Miracle of all miracles, we got in to Chicago last night without a single delay.
And then, this:
This was the view from our bedroom window this morning. Ice crystals on the window, thankfully on the outside. Wind chills in the -40s kept me inside much of the day, and I was bummed as it seemed that my first full day in Illinois was going to pass without a chance of seeing a single bird.
I eventually mustered up the courage to go clear off the car and see if it even wanted to run anymore. Digging a path out of the two foot barrier of snow that had firmly secured itself behind our vehicle was also on the list of chores. I bundled up and braced for the worst. The car successfully started up without much effort, and I proceeded to scoop/brush/scrape the snow and ice off the chilled car for the next 10 minutes, at which point I was surprised that I actually didn't feel that cold.
After digging out enough of a pathway for our hardy Sonata, I decided to take it for a spin around the block just to make sure it was actually in working order. I may or may not have been hoping for a bird to pop out along the way. As I turned around in the Northside Park parking lot, some movement caught my eye. A bird! It was one of two American Robins eating berries in a tree - not a bad first bird 2014. A European Starling also joined them. When I got back, I made a quick drive through campus and found a Red-tailed Hawk soaring in the stiff breeze. It made a close swoop by our apartment window after I got inside. And, as I sat down to write this, a Canada Goose flew by as well.
Not much, but four species is better than none. And, now I know that our car is in good enough shape to get out tomorrow. And get out tomorrow I will! The plan as of right now is to spend the day in Kane County on Tuesday and head south to the Champaign area on Wednesday. I'm hoping to bag a couple rarities to get the year off to a good start. We'll see if this cold has run them off or not.