A Trip With (((Wife)))13 October, 2008
Living with (((Wife))) is a trip. Sometimes, however, we actually get to go on a trip. Our days off clash. The price of gas is up. Tuition for (((Boy))) is up. (((Girl))) wants clothes and shoes. And shoes. Did I mention shoes? Today, thanks to Columbus Day, we shared a day off and, thanks to burning trees in Oregon, we could afford a day trip.
We headed over to the Delaware River and drove up towards Hancock. Along the way, we drove on of the funnest roads in the east (even in a minivan, my mind was saying, “Whee!”):
We also saw lots of trees of colour:
And we saw birds. Including Turkeys (four different herds (sorry, flocks) (and do you realize that turkeys walking through the woods make more noise than a mob of boy scouts?)):
While driving down a back road, (((Wife))) suddenly said, “A quail!”
“Two of them. Over there.” She pointed in the general direction of the right side of the road on which we were driving. “Two of them. A male and a female. The boy flew away, the girl’s in the grass.”
We drove up to the point at which she saw the pair. No birds. Then she began describing the bird: “Large. Dark head. Ring around the neck.”
I asked, “Pointed wings?”
“Yeah. Pointed wings. And a long tail.”
“That’s a pheasant, not a quail.”
“Are you sure? Is that what a pheasant looks like?”
As we rounded the next corner, in the ditch, stood this:
So I said, “That’s a pheasant.”
She glared at me. Then we laughed as I fumbled for the camera.
We watched him strut his stuff for about five minutes. Absolutely beautiful. Then we drove off, and turned down a dirt road to look at more trees (and some cows).
(((Wife))) then asked about quail. As we drove past an overgrown field, I saw this out of the corner of my eye:
“That’s a quail,” I said as we sailed by. I braked hard, threw it in reverse, and we got to watch this guy strut his stuff for about five minutes. We discussed what it is for a while. I suggested that it looked like a Chukar, but I knew they didn’t live back east. We decided it was definately a quail or a grouse, but our bird books would help. Of course, the books are at home.
We got home and couldn’t find squat about this bird. So I posted a photo on WhatBirds and (very quickly) discovered I was right on the identification. (It took 7 minutes to get an answer. These folks must RSS feed the forums and compete to get the first ID. Kind of like trying to be first on Pharyngula’s comments.)
It wasn’t all fun and games. I also kept a mental tally of McCain and Obama signs. A real rural and conservative area, but for every 5 McCain signs, I saw about 4 Obama signs. Not too bad. I also saw an interesting home-made sign (no chance for a photo — had I tried to stop, the milk truck behind me would have run me down): “Vote McCain: America Needs Grown-Up Leaders!” Is that a slam against Bush?
We also stopped at the Scranton Farmer’s Market (great peppers (hot and sweet)). While in Scranton, I spotted this on the back of a ‘wrong way’ sign:
Proof positive that Scranton is not twenty years behind the times. Only eight.