Ok, ok...it's not as bad as 'fml' but seriously, nausea, go to heck in a handbasket! I woke up today feeling like a used diaper. Hearing wind howling in my window and rain pouring down in horizontal sheets, I groaned, turned back over and promptly fell back asleep. My on-the-brink-of-vomitting stomach told me that to go to the park for a full day would be a death sentence so I decided to continue fighting this stupid bug with lots of sleep while hoping that nothing would show up on my second day off. That's when things started to go wrong.
The rain cleared and it turned into a beautiful day. I was halfway through watching She's the Man for the zillionth time (Channing Tatum was just walking across the screen with only a towel on), when my phone rang. It was Marianne. I groggily answered the phone and heard only this: "Can you hear me?....breaking up....Townsend Warb...."
I knew it would happen. The day that I can't go to the park due to being sick, something was bound to show up. The fact that it was an uber-mega-rarity only made the whole thing that much worse. These things happen every year. Last year it was Mother's day and I was at a family reunion when the call came in for a Lark Bunting. I got that bird, thankfully, but had to come home to a grumbling, guilt-mongering family. Apparently it's not nice to walk out on the family for a bird. I still don't get their reasoning. It happened with Northern Wheatear, too. The bird shows up the day I have to catch my Greyhound back to Toronto. I got that bird, too, but I cannot and will not go into the details of what I had to do for that one. Let's just say it was the definition of poor judgement by moral/ethical standards...totally worth it though!
So, back to the story at hand. After flying into a fit of blind rage and smashing a window with my mom's antique rocking chair and shaking my fists in the air screaming "How dare you, irony!", I calmed down enough to call Marianne back and got one more piece of information this time amongst the static: Townsend's Warbler, Tilden Trail. The dark expression on my face and grinding teeth must have screamed murder as my Mom placed her hand on my shoulder and slowly and quietly told me she would drive me to see the bird if I wasn't feeling well enough to drive. I started a texting war with birders who were already there asking if the bird was reliable, any further details, etc.
I went through every bad scenario I could think of on the drive there:
- The visitor center parking lot is full and I have to hike from White Pine to get there, arrive shaking, moments away from death, and hearing the words: "You just missed it! Unfortunately, it was eaten by a Cooper's Hawk. There's the bloody mess right over there!"
- Getting out of the car and rushing to see the bird and getting trampled by a stampede of birders, leaving me twitching in the mud with a broken shin bone piercing through the skin and having to crawl the rest of the way using only my fingernails, and a kind old lady saying, "Oops! It was just a leaf. False alarm."
- And my personal favourite scenario: Arriving on the scene to a large group of happy people using an oversized novelty pen to blissfully check off Townsend's Warbler off their May lists and saying, "Oh, if you were here only 5 minutes ago, it came right out in the open and actually landed on each of our hands and sang us that nice tune from Cheers."
Ok, so none of these scenarios came to pass (I just wanted to be prepared!) and I was actually quite relieved to find out that arriving an hour after the bird was reported made little difference. Only 3 people, the original finders, actually got the bird. Now I hear that there are also disputes over the bird's identity, but I won't get into that here. And lo and behold, it actually worked out in the end. Besides exhausting my body further and having to come home and sleep for another 3 hours after looking for the bird, I actually heard the Kentucky Warbler that was being reported on the same trail. That takes me to 177.
Alright, enough of this...it's time for more sleep.