I almost did it! I almost completed a treacherous hike without falling or doing something stupid. Almost!
But almost is a word that really really really sucks. "I almost broke the record". "We almost won the championship". "I almost saw the Aztec Thrush". "I almost hiked out of the drainages without getting bit by a rattlesnake, breaking a bone, or damaging a valuable".
The latter is what happened to me. As Tim and I hiked Slate Creek, we both did well on the hike. We didn't fall down a step ledge. We didn't encounter a bear, lion, or snake. We didn't get stung by any of the hundreds of bees that formed a cult together in a sycamore tree hole. But I tripped and fell by trying to go over a big log. I didn't get hurt, but my camera lense did. My fall resulted in my lense hitting the log only mildly hard, but it screwed it up pretty good. And sadly, I had my camera case on my other shoulder. Usually in treacherous hiking situations, I think to put my camera in the protective case. I don't know why I didn't this time, of course. The zoom "wheel" or "barrel" or whatever it's called doesn't turn, and it's stuck at 75 milometers. How freaking lame. My hike was ruined and pretty much, so was my day. I can't live without my camera, I am obsessed with avian photography and writing blog posts. Not ones like this though. Before I went to the camera shop in high hopes of getting my camera lense fixed for a price as cheap as possible, I had it in my mind that it needed to be done.
Once at Foto Forum, the camera place, the sales representative Dave was very helpful. He gave me numbers to places in Scottsdale to get my lense fixed, and he also suggested maybe just to buy one online. And he also showed me a lense he had in stock, a newer form of my lense. It was 300 dollars, and was a 55x through 300x milometer zoom lense where as my current one was a 75x through 300x. Dave told me to take my time and think, as I was tempted to say screw it and just buy the new lense. As I started to drive around, I looked on Amazon at used deals on my same lense that I didn't trust. I called the camera shops and they said the minimum price to get my lense fixed was $150 dollars and probably more. It's probably just jammed and very fixable, but I hate hassles of any shape and form. After driving around, I quickly did a u-turn, said "screw it", and I went to buy the new lense. With tax, the total came out to be $324. Ouch. I wanted to gag. As I was at 7th Street and Camelback, it then quickly occurred to me that the Desert Botanical Garden was close by, and so was a Magnolia Warbler. I was gagging at the amount of cash I had just dumped. But as I mentioned earlier, I need photography and my camera working at all times, so the spending felt more of a requirement in my mind. I still was gagging though at the cost. So instead of continuing to gag, I said, "Hey, why not go look at a Mag".
The Magnolia Warbler is a rare "eastern warbler" and is very rare in Arizona. I've actually seen two young Magnolias in the state before, but both of them were young first year birds. This one was special, and was a striking and bright adult male. When I first caught sight of it, I forgot about that 324 bucks down the drain. As soon as the camera flashed, I thought the cost was so freaking worth it! I ran into Tyler Loomis and he quickly got me on the warbler (thanks Tyler!), and we waited around for the Magnolia Warbler as it would come to the path along the Desert Botanical Garden off and on. It was very active whenever it came around, and wasn't the easiest to photograph. I did manage a few shots of it that aren't great, but are decent.
The Magnolia Warbler is a very striking eastern warbler, one that was awesome to see for the first time in adult plumage. Plenty of eastern warblers show up in Arizona that are in "crappy" plumages. When a striking piece of eye candy shows up like this bird, don't ever pass up the opportunity to see it if you haven't. The name of this bird came when ornithologist Alexander Wilson discovered this bird for the first time in Magnolia trees while in Mississippi. Oh Magnolias and Magnolia! This Phoenix bird was even singing some too. As Tim Marquardt and I birded Slate Creek earlier, he also showed up on sight after I told him the bird was still around and was given good looks at the bird.
So, this Magnolia Warbler helped me get over the cost I had to spend but didn't really want to spend very quickly. When I get enough money again, I think I'll get my first lense fixed, so then I can have two. It does work well in the long run. Moral of the story, remind yourself when to put your camera in more protected places when hiking!
And also, the Magnolia Warbler is on the Sibley. He's famous!