I’ve spotted another Brooklyn damselfly species, bringing my NYC list up to nine species. This is a male Rambur’s Forktail (Ischnura ramburii). Approximately 1.25″ long. He was flitting about the edge of Green-Wood’s Sylvan Water among a fair number of Familiar Bluets.This is a pair of Familiars (Enallagma civile) in the mating grip: the male will hold on as the female lays her eggs, and even when she’s not, which precludes another male from assuming the position.
According to odonate master Ed Lam, there’s a population of Rambur’s at Jamaica Bay and they will sometimes stray inland.
Published September 26, 2016
Tags: birding, birds, Brooklyn, Green-Wood
The squad of geese attracted my attention. But then the young Green Heron (Butorides virescens) stood out amidst all that gooseflesh.These juvenile herons are heavily streaked in the neck. The “green” of the name isn’t so helpful (ditto “Green-backed,” the old common name for them). They have nested in Brooklyn in recent years. I haven’t heard or seen a Green-Wood nest, but I have my suspicions. Crest up, sometimes.They prowl slowly along the shore and strike quickly. They’ll eat whatever they can catch: fish, crustaceans, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals. Fish are a big part of their diet, but this one was just a snack. I’ve seen them snatch dragonflies out of the air. I was doing pretty good at stalking myself, mostly by not moving. The bird came towards me, with the geese still behind. It was finally flushed by one of the little carts cemetery staff get around in.The iridescent green of the lores comes across well in a couple of these shots. Speaking of iridescent, that blue streak is a Familiar Bluet damselfly.
A veritable blizzard of Lepidoptera over a patch of ground-loving Buddleja last week. Lots of skippers skipping. This is a male Sachem (Atalopedes campestris), I think. Several sulphurs ever so briefly alighting. This is purported to be a Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)… probably: Orange and Clouded can mix it up genetically, so these are hard to differentiate; perhaps the species definition should incorporate them both? One of them had an intense orange to its inner wings. A common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) showing a lot of late season wear and tear. A bird attack? And a lone moth, Helicoverpa zea, the Corn Earworm, obviously named for its caterpillar form. Most moths are active at night, which is why this blog is so notably absent in them; also, they’re hard to identify, not least because they are so many of them: there 11,000 species currently recognized in North America. Bugguide.net helped me with this ID. Curiously, this individual was chased by groups of several skippers, as if they really did not want the competition.
The other evening I walked from Sunset Park to Grand Army Plaza, the last half mile through Prospect Park’s Long Meadow, which was surprisingly empty of the usual clutter of bipeds and canines. As I entered the park at 9th Street, past Layette and groom, I saw the horse-chestnuts and buckeyes anticipating conker-fall, and a Red-tailed Hawk perched on a bare branch of a pine tree surveying the landscape. On the Meadow itself I was infested with storms of tiny flies. They clumped in the air, whirling around themselves. (Above magnified perhaps 3x, along with my own tectonically-crinkly hide.)
They landed on my hands, bare arms, and shirt. Perhaps they fed on my sweat, for it was a devilishly humid sunset and I had zigzagged from 41st to 9th Streets and 5th Avenue to Prospect Park West (9th) in a hurry. What matters is that they did not bite me (I am a mosquito feeding-station.) No, I could have eaten them, like the Common Green Darner I saw plowing through them like an ice-breaker the ice, but I kept my mouth shut.
Published September 20, 2016
Tags: Brooklyn, Green-Wood, mammals, trees