Saturday, November 8, 2014

Nov 8 (Day 312) - A short day w/ some birding, Muscovy discussion

As predicted, today was relatively windy. I am glad that I made the decision not to tackle the long ride to Lordsbug, NM. Instead, I had a very short day from Benson, AZ to Willcox, AZ. There was a long 1,500 foot climb to start thing off, but otherwise things were fairly straightforward. There was some wind this morning, but it was not terrible. It did, however, get terrible right as I arrived in Willcox around noon. I took shelter and napped for a few hours before making a late afternoon trip over to Willcox Lake/Playa for some casual local birding. It was a very nice 2.5 hour outing as I recorded a few raptors, ~10 duck species, 8 shorebird species, and 6 sparrows. Other common birds filled in a few gaps between these, so it was a nice, relaxing, end of day outing. I crushed a large pizza to celebrate, cuz why not?!?!

41 mellow miles

Willcox Lake late this afternoon

I now need to address the countability of Muscovy as it relates to my year. This is a bird I have seen along the Rio Grande previously and for which was I planning on searching in a few weeks. After asking around, it turns out that the Muscovy is actually countable from South Florida where they are very strongly established. I was not aware that bird from South Florida were countable until a bunch of folks filled me in these last 24 hours. I saw many of the birds around South Florida when I was there in March. In fact, I almost rode over several of them. I recall eating McDonald's fries that were dropped on the ground at a park! So, I am going to handle this species the same way as I am currently handling Egyptian goose (also a South FL introduced species ). This means that the species total is now officially 585 + 2 or 587 total. I feel like a total amateur for not knowing about the countability of the Florida birds months ago, but I did see them and I am going to count them. Who knows? Maybe I will see droves of them along the Rio Grande while I am looking for Red-billed pigeon (doubtful!). At least I know this species will be on the list one way or the other. I think this well illustrates the confusion often surrounding the countability introduced species. I apologize for any confusion that this unprofessional oversight and how I have chosen to handle it causes. 

Tomorrow will be ~75 miles to reach Lordsburg, NM. There will be some light to moderate headwinds, but nothing that should stop me from eventually reaching the named destination. These next few weeks are going to be particularly grueling. I hope my mind and body are up to the challenge. Just like any large task though, it must be broken down into small bits. I also must remember that no single ride from here out is going to make my year, but pushing it too hard on any one ride could cost me the remainder of my year. I don't want to try to do too much. I just need to do what is necessary on each day. I am curious what the posts these next few weeks will look like as I fight my way towards the finish line. 

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