Posts Tagged 'Brooklyn'

Striped Skunk RIP

(Foot-long boot for scale.)


American Goldfinch.
Purple Finch. Check out that touch of pink in the throat.
Not seen in this one. (That’s a sunflower seed-still-in-shell, not a tongue.)
Pine Siskins, and more sunflower seeds. Bit of a challenge for these fine bills, but the Siskins are swarming around the feeders in Dell Water. It’s an extraordinary year for Siskins down here… meaning it’s a bad year up there.

Fall Migration in Play

Lost count of the mosquito bites I got waiting for this Chestnut-sided Warbler to appear within a magnolia.
Blue-winged Warbler.
Canada Warbler.
Focus is unnecessary for American Redstarts.
Cape May Warbler.
The early migratory “eh-eh-eh” of Red-breasted Nuthatches ravaging our conifers is very welcome.
Yellow Warbler making some noise, too.
Just enough to tell this is a Warbling Vireo.

Midge Monday

It turns out, because you have to turn the leaflets over, that hickory trees are potentially loaded with gall mites. There are several dozen hickory gall midge species in the Caryomyia genus, each forcing the tree to make a little shelter for the mite. Acting on a call from a curator on iNaturalist, I examined a few hickories in Green-Wood, which is well-represented with the glorious Carya genus of trees.
In the above pictures, the funnel-like ones are Hickory Smooth Gumdrop Gall Midges. The furry ones… well, there are several furry ones and I’ll need to cut these open to discover what they are.
Hickory Placental Gall Midge. These, like the above examples, were all on pignut (Carya glabra), which seems to be the richest host amongst Green-Wood’s hickories that I’ve seen so far. For instance, on a shagbark right next to this pignut, there were hardly any at all. In addition to pignut and shagbark, other hickories here are mockernut, bitternut, and shellbark. Green-Wood is an island of specimen trees, not a forest, so it’s cool to think these galls have made it here or survived who knows what.
Here’s some of the furry-spiky ones, on mockernut this time.
Cutting one open reveals to the iNaturalist curator that this is Purple Gumdrop Gall Midge.
Caryomyia marginata, no common name, on the same mockernut.

Bent Snapper

Medium-sized snapping turtle.
By medium-sized, I mean the shell here is bigger than your average dinner plate.

About a month ago, I ran into this same turtle in the water.
This carapace (top shell) is unique, and rather unusual. I’ve never seen the spines on the far edge pointing upwards on other specimens.

Mammal Monday

Why yes, this Common Raccoon does seem to be splayed belly-up in a tree crotch on a hot, humid day.
One can only imagine the nocturnal debaucheries this beast has been up to.


This post dedicated to David Burg, who passed away suddenly on Saturday. He was about 70 and died while walking in the woods… A former President of NYC Audubon and head of WildMetro, David was an indefatigable naturalist-explorer, in love especially with old, open field oaks. He was a gadfly, thorn-in-the-side of officialdom, and had, from my perspective awful politics. But I always enjoyed his company and respected his commitment to the wild things. I will miss him.

Rest in, and of, the earth, David.

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….

Lizard, Abbreviated

Northern Italian Wall Lizard.
Lost its tail. The replacement growth is never as long as the original.

Podarcis siculus ssp. campestris got to America via the pet trade. They have expanded out from several areas, including on Long Island.Note that this article says there’s no evidence of birds eating these lizards. But in fact, there is. I’ve seen a photograph of an American Kestrel taking one to the nest in Manhattan. AND I’ve seen it personally, right here with the local #BrooklynKestrels..

Tiger, tiger, flying bright

… until caught in a web. An ichneumon wasp — of some kind.
You might think something this distinctive looking would be easy to identify. For instance, doesn’t “Tiger Wasp” sound good?
But there are a LOT of ichneumon wasps. The Ichneumon genesis alone includes about 143 species in Neartica (most of North America). Here’s what says about the Ichneumonidae family: “~5,000 described spp. in almost 500 genera in the Nearctic Region, possibly 3,000 more undescribed; arguably, the largest animal family, with the estimated 60,000 species worldwide (up to 100,000, according to some estimates).” Neither nor iNaturalist can even confirm genus.
(I returned this back to the spider web after taking these pictures.)

Raptor Wednesday

Four American Kestrels have been lately been spotted at the same time in the neighborhood. They’re hard to count, though, since they move from pillar to post and then out of sight with great frequency.
On July 2nd, I was in Green-Wood and ran into three females and one male. Again, this is a tentative count because they were constantly moving between perches in several trees. All these photographs in today’s post are from this encounter.
This location is just about a mile away from the #BrooklynKestrels nest. We’re these four birds “ours”?
Just how many American Kestrels are in Brooklyn? In NYC as a whole? How close do they nest? Lots of questions.
I haven’t been able to check on another nest I know this year. It’s over two miles away.


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