Gull Sizes

Herring Gull amidst Brant.

Great Black-backed Gull amidst Herring, Brant, and Ring-billed. Great Black-backed is the world’s largest species of gull.

Our triumvirate of winter gulls. From the top, Herring, Great Black-backed, and Ring-billed. Strays and exotica show up, and Bonaparte’s Gull is found off-shore, but these are the three standard gulls of the NYC winter. Ring-billed predominate by a long shot.

To spice things up, this is Great Black-backed in its first winter, or so I judge. Ring-billed in the background.

(A sunny day!) Ring-billed left, Herring right.

Raptor Wednesday Continued

See how that outer tail feather is so much shorter than the central feathers? Coopers have tails usually described as rounded at the tip; this is why. Of note because Sharp-shinned Hawks have a straight edge to their tail fan.

I’ve written a new Medium piece… on raptors!

Raptor Wednesday

This snaggy perch can be a good place for Merlin, but in this case it’s an adult Coopers Hawk.

Ready for some stretching…

Oh-oh, stand back!

Coop poop.

Spinus tristis

This scappy specimen may be explained by the damaged foot.

Mushroom Monday

It’s fruiting body weather.

Sitta canadensis

Finding a nutty something on the ground, this Red-breasted Nuthatch wedged it into some bark and began to work out the meat.

Looks like this has happened a few times here.

Note sure this is the same bird. But it sure is a pale specimen.

Sphyrapicus varius

Judging from the number and freshness of sap holes, this crab apple is visited often by Yellow-breasted Sapsuckers.

Cyanocitta cristata

Ubiquitous yet elusive… the three-alarm fire of winter is fairly camera-shy, but in this case I happened to be below the bird on a slope.

Galling

A sapling… Hawthorn, I guess. The spine and twig swellings suggest galls to me, but I haven’t tracked any causative agents.

Hawthorns, genus Creteagus, have a colorful taxonomic history. Find a century old tree book and you’ll see hundreds of species in North America alone. In the northern hemisphere, there were supposed to be about 1000 species all told. Today, a couple hundred seems to be the acceptable number.

Raptor Wednesday

Deja vu all over again? Recently, on this very antenna, a Merlin was eating. But this is no Merlin:

The queen of all she surveys. There have only been two day this year that I haven’t seen this female American Kestrel on her patch in my neighborhood. (Well, I presume she’s the same bird.)

She’s usually seen on this antenna tower, which is across the street from the TV-dinner antenna.

Here she is strafing a Cooper’s Hawk, policing the territory.


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