Posts Tagged 'birding'


Northern Mockingbird nesting. A late brood or a second one? The angle here, by the way, is accurately represented. I wonder if they built it this way or it somehow shifted once they got it going.

If you think these sweetgum pods look odd, you’d be right. This is a different species from our native Liquidambar styraciflua.

Spotted under another nearby tree, which also has a Mockingbird nest in it.

Not so far away from both of these nests, I was already seeing NM fledglings two weeks ago.


There are candle light Lights for Liberty vigils across the country tonight to protest Trump’s concentration camps. In NYC, it’s in Foley Square in Manhattan, starting at 7pm.

Raptor Wednesday

The #BrooklynKestrels. Mother and daughters. The young ones tend to look plumper than she does, but I can’t see this in this particular picture. She’s still bringing them food — and this roof is still a larder. They fly down to it, out-of-sight, and come up with a pice of something. There have been some insect transfers: dragonflies and beetles are kestrel snacks.

The father hasn’t been spotted in more than a week. I don’t remember a similar absence last year. Hope the old boy is O.K. He had a very busy season. It’s a wonder there are any House Sparrows in the neighborhood at all.Siblings.

Momma was screaming at a trio of Fish Crows on Monday. She gave chase. The youngsters stayed on their perches. Another time, two Common Ravens passed overhead. They continued unmolested. Red-tailed Hawks in the area are always cause for commotion.

Great Egret

Ardea alba have even been known to show up in small backyard goldfish ponds. If there’s food… and they do seem readily habituated to the presence of similarly long-legged hominids.One of the bird’s long plumes, or aigrettes. These are breeding plumage feathers; this one about 18″ long. They’re the reason these birds were nearly hunted to extinction, so these plumes could be stuck in ladies’ hats. This one was on the ground, so I kicked it into the water to dis-incentivize anyone from sticking into their hat. (Possession of such a feather would be illegal, but hardly anyone knows this.) Here’s another in the spartina at Bush Terminal Park.

Great Egrets nest in the smaller islands of the NYC archipelago.


PSA: How to Debate A Science Denier (from Scientific American.)

Quiscalus quiscula

Now, there’s binomial! Doesn’t really help to translate it, however, since it basically means “quail quail.” Well, then, my favorite quail… anyway, as long as we stay away from the Middle Latin-to-English thing and just let Quiscalus quiscula ripple off the tongue. What I’m trying to suggest here is that “Common” Grackle is simply unfair. I mean, just look at this thing!Feather-grooming after bathing. Looks perturbed, but hey, that’s just grackle.

Raptor Wednesday

Monday morning dawned and lo and behold there were two female American Kestrels on the Solar Building! The one on the left had the tell-tale head fuzz of a fledgling. Just like that, voila! So there was another Brooklyn Kestrel in the house!Was there only one?

Within the hour that Monday morning: there were three separate kestrels in the air at the same time. All looked like females from my admittedly brief view.

About 50 minutes before sunset Tuesday, two female fledglings were on the solar building, perched side-by-side on one of the roof pipes. Sisters! The mother, who looks small in comparison after working so hard for these beasties, was also briefly perched up there at the same time.

No activity was seen in the nest this season. Admittedly, last year, I only saw two glimpses of young ones inside. Once, when one of the little air-tigers was grasping at a wind-tossed string somehow jammed into the structure, probably bought as nesting material by Starlings, who seem to have used this cavity before. I think this cavity is deeper than the 5th Avenue one, which had inquisitive faces poking out it this year and last year.

There were three successful fledglings last year, two female and one male. What became of them? The odds were not good for two of the three. Youngsters disperse as fall approaches. The mother bird heads elsewhere. This is the father’s territory. Back to today: no males of any age have seen in the last several days. The #BrooklynKestrels saga.

Spotted Dweller of the Coast

A very vocal shore bird this time of year makes you think there’s a nest nearby.Spotted Sandpipers are the shore birds you’ll see inland. In Brooklyn, that means the edges of Prospect Lake and Sylvan Water in Green-Wood host them during migration. Teeterbird is one of their common names, for their habit of bobbing their tails up and down. This is the most widespread breeding sandpiper in North America. Among their range of habitats, they can be found up to 14,000 feet. All this suggest their binomial, Actitis macularius, which I’ve translated for the title of this post, is limiting. In this case, this bird was definitely on the shore. We wondered if there might be young around, but didn’t see anything and thought it best just to keep moving. Those hind nails!The females take the lead in establishing territories, males take the lead in parental care.

Raptor Wednesday

I’d hoped to be able to report some exciting falcon-reveal news about the local American Kestrels. The parents have been here and there, but as of this, written late yesterday afternoon, we’ve got nada to say about fledglings.Meanwhile, can I offer you this dicey situation as a substitute for your Wednesday raptor needs? A perched Red-tailed Hawk, being chirped at by an Amerian Robin or two, and this Grey Squirrel sort of moaning in a tree knot.The hawk spent much more time looking elsewhere, that old ploy.This is the way we left the stand-off.


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