Posts Tagged 'birds'

The Red Crown

I’m still looking for hard evidence, i.e. fledglings, of Green-Wood breeding Eastern Kingbirds. In the meantime, enjoy this rare look at the rather subtle touch of red on the bird’s head.
At Sylvan Water.

At Valley Water.
Throwing up a pellet of indigestible insect bits. Camera didn’t catch the bolus, but last year….

Duckling Scrum

Here They Come/Here They Come/Here They Come

Yesterday morning the “bronk!” of a raven lifted my eyes to the window. They were passing right over the building. Four of them! Another followed from another angle. Looks like the class of 2020 is on the wing.
Two of them landed on St. Michael’s for a brief perch above their domaine.

A hour or so later I heard through the grapevine that the five of them were spotted in Green-Wood. Last year around this time I ran into a family of six in Green-Wood. In 2016, I had my first view of that year’s family in early June.

(Post title of Laurie Anderson: “Strange angels/singing just for me”)


Sometimes they land right in front of you. Magnolia Warbler.
Other times, most times, not so much. Bay-breasted Warbler.
Rather more typical view… Wilson’s Warbler, named after pioneering ornithologist Alexander Wilson.
And sometimes, termites reproductives, the winged ones, emerge, and the songbirds fly right overhead hawking them out of the air. (As I was trying to count Cape May Warblers, a Rudy-throated Hummingbird got close enough to me for me to hear its wings.)
American Redstart.
Two different Blackpoll Warblers. “Poll” old word for head. One of the farthest flying migratory warbler species.

All spotted yesterday amid the rain/reign of Swainson’s Thrushes in Green-Wood.

Two Well-Grounded Warblers


Worm-eating Warbler. (Needs a better publicist, right?)

Raptor Wednesday

Every once and a while, an Osprey scouts out Green-Wood’s Sylvan Water, the largest body of water in the cemetery. Just in case.
There certainly are fish in there. This one is entirely too small for an Osprey, but intriguing nonetheless. What is it?
Of course, that fish is perfect for a Kingfisher. This one was spotted earlier in the day than the Osprey. Heard first, actually, which is typical.

Now this one is more Osprey size. It was found in G-W last September. Just like this, at the mouth of the drain. Swam upstream from the bay through the combined sewage-outflow system the city absurdly still uses? I doubt it.

Worth reading: on Science-ism.

Raptor Wednesday: Earth Day Edition

In April 1970, at the time of the first Earth Day, there weren’t many Bald Eagles to be found in the Lower 48. Your chance of seeing one over Brooklyn, of all places, was extremely unlikely. Practically fabulous. That they might breed within the city’s limits was an equally outlandish notion. Even before DDT brought them to the brink of extirpation regionally, persecutions had reduced the Bald Eagle population in New York state to almost nothing by the mid-1900s. There were no recorded births after 1955.
Who did the crows chase then?
Last week, I saw a young (still without the white head and tail) eagle over the Sylvan Water, looking like it was coming in to go fishing in the pond. An American Crow set off the alarm and went after the much bigger bird. The two birds swirled a bit before disappearing from my sight. But then, at least one more crow starting yelling. The sound didn’t diminish, as you would expect if they were all flying further away.
Because the eagle had landed. This is only the second time I’ve seen an eagle perched in Brooklyn.
Blue Jays joined the chorus, yelling more at the crows than the eagle, it seemed.
With more wingspan feet than most of us are tall, the bird flew off after a brief perch.
The inner eyelid or rnictitating membrane is closed in this view.
Opening in this view…

A young eagle had been spotted few times by other Green-Wood observers from the beginning of the month. One person got a photograph of the bird in a tree with a fish. The bird was banded, with a silver federal band on the bird’s right leg and one that looked blue on the left. Individual states band on the left leg; these are color-coded and easier to read from a distance. But I couldn’t see the characters on those pictures, put up on iNaturalist.

But last week, I was close enough to get pictures myself that I could read. The band is actually black. R over 7, I found out from the NYSDEC’s Tom Lake, editor of the Hudson River Almanac, was banded on May 11, 2018 in New Haven CT. That’s about 85 miles away via I-95. They can travel much further distances.

They have come a long way since the 1970s. Back then, a conservative Republican (and a terrible person) named Richard Nixon signed into law a slew of important conservation and environmental laws, all being dismantled by his ghastly heirs.

There was a single pair in the New York state in 1974, but they weren’t breeding. A recovery program began in 1976 with introductions/hackings and fostering of nestlings. The species was de-listed in 2007 at the federal level. Today, there are hundreds of breeding pairs in New York.
Earth Day remains a fight.

Small Birds

Palm Warbler.
Golden-crowned Kinglet.
Yellow-rumped Warbler variations.
Pine Warbler.
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.
Here’s a special one. Yellow-throated Warblers breed to the south of us. So they’re rarer up here, having overshot their migration.
Note the lores here. The spaces between the eyes and the bill. That line is white in this case. This makes this one of the Setophaga dominica albilora subspecies. These typically migrate to the west of the Appalachians, but will show up in our parts this time of year. The eastern subspecies has a patch of yellow in the lores. (Info from the Warbler Guide)

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Sapsucker sap-sucking.

Previously tapped holes. And even more previously tapped ones seen further to right on this old yew.

And this yellow belly we hear tell of? Subtle, and not shown to advantage in this under-tree light. The bird was named with corpse in hand, as used to typically be the case. Sharp-shinned Hawk, anyone? Note that any invertebrates attracted to the sap flowing in these sap mines may also get slurped up by the YBSS.

Raptor Wednesday

If you crossed Rear Window and The Birds
The local American Kestrels making more little falcons. Copulation lasts about ten seconds. Frequency seems to be key. They’ll do it multiple times a day, totaling hundreds of times over the pre-brooding period.


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