Monday, December 8, 2008

Highlights of 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008
Photo by Julie Zickefoose.

As the end of another year draws nigh, I am beset and bemused by thoughts of the year's highlights. One of the first highlights to come to mind for 2008—and for many of the past six years for that matter—was my annual ride on the Pale Playground Pig of the Prairie.

Located in a small lakeside playground not far from Carrington, North Dakota, the pig is one of those timeless kids' rides: a cartoonish animal attached to a giant spring mounted in cement in the ground. Every time I make the pilgrimage to see it, I am amazed at its longevity. It probably gets covered in feet of snow each winter and chilled by howling, sub-zero Alberta Clipper winds, then baked by the prairie sun each summer. And though it's a bit paler each time I see it, it's always smiling.

When I'm lucky enough to be a leader on the Arrowwood NWR birding field trip at the annual Potholes & Prairie Birding Festival held each June in central North Dakota, I look forward to getting in a little quality riding time with the PPPP. We always stop at the park because it has public restrooms, which are near the top of the must-have list for any birding trip (just below a thermos of bad coffee and a bag of waxy chocolate donuts). The park also has breeding least flycatchers, western kingbirds, both orchard and Baltimore orioles, and tons of warbling vireos.

The Potholes & Prairie Birding Festival is the very essence of quality over quantity, which is one of the reasons we've done the event for many years running. Other festivals may get more attendees, but few offer more birds, or nicer people. If you're interested, visit the festival's website and see for yourself.

Who knows, may YOU'LL get to ride the Pale Playground Pig of the Prairie in 2009. If you come to the festival, I give you directions right to it.

I'll share some other highlights from 2008 as they come to mind. In the meantime, please share a few of yours!


On December 8, 2008 at 12:36 PM Mary said...

What will you do if the PPPP is replaced by a mechanical bull? WooHoo!

That's a terrific photo - made me smile.

On December 8, 2008 at 2:24 PM Bill of the Birds said...


I can vouch for the P4's incredible bucking ability. That look on my face is utter white-hot fear, not joy. I should have been wearing my helmet—the one with the detachable leash.

On December 8, 2008 at 6:49 PM Julie Zickefoose said...

I share your elation at once again riding the PPPP. Dare I mention the Pale Playground Pelican of the Prairie? The PPPPig is seldom found without it.

On December 8, 2008 at 7:44 PM NCmountainwoman said...

Only a man with incredible self-esteem and a wonderful sense of humor could post this photograph. I salute you! You are indeed a man of amazing talents.

On December 8, 2008 at 8:18 PM RuthieJ said... that's where you guys disappeared to when the rest of us were watching orioles while waiting in line for the restroom!

On December 8, 2008 at 10:44 PM Mary said...

Snort/giggle :o)

On December 8, 2008 at 10:59 PM OpposableChums said...

"YOU'LL get to ride the Pale Playground Pig of the Prairie"

This is a euphemism for someting decidedly unsavory...

On December 10, 2008 at 12:54 PM Heather said...

You are all very silly... and I love it. BOTB, you look like you're yelling "YEEEeeee-HAAAaaaa" in that picture. What fun.

On December 20, 2008 at 7:38 AM jacob said...

u r blog Is very nice