No mean forager and predator, the Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus) will eat just about anything, from acorns and nuts to baby birds, from slugs to insects to carrion. Our local ones are missing out on the bonanza of the 17-year cicadas, which are concentrated in Staten Island. Central Park has seen a rapid rise of their population in the North Woods; they have few predators (the city is scant on coyotes, foxes, and fishers, etc.) other than Red-tailed hawks and the odd large owl.
Posts Tagged 'Prospect Park'
Tags: birding, birds, Brooklyn, Prospect Park
That mud-daubed Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) nest is occupied.
Tags: birding, birds, insects, Prospect Park
At first they rise like little puffs of smoke from their ground nest. Then more and more of them emerge, small and unwieldy fliers, swarming into the humid air. They are termite reproductives, and a swarm of them brings birds to gobble them from the air. Stand there and watch as barn and tree swallows and chimney swifts zoom in on them, at eye level, acrobatic fliers whose wings you can hear they are so close. Maneuvering easily around you, they will rise as the mass of termites rise until they are much higher up. On or near the ground, meanwhile, are hopping, darting, “flycatching,” birds — warblers, thrushes, catbirds, tanagers — the bonanza seems to bring everybody out for a feast, regardless of their usual foraging habits.Although caste-structured social insects like ants, termites are actually more closely related to cockroaches. They were formerly classified as order Isoptera, but based on morphological and DNA evidence are now Blattodea.
For many are called, and most of them are eaten.
Tags: Brooklyn, Prospect Park
They were still cleaning the shit of IdiotMooga out of the Nethermead late this afternoon.A strange legacy of this monstrous farce, now a bust two years in a row. These serving pans were sunk besides the Binnen Bridge, still full of what looked to be sausages on skewers, or “curated cured and bespoke meat” as the hipsters say. But I can’t end with this foulness. Here, in tiny detail, some denizens of the park who have no representation in the fetid halls of power enjoy the afternoon:Chipmunk, turtle, and, unseen but vocal, bullfrog.
Tags: Prospect Park, Ranger Robin
The Googa Moola occupation of the park was cancelled today because of rain. Good riddance. This is the 2nd year this monstrous invasion of the Nethermead has been a bust. Three times is is not a charm: we’re going to fight any Googa Mooga III plans as hard as we can to take back the public’s park.
This year the toxin spread into neighborhoods around the park via constant helicopter patrols circling overhead… perhaps because the NYPD felt it had to spend their windfall take from the park’s organizers, who paid the police 4x what the Prospect Park Alliance got out of it. The Alliance somehow managed to negotiate less money this year for a bigger, longer event. They were so played. Collusion? Corruption? Incompetence? While I oppose this private taking of the park on democratic grounds, the fact that the Alliance hardly gained anything out of it on their own grounds is mind-boggling.
Stay tuned for a report on the status of the Green Herons. These birds built a nest on the edge of the Nethermead, right where the Goolag Mooga ended up placing a performance stage and semi-truck-length generator.
Tags: birding, birds, Brooklyn, Prospect Park
A Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura), one of the three dozen or so species of birds that nest in Prospect Park. This one is hunkered down before the onslaught of the Googa Mooga bullshit that has taken over the heart of the park for a week and culminates in many full porta-potties this weekend. Farther away, a Ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) nest, only the second record of breeding for this species in the park, should be safe from bloated consumers careening around in the Midwood, bemoaning their scandalous lack of cell-phone coverage. The Green Heron (Butorides virescens) nesting thirty feet from the stage, well, that’s a harder one to judge. Will she stay on the nest through the terrors of this three-day hijacking of the park?
In addition to all else that is wrong with it, it is unconscionable that no environmental impact statement was made before the scheduling of this event in the middle of migration and breeding. (A tip of the hat to the Flatbush Gardener for bringing this to my attention.)
***Nothing says “park” like dozens upon dozens of porta-potties and a traffic jam.
UPDATED: Although I hardly believed it when I heard that the Prospect Park Alliance was getting such a paltry sum for selling off the Nethermead ($75,000 — $25,000 LESS than they contracted for the SHORTER event last year), I am even more stunned that the NYPD got a far better deal: they’re making $325,000 from the Googa Mooga (another fine piece of neoliberalism, buying your own police protection), and evidently spending it on helicopter fuel. More details here in this City Room piece. Outfuckingrageous. As a former volunteer for the Alliance, I’m disgusted.
The lockdown of the Nethermead is almost complete.Curious, how gated communities, the security state, and private takings of the public sphere all begin to look alike.According to the Brooklyn Paper, the Prospect Alliance is expected to make “at least $75,000″ from the Great Googa Mooga Shit Pile. Or put another way, something less than $3 dollars per attendee. Or, considering the set-up and take-down days as well as the three-day festival of consumption itself, perhaps $7500 per day. Seems to me they whored out the public’s park rather cheaply.The stage is located next to a Green Heron nest. I hope the brooding mother isn’t thrown out because she lacks a VIP Backstage Pass.
