Archive for the 'Fieldnotes' Category

And One Blue Eye Ring

to rule them all.

Raptor Wednesday

I can’t recall ever being this close to a Red-tailed Hawk. This is the one I posted about a couple weeks ago.Beset by tiny songbirds, the bird perched no more than 10 feet above the ground.Eyelids closed! That’s something I don’t see often.Those feet!Yes, those feet. Those toes!

City Bounty





(Not nearly enough, of course.)

Mammal Monday

This feature of the blog is sporadic, for there’s a rather limited selection of diurnal mammals to be found with any regularity in the city.
But baby Eastern Chipmunks (Tamias striatus) should carry you through the weeks.Cute, right? Don’t be deceived by anthropomorphic mammal-philic charisma. Without regulating predators like coyotes and foxes, small mammals like these chippies become, as they say in the groves, problematic. Chipmunks are hosts for a pallet of tick-born diseases, and they are extraordinary good predators themselves, meaning their population explosions become problems for birds and others.

Dragonlets

Actual entomologists often trap their subject specimens. Some dragonflies can’t be identified unless they’re in the hand. Others rarely stop moving. (Red meadowhawks, I’m thinking of you.)Not that “capturing” a dragonfly by camera is easy. The swaying reed, the moving camera, the photographer’s crappy eyesight… When I spot a dragonfly I don’t think I’ve seen before, my heart starts racing. Which is unfortunate in dragonfly season, already hot enough as it is. These were definitely unfamiliar. Nice of them to perch, too!These are all Seaside Dragonlets (Erythrodiplax berenice). The darks ones are male, the yellow female.Look at this patterning! I think this is a variation on the female.Females further south don’t have as much spotting on the wings.

It turns out I’ve seen the females before, on Plumb Beach, which is not far from where I saw these at Marine Park. That first time was under quite different light conditions, though. The jumping yellow here wasn’t imprinted on my eyes the first time.

This species is unusual: they lay their eggs in salt water, so look for them around salt marshes.

* * *

Paine: “Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man.”

AMKE Saturday

The male of the #BrooklynKestrels pair. I don’t know why he has this gape in his chest feathers. It’s gotten bigger and more noticeable over time. Some commenters on Twitter suggested it was a brood patch for a second round of eggs, but it seems high up on the body for that. Also, as far as I can tell, this male did diddly on the brooding front first time around. And I’ve seen no copulation activity locally (doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened, but this spring it was front and center). Interestingly, the Friend of the Falcons reports that the Chinatown Kestrel pair have been copulating now that their fledglings are out and about. He’s been perching on the tall car service antenna down the avenue a lot again. This was his old perch from his bachelor days in January. He was rarely spotted here during courting and nesting. Conversely, he’s only been spotted once here on “the perch” atop the London Plane across the street (these pictures are from last weekend).

Every bird species is given a four letter code for banding/ringing record-keeping. Most are made up of first two letters of their official common name: AMerican KEstrel.

Speaking of Ticks, or More Foxes, More Possums!

I didn’t have my camera with me, so recent run-ins with three young rabbits in the Bronx went unrecorded. Each of them was festooned with ticks, around the ears, face, and neck. Some of the ticks were hugely bloated, looking like malignant gumballs or creepy purple pearls. A few days later, armed again with lens and digital thingamajibbles, I caught this Cedar Waxwing at the communal bath.There in the throat.

Yes, there’s a Waxwing nest nearby.


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