Peregrine Falcons of York Minster

What can you see at York Minster besides the cathedral itself? If you look up at the minster you can see the gargoyles and grotesques, but you may also see a nesting pair of peregrine falcons.

Since around 2015 there has been a nesting pair of Peregrine falcons at York Minster. During the 2018 they were reported to have raised four young. Two of the three times I visited York I was able to spy some falcons flying around the minster, landing on grotesques and the towers.

I saw this one in July 2017. It was resting next to a nearby building’s chimney pot. A birdwatcher told me this was a young one on its first day of flight.

If you are going to try to catch these birds of prey, bring a powerful pair of binoculars or a zoom lens. They land pretty high up on the minster. Whether you are a birder or not, they are enjoyable to see in flight.

For more information check out a Twitter page devoted to the York Minster Falcons: https://twitter.com/YorkPeregrines?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

Or this website: http://www.yorkperegrines.info/wp/

Great Blue Heron

These were taken on the Hudson River on a cloudy, November day near the time the sun would set. The people in the village I viewed him from named him Fraser. I was told he is there everyday. In a period of about 15-20 minutes I saw him catch four little fish. I am sure he will be flying south soon to a warmer locale. He may be the same bird I saw last year.

Tiny fish in his mouth
Got one
The fish fought for his life, but the heron won.
Off to a better fishing hole

Meow Parlour NYC

Have you ever been in a coffee shop that shares its space with cats? Do you want to experience a relaxed setting where you can play with cats and kittens up for adoption? Perhaps your building does not allow animals and you want to spend time with a furry buddy. If any of this interests you head for Meow Parlour on Hester Street in Manhattan.

One of the younger kittens available for adoption.
How Does it Work?

Go to Meow Parlour at 46 Hester Street on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. They have a window where you will make your appointment. Then you head next door to the Macaron Parlor Patisserie featuring Harney and Sons tea, macaroons, scones, muffins, cookies and other baked goods. Order your food and sign the online form releasing responsibility in case you get scratched or bit. Then wait to be called. I only had to wait about 15-20 minutes. You can take your food with you when you hang with your feline friends.

When you return you take off your shoes. They have plenty of toys to tempt the cats with. There are areas in the store for cats to sleep in. There are sitting areas for the humans. When I visited there were some older kittens and younger ones as well as one cat that appeared to be full grown.

This gal is named Coffee Mate. She is in the window watching the action on the street.
They had boxes with see through tops and entrances shaped like cats that were used for cat naps.
Older kitten watching the humans at the window.

You pay on the way out. The cost is $8 for thirty minutes. This helps them pay their heating and electric costs for the premises.

Decor

The location is filled with cat related items for decoration and some for sale. There are books on the shelf you can sit and read while you spend time there, all about cats of course. There are children’s books such as The Cat in the Hat and others.

Cat decor

They also sell cat related items such as t-shirts.

Hours
Purpose

Meow Parlour partners with the shelter Animal Care Centers of NY. The kittens and cats that are at this location are up for adoption. There are opportunities to foster as well.

For more information look here: https://www.meowparlour.com

If you are looking to adopt, foster, or just spend time with a feline friend, travel to Meow Parlour. Its the cat’s meow.

Autumn Horses

I believe these horses were in Vermont. Otherwise they were in NY near the Vermont border.
I have stopped at other farms to try to get horse pictures, but these horses were more photogenic. They were very friendly. They came right up to me to say hello. I was standing roadside. A third horse was more shy.
The building behind him is rather dilapidated, but it makes for a more interesting photo.

Animal Adventure Park

Did you take part in the baby watch for April the giraffe online? Have you ever wondered what zoo April was in? April is in Animal Adventure Park in central New York State about 15 minutes or more from Binghamton.

Animals
This is Johari. She is part of the new couple. As the sign says you can only feed her carrots.

The main draw at the zoo due to the live webcams in their barn has been the giraffes. The zoo has become famous worldwide as people went into baby watch mode for momma giraffe, April. She gave birth to Tajiri (15 April 2017) and Azizi (16 March 2019). There is a new giraffe couple, Oliver and Johari.

April and her two babies, Tajiri and Azizi.
This is the youngest baby of April, Azizi.