Update: As you can tell, I’m not happy with this situation. The fact that the returns for all this trouble seem paltry indeed only adds fuel to my fire. Perhaps intemperately, then, I called the Prospect Park Alliance suckers on their Facebook page for taking such a lame deal, and linked to this post. They deleted the comment and link — they can do whatever they want, of course, being a private entity — but if you think other “friends” of the park, if not necessarily of the Alliance, would be interested in reading this and yesterday’s post, I can’t stop you from adding this link to their FB page.
Tags: Brooklyn, Prospect Park, reptiles
This is the largest snake species in the state, reaching up to six feet in length. They get bigger in the South. Constrictors, Black Rat snakes squeeze their prey to death, and will eat anything from eggs to other snakes, with small mammals, including bats, a mainstay. That last menu item is a good clue for where you might find these snakes: they are excellent tree climbers. Generally a woodland species, they are also fond of barns and their attendant mice and rats, meaning they are a good friend of the farmer.
This guy normally lives in the Audubon Center at the Boathouse, which, unfortunately, will not be open on weekends in the near future. Instead, “Pop-ups” (a trendy term for “temporary” and subject to the weather; last Saturday’s was cancelled) will be positioned around the park under a flimsy tent — without the restroom, water fountain, cafeteria, air-conditioning, and safe space services that the Boathouse also provided. This is a bad state of affairs, particularly when one sees private parties using the facilities for weddings and the like. Now, the Audubon Center will be open later in May on Thursdays and Fridays, but weekends are the park’s busiest times. The fact that the Boathouse will be open on weekdays suggests that this decision isn’t one of funding, but one of fundraising. Money is to be made renting out the Boathouse for persons of means.
This is, as I have noted for many years, the inevitable result of privatization. Those with money get the goodies, and, perhaps more importantly, control the agenda about those goodies. The Prospect Park Alliance — an unelected entity, it must be remembered, that of necessity follows the course of which people will fund what projects — was set up to help fundraise for the park. It has done very many impressive things, remaking the park for the better after the disastrous abandonment of the urban by tax-supported white flight, subsidized suburbanization, and the long counter-revolution against the public sphere, that profoundly successful assault on American democracy. And, over time, under the administration of neoliberal tribunes like Koch, Dinkins, Giuliani, and Bloomberg, the Alliance and similar entities has been progressively pushed towards funding the majority of the park’s operations as public monies, and oversight, have been withdrawn.
Of course, compared to Central Park, which has reveled in the millions of the super-rich, Prospect is barely a glimmer in the eye of our masters of the universe. Meanwhile, parks without wealthy neighbors — in the Bronx, Queens, other neighborhoods of Brooklyn — simply hope to have a few drops of largess dribble down upon them, trickling down from the heady heights. When parks manifest the great gap between haves and have-nots, we know how far into the hole of injustice we’ve fallen.In a related notion, park lawns are much too precious to withstand large political demonstrations, but more than a week-long occupation by the likes of the disastrous Great Googa Mooga Shit Pile, this year boasting of its “temporary cell towers” so that 30,000 food lovers can Instagram pictures of their meals to their friends — that’s their example — why, sure! Last Friday, preparations for this Friday’s GGMSP were underway at 7 a.m.
As a side-note — the snake of the minority constricts the majority of us — it should be noted that philanthropy is tax-deductible, which means that it is not actually charity, that is, given, sacrificed, without any promise of give-back. It’s a system that results in even more of the tax burden being pushed upon those who can not lawyer-, accountant-, and Congressperson-up.
Tags: birding, birds, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Prospect Park
Underneath a bridge in Prospect Park, little mud pellets mark the beginning of a Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) nest. Interestingly, the swallows seem to be using an old Organpipe Mud Dauber wasp nest as a brace or support.Five days later, the cup-like nest is coming along. A few bits of twig or the like seem to have been added to the mix as well. Seven days later. The darker portion is fresher mud, still damp. This shot from almost directly underneath, to show how far it sticks out from the wall.
It’s surprisingly dark under here — these pictures were taken with flash — so a better place to see these swallows nesting is at the Boathouse, where they build their nests in plain sight underneath the building’s eaves. The proximity to water is no accident. That’s where you will usually see these birds acrobatically coursing after airborne insects.
The most-widespread species of swallow in the world, the Barn Swallow almost exclusively nests on human structures. What did they do before humans? And, considering they breed across Eurasia, did they have a feather in inspiring pottery, or at least the earliest unfired agglomeration of pieces of clay air-dried in the sun?
Down underneath Pier One at Brooklyn Bridge Park is another place Barn Swallows nest. This is right next to Barge Music, where you may see the birds perching on their tiny feet on the rusting hull.