Posts Tagged 'Brooklyn'

Monarch Eggs

Monarch butterfly laying an egg on an emergent common milkweed leaf on Sunday in Green-Wood. This little plant is an outlier from the patch here, in danger of being mown or “weeded,” alas.
I also watched her deposit eggs on two much taller, already flowering, plants that were part of the official patch.
Closer up, you can see that the tiny eggs are grooved.

Do they ever lay more than one egg per plant? How many eggs per female? Is there anything stopping other Monarchs from laying on the same plant?

Mammal Monday

Eastern Chipmunks (Tamias striatus) are few and far between in Green-Wood. I see them there rarely, but the other day a wren-brown spot in the distance, which I thought might, in fact, be a wren, turned out to be this one.

There are rather more Chimpmunks in Prospect Park. The closest these two green islands in Brooklyn come is just over half a mile. Windsor Terrace, the neighborhood in between, is not a wildlife corridor. A friend who lives in Windsor Terrace calls it Alpine Brooklyn, because it is between the two highest spots of elevation in the borough.


Literally ran into this one’s silk and started carrying her along.
Zebra Jumping Spider, fairly common, which may be because they are relatively easy to identify.
Six-spotted Orbweaver, although I could only get pictures from the underside. About eye-level in a tree.
Common Spitting Spider. A neighbor.
Pholcus genus spider with something else alive. Actually, this larval (?) may have got the better of the contact: the next day, two spider legs were still attached to it, and it moved several inches.
Wolf spider, I think.

A Bee-y Slope

Now, I know some people will freak out over a lot of bees flying around at ankle-height in the spring sun, but if you make sure you don’t step on any of these mounds, you’ll be fine.
Not because they’re going to attack you, but because it’s quite rude to stomp on somebody’s nest. (More on ground-nesting bees.)
This male House Sparrow kept swooping in to grab bees. Possible feeding these Rufus-backed Cellophane bees to his young?
In the same patch, I found these Nomada genus cuckoo bees. Suspect they were looking to lay their eggs inside their cellophane bee host’s nests. First time I’ve ever seen these. Turns out the taxonomy of this genus is confusing. Genus level is the best even the bee mavens of iNaturalist can get to with a picture. They’re smaller than their honeybee-sized hosts.
There were also some flies hanging out here. This one is perched above a nest. Pretty suspicious; doing some further research to find out what they’re up to.
Not a typical bee fly, though.


Sometimes they land right in front of you. Magnolia Warbler.
Other times, most times, not so much. Bay-breasted Warbler.
Rather more typical view… Wilson’s Warbler, named after pioneering ornithologist Alexander Wilson.
And sometimes, termites reproductives, the winged ones, emerge, and the songbirds fly right overhead hawking them out of the air. (As I was trying to count Cape May Warblers, a Rudy-throated Hummingbird got close enough to me for me to hear its wings.)
American Redstart.
Two different Blackpoll Warblers. “Poll” old word for head. One of the farthest flying migratory warbler species.

All spotted yesterday amid the rain/reign of Swainson’s Thrushes in Green-Wood.

Two Well-Grounded Warblers


Worm-eating Warbler. (Needs a better publicist, right?)

Raptor Wednesday

Every once and a while, an Osprey scouts out Green-Wood’s Sylvan Water, the largest body of water in the cemetery. Just in case.
There certainly are fish in there. This one is entirely too small for an Osprey, but intriguing nonetheless. What is it?
Of course, that fish is perfect for a Kingfisher. This one was spotted earlier in the day than the Osprey. Heard first, actually, which is typical.

Now this one is more Osprey size. It was found in G-W last September. Just like this, at the mouth of the drain. Swam upstream from the bay through the combined sewage-outflow system the city absurdly still uses? I doubt it.

Worth reading: on Science-ism.

Raptor Wednesday: Earth Day Edition

In April 1970, at the time of the first Earth Day, there weren’t many Bald Eagles to be found in the Lower 48. Your chance of seeing one over Brooklyn, of all places, was extremely unlikely. Practically fabulous. That they might breed within the city’s limits was an equally outlandish notion. Even before DDT brought them to the brink of extirpation regionally, persecutions had reduced the Bald Eagle population in New York state to almost nothing by the mid-1900s. There were no recorded births after 1955.
Who did the crows chase then?
Last week, I saw a young (still without the white head and tail) eagle over the Sylvan Water, looking like it was coming in to go fishing in the pond. An American Crow set off the alarm and went after the much bigger bird. The two birds swirled a bit before disappearing from my sight. But then, at least one more crow starting yelling. The sound didn’t diminish, as you would expect if they were all flying further away.
Because the eagle had landed. This is only the second time I’ve seen an eagle perched in Brooklyn.
Blue Jays joined the chorus, yelling more at the crows than the eagle, it seemed.
With more wingspan feet than most of us are tall, the bird flew off after a brief perch.
The inner eyelid or rnictitating membrane is closed in this view.
Opening in this view…

A young eagle had been spotted few times by other Green-Wood observers from the beginning of the month. One person got a photograph of the bird in a tree with a fish. The bird was banded, with a silver federal band on the bird’s right leg and one that looked blue on the left. Individual states band on the left leg; these are color-coded and easier to read from a distance. But I couldn’t see the characters on those pictures, put up on iNaturalist.

But last week, I was close enough to get pictures myself that I could read. The band is actually black. R over 7, I found out from the NYSDEC’s Tom Lake, editor of the Hudson River Almanac, was banded on May 11, 2018 in New Haven CT. That’s about 85 miles away via I-95. They can travel much further distances.

They have come a long way since the 1970s. Back then, a conservative Republican (and a terrible person) named Richard Nixon signed into law a slew of important conservation and environmental laws, all being dismantled by his ghastly heirs.

There was a single pair in the New York state in 1974, but they weren’t breeding. A recovery program began in 1976 with introductions/hackings and fostering of nestlings. The species was de-listed in 2007 at the federal level. Today, there are hundreds of breeding pairs in New York.
Earth Day remains a fight.

Small Birds

Palm Warbler.
Golden-crowned Kinglet.
Yellow-rumped Warbler variations.
Pine Warbler.
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.
Here’s a special one. Yellow-throated Warblers breed to the south of us. So they’re rarer up here, having overshot their migration.
Note the lores here. The spaces between the eyes and the bill. That line is white in this case. This makes this one of the Setophaga dominica albilora subspecies. These typically migrate to the west of the Appalachians, but will show up in our parts this time of year. The eastern subspecies has a patch of yellow in the lores. (Info from the Warbler Guide)

Beech Sproutling

This curious thing is what you get when a beechnut sprouts. Considering the number of beechnuts dropped by a mature tree, these aren’t commonly seen. Does the parent tree’s shade and/or chemistry suppresses upstarts?


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