Catskill Cats

What is another town with street art for a cause? It is Catskill, NY. What did Catskill choose for artists to decorate? Cats or course. This street art event is called Cat’N Around Catskill. These cats will be up for auction soon to raise money for local charities. If you are traveling north to see foliage in September stop by Catskill.

Angel
Lego My Cat
My Fair Kitty
Steampunk Kitty
Cat Toy
Police A Cat-emy
Meals on Wheels- for those outside the US, Meals on Wheels is a charity that delivers meals to elderly and those with mobility issues.
Spring Break
Celtic Kitty
Aztec
Tag You’re It
Kitty Le Pew

There are many more cats on display other than these and even a visiting owl from Coxsackie. If you are interested in any of these cats, or the others in the auction, place a bid. While in Catskill you can stop in the antique shops and eat at the fine local establishments.

Oaxacan Cat

I think they had many talented entries in this event. I do not show all of them in case you would like to discover them on your own.. Which cat was your favourite?

For more information:

Coxsackie Owls

A town in Connecticut has dogs, Saugerties, N.Y. has butterflies, but what do they have in Coxsackie, NY? Owls! Owls are on display in town and will be auctioned off in late September to benefit local charities.

It goes to reason that Coxsackie would choose owls for a fund raiser. The town name originates with Native Americans. The area was originally inhabited by the Mohicans(Mahicans), part of the Algonquin nation. Original meaning of the town name was said to relate to owls. Two possible translations of Coxsackie in its previous spellings were “Hoot of the Owl” and “Place of the Owls.”

I like the way they had signs for each of the owls with the name, artist, and sponsor on it.
Location

Where can you find these owls? There appears to be someone 9W and I found some along different parts of Mansion Street and on other streets in the waterfront area. Mansion Street in Coxsackie along with 9W appear to be the main business streets. Although I would try to pick up a map locally to try to locate them all. There are many more than the ones I pictured.

If you are traveling along the NYS Thruway and want to break to stretch your legs and get a bite, pull off on Exit 21B. Punch in under intersections Mansion Street and 9W on your GPS. That should get you there. There are many owls around Coxsackie. Go out and have a peek. If you like one, bid on it. It supports local causes. Get out and enjoy your surroundings!

For more information:

http://www.coxsackieowls.com

Or their Facebook page: What a Hoot by search or:

https://www.facebook.com/HootoftheOwl

Bina’s Cafe

Are you heading to Hits on the Hudson, the Garlic Festival, the Saugerties Lighthouse, or just want to pull off the New York State Thruway to walk around and grab some good food? Saugerties is at Exit 20 of the New York State Thruway and besides these attractions it has many antique shops and many fine little restaurants. One I am particularly fond of is Bina’s Cafe.

Bina’s Cafe is at 78 Partition Street in the village of Saugerties. This is in the heart of the business area with many nice little shops and eateries. Bina’s serves some American style dishes as well as a few Indian/Pakistani choices. If you are adventurous but your travel mate is not, you could satisfy both people at this restaurant.

I have been to this spot a few times. Once I tried Indian Style scrambled eggs from the breakfast menu. . They make it with scallions, onions, ginger, red bell peppers and traditional spices. As with anything on the menu, if a certain ingredient does to fancy you, they can leave it out of the dish when they prepare it for you. It was a delicious take on scrambled eggs. Other breakfast choices on their menu include American style breakfast sandwiches, omelets, French toast, Indian Style Tofu, and breakfast burritos. They have a variety of bread choices including gluten free.

On another trip I ordered the Mango Lassi. This is a smoothie that the owner makes with homemade yogurt and mango. It was Devine.

My favourite item to order is the vegan sandwich, It includes grilled zucchini, squash, red bell peppers, and pesto on ciabatta bread. It is a very health choice. You can get your sandwiches with fries or a salad. Other choices on the lunch menu include burger, wings buffalo chicken wrap, salad, falafel, gyro, chicken tikka sandwich, and for kids chicken tenders and grilled cheese.

If you are planning to see the Butterfly Street Art or explore the other things that draw people to Saugerties stop by Bina’s Cafe. You won’t be disappointed.

Wildlife near the Hudson River

I went kayaking again starting on a creek that empties into the Hudson River. The river is thriving more than in the past and there are a lot of different kinds of birds and other critters to see along its banks.

This creek has a lot of heron.
Off towards the river
I have no idea what this eagle brought up from the creek.
They were holding onto something.
A juvenile eagle came looking to snatch away whatever the adult caught.
Another adult came to chase the younger one away.
There are a lot of herons in or near the river.
I did not see whom this osprey was trying to impress, but he kept flying around me with the fish. I’m sure it was not me, but he still gave me the opportunity to get some shots off.
Heron flying over the river.

Get out and enjoy nature! It is amazing what is just outside your door.

