Posts Tagged 'Brooklyn'


Tucked in.
Deep embedding. That’s a squirrel snout visible in this floor-through.
Two hours later, this Great Blue Heron was still there.


Non-biting midge bigger than your average fly,
characteristically holding his forelimbs out in front. The feathery antennae are reminiscent of some moths. Probably cold, letting me get the phone camera close up.

Blooming Now

Red maple.
Wych elm.
Star magnolia.
Henbit deadnettle. (These are tiny, you’ll need to get down on your knees to see the detail.)


House Sparrows love these stop light support structures. Love them! There’s often a pair nesting in each end.
The male is keeping a very sharp eye on me.
A species hardly ever noticed. This is another male near the nest shown above. Here is another:
They’re awful sociable.

Eristalis tenax

An early flying Common Drone Fly (Eristalis tenax). An introduced species. A bee mimic. Their flight season is long, from mid-March to mid-November, but this was the only one seen this day a week ago.

Spring’s solace is dependent upon the winter, the bright awakening from cold and dormancy, the “green fuse” lit amidst the snow and muddy melt. We hardly had winter. It’s an early spring this year. Spring will always be early from now on. Until one day, only those who think early is normal will be around, and then early springs won’t be “early” any more.

There is nothing like a pandemic to reveal the brute monstrosity of our savage republic. The right-wing effort to shrink government down to such a small thing you could flush it down the toilet has turned out to overflow the toilet after all. Solidarity, what Margaret Thatcher once disparaged as society, must be our response.

COVID-19 is killing the elderly and the immune-compromised, mostly — but not exclusively. In South Korea, where they are testing broadly (as opposed to Italy, say, where they are testing those with symptoms, or the USA, where testing is STILL extremely rare) it’s people in their twenties who are showing the most cases. But they’re asymptomatic. So, while the young and healthy mostly do not have too much to worry about themselves, they’re carriers who threaten others. NYC’s bars have been packed. The stupidity will have more consequences.

Witches’ Broom

A hackberry tree, Celtis occidentalis. Notice the clumpiness in the canopy?
A slightly closer view of one fo the clumps. (They were all out of hand’s reach.) This is witches’ broom, a gall-like growth of branches sprouting in multiples. Hackberry is particularly susceptible. In this case, it seems to be caused by a combination of a fungus and a mite. I gather the mite carries the fungus…

It is thought to be:

“attributed to two agents acting together: a powdery mildew fungus (Sphaerotheca phytoptophila) and a minute, wormlike, eriophyid mite (Eriophyes celtis, synonym Aceria snetsingeri) about 200 microns long.”

The mite’s name has recently been changed to Aceria celtis.

Evidently there are strains of hackberries that are immune to it. People think it’s unsightly. People!

This specimen is in Prospect Park. There are two young hackberries outside our window here. You may remember that the city’s street tree survey insisted they were hawthorns. We fixed that. Just the other day I noticed that one of them had some witches’ broom in it. I don’t think the tree had any there last year. I’m not positive, but I don’t feel like they were there.

Leaves of Invertebrates

American Robin in the leaves.
Because that’s where the good stuff is.

Now, if this bird could turn over logs:


I can’t stomach watching the Orange Troll in action, but I forced myself to look at his sniffly Gollum-in-a-fright-wig performance last night. What a squandered opportunity, but who expected more after three years of his blustering ignorance, incompetence, and corruption? Word is that the nastiest thugs on his team, business-partner-of-assassins son-in-criminality Jared Kushner and Klan posterboy Stephen Miller, “wrote” that shit. Within an hour of his e-nun-ci-at-ing the address, the White House was walking back three of his pronouncements. More details on his Presidential errors.

By the way, the UK isn’t included in the European ban even though it has more cases than 8 other European nations. But Trump has properties in the UK, nowhere else in Europe. Your health and welfare are irrelevant to this dumpster fire. And these.

Next week, the epidemiologists predict, we hit Italian levels of infection. Here’s some background how Trump sabotaged our response efforts.


Bookmark and Share

Join 620 other followers


  • RT @lilitaylor: Thank you for sharing. I stand with your brother as a human and a birder. I’m happy to go birding with him anytime. I wish… 1 hour ago
Nature Blog Network