Between crappy weather and non-birding responsibilities (book writing, see last post for update), bike-birding has been relegated to an occasional distraction in 2019. However, I've recently dusted-off my legs and worked my way back into the game with a few a notable chases. Read all about 'em!
Bay Area bike bird #278 - White-Faced Ibis at Candlestick SRA, May 11, 2019
This bird was discovered on Friday, May 10th and spent the whole afternoon obliging SF County birders before reportedly flying off in the evening. It was the first White-faced Ibis reported near my San Mateo home base in the two years I've lived here, so I decided to look for the bird the following morning despite the discouraging end-of-day news. There isn't much habitat along that heavily developed stretch of bayshore, so I thought there was a decent chance the bird would return to the small pond from which it flushed.
My White-faced Ibis pursuit
16.5 miles each way for 33 total - easy!
Pond/puddle hosting the ibis
White-faced Ibis (phone-scoped)
This bird was also found on Friday, May 10th, but I prioritized the White-faced Ibis because of proximity. The ride for the YBCH would be much longer, and I didn't want to undertake it without follow-up reports. Those established a pattern in the next few days, so I decided on Thursday the 16th I'd give the bird a try on Friday the 17th. Partly sunny skies and temps in the high 50s would make perfect riding, and the forecasted west winds wouldn't impede either the southbound or northbound leg, an important consideration given the hilly terrain I'd need to overcome. You can see the elevation profile on the map below - 3,855 feet of climbing, ouch!
My Yellow-breasted Chat pursuit
32 miles each way for 64 total
Can't beat biking the San Mateo Coast
The day's only negative was this car-killed Rose-breasted Grosbeak I found on Highway 1. This species is generally restricted to the Eastern United States, so it's unusual in California. Woulda been a new bird for my Bay Area bike list - ugh.
Road kill Rose-Breasted Grosbeak and range map
This bird was posted to the list-serve around 11am, and I shot out the door when I saw the post at 3pm. The ride was basically identical to my White-faced Ibis chase, so it was a no brainer to undertake it. There was a fair bit of north wind impeding the outgoing leg, but 70 minutes of riding and 5 minutes of birding yielded the bird from the exact spot it was reported. I stuck around a few minutes, jumped back on the bike, and made it home in 57 minutes. These short chases are great since they get me out of the apartment but leave lots of time to get work done!
My Gray Flycatcher pursuit
15.5 miles each way for 31 total
The best part of bike-birding? No guilt!