On Monday, the big gassy planet was as close to us as it has been since 1963. It will not be this close again for more than a century. You can still check it out: a good pair of binoculars or spotting scope may allow you to see the moons, at the least, and perhaps some striping details of the clouds, maybe even the long storm we call the Eye. I couldn’t see that, but the moons were there and the planet’s light was so bright it pierced the thin clouds over Brooklyn.

Raptor Wednesday

Last Friday and Saturday, the skies over the city were filled with Broad-winged Hawks. I missed practically all of them, but managed to photograph one of them low over Green-Wood, as it was chased by a female American Kestrel. Crappy pictures, but note the field marks: bold tail stripe, darkly-outlined wings.

Buteo playpterus is our smallest Buteo. In fact, they’re slightly smaller than American Crows. (I saw another being harried by crows and was confused because Common Ravens are roughly the size of Red-tailed Hawks.) The species is found throughout the forested eastern U.S. and Canada, although they are secretive and little seen. It’s not an urban raptor, so migration is the only likely time we see them in NYC.

In one of the great spectacles of planet earth, virtual the entire North American population, something like two million of them, pass over Vera Cruz, Mexico, in a short span of time as they rush south to wintering grounds. The birds kettling over NYC last weekend should be passing Vera Cruz late next week, unless a hurricane gets in their way…

Long Live The…

Individual butterflies seen recently. The last two I saw yesterday, along with three others un-photographed. They’re moving south across this western end of Long Island. They’ve got the Bay and the Bight to leap-fly across, and the long, long, improbable flight to Mexico to go.

Orbweaver 1; Spotted Lanternfly 0

Incidental Pollination



Eastern Wood-Pewee
Larch-top Great Blue, near the koi-pond.
House Wren, judging if I am edible.
Brown Thrashers bred in Green-Wood this year. Is this one of them?
We will be saying goodby to the Gray Catbirds, soon.
Mockingbird skirts…
Red-eyed Magnolia fruit-eating Vireo.
Phoebe with somebody’s leg. Orthoptera?

Preying Mantis

Narrow-winged Mantis with Eristalis drone fly.

Raptor Wednesday

A male American Kestrel at one end of Green-Wood.
A different male American Kestrel in the middle of Green-Wood. While photographing this one, I heard two others.
And soon found them: male on the left, female on the right.
About twenty minutes later, the female had some prey.


Beet Webworm Moth (Spoladea recurvalis), also known as Hawaiian Beet Webworm Moth.
Tucked into the recessed entrance of a mausoleum along with three spiders, this little cluster of tiny stems/sticks surrounds the pupa of Psyche casta, the Common Bagworm Moth. There seems to be something else on it, at 5:00; perhaps something parasitic?
More commonly seen is the “bag” of the Evergreen Bagworm Moth (Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis), of which I think this is a variation, hanging off a White Oak leaf.
This rolled edge of a leaf of a different White Oak, along with some silk inside, is evidence of a caterpillar.
One of the Grass-Vaneer moths, usually seen fluttering about in advance of your feet and landing vertically on stems of grass. Very fuzzy palps make them look rather snouty.


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