Sunday, May 10, 2009

Some Ups, Some Downs

Greetings from Rapid City SD,

After participation in the Hamilton County May Bird Count for a few hours yesterday I began my drive west. I was able to leave by my planned time all ready to go thanks to much help from my mom and dad. I made it with no problems into northwest Iowa and decided to camp at Lewis and Clark State Park. After the sun set about 15 American White Pelicans landed in the lake just behind my camp. I decided not to put up my rain guard over my tent which turned out to be a mistake when it started raining at about midnight. When I went to put on my rain guard I couldn't find it so I decided to pack up and sleep in the car. After taking down the tent I realized I had left the rain guard under my tent. I didn't feel like setting the tent back up so I just slept in the car anyway.

I woke up early to do a little birding in the park and was not dissapointed. There were many migrant sparrows, warblers, and thrushes. The highlights were about 35 Harris's Sparrows (only the second time I have seen this species and first time I have heard it singing), 30+ Lincoln's Sparrow, and an Orange-crowned Warbler that was friendly enough to show his orange crown. I decided to start my days driving after a couple hours. I then stopped by Vermillion Lake in eastern South Dakota. Many ducks and one Black-crowned Night-Heron made it worthwhile but at one spot my phone fell out of the truck and I ran it over. The screen is broken but it still works fine.

At this point I just wanted to make it to the Black Hills in western South Dakota where my training will take place. Unfortunately it didn't turn out to be as easy as one would think. With 110 miles still to go the truck broke down. Luckily I was only about a mile from the last gas station. I was able to get Mike, a tow truck driver, to help me out. He thought he knew what the problem was but said that the closest place to go that could fix it was Rapid City which is just east of the Black Hills.

A 110 miles and lots of money later I am sitting in a hotel room hoping that the repair shop will be able to fix it quickly so I can get to training as soon as possible.

No comments: