Posts Tagged 'plants'


Yesterday, in Brooklyn Bridge Park:Mergus serratorA lone female Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator).Mergus serratorAs a Man of Hair, I do appreciate the random crest feathers.Podiceps grisegenaUnexpectedly, a Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena). I last ran into one in February. The red of the neck, breeding plumage, looks like it is just starting to come in. The bird was spending more time underwater than afloat.Larus delawarensisNote the rather startling red-orange mouth of this Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis), cleaning up after a human’s mess. The gull’s thick neck is a handy storage system for gulped food; the other half of the baguette’s already in there. Anas platyrhynchosFemale Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) hunkered down, but definitely alert to my presence. Male nearby. Nesting soon? This spot’s probably too exposed, but the species does nest in the park. Zonotrichia albicollisA White-thoated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) kicking up lunch.Salix discolorAnd blooms! Pussy Willow (Salix discolor), that early bud that…gets the worm of spring.

Sumac Robin

Turdus migratorius10* yesterday. This is one of four American Robins who were scouring the Sumac berries. Not all Robins head south for the winter. These could also be birds from further north, this their south. Wintering Robins tend to flock and change their dietary habits, since there are few earthworms to be had now.


salt marshI cropped Lower Xanadu out of this image so that you could enjoy the honey-wheat color of this Spartina in the morning sunlight without any distractions.

Milkweed, Milkweed Beetles



PrunusCherries are starting to bloom.Trachemys scripta elegansAlthough still chilly, the morning sun was strong enough to begin heating these hard cases up.CrocusThe bulbs and corms, of course, are bursting with stored-up goodness. Junco hyemalisDark-eyed Junco, a winter bird, still hanging around.

Two weeks ago, when I was last in Green-Wood, the cemetery was all about the Common Raven, vocalizing basso profundo. I neither saw nor heard it today. Bereft of a mate, has it flown the borough? Mockingbirds, Jays, and Robins were making all the noise this morning. I noted two dozen species, with the highlight being my first Golden-crowned Kinglet of the year, and three Tree Sparrows. Pieris japonicaJapanese Andromeda.




Galanthus spSnowdrops: Check!
Crocus spCrocuses: Check!
Hamamelis sp.Witchhazel: Check!

And half-a-dozen or so Red-winged Blackbirds, bringing the area around the Terrace Bridge to sudden, raucous life with their insistent “I am now here!” vocalizations: Check!

It was interesting to observe these birds, all males. Two at the feeders presented variations in plumage, with one bird sill having some of its juvenile brown-speckled feathers, and one the sumptuous color of midnight, a rich, glossy black, popping with red shoulder epaulets.

This was all yesterday in Prospect Park: sure signs of spring

Gray, with red highlights

Larus delawarenesisIt was as gray a Ring-billed Gull yesterday.Larus delawarensisBut in Brooklyn Bridge Park, if you looked closely, there were flashes of color.Salt marshSubtle color, mostly.Rosa rugosaBut in a few cases, as in these rose hips, vibrant, almost lurid in comparison.Rosa rugosaAnd speaking of lurid, these seem to have been devoured from within.
Rose Mallow

Two Invasives

One strategy for taking over the world is just to produce massive amounts of your kind. Some of ‘em are going to take. Sometimes a whole lot of them are going to take. Here are the reproductive agents of two introduced species that have become invasive in our part of the world:Water chestnut, devil pod, water clatrop, Trapa natans. Masses of the floating seedpods were cluttered along the wrackline at Little Stony Point. I’ve noted them before; the form fascinates me.
Same location. A thick patch of Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) was still pendulous with thousands of three-winged achenes. This plant also reproduces by spreading rhizomes, so it’s got a couple of ways of taking over. While a torment to many (botanists, gardeners, farmers, etc.), knotweed does have one redeeming virtue: its flowers produce nectar that makes for a very tasty honey.


Some phragmites, and at least one, maybe two, other species have colonized this old whatever-it-is high above the D train at 9th Avenue, Sunset Park.

Update: This structure is part of Bay Ready Mix Concrete.


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