Posts Tagged 'Brooklyn'

North Forty

Return-a-Gift Pond had one singular sensation of a tree frog last week. I wonder if they emerged early in our warm patch, then beat a hasty retreat in the face of the snow? Because reports are that they’re rockin’ now.
On the other side of the pond, something is taking over, covering over everything, and giving it this weird look of lumpy, alien planet set design for a low budget sf production. There’s some rose in there, but is that the only thing? It’s like some northern kudzu.

“The path of most resistance.” This article on the Women’s March is inspiring. Audre Lorde, quoted here on activism: “It means doing the unromantic and tedious work.” The author of this Harper’s piece continues, “This will never be the stuff of cinematic grandeur. It’s never satisfying, in part because it’s not enough. It should never feel like enough. But involving insufficiency as an alibi is just as dangerous as self-satisfaction or comfortable despair–the very things Lorde warned us against.”

Crown

Looks like a crown feather of an American Woodcock to me. Just under an inch long. On the snow in Prospect; it was devilishly difficult to get the warm gold of the edging accurately into digital form!And you can, I think, see these crown feathers pretty well here.

Raptor Wednesday

Red-tailed Hawks are the Old Faithful of NYC raptors. I see them regularly from my windows, passing parallel to the moraine or swirling over the flatlands below. This was one of two in the same tree in Green-Wood recently. Mating and nesting season is a “go”!Here’s a Prospect Park pair, moments after mating. Note the difference in belly plumage: individual Red-tails have a lot of unique characteristics (all birds do, but it’s much easier to see on the larger specimens). Female left, male right. He’s also a little smaller. The birds had been perched about a 100 yards apart, looking in opposite directions. The female flew to a tree near the male and started to make the noises that must mean, “hey sailor!” because he flew right over. Bird copulation is quite brief for most species, a few seconds long; they may mate multiple times during the day, though, and dozens if not hundreds of times during before brooding.

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So, to recap:

The President of the United States and members of his administration and current and former associates are under investigation by the FBI for collusion with Russia.

The Russians are sitting on the information hacked from the RNC.

There is no basis for the President’s wild claims that President Obama put a “tapp” on his phones. And, true-to-form, Trump is double-downing in support of his reckless lie, red-meat to his sociopathic fans.

Meanwhile, the GOP’s horrendous Stripping of Health Care from Americans Act has actually made a couple dozen Republican reps nervous. Go get ’em.

Raptor Wednesday

Sometimes all you get is the general shape of the critter. The big-headed American Kestrel (Falco sparverius), for instance. Other times, you take your best shot. I thought this might be a Kestrel, too. But it sure was spending a lot of time up there, a behavioral characteristic I haven’t seen so much with Kestrels. I hustled the half kilometer downhill to get a better view. (Still a crappy photograph, but better than nothing.) Much darker, more heavily streaked.Merlin (Falco columbarius)! So I’d been seeing this shape up there off and on from 2/20. Had it been a Merlin the whole time? The last time I definitely saw a Merlin was New Year’s Day. There have been a few ebirds sightings in the borough since then. And this past weekend there were two in Green-Wood!

Sprung

Tossing their pollen into the air…

Scott Pruitt, the oil and gas industry operative given the hammer to destroy our environmental protections, claims that physics and chemistry are bunk. (Such a good lesson for students, but, then, the person put in charge of education doesn’t even know what education is; she thinks it’s a fundamentalist-infected profit-center.)

We know Pruitt’s paymasters are aware that he’s talking out of his ass. Exxon, for instance, has known for decades that global warming is the result of greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide and methane, both byproducts of their industry (and, of course, the rest of civilization). They have suppressed their own scientists and lied to everyone, including their alleged “owners,” the stockholders.

As I’ve said before, these destructive fools can claim it doesn’t happen, they can destroy and defund, but they can’t stop it. And the bullshit excuse that all these lies are for jobs? Sorry, but what a bitter joke. This is for the profit of the few who claim “liberty” is their right to despoil and pollute.

Here’s a clear explanation of climate change if your friends need one. The author, Erin Blakemore, with whom I work at JSTOR, also provides this sidebar of six irrefutable pieces of evidence.

Great Blue & the Democracy of the Heart

Lo and behold, on a recent day I scanned the little islet in the midst of the Sylvan Water and found this Great Blue Heron. Had the bird stuck around all winter? (We’ve have very few days with frozen water). I did see a GBH sail across the Sunset Park plain back in January, heading for the harbor or beyond.

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This is particularly compelling: the notion of “cognitive elite” and the political uses of calling your enemies stupid. I have definitely committed that sin.

Thoreau Thursday

Yesterday in Prospect, the rites of spring were springing. An astonishing twenty-six Wood Ducks were to be found on the Pools. Chipmunks and turtles were out and about in the unseasonable warmth. Behold, two European Goldfinches, far from home. The first Mourning Cloak of the year, velvet over the sere leaves. A pair of male Hairy Woodpeckers jostled for territory. A female American Kestrel on an antenna, right outside the park, was grooming. The frequency-jamming of Red-winged Blackbirds: first time I’ve heard them this year, the avant garde of spring. There were a dozen and a half by and above the Terrace Bridge. Heard a Kingfisher on the other side of the bridge, too.

And now over to a special guest appearance by Helen MacDonald:

“I think of what wild animals are in our imaginations. And how they are disappearing — not just from the wild, but from people’s everyday lives, replaced by images of themselves in print and on screen. The rarer they get, the fewer meanings animals can have. Eventually rarity is all they are made of. The condor is an icon of extinction. There’s little else to it now but being the last of its kind. And in this lies the diminution of the world. How can you love something, how can you fight to protect it, if all it means is loss?”

Hm. This is going swimmingly until that last sentence.

Another way of looking at this to think that those who fought like hell to rescue California Condors, and Peregrines, Bald Eagles, etc., from the wretchedness of human society did so precisely to prevent the loss, and to suggest that there was something more than humans in the world that mattered. That was a dog-damned good fight! The Condors are still a touch-and-go situation, bedeviled by death-worshipping hunters, and so richly coddled that they’re only half wild. But what a half!


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  • Osprey are loud. But nothing beats the falsetto meow-roar of the Indian Peafowl. 12 hours ago
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