Saturday, November 1, 2014

Nov 1 (Day 305) - Another 87 miles east, 20/20 hindsight

I am currently in "station to station" mode as I transit across Southern Arizona. Since there are very few towns along this stretch of the Interstate 8 corridor, I am extremely limited in where I can stop for the night. Wellton, where I spent last night after a 93 mile ride, was a tiny little town without  much happening. Today I rode the 87 miles to reach Gila Bend, AZ. There is a bit more happening here than Wellton - but not much. I was hoping for strong west winds all day today, but it took until after lunch for moderate west winds to materialize and push me eastward this afternoon. The ride was very uneventful. There are VERY few birds of any sort in this area. I am just pushing through here to get to better areas as fast as I can. I would have liked to ride more than the 87 miles today, but the next stopping point was ~60 beyond here which would be too much for one day. I have options at 59 and 74 miles tomorrow. Again, I would like to ride further, but the next stopping point beyond the 74 is an additional 40 or so. I'd love to be able to pile up 90-mile days one after the next, but it doesn't look like I can do this. It will be another 2-3 days before I can do any real birding so to speak. I am hoping that maybe someone turns something good up tomorrow; Nothing of real note was found today, at least in AZ. 

The I-8 shoulder has been incredible biking 
since I crossed into AZ. 
The California stretch was not nearly as good

Today's view. The shoulder is smooth even 
with the black tar lines across it.

An Olive-backed pipit was found in Orange County, CA today though! This is the first record for this bird in the lower 48! With Eurasian hobby and Brambling in WA, and Falcated Duck in Sacramento, the west coast is on fire right now. I am starting to second guess if I left California too early. I think I actually left at the right time, but when all this amazing stuff starts popping up behind me, I wonder what else might be on its way. The crossing from here to Texas is going to be brutal, so having extra time in case I go crazy, the bike has issues, or east winds is not a bad thing. I think my perception is just getting a bit warped since the birds I listed are of such an unbelievably high quality. Then again, Northern fulmar and Red phalarope were also seen in San Diego yesterday. The ideal thing to have done would have been to go back west to LA AFTER getting the Rufous-backed robin and then make another loop south along the coast through SD and then past the Salton Sea again. Hindsight is always 20/20 though, and this might mean I would et really pressed for time in the LRGV. I think it will be good to get to Texas and knock off the 23 species I can get in the LRGV and Lower Texas Coast. I bet that between Mexican rarities in the LRGV and funky things that turn up on Xmas counts on the Texas coast, I will have plenty of birds to chase around. I could totally sea watch for Kittiwake in South Padre or Corpus Christie if I have extra days at the end of the year. It's not as sexy as the Eurasian stuff above, but they all count equally for my year. Priority #1 is making it to Southern Texas in one, healthy piece right now.

Once I deal with the Sinaloa wren and Baird's sparrow south of Tucson, I will begin to discuss plans for NM and TX. I do not think it is worth doing this until I see how long it takes to find each of these birds. Don't worry, though.....we've got plenty of time to sort this out. Hopefully I'll get detoured by a rarity or two in SE AZ!

Lastly, I do want to mention that  am staying at the Best Western Space Age Inn here in Gila Bend. The place is a hoot as everything is spaced themed. Here a a few photos so you get the idea.



  1. Dorian,

    If you need a place to crash here in southeast AZ, I have a comfy couch and maybe a little home cooking here at Ft. Huachuca. Not sure what you plan on hitting here, but I live literally 5 minutes from the Sinaloa Wren spot here on post. Please feel free to call me at 520-508-3420, or email me at, if you need a place to crash for the night.


    Bradlee Sulentic

  2. So you've been on the road for over 300 days, and have maybe half a dozen days where you could have chosen better. And the majority of those days turned out not to have affected your count at all, as you got the species later. So keep looking forward knowing your instincts are spot on! I'm sending Aztec Thrush vibes your way...