Animal Adventure Park is more than just giraffes. The park has over 250 animals with over 100 species represented. Some animals you can get fairly close to such as llamas, alpacas, giraffes, and sheep. Others you can view from behind tall fencing such as monkeys, lemurs, wolves, and white lions. Different continents are represented from the American black bear to Chilean flamingoes and from the Tibetan yak to the African warthog. Mammals, birds, and cold blooded creatures, this little zoo packs in a lot of variety.

Flamingoes watching the people go by. Are humans on display or are the animals?
Alligator enjoying the sun.
The official cat of the zoo. The story I heard from one of the employees was she came with the farm when they bought it. She acts like she is the owner of the zoo.
Feed the Animals

When you visit the zoo you will have opportunities to feed many of the animals. For $3 you can buy a handful of carrots to feed the giraffes or buy a cup full of pellets you can give to many of the animals. They also sell lettuce to feed the turtles and grapes to feed some of the other animals. The animals are quite happy to see you when you have food and it leads to many good photo or selfie opportunities. On my second trip I saw zoo keepers come out and let some children bottle feed some of the baby animals.

If the animals see you come close with food they will come right over to you. This appears to be an alpaca.
Animal Encounters

If you book in advance, you can participate in an animal encounters. These afford the visitor a little closer access to some of the animals. You get to feed them yourself and take pictures in a closer proximity than when you stroll around the zoo. A zoo keeper gives you all kinds of information about the animals. I was able to do the Sloth encounter. I feed them and took photos. They currently have one male and two females in hopes one of the females will breed.

One of the three sloths at the zoo.
Sloth snack time. Look no hands!
Handicap Accessible

I would say this zoo is fairly accessible. The paths/roadways within the zoo are wide and there are no stairs. On both visits I made to the zoo I saw people navigating the exhibits in wheelchairs. They also host a low sensory night for people with sensory issues.

Concessions

The zoo has a a few concession stands. They serve fast food items such as hamburgers, grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, chips, soda, and ice cream. If you have food sensitivities I would recommend bringing you own food in a cooler and leaving it in the car. You can leave the zoo and return with a hand stamp or receipt. This zoo is in a very rural area and there are no restaurants close by.

Gift Shop

Animal Adventure Park offers different animal related items in their gift shop and also through their online store. There are t-shirts, stuffed animals, etc. The t-shirts in the gift shop favor their main draw: giraffes, but there are others available online.

Location

This zoo is located at 85 Martin Hill Road in Harpursville, NY. On the route the GPS sent me there were no signs advertising Animal Adventure Park. It made me a little worried the first time I visited, but the Sat. Nav. took me to the right spot. This zoo is about 15 minutes or more northeast of Binghamton. I am told it is about a 3 hour drive from New York City and a 2 hour drive from the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge in the Hudson Valley.

Parking

I arrived before they opened both times I visited on a weekday during the summer. I was able to park in their lot at the zoo entrance. They do have overflow parking in another location nearby.

I highly recommend this little zoo. They appear to take great care of the animals and work with animals that are endangered or close to endangered. The zoo is very family-friendly and sponsors many events. If you love animals and want to see them up close make a trip to Animal Adventure Park.

For more information go to their website: https://theanimaladventurepark.com/park-info/ or https://theanimaladventurepark.com

Dock Dogs

What competitive sports are out there for your dog to participate in? Does your dog like water? Does your dog like to fetch? If so, you may want to consider training your dog to be involved in Dock Dogs.

Some dogs were new to the sport and had to have encouragement to get in the water.
What is it?

Dock Dogs is an aquatic sport for your canine friend. The category I have witnessed several times is the Big Air competition. The handler throws a toy off a dock towards a long pool of water. The dog jumps off the dock to try to catch or retrieve the toy. The dogs are judged on how far they jump. They measure the distance from the end of the deck to where the dog’s tail hits the water.

All these photos were taken at the Dock Dog events at the Dutchess County Fair in New York. This is an annual event at the Dutchess County Fair with competitions happening three times daily during the fair.
This guy almost caught the toy in mid air.
Who can participate?

This is open to dogs as young as 6 months old and handlers as young as 7 years of age.You would think the bigger the dog the farther they would go. However, as I witnessed, that is not necessarily the case. Some of the large dogs may only jump 5 feet while a smaller dog can top that. A medium size dog might go quite far. Regardless, the dogs all appear to be enjoying the competition win or lose.

