Monday, April 30, 2012

Little America in Kaiserslautern

For my next stop, I took the train to Kaiserslautern to visit my friends Barb and Dave. Last time I saw them, they had recently returned from the Peace Corps in Swaziland. Now they have lived in three additional countries and have two teenaged daughters!

I didn't do a whole lot of birding here – having come down with a persistent cold my first morning didn't help. But Barb and I had fun with making a couple meals – I did chicken fajitas one night, and she made delicious tilapia with a mango salsa one night. I also showed Barb the easy no-knead bread that I like so much.

We took one field trip to Ramstein base to do some shopping, but along the way we did some fossil hunting in the mall (this and the grocery store are a strange bit of America in the middle of Europe). The floors and walls of the mall made from locally quarried limestone. Here are a belemnite, an ammonite, and a hard-to-see staghorn coral.

The weather was often not conducive to birding, and when it got better and I felt well enough for a short walk, we went through the field behind their house and into a strip of woods at the bottom of the hill. We had some just-arriving Pied Flycatchers, a pair of Chiffchaffs building a nest, and a wonderfully vocal Common Nightingale. I managed to get a pretty good recording of it with the Audio Memo app on my iPhone and loaded it up to Xeno-canto.

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