College Town, Finale

Now that I'm safely home, preparing for Woodberry's awards ceremony (plus a speech by--feh--Eric Cantor) on Friday night, Woodberry's graduation on Saturday morning, and my cousin's wedding on Saturday afternoon, I thought I'd take a moment to say a brief word of thanks to Tim Gallagher and everyone at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for making me welcome there over the past two and a half months. It was a remarkable learning experience and a great opportunity for me, and I'm certainly never going to forget it.

I will also go out of my way to thank my wife and family for letting me go to Ithaca in the first place. It was not easy on them. It wasn't easy on me either, but I at least had the benefit of new things and places to experience and explore; they were just stuck at home, and with only one car and driver to boot.

But let's look at my last few days in Ithaca.

100_4337.JPGFriday the 13th was the last sunny day we had, and I spent it trying to record my workplace surroundings (see below). My final Saturday in town was spent, naturally, birding. Our last SFO field trip took us out to Arnot Forest, Cornell's 4000-acre study area for its forestry majors, and a site for spotting all kinds of interesting stuff. Alas, it was also the day when the weather turned from sunny to damp, as evidenced by the gear worn by the day's group leaders. From left to right: Erika Van Etten, the tireless and remarkably organized assistant to Professor Steve Kress; Bob McGuire, who got me Common Teal, Trumpeter Swan, and Eurasian Wigeon; Bill Baker, who taught me that a Bobolink sounds not unlike R2D2; and the birder's birder, Dave Nutter, who spotted an improbable Wilson's Phalarope for me in New Jersey.

100_4340.JPGThough clouds and fog were plentiful, the actual rain held off on Saturday, for the most part, allowing us to lunch at this unusual spot next to the Arnot: a natural cemetery area, where bodies are interred without embalming, in fast-decomposing coffins, and marked with natural stones. Yes, that field full of daffodils and dandelions is in fact a graveyard. It was something I'd never seen before, and it was curiously comforting. Admittedly, the view helped make it seem even more right and natural.

100_4342.JPGAnd yes, the presence of numerous Rose-breasted Grosbeaks at the caretaker's bird feeder didn't make the place any less comforting.

100_4348.JPGKelly and my parents arrived in Ithaca on Saturday afternoon, and with them came a solid week of wet weather, which did at least produce the occasional scenic fog. Here it rolls in over Cayuga Lake as we head down the hill to the Ithaca Farmers Market for breakfast on Sunday.

100_4355.JPGKelly, resplendent in her purple English rain jacket, noshes on a vegetable fritter from the IFM's Cambodian foods stall.

100_4353.JPGMom and Dad try to settle on something a little less exotic for their first meal of the day.

100_4368.JPGAfter a trip to the temporarily invisible Taughannock Falls, Kelly and I pose in front of the much less fogged-in Buttermilk Falls.

100_4367.JPGMom takes a whiff of a lilac bush in the parking lot at Buttermilk Falls.

100_4383.JPGA farewell gift from my landlord's dog, Jake.

100_4372.JPGThe two extraordinarily talented artists with whom I shared the Sapsucker Lounge during my internship, Evaristo Hernandez-Fernandez and Jane Kim.

100_4380.JPGMe and Living Bird Editor-in-Chief Tim Gallagher outside the Ithaca Bakery, where on Monday we had a terrific lunch with Kelly, my folks, and Tim's wife, Rachel Dickinson.

The morning after, Kelly headed back to Virginia, while I headed off on a whirlwind tour of New England with Mom and Dad... photos of which will be forthcoming shortly.

But I'll certainly never forget my days in Ithaca, and when I settle back behind my desk at Woodberry, I know I'll miss my workspace at the CLO, with delightful and knowledgeable people all around, a Zeiss spotting scope close at hand, and hot & cold running herons.

100_4335.JPGThanks again, Tim.

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This page contains a single entry by Peter Cashwell published on May 24, 2011 8:37 PM.

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