Late Odonata

Dragonfly eating damselfly.
Eastern Pondhawk female gobbling up one of the bluets.
Familiar Bluet ungobbled.
Common Green Darner male.
Autumn Meadowhawk female.
Autumn Meadowhawk male (probably). As their name suggests, these Sympetrum genus meadowhawks are one of the last species to fly during the Odonata year.

Palm Warbler Sunday

They are all over…at least in Green-Wood.
And yesterday I saw my first White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos, northern birds that spend the winter here. It’s a transitional time, coming and going, a hinge of seasons, and today suggests it will be very birdy indeed.


Two sightings of Northern Italian Fence Lizards in Green-Wood this summer.
I first became aware of this introduced species when a picture of an American Kestrel carrying one of the lizards made the rounds of the birding crowd years ago. The lizards seem to have gotten here via the animal slave — oh, sorry, I meant pet — trade.
I saw my first ones in a Queens cemetery, where Houdini is supposedly buried (hey, he got out of everything else, right?). They are a regular sight at the NYBG in the Bronx.
A couple of years ago, a very trustworthy source (Reader, I married her) spotted one on the edge of Green-Wood. But I hadn’t seen one in the scales in Brooklyn myself until this summer.

American Chestnut

Some earlier writing about American chestnuts in Prospect Park.


Just in from the science desk: Zebra Finches dream very much like mammals. Like us. The authors extrapolate to song birds in general. They hypothesize that such shared characteristics are a result of our shared early ancestry.


It’s 2019, and we are still building glass towers that winnow birds from the sky during migration. An architect today who isn’t demanding that bird safe glass be used is committing malpractice. The developers — well, there’s an enemy of the earth if there ever was one, committing ecocide, crimes against life, as a matter of course.

Take “CIRCA Central Park,” at West 110th St: a single person has found 100 dead birds around the building. Yesterday alone there were four more collisions, three dead on the spot, one taken to Wild Bird Fund in hopes of salvaging something from the wreck.

Audubon NYC’s D-Bird database allows you to report and track bird collisions.

I reported this one there. It’s a Red-eyed Vireo. It was on the sidewalk right around the corner from the #ViewFromTheMoraine.

(NYC seems to be moving towards a bill to ameliorate the problem going forward.)

Meanwhile, where do we report a democracy that has flown into the window of Donald Trump and his Republican Party? Solnit has a remarkable ability to hit the nail on the head and not leave us in despair. Her conclusion:

“But we must not lose hope. In addition to the three branches of government, there is an unofficial fourth – civil society – which must exert itself. The will of the people is both what is at stake when a government becomes unaccountable and the force that can protect our embattled public interest. Passivity and disengagement got us here; political engagement will get us out.”

But how to engage? It won’t be easy. The might of a state is a terrifying thing. Monbiot, in discussing the exterminationist ideology of consumerism, lays it out. It’s too late for gradualism, and much too late for Biden’s vision of oligarchy with a side of folksy cornpone. “Only mass political disruption, out of which can be built new and more responsive democratic structures, can deliver the necessary transformation.”

Raptor Wednesday

I recently found out that a pair of Cooper’s Hawks nested in Prospect Park this year. That never happens… these Accipiters usually head elsewhere during breeding after hunting in the city during the winter. I did see a pair of American Kestrels chase a Cooper’s into Green-Wood during the summer of ’18, but this year I haven’t seen much Accipiter action since the spring.
Until this weekend. Screaming Blue Jays drew me under a big weeping beech. Voila! Red eyes are a sign of maturity; they start off yellow. The reddish barring, too, is the mark of an adult. This one looked big; probably a female.
A bold, feisty squirrel was also present, less then six feet away from the hawk. The squirrel and Jays disappeared. It was just me and the big bird under the spreading beech, until I, too, retreated.


September 17th. I noticed this chrysalis hanging by silken threads in the doorway of a mausoleum. I thought it was Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.
September 18th.
Parenthetical: there was a spider right next door.
September 21st. I don’t know what’s going here. Breached by something?
October 5th.

For the first time, the wealthiest Americans paid a lower overall tax rate last year than the middle class. Why? Decades of tax cuts. The rise of tax dodging. And the Trump tax cut.”


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