Day 159: Grounded and Zeroed

Noah just can’t fly out of New York.

June 8, 2015, New York City, New York — During five months in Latin America I took dozens of flights with barely a hitch, but now that I’m in the U.S. on United Airlines, the wheels have fallen off (not literally, but might as well be). I was delayed more than nine hours on Friday, and today was even worse.

I was supposed to fly out of Ithaca this morning, spend the day with a local birder in Newark, and continue to Iceland on a redeye this evening—pretty straightforward.

Instead, the early flight was canceled because its crew didn’t show up, which set off a cascading series of delays. The airline put me on an hour-long taxi to another airport in Binghamton, where I was rebooked on an afternoon flight to Newark. But half an hour before that one boarded, an intense thunderstorm hit amid warnings about large hail, flooding, and tornados (at one point, the airport’s fire alarms went off for five minutes) and it was eventually canceled while I missed my connection to Iceland. Two canceled flights at two different airports in one day! In the end, I took a three-hour, late-night Greyhound bus from Binghamton to New York City, arriving in Manhattan at about 2:00 a.m. The airline comped a hotel next to JFK, where, I hope, I’ll take the next flight to Reykjavik tomorrow afternoon.

I’ll lose 18 of my planned 25 hours in Iceland because of these delays, but at least I won’t have to skip it entirely. The new plan is to pull an all-nighter there between my midnight arrival and 7:00 a.m. departure from Reykjavik. (The sun doesn’t set for long in Iceland this time of year, so it’s possible to keep birding through the wee hours.) Meanwhile, my date in Newark today didn’t happen, so the bird-a-day streak has been broken: My first zero day since January 3rd. Here’s hoping tomorrow goes a bit smoother.

New birds today: 0

Year list: 2747

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