Posts Tagged 'birds'


Tyrannus tyrannusAn Eastern Kingbird in Green-Wood. Flying insect eaters, Kingbirds will bank and swerve like crazy while attempting to get at bugs making evasive maneuvers. Tyrannus tyrannusHere’s a big bee who didn’t escape.

Downy Heron

Butorides virescensOne of a trio of young Green Herons (Butorides virescens) on a snag in the Lullwater this week. This one was sitting: I’ve never seen a heron sit before.

It was a month ago that I saw this fledgling Green Heron in Green-wood. That bird looked a little older.

I wonder if this trio is a result of a late-nesting pair or a second brood? At least two pair were nesting in the Lullwater area in May, making for a nice long Brooklyn breeding season for this species.


“Creeping along the endless beach amid the sun-squall and the foam, it occurs to us that we, too, are the products of sea-slime.” H.D. Thoreau on Cape Cod.

I walked from the Lemon Creek Fishing Pier to Conference House Park along the Raritan Bay shore of Staten Island recently. Mt. LorettoThe red glacial till of the cliffs were pockmarked with old Bank Swallow nests.beachThe beach was shelly in parts, seaweedy in others.summerSurprisingly few people were to be seen over the couple miles of beach on a summer weekend. IMG_6695Fishermen had plundered through, though, leaving this four-footer to the maggots.Erythemis simplicicollisAlong the phraggy edges past the cliffs of Mt. Loretto, some Odonates patrolled. This is a female Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis).Great Beds LightGreat Beds Light, in Raritan Bay, off the southwestern tip of Staten Island. Named after the great beds of oysters once found there. The beach had a good number of oyster shells on it, so there are still some, but there’s been no oyster harvesting from the great estuary that surrounds New York City in nearly a century. The Billion Oyster Project is trying to change that.Great Beds LightOspreys have nested on top of the light. rocksThis marker on the rocks near the entrance of the Arthur Kill has been taken over by Double-crested Cormorants. rocksThey’ve crowded their nests onto all the available horizontals.Conference HouseThis is the view from the 1680 Billopp House, now known as the Conference House because of the unsuccessful peace parley held here in 1776. We can pretend there isn’t an industrial watercourse right on the other side of those trees and imagine the view not so different 300 years ago.Platanus occidentalisThere are some magnificent American Sycamores on the grounds; that’s my 20″ long backpack for scale.

Friday’s Feet

Sterna hirundo“The angels wanna wear my red shoes,” sings Elvis Costello. Common Terns (Sterna hirundo) don’t often swim, but they can.


Charadrius vociferusA Killdeer blends in nicely with these beach pebbles along the southwest shore of Staten Island.Charadrius vociferusBut note this binomial: Charadrius vociferus. I heard three of them long before I ever saw them.

Here Come the Collared-Doves

eucdOr at least one of them. Eurasian Collared-doves (Streptopelia decaocto) were released in the Bahamas in the 1970s. They soon made their way to Florida and then spread out through North America, except for the Northeast. But it’s only a matter of time. An outlier has been hanging around Chelsea Piers in Manhattan for a week or more. You can just see the black line on the nape of the neck that makes the “collar” — it doesn’t go all the way around. Otherwise, this bird is rather similar to the native Mourning Dove, if a bit larger. Its white tail feathers and dark wing-tips in flight also help differentiate it.

Green Heron Junior

Butorides virescensMy eyes were intent on the edges of the pond, alive with damsel- and dragonflies, so I didn’t see this young Green Heron (Butorides virescens) until it darted away on foot. It didn’t go very far, though. I watched it for a long time as it stalked back and forth along the pond. Butorides virescensThe heavy streaking on the white breast is characteristic of a young bird’s plumage, but the real giveaway here is all the downy fluff still blowing about on the head. Butorides virescens Where was the nest? The parents? Was it already on its own? It hadn’t developed much fear of humans yet; I was about fifteen feet from it, another civilian walked by as I stood there. It was working on its hunting skills:Butorides virescensGrabbing an Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera) from the air.

The Prospect heron nest we were watching last month failed. I heard there were several young one day and the next nothing. Raccoons or rats may have gotten to them. It was a very low nest, not as high as they usually build them. As always, the city is a tough neighborhood to raise your young.

Three More Osprey

Pandion haliaetusThree young Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) bracketed by their parents at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refugee last week. They are on the verge of flying, and what flights! Soon, if they survive the hurdles of fledging and learning to hunt on their own (catching your first big fish must be something!), they will be venturing south into the unknown for the first time. One JBWR Osprey has been satellite-tracked to Venezuela, a journey of about two weeks. Wish these young ones luck. The first year is the hardest.

Alarms will sound

I was struck by the extraordinary amount of bird noise I heard all around me. It’s late in the breeding season, so the territorial and mating songs are mostly done with for the year, but the air was still full of bird calls. Cardinals, Starlings, Mockingbirds, at the least, coming from several trees around me. And then I noticed the cause of all the ruckus:Buteo jamaicensisA Red-tailed Hawk perched overhead. One Mockingbird made repeated forays nearby, flashing the white stripes on its wings, buzzing loudly, and landing just about two feet from the bird on the edge of the bare branch the hawk perched on. The hawk seemed to pay no attention to all the fuss. Here it does some belly grooming amid the hullabaloo.

All Gape

nestlingI spotted this nestling, a bird still too young for its eyes to have opened, earlier today. This is probably an American Robin, and would seem to be a second brood for the season. In early spring, birds this young need to worry about being too cold. That wasn’t an issue in today’s tropical, pre-hurricane atmosphere.


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