Day 45 — Duluth, MN

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For most people, today was Valentine’s Day. For me, it was Day 45. I’ve lost complete track of dates, days of the week, time. I was on a plane headed to Duluth, MN.

In the morning, I was so excited about going to British Columbia for the first time. I had it all planned out! At the airport checking in, I was asked to show my passport. Damn, that’s right! I’m headed to Canada, crossing borders, I need documents. I had no idea where my passport was hiding.

I’ve been living the last year back and forth to Virginia and my first thought was that I left it there. Every day in a Big Year is crucial. I’m at the airport, bags packed, how can I salvage the day?? I make a bunch of calls and before long I’m headed to Duluth, MN.

I’m reminded of my competitive tennis life. You lose 3 games in a row, you change your strategy. In a Big Year, you have to be flexible. There are many days that travel eats a big chunk of your time. I start looking at the eBird reports for Minnesota and make a new plan.

I think about the beautiful sunset that I just saw on my beach in Naples in shorts. I hope that memory keeps me warm!!

I leave Naples with my bird count at 388. I finally arrive to my hotel in Duluth at 10 p.m. After 12 hours, 1200 air miles and more than 300 miles driven, there are no roses or chocolates waiting for me. Only the prospect of Grouse, Owls, Crossbills and Waxwings.

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