Posts Tagged 'Bronx'



Chickadee-dee-dee

An energetic Black-capped Chickadee barely pausing in action recently.Poecile atricapillus.One Christmas Bird Count a few years back, not a single one was sighted in Brooklyn. These birds are so familiar, especially at bird feeders, that their absence was disconcerting. Thirty-four were counted at this year’s Brooklyn (Kings Co.) CBC. (This one was, however, spotted in the Bronx.)

Date Plum

Diospyros lotus is in the ebony family of plants. The bark is very similar to its genus mate, Diospyros virginiana, the American persimmon. As are the calyces. The subject of today’s post is the date plum or Caucasian persimmon, which is native to a swath of territory from Spain to southwest Asia. Diospyros, the genus name, is Greek for god’s fruit.

“What journal do the persimmon and the buckeye keep, and the sharp-shinned hawk?” ~ Henry Thoreau

Beechdrops

Beechdrops or Epifagus virginiana is a parasitic herbaceous plant. It doesn’t have chlorophyll. The plant taps into the roots of a beech to siphon off sustenance.
Epifagus means “upon beech.” This is a winter view: these stalks will persist through the season. The small summer flowers are white and purple; they are evidently pollinated by ants. Although termed parasitic, the plants are not harmful to their beech tree hosts.

Colors of the Season

Blackgum.Sweetgum on a cloudy day. (At least three different trees.)Sweetgum, with late afternoon sun.A subtle meadow for the finish.

Catching Up

One post a day, occasionally two, is hardly enough to keep track. Here then is a miscellany of things I’ve seen in recent months which haven’t made it to these pages yet. Smeared Dagger Moth caterpillar in the Bronx.American Bittern in Prospect Park, seen on the same day as that Purple Gallinule that made all the news.Others saw this one capture and devour a songbird. It pays to be still, at least if you’re a bittern.This wasp was cleaning out the inside of the exoskeleton of something.

A finale to milkweed…

This is fascinating: where does the Anthropocene start? 1610? 1964?

Mammal/Mushroom Combo Monday

A melanistic variation on the ubiquitous Eastern Grey Squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis. These darker ones are said to tolerate colder weather better. Another notion has it that urban environments, with less predators, are also more likely to see greater numbers of both black and white variations of S. carolinensis. Our first example is digging up a nut or berry, but these squirrels are so successful because they’re practically omnivorous. The leftover-monger with snout in the hazelnut spread is from 2015 in Prospect Park. Besides scavenging our ample waste-food, gathering seeds, nuts, and fruits, and the occasional invertebrate and even vertebrate, they also eat mushrooms. Not sure if the small, tentative bite marks here, however, are squirrel. This mushroom was found in Green-Wood, which interestingly doesn’t have as high a density of squirrels as Prospect Park or the botanical garden in the Bronx (first picture).

One Giant Spreadwing

The largest damselfly in the Northeast is a Southwestern species that has been expanding its range our way for the last century. The Giant Spreadwing Archilestes grandis can be up to 2.4″ long, as big as a medium-sized dragonfly. I spotted two males in the Bronx and had a very hard time getting a usable image. (Previous to getting my new camera: there’s always next year… one hopes.) Studied them intently through the binoculars, however: highlights include the bright blue eyes and wide yellow stripe on the thorax.

Someone posted a picture of a pair mating at this location on iNaturalist two days previous to my sighting. Let’s hope the pesticides spread in this wetlands and pond complex at the NY Botanical Garden don’t preclude a return of this impressive species next season.

For those keeping count, I’ve now seen 12 species of damselflies in NYC and all have lived to tell the tale! That includes two spreadwing species in the Bronx; I’ve yet to see any spreadwings in Brooklyn. Amongst the non-spreadwings, the Familiar Bluet and the Fragile Forktail are the most frequently spotted.


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