Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Visit to Kawing Crow

January 21, 2011
Kawing Crow Awareness Center
Greenfield Center, NY

It is not merely crow calling to crow,
For it speaks to me too.
I am part of one great creature with him:
If he has voice,
I have ears.
     HDT's Journal, January 12, 1855

Today was our visit to Kawing Crow Awareness Center, for a tracking workshop sponsored by our local Audubon Chapter. After a largely snow-less month, we received a few inches of very fluffy flakes on the day before our visit. Now we might see some actual tracks!
Then, on the morning of our visit, it snowed again -- just an inch or so, but it was very fine and granular. Any tracks from last night would be filled-in by this sort of stuff.

Conditions that morning were slippery, and our little convoy was on the roads before the sanding trucks.  Kawing Crow is on the high ridge of Greenfield Center.  Once there, Vince greeted us and we spent some time inside the Nature Center, discussing all manner of outdoor things. For many of our group it was their first visit.

Vince is a woodsman extraordinaire, and his love for nature shines through. His wife Erica shares this love and his plans for a sustainable lifestyle.
They are the proud parents of Mavia, a pretty mellow little girl who is going to have a very interesting childhood.
[I am not sure how to spell her name, so my apologies to her parents. It could be Mavia (an arab queen?) or a variation of Maeve (legendary irish faery queen?) or Maevia (a north american jumping spider?) Only time will tell which of these she comes to favor!
The Nature Center is full of taxidermied examples of the local wildlife. While we were discussing canines, several  of these preserved critters were on the table before us. Vince was holding Mavia in the crook of his arm, as she gently reached out to pat the head of the red fox.

After lunch, we hit the trail. No showshoes were necessary, but the day was penetratingly cold.  I had gotten chilled sitting indoors for so long, and just could not build up any body heat once we were outdoors. As soon as we started seeing and learning about animal signs in the snow,  it was so interesting that cold fingers and toes were temporarily forgotten.

Vince’s family joined us for a short time on the hike.  Erica had bundled up Mavia, who travelled in style.

We had all been fussing over her as much as the specimens !
But then, as I was taking yet another photo of her terminal cuteness,
she shot me The Look.


I knew it well, from my days as a photographer for PCA corporation.
I had an immediate flashback to those days.

They were long and arduous days, travelling each week to a different  department store in the Tri-State area, staying in the cheapest of hotels, lugging the entire contents of a portable studio in my VW bug. This included a cash register, signs, scenic background screens,  camera, props etc.  They were ten-hour days of taking portraits, mostly of babies. People would line up to spend 88 cents for a photo, especially around holidays.  After a long wait in one of these lines, even the most serene of babies will reach the point when dimples turn to frowns … and at that fragile tipping point, you get The Look. Tears are sure to follow.

Well, Mavia was in good hands, however, and she and Erica left the trail for warmer climes.
The rest of us continued on, stopping now and again to read the Book of the Woods. Vince doesn’t just dish out answers, he makes you puzzle things out.

All in all, it was a great time outdoors with like-minded folks.
Vince's trails lead across some beautiful swampland, which would be wonderful to visit in other seasons.  

A special thanks to Southern Adirondack Audubon for organizing this excursion.

1 comment:

  1. Ha ha! The Look. I know what you mean.