A male Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon). At least two, a male and a female (who has a russet red belly band in addition to the blue, making them one of the few bird species in our parts where the female is the more colorful), have been spotted around Green-Wood’s four ponds for months now. These birds are, as their name explains, fishers, and when the ponds are frozen over, they must go elsewhere. One at least has returned with the thaw. Twice last month on excursions to Bush Terminal Park, on the harbor, we saw and heard at least one kingfisher. Perhaps the birds are just flying back and forth between fresh water and salt. Green-Wood and the harbor are five avenue blocks apart, not much distance for a flying animal. (Note in picture above, his inner eyelid, or nictitating membrane, is showing; these protect their eyes when they hit the water. Note also the white dots in front of the eyes; false eyes?)These pictures were from the last two days of 2016. Our boy is very fond of this cherry tree perch.
Also very fond of perching is New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, who this past weekend was all over the opening of the first portion of the long-delayed 2nd Avenue subway. Cuomo is nominally a Democrat, but a New Democrat, School of Bill Clinton, the kind who is actually a socially liberal Republican. This is all relevant here because Cuomo is clearly positioning himself for a presidential run. Since he’s running on a getting-the-trains-to-run-on-time line, that’s beyond ironic. At the same time, he shows his true colors by such things as vetoing a legal services bill for the poor. The American legal system is already profoundly corrupted; only the rich really get their day in court, and people like Cuomo continue to help make this so. The era of these Republican-helpmate Democrats must end.