Posts Tagged 'Bush Terminal Park'



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.

Eel

Anguilla rostrataLast Saturday, there was a fish survey around the archipelago of NYC and further up the Hudson River. I was too lazy to go to any of the events, but that morning I did run across an interesting sample. On Bush Terminal Park’s pier was this half-an-eel. American Eel Anguilla rostrata, the adult stage of their very interesting life-cycle.Anguilla rostrataWas it deposited there by Osprey, Great Blue Heron, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Egret, either of the Night-herons? All are possibilities (all were seen in the area on Saturday, although the brief glimpse of a juvenile Night-heron wasn’t enough to fix its species). The smaller of these predators will definitely grab things that look to us to be too large for them, and sometimes quite successfully swallow them whole. That clearly didn’t happen here.

Barn Swallow and Others

Hirundo rusticaFinding a swallow isn’t so hard, but finding one taking a breather sure is.Hirundo rusticaBarn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) breed in various places in the city; this female was at Bush Terminal, so I’d be willing to bet there’s a nest nearby. A couple of years ago, I watched another pair gathering mud for a nest under a pier at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Tachycineta bicolorWe have five species of swallows breeding in NYC. Tree Swallows can be seen nesting in the boxes at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge this time of year, but they also appear in our parks, so one may assume they make nests in local tree cavities, the old-fashioned way. The photo above was taken on Governor’s Island, where new nest boxes and meadow welcome them.

There are colonies of Bank Swallows on Staten Island‘s southern shore, where the terminal moraine turns into cliffs along Raritan Bay. Northern Rough-wing Swallows also breed on Staten Island (they like bank-sides as well, but will use other crevices, for instance in walls); they were also found breeding on Governor’s Island a few years ago, an expansion that hopefully continues. And SI also has a famous Purple Martin colony. (Actually, there’s more than one: I found some other SI Purple Martin houses occupied during the Great Cicada Year of ’13.)


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