Thursday, July 30, 2009

When You Go To Heaven, You Will Find No Policemen There

Scissor-me-timbers! A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher at work in Oklahoma.

Well, as you probably know if you're going through the motions of reading this, I live in Pennsylvania. Temporarily. Things are pretty low key out here, up on the mountain. Of course, in places like Pittsburgh, which is only 80 short miles away, life is probably a bit different. They have sports teams, colleges, a decent music scene....uh.....probably a couple strip clubs and casinos.....well I am guessing its not that different from any other big city in the U.S., but I want to check it out anyway. Why not? Philadelphia is a bit far, I can't contemplate visiting Baltimore, and I have always felt the need to treat New York like a rabid pit bull....if you don't have to deal with it, why bother? Art, in the traditional sense, bores me (no offense, hipster art friends), museums aren't that much better, tourist hotspots are depressing, the Yankees are there....what Really? Why would I go to some god-foresaken clusterfuck of a city for pizza?

As you can see, I've always had a strange bias against the place, for reasons I can't entirely explain. There's good music in NYC and Central Park makes for decent birding, and I do like bagels....but I'm sure there's someplace else that can offer music, birds and bagels.........right? Arcata comes to mind, now that Burks (now of Fall The Giants) is living up to his potential.

Besides the local birdlife (which is pretty rad), I havent learned much about the local human population here except they are white and like Pittsburgh sports teams. Oh yeah, people love the hockey here, and could care less about basketball. Thats about it. Talk about in-depth research, yeah? Oh there's a vegan/raw place a few miles down the road in Donegal that I'm pretty stoked about going to....and the only big grocery store around is called Giant Eagle and carries a lot of good veggie/vegan-friendly stuff. Ok, this is getting tedious....

Birds? Right. Henslow's Sparrows and Upland Sandpiper were both new birds for me, and despite the summer starting to peter out, Ive managed to put in some quality time with Black-and-white, Hooded, Kentucky, Magnolia, Black-throated Blue and Black-throated Green Warblers, redstarts, Ovenbirds, Black-billed Cuckoos (easy to hear, harder to see), Bobolinks, Grasshopper Sparrows, Acadian know, good friends!

Below are a few more pictures from the trip out here. Oh yeah, let me know if anyone wants to meet with me for a Hidden Valley Beer Summit. I promise I'll have something better than Budweiser.

There were thousands of these grasshoppers covering some roads north of Amarillo on the Texas panhandle. I saw a bunch of old asian women walking the sides of the roads, putting them in big jars, I assume for eventual human consumption. I wonder what they taste like? [The grasshoppers, not the women.]

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 1. This adult was one of several birds that appeared on the shoreline of Oklahoma City's Lake Heffner at sunset.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 2. This is a juvenile, recently fledged (see the downy feathers on its crown?).

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 3. A subadult, I'm guessing 1-2 years old?

The same Missippi Kite as the previous blog. They are, indisputedly, the Marissa Tomei of American birds.

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