Posts Tagged 'Prospect Park'

VLB Adult

Pyrrhalta viburni In less than a decade, the invasive Viburnum Leaf Beetle (Pyrrhalta viburni) has spread throughout most of New York State. They devour the leaves of viburnum species, key understory plants of our woodlands; a couple years infestation can kill the plant. I’ve seen the damage they do in Prospect Park, skeletonizing every leaf on a bush. In Brooklyn Bridge Park they’re trying to control things by hand.

But this was the first time I’ve run across one of the adult beetles. Yesterday in Prospect Park.

Green Heron

Butorides virescensHow many Green Heron (Butorides virescens) nests are there in Prospect Park? I saw one, heard about another, and suspect a third.Butorides virescens

Barn Swallow

Hirundo rusticaIt’s always dark under this bridge. This Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) nest, made of mud and muck-matter, is a year old and being used again. Nearby is a two-year-old nest that is being re-used again after a vacancy last year.

Here are some gathering mud like the masons they are.

Squirrel in the Garbage

Sciurus carolinensisSome may find this a textbook case of cute, not to mention the adaptability of some animals to live off of our garbage, but all this processed fat and sugar can’t be very good for the animal. After all, just because you like to eat something doesn’t mean it’s good for you, as many of us can attest and supermarkets full of fake foods prove. Sciurus carolinensisThe signs around Prospect Park urging people not to feed bread to ducks and geese are a case in point; such a diet is actually harmful to waterfowl, resulting in malformed wings. Yet a stupid tradition persists, as parents continue to make their children complicit in poisoning animals they believe they are helping.

Nutella, laughably, was claiming that this stuff was perfect for a healthy breakfast until a class action suit ordered them to cease and desist such blathering nonsense. But it sure does know the not-so-secret key to mammalian taste buds: fat, sugar, salt!

Rodentia

IMG_2163There’s a debate around here about which of our rodent friends this young’un is. There were at least ten of them strung out along about thirty feet of paved path in Prospect Park recently, most of them with their eyes still closed, some not moving, others scurrying regardless of their eyelids. I don’t know what the heck happened to result in them being there, when they should have been still tucked away in some nest or nook.IMG_2175Even with eyes closed, this one found something to eat. It turns out that mice and baby rats are similar looking. They are, after all, related. I got 10/12 on a first pass at this mouse/rat test. But were these rats or mice?IMG_2143Luckily, the three dogs that came through while I was there were all leashed, as they are always supposed to be in the Ravine. I moved several of these little rodents off the path, depositing them together.

Nesting

Butorides virescensGreen Heron (Butorides virescens) sitting on eggs out over the water. Hirundo rusticaIt rare to see Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) on the ground. These were stuffing their bills full of mud for their cup nests. Talk about the importance of varied habitats and general all-around messiness! This is a patch where the stone border of the Lullwater has completely disappeared, creating a small, but richly goopy mud beach thick with organic muck: it was so important for them that they landed just a few feet away from us repeatedly to get more.Hirundo rusticaThere are no barns here, but the underside of bridges will do nicely.Troglodytes aedonA House Wren (Troglodytes aedon), between choruses of his mighty song. Right next to his nest, which, fittingly for a bird named for its association with human structures, is in the back end of a street lamp housing.

Snout’s Up

Chelydra serpentinaSmall-to-medium-sized Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) peeking from the Duckweed and algae atop the perhaps deceptively named Lullwater in Prospect today.

Update: On second thought, and thoughtful suggestion, this is probably just another Red-eared Slider. All that yellow in the chin wouldn’t be on a Snapping T.


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