Archive for the 'Fieldnotes' Category

Ruddy

A flotilla of resting Ruddy Ducks.
The bills on the males will turn even bluer before it’s all over.

Raptor Wednesday

This linden tree sported a male American Kestrel in 2017 and 2018, too. Now here’s… another? He’s facing the low winter sun. That makes for good photographs, but also gives his potential prey a good view of him.You’d think he’d want to come out of the sun, but that might throw his shadow ahead of him.So the above pictures were taken a few weeks ago. Raptor Wednesday is usually running behind this time of year. But I always check this spot when I’m near by, and most times I see nothing. But just yesterday, for the first time since the above:Here he was again.(I mean, I think it’s the same bird.)

Waiting Out the Winter

Two specimens from the general area of back-of-the-beach scrublands at Fort Tilden. Big silk moth cocoons, I think.From a distance, they look like lingering leaves, of which each bush or tree still had a few.

Grebe

The water beading off this Pied-bill Grebe… You know, I think this plumage is more interesting than the breeding plumage. This cinnamon tinge to the neck is not, by the way, found in all non-breeding birds.

Nestled Nests

It’s the time of year to spot the paper nests of Bald-faced Hornets. They usually build their nests in trees. Winter weather often destroys them and/or brings them down to the ground, like this one. But this one looks to be in excellent shape. However, it won’t be reused; the colony is gone, having only lived over the course of summer. Only the queen survives. She over-winters somewhere, perhaps behind the bark of a tree.But wait. Did you notice that hole in the glass behind the bars, visible in the first picture above? Mud-daubbing wasps have gotten in to build their nests of mud. These round holes are where the adult wasps dug their way out of their mud-encased cocoons, probably last August. This one, however, looks like it was never sealed off. Nor filled with spiders.

Raptor Wednesday

A Red-tail miscellany.On this day, there were three at the same time; a pair of perched adults and an airborne yearling.Here’s a pair on an overcast day. Note that fist.When the light is right, and the bird is over a year old, then there’s no mistaking a Red-tailed Hawk on the east coast even at some distance. That’s some red tail.January, by the way, is not too early for these big birds to be courting.

Cardinal Red

In winter, where colors are subdued, the tropical-like bounty of the Northern Cardinal male comes as a pleasing fillip to the eye. I’ve seen Europeans in Central Park bowled over by this extravagant bird, as well they should be. Cardinals has been expanding their range northward since the nineteenth century. Especially since the 1940s and 1950s, they’ve become fairly common in New York. Factors for this expansion include warmer winters and less snow-covered ground, more bird-feeders and edge habitat, and the banning of the hunting of songbirds in 1918 (the bright males made conspicuous targets for the slaughtering-kind).
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Hey, if you’re in NYC, there are two very interesting presentations at the Linnaean Society of NY tonight.


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