Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dec 18 (Day 352) - Hunkering down

I apologize if yesterday's post sounded overly pessimistic. Part of that was clearly a reaction to the crappy weather that I am currently experiencing. I know I have no control over it and that there's really nothing I can do about it. Even knowing this, it still bothers me. I don't like being limited by my circumstances. I like feeling that I am my only limit. That way I can push myself to the maximum level. Right now, there's no point in doing that given the circumstances, and this is a crappy feeling for me. I don't relax well, and I don't like sitting still. Sure a bit of rest won't hurt me, but neither will it help the bird total. I have many times been called psychotic for my unyielding desire to persevere and achieve. I know it sometimes drives those close to me crazy, particularly my mom. It's just the way I am. As I will discuss much more in the future, I subscribe fully to the idea that anything worth doing is worth over-doing. Terrible weather forces me to take my foot off of the accelerator, and I am not completely comfortable with this concession.

It is also worth noting that I am also an eternal pessimist. Perhaps this comes from my time in research science where you know that 90% of your experimental approaches will be uninteresting or fruitless. By outlining the worst possible scenario in my head, I can make preparations to deal with it - even it if seems highly unlikely. Yesterday's post was my way of preparing myself for the unlikely possibility that I'll add only one more bird before the year expires. Yes, 614+honeycreeper would be a great achievement, and as soon as Jan 1 rolls around I'll be willing to celebrate it. For know though, there's work to be done. It's on this that I am now focused. I hope this little peek into the inner workings of my brain helps explain why I approach things the way that I do. I'm sure that when I look back on the adventure many years from now the bird list won't matter at all; Right now, it's the only thing that matters.

I took my time leaving Bay City this morning. This was to give myself the maximum amount of time and information before selecting which of the diverging paths I outlined yesterday I would take today. The weather for tomorrow is beyond atrocious, so we have decided to fold our hand on the late night and early morning rail search. As painful as this is to do, I feel as though it is the correct decisions given the circumstances. I will, however, have another good chance at Yellow rail at Brezoria NWR on Sunday from 12am-6am when I participate in the rail segment of the Freeport Christmas count. 

35 miles today

Folding tomorrow's excursion meant I would head east to Lake Jackson today. This ride was incredibly fast and east on this windless day. I made a brief stop at the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory to chat with folks there for a few minutes. One of them has agreed to house me for a night while I am in Lake Jackson. Tonight I will be staying with Ron Weeks. He is a big bike-birder here on the Texas Coast. He currently co-holds the Green Big Day bike record at 181 species! I know he is scheming to better that mark this next spring as he has asked me if I want "in" on the effort. I told him I'd give him an answer after I finish this project! Incidently, Ron co-authored the ABA's "Birder's Guide to the Texas Coast", an invaluable resource for those planning a visit to the area. 

As for tomorrow, I don't have much planned as it is supposed to pour all day. It would be nice to make it down to the Freeport Jetty for some seawatching, but the chances of this being possible don't look good. As there is a movie theater right next to where I am staying, I might try to catch "The Theory of Everything". Coupled with a visit to "China Town Buffet", this would make for a palatable substitute for birding. It would also represent only my third trip to the movie theater in the last ~15 years. As I said, I am not good at sitting still - except when birding!