Posts Tagged 'Brooklyn'

Bipunctata in Sunset Park

Two-spotted Ladybug (Adalia bipunctata). Back in 2012, I reported to the Lost Ladybug Project that I found some of these critters in catalpa trees in Brooklyn Bridge Park. From the LLP, I learned that mine was the third New York State record for this species, and the only one in NYC. There was much rejoicing.Yesterday, I found them down the street, in some street tree swamp white oaks (Q. bicolor) on 5th Avenue here in Sunset Park. These trees are still young enough that I can reach into their leaves and branches. The invasive Harmonia axyridis like these same trees.

There is some color variation in the Adalias, as you can see (and the black ones have four spots…). Like many a living insect, these lady beetles are hard to photograph. They also seem to have a loose grip on the leaves; they’ll often fall off if I touch the leaf intending to turn it toward the camera, but luckily they can fly. Not so the larval stage of the species; these gator-like forms have a good grip and steady jaws.

Not Just The Legs

It’s a long stretch from the edge to the water.Yet this Green Heron (Butorides virescens) not only got this frog but dipped it back into the water over and over again until a car flushed the heron and it flew off with its hominid-looking prey. That’s a long neck. And the dipping? Making lunch easier to swallow, I think.

Kingsland Wildflower Roof

When last we visited this Greenpoint wildflower garden, it was right after its opening.Now the first generation of wildflowers sprouting here have emerged, with more blooms to come.Currently, the garden is only open for events. Eric W. Sanderson was talking about Newtown Creek’s history, in the context of the Welikia Project. This is an elaboration of the Mannahatta Project, the envisioning of what was here before New York City (and New Amsterdam), a catalog of the landscapes, habitats, species, and interrelationships of all these things before the coming of the Europeans. It’s an absolutely fascinating study, ever expanding. Knowing what we’ve lost to vital to knowing what we can regain.

Newtown Creek was a tidal creek surrounded with saltwater marshes, with fresh water streaming in from the northeast. It was canalized and industrialized — at some point in the 19th century it was the country’s seconds busiest waterway after the Mississippi! — and now sits astride one of the largest underground oil leaks in the country. Civilization, we hardly knew ya! Actually, speaking of civilization, those are sewage digesters in the background of the first photo.

Look for Sanderson’s presentations. (And read his book Terra Nova, an entire course in our age of petroleum.)

An offshoot of the Creek is called Whale Creek. Why? Did a whale wash ashore there once? Were whales harvested there at some point? Before petroleum, light, fuel, and lubricants came from whales.

Raptor Wednesday

A new Red-tailed Hawk nest on a Park Slope church. The nest got some media attention. Evidently the church fathers thought it would be fitting that there be a contest to name the birds, encapsulating Christianity’s misguided view of nature. I haven’t see any sign of hawks yet. My last pass by was Monday. The alcove may be too deep fro a ground-dweller to see a bird on the nest. Or they may have moved elsewhere. There is a smaller collection of sticks in the next alcove on the NE. (You may remember that the Gowanus fire escape nest also had two nearby nest attempts). The rapidly filling out street trees were reducing the view as I stood there.Just a few blocks away on 5th Avenue, a hole in a cornice makes for a classic urban American Kestrel nest. Friends tracked this down after noting Kestrels around and about their neighborhood. As you can see from this photo, I had no luck my first visit.

Daily Raptor has indeed slowed down: something like half of all local raptors should be on eggs or feeding young now, meaning there are that many less to see regularly. If you check the 55 Water St. falcon cam (not in the mornings, though, when direct sunlight makes for awful viewing), you might see some feeding.

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WildlifeNYC is a city-sponsored effort to get people more aware of their neighbors. The press release is worth reading.

Beginnings

Oh, spring, spring, you are so fast! Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans).One of the lindens (Tilia). Some galls are already planted on these. As with the leaves immediately below, these were windfalls. Pin oak (Quercus palustris).Beech (Fagus) about to blow.Mockernut hickory (Carya tomentosa) already blown.
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Share the pre-existing condition of being human? Then the GOP WealthCare abomination that passed the House yesterday isn’t for you.

Naturalist Notes

Viola canadensis, a native violet.It was cool, so this Robin (Turdus migratorius) was hunkered down on those blue blue eggs.A Red Velvet Mite of the family Trombidiidae. Predators of the leaf-litter zone, as large as a blood-gorged tick and, being mite-y, rather looking like one.So many vocal White-Throated Sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis) in the Ramble!And a recent sunset.

Raptor Wednesday

 

The all-Merlin (Falco columbarius) edition.
In Green-Wood. This falcon, seen here on two different perches, was one of two by the Crescent Water at the same time. The other flew into a nearby tree — but the photography possibilities were not worth posting home about. The second bird took off, followed by the first. I wasn’t sure if this territorial or courtship behavior.Another day, another place, this time Marine Park. An hour before sunset, so that House Sparrow looks like dinner.

Sibley gives the following stats for average Merlin size:
length: 10″; wingspan: 24″; weight: 6.5 oz (109g); females always bigger than males.
For House Sparrow:
length: 6.25″; wingspan 9.5″; weight: 0.98 oz (28g).


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