Friday, October 31, 2014

Oct 30 and 31 (Days 303 and 304) - Goodbye Cali, Hello 'Zona!

After covering 541 miles with > 11,000' of climbing in the past week, I figured it was time for a break. Yesterday I moved just 15 miles south from Brawley, CA to El Centro. This short day set me up nicely for the run into Arizona today. 

15 miles yesterday - straight chillaxing!

A couple of people have inquired if I was planning on going to Lake Havasu to look for Nutting's flycatcher. The answer is no. I am going to go to Seattle to get Eurasian Hobby and then Sacramento to get Falcated duck. Just joking, although both of those birds were actually seen in those places in the last 3 days! While there has been a Nutting's at the south end of Lake Havasu the past few winters, I am not aware of any reports from this winter yet. 95% of the sightings in eBird from the last few winters have been from Dec-April, so it looks as though I am at least a month early. Unfortunately, I really need other people to do the dirty work and find birds for me. Riding up there to look for a bird that 99% isn't there (yet?) is not something I want to do. If someone reported it today, I'd at least think about it, but really I want to focus my efforts on the SE AZ area at this stage of the game.

Right now the plan looks like this:

Today     El Centro, CA > Wellton, AZ              93 miles *moderate S crosswind

Today - had to use car feature since I was on interstate

Nov 1      Wellton, AZ > Gila Bend                     87 miles *big W tailwind forecast for this day

Nov 2      Gila Bend > Casa Grande or Eloy       59 miles (74 to Eloy) *moderate W tailwind this day

Nov 3      Casa Grande or Eloy > Tucson            75 miles (from Casa Grande) or 60 miles (from Eloy)     

Nov 4      Tucson > Green Valley                         30 miles *This day could be folded in Nov 3 depending on where I start, how my legs feel, and what the wind does on that day.

I am looking for people (birders, cyclists, outdoor enthusiasts, former/current Playboy Playmates, anyone) to host me in any of the towns listed above. I am all set in Tucson. A place near the wren in Tubac would be ideal as well. If you, someone you know, or someone you know knows might have a place in any of these places, please email me at

Fro Green Valley, I will head south to Tubac to search for Sinaloa wren. This bird has been seen for weeks now. It was seen yesterday (the 29th) by several observers. I will spend as many days as necessary to find this bird. Once this is done, I will ride down to Nogales and then back up to Patagonia/Sonoita. This would likely take a day, 2 at most. I will then look for wintering Baird's sparrow in the Sonoita grasslands. This is a longshot, but it would save me from riding way the hell up into the San Rafael grasslands on dirt roads to look for this bird. If I spent some time in later area I should have a decent shot at the bird. Wintering birds have been photographed at San Rafael already this year, so I know they're present.   

I am looking for any and all help in locating these two species. EXACT directions and/or extra eyes to aid in the search would be fantastic if you want to join me.

Beyond these two species, there is not too much I need/expect to squeeze out of SE AZ. It is totally possible that I could get Sprague's pipit in searching for the sparrow, but I do not want to sink too much time into a dedicated search for the pipit before I knock out the other 2 species. I will have additional chances at the pipit moving east where as it's Arizona or bust for the wren and the sparrow. Well, I actually have a backup spot in New Mexico for the sparrow, but I am going to play it as though as must get the bird in AZ. 

It's going to take much luck to add any other bird(s) in AZ. Should any of the normal winter rarities like Ruddy ground-dove or Rufous-backed robin show up, I would take time to chase them. OH SNAP! That's right I already have the robin! Hollah! Lean Back! There haven't been any reports of the ground-dove yet, but maybe someone will find one in the next week. If anyone can dial up something really crazy like Yellow grosbeak or Crimson-collared grosbeak, feel free to do so. Believe it or not, I have not seen a Snow goose yet this year. There are late arriving to the Salton Sea this year (i.e. they haven't arrived yet). I expect to get this bird in Texas, but if there's one floating around SE AZ, I'll grab it on the way through. 


  1. Nutting's Flycatcher was reported on 10/27/2014

  2. Ahh.....somehow managed to miss this. Thanks for the head' up. To be 100% honest, this is something for which I just don't have the energy at this time. I've got a nice west wind the next 2 days, so I'm gonna use it to cross Arizona. I also think accessing this bird would be a royal headache:

    "Access: For driving Planet Ranch Road, decent clearance (at least small
    SUV) and 4WD/AWD are absolutely necessary after this season's monsoons. The
    road is tire-slashing rocky all along, and there is a sand pit at mile 3.0;
    if you try to drive through with 2WD you WILL get stuck. With 2WD+clearance
    it is possible to park at the large pullout just before the sand pit (large
    enough to park several trucks, can't miss it) and hike to the end of the
    road, about an extra half mile."