Field Notes: Green-Wood

Top: l-r, monk parakeet; red maple (?); dawn redwood cones. Middle: bald-faced hornet comb; honey bees; honey bee nest. Bottom: leeches on turtle plastron; live red sliders; witch hazel in bloom.

Took a walk through Green-Wood Cemetery today. This Victorian garden necropolis sits upon the flank of Brooklyn’s Harbor Hill Moraine, making it the highest place in the borough. The weather was close to perfect. A couple of trees and a lot more branches had been knocked down in the weekend storm and the sound of wood being ground up greeted me in what is usually the quietest place around. Some people were flying a kite that looked like an eagle to scare away the Canada geese. “Geesebusters,” according to their van. What fools these mortals be!

Highlights were a male belted kingfisher rattling at the Crescent Water; a feral honey-bee hive in an oak; one of the red-tailed hawks sitting on the edge of the nest; a Cooper’s hawk airborne and perched; a very big dawn redwood billowing with pollen. There were two dead turtles and what I took to be a dead raccoon in the Valley Water, but a half dozen live turtles were warming up after the long winter buried in the murk. Yes, it is most definitely springtime.

2 Responses to “Field Notes: Green-Wood”

  1. 1 Amy Melson March 17, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Good notes, great pictures! I wonder what killed the turtles? Those pretty leeches? The Dawn Redwood cones look very much like ones produced by some of those ancients, the cycads. So those are a feral honeybee colony? Good find!

  2. 2 mthew March 17, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Well, Dawn Redwood is an old species. It was thought extinct, and known only in the fossil record, until a grove was discovered in China during the last century. The cones look rather similar to Coast redwood (S. sempervirens). There is a giant sequoia (S. giganteum) in the BBG; its cones are much larger.

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