That was the time I had to wake up this morning in order to be near Atlantic City by dawn. It's a 2 hour drive so you can do the horrible sleep deprivation math. I was doing a rare hawk survey that had to be done from dawn to no later than 10 am. I had 6 stations to hit and had never been to this gigantic site before. I had to play an obnoxiously loud call of this rare bird and then watch to see if I get it to fly in or call back. After the first station, the most excitement was seeing a person and trying to hide before I was questioned and then driving on the unmaintained sand roads with my almost 13 VW Golf. Should I go any farther? Will I get stuck? The weeds and small shrubs that I am running over sure are tall. Will this start a fire? Will I be able to turn around or will I have to back out the entire stretch? Can I park in the middle of the road (not that there's any options) or will some crazy piney try to get by and run into me? These are the types of questions that run through my mind as I drive down these roads.
Once I was parked near station 2, I was still trying to figure exactly where to go and then I hear the call....except it's not coming from my johnny stewart game caller. Yes that's real. OMG OMG! Panic. I spot the bird and I frantically get my game caller out and call out to it. It sits there momentarily and flies off. I then do my complete circle of calls and silent waits. It flies back to the same close tree and then flies off again. I finish all my other call stations without an incident and then the nest searching begins. No fun. The woods are dense and it's all pine trees so it's difficult to see anything. I find a stick nest and I go to GPS the spot and then I notice another possible nest in another tree. I look at it in my binoculars and OMG there's an owl and it's looking right at me. You'll have to take my word that in that dark mass in the middle of the pic, there's a great horned owl mommy. I hang out for a bit trying to get better glimpses of her, but she's more interested in trying to sleep.
Uh oh. Looks like someone got their butt kicked big time. I don't this poor guy survived. I also found a giant feather. I'll find out tomorrow who's it from, but I have one top suspect and that's the very patriotic variety...if you know what I mean. Knowing my luck, it's probably just a turkey vulture.
I get home after like 12 hours of work and I start the dishwasher. I then jump in the shower. Been there, done that. Have even run the washer too all at once. Except this time the hot water kept getting colder and colder. I'm guessing that my water heater is kaputt or near kaputt. When I moved in 5 years ago, they said that it should be replaced ASAP. So once I'm done here, I'm going to check the water temp again. Keep your fingers crossed that it's not completely dead.