Well yesterday was loads of finger and toe numbing fun. The NBC Nightly News Crew was a great team to ride around with. Although, I wasn't prepared for how much we would be outside. When we normally take people up to see owls, we stay in the vehicle, but when you're in a beautiful snow covered bog you need to do the camera shots and interviews outside rather than in a car. It was about 3 degrees outside with the windchill much colder. At one point as they were asking me questions for the interview I just stopped and said, "I have to stop, I'm too cold and can't feel my fingers." They laughed and let me warm up in the vehicle. They got some great shots of the owls--at a respectful distance from the birds, but with their professional cameras they are going to be some spectacular shots and I can't wait to see them.
It was a beautiful sunny day so I figured we wouldn't see too many great grays at first. I took a quick drive through the bog before meeting at Wilbert's Cafe and found two actively hunting northern hawk owls and had a good feeling. As we drove around early in the afternoon we found mostly hawk owls, I was momentarily nervous...did all the great grays go to Duluth? However, just as I suspected, as soon as the sun started to go down the great grays were dripping off the trees again. All in all a great day with fun people and of course, great birds!
I do have to say, the sign in booklet at Wilbert's is a hoot (so to speak) full of people from around the country with little notes of all the owls they have seen. I talked to some of the locals who good naturedly complained of how busy Wilbert's has been and all the crazy people stopped in the middle of the street and they guy they have had to pull out of ditches a few times. They said for the most part, they like having the birders there, even though a couple have blocked traffic but nothing too bad.
That said, we did encounter some hostility. We were pulled well over to film a great gray and got honked at by a snow plow. They had plenty of room to get around us, and none of the other snow plows had given us a hard time like that. On one of the side roads we were trying to get a shot of the reporter walking down the road with a great gray in a tree behind him. As he was walking and talking a teenager in a truck came out on the road, swerved all over, roared up and shouted for us to stay out of his (insert naughty word) out of the street. Ah, the adventure of the bog.
I heard the reporter, Kevin say something I find myself saying quite a bit: "Wow, I can't believe I get paid for this!" He said it in a good excited way, not in a 'take this job and shove it kind of way'