I'm glad that I scouted out the starting point for this route in the daylight even though it caused a wire to pierce my sidewall and now I have a slow air leak in my right rear tire to contend with. I still almost got lost in the morning's darkness but arrived to start the route at the scheduled time - 4:26 am.
Stop 25 was especially special today. It always is special for 2 reasons - (1) the route is half finished, and (2) I can open my M&Ms. For some reason, when I started doing BBSs more than 30 years ago, I took a packet of M&Ms along (plain - Daryl). At the completion of stop 25, I open them and eat 2 of the same color. I do the same until the route is completed - always 2 of the same color after each stop. There always have been enough in the 1.69 oz packet to last through stop 50. I eat 2 of the same color to see if I can end up with no odd leftovers - no singles, no 2 of different colors, no 3 of different colors, etc. The object of my game (obsession?) is to have them to come out with no odd leftovers - it is extremely difficult to "win." This year is easier because when in Ohio in May and I bought a supply to last the entire Campaign from Big Lots. The price was right - 3 for 99 cents but there are only 3 colors - red, white, and blue. Today, for the first time, they came out even. I know, call me strange.
But back to stop 25 today - almost half finished and the first M&Ms waiting to hit my lips. I opened the door and the very first bird song I heard was a Boreal Chickadee! It called 3 more times quite close to the car during the 3-minute period. My first for the Campaign. I also had a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and a Gray Jay at 2 different stops. The weather was great although the mosquitoes competed with the blackflies to see which would win the most annoying contest. The mosquitoes still haven't been as bad as they are farther south, and I haven't taken any special precautions in the morning.
Final count is 68 species, and it was a treat to hear 4 Black-throated Blue Warblers on the first 6 stops. The route has been surveyed only 3 times over the past 2 decades, and today's total is comparable to totals attained on these surveys. Reduced numbers of Wood Thrushes and Veeries were again noticeable when the data are scanned. It was nice to tally both kinglets, and I actually saw 2 hummingbirds chase each other. I saw the 2nd fawn of the spring after seeing the first on Saturday. Saw 3 road-killed porkies between the end of my route and Iron Mountain where I'll be spending 5 days. Three of the routes I'll be running out of MI are ones I've been running for more than 20 years so they are pretty familiar and am looking forward to knowing the stops on a route after trying to find stops described by others or taking the time to write stop descriptions for an entire route