Posts Tagged 'Bush Terminal Park'

Pesticide Terminal

What is the Parks Department thinking here just above the salt-water marsh?According to this, they’re applying Triclopyr by “hand placement” for the control of Cottonwood (Populus deltoides). But if they’re doing it by hand, why don’t they physically weed out the potential trees instead of putting another biocide down? Yeah, Cottonwood is a bear: a sprout can drill down a root feet deep in a very short time, but:a hundred yards away is a serious thicket of Cottonwood. The species is a very prolific seed disperser. The understory here is now practically a wall of Cottonwood saplings (along with some kind of bedstraw). Won’t this just continue to spread out into the wetlands and necessitate continued applications of poison? What’s the end game here? Our old friend Ranger Robin, gone rogue, can’t believe this nonsense still goes on.

And One Blue Eye Ring

to rule them all.

Summer

You never know what you’ll see out there. Sure, the frying days of summer make it hard to enjoy the brute sun and humidity, but on Saturday we had a respite from the heat tsunami. So off we wandered down to Bush Terminal Park, where lo and behold! Two amazing (and concurrent) sights/sounds.

 


1. A couple dozen Laughing Gulls were flying low over the recently mown meadow hillock. As we got closer, we realized they were hunting the plentiful Green June Bugs, which were swarming low to the ground. The gulls were snapping the beetles up and swallowing them whole.The beetles rarely paused in flight, but I did catch this one. Note that one of the beetle’s wing isn’t fully tucked under the elytra.

2. As we approached the park, we saw a pair of American Kestrels over the statue of old man Bush (the developer of the docks, in an era before we realized how damn evil developers are). Inside the park, we heard a Killdeer in great agitation on the other side of the fencing that separates the park off from the empty concrete and weed jumble (presumably the site of ugly apartment buildings in the future).

Sure, Killdeer always sound like they’re agitated, but here was extra good reason. That’s a Kestrel there in the background. On the far fence, like these two:There were at least three Kestrels. They made passes over the Killdeer, flushing it into the air. Then the rowdy Killdeer would turn around and chase the Kestrel. A couple of Mockingbirds also harried the Kestrels. When the Kestrels flew further afield towards the June bug fiesta, a Red-wing Blackbird went after them. The Laughing Gulls also chased the falcons, who, we know, also love to eat Green Junies.

Now, a couple of weeks ago, we saw a Killdeer fly into this fenced area and thought, huh, could a pair be nesting in that desolation? Killdeer will nest practically anywhere, often quite close to people. The fence didn’t stop a photographer and model Saturday, and the whole neighborhood is beset with feral cats. And yet, there were three Killdeers visible there Saturday. One definitely looked like a juvenile. We only spotted it after the Kestrels flew off. (Although the falcons came back later). I gathered the noisy adult was trying to lure the falcons away and/or telling the youngster(s) to sit tight.

Team Kestrel was made up of two females and one male. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Were they the #BrooklynKestrels generation? Bush Terminal is five avenue blocks away from the nest (a little more than half a mile).

Waterfowl Counting

Four of us braved the element of a cold NNW wind coming off the bay to count waterfowl for an annual NYSOA survey. We were assigned to two segments of the Brooklyn waterfront, Bush Terminal Park and the Brooklyn Army Terminal pier. The latter was quiet; large bays on either side of the pier had rough water; calmer water to the south had a small raft of scaup in it. We did see our only loon of the day there, a Red-throated.Bush Terminal had rather more Black Ducks and Mallards than I would have expected. There were also a couple of handfuls of Buffleheads and smaller numbers of Gadwall (top) and Wigeon (above). Four male Red-breasted Mergansers nipped and chased each other as if they wanted to prove something. One of the many feral cats that infest the waterfront.This one wasn’t on the beach for a tan. I’ve never seen one try to take a duck, but I bet they try.

Drake Gadwall

Winter means ducks and their allies bobbing and diving offshore. The little blubber-bombs shrug off the cold, cold water.

A recent trip to wind-ripped Bush Terminal Park revealed Brant, Mallard, American Black Duck, American Wigeon, Red-breasted Merganser, Bufflehead, Red-throated Loon, and Gadwall in the bays. You need to get a close view of the latter, Anas strepera, to really appreciate the astonishing beauty of the drakes. From afar, the plumage is rather subdued. Up close, or through the magic of optics, the fine and subtle details!

In flight, Gadwall show their white secondaries to advantage. They usually display a patch of them (the speculum) when not flying. But this drake is having none of that.

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.


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