Posts Tagged 'Brooklyn'

This is just to say

I have eaten
the persimmon
that was
on the ground

and which
you were probably
for the opossum

Forgive me
it was delicious
so sweet
and so cold

(with apologies to William Carlos Williams)
Diospyros virginiana. Said in most accounts to only be palatable after the first frost. Well, it got cold. And, oh, my Darwin, it was incredible, the best I’ve ever tasted, as cold, rich, and sweet as ice-cream.

Raptor Wednesday

Old faithful: Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). You will see these all over the city, as often perched upon a human edifice as in tree.

The guard at Woodlawn Cemetery’s Jerome/Bainbridge Avenue gate said there’s frequently a Red-tail atop this chapel’s steeple. Further into the grounds, I heard a Common Raven making that distinctive knocking sound they sometimes favor in their repertoire. I started moving towards the sound even though it was obviously distant. Just as I heard the last of it, I saw two more Red-tails in a conifer. After something more than an hour’s exploration, I exited by the same way I’d come in, and there was the steeple hawk, still in the sun.

So, three RTHs on Thursday.

On Friday, a pair were wafting around in the wind swooshing up the moraine at Sunset Park. I watched them in the cold park for perhaps 15 minutes, and then saw them a few times from the windows of the View From The Moraine the next hour. When they face the wind and seem to hang still in the sky, their tail and wings are constantly adjusting to the force of the wind.

On Saturday, there were three individual hawks over Green-Wood. The first of the day was one of this year’s fledglings; they won’t get their eponymous red tail feathers until they’re a year old or so. The other two were both adults.

A pair of Common Ravens were heard and seen as well. That was my first definite sighting of a Brooklyn Raven pair in a while.

On Sunday, a large flock of pigeons erupted into the air above a crowded Washington Square Park and then a RTH floated mid-tree height to a perch. I was watching it as three youngsters with a camera seemingly named after Richard Leacock approached. They wanted to ask me some questions about art for a School of Visual Arts project. What kind of questions about art? Well, for starters, what is art?

Franklinia BK

I discovered recently that Green-Wood Cemetery has a couple of Franklin Trees (Franklinia alatamaha). One may be the largest specimen in the country. But don’t get too carried away: this is not a giant species. This one might be all of 20 feet tall. It sure does have fine autumnal foliage, though. Windfall fruit and seeds.

Franklinia is extinct in the wild, and all examples today are supposedly descendants of the ones the Bartarms collected in Georgia. Here’s one in bloom in the botanical parking lot.

Ah, nuts!

“Filbert? Filbert? Where is that boy?”Turkish filbert or hazelnut (Corylus colurna). Shell and two halves of another.

The frilly husk, or bristly involucre to the hort pros, of the nut dries out to a gnarly, tentacled beauty. I was late this year and found only two twisted, nut-less examples under this Green-Wood tree, so here’s one from my wunderkammer:

After the Woodcock Storm

On Saturday, I couldn’t help flushing more than two dozen “mud bats,” or American Woodcock (Scolopax minor), in Green-Wood Cemetery during an hour’s walk. On Sunday, although we spent nearly three hours there and covered a much greater extent of the grounds, we only only found three. One of them, though, allowed us to observe it closely. We were walking down slope, and I just happened to glance to the right: the bird was less than a dozen feet away and it did not rocket away as they often do when stumbled upon. The second of the day was nearby and it shot up and took off with the whistling sound they make when flying while we were photographing this one.

It’s election day. Very low turnouts are expected in New York and New Jersey. Democracy dies locally.

Yesterday, there were half a dozen mantids in the asters on Pier 6. It was short-sleeve weather, but Honeybees were the only obvious prey. There were, however, a pair of Monarch wings tucked away in the folds of the flower stems, suggesting someone snagged a butterfly. (Sighted about ten living Monarchs yesterday fluttering and gliding in what increasingly seems like a Sisyphean task.)

Last night a cold front plowed through, dropping down 25 degrees from yesterday’s high. I wonder what the mantids did? The Monarchs?

I submitted this image to iNaturalist, which has an automatic ID function. For this very picture, the machine gave me one option: American asters. Um, ok, but…

By the time the robots are as good as us, there won’t be any more bugs.

Pitza Bee

Last Saturday was ridiculously warm. We spotted a dragonfly flying over the Halloweeened dogs and children of Fort Green, and when we ate outdoors, a honeybee kept visiting. The weather was fine, but there’s damn little nectar and pollen to be had this late in the year.The pickle on Cathy’s plate was also calling to this bee.

N.B.: a “pitza” is made with pita bread.


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  • Flood gate doors being put on Battery Tunnel look like old bank vault doors, 2 hours ago
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