Early Autumn

fall2The view towards Storm King Mountain.fall1mushroommossfall4

Falco sparverius

Falco sparveriusAmerican Kestrel, urban raptor.Falco sparveriusThis female was keeping a sharp eye on Bush Terminal Park yesterday. She was molting; perhaps she’s a first year bird. There was a nest somewhere in the area, I’m told, and the park has been a reliable location for these, our smallest raptor.Falco sparveriusShe had just eaten something. She dove low for it, disappeared and then returned with her prey in her talons to quickly dispatch it on this perch. It may have been a dragonfly. The bird ultimately flew off towards Sunset Park, and met up with another Kestrel perched on one of the warehouses on 2nd Avenue.

Blooms and Pods

asterSmooth Aster


Danaus plexippusThe air above Fort Tilden’s narrow reach was full of Tree Swallows and, to a lesser extent, Monarch Butterflies. The Monarchs were being pushed hard towards the east in the breeze. We saw about a dozen of them. One was quite high, noticed as we watched a Peregrine on patrol way up there.Danaus plexippusDanaus plexippus. Some were still eating. This is a good reminder that, this late in the year, there’s are no milkweeds in bloom around here. But the goldenrods are ripe, tiny little suns of nectar and pollen.

Merlin Hunting

Falco columbariusA plump silhouette on a dead pine. The first rule of birding is to always look at the anomalies. And hope the sun comes out! Falco columbariusFalco columbariusBecause that, and an old concrete gun platform to lean on, makes for a better photograph.Falco columbariusThis bird was hunting around these dead pines at Fort Tilden. Falco columbariusIt perched on several of them and made various passes around the area. At one point something was caught and eaten, presumably an insect.

Man Ray’s Sea Horse

manrayseaAfter enjoying immensely the Sargent exhibit at the Met, I ran into this Man Ray gelatin silver print of 1930, “Histoire naturelle.” The text panel describes it as a petrified sea horse, at rather larger-than-life scale, supposedly as part of a Surrealist effort to defamiliarize ordinary objects. Simpler times.


bombusThe cold snap combined with the rain took the bees by storm. They were clustered to various late summer blossoms Friday and Saturday, stunned if not lost. But yesterday, the air warmed, and by afternoon the sun was out. The goldenrods at Fort Tilden were alight with a few of these hardy little beasts. Note the pollen smeared everywhere. The pollination year comes to an end, but the last of this year’s bumblebees soldier on.


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