Tag Archives: wildlife of New York

What I did on Thanksgiving Day

Screenshot from 2013-11-28 21:54:57

Starting from the east, I ran west all the way to the Hudson river and back.

I hope everyone had a fantastic time on Thanksgiving!

I had a lot of fun running the woodland trails of the Rockefeller Preserve in Pocantico Hills, NY yesterday(my own solitary “Turkey Trot”), though it was a very slow run due to the cold dry air(about 30 F or -1 C), heavy wind, and of course running up a nearly 500 ft(152 meter) ascent from the Hudson river in the second half of the run. I’m also still recovering from the Brooklyn Marathon. It took me 1:56 to complete this 10:48 mile run, though I think I ran a little more since the remote location made accurate GPS tracking with Runkeeper very difficult. The map above is very off in a few spots. I dropped the balls about 4 or 5 times.

The views of the Hudson river from the hills were amazing, but the beautiful red cardinals flying about along the trail were priceless. I can’t get over how many I saw, and how lively their birdsong was. It was like they were greeting me or trying to accompany me as I ran. Very strangely, the same thing happened the day before Thanksgiving in a very different location(in the Bronx of all places). It’s like they knew I wasn’t eating one of their distant relatives! Or maybe my juggling attracts them.

The forest seemed mostly dead and brown except for them. I felt like I was in a mystical forest for a good part of the run. It’s precious little things like this that make outdoor exercise so much more wonderful.

 

After this, I spent some time with friends and family and I ate what I usually eat. I am thankful for my friends, I am thankful for my family, and I am thankful for my health. Now, I just gotta get used to running in the cold air again.

It’s a Turkey Vulture!

IMG_1785Remember the big bird in the photo from my last post, “Spectacular Views From Beacon Mountain” I needed help identifying? According to commenter John:

Nice clear skies to be able to see the skyscrapers 50 miles away! That’s a turkey vulture in the one photo. They look so graceful from a distance, soaring over the mountains, but from closer up — yikes! — the naked red head is pretty ugly.

I agree, they sure do look graceful. Thanks for helping us identify it. I believe that in nature, even “ugly” creatures can still be beautiful in their own way. Check out John’s site, Life With John, for some great nature and travel photos.

Here are some more pictures of the turkey vultures from a few days ago. There were several of these birds flying around as I was in the fire tower.

IMG_1787IMG_1782IMG_1783IMG_1771I wish I could be a turkey vulture for a day. Or a week. Or a year! That way I could soar through the skies like I’ve always dreamed of. I’ve had other hikers tell me about turkey vultures before, usually as a warning to not climb a fire tower if they build their nest in one, since they may attack to defend it. Otherwise, they are harmless.

The turkey vultures of the Americas are also a good example of convergent evolution. They are not in the same avian group as Old World vultures, which belong to accipitridae, while New World vultures are in cathartidae. In spite of this, evolutionary forces have made them very similar.

If you could be any animal for a day, which animal would you choose to be?