The Patricks Low Cost Housing Adventures travel blog

The small but loud Yellowthroat

painting of nighthawk after his prey

If birds are something you're not exactly fond of, this journal entry will probably have your head spinning because I tend to go overboard when it comes to birds and birding. I even have a hard time walking past bird books without buying one although I have gotten much better since we have become RVers and our space is limited.

My mother gave me an appreciation for birds early in life. She always had feeders out to attract them and planted bushes that provides berries in the winter. But I remember the first bird that really peaked my interest. We were camping on land we owned in Liberty, Maine at the time. A noisy, little bird perched in front of my face as I was exploring the property. It was called a Common Yellowthroat.

Evidently, I'd ventured to close to his territory and he was letting me know it. This was not one of the birds I had seen on mom's feeders? How many more could there be? That began a lifelong interest in identifying more birds. Now, I had already been trucking for a few years, but had not considered this sport. Yes, it is actually the fast growing sport in America. I bought my first Bird Guide, got a cheap pair of binoculars a started to identify the birds I saw thru them. Of course, driving across the country afforded me an incredible opportunity. Jim joined in on the activities which helped a lot, he has fantastic vision! In no time at all, we had identified almost 150 birds. Now we are over 300 and it's more difficult to find "new" ones. But the fascination is ever increasing. If I was rich I would travel the world, seeking out new birds I had not yet seen. Die hard birders have spent tens of thousands in search of hard to find species.

It is very painful to be driving the truck down a secondary road, have a hawk of some sort fly across the road in front of me, land on the telephone wire, and I have nowhere to stop and identify it!!!! And it happens all the time; a bird that doesn't look like anything I had seen yet, teasing me and I can do nothing about it.

Some birds hang around truck stops. When we pull into a fuel island, birds fly up to the trucks radiator grill, eating up the bugs that have been trapped and cooked! Kind of like a drive thru meal. In the western deserts, I can watch for hours the nighthawks; as they give their nasal BEErzh sound, flying around in the dark skies, swooping in at the clouds of bugs and moths surrounding the high, parking lot lights.

Jim laments to me about being dragged all over the country; whenever we have spare time, I am looking for a place to go birding. But in reality he enjoys it every bit as much as I. It has kept this trucking lifestyle more interesting and challenging.

We have been out in the truck for 4 weeks now. Other than a few minor repairs, it has been pretty uneventful. Well, we did have someone throw a clod of dirt at the truck from the shoulder after leaving a plaza one night in Indiana. Cracked the windshield that we JUST replaced a couple months ago. We just passed 20,000 miles for this time out, so it's time for our $280 oil change at Speedco. I think we have each lost 5 pounds. My clothes are fitting much better and we haven't worked all that hard to accomplish that. Cutting down on meal sizes, forgoing treats, and a variety of exercises has done wonders.

This morning, Sunday, it was 34 degrees in Wyoming! I only brought one pair of pants, so next time I will need to pack more cool weather clothing rather than all shorts and light shirts. Looks like summer is over in parts of the country. Yet it was 105 in Los Angeles last week. Time to be prepared for both extremes.

Looking forward to the Common Ground Fair next week! I will take some pictures and show you a real country fair!

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