Birding by Canoe, or, The Broke Man’s Pelagic
While in my hometown of Saugerties, New York, this past weekend there was one activity that I had no choice but to do early Saturday morning. You see, my younger brother, Jonathan, found a guy selling a very nice canoe a couple of months ago and he bought it for an absurdly low price. Ever since, he has been after me to go canoeing. Because I live in New York City and Jonathan lives upstate this has been rather hard to arrange, but once I was upstate we finally managed to get it figured out. It is a perfect activity; birding by canoe is nice and so is fishing, so we both had stuff to do, and even if no birds were showing and no fish were biting we could still have a good ol’ time being outside paddling around in a canoe.
Being out and about while the rest of the world is still sleeping is always nice, and being out and about on land owned by long-time family friends is even nicer. That our chosen canoeing spot was a creek backed up by beavers (appropriately named the Beaverkill) in what used to be cow pasture that my dad grew up exploring gave the whole excursion one more level of enjoyment. Jonathan made short work of getting the canoe off of the car and we were ready to get out on the water. And what nice water it was!
Hearing Cedar Waxwings go overhead and watching a Spotted Sandpiper do two fly-bys were the bird highlights while we were in the canoe, and the lone fish highlight was when Jonathan reeled in the Largemouth Bass below. The bass was quickly on its way, and it must have warned the other fish in the Beaverkill because no other fish allowed itself to get hooked.
We couldn’t get too far up the Beaverkill because fallen trees blocked our way (the price one pays for paddling in beaver territory) but it was a nice paddle nonetheless. Once we were back out of the boat I did a little walk around and came up with some more birds, including Red-tailed Hawk, Green Heron, and the Common Yellowthroat and Orchard Oriole below.
It was a great way to spend an early morning and we were back in time for a hearty breakfast of pancakes and bacon. I love living in New York City but I must admit that the upstate life has some advantages too.