Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Memorial Day Report - Part I: Exodus

t's a bit tardy, but when the reporter and the editor are the same guy in different hats, that's what you get. That's rustic.

It was a nifty, long weekend in Central New York, a part of the country I haven't visited since I was eight years old. Cooperstown, NY has always been a destination on my list. This village on the shores of Otsego Lake is home to the Baseball Hall of Fame and takes its name from the father of James Fenimore Cooper, the noted American fabulist behind the Leatherstocking Tales and Last of the Mohicans. Cooper's novels are set in this part of New York's middle tier, and Otsego is the model for his fictive "Glimmerglass."

As luck, and her parents' insurance policy, would have it, the GF did all the driving to Cooperstown, ably piloting our borrowed Acura north with an even hand and a mostly even head. As navigator, I was freed up to enjoy 200 miles of whiplash birding as the interstate-scapes of Northern Jersey, the winding blue highways of the Catskills and the rolling agricultural straightaways of New York's Central Valley rolled by under a bright sun.

Turkey Vultures rocked overhead throughout the drive, scouting out roadkill. Perched Kestrels watched the holiday traffic from phone lines. And a Cooper's Hawk was unceremoniously chased out of Roscoe, NY by a mob of Starlings and Grackles. A Common Raven sat in a farmhouse lawn outside Delhi, NY, and Chipping Sparrows tittered at my technique while I peed over a guardrail just south of Oneonta (at least I hope it was my technique). Finally, in the irony department: Bank Swallows over a barn in Otsego County, and Barn Swallows over a bank in Delaware County (a pond edge, not an S&L).

Tomorrow... Cooperstown, Baseball, Mascot Birds, Thoughts on B&Bs, etc.

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