Posts Tagged 'Bush Terminal'



Falco sparverius

Falco sparveriusAmerican Kestrel, urban raptor.Falco sparveriusThis female was keeping a sharp eye on Bush Terminal Park yesterday. She was molting; perhaps she’s a first year bird. There was a nest somewhere in the area, I’m told, and the park has been a reliable location for these, our smallest raptor.Falco sparveriusShe had just eaten something. She dove low for it, disappeared and then returned with her prey in her talons to quickly dispatch it on this perch. It may have been a dragonfly. The bird ultimately flew off towards Sunset Park, and met up with another Kestrel perched on one of the warehouses on 2nd Avenue.

Ravens Again

Corvus coraxA pair of Ravens (Corvus corax) sailed on the stiff breeze along the shore of Bush Terminal the other day. This is where I and others have seen and heard them off and on since New Year’s Day. They have an almost floppy wing action, exacerbated by their long finger-like primary feathers. Several hours later on a return visit, a single Raven was seen and heard in the distance.Corvus coraxIt’s thrilling to see these big boisterous birds. They are about the size of Red-tailed Hawks, so substantially bigger than their corvid cousins, the American and Fish Crows. Unlike Crows, they were not regulars in the city until quite recently. But they now breed within the city limits; the first known nest was in Queens; as far as I know, a Brooklyn nest has not been located, even though there was ample evidence of nest material gathering. Ravens with young were seen by others here at Bush Terminal, and in Chelsea in Manhattan this spring and summer. The same birds? I haven’t seen more than two. Occasionally one will fly overhead here at the top of the moraine. A fellow birder photographed three on the Green-Wood entrance gate on Saturday.

The old warehouses along Brooklyn’s coast may act somewhat like cliffs, pushing up the winds to let the birds coast along them. (A pair of Peregrines did the same thing soon after the first sighting of Ravens that morning.)

I have a lot of questions about these birds. How many pairs are in the city? Where do they nest and roost for the night? Two youngsters were seen in Bush Terminal this year; what happened to them? What are they eating? Ravens are generalists when it comes to food, but tend to eat a lot of carrion in the country, via roadkill and hunter by-product; the youngsters especially need lots of protein. I am now reading Bernd Heinrich’s Mind of the Raven to raven-up.IMG_3976Thinking about Ravens got me to writing this about the captives in London.

O You’ve Got Green Eyes

Colias philodiceClouded Sulphur (Colias philodice).

Young Night-herons

Nyctanassa violaceaA pair of Yellow-crowned Night-herons (Nyctanassa violacea) nested on Governor’s Island this year, a first — in ages, at