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Monday, March 20, 2023

Cooperstown Coots


American Coots

A couple of years ago a nice birder friend let us in on the secret of the American Coots that winter on the end of Otsego Lake where the marina runs bubblers to keep the ice away from the docks. Since then we have made at least one trip each year to add them to my state year list, since the nearest other spot that we have found them to be reliable is Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge and that is a long haul for us.

The past couple of weeks I have been watching for an auspicious day to head that way and yesterday sure looked good.....

Lil' bit windy here and colder than is enjoyable for outdoor fun and games but it sure looked doable...

Until we got up on the hills! We are so spoiled by living here near the river where the weather is just a bit moderated by it, especially when it isn't frozen. I forget that the whole state isn't warmed by the rivers. Up on those hills the tiny bit of snow we had experienced overnight was being tossed around in thin, icy streams, by that same cold, miserable wind.

The farther south we went the worse it got. Some counties and towns do a better job than others at plowing, salting and sanding their roads. We quickly figured out which was which.

We discovered that our path took us past the
Ames firehouse pancake breakfast

Also Cooperstown is in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. The higher we went the worse it got. I offered that maybe we should turn back and apologized profusely for even thinking of such a journey.


The boss is intrepid and he soldiered on, even when at one point we hit a total whiteout where the windshield was awash with nothing but driving snow and the car seemed almost stalled in place by the maddened wind.

There was a certain amount of traffic
despite the ugly conditions

It was so cold when we got there that the boss hustled back to the car after about five minutes near the water. I had to keep putting one of my hand warmers on my ear to ward off frostbite.

But there were coots! Lotsa coots! Over 30 of them. Plus Buffleheads, Common Mergansers and a few geese. 

The ride home was almost, but not quite, as horrific as the trip over. I was pretty darned happy to hit the gravel driveway.

Before I went to bed, I thanked the boss for the coots, as I try to always remember to thank him for our frequent birding trips. He took the opportunity to tease me a bit about cooties....been a while since I had to worry about those. 

Some interesting links

Otsego Lake...117,000,000,000 gallons of gorgeous turquoise water is contained in this beauty.

Cooperstown NY

I don't think I want to chase any coots today, even though the wind has gone down.



aurora said...

Glad you found Coots after such a dicey trip!

threecollie said...

aurora, It was wild! Would have waited until today or yesterday if I had had any idea...still...coots! lol