Archive for the 'Fieldnotes' Category

Podilymbus podiceps

Podilymbus podicepsWhen I first spotted this Pied-bill Grebe in the Valley Water, it was amidst a flotilla of Canada Geese.Podilymbus podicepsA week later it was the sole bird on the water.Podilymbus podicepsYou can see why it’s sticking around.

Trump’s pick for National Security Advisor is a real piece of work: ignorant, power-mad, and conspiratorially deranged. I wrote about how the National Security Advisor position has evolved over the years; it’s now vital, especially for an impulsive ignoramus like Trump. But the man he picked couldn’t be worse. Flynn was so incompetent a general he was fired. Since then he’s taken to publicizing his nasty bigotry and evil-minded stupidity on the right-wing yahoo circuit. As such, he has helped spread the lunatic fringe nonsense that a pizza parlor in Washington, DC is the location of a Hillary Clinton-run child sex slave operation. An unbalanced person (i.e., a Trump voter) who believed this absurdity went to the business (which has been beset by similar lunatics) this past weekend to “rescue” the fictional child sex slaves, actually firing his gun inside the place. Flynn is a dangerous fool who inspires psychopaths. Which is I guess why Trump wants him for the job…

Raptor Wednesday

img_1283I didn’t have to leave the house for these, although of course they’re all too far away. Here’s an American Kestrel perched an avenue away. This is the same antenna that has hosted Red-tailed Hawk, Merlin, and crows (could be American or Fish in these parts); usually it’s festooned with Starlings. Same day, earlier, spotted what was presumably this Kestrel and another at same time. Not so long later, a Peregrine was on patrol near that favored perch atop St. Michael’s.img_1288Also the same day. And closer still, barely, on the back end of the Curious Motel. The long tell-tale tail is barely visible through the railing.img_1290Cooper’s Hawk. When this bird was in the air, the local Rock Doves swirled around it in a purposeful confusion. That’s a tell: whenever I see a flurry of pigeons, I look for a raptor. I’ve spotted Cooper’s the last three mornings out my windows.

In other raptor news: on Saturday, an adult Bald Eagle flew overhead while I was in Green-Wood. This was only the second time I’ve seen a Bald above Brooklyn (as opposed to over the harbor, the Hudson, & Staten Island). Half an hour before that, a Peregrine had passed overhead, fairly low: I thought it might try for the Pied-billed Grebe, but that bird was not leaving the water. A week previously, I saw a Red-shouldered Hawk wheel over the park next door, a first from my windows.


“To date, Trump has picked an Attorney General who doesn’t believe in the Voting Rights Act; a Secretary of Heath and Human Services who doesn’t believe in government-provided health insurance; a Treasury Secretary who wants to “strip back” the Dodd-Frank Act, designed to prevent another bank meltdown; a Secretary of Education who’s against public schools; and, now, a Secretary of Housing and Urban Development who doesn’t believe in the Fair Housing Act. Perhaps I’m old-fashioned, but I don’t think the Senate should confirm people who are on record as being against the laws they have a constitutional duty to implement.” – Robert Reich

One Way, or Another

img_1521Northern Mockingbird defending its territory.

Trump’s choice to dismember the Department of Education and feed off its corpse is another of these cultish, right-wing, plutocratic nutbags this country produces far too many of, but of course even most Democrats have been fine with undermining public education. Yet privatization of education, as other public goods, only serves to enrich plutocrats and increase social inequality; it manifestly fails at “ejucating Amurca’s children.” Diane Ravitch, who began her career thinking “school choice” was reasonable — before she realized it was the way white Southerners weaseled out of de-segregation — is now one of our most trenchant critics of the corruptions of privatization.

Ardea herodias

Ardea herodiasGreat Blue Heron.Ardea herodiasThis bird had been hanging out in Green-Wood deep into the autumn. It had got quite used to passersby, in fact several people were concerned about its condition because it was “just standing there.” I last saw it 11/25, when I took these pictures; I haven’t seen it the last two weekends. Perhaps the bird fled after hearing about Trump’s EPA pick, a professional science-denier who, curiously, looks like another dead fish of an ideologue, James G. Watt. He was Reagan’s wrecker at Interior.


leafAlways look to the connections, or, as Deep Throat said, follow the money. Trump’s antics as the ultimate reality TV star front the worst of the worst. More info on the tools of the corporate disinformation system larding his regime.

Raptor Wednesday Plus Pellets

Megaceryle alcyonThis Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) female was flying directly towards me across the Crescent Water when suddenly she freaked out. A Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) sped overhead, arrowing towards her. There was much shouting by the Kingfisher, who loudly went hither and yon as the foiled Coop parked itself in a Sweetgum. Accipiter cooperiiI see Cooper’s in the air a lot more than I see them perched. They can be quite flighty, barely perching for long when they’re on the winged hunt.Accipiter cooperiiThis one, though, stuck around long enough for me to get some pictures.Accipiter cooperii

pelletsWhile circling the hawk, I noticed these wet pellets on a bench. There sure look fishy, don’t they?pellets2I think the Kingfisher perched on the back of the bench and coughed up these scaly, bony hairballs.

Speaking of hairballs: how to deal with the reflexive liar Trump, who uses the big-lie strategy every day.

Pied-billed Grebe

Podilymbus podicepsOur smallest grebe species is the Pied-billed, Podilymbus podiceps.Podilymbus podicepsThere was one in a flotilla of Canada Geese the other day in the Valley Water.Podilymbus podiceps(Same bird here, just a lot of differing lighting situations.)

Two and a quarter million more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton than for Donald Trump, and counting (freaking California is so slow!). Considering the blatant voter-suppression tactics Southern Republicans have perfected in the wake of the Republican majority of the Supreme Court’s gutting of the Voting Rights Act, this is quite impressive.

Trump et al. are big-lying that the overwhelming vote against him is made up of “illegal voters.” Then surely he wants a recount in every state right? Of course not.

The Electoral College needs to step up and refuse to vote next month for this mendacious pestilence who has his fingers around the throat of democracy.


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