Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus): in case you were wondering what the double-crests are. Breeding plumage.As fine as example as any of how optical enhancement can reveal the astonishing beauty of birds. Those eyes!

For anyone sliding into complacency, a perusal of Trump’s latest incoherence transcript will do the trick.


Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus).GHO are said to have the greatest diversity of prey of any raptor, diurnal or nocturnal. Mammals, mostly, but also birds, including other raptors. They will also eat insects, reptiles, fish, and carrion.
And you know these Muppets are ravenous. By the way, is that down on their eyelids? Meanwhile, in a rather less traditional nest location. There were actually two owlets here, but the older had jumped the pediment some time last week. We didn’t see it on its ledge on this viewing, but I’ve since been informed that it’s ok. In fact, it had fledged and was hanging out in a nearby tree. Well, nearby if you can fly. Rodent tooth, ejecta of an owl.

Earth Day

About today’s March for Science.

And the NYC component.

Naturalist Notes

Viola canadensis, a native violet.It was cool, so this Robin (Turdus migratorius) was hunkered down on those blue blue eggs.A Red Velvet Mite of the family Trombidiidae. Predators of the leaf-litter zone, as large as a blood-gorged tick and, being mite-y, rather looking like one.So many vocal White-Throated Sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis) in the Ramble!And a recent sunset.

Roof Bird

Pavo cristatus, the Indian Pea Fowl. Big bird, helluva big voice. The only places I’ve run into these beasts (you should see their spur claws!) in NYC is in Prospect Park, where several boom from the zoo, and occasionally get loose, and on an old estate on Staten Island, near Princes Bay, where you can hear them several blocks away.

Raptor Wednesday


The all-Merlin (Falco columbarius) edition.
In Green-Wood. This falcon, seen here on two different perches, was one of two by the Crescent Water at the same time. The other flew into a nearby tree — but the photography possibilities were not worth posting home about. The second bird took off, followed by the first. I wasn’t sure if this territorial or courtship behavior.Another day, another place, this time Marine Park. An hour before sunset, so that House Sparrow looks like dinner.

Sibley gives the following stats for average Merlin size:
length: 10″; wingspan: 24″; weight: 6.5 oz (109g); females always bigger than males.
For House Sparrow:
length: 6.25″; wingspan 9.5″; weight: 0.98 oz (28g).

Bush Terminal Park

Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla) on the fence.Female Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus).Carpet of little Brassicas.American Wigeon (Anas americana) and Eurasian Wideon (Anas penelope) drakes lined up for comparison’s sake. If only they’d been a little closer! Eurasian, as name suggest, is out of range; but we get a few in local waters most winters.


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