Archive for the 'Fieldnotes' Category

Raptor Wednesday

Crows harrying a Red-tailed Hawk.
Not too much later, two Red-tails were in the same tree. Then four of them were in the air together.

Another day of crow patrol.

Nest building in a pine.

Copulating on a cross. These might not be the same birds as the ones building the nest.

Yes, this is the same St. Michael’s top that sometimes hosts a Peregrine, perching… or eating.

The Arthropods Are Coming

There are places where the ground is crawling with what I think are thin-legged wolf spiders.
Centipede scurrying from the light.
Small Milkweed Bug was an unexpected find on a 42F day.
Mantis egg case. Found four here.

Tufted and Chrysalis

The tapping and pecking of various birds in the winter stillness grabs the ears. The woodpeckers, the nuthatches.

And in this case, a Tufted Titmouse. I didn’t have time to get focused because the bird dropped its prize, which I first thought might be a peanut, and flew away.
But it was a cocoon! And, as it happens, right under a white oak where I found one last year.
This is the second Polyphemus Moth (I assume) cocoon I’ve seen this winter. The bullet-like pupa within seemed intact.

I don’t give locations of these on iNaturalist because people collect them. And we’re learning that this isn’t good for Monarchs, so shouldn’t we assume, until we know otherwise, that it isn’t good for moths, either? The organism should always be the first priority.

This silver dollar is 1.5″ across (39mm). I love the Roaring Twenties version of Liberty, a Gibson Girl gone Deco, and 1924 was the year my father was born.

Does it seem strange that a Tufted Titmouse is going after an insect? Not if you have a suet feeder. Here’s a Tufted Titmouse scavenging a Winter Wren — and not even in winter yet. And here’s a Black-capped Chickadee pecking at a frozen mammal

Raptor Wednesday

A not uncommon sight from the apartment windows this winter. Although the last few weeks have seen scant evidence of this male American Kestrel. But here he was March 8 as the Staten Island Ferry, Big Orange to those of us on the moraine, goes by.
Then, last Thursday, March 11, the pair! American Kestrels together on the chimney pot. Later in the morning, some mating was seen up here after the female ate what looked like a rodent limb. Another season of local #BrooklynKestrels!!!!!

Immature Cooper’s being screamed at by Blue Jays.
Red-tailed Hawk with inner eyelids closed.
Red-tailed Hawk intercepting…, hey, is that an F-35, which should probably be called an F-36,000 because just one of them costs $36,000 an hour to run and the 30 year lifespan of the “system” is expected to cost one trillion dollars. But tell us how there isn’t enough money for Medicare for all.

Timberdoodle Tuesday

The cinnamon belly of an American Woodcock is one of the great delights of the world.
Hard to see, though.

Mammal Monday

In abstentia…
Rodent jaws. Coin is an inch across.
Same, with the teeth pulled out. They come out rather easily. These were found amid the ruins of some owl pellets. Owls swallow prey whole and then spit up the gnarly bits.
Considering how clean these bones are, those are some serious digestive juices.

A mess of pellets.


Look who’s back! I mean, probably. Couldn’t see the bands on this bird’s leg, but assume they are the black rings marked R, top, and 7, bottom. Some call the bird “Rover,” but I don’t think the Adamic naming thing has turned out well, so I pass on naming wild animals.
The bird was banded in infancy in a New Haven cemetery in 2018 and has been showing up in Brooklyn for a year now, with a hiatus last summer. In recent weeks, when Green-Wood’s ponds were mostly frozen, the bird spent time on Prospect Park Lake.
Like whitewash on some old wood. “Bald,” from an old definition meaning white. But the white feathers of the head and tail are age-determined. (Boy, does that sound familiar.) The tail will be all white eventually, next year or the year afterwards. See here for the bird in April, 2020 and then in early November, 2020.
Look out! Big bird, lots of excrement.
A piece of dried fish skin, found under the tree, along with some other droppings.

House House

Airy and with a view.
I’ve posted pictures of these traffic light support poles before. Practically every single one has a House Sparrow nest at both ends. And the birds are staking their claims over them now, actively! See also yesterday’s post.

This was on the long 5th Avenue border of Green-Wood. Along this same stretch, I’ve come across an all-natural, wild House Sparrow nests, a football-shaped conglomerations of woven material. Here’s another.

A couple times in different Brooklyn neighborhoods, I’ve seen crows check out these traffic light tubes, one hole at a time, presumably looking for sparrow eggs or chicks.

Sparrow Fight

A knock-down fight between two male House Sparrows.

Bill-biting seemed to be the main strategy here. I wonder if this is to immobilize this fearsome weapon? (In social media discussion on another topic recently, an ornithologist noted that these birds can inflict a painful bite.)
In his classic The House Sparrow, J.D. Summers-Smith notes that he observed males fighting for up to an hour over nest sites.

Tomorrow: the prize.

Raptor Wednesday

I surprised this adult Cooper’s Hawk bathing in the Sylvan Water, in the only patch that was un-iced along the water’s edge.
A couple of days later, in the same tree. The bird’s crop was bulging with a meal, and there was blood under the chin.
In addition to having the russet rippled chest as opposed to the streaky dark blobs of an immature bird, an adult Cooper’s doesn’t have much white on the back and wings.
Stropping the bill.


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