Kathy Schneider, our ornithologist, led us off into the fields. A Stuyvesant Falls resident, Dr. Schneider teaches environmental biology at Hudson Valley Community College. She earned her Ph.D. from Princeton and has done consulting work on birds for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Environmental Conservation, as well as many private consulting firms in the Northeast. She worked for The Nature Conservancy in New York for fourteen years as director of the New York Natural Heritage Program.
Kathy talked about the winter habits of the horned owls, who are actively establishing territories now. These birds utilize red-tail hawk nests and feed on rodents in the fields. She played recordings of their calls, but no owls were tempted from a cozy perch out into
the cold sky. Kathy also played the calls of other local owls, which many of us realized we hear near our houses—especially the little screech owl.
We then all tramped back to the parking area where we enjoyed the bonfire and Gumaer's hot cocoa. Roz also shared a huge post-Christmas cache of chocolate truffles. Thanks, Roz.
Thanks to Martin for tending the bonfire. Thanks to the Abbatis for donating haybales for the seating.
Though we saw no full moon, the snowy meadows were lit with a suffused light making our headlamps superfluous. No full moon, but a priceless adventure had by all.