Sunday, May 5, 2013

Route planning for the summer

In less than a month, I'll be headed out on an estimated two month long bike trip.  I'll be making a giant loop around the state, biking, camping and bird finding.  My general route will be to ride from here to Highway 49.  I'll be headed to the Sierra Nevada Field Campus just below Yuba Pass.  I worked in the kitchen at the field campus last summer and so I birded the area with some great naturalists and birders last summer.  This summer I'm stoked to be helping out Jim Steele with the Field Campus' Birding By Ear course.  It's going to be a five day course that's designed to focus on the nice variety of birds that area has to offer.  Between that course, and a few days on either side of the course, I'm hoping I'll add some great birds in what is now somewhat familiar territory. It's going to be really nice to get back there.  Willow Flycatcher??? We'll see.
  After the Field Campus, it's down to Sierra Valley for some great birding, then up to Truckee and Lake Tahoe.  Somehow work my way over to Monitor pass and down to Bridgeport Reservoir.  I'd love to find a Juniper Titmouse spot, but it sounds like maybe that bird is a longshot or will just be too far out to the way.  Down to Mono Lake, Mammoth, then south into new territory.  In 2011, I rode through Yosemite and birded the east side to the Sierra.  I made it as far south as Mono Lake and then up to Bridgeport.  This summer, I'm excited to explore the east side south of Mammoth, then Bishop, then south along Highway 395 all the way around the Sierra.  I suppose that means I'll be bike through some seriously HOT parts of the state in July, but I'm really hoping to turn up birds like LeConte's Thrasher and Scott's Oriole.  
  From 395, I'll head south and somehow make my way into the Transverse Range.  My friends Scot and Kristin live in the mountains around Frasier Park.  I figure by that time, I'll be needing a break from biking and the heat.  I'll probably be needing a little company as well after all that time in wide open spaces with just me, the birds, and my bike. 
  From Scot and Kristin's, I'll head over to San Luis Obispo.  I'm still looking into whether or not it is feasible to ride through Carrizo Plain in the summer.  I just haven't looked up if there is water available or not.  
  Morro Bay and then the Big Sur.  I'm not sure if I'll add many birds on that last leg home.  By mid to late July, things might be getting quiet.  Hopefully there will be some surprises that make riding into the wind on the coast for 200 miles worth it.  Watsonville, Santa Cruz, then HOME.  I'm guessing 2 months on the rode and hopefully tons of great birds. We'll see.

  Well, in between now and then, I better get down to Ano Nuevo and look for a Bank Swallow.  Hopefully, I'll turn up some Swifts soon too.  I saw a Vaux's Swift today at Worley Flat during a May Day festival with all the local naturalists, but I drove to get there.  That's a bird I see sometimes only once a season around here.  I'm not worried about finding a Yellow Warbler or Western Wood Pewee.  I know they'll turn up soon.
  As a quick update, I saw an OSPREY lately at Gazos Creek Beach.  SWAINSON'S THRUSHES are abundant here at the house now.  Lately, I've heard OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHERS demanding beer (song:  "Quick Three Beers") and LAZULI BUNTINGS.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mark

    Congratulations for your blog. I enjoyed it very much.

    I’m writting you from Girona, Catalonia (NE Spain), Europe.

    I’m also doing an EcoBigYear, in Catalonia, with more than 3400 kilometers by bike from January the First and, up to now, 248 bird species (you can check it at, although it’s in Catalan, sorry.

    I hope you’ll do a great score.

    Congratulations for your website and your fantastic pictures!

    “Hasta pronto!”

    Ponç Feliu