Posts Tagged 'bird'

Earth Day

I’m a 24/7/365 celebrator of Earth — doubters could start with oxygen — but here, for the official Earth Day, are some of the avian life forms who’ve visited my part of the ol’ oblate spheroid this week.For instance, this Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra) hawking for insects over water for days. Wowza!And this Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) doing much the same, but ranging a little further afield.Pity I couldn’t get a frontal view of this male Blue Grosbeak (Passerina cerulean) with the camera, though. Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus). It’s often hard to see the eponymous red eyes, but this one was very obliging. While it looks like the bird’s lower bill is broken, I think that there is just something in it.Kingbird, Tyrannus tyrannus.

What riches!

“If all the world is a commodity, how poor we grow. When all the world is a gift in motion, how wealthy we become.” ~ Robin Wall Kimmerer

Wigeon And All

Anas americanaAn American Wigeon (Anas americana) and American Black Duck (Anas rubripes).

The other day a commentor here bemoaned the intrusion of ideas into his refined quest for pictures of nature. Those who refuse to make the connection between politics and the natural world, or what there is of it, are a monstrous problem.

From the beginning this blog has been inspired by Henry David Thoreau. You can read posts I’ve written about him here. This is the 200th anniversary of the year of his birth. I am committed to honoring his great legacy of acute natural history observation and his politics. They were inseparable.

Stay tuned for more HDT200, including a new book by my friend Kevin Dann, Expect Great Things: The Life and Search of Henry David Thoreau, just outAs you can imagine, this is going to be a banner year for ol’ Henry. March sees Thoreau’s Animals, by another friend, Geoff Wisner. In April: Thoreau and the Language of Trees, by Richard Higgins is being published. In July: Laura Dassow Walls’ Henry David Thoreau: A Life. I’m sure there are others….

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A reminder, as if you needed it, by Michael Tomasky, of just how bad Trump’s gang of bigots, kleptocrats, and authoritarians promise to be.

Taking a lesson from the McCarthy era, this historian of that lamentable period surveys the future. The fiercely reactionary politics of Trumpism may try to resurrect “many of [McCarthyism’s] techniques and objectives. After all, the new regime relies on the same kind of right-wing forces.” In the case of the Koch brothers, a direct line to their father, who was one of the founders of the lunatic fringe John Birch Society.

The Pigeon’s Eye

Columba livia

Gull’s Eye

Larus delawarensisThat’s not lipstick. Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis), the most common gull in the city.

Incoming!

Sterna hirundoA Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) was raising vocal hell. Then it started to fly straight at me, arrow-like. I instinctively flinched as it passed over head. No fool I. The bird spun around, and returned for another strafing. I’ve been here before. This kind of dive-bombing is classic nest protection strategy for terns; that little black head and red bill coming at you means business. The business is simple enough: they want you to get away from their eggs or young. The Commons’ cousins the Arctic Terns (Sterna paradisaea) will buzz even closer, and sometimes actually whack you in the head; they will also shit on you in a coup de grâce we probably shouldn’t take for editorializing, or should we? It is best to wear your backpack on your head when you’re near an Arctic Tern breeding colony, as in, say, Iceland, where swarms of them are like big angry bees overhead.Sterna hirundoThis past weekend seemed rather late in the season for a nest — in our immediate area, I know of Common Tern nests on the unused piers on Governor’s Island — but there was a fledgling to protect on the beach. I couldn’t get a photo of that particular young one, who was loudly squawking for eight-to-ten square meals a day (fish, plucked from the water). Further up the beach, though, this bird, which I think was another individual, was fairly amenable to being photographed. Sterna hirundoThe adult in the top photo is still in full breeding plumage. It’s winter look will be more like this youngster, although both feet and bill will be dark.


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