It was the last day of the year, and I had a little time. I decided, despite the weather, that a drive out to Cape Spear might be relaxing. The closer I got to the Cape, the more the wind picked up, the driving sleet increased, and the temperature dropped. I had no intention of getting out of my car.
Oh, no. I had planned to stay in the comfort and warmth of my car. But.... I had never really seen the Purple Sandpiper up close. Reluctantly, I pulled into a parking spot, drew a deep breath and dawned my hat, gloves and gear. I had to go on the long, long wintry walk to the shoreline.
The walk down wasn't too bad, for every step I took, the wind blew me forward another six inches. Standing up was my biggest challenge. Clyde had already reached the water's edge and disappeared down over the cliff. I skated on down the hill.
Nevertheless, I was close, very close to the Purple Sandpipers. They were amazing. The longer we stayed, the closer they came. It was a wonderful opportunity, and I was really glad I took it on.
When the birds flushed to another area, I did not follow. I was happy with what I had seen, I raised up to meet a blast of cold wind that was going to be in my face all the way back to the car. It took every ounce of strength I had to get back up the slippery hill. This is a hill I often walk, but on that day, it felt like Mount Everest!
I finally reached my car, winded and exhausted, and sat there with a smile on my face as I wiped the sleet from my face and dried my gear.
I couldn't help but think of the inscription on the wall of the General Post Office in New York City: "Neither rain nor snow nor heat nor gloom of night stay 'birders' from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Now, I may have to do it all over again to ensure I see this species in 2013:-(