Posts Tagged 'Prospect Park'

Some Brooklyn Mammals

Sciurus carolinensisSquirrel sunning. Procyon lotorRaccoon snoozing.
Tamias striatusChipmunk being very still.Marmota monaxWoodchuck being elusive. Check out the ground-hogging here on this slope: a duplex! The animal was peeking out of the nearer, top, hole, but vanished into the burrow before I could turn on my cameraSciurus carolinensisSquirrel eating a… wait a minute, that’s a green-dyed Easter egg, more than a week after Easter!

Young Snap

Chelydra serpentinaFour, count ’em four, Red-eared Sliders (Trachemys scripta) were basking in the tiny, northernmost pond on Pier One at Brooklyn Bridge Park the other day. Fools keep releasing these invasive, potentially disease-carrying pet-trade animals. Some do it for religious (!) reasons! The effects of all this can be seen in the water course in Prospect Park. There were three dozen RES basking recently in the Pools. (I once counted 70 in the Lullwater.) Two Painted Turtles,a species native to the region, were seen among the most recent crowd, but the real discovery this day was this young Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina).Chelydra serpentina I’ve seen snappers as little as a silver dollar and as big as a Fiat — no, make that a minibus — but not in-between, at least here in Brooklyn. Glad to see there are other generations in the mix. Chelydra serpentinaThe carapace (top shell) was about 6″ long. Snappers aren’t normally a basking species — but the winter was cold! — which is why it’s hard to say how many young ones there are in the park.

Black Gum Diptych

Nyssa sylvaticaNyssa sylvatica

Jane’s Walk: A Man, A Plan, Stranahan!

StranahanTop-hatted, I’ll be participating in the Jane’s Walk weekend, leading a walk through Prospect Park and into Green-Wood Cemetery on May 3rd. We’ll walk from the James S. T. Stranahan statue at Grand Army Plaza — who, what, where? PRECISELY! — to the Stranahan gravesite in Green-Wood in celebration of the forgotten man behind the park. Jane’s Walks are free; just show up at 11 a.m.

And poppin': Yellow Trout-lily

Erythronium americanumThe Trout-lilies (Erythronium americanum) are amongst us once again. These were in Prospect Park; a friend reports them out and about in the far north of the New York Botanical Garden as well.Erythronium americanumThe flower’s tepals curve back like this on bright sunny days, leaving the anthers fully exposed for pollinators. (There’s still not all that much flying, but every day is revealing new insects.) In some specimens of this species, the anthers and pollen are yellow, unlike the red-brown seen here.

The common name seems to come from the mottled pattern of the leaves, like a trout’s scale pattern. Flowering versions have a pair of leaves; non-flowering versions have a single leaf and are usually members of a clonal colony, duplicates of their neighbors. According to Carol Gracie, other names for this flower include Adder’s Tongue, Fawn-lily, and Dog-tooth Violet.

Quintessential spring ephemerals, these aren’t in bloom for long. Look for them (and smell them!). As with all wildflowers, don’t you dare pick them!

Airborne

IMG_0491A mass of gulls on Prospect Lake lift off in a cloud, swirling up high into the air.IMG_0495Most are Ring-billed, with the occasionally Herring and Greater Black-back, and sometimes something more exotic.

Ruddy, Ruddy

Oxyura jamaicensisMany ducks sport their breeding plumage over the winter, but the Ruddy Ducks don’t start turning until… about now. This male should have an astonishingly light, electric blue bill and much warmer cinnamon-brown plumage in a month or so.Oxyura jamaicensisA female. She won’t get all peacocky. Ruddy ducks often have their stiff tails raised as here and below.Oxyura jamaicensisA common pose, bill tucked under wing. Note that this one has some of those cinnamon feathers coming in. They don’t breed here, so we miss most of the big show.


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