Thursday, February 21, 2013

Door County, Disaster Escaped, January 31

The local road conditions in Green Bay were passable due to the diligence of the road crews.  This is typical in the northern parts of this country in my experience from living in upstate New York.  Where there is more snow in the winter, the road crews are more prepared and on top of their game out of necessity.  Eight inches of snow in Cincinnati, however, would have shut down the city for at least one day or several days.

Conditions improved as I headed out.  I first visited DePere Dam, about 15 minutes from my motel where a continuing Iceland Gull had been located several times over the past month or so. I wanted an additional look and this did not cost me much time.  As I walked across the bridge across the Fox River at the dam,  Peregrine Falcon flew by me and landed on a windowsill of a mill along the river.  Unfortunately, I did not carry my camera with me, due to extreme sub-zero cold and wind.  I did not find the Iceland Gull.

Then I headed toward Door County with roads improving as I went north. 

I added Rough-legged Hawk, four birds, three light phase and one dark phase, and many Common Ravens.  However the Pine Grosbeaks and Bohemian Waxwings were a no show, after trying several places where they were reported recently.  I headed to the Route 57/Q road location for the Northern Hawk Owl.  At first google maps took me to the wrong location, the southern most intersection, but the bird had been seen at the northernmost intersection.  I finally realized what was wrong.  The first location did not have a bakery north of the intersection.  So I looked at my new Rand McNally road atlas to figure out google's error. 

When I arrived at the location just south of the bakery and north of the intersection.  I got too far off the road and got pulled into a small but deep enough ditch.  A road maintenance truck stopped but was only allowed to shovel sand under my wheels and snow from in front of my car.  His conclusion was that I was stuck and would need a tow.  I tried pulling forward and back but did not get out.  I pulled out my new shovel and started shoveling snow away from the ditch side of my car to reduce friction and drag and started shoveling a track to follow in the front of my car.  It looked like the ditch became shallower further ahead.  Two kind vehicles stopped and turned around one pick-up truck with a tow rope, which we could not figure out how to attach.  The second vehicle had two young men who looked like Jehovah's Witnesses to me.   I backed up and with their manual push was able to get to the shallower ditch area when my car popped out of the ditch.   Disaster avoided.  I thanked both profusely and the pickup driver. 

To celebrate my good fortune, I stopped at the bakery and got an excellent turkey sandwich, fresh made with home made bread.  I talked to the young man in the bakery.  He knew about the owl and had others stop there to get food and discuss it.  I used all of the recent posts, including one abut where the owl hides when it is not visible from the road.  However, the owl was a no show.   At about 4:30 or 5:00 pm I headed back south toward Greenbay.  On the way I encountered near white out snow squalls, which convinced me to stay another night in Greenbay.      


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