Posts Tagged 'Bush Terminal Park'

How Great?

The Great Egret, Ardea alba.Working it.And another.

Black toes, yellow bill. White plumes once worth so much the birds were almost slaughtered to extinction.

Raptor Wednesday

AccipiterIt sometimes seems like I have a raptor sighting every day. So, for the last month, I’ve been keeping tabs. My “daily raptor” is a good practice. In the political shitstorm, it is my daily rapture.

Over the 31 days of January I had 37 raptor sightings, the majority of them (21) from my windows. Others were seen around and about Brooklyn (Bush Terminal, Green-Wood, overhead here and there) and the Bronx (in and near NYBG). There have been four species: Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine, Cooper’s and Red-tailed Hawk. Cooper’s and Red-tailed are the most frequent. Some of these sightings were undoubtedly the same bird, like that reliable male Kestrel on the antenna (who hasn’t been seen since the 16th). My protocol was loose; if I saw a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk circling the neighborhood ten minutes after seeing a juvenile RTH circling the neighborhood, I didn’t count it as another sighting. But if I saw a juvenile three hours later, I did.img_2241

So how about some eagles? I’m leading a Brooklyn Brainery excursion to Croton Point Park on Feb. 11th.

“I believe that what we need is a nonviolent national general strike of the kind that has been more common in Europe than here. Let’s designate a day on which no one (that is, anyone who can do so without being fired) goes to work, a day when no one shops or spends money, a day on which we truly make our economic and political power felt, a day when we make it clear: how many of us there are, how strong and committed we are, how much we can accomplish.” Francine Prose.

Facing the Wind

Larus delawarensisHave you ever noticed how gulls, like these Ring-billed (Larus delawarensis) hunkered down at Bush Terminal, always face the wind? The better to take off into, of course, the better to fly. The specimen to the rear is a first winter bird, the one in front an adult.

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“Thoreau’s quest for the “bottom” of the pond was also his quest for a bedrock truth, that face-to-face confrontation with “actuality” that drove him to the pond to begin with. But once you found the bedrock truth, what should you do about it? This was his second discovery: each person’s answer will depend upon, and will reveal, the exact height, breadth, and depth of their individual character. The angle intersections inscribed by our particular daily experiences, the coves and inlets of our lives, will ground the decisions we make, our actions in the world. And the sum total of all our moral actions combined will constitute the ethical character of the society we build together.” Laura Dassow Walls, Henry David Thoreau: A Life.

And this Timothy Snyder quote: “To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.”

Raptor Week IV

img_1475Sometimes the bird gets away from you. Many times, actually. S’ok. Sometimes you see the Snow Leopard, sometimes you don’t.

Over the harbor. It came towards us, but no closer in resolution. What do you think it is?
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While you are pondering, consider: here’s a list of Trump-supporting companies, either carriers of that mafia family’s junk or funders of his malignancy. The rot is deep. And we’re all implicated. Last week there was some noise about the reactionary Linda Bean, spawn of the LL Bean family. She’s on the company’s board, so she profits from every purchase at the company. She then funds Trump and other far right projects, including, for decades now, the war on women. I heard a lot of surprise on Twitter about people just tuning into her. Welcome to the club: I haven’t purchased anything from LL Bean since the early 1990s, so boycotts are nothing new to me. And don’t get me started on Nestle.

Less consumption is a critical component of anyone living ecologically. Obviously, however, we need a certain minimum of food, clothing, and shelter. Beyond that, though, the rest is pretty much all discretionary. We really must be more political with our money.

For instance, are you still paying for a cable-subscription? That means, whether or not you watch it, you’re paying for Fox News. Not much on every bill, but every little bit has helped them. I’ve never owned a television. Life’s too short. But it feels longer and sweeter knowing I’ve not fostered the poison of Fox, now poised to be the official propaganda channel of Trumpism.

Not that there aren’t plenty of other corporate tentacles around my throat. It is nearly impossible to make your escape. But we can do what we can to battle this beast.

Capitalism, which profits from poisoning our bodies, the bodies of every other life form, and the air, water, and soil, has, unsurprisingly, always been fine with authoritarianism. Always driving towards oligopoly and/or monopoly, either with state assistance or not, corporations don’t give a fig for us, or citizenship, or democracy. They say “More, more, more!” Be it petroleum, sugar, fat, oxycontin, or all the pollution off-loaded into our environment. We must say “no, no, no!” any and every way you can.

Wigeon And All

Anas americanaAn American Wigeon (Anas americana) and American Black Duck (Anas rubripes).

The other day a commentor here bemoaned the intrusion of ideas into his refined quest for pictures of nature. Those who refuse to make the connection between politics and the natural world, or what there is of it, are a monstrous problem.

From the beginning this blog has been inspired by Henry David Thoreau. You can read posts I’ve written about him here. This is the 200th anniversary of the year of his birth. I am committed to honoring his great legacy of acute natural history observation and his politics. They were inseparable.

Stay tuned for more HDT200, including a new book by my friend Kevin Dann, Expect Great Things: The Life and Search of Henry David Thoreau, just outAs you can imagine, this is going to be a banner year for ol’ Henry. March sees Thoreau’s Animals, by another friend, Geoff Wisner. In April: Thoreau and the Language of Trees, by Richard Higgins is being published. In July: Laura Dassow Walls’ Henry David Thoreau: A Life. I’m sure there are others….

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A reminder, as if you needed it, by Michael Tomasky, of just how bad Trump’s gang of bigots, kleptocrats, and authoritarians promise to be.

Taking a lesson from the McCarthy era, this historian of that lamentable period surveys the future. The fiercely reactionary politics of Trumpism may try to resurrect “many of [McCarthyism’s] techniques and objectives. After all, the new regime relies on the same kind of right-wing forces.” In the case of the Koch brothers, a direct line to their father, who was one of the founders of the lunatic fringe John Birch Society.

American Black Ducks

Anas rubripesAnas rubripesAnas rubripesAmerican Black Ducks are year-’round birds, but they are now sharing the harbor with our wintering Buffleheads, Gadwall, Wigeon, and Red-breasted Mergansers. Soon, loons and grebes should be seen as well. There’s been a Humpback Whale in the harbor and up the Hudson, too, lately, although this blogger hasn’t seen a tail of it yet.Anas rubripesWearing a piece of the sea… or is it the sky?

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The Baffler, which I highly recommend, has a reading list for dark times like these.

On The Rocks

Charadrius vociferusKilldeer (Charadrius vociferus). This one-footed stance is common among shore birds. Charadrius vociferusDid somebody say vociferus? This quintet was silent, but in breeding season Killdeer can be loud!

It’s Thanksgiving, time to remember what we have to be thankful for and stand on both our feet in defense of it. Let me convey my solidarity with those of you eating with Trumpettes today for the sake of family. An ugly mixture of the deplorable, horrible, reckless, foolish, and ignorant have helped elevate a thieving autocrat into unimaginable power. Maybe some of them will come to see how they’ve been taken by a reality TV hack of a con man, maybe not. But I hope you stand your ground in whatever way you deem best. All that’s best in America stands behind you.


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