Birds

A foraging Chipping Sparrow. Has some prey in this last image, perhaps an ant.

How un-red-breasted this Red-breasted Nuthatch is. A female.

Yellow-throated Vireo. I don’t see these every year. Thought it was an another Pine Warbler at first glance with the yellow eye-ring and two white wing bars way up in an oak.

Sunday Extra

I saw my first Evening Grosbeak in 2012 in Prospect Park. That was a female. This might possibly be the first male I’ve seen. Seen in Green-Wood today.

Coccothraustes vespertinus: this binomial could be translated as “kernel-shatterer of the west/evening.” That big beak crushes the opposition (seeds/nuts/kernels). The Latin vespertina means both evening and west.

Claytonia & Co.

Carol Gracie’s Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast is such a delight to read. Here we learn, for instance, why there can be such color variation in populations of spring beauties (Claytonia virginica), the role of ants in transporting the seeds, and the hundred-plus insects that visit the flowers.

“Selective pressures are working at cross-purposes: in years of high herbivory by slugs (usually years of high rainfall), white flowers are more successful at producing seeds; in years when herbivory is diminished but fungal infection is high, pink flowers are more reproductively successful.”

This is (probably) one of the many Andrena genus mining bees. I don’t know if it’s the famous Andrena erigeniae, the Spring Beauty Miner, which depends exclusively on these flowers to feed its young. I wonder if there are enough of these flowers, scattered infrequently through the cemetery, to appease this specialist.

I’ve been on the look-out for the orange spotting of the leaves that marks the presence of spring beauty rust fungus Puccinia mariae-wilsoniae. None seen so far.

Re-upping this article on what you can do to foster insects. And here’s the Pollinator Pathway site FYI.

The tip jar.

Toes

Through the winter, a few White-throated Sparrows can be found foraging in the 4th Avenue extension of Green-Wood. Most of the local White-throats who visit us in the winter are found deeper in the cemetery. The 4th Avenue section, which has streets on four sides (there’s a tunnel under 5th Avenue that I bet most Brooklynites don’t know about) is dominated by House Sparrows. House Sparrows aren’t found in large numbers deeper inside the cemetery; they really, really, like the proximity of people (places, food, etc).

Anyway, these White-throats will probably disappear soon as they head north to breed. But this particular one, alas, will not. The body, however, gives us incredible views of the passerine foot.

Status

Got our second does of Pfizer vaccine yesterday.

Grackle says, “Get vaccinated!” The more, the merrier.

Underbark

Winter Firefly?
Spider.
Hollowed-out carapace of a Cicada-killer Wasp.
The shaggy bark of a venerable black cherry (P. serrotina) flakes off onto the ground around the tree.
Soon. Native cherries bloom later than the exotics I pictured Tuesday.

Raptor Wednesday

The sheer intensity of a raptor’s gaze.

This Red-tailed Hawk was hunting… lizards.

I have seen American Kestrels successfully capture and eat the local lizards. This big buteo didn’t have any such luck.

I think this is the same heavily marked bird, seen here a day later nearby.

Kestrel reception is good, with some interference by Blue Jays.

And Fish Crows.

Prunus Among Us

P. sargentii
P. incisa
P. cerasifera
P. serrulata
Prunus x yedoensis
Prunus x subhirtella

The ornamental cherry biz, filled with grafts, hybrids, and trademarked varietals, looks complicated. Luckily, the above samples are tagged and mapped in Green-Wood.

This one, though, is not. There’s been a suggestion that it’s Prunus avium, wild cherry.

Lots of pretty, to be sure, but not a lot of pollinators. They’re like roses, an exotic plant heavily commodified and commercialized. Not native to this part of the world, these cherries don’t do much for the insects of this part of the world.

Pairs & Solos

These two House Finches were in the same tree courting.

There’s a nest hole right in front of this male Red-bellied Woodpecker. He’s been calling and calling.
Just a little bit of the ruby crown.

Couldn’t get these two Carolina Wrens to cooperate for a photo, but they were foraging in close proximity.

Downy eating like mad.

The Lizards

The Northern Italian Wall Lizards seem to be doing well. I counted eight the other day, including the one in the series of photos below, peeking out of a crevice in a pyramidal mausoleum.

Thank you to all the contributors to my keep-this-blog-afloat appeal!


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