On June 3 2012, my husband and I lost our minds and got up at the crack of dawn to load the car with the kids and dogs so we could be in Madera Canyon by 8am. It was a stressful event of exhaustion, packing the car, and waking the kids before the long drive down. I didn't realize just how much it would cost me or how much I would gain as we finally pulled out of the driveway.
I am new to birding and really wanted to see an Elegant Trogon. My husband had gone out in the past and spotted one and I wanted to not just see it but grab a shot of it with my new, fancy, beyond expensive camera. We arrived and paid our five dollars, loaded the hiking packs, kids, leashed dogs, and the camera went around my neck with the hubbies new, Father's Day binoculars around his. We started the climb on the Carrie Nation trail.
The journey seemed to give a sign of hope with at the front of the trail an Acorn Woodpecker greeted us! Next, a Painted Red-Start bounced around with excitement.
After this, it slowed down, I could hear warblers, but not see them and we went pretty far up the trail before turning back down out of my asthma acting up and it started to get late in the morning. On the way down the hubby and his keen eye spotted a House Wren bouncing around. Shortly after, I suddenly felt the ground go out from under my left foot as part of the trail slide away and down the side with my left foot. Thoughts went, baby, camera, crap, baby again, camera, then OUCH!!!! I yelled for the hubby who was up a little ahead, I move slower, and he came back to check the baby who was screaming in fear then the camera. I hurt pretty instantly. I got a scrapped knee, and when I went down I landed on the arm holding the camera giving it a few good cuts, plus it didn't matter since the lens got dust and bumped anyway, add to that the only free hand I had landed on a rock and started swelling pretty good. I sat and cried like a huge baby then got up, loaded the baby in the pack with the camera around my neck again and we headed down, not much we could do about the camera or my hand on the trail. To add to the injury we didn't see the Elegant Trogon. Just as I was about to curse at the luck of the trip the hubby yelled my name and pointed! There he was and he sat perfectly on a branch for me to snap a photo of! PLEASE GOD LET THIS CAMERA work!
We don't always get those random moment prayers answered, but mine was! It hurt like the dickens moving my right hand to photograph, but at the time I just let the tears come out and snapped as many as I could! These are the last photo's the camera lens would take!
We had gone so far on the trail, we had strained to listen over the kids, deal with my Asthma, wrangle the dogs, and had a spill that would take my poor new lens from us, but not before giving us the shots we came for!
My husband was right and the birds call wasn't as loud as you expect giving it the allusion that it was further away than it was. I joked that part of finding the Elegant Trogon seemed to be scrapping one's knee as when he had found it for the first time he had fallen and scrapped his worse than mine. Ironically, the bird wasn't too far up the trail.
We caught our last shot of him going into his nesting hole, which is my favorite shot because it shows him going home.
As we said good by to the Elegant Trogon immediately to our left the hubby pointed again and showed me our other goal, the Plumbeous Vireo, he moved too fast for me to get a shot with my bum hand, but right in the same spot we sighted both our rare finds for the day!
The camera lens said it's final fair-well with the shot of the Western Wood Pewee before refusing to work any further.
Switching to the lens the camera came with at Santa Rita Lodge I snapped a shot of a Stellar Jay ensuring the camera itself is fine. I took some Tylenol and we decided to take a quick drive to where the Star Throated Hummingbird had been sighted, we were there and it is a rare sighting.
We didn't get a sighting of the Star Throated Hummingbird, but I did get a shot of my first Ladder-Back Woodpecker! I was happy the baby was unharmed and the Camera still worked, sad the lens was busted along with my hand, and satisfied that with the help of an amazing hubby I got my bird! While, the hubby may not think so, (the bill of the lens and me having to go to urgent care was pretty large) I felt the whole ordeal was worth it to get such a rare experience as a new birder. I have been warned though, their will not be another replacement lens!