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.