Posts Tagged 'Brooklyn'


Our only marsupial, the Virginia Opossum, Didelphis virginiana, commonly called possum, is plenty familiar with the city. But, being nocturnal, they aren’t seen all that often. This one seems to have lingered past sunrise, at a favored food source: the garbage pails.Remember, these critters are highly resistant to rabies. If they’re snarling at you it means you’re too damn close. And they will faint from stress, the famous “playing possum” trick.


Would there were an antidote to political rabies! That most overrated of Senators, John McCain, yesterday achieved a notoriety even worse than inflicting Sarah Palin on the nation. It’s traditional not to speak ill of the dead (evidently they can’t hear you), so let me get this in now while there is still life in the old bastard.

How Great?

The Great Egret, Ardea alba.Working it.And another.

Black toes, yellow bill. White plumes once worth so much the birds were almost slaughtered to extinction.

Raptor Wednesday

A Northern Mockingbird buzzing the apex of this church on 4th Avenue and 8th Street made me glad we were at a stoplight. And had a “raptor roof” (what I believe is known to the trade as a moonroof). For there was an American Kestrel up there.

At the end of June, I had a couple of days of hearing and then seeing Kestrels over Sunset Park, but they were much too fast for the camera. 313 raptor sightings so far this year.

Quiscalus quiscula

Another day, another Common Grackle youngster being served up a moth for lunch. Note how the young bird’s plumage lacks the iridescence of the mature bird, and is a drab gray rather than blue-black, except in the tail feathers.

(That’s plastic tarp they’re hanging out on, laid down to smother phragmites.)

This, about a remarkably well-preserved hatchling in amber, is astonishing. 

Tree Chipper

We usually see Eastern Chipmunks on the ground, but this is your periodical reminder that they’re fine tree-climbers. That’s how they predate bird nests. This one is about 15 feet up. Cheeks bulging with chow.


The Common Raven (Corvus corax) family of Brooklyn numbers four. The first I heard of them was near the end of May, when the City Birder spotted them in Green-Wood Cemetery. I first saw them on June 9th. It was 6:15 a.m. and they were turning a floppy right over the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal at 39th Street, flying in the direction of Green-Wood. Yesterday noon, my second viewing of the clan. I’d just exited the 36th St. subway and was walking down 4th Avenue. I heard a strange noise above the infernal combustion cacophony of that grim roadway. The call was not one I was familiar with, yet it was corvid-ish and had my raven-senses jangling. Looking up and around, I saw nothing. But then I heard it again and spotted a big corvid flying over the school I was walking past. The bird turned around and flew back my way (hey, thanks!), giving me a good view of the tell-tale tail. Then it landed on one of the two water towers of the 39th Street building where I photographed the family of five last year. Luckily, I had my camera. A second bird soon joined the first. There was much rejoicing, I gather, but I couldn’t hear anything from where I was. Then two more birds joined them, and the foursome flew towards the water, angling southwards at roughly 1st Avenue (they sure do have a route!).It was on New Year’s Day 2015 that I first spotted a pair of Ravens grooming each other here in Brooklyn. That was pretty unusual in and of itself, but then the pair bred! That was historic. Is it still the same pair? What happened to last year’s trio of fledglings? If it is the same pair, this would be their second year of nesting. As far as we know, the nest is in Brooklyn itself, but its location remains a mystery.

Long-legged Fly

One of the genus Condylostylus long-legged flies.
A little jewel. Same specimen: the light does wonderful things with the metallic sheen. There are more than 30 species in this genus north of Mexico; they usually feed on smaller insects and mites.


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