Archive for the 'Fieldnotes' Category

Monarchs, Mostly

All the Monarch caterpillars I’ve seen this month in Green-Wood. Not overwhelmed by the numbers, unlike two years ago.
Black Swallowtail for a change of pace.

I thought this Judith Butler interview on gender was excellent. It was an exchange of emails, so much better than a conversation; the written word is still the most powerful tool of communication we have.

[The initial version of this post mailed to subscribers had the wrong link to the Butler interview. Sorry about that. It’s now been corrected.]

Old Standbys And Passers-Through

Election protection.

Grosbeak, Beechnut

Red-breasted Grosbeak foraging for beech nuts.
This is a female. The yellow underwings underline that.
Males are pinkish-red under there. This one and several others are scarfing up dogwood fruits.

New Yorkers have until October 9th to register to vote.

Other states.

Day-flying Nighthawks

On Wednesday morning around a quarter to eleven, I happened to look outside and saw a small herd of Common Nighthawks passing by. There were nine of them! This was after I’d seen a Broad-winged Hawk overhead, the first time I’ve seen one of these long-distance migrants in Brooklyn. Good birds to see from the window, I must say.

I got into Green-Wood in the early afternoon. There was quite a bit of raptor activity, much of it in the distance. Silhouettes against a hazy sky. Spotted several kestrels, a few Accipiters, another Broad-wing Hawk, and a Northern Harrier. Other than at Floyd Bennett Field, where they’re winter visitors, I’ve only seen harriers flying over inland Brooklyn during fall migration.
And then I saw a nighthawk, with those long wings striped in white.

And then, last evening, starting about 5:45pm I saw four or so from my window again, this time hunting, flying back and forth, up and down, all around in the dimensions of the air. In five years of living here, I’ve only seen a nighthawk from my apartment once before this week.

Vote early. Here’s a state-by-state guide.

Some Wasps

Have you noticed all the parts of a wasp’s mouth? That’s the tongue in the center there, reaching into the nectar, but that’s not the half of it.
This is Ammophila pictipennis, I think, one of the thread-waisted wasps.
Here’s a European Hornet, hanging from at least one foot, devouring a Western Honey Bee. These big hornets are relatively slow fliers and seem to miss most of their tackle-like approaches to prey, but they clearly hit enough to carry on.
It was a cool morning, and I didn’t see any of these ubiquitous European Paper Wasps out and about until I happened to spy one of their nests in the plantings.
These are relatively small, uncovered nests, compared to:
The football-sized paper-wrapped nests of Bald-faced Hornets.
This German Yellowjacket was obsessed with my boots, flying around them, landing besides them, and at one point climbing up one of them. I moved a few feet away, and the process repeated itself. Did it again, and it happened again. Finally lost the wasp by moving further away.
Eumenes something-or-other-should-be-distinctive, one of the pottery and mason wasps. A thing of beauty is a joy forever.

Raptor Wednesday

An Osprey passes overhead, carrying a fish head-forward. Location: Green-Wood, approximately a mile from the bay. (I don’t think that’s a Sylvan Water fresh-water fish.)
Some forty minutes later, I heard the mewling call of one of these fish-hawks.

Going to investigate, I was surprised to find it perched up in a tree with a Cooper’s Hawk keeping it company. The Osprey had a fish up there, so it might well have been the bird I’d seen earlier, and might well have been the circling Osprey I’d seen several times during my in-and-out walk by the same general route. I started to move around so that I’d get the sun behind me for better photos, but before that could happen:
I saw that this very same tuliptree had an American Kestrel at its tippy-top! Three raptors in a tree at the same time is a record for me. The situation didn’t last long. The falcon made a couple passes over the Osprey and flew off. The Cooper’s flew up towards it, stirring the Osprey into flight, fish still firmly in grip. (By now, it was half a fish.)
Then the Osprey returned. Neither the Cooper’s nor the kestrel were seen again.
Note the speckled wings here: this is a first-year bird.
May also have explained the bird’s incessant vocalizations.

FYI: Vote Save America.

Waxwings in a Yew

Three or four young Cedar Waxwings gobbling up the cones of a yew.

Mushroom/Mammal Mashup Monday

Watched this one eat two small gilled mushrooms that it rooted out of the sward.Discarded the woodsy stems…

Shaken, in Black and White

The Republican cult is disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of voters and working to suppress voting and create chaos in battleground states. A familiar crew of corrupt fascist oligarchs are funding this assault.

And now the Republican plan, forthrightly announced in the 1970s, to return the federal courts to their traditional role as reactionary redoubt of property and plutocracy has been supercharged by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Inciting violence at his Nurembergesque rallies and “press conferences,” Trump is also already calling a potential Democratic win in November a “coup.” His party/cult’s anti-reality conspiracy bubble is bubbling over with such rhetoric; his paramilitaries-police coalition has already killed. (As always, the projection, that is, the taking of one’s own characteristics and projecting them on the enemy, is out in force with these fuckers.)

Here’s a merciless primer on how bad things are and how corporate media abets the disaster. It cuts through the bullshit with remarkable straight-forwardness.

Without a real opposition party, we have to depend on non-state actors: check out for helping with voting, and protecting voting. Trumpists are already out protesting early voters in Virginia.

Warblers, Etc.

A great front of birds flying south on a chill wind swept into Brooklyn on Tuesday morning to be greeted by an orange-red sun rising in the smoke haze wafted here from the west’s conflagrations.
Mature male American Redstart.
Female and juvenile male Redstarts out-numbered the old males by far and were simply falling out of trees everywhere in Green-Wood.
Chestnut-sided Warbler.
Scarlet Tanager.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak.
Northern Parula.
Black-throated Blue male.
Tennessee Warbler. Never captured one of these in photos before.
Lincoln’s Sparrow.
Common Yellowthroat.

Meanwhile, on the other side of this climate-changed continent: a mass die-off of migrating birds across the southwest.


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