Big Air
Canines of different breeds participated. Some were rescues as well.
Very focused
Other Events

I have only witnessed Big Air events, but Dock Dogs also has other competitions. They also have an Extreme Vertical event. Extreme Vertical is about how high upward the dog can launch to grab a bumper. A third event is the Speed Retrieve. This event is timed. The dog has to run, jump, and swim to the end of a pool to retrieve a bumper that is suspended over the water.

Does your dog love the water? Do they want to play fetch with you endlessly? Why not up the game? Involve them in Dock Dogs. Even if you don’t have a dog the events are a joy to watch.

Greyfriars Bobby

Have you ever had a pet that was very loyal to you? How do you honor a dog that went above and beyond in loyalty to his human? In Edinburgh, Scotland they found a few ways to honor one such dog. Greyfriars Bobby is not a tale, but a true story.

John Gray went to Edinburgh with his wife and son looking for work. He accepted a job as a police constable. He was provided with a place to stay in the neighborhood he worked in.

Working Dog

Police during that time worked with dogs. It is said John Gray adopted a Skye terrier around 1856. He named the dog Bobby. Bobby followed John around on his rounds. John and Bobby would make a routine of stopping at a coffee house near the Greyfriar’s Church.

John Gray became ill and in early 1858 he died of consumption or tuberculosis. Bobby followed the funeral procession through the Burial Gate to Greyfriar’s Kirk (churchyard) where John was buried.

One entrance to the churchyard and it could be the Burial Gate.
Loyal

John Gray’s family was said to have taken the dog home, but he kept returning to his master’s grave to hold vigil. James Brown, a gardener at the church, gave Bobby food and water and allowed him to stay. Usually dogs were chased away from the churchyard. Fellow police constables on patrol through the churchyard recognized John Gray’s dog and feed him a little as well. Also it is said a man named James Anderson, who lived above what is now the Greyfriars Bobby bar, would go and fetch Bobby on stormy nights and bring him inside his place.

A sergeant at Edinburgh Castle heard about Bobby and took an interest in him. Sgt. Scott trained Bobby that the one o’clock gun meant dinner. It became an attraction for people to stand at the churchyard gate to see Bobby leave at the one o’clock gun and walk to the Eating House. After he was done eating he would walk back to the grave. This continued when the place changed hands and was named Traill’s Temperance Coffee House.

Danger came when it was decided all dogs in Edinburgh needed to be licensed. If they were not they could be put to sleep or destroyed. The optics of putting such a loyal dog to sleep would have been terrible, so the Lord Provost of Edinburgh William Chambers stepped in and paid for Bobby’s license and bought him a collar.

Famous Dog

Newspapers started to write stories about Greyfriars Bobby. People came to paint pictures of him. The Traill family who ran the Coffee House Bobby visited at one o’clock everyday had a photo taken with him.

Bobby died January 14, 1872. The Traill family buried Bobby in a triangular flower bed beneath a tree in the Greyfriars Churchyard in secret. They put up a headstone that someone later removed.

Honoring Bobby
People think it is good luck to rub Bobby’s nose, but they ask you not to do that as it affects the statute.

In 1873 a bronze statue was made of Bobby with a granite fountain was donated by Baroness Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts. There was a trough at the bottom of it for dogs to drink out of.

The Huntly House Museum in Edinburgh has two of Bobby’s items. They have the collar presented to Bobby by Lord Provost William Chambers. They also have the metal dish Bobby ate from at the Coffee Shop from 1862-1872. They also have the photo of Bobby with the Traill family and their coffee house.

In 1981 a new headstone funded by the Dog Aid Society of Scotland was erected for Bobby in the Greyfriars Churchyard. They believe it is in the same area he was buried.

Bobby’s master, John Gray’s headstone

Various books were made in his honor telling his story. A Disney movie was made about Bobby, although they say the facts are incorrect.

These are just a few of the books written about Bobby.
This book is more factual. The author sites sources for his information. I used this as one of my sources for this post.
The statue of Bobby is in front of this pub across this side street.

There is a pub now near the statue named Greyfriars Bobby.

Pub sign for Greyfriars Bobby

Greyfriars Bobby was an incredible dog with an incredible story. How loyal is your pet? How far would you go to honor your animal friend?