Sunday, November 12, 2006

Birds in Amish Country

Beth and I spent the weekend in the Amish country of Pennsylvania this weekend with her family for her grandmother's 75th birthday. I hadn't been out there since my 8th grade class trip. It's a wonderful area full of horse-drawn carriages, great farmer's markets, excellent food, and very nice people. The weather on Saturday was stunning. It was more spring-like than November-like. We were able to spend most of the day in t-shirts.

The warmth helped bring out some birds too. There were tons of Red-tailed Hawks and Turkey Vultures circling over the fields of stubble. While out on a horse and buggy ride, every wire seemed to be the perch of a Starling, Mourning Dove, or Rock Pigeon. One bird set itself apart of the others... a stellar American Kestrel. Kestrels are on a decline in NJ, but they're probably doing well in this vast PA farmland. The Kestrel flew before I could get a picture.

At a store in town, I found an interesting book called "Birding in Amish Country". It's an Amish family's journal about their birding experiences on their property. I regret not picking up a copy because I can't even find a reference to it on the web!

Trains are also very popular in Amish country. We stayed at the Red Caboose Inn where we actually slept in a converted train car. It's not the Ritz, but it's an ok place to stay for a night.


Beth said...

I'm sorry you didn't get a picture of the Kestrel. It was a beautiful bird. It was a fun weekend!

LauraHinNJ said...

THAT looks like a neat place to stay!

I love driving through that area.

Patrick Belardo said...


It's a neat place. It's not the cleanest or most luxurious, but it was fun for a night. It's a great location too. It's only about 10 minutes to all the farmer's markets and stores. It's also about 100 yards from Strasburg railroad and the train comes right by.

I guess a rockin' buggy with a farting horse isn't the easiest place to take a picture.

Beth said...

Oh my goodness! In the words of two-year-old little Parker, "That horse was making boomies!"

Susan Gets Native said...

I love Amish country. I have had the pleasure of getting to know an Amish family through my brother-in-law. He has a successful syndicated column written by an Old Order Amish woman (The Amish Cook). We travel to see them when we can. What a fun group of people...nothing like I thought they would be.
I think kestrels are one of the few birds that have benefited from urban sprawl and cutting down all the trees. Open fields are their preferred hunting grounds.

dguzman said...

I'll look around for this Amish birding book, Patrick. I'll give a shout if I find a copy--we hear those buggies go by all the time at my house. I love the clip-clop sound of the horses' hooves.