Posts Tagged 'Brooklyn Bridge Park'

Flying Now

Vanessa carduiPainted Lady (Vanessa cardui). I’ve posted previously about separating these from the similar American Lady butterflies (Vanessa virginiensis); from this view, the four big wing spots mark the Painted; two big spots the American.Enallagma signatumOrange Bluet (Enallagma signatum) male. Small and slender, but striking when you see it: at Green-Wood’s Sylvan Water. Enallagma signatumAt the nearby Valley Water, the Orange Bluets were mating. Anax juniusCommon Green Darners (Anax junius) were also reproducing there. Here the male continues to hold the female as she deposits eggs. I have seen females of the species depositing eggs on her own, sans the grip.ThorybesNorthern Cloudywing (Thorybes pylades). Enallagama civileI wish there was a special place in hell for the people who just toss their butts any- and everywhere (take a look down street gratings some day). This Familiar Bluet (Enallagama civile) male seems to be less censorious. CercerisA couple of Cerceris genus wasps were hanging out on some rogue squash plants on the edge of the Long Meadow.Pholisora catullusCommon Sootywing (Pholisora catullus) hitting the light just right on pollinator-magnet Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis).

Brooklyn’s Two-Spotted Continue

Two years ago, I stumbled upon some unfamiliar ladybugs. There were Two-spotted (Adalia bipunctata), which turned out to be rather rare. It was the first Brooklyn report for the species. Last summer, the site was inaccessible to civilians because of construction. This weekend I took a look at the trees, as I usually do. They have been quite active with Multicolored Asian Ladybugs (Harmonia axyridis) for the last couple of weeks. But hello! Something different from the very round, very large (for a ladybug) H. axyridis, a nuisance species, if not worse, spread by gardeners and garden-suppliers. Indeed, many think the spread of these beetles has been the cause, or one of the causes, of the decline of the likes of A. bipunctata and other now rare native species. Adalia bipunctataBut the Two-spotted is still in town. Adalia bipunctataWhile trying to get a live photo, the beetle flew down to my camera lens, so I snapped this pic with my phone.

From the Lost Lady Project, I’ve learned that A. bipunctata has been reported at four New York State sites. Like many native species, it has been declining in numbers for the last twenty years or more. The location here is tiny, just a few trees, and isolated from other bits of green. It shows the importance of having a variety of trees and plants in as many places as possible. But this location is much busier with humans than it used to be…

Only three other places in New York! This isn’t to say there aren’t more places, which haven’t been discovered because there aren’t as many people looking for lady beetles as, say, there are people enabling FIFA’s looting, and/or staring at their toenails, but it does suggest their specialness. Adalia bipunctataSpeaking of nails. The Two-spotted comes in a variety of color forms. This one, found at the same time, is particularly striking.

More Sumac

Rhus typhinaStaghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) in exuberant fuzziness.

Lady-like

Harmonia axyridisThe Catalpa trees — both the Northern Catalpa (C. bignonioides) and the Southern (C. speciosa) are found in the park — are ladybug magnets. The large heart-shaped leaves are often sticky, perhaps from the excretions of aphids, a favorite ladybug food. Right now, the nymph stages of the lady beetles, these small but frightful looking creatures, are out and about. This is one of the Multicolored Asian Ladybeetle (Harmonia axyridis). Here’s a passel of them in their pupal stage, transforming into adults under a Catalpa leaf:Harmonia axyridisMetamorphosis is so wonderfully strange (to this mammal, anyway): the nymphs, which are actually larger than the adult, will completely transform into the more familiar round red (and other colored) beetles, their bodies chemically broken down and reformed while they are inside the pupa.lb1An earlier instar of the all too-common MAL? (This one is on a milkweed.) Ladybug nymphs typically have four instars, or stages, which they molt through as they grow.

Once emerged, the adult beetle will harden, darken, and get spotted. Here’s another adult on a Catalpa leaf so sticky it’s glistening:Harmonia axyridisThe pale things are aphids.

Fish

IMG_5193Gasping at the surface near the pier, this fish was in trouble. Or so I thought. But it seemed to successfully dive back into the deeps, so it might have been feeding at something I couldn’t see on the surface. About 14″ long: what is it? IMG_5235And here, soon after low tide way up the Gowanus, a school of much smaller killifish, perhaps Mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus).

Mallard Monday

Anas platyrhynchosAnas platyrhynchosAnas platyrhynchos

Raptor Alignment

ospreyAligned through the new Osprey nesting platform at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s ghost of Pier 4 is the 55 Water Street Peregrine scrape across the East River. It’s too late for Ospreys to nest here this season, but the falcons have three young (maybe four by now). You can spy on the falcons here; note, they might be underneath the bird now, but they grow up fast.

This year’s crop of local Ospreys may note this platform before heading south. Established pairs reunite at their previous nesting sites, but unpaired birds in the spring will be on the look-out for place of their own. Males usually arrive early and stake out a location. Are there enough sticks available to build a nest here? Lots of driftwood gets caught up in the rocks here, so maybe.

A couple of Ospreys have been satellite-tracked from our own Jamaica Bay and further up the coast on Nantucket for a few years now: both take roughly two weeks to fly down to Colombia and then about two weeks to fly back up here, unerringly making it back to their nests.

Tern Profile

Sterna hirundoAnd now the terns are back in town. This is a Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) on the piers of Brooklyn Bridge Park recently.tern2

Forster’s and Least are other locally regular terns during migration and summer, although you usually need to go to the city’s further edges to see them.

Barn Swallows Wallowing

Hirundo rusticaIt’s rare to get a good solid look at a Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica), considering they zip through the air at great speed most of the time in pursuit of flying insects, but a pair were gathering mud recently for their nest.Hirundo rusticaBarn Swallows build mud pellet cups; I watched one in process last year in Prospect Park (the nest is mostly still there, but they don’t reuse them).Hirundo rusticaThese birds nest under Pier One at Brooklyn Bridge Park.bs4Flying masons. The mud is gooey with plant matter, which must help with structural integrity. Note the long trailing tail feathers of the male above,

Brooklyn Update

PrunusWhen my plane descended into LaGuardia last Monday, there were a lot of gray/brown still-wintering trees in evidence. I’d just come from southern-most Texas, where spring was fully in motion, but things are stirring here, too.Polygonia interrogationisQuestion Mark (Polygonia interrogationis) amid the weeping cherries, which were throbbing with honeybees, and an occasional bumble.Bellamya chinensisThe nacreous heart of a Chinese Mystery/Trapdoor Snail (Bellamya chinensis). Who doesn’t like saying “nacreous heart”?Mergus serratorI don’t think I’ve ever seen a Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) out of the water. Note those large feet, set rather far back, and good for diving. Quiscalus quisculaTotally fell for the Great-tailed Grackles down south, but the Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) still has a place in my heart. Falco peregrinusYou may know that I live between two Peregrine falcon scrapes. (Geography is relative.) There is something going on in the 55 Water Street location, either a youngster already or an adult moving. And there this one — note the band/ring — is perched on the construction site across the street from the House of D. Keeping an eye on the home front amid the grooming.Gownus CanalThe Superfund Gowanus Canal. Habitat.Megaceryle alcyonA male Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) was fishing in that industrial toilet, diving for the little fish that come in with the tide. Prunus


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