Sunday, January 4, 2015

What We Learned In 2014 (or Lookin' Back is 20-20)

Twenty Fourteen was a hell of a year for us. We saw some amazing birds.  We made a blog (this one). And now we feel like we have to push out that obligatory end-of-year round up. But, to spare you from reading a long list of notable sightings (and I'm sure other bird bloggers saw better stuff than us), we decided to review some things we learned in 2014.

1. Remember to Pack Food (or The Ghost of the Horseman: A Forney Creek Experience)
This may sound like something two teenagers would remember. But, for some bizarre reason, we decided to only pack about 800 calories worth of food per day for our Smoky Mountains birding/backpacking trip. We felt like we were starving, eating only crackers and tuna each day. I think the lack of food may have been the cause of the possible-hallucination Ghost of the Horseman sighting. But that's another story. At least we got Ruffed Grouse.

2. Eat Well Before a Pelagic (or We "Fogata" Eat Well)
Basically what we learned: Don't eat bad Mexican food the night before a Pelagic...even if Gidget's is closed. Though we didn't get sick, pre-pelagic sketchy Mexican food (from a place named "La Fogata") is never a good idea. Luckily, the Dramamine saved the particularly wavy day.

3. Don't Leave Your Valuables Unattended (at a Sketch Campground)
Things get stolen. While searching for Black-throated Green Warblers in the Uwharrie Mountains, Lucas made the mistake of leaving his headlamp on the counter in a campground bathroom while he took a shower. The shower was running (and he was singing), so he couldn't hear the sound of it being stolen by people with the confederate battle flag taped to the front of their truck. We just assumed they were part of the Confederate Army. Oh, the South.
The very table where the idea for The Birder's Conundrum was created, then by another name.
 Also the campsite where we had our little run-in with the Rebels.  

4. Drive Slower on Market Street at 4 in the Morning
Running raccoon. Bump. Splat. "It looked into my soul", Sam whined. Enough said.

5. Don't Underestimate the Strength of Cold Brew
Just because it looks weak does not mean you need to add packets of instant coffee. However, this stuff is the cure-all for the mid-afternoon big day lull. It's like crack (we assume). Once we got over the gritty consistency and the burning sensation, the coffee really wasn't that bad. One moment we were falling asleep on our feet but after a few gulps of cold brew we were singing at the top of our lungs and picking out Loggerhead Shrikes on power lines while flying by at 60 miles per hour.

Mason Jar Cold Brew selfie. An oldie. How we've changed.
 And I don't really remember why we chose mason jars. 
We are looking forward to many more stories and learning experiences over this coming year - it's half the fun of birding. So here's to a great, bird-filled 2015. And here's to more crazy situations that only really happen to birders. We've already had one ridiculous adventure....

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