A feeling of
relief sweeps through the group. It has been a long trip. Most of us are tired.
Army trucks? Four-wheel drive? Hairy mountain roads? We'll make that scene next
time. After all, we've already seen our lammergeier.
Not quite. Two
weeks later, back in New York, I'm sorting through the morning mail. There is a
bulletin from the Peerless Leader. He's been checking reference works. He's
been examining museum specimens. Now he can give us the definitive word.
In the interests
of accuracy, a few corrections must be made. The very big bird of prey which we
saw at Mtskheta in the Caucasus mountains north of Tbilisi and which was
identified as a lammergeier was—he tells us now—nothing of the sort. It was an
For me, this is
the final blow. On the evening of the lammergeier sighting, a group of us had
opened a bottle in honor of the bird. We had christened the bird "Lermontov
the lammergeier," after the famous writer who immortalized the local
mountain setting in an epic poem. Who would believe an eagle named