I am prone to wanderlust and enjoy birding in new and varied places. Earlier this year two waterfowl that escaped my purview showed up in close proximity to one another, if not in close proximity to me. Thus was the genesis of my journey.
Foolishl... er, eagerly hornswoggled into doing a NYS big year again due in large part because it started off so well, I found a window of opportunity to venture up to the Plattsburgh region. I also had an accomplice so that made the trip easier.
Capt'n Bob and I easily made our way up there on a beautiful if cold day, and arrived at Ausable Marsh Wildlife Management Area where A Tufted Duck was supposed to be. I scanned the huge flocks of waterfowl for a few hours but to no avail. I came across only one other birder, and though the report that the bird was typically seen a bit later in the day was encouraging, we decided to move on.
That would have been fine, but Bob had been listening to the radio with the car off, and unbeknownst to him, several internal lights were on as well. The cold and duration had weakened the battery enough to prevent its starting.
He was possessed of jumper cables though, so all was not lost. He cleared stuff out of the back of the car and I placed my scope on the ground so it wouldn't fall over in the strong breeze. The birder we had met before came back our way and obliged our jump request. With the car back among the living, Bob packed the trunk and we drove off to check some other locations.
With the wind and temp being what they were we did some car birding along the west shore, but a good vantage required scoping. Problem was, it wasn't in the trunk. Slight panic ensued, and we made haste getting back to where we had been. Seems he hadn't noticed it so didn't put it in the car with the other stuff.
We arrived and saw that the scope was still there, but upon closer inspection found out that the tripod had been run over when he backed up. My heart sank. Miraculously the scope was okay, but the graphite legs of the tripod splintered. Word to the wise: should you crush anything of graphite, pick it up with gloves and very carefully as well because the sprinters will get into all of your fingers!
No Tufted Duck, smashed tripod, and lots of splinters. The day was shaping up nicely...
We headed further afield and in search of Pink-footed Goose, also missed earlier home on Long Island. We took up station at a flooded farm field that was full of Canada Geese, and assorted other waterfowl. We spent about an hour in vain, and hunger pulled us away for lunch at a nearby eatery. Afterward we went back for another view. The hope that the goose would come in to join the others was not to be.
Somewhat dejected, we made one final attempt at the TUDU location and my luck changed for the better. Yes! Well at least it was not a total dip and loss.
I had gotten the graphite tripod because the original one I had was aluminum and heavy. The fluid head was okay so I salvaged it and re-attached it to the old tripod. I thought: “Okay, not so bad, at least I'm back in business...”
Not so fast. The plate with the screw that holds the quick-release plate to attach the scope to the tripod was disturbingly loose in the scope.
Upon closer inspection the threads in the scope were stripped, and even closer inspection revealed they were all gone. Great.
Scopeless, I pondered if it was repairable, and if so how.
Spending a lot of time in the field, I come across a lot of 'parts' that fall off such as lens caps etc. One such part was a tripod hook; usually found at the bottom of the center post.
I thought of getting a thread repair kit and brought the quick-release plate with me to the store. I had the aforementioned hook in the car and began fiddling with the two. They connected. Go figure - the threads were the same!!
The wheels began to turn and I came up with a new plan:
1. Cut off just enough of the female threads
|This will do|
2. Drill out and expand the hole in the tripod
|Its now holier than thou|
3. Press in the threads and voila!
|I love it when a plan comes together|
I'm back in business! Now where be that blasted Goose?