Posts Tagged 'Brooklyn'

Raptor Wednesday

Brooklyn’s airspace can be crowded. On Raven Day, the subject of my last two posts, I watched a Red-tail Hawk and Common Raven chase each other. Another Red-tail joined the fray, but didn’t stay long. Sometimes the R chased the RT, sometimes the RT chased the R.Both birds were quite vocal: hoarse guttural calls from the raven, higher-pitched screeches from the hawk. The Raven really let go with the calls when the hawk was perched.

Marilynn Robison has an extraordinary essay in the June Harper’s on the necessity, for the wealthy, of poverty. “What really matters here is how people are valued; they are not valued sufficiently to sustain democracy.”

Speaking of democracy, there will be a rally for biodiversity at NYC City Hall this morning at 10. Organizers want the City Council to pass a resolution in support of a UN biodiversity agreement and to take action on local conservation issues.

More Ravens!

Books have been written by the intelligence and culture of ravens. It’s extraordinary to be near these largest of the songbirds, listening to their hoarse chatter. They’ve certainly figured out how to live in urban areas. There’s both the wild, in this case duck eggs, and the domestic, in this case chicken eggs from Costco. After the end of the persecution that forced them into remote fastnesses, they’ve re-bounded, and expanded into non-traditional habitat. The first Common Raven nest sighting I know about in NYC was in Queens. On January 1st, 2015, a pair were cavorting down at the end of 39th Street here in Brooklyn (past the fence, it’s all bay until New Jersey), where I was ecstatic to see them.
The Sunset Park/Green-Wood corridor has been a raven runway since. In 2016, I saw a family of five from my windows. Yes, this one broke off this twig. Experiment/play. All the pictures here are from the encounter last week with a family of six

A.C. Bent, for instance, notes that they are to be found where “they are least likely to be disturbed.” He never met these city-slickers.

Recent Birds

Spotted Sandpiper. A few have been working their way around the edges of the ponds in Green-Wood.Black-throated Blue Warbler.Eastern Kingbird.Hooded Warbler female.Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Female, much plainer than the showy male.Most of our migrants are insectivores, but these big-beaks are seed-crushers.
George Boorujy’s Gang of Warblers is now available as a print. Very reasonably priced, and buying will benefit the continuation of the Audubon Mural Project.

Raptor Wednesday

An Osprey circled over Sylvan Water looking for sign of fish below. Sylvan Water, haunt of, at various times, cormorants, kingfishers, and herons, was not producing breakfast for this huge raptor.Note the toes, swept back under the tail. When these birds dive, they move their feet forward to strike and grasp their fishy prey.
Shallow water hunters, they don’t go into the water deeply, although you may occasionally see one dunking.
They eat live fish almost exclusively, but as with almost everything you read about birds, there are exceptions. They have sometimes been observed eating carrion (fish, mammal, reptile…).

A one-two punch on Trump’s continuing assault on democracy and the Republican betrayal of America:

1. The Mueller Report’s clear presentation of Trump, Trump Jr., and the Trump campaign alliance’s with Russians, and the obstruction of justice thereafter.

2. The militarization of civilian politics and the making of the immigration-gestapo ICE, “a loyal official militia.” (That is spying on us, of course.) By the way, did you know Border Patrol was once run by white supremacists?

Mammal Monday

Telephoto edition.There were at least two young squirrels in here.

Interesting programs at the Linnaean Society and Brooklyn Bird Club tomorrow. Unfortunately at the same time. The LSNY is a double-header: Sara Lewis on fireflies, followed by J. Drew Lanham on the art of writing natural history. The BBC has Tessa Boase on the fight in Britain against feather fashion.

Recent Birds

Look who’s already hatched here in Brooklyn, while birds like Baltimore Orioles have only just begun to build their nests. We have baby falcons at 55 Water St., too. Future eaters of Robins? Ah, well, everybody’s got to make a living.Most warblers keep moving on through to nest further north, but some like the Yellow will nest within NYC. This one has that favorite of warbler morsels, a caterpillar. Wood Thrush, another NYC nester.We stared at each other for a couple of minutes, which is a long time for songbirds/humans.Savanah Sparrow.Hooded Warbler.Ovenbird.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow. Not a bird you see everyday. Seeing it groom is even less of an occurrence. What a view of that sharp line between dusky belly and white vent. That’s a good “tell” in the field.

Raptor Wednesday

The #BrooklynKestrels female having a sip of roof water.They will bathe in such puddles as well. These were taken April 20th. May 2nd found them both in a London plane one block from the nest site. Spotted the female yesterday. A Common Grackle was buzzing her.Now that the trees have come out, it’s harder to see birds.Woodlawn Cemetery doesn’t have all that many squirrels. And one less, now.On our trip to Virginia, we saw about twenty Osprey. There were three or four Bald Eagles. This is one of them.From the road: a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks across a long southeastern Virginia farm field. One of these had flown across our bow with prey in talons towards this tree, and when I got the camera on the scene, there were two!


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