Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nov 18 (Day 322) - More Hill Country biking, new birds a day away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tonight in find myself in the booming metropolis of Rocksprings! Booming? Well, maybe not so much. Metropolis? Just a bit of hyperbole here. All joking aside Rocksprings appears to be a very nice small town, the sort of which I have been frequenting lately. I arrived here mid-afternoon after a 56-mile ride from Sonora. Despite an ever-present, steady 10-15 MPH wind today, the ride was warmer than I expected it to be. It was actually quite pleasant as I stayed for cool for the duration. It was rolling hills all day, none of which presented any real challenge. What did present some challenge was the scenery. It was incredibly uniform all day which made for an incredibly monotonous ride. I guess it is a good thing that there is so much undeveloped land anywhere in the country these days though!

The ride to Rocksprings

I am currently still at elevation here on the Edward's plateau - 2,400 feet to be exact. Tomorrow I will drop close to 1,600 feet as I ride the 70 miles south to Uvalde. As I drop off the plateau, I should start picking up some new birds! Several of the Rio Grande birds (Great kiskadee, Couch's kingbird, Green jay, Long-billed thrasher) reach the northern limits of their ranges right at the southern edge of the plateau. Finding a few of these in the next few days will be a huge morale booster after the last week in the bird-desert of the I-10 corridor in winter. Who knows, maybe we could be close to 600 in a week! If that's not motivation I do not know what is!

Edwards plateau

Right now I am getting really excited about the book I think should result from this year. I am hoping to meld my adventure this year with funny, enlightening stories about my birding and personal past. I also hope to put a strong emphasis on conservation as it relates to the places I have visited and the species I have seen this year. I do not want this book to be just a memoir. I want it to be that plus a well-researched and educational window into conservation policy and our relationship with the environments around us. It would be so interesting to use this bike trip to connect seemingly unrelated issues of fisheries management in the northeast with invasive species in the Everglades with cattle grazing plans in Texas with logging in the Pacific Northwest with drought management policies in California. As each of these environmental challenges will ultimately affect the birds in these places, I think that a conservation-based exploration of the birds I sought on my trip would be really cool. Anyway, just some crazy ramblings on a day without too much roadside content!


  1. Did you end up figuring out a way to avoid that stretch of Texas I-10 from May that had the full-shoulder-width rumble strips?

  2. YES! Thankfully. there was actually a ~15 mile stretch of these two days ago, but there was about 10" of intact shoulder between them and the grass. For the most part, I was able to slide around them on this narrow intact bit!

  3. I vote a big YES on your book idea. You have a view of this country very few people have, and it will be enlightening to read about this birding adventure with an eye on conservation. I'm looking forward to it.

  4. See I`m the opposite Robin. If it was a memoir, I`d read it. Start giving me all the conservation sad stories and you couldn`t pay me to read it. It`s the one problem I had with the old National Geographic movies they would put out. I`d watch about lions or lemurs and be fascinated. Then you`d get to the end of the program and the last ten minutes would be dedicated to making me feel bad about humanity. If I pay for it, it had better be entertaining me, not making me feel guilty. If it`s free, then by all means give me a lecture on why we need more money devoted to conservation. Making me pay for the conservation and your book...yeah, you can guess where my money is going.

    1. To that next copy of People Magazine which you undoubtedly subscribe to?

  5. As you probably know, it is *only* a 350 mile backtrack to the Common Crane being reported in Muleshoe NWR. :)

  6. Finding humor in Glenn's post......there's a Couch's kingbird in western Maryland right now (rare indeed in these parts) - that would only be about 2000 miles out of the way for you right now. I would think you would jump on that one. LOL.

  7. I'll buy and read your book Dorian, and enjoy it, and I'll throw in an invitation to do a presentation at a Linnaean Society meeting on top of it. Carry on birding!