First Kayak Trip of the Year

The weather cooperated. It was time to take my first run of the year. I went to a body of water that empties into the Hudson River. Lots of men fish along it in various spots.

There is an abundance of wildlife along this body of water. Eagles from various local nests come here for sticks , mud, and grass. They also pop in for some fish. Many nests have eaglets this year and most are not quite ready to fly, so the parents use this location as there go to home supply store and supermarket.

First, I saw Great Blue Herons nesting. There were actually several herons on this creek. Some may have been stopping by or lived here. There was a nest above this nest in the same tree. There is also a pile of sticks near the bottom of this tree on the water that looks like a huge nest.

An eagle flew over me while on my way towards the river. I wish I had seen him approaching. Maybe next time. There is a nest on private land where this body of water meets the river. I had a view from my kayak and saw one eaglet and one adult. Being closer to the river I could not get a steady picture with my kayak moving around so much.

All of these photos were taken at quite a distance away with a zoom and heavily cropped.

At the end of my trip one of the fishermen came over and helped me load my kayak back onto my car. Something that is typical at this small boat launch area from what I have heard. It was a good thing. My arms were tired at the end of this trip.

Get out an enjoy nature and stay safe.

Great Horned Owlets

Some action around the nest tonight. A hawk was getting too close and was chased a few times by one of the parents. It did not seem to worry the babies. They spent their time snoozing and watching me. They are starting to look more like owls and less like aliens.

Cuddle time
Sibling love

These are taken from quite a distance away and heavily cropped. I am sure there are others with much sharper images out there. This nest is also on private land.

Backyard Visitor

Sometimes doing a good deed leads to danger. I feed the birds behind my place in colder weather. I put out seed this morning and did not hear them. I wondered what was going on. After I looked out the window a few times I saw this hawk. It appeared small to me. I am guessing it is a Copper’s hawk as they are known to hang out by bird feeders and a neighbour has a feeder out as well.

He may have looked in my direction here, but he totally ignored me.
Eying a squirrel jumping from branch to branch, but he did not go for it.

I don’t think he scored any of the local wildlife. About a half hour later he was gone and the birds were back to eating the seed. With the pandemic, my travels involve places to see wildlife within a few hours. Hopefully, things will slow down soon with the vaccines coming out. Stay safe and stay healthy!

Owl Catch

Cats take pride in being a predator. They are known to sneak a mouse or two inside as a trophy to impress the human caretaker of their house. Do owls try to impress humans with their hunting prowess?

It sure felt that this owl was trying to impress me when I was watching. The owl kept circling overhead holding onto its prey. I even think he was trying to insure I got a good shot of his kill.

The weather has been mostly cloudy and dark. We had 50-60 mile an hour winds last night. Hard to get good shots when you need to have your ISO up to very high numbers. Wishing for some sunny days in the week ahead. Merry Christmas everyone or Happy New Year! Stay safe!

Short-Eared Owls

Many animals migrate to warmer locales in the winter. Many leave behind northern states for southern ones. Do any animals winter in New York? Yes! One such animal is the short-eared owl. For these birds who come down from northern Canada or Alaska, New York is a warmer change of scenery.

I found 4-5 of these owls in a grassy fields surrounded by farmland. Short-eared owls prefer grasslands, fields, tundra, and marshes.

Short-eared owls nest on the ground. That makes them susceptible to predators such as coyotes, foxes, cats, and dogs. I heard someone talking at this location an they said a dead owl was found. They mentioned possibly a coyote got it.

I found them active in the afternoon. They may hunt in the daylight to coincide with vole activity. They prefer voles, but also eat mice, rats, small birds, and insects.

Short-eared owls arrive in New York around December and leave to return around March. Some areas of northern NY near the Canadian border have them residing there year round.

Flying low
They were talking to each other and flying about each other. Could they be a pair?

I just have a good amateur camera and lens and these birds were quite a distance away. Most images are cropped a lot. The big lens that people near me used made me envious. Hopefully, on another trip I may witness them closer with brighter skies. Regardless, they were fun to watch.

The Last Days of Autumn

Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go. Author Unknown

The pictures below were all taken recently in the Hudson Valley of New York. Some animals stay here the entire year. Others come from regions further north to winter here. Hopefully, I will catch some of these winter visitors soon.

Found this guy on top of a power pole alongside a rural road.
Squirrel stuffing himself silly on a branch in the woods.

Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge

The next photos are from a short trip I took a wildlife refuge. I hope to return there this weekend weather permitting.

Two bluebirds in the field. They followed me around on my walk.
Possibly their nest was in the the hole of this tree.
This hawk flies fairly low over the field then dives to get its prey.
Hawk flying with the Gunks in the background

Fall unofficially ended today with a major snowstorm. We could get over a foot by the time it passes through. Did the animals know a storm would be arriving soon? Do animals sense these things? Can they forecast weather?