Archive Page 2

Feeding Frenzy

A wych elm, a lot of tiny gnats (or something Diptera-y), and a mess of birds. To be continued tomorrow….

So Many Birds

Song Sparrow.
Purple Finch.
Blue-headed Vireo.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
Golden-crowned Kinglet.
Solitary Sandpiper.
Solar-and-fish-powered Belted Kingfisher.
Dark-eyed Junco.
White-crowned Sparrow.
White-throated Sparrow.
White-breasted Nuthatch.
Red-breasted Nuthatch.

Bathing Spot

The area flanking a weeping Bald Cypress that reaches over the water is a great place to get a drink and bathe if you’re a bird. Here’s a trio of sparrows, Field, White-throated, and a Song in the background if I’m not mistaken.
The baldy provides quick cover. Catbird shakin’ it.
Two Blue Jays.
Three Eastern Towhees.
Which is some kind of record around here…
Blackpoll Tennessee Warbler. All the pictures above were taken over a seven-minute period.
That warbler taking off…

The day before, Pine Siskins were quite active in the same spot and in nearby trees.
I don’t see these every year. There were dozens of them this time. Hundreds have been seen in the region, thousands counted at fall migration watches.

Raptor Wednesday

Back in August of 2019, what seems like a hundred years ago, I saw a male American Kestrel fly into the Monk Parakeet nest atop Green-Wood’s Neogothic gate. On October 4th of this year, I saw the same thing. The pictures were slightly better a year ago because the bird actually perched up there. Flying, they’re awfully fast. Here’s a note about American Kestrels roosting in Monk Parakeet colonies in Florida.
The chapel is near the cemetery’s main, Monk-colony, gate. I’ve seen a female up here several times this fall. The cross — which has the misfortune of looking like it has Spanish conquistador helmets carved onto it — is brand new but already bird-stained. Twice now, I’ve seen her swoop down from up there and pick up prey down below. Once it was definitely a grasshopper. Not sure about the second time.
Red-tail airborne. Distinctive feather loss.
Cooper’s hawk.
Cooper’s Hawk, with angry Blue Jay, one of several.
Merlins are being seen again.


A small one.
A smaller one.
An adult.

Seeing more of these Northern Italian Wall Lizards. They’re quick once they move, but if you catch them before they move…. They’re one of the reasons the American Kestrels like hanging out here, by the way.

Monarch Monday

Long-distance Flier

Glowing in the understory, a Wandering Glider.

And then, two days later:
Spotted another one perched, rather worse for the wear. Talk about the beat generation…

Blue, Red, Rot

A Black-throated Blue Warbler hovering to bite bits out of a kousa dogwood fruit. This particular tree was hosting half a dozen species in its branches and on the ground, where a lot of the fruit had already fallen and was perfuming the air with rot.
A siren-song to fruit flies.
The Spot-winged Fruitflies, evidently, Drosophila suzukii.

Campari Wasps

On July 26, I spotted this wasp at the pollinator-madness of the trumpet vine flowers. Put it up on iNaturalist and bumpkiss resulted.
I added four more observations up to last week, when an Italian wasp enthusiast wondered if it was Eumenes mediterraneus. It wouldn’t be the first wasp that’s made its way over: the European Tube Wasp, European Paper Wasp, and European Hornet, all found here in Brooklyn, testify to their origins. But, I noted that there were no observations of E. mediterraneus in North America on iNaturalist or
Soon wasp experts from Croatia and Canada were looking over the photos. Turns out there are some two dozen iNaturalist observations in NYC and nearby NJ that seemed to be this same species. The earliest is from 2018. The observations really increase this year. The wasp-mavens wanted to take a look at one.
I woke up to read all this on Saturday morning. Seemed rather cool for wasps, but by mid-day I’d gotten permission from Green-Wood Cemetery to capture one or two as a sample. Green-Wood is private property and it’s only proper that they be asked.
I don’t have a net, so a used a jam jar, which worked very well, and froze it over night.This macro photography, an attachment to a phone, is really annoying because the depth of field is so narrow and the slightest movement…
Based on these photos, the Croatian hymenopterist declared it was, in fact Eumenes mediterraneus. The long hairs behind the eye, the orange tips to the antenna are some the ID marks.

Why “Campari wasps”? Well, I’m a gin and tonic WASP, but when in Rome…

UPDATE 10/22/20: I mailed this specimen to wasp maven Matthias Buck at the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton. He has keyed it out and confirmed that it’s a female Eumenes mediterraneus. The specimen has now entered the collection there.

This has been an instructive use of iNaturalist to connect professionals and amateurs around the world and help to document the spread of introduced species.

Even More Migration

Black-throated Blue female.
Clay-colored Sparrow. First time I’ve seen one of these here in Brooklyn.
Scarlet Tanager.
House Wren.
Hermit Thrush
Damn! Brown Creeper interrupted by a building.


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