Archive for the 'Fieldnotes' Category

A Winter Walk

I suspect this is the remains of a Bald-faced Hornet nest.
We all have days like this, right?
A bad case of bagworm… although not of course for the Evergreen Bagworm Moth overwintering in these things.
Persimmon fruit road kill. This is a seed of the fruit.
A slug enjoying some mushrooms. A lot of creatures eat fungi. It’s best not to tell mycologist hobbyists where the ‘shrooms are so they don’t compete, stomping hither and yon and ripping up habitat for their own habit.
Same tree as the mushrooms and happy slug. A wasp in January! The whole world is thrown out of whack.

***

The western Monarch Butterfly is almost gone. Less than 1% of their 1980 population now exists. Here are five things you can do to help. The unstated sixth item, as always, is the defeat of the Trump death-cult. Yes, it’s a war: Mexican Monarch advocate Homero Gomez went missing a couple of days ago.

Still More Squirrels

I don’t want anybody to get the impression that all the squirrels are being eaten. Ran into all these on Wednesday in a small patch of Green-Wood.

In American Kestrel news: yesterday a female was seen from the windows here for the first time in months. She came to our attention because she was calling. The male flew in, over, and past and then returned, making a good bit of noise himself. A few minutes later they were mating. Seconds after settling side by side on a roof pipe they scattered in opposite directions as a young Red-tailed Hawk flew up to the pipe! The hawk soon flew to a local antenna, where the falcons regrouped and made a few diving runs over the big buteo. The hawk flew out of sight. Combined with the Peregrine spotted on the regular perch of the smokestack in the distance, that made four raptors seen before 8:15 a.m.
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The fucking Republicans are now opening the flood gates of poison into streams and wetlands. They are simply, definitively, the party of death.

Raptors vs. Squirrels

Another adult Red-tailed Hawk, another Green-Wood squirrel.
Sunday above Sylvan Water.
How many squirrels are in the cemetery? Not as many, I would guess, as in Prospect Park.While looking for interesting birds lately I’ve come across a couple of squirrels doing their best to lay low inside conifers. On Sunday, on the other hand, five of them ran towards me before breaking this way and that, including up into a bush. They were acting like new-borns but weren’t. Most of Saturday’s snow was already gone.

Raptor Wednesday

It snowed on Saturday. Twice. In between, I happened to be watching several squirrels capering across the park from my window. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught something fly at a bush and then away, turning up to a tree limb. Several squirrels made a racket up there before retreating.
It was a young Cooper’s hawk. Seemed small, so probably a male. Female Cooper’s are notably larger than the males.
He had caught a bird in the bush. I think House Sparrow.

Circled the tree to try get some shots through the branches. The hawk ate unconcerned about the world on the ground, children riding sleds, snow blowers blowing, cars making their awful din.

Sylvan Raptor

Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday I spotted raptors at the gory work of eating. First up is a mature Red-tailed Hawk in Green-Wood at the Sylvan Water.
The unfortunate meal is a Grey Squirrel.
I used a very large tree as a blind to get close as the weather went from cloudy to breaking sunny to cloudy and rainy.

Sassier!

There’s a suggestion that this is the oldest sassafras in NYC.
The tree is still going strong.
Now we come to an issue of tense. There are two trees here, just a few feet apart. Are these two actually, essentially, the same tree, a clonal pair, the last of a sassafras colony?
There seems a good possibility that this is so.
From certain angles, they line up and merge together.
Elsewhere in Green-Wood, a sprouting of sassafras. What might this spot might become… in 150 years?
(An ancestor, presumably of somebody, at the clones.)

Sassy!

A venerable sassafras (Sassafras albidum) in Green-Wood. May be the state record holder for tallest: 69′ in 2016. 138″ in diameter at 4.5′ height.
More interestingly, at least to me, is the question of age. Does this pre-date the establishment of the cemetery in 1838? If not it must come close.
Sprouting adjacent. Sassafras is a clonal organism.
You would be correct in your supposition that this magnificent bark is habitat. Just think of all the life forms that have lived upon and beneath it!
I was lucky enough to see this in my orbit of the tree. A piece of bark over a foot long had fallen off and on the inside was this Eumenes wasp mud pot nest.

Stay tuned for more sassafras tomorrow. Yes, more!


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