Posts Tagged 'birds'


Turdus migratoriusThis Am. Robin has molted away its whole tail. Don’t worry: new tail feathers will emerge, and meanwhile, flight, including in the sense of escape, is still possible. The silhouette is now a bit reminiscent of a woodpecker’s.


Insect-summer is over. But last week I was in Prospect Park and saw masses of dragonflies over the Butterfly Meadow, in a patch of the Nethermead, and then in two clusters along the Long Meadow. They all seemed to be Common Green Darners, the large migrating species. And they were hunting on the wing. Gnats, for want of a better description, filled the air.

And hunting for the dragonflies, a Kestrel, swooping in great deep arcs before briefly perching way up on a tree-top.falco


dreyA large clump of leaves in the branches of a tree is often mistaken for a bird nest. It’s actually a drey, or squirrel nest. More specifically, it’s a summer nest. Winter will find them squirreled away in warmer, sturdier spots, like your attic.
Quiscalus quisculaThis Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula), helping to perpetuate the impression that this is a bird’s nest, was rooting around in the leaves, which had no doubt attracted various invertebrates over the months.

My Shorter OED and Webster’s 3rd both throw up their hands on the origins of “drey,” which may also be spelled “dray.” The OED has it going back to the early 17th century. Also, it should be noted that, given English’s often multipurpose flexibility, there are no other definitions for the word.

Update: I am in error. See comments. THere is another definition for dray.


IMG_4301Evidence of Pileated Woodpecker in the Hudson Highlands. The biggest hole is 7″ tall. This kind of excavation work is standard for this crow-sized woodpecker, which has a skull designed to absorb all that pounding.

Bold eye-ring

IMG_8176I’m feeling too lazy to identify this bird. I’m just enjoying it. Happens like that sometimes.

Updated: voices via various other forms of communication are plugging for a Nashville warbler. I would agree.


Troglodytes hiemalisIt’s rare to spot the tiny Winter Wren (Troglodytes hiemalis) out in the open, but this one was most obliging long enough to get a shot or two. They usually prefer damp, shady areas, underneath logs and the like. Note the long bill and what seem like largish toes, the better for poking and scratching in the leaf litter, duff, and other nooks and crannies. Like all our wrens, they pack a lot a voice per half ounce, but this one was silent as the tombs surrounding us in Green-Wood.

Twilight’s Last Gleaming Wood Ducks

sunset1We’ve been having some magnificent sunsets lately. This was last night, from the Nethermead. Aix sponsaWhen I crossed over Payne Hill, I found a mess of Wood Ducks still at the far end of the Upper Pool.

I went hoping for a repeat of the previous night’s phenomenon, which I heard about from two witnesses: masses of dragonflies at sunset. I saw one Common Green Darner, so I guess I missed the migratory flight. There was a lone Common Nighthawk as consolation, though, rollicking over the Long Meadow.


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