observed!