Archive for the 'Fieldnotes' Category

Newtown Creek

wildflower2This is the design on the back of Newtown Creek Alliance business cards. What the…? Ah, of course. It’s the creek, coming off the East River to divide Queens, on top and to the right, and Brooklyn. The Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint is essentially a peninsula.

To be more specific, it was a marshy creek, long ago, draining off the terminal moraine, but in the 19th and 20th centuries it was bulkheaded, canalized, and heavily industrialized. There are still limited access points and there’s plenty of old poison — Greenpoint is the location of one of the largest underground oil spills in the country — yet life is hardy. Cormorants continued to fly by as we stood on the Kingsland Wildflower Roof. Two-legged critters in the ‘hood are hardy, too: a friend who regularly paddles on the creek reports herons, Osprey, Kingfishers going after life in the tidal waters. We heard a Kestrel while up there (my mouth was full of cookie at the time so I could barely called the visiting British writer’s attention to it.)newtown1Here’s the view from that Wildflower Roof looking towards the Digester Eggs of the massive wastewater treatment facility that dominates this end of Greenpoint. That’s our sold waste, lovely euphemism, being digested by bacteria. Go, team bacteria! Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble. The remaining cake of material leftover can be used as fertilizer. And talk about how architecture can enliven the scene.

Butorides virescens

Butorides virescensAn inside source tells me that there was indeed a Green Heron nest in Green-Wood this season.Butorides virescensBehold a juvenile; there are at least two. Butorides virescensThis one caught two fish as it walked around the edge of the pond towards me.

These pics are from earlier this month. They will fly south any… minute now. After spotting none last Saturday, I thought they might have all left, but then I saw one Sunday.

Raptor Wednesday

On Saturday, two passes through Green-Wood Cemetery on either side of brunch came up zilch on the raptor count, so Sunday I went back in amidst the nuthatches, kinglets, and warblers. Within a ten-minute period, I’d spotted a Sharp-shinned Hawk, two Red-tailed Hawks, a Merlin, and then an American Kestrel: now, that’s more like it!

The Kestrel was munching on a dragonfly, probably a Common Green Darner. And then the Merlin showed up.img_0755You can just see the dragonfly in the enlarged version.

Welcome back Raptor Wednesday…!

Picnic, Lightning

snacktimeJunk food lives beyond the jaws.img_0570God-damned balloons kill and maim animals. Even good environmentalists I know continue to buy these things for their kids. Stop it, already. Your kids don’t want to choke turtles and strangle birds to death, do they?


Marmota monaxMarmota monax keeps an eye on you.Marmota monaxYet another den! Do they keep moving around? This general area has been the home of at least one for a while, but I think this particular den is newish.Marmota monaxFacing the sinking sun of another day.


Euptoieta claudiaA Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia) yesterday in the Buddleia pollinator-magnet at Green-Wood. First time I’ve seen this species here in NYC, although I’d seen one before in Arizona. They’re a southern species, uncommon here, but have been known to get up to Canada.

Monday Meadows

meadow1Open these up.meadow2For megapixels of wonder.meadow3And speak not to me of lawns.


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  • Blog post: Newtown Creek: This is the design on the back of Newtown Creek Alliance business cards. What the…?... 2 hours ago
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