Coney Island Creeky

Coney Island is no longer an island and it is no longer full of what the Dutch called konijn, or, as the English would say, conies — that is, rabbits. Coney Island Creek, which cuts into the western end of the neighborhood, is all that remains of the watery border between the erstwhile island and the rest of Brooklyn’s outwash plain. I crossed that plain on the F train this weekend to get a good look at the Creek for the first time. The shot below is from the moving train; this is the eastern-most end of the Creek, which is really more or less a canal. It was low tide: From the bridge at Cropsey Avenue, I spotted Mallard, Bufflehead, Ruddy, and Red-breasted merganser: Continuing west along Neptune Avenue, I poked my camera through some fencing for this Dutch landscape, looking towards Gravesend Bay and the Narrows in the distance: At Kaiser Park, just past Mark Twain JHS, I walked down to the rocky edge of the Creek. From there I saw Brant, Canada, Mute swan, Gadwell, Horned grebe, American black duck, and more Mallards, Bufflehead, and Red-breasted mergansers. The whole purpose of my trip was to see the Redhead ducks that had been reported in the Creek earlier. Success! The pair, drake and hen, were behind the school’s handball courts. I’d never seen this species of duck before: the male has a dramatic rufus head and a light blue bill; the female is much plainer, with a blue-grey bill. As I’ve always been particularly susceptible to red-heads, I’m glad I made the journey.

Also noted in and around the Creek were:
Three of the at least five cats on the rocks. That’s a Horned grebe there in the water. I’ve seen feral cats throughout my explorations of Brooklyn’s wildness, but these were the best-looking and least skittish ever. They’re a major problem for wildlife.
The Quester I, Jerry Bianco’s homemade submarine. This is not to be confused with Duke Riley’s homemade submarine. Brooklyn boys do dream big.
A soft-shelled clam, what we carnivores call a steamer. There were also ribbed mussel shells around the rocks, but the most common sight was, alas, plastic crap:

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9 Responses to “Coney Island Creeky”


  1. 1 Tricia February 15, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    There are a lot of feral cat colonies around Coney Island. Have not seen the Creek cats before though. Great photos and report

  2. 4 Cassie January 25, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Where exactly did you stand to take that picture of the submarine? Please let me know! Did you take the subway there…to what stop

    • 5 mthew January 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm

      On the south side of Coney Island Creek, which is pedestrian accessible at the NE corner of Leon Kaiser Playground, W27th St. & Neptune Ave. in Coney Island. DFNQ trains to Coney Island-Stillwell Ave terminal.

  3. 6 Out Walking the Dog February 14, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Great post, Matthew. Loved it when I first read it a year ago, and love it again now – what a city we live in.


  1. 1 Calvert Vaux Park « Backyard and Beyond Trackback on March 16, 2011 at 7:17 am
  2. 2 Case in Point « Backyard and Beyond Trackback on December 4, 2011 at 1:18 pm
  3. 3 Daily Mercury Chronicle Trackback on February 12, 2014 at 11:46 pm

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