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.