In Green-Wood

The great Victorian necropolis of Green-Wood Cemetery comes into its own in spring-time when the ornamental and specimen trees start their blooming into glory.A trio of turtles were sunning themselves around the Valley Water. In the pond itself, a thumb-sized bullfrog tadpole emerged from the murk and then quickly descended back into the obscurity. There was a single bullfrog ashore. It was as big as a large fist. There were lots of Cabbage Whites and a few Sulphurs flitting about. A snoozing raccoon was visible way up in a tree. No sighting of the woodchuck I saw exactly one year ago.The Northern Mockingbirds were making most of the noise, along with the Starlings. Male and female Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers tapped away; does anybody know if they nest here? All told, I saw twenty species of birds, including my first Osprey of the year. It was perching above the Sylvan Water, where I’ve often seen them in the past. Perhaps it may even be the same bird, returning year after year, since these large fish-eating raptors have a strong fidelity to place. (I’m updated via e-mail about a Nantucket-nesting male Osprey who winters in Colombia; tracked by satellite, last week he crossed the Caribbean to Haiti in a 22-hour non-stop flight. By the next update, I’m sure he will be on the island, if he makes it.)Common Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) has a most distinctive bark. Katie at the Green-Wood Trees blog has also found the species here, maybe even the same mini-grove of four. Staten Island is the natural northern limit for the species, and we’ve seen a few spindly ones there in the thick of the Greenbelt. These Green-Wood specimens are big, mature trees that have grown in an estate garden-like setting; I’ll come back once they leaf out, and, if I have any memory at all, return in the fall to see how they fruit — interestingly, they ripen after a frost. Note that Chinese persimmon (D. kaki) bark looks quite different.

The cemetery is, of course, planted with all sorts of exotica, so you never know what you may run into.

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