On Brooklyn’s rocky southwestern coast… say what? This outwash plain should be sand all the way to the Continental Shelf, but there are places where we have piled up the boulders. The rip-rap along Shore Road Greenway, from Owl’s Head Park down under the Verrazano Narrows and beyond, for instance, is fine habitat in winter for Purple Sandpipers (Calidris maritima). A lot of common names of animals are descriptive, more than a few are confusing: these sandpipers are only slightly purple (during the winter only) and will rarely be found on the sand, or mudflats. In winter, they are found almost exclusively on wave-sloushed rocks. Arctic breeders like many shorebirds, they don’t travel nearly as far south as many other shorebird species (some to Patagonia); indeed, they have the northernmost winter range of any shorebird species. This one was pecking away at gastropods and crustaceans — nothing I can see, but then I’m no Purple Sandpiper.And when I say “wave-sloushed,” I mean it. The rocks pile upwards, but the birds are found down near the water, amidst the seaweed and the food. Waves are constantly replenishing the mini-ecology of the seaweedy rocks.
amphibians ants Arizona bees beetles birding birds books Brooklyn Brooklyn Botanic Garden Brooklyn Bridge Park butterflies Cape May caterpillars Catskills Central Park cicadas Climate crabs Croton Point damselflies Dartmoor Dead Horse Bay dragonflies fish flowers Floyd Bennett Field Fort Tilden Four Sparrow Marsh frogs fungus galls Gastropoda Geology Gowanus Green-Wood harbor honey bees horseshoe crab Hudson Iceland insects invertebrates Jamaica Bay ladybugs Maine mammals Marine Park mollusca Montreal moths mushrooms Nantucket New Mexico New York Botanical Garden Odonata owls plants Prospect Park Ranger Robin Red Hook reptiles shells slugs snails spiders St. John Staten Island Texas Thoreau trees turtles Virgin Gorda wasps Wheeler Woods
This work by Matthew Wills is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.