Mammal Monday

Why yes, this Common Raccoon does seem to be splayed belly-up in a tree crotch on a hot, humid day.
One can only imagine the nocturnal debaucheries this beast has been up to.

****

This post dedicated to David Burg, who passed away suddenly on Saturday. He was about 70 and died while walking in the woods… A former President of NYC Audubon and head of WildMetro, David was an indefatigable naturalist-explorer, in love especially with old, open field oaks. He was a gadfly, thorn-in-the-side of officialdom, and had, from my perspective awful politics. But I always enjoyed his company and respected his commitment to the wild things. I will miss him.

Rest in, and of, the earth, David.

The Red Crown

I’m still looking for hard evidence, i.e. fledglings, of Green-Wood breeding Eastern Kingbirds. In the meantime, enjoy this rare look at the rather subtle touch of red on the bird’s head.
At Sylvan Water.

At Valley Water.
Throwing up a pellet of indigestible insect bits. Camera didn’t catch the bolus, but last year….

Lizard, Abbreviated

Northern Italian Wall Lizard.
Lost its tail. The replacement growth is never as long as the original.

Podarcis siculus ssp. campestris got to America via the pet trade. They have expanded out from several areas, including on Long Island.Note that this article says there’s no evidence of birds eating these lizards. But in fact, there is. I’ve seen a photograph of an American Kestrel taking one to the nest in Manhattan. AND I’ve seen it personally, right here with the local #BrooklynKestrels..

Duckling Scrum

Tiger, tiger, flying bright

… until caught in a web. An ichneumon wasp — of some kind.
You might think something this distinctive looking would be easy to identify. For instance, doesn’t “Tiger Wasp” sound good?
But there are a LOT of ichneumon wasps. The Ichneumon genesis alone includes about 143 species in Neartica (most of North America). Here’s what bugguide.net says about the Ichneumonidae family: “~5,000 described spp. in almost 500 genera in the Nearctic Region, possibly 3,000 more undescribed; arguably, the largest animal family, with the estimated 60,000 species worldwide (up to 100,000, according to some estimates).” Neither bugguide.net nor iNaturalist can even confirm genus.
(I returned this back to the spider web after taking these pictures.)

Raptor Wednesday

Four American Kestrels have been lately been spotted at the same time in the neighborhood. They’re hard to count, though, since they move from pillar to post and then out of sight with great frequency.
On July 2nd, I was in Green-Wood and ran into three females and one male. Again, this is a tentative count because they were constantly moving between perches in several trees. All these photographs in today’s post are from this encounter.
This location is just about a mile away from the #BrooklynKestrels nest. We’re these four birds “ours”?
Just how many American Kestrels are in Brooklyn? In NYC as a whole? How close do they nest? Lots of questions.
I haven’t been able to check on another nest I know this year. It’s over two miles away.

Monarch Eggs

Monarch butterfly laying an egg on an emergent common milkweed leaf on Sunday in Green-Wood. This little plant is an outlier from the patch here, in danger of being mown or “weeded,” alas.
I also watched her deposit eggs on two much taller, already flowering, plants that were part of the official patch.
Closer up, you can see that the tiny eggs are grooved.

Do they ever lay more than one egg per plant? How many eggs per female? Is there anything stopping other Monarchs from laying on the same plant?

Mammal Monday

Eastern Chipmunks (Tamias striatus) are few and far between in Green-Wood. I see them there rarely, but the other day a wren-brown spot in the distance, which I thought might, in fact, be a wren, turned out to be this one.

There are rather more Chimpmunks in Prospect Park. The closest these two green islands in Brooklyn come is just over half a mile. Windsor Terrace, the neighborhood in between, is not a wildlife corridor. A friend who lives in Windsor Terrace calls it Alpine Brooklyn, because it is between the two highest spots of elevation in the borough.

Recent Sightings

Tiny turtle, duckweed.
More duckweed, as a landing platform for a queen Eastern Yellowjacket.
Robber fly.
This was unexpected: a blue budgie on the loose.
Hedgehog Gall Wasp and Quercus.
Stained glass.
More stained glass.
Even more.

Fruiting Fourth

Franklinia.
Persimmon.
Pawpaw.


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