You will undoubtedly notice that this blog is written in the third person. As Mission Control, it has become one of my duties to appear from behind the curtain and write from Malkolm's dictation taken during our scratchy phone calls from the borderlands.
Since their last post, Ken, Wendy and Malkolm rode from Sanderson, TX to Chisos Basin in Big Bend National Park. It was a brutal ride! At one point Ken was carrying an extra 44 lbs. (20 kg) of water in the bike trailer in addition to his regular load.
Sunday morning they hiked towards a scenic viewpoint hoping to find Black-capped Vireos. The only black thing they saw were four bear cubs sitting in a tree above the trail! They were very cute - they yawned, they stretched, and they looked adorable. Ken and Malkolm saw no reason not to continue on, but Wendy the Safety Officer said "No Way!"
Scenic viewpoint being unavailable, they went to the sewage lagoon. There, Malkolm found a Black-capped Vireo.
Monday they hiked 12 miles in search of the rare Colima Warbler (these birds are found only in the Chisos Mountains and there are probably fewer than 100 of them in the United States). Miraculously one of these birds landed right at Malkolm's feet - actually too close to take a photograph!
Malkolm has added 7 new species to his list (his current total is 541) since arriving at Big Bend National Park.
As Team Bird Year was riding through the toughest and most intense part of their trip I was fortunate to be paddling Southwestern rivers running high with spring snowmelt. It was a hard three weeks to be out of touch with them. Phone conversations about heatstroke symptoms with a family practice physician (who should know better than to ride towards the Texas desert in June) were frequent and worrisome. But, as always, Ken, Wendy and Malkolm survive with a huge grin and eye-popping stories. I'm including a picture of some bear-paw petroglyphs from the Dolores River in Colorado, carved by another enduring Safety Officer a thousand years ago.