In the meantime, here's what happened to me since I left Wisco on Tuesday morning.
Tues, May 5th:
I left Wisco at about 9am and headed southwest. A quick stop at Potosi Bottoms produced Great Egrets, a Louisiana Waterthrush, Yellow Warbler, Carolina Wren, Pelicans, and a few other interesting species.
My next stop was Neal Smith NWR just south of Des Moines. The only new bird there was a Sedge Wren. Otherwise it was pretty quiet. Then I decided to head to St Joeseph, MO for the night. After some hunting, I stayed at Bluffwoods conservation park just south of the city. It was a very quiet little park and I awoke to singing Parulas and Louisiana Waterthrush.
Wed, May 6th:
I went searching for the Fork-tailed Flycatcher that had been seen last week. No sign of that bird. However, I did pick up Snowy Egret, Dickcissel, Orchard Oriole, and a few other birds.
Then I hopped on highway 59 to Topeka, KS. On the way, I noticed the transmission was slipping a little bit. When I arrived in Topeka, it wouldn't shift out of 1st gear. I pulled into a gas station to discover that the transmission fluid was literally pouring out from somewhere underneath the transmission. I knew then that the car wasn't going any farther. I asked around for a mechanic. The guy at the desk didn't know. I was about to start looking through the phonebook, when some guy walked up to me, handed me a card for a mechanic down the street, and walked away. I don't know who he was, but I have him to thank for directing me to the right place.
I called "The Rod Shop" and he had me bring the car down to the shop (it was literally right down the road.). So I practically rolled the car down in 1st gear.
After debating and explaining the situation a bit, Rod agreed to turn it around as fast as possible.
It turned out that Rod was the only mechanic on the street who wouldn't swindle out-of-staters into buying all new parts. I lost almost two full days because of all the problems, but I can't thank Rod and his crew enough for not only fixing the transmission, but also for finding and fixing other potential problems as well. Hopefully, the next time my car is in the shop, the only thing it will need is an oil change.
While hanging out in Topeka with no transportation and nothing to do, I walked around some of the roads nearby. Managed to pick up Great-tailed Grackle, Summer Tanager, Tennessee Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, N Mockingbird and a few other birds.
Today, Fri, May 8th:
I picked up Spotted Towhee at Wilson State Park where I stayed last night. Then I headed south to Cheyenne Bottoms WA. (aka, the best shorebird spot in the state of Kansas).
There, I picked up 18 species of shorebirds including several thousand Wilson's Phalaropes, a few Red-necked Phalaropes, Long-billed Dowitcher, Stilt Sandpiper, American Avocet and others. In Cheyenne Bottoms, there were many Eastern Kingbirds. Between Cheyenne Bottoms and Dodge City, they all changed over to Western Kingbirds. It seemed as if there was one on every power line. Between Dodge and Cimarron, it seemed as if there was a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher on every fence.
On the way to Elkhart, KS, I finally nailed my #2 nemesis bird! I was driving along and was thinking that I had to be within the range of Mississippi Kite, but I wasn't sure. I stopped, checked the field guide, put the guide down, looked up, and there were two Mississippi Kites flying above my car! An awesome way to get a life bird!! Now for my #1 nemesis bird. Painted Bunting! But that's for tomorrow.
I'm currently in Amarillo, TX. Visiting Palo Duro State Park tomorrow. Wish me luck!
No idea when I'll have internet again. I'll keep the updates coming as well as I can though.