Most people see Golden-crowned Kinglets up here fairly regularly; I had never seen one until today, however. I'd seen bunches of Ruby-crowned before, but I finally got the Golden:I was lucky enough to get this photograph in which you can see the golden spot on its head. Sweet!
We went camping last night at Greenwood Furnace State Park; I was anxious to try out some fire-making and cooking techniques I've picked up from watching my favorite show, Man vs. Wild. Does anyone else watch this show? I LOVE IT! I actually purchased a FireSteel a few weeks ago, eager to spark a fire in a tinder ball of dry grass, just like Bear Grylls does it. I've been driving AB crazy by sparking it in the house or taking it with us wherever we go "in case we're in a survival situation!" I also have been wanting to cook something over an open flame on a spit made from a tree branch or something. Primal!
So I talked AB into going camping last night; we collected sticks and things for our fire to supplement the firewood, and I gathered a little ball of dry grass. Turns out, the dry grass wasn't so dry and didn't really catch the spark. Toilet paper, however, goes up like a mofo, as do cotton balls laced with Vaseline (a trick I learned from my camping book)! So, yes, okay--Bear doesn't use those things on his show, but I'll bet he would if he had some handy! Anyway, I got the fire going pretty quickly, and then it was time to prep the vittles.
As a recovering vegetarian for the last year or so, I've added a little tuna and chicken to my diet, so I'd prepped some chicken breasts in a Greek dressing marinade (Gazebo Room brand--it's the best!). I cut them into strips with my tiny pocketknife (I'm still trying to convince AB that I need a big Bear Grylls knife, but I'm still working on that one) and--again, unlike Bear--skewered a couple of strips on my awesome roasting fork. As a backup plan, I also put some strips into heavy-duty foil and set them in the coals along with some foil-wrapped potatoes. It took a while to ensure we wouldn't eat undercooked chicken and get sick, but the results were fantastic! I couldn't decide what to pretend the meat was; I mean, it couldn't be rabbit, obviously:Someone would not approve! It couldn't be Wild Turkey; I love those birds! So I just pretended it was a feral farm chicken, captured in a clever snare I rigged after stalking it for hours.Or something like that. AB just rolls her eyes and smiles at me during these moments. She's a good sport.
Our fire kept us quite warm until about 10:30; we went to bed feeling warm and happy. AB was prepared with her fleece and sleep pants; in my survival mode, I insisted I was quite warm in my boxies and a t-shirt.
First, I felt the cold in my legs--it was like the ground was radiating cold. My feet were still kinda warm, but my legs felt a little cold. I got the sweatpants. Then I added the fleece pullover I got at the L.L. Bean mothership store. I huddled against AB for warmth. I insisted I didn't need socks, but OH MY GOD WHY DIDN'T I BRING MY WOOL SOCKS!?
In short, we froze half to death. Worse, I had to get up to pee about five times (I have a tiny bladder), and we were roughing it at the walk-up site so the bathroom was waaayyyy too far away. Needless to say, I needed a shower BADLY when we got home.
So this morning when we took a walk to warm up, seeing a lifer was a good way to start the day. We also saw several Hairy Woodpeckers (but no Downy), Least Flycatchers, Blue Jays, and American Crows. The little songbirds were flitting around so quickly that those were the only positive IDs I was able to make.
P.S.--my countdown to Cape May begins tomorrow!