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  • Writer's pictureGregg Severson

Swinging by a Swamp

So, after the Greater White-fronted Goose success on June 10th, I was ready for another chase! I biked to work the next morning, which is about 15 miles one-way. You'll recall that I visited the 140th Street Marsh back in April as a part of my weekend trip to give a presentation at the Hastings Earth Day Birding Festival. I had considered this spot to be too far away for normal day birding adventures. But then I realized that it really isn't that far from work (and maybe my definition of "not far" is changing as I bike more miles). Getting from home out to the marsh still works out to a 50 mile day, but it makes it easier when that mileage is split over several smaller rides that are separated by sitting down at my computer at work!

It was rainy on the 11th, but I wasn't going to let that keep me away from my target! I set out for a lunchtime ride down to the 140th Street Marsh. I got there and quickly picked out the Common Gallinule amongst the marsh grasses. I think the high water made this bird much easier to spot since the marsh grasses were not very thick. The bird even vocalized a number of times for me, although I didn't get any recordings.

Common Gallinule amongst the marsh grasses
Common Gallinule

Then it was a quick ride back to work so I could complete my workday!

Route from work to the 140th Street Marsh and then back to work

After work, when I got out to my bike, my front tire was completely flat! I switched out my tube and headed out (work has floor pumps available for use, so it was much easier to do it there than if I had been out on the road). When I got about halfway home, I noticed that my front tire was going soft again! So, I pulled out my portable pump and put some more air in it and got a few more miles before it was going flat again! I repeated this several times, until I was at 38th and Hiawatha and the tire just wasn't holding air at all. I then hopped on a bus to get me and my bike back home.

I had debated with myself what to do in situations like this - where I've seen a bird by bike, but then circumstances intervene to make it impractical to get home by muscle power alone. A flat tire is one example - I had the equipment and tools to repair it and continue biking, but the repeated flatting made it so I couldn't continue by bike. But also, what if weather intervened and it was dangerous to be out on the roads? I had decided that I would need to make my best effort to continue via bike, but that if needed I could take motorized transport. Then, the next day I would need to bike back to the spot I got motorized help and complete the loop then. So, on the 12th I made sure to include 38th and Hiawatha on my bike route so I could count the Gallinule for my half year. (Spoiler alert - it turns out that I saw the Gallinule another time via a completed bike loop, so I would have gotten it for my half year regardless).

"Make up route" from home to 38th and Hiawatha and then back again

Miles biked on this trip: 50.2

Miles biked year to date: 1250.8

Species count: 203

My bike birding eBird profile: (Please note that you need a free eBird account to see profiles in eBird)

Fundraising links for the two organizations I am supporting with this green big half year. These causes are really important and they could really use your dollars to do a lot of good!

Friends of Sax-Zim Bog:

National MS Society:

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