One of the nice things about traveling with your home tied to your truck is that it’s pretty easy to change destinations and itineraries. And we have – we’ve decided to forgo the carefully-planned trip to Florida and head to the Southwest once again.
In putting the Florida plan together last month, I kept running into full parks or places with just one or two spots left for a few days here, a week there. It looked like every place I reserved would be completely filled and I had visions of lines to check-in, to use the dump stations, and perhaps even the showers. Many people had commented on the congestion and traffic in general and the other day, an experienced birder friend just rolled her eyes when I mentioned Florida over Texas. That sort of sealed it for me.
The other factor is that as I studied the bird books, I noted that with few exceptions, I’d already seen most of the birds in Florida – with about a half dozen exceptions. While I like seeing birds again I also like to add new ones and there are many out west that I’ve missed in our past trips.<a href="http://www.vtbirder.com/florida-no-texas-si/634557370163637d93d2z/" rel="attachment wp-att-2928"><img class="size-full wp-image-2928" src="http://www.vtbirder.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/634557370163637d93d2_z.jpg" alt="One of the birds I missed last year was the Tropical Parula. photo by Nate Swick" width="640" height="359" /> One of the birds I missed last year was the Tropical Parula. (Mary got it but I’ve got over that!) photo by Nate Swick
So I cancelled the many reservations I had made – took a modest financial hit for doing so – and started plotting how best to get to Texas in January and Arizona after that. It feels right and I’m already reading the Texbirds reports just to get the birding juices flowing.
We plan to leave right around the first of the year if the weather allows and will likely aim for the Rio Grande Valley for the first major stop. We want spend time in the Patagonia, AZ area again and log some time at our favorite stop, Goose Island State Park.<a href="http://www.vtbirder.com/florida-no-texas-si/15576261305de03d4d598z/" rel="attachment wp-att-2929"><img class="size-full wp-image-2929" src="http://www.vtbirder.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/15576261305de03d4d598z.jpg" alt="Another rarity that I will be looking for is the Hook-billed Kite. photo by Peter W. Wendelken" width="640" height="422" /> Another rarity that I will be looking for is the Hook-billed Kite. photo by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/neotropicalbirdsmayanruins/">Peter W. Wendelken
Yesterday, while the weather was rather balmy for November, I moved the Airstream from the back lawn to a spot that is suitable for loading and a straight shot down the driveway. It was much better to do it now than in late December. Stay tuned for trip reports in the coming year.