Waking Up In The City That Never Sleeps

More Cape May coverage is coming, probably on Wednesday when I'm back home in the Twin Cities.

I just woke up in my friend Mimi's apartment listening to the sounds of the city below. Yesterday was a whirlwind and I found the Talking Heads' song Once In A Lifetime running through my mind, especially the "And you may ask yourself-well...how did I get here?" I left Cape May and drove to New York. Actually, I dropped my rental car off at Newark and had a driver take me to the city where I had a meeting at Harper Collins and they took me out to lunch at a fancy restaurant. I like to think that I get some culture living in Minneapolis, but this truly was a posh spot--amazing tasting food, practically a work of art when served, but every menu item had at least two (and in some cases more) components I couldn't pronounce or identify. So it was fun to just randomly pick and enjoy what was served. I had to suppress a Gomer Pyle-esque "Gooawwwly!"

Everyone was incredibly nice and it was fun to note that pages from a Disapproving Rabbits book proof were taped up outside of everyone's office.

They even tacked up a page in the women's restroom bulletin board! Not too far from a hunky cowboy calendar--nice touch! After the meeting, I met up with Mimi to unloaded my suitcases in her apartment (that's on the fifth floor...with no elevator). I got settled, and that afternoon we went to Central Park to look for Pale Male. Can I say how much I love that New York has a bird related tourist attraction and that it's a red-tailed hawk?

We walked outside the park on 5th Avenue and found the building where the nest is located. It's hard to see, but the nest is at the top and towards the center. Here is a closer look:

The nest is on an arch over the center window. It was hard to see and I couldn't figure out how to digiscope it. I was thinking back to all the photos of the nest and knew there had to be a different spot for observation. We headed into the park.

We found the spot where the hawk watchers hang out and it was a much better view of the nest:

Alas, Pale Male or any of his mates and offspring were not around, but it was fun seeing the whole area that's been covered in the news. I do get kick out of the Pale Male battles page. Some of the stuff the fans get angry about are good--like pesticide use. But some of them like the birds of prey show or kites I disagree with. Like the birds of prey show--the writer wonders how the red-tails feel about this invasion on their territory--I can tell you, they can deal with it. In the wild in Minnesota, red-tails deal with eagles, falcons, owls all sorts of raptors in their territory. Also, raptors have excellent vision, they can see leashes, jesses, a hoard of humans surrounding the captive birds--they're gonna stay away. Sure, they'll do a fly by, maybe even a territory cry, but it's not the worst part of the day.

And kites--well, kite string in trees is more dangerous to nest gathering songbirds than to a red-tail. And again, red-tails can deal with kite flying, they figure it out. And, this is about the most common bird in the country--cool yes--but incredibly abundant. They know how to live around us. Still, better to have people embracing the birds and wanting to help, than wanting to get rid of them.

We did find some red-tail evidence near the nest--here's a piece of gray squirrel tail. Someone's had a good hunt.

There were all sorts of migrants in the park. Hoards of robins were hidden in trees and flocks covered the ground. White-throated sparrows were scurrying under shrubs and kicking up leaves. Even hermit thrushes were all over--some landed on railings as were walking by. Very cool to see the birds and interesting to note how habituated they are to humans--letting us get so close.

I was super excited and surprised to find this in Central Park! Hen of the Woods! I pointed it out to Mimi and offered to cook some up for her, but she was wary. She said it was one thing to eat it out of someone's yard, but she wasn't sure of eating it off of a tree in Central Park. So, all you New Yorkers reading the blog may want to head over today and grab it...although, I might go back and grab it before I catch my flight tonight...if I can figure out how to get it in my suitcase.

Since we didn't get the tasty mushrooms, Mimi took me to Gyu-kaku a Japanese BBQ place--where we cooked our own meat and veggies. It was so tasty and who doesn't love to grill? The meat practically melts in your mouth.

So, I need to get out of the comfy bed and get ready for more meetings. More later.