Surprising Teal

I couldn’t determine what this was from a distance, where it was dwarfed by a herd of Canada Geese.Even close by, I was running through the names of the ducks in a bird ID app.That moire pattern! The stripe! That head!Of course, “wigeon” and “gadwall,” among others, don’t come up if you type in “duck”…. Male Green Teal. Stunning in sunlight, more subdued in shadow…Anas carolinensis is common across its breeding grounds in northern North America, but I don’t recall ever seeing one in Green-Wood before. In fact, I don’t have a picture of one in the entire run of this blog. The bird was shy, swimming away even as Canada Geese and Mallards, also mucking along the shore, paid me no heed.

Branta bernicla

Or, just plain Brant. A winter visitor to our waters. This one was spotted off the coast of Brooklyn recently.

(Those on the west coast have black bellies and are known as Black Brant. They were once considered a separate species from these east coasters.)

More Cooper

Of late, the Cooper Hawks I’ve seen have been in the air, as yesterday’s post, or huddling in the yews and arbor vitae. But this one was perching as bold as brass… or is that rusty iron? With nary a Blue Jay in sight… The Jays have been abundant in Green-Wood this winter. They let up a vocal storm when they run into something they don’t like. But they can’t be everywhere. This big Accipiter had the field.

Raptor Wednesday

Cooper Hawk amidst the Rock Doves!A dangerous ballet in the sky for the flock, which has the confusion of numbers on their communal side.There was no killing in this swirl, nor in the one seen the very next day in the same general area.Nor in the hawk/pigeon flurry yesterday before the snow flurries.In fact, when I notice the pigeons up, I always cast a sharp eye for the cruising hawk(s).This one flew off towards Green-Wood.An awful lot of hawking is all about silhouettes. The long tail and rounded wings of an Accipiter, for instance, are striking from a distance.

Winter Killdeer

Rocks, Ring-billed Gulls, and hey, a Killdeer! (You can’t see the rats inside the rocks, but when they scurry around in broad daylight, you know the tubular rodents are all over; suckers have always loved waterfronts.)

Bush Terminal Park had breeding Killdeer last year.

Pollination Reminder

This Sierra Club lecture on Wednesday looks great:

*SIERRA CLUB NEW YORK CITY GROUP SUSTAINABILITY SERIES 2019*

*WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13: BIRDS, BEES AND BUGS KEEP OUR GARDENS HEALTHY* Michael Hagen – Curator of the Rock Garden & Native Plant Garden, NY Botanical Garden Timothy Leslie – Associate Professor, Department of Biology, LIU Brooklyn Heather Liljengren – Supervising Seed Collector/Field Taxonomist, NYC Parks

SEAFARERS AND INTERNATIONAL HOUSE 123 East 15th Street, corner of Irving Place, Manhattan Doors open 6:30pm for refreshments Program start at 7pm
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There’s also a Xerces Society training sessions on pollinators and other beneficial insects in Brooklyn on March 1.
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I’ve been saving this picture, from last fall, for a winter’s day. And here’s my post on the NYC Pollinators Working Group and the pollinators, too. Turns out cities have a huge role to play in encouraging pollinators.
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As you have have heard, the west coast Monarch population is in horrible shape. The east coast, however, had a pretty good year, comparatively. Monarch Watch has details. But in general, the trend all over continues to be bad.

Captive Gyr

The largest falcon, Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus).* Birds of the tundra and elsewhere northwards. Occasionally they drift down into the U.S.I’ve never seen one in the wild in North America. I have seen a dark morph in Iceland. (They come dramatically white like this, gray, and dark.)This one is all jessed up and has no place to go. Jesses are a term of falconry, referring to the leather bondage ties around the feet. There was a bewitted bell as well.So unbelievably fast. Stooped right over people’s heads, too, in dives at the lure. I thought a few hats might have been taken off…

*Sibley has them weighing almost twice as much as Peregrines.

Wild birds are broken, or tamed if you dare, by starving. Captive raptors hunt, or, in this case, perform, precisely because they’re hungry; the lure is baited with food.


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