Accipiter gentilis II

This is a juvenile. Goshawk adults, who settle into their plumage by their third year, have blue-grey backs and gray fronts. They’re unmistakable; I’ve never seen one. These yearlings, on the other wing, look like they could be mistaken for a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk. This is a bigger bird than a Cooper’s, but sizing can be tricky without something to compare it to. It so happened that while I was watching this bird atop Lookout Hill, a Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) appeared. (I’d heard that these two had been seen sparring earlier.) The Gos chased it across the butterfly meadow. This Gos is Buteo-sized.
Note this long Accipiter shape. And these first two pictures give a good view of the brown patch on the auricular, underneath the eye to the right. The partial dark malar mark, which Wheeler says most juveniles will have, is a little harder to see underneath the eye.

Bill McKibben remembers the lessons Jonathan Schell drew from the 20th century. “Violence is the method by which the ruthless few can subdue the passive many. Nonviolence is a means by which the active many can overcome the ruthless few.”

Accipiter gentilis I

As promised, a Northern Goshawk. Goshawks are large raptors of northern woods and mountains. It’s in the Accipiter genus, along with the Cooper’s Hawk (A. cooperii) and Sharp-shinned Hawk (A. striatus). Goshawks are rare in general, and practically unheard of New York City.But a juvenile has been spotted in Prospect Park for about a month now. Yes, I know, that’s just crazy talk! Evidently the first to spot it thought it was a female Cooper’s Hawk. I went looking for the bird a handful of times over the course of a week before the word-of-mouth striking of the accipitrine lode up on Lookout Hill. In perfect later afternoon light….Doesn’t this bird look like its standing on some feathered prey? They do eat birds (Robins, Jays, Flickers) as well as mammals (hares/rabbits, Grey Squirrels, Eastern Chipmunks), but these are actually the bird’s own feathers. Are they under tail coverts or just leggings, the feathers at the feet? Wheeler notes that the under tail coverts can be fluffed and extended past the wings. The leaf-like patterning of the spots on these, as on the breast and belly, is gorgeous.

North Forty

Return-a-Gift Pond had one singular sensation of a tree frog last week. I wonder if they emerged early in our warm patch, then beat a hasty retreat in the face of the snow? Because reports are that they’re rockin’ now.
On the other side of the pond, something is taking over, covering over everything, and giving it this weird look of lumpy, alien planet set design for a low budget sf production. There’s some rose in there, but is that the only thing? It’s like some northern kudzu.

“The path of most resistance.” This article on the Women’s March is inspiring. Audre Lorde, quoted here on activism: “It means doing the unromantic and tedious work.” The author of this Harper’s piece continues, “This will never be the stuff of cinematic grandeur. It’s never satisfying, in part because it’s not enough. It should never feel like enough. But involving insufficiency as an alibi is just as dangerous as self-satisfaction or comfortable despair–the very things Lorde warned us against.”


Looks like a crown feather of an American Woodcock to me. Just under an inch long. On the snow in Prospect; it was devilishly difficult to get the warm gold of the edging accurately into digital form!And you can, I think, see these crown feathers pretty well here.


Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) will come to your hand if you hold out birdfeed. Looks like they will also probably come to your hand if you’re dead in the snow. This was at some distance, but I assume Grey Squirrel remains.It’s a bird-eat-mammal world out there. The omnivorous approach is the most adaptable to circumstances, like a heavy snowfall covering other food sources up.

Cardinalis cardinalis

You know how modern, big-money campaigns work, right? Known partisan voters are bombarded with fliers, TV and internet ads, and robocalls. A few people and corporations make a pile of money. The unregistered voters and non-voting registered voters are completely left out of the loop. But door-to-door canvassing was the point of that Harper’s article I cited earlier this week. It’s the same point here.

Raptor Wednesday

Red-tailed Hawks are the Old Faithful of NYC raptors. I see them regularly from my windows, passing parallel to the moraine or swirling over the flatlands below. This was one of two in the same tree in Green-Wood recently. Mating and nesting season is a “go”!Here’s a Prospect Park pair, moments after mating. Note the difference in belly plumage: individual Red-tails have a lot of unique characteristics (all birds do, but it’s much easier to see on the larger specimens). Female left, male right. He’s also a little smaller. The birds had been perched about a 100 yards apart, looking in opposite directions. The female flew to a tree near the male and started to make the noises that must mean, “hey sailor!” because he flew right over. Bird copulation is quite brief for most species, a few seconds long; they may mate multiple times during the day, though, and dozens if not hundreds of times during before brooding.

So, to recap:

The President of the United States and members of his administration and current and former associates are under investigation by the FBI for collusion with Russia.

The Russians are sitting on the information hacked from the RNC.

There is no basis for the President’s wild claims that President Obama put a “tapp” on his phones. And, true-to-form, Trump is double-downing in support of his reckless lie, red-meat to his sociopathic fans.

Meanwhile, the GOP’s horrendous Stripping of Health Care from Americans Act has actually made a couple dozen Republican reps nervous. Go get ’em.


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  • Osprey are loud. But nothing beats the falsetto meow-roar of the Indian Peafowl. 12 hours ago
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