Some Brooklyn Mammals

Sciurus carolinensisSquirrel sunning. Procyon lotorRaccoon snoozing.
Tamias striatusChipmunk being very still.Marmota monaxWoodchuck being elusive. Check out the ground-hogging here on this slope: a duplex! The animal was peeking out of the nearer, top, hole, but vanished into the burrow before I could turn on my cameraSciurus carolinensisSquirrel eating a… wait a minute, that’s a green-dyed Easter egg, more than a week after Easter!

Spiders

IMG_1315Outside.spiderInside.

Springing

Anemone americanaWhen last we saw some blooming Round-lobed Hepatica, it was the white variety in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Over the weekend, we found a little cluster of the pink variation further north in Black Rock Forest.Veratrum virideWe initially took this pleated beauty for Skunk Cabbage, but further research by the Horticulturalist tells us this is actually False Hellebore (Veratrum viride). Like Skunk Cabbage, it’s a big leafy green that sprouts early, so the two are often confused. This would be a mistake should you be a forager: False Hellebore is quite toxic. Wikipedia gives a host of alternate names: American White Hellebore, Bear Corn, Big Hellebore, Corn Lily, Devils Bite, Duck Retten, Indian Hellebore, Itch-weed, Itchweed, Poor Annie, Blue Hellebore, and Tickleweed. Unlike Skunk Cabbage, the flowers come after the leaves.

Earth Day

In reality, of course, everyday is Earth Day.Asarum canadenseFrom the Black Rock Forest, here’s an emerging Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense) flower. Sialia sialisAn Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis).Rana clamitans melanotaAnd some Green Frogs (Rana clamitans), before or after amplexus?

Raptor Wednesday

The triumvirate:Buteo jamaicensisRed-tailed Hawk in Green-Wood.Accipiter cooperiiCooper’s at Floyd Bennett Field. Falco sparveriusAmerican Kestrel atop the Green-Wood gate. That’s a lightning rod next to this lightning bolt of a bird.

Nature Morte

TulipaThe French for still life is nature morte. Doesn’t that just light up your brain?TulipaThese senescent Tulipa held together a good long week.

Young Snap

Chelydra serpentinaFour, count ’em four, Red-eared Sliders (Trachemys scripta) were basking in the tiny, northernmost pond on Pier One at Brooklyn Bridge Park the other day. Fools keep releasing these invasive, potentially disease-carrying pet-trade animals. Some do it for religious (!) reasons! The effects of all this can be seen in the water course in Prospect Park. There were three dozen RES basking recently in the Pools. (I once counted 70 in the Lullwater.) Two Painted Turtles,a species native to the region, were seen among the most recent crowd, but the real discovery this day was this young Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina).Chelydra serpentina I’ve seen snappers as little as a silver dollar and as big as a Fiat — no, make that a minibus — but not in-between, at least here in Brooklyn. Glad to see there are other generations in the mix. Chelydra serpentinaThe carapace (top shell) was about 6″ long. Snappers aren’t normally a basking species — but the winter was cold! — which is why it’s hard to say how many young ones there are in the park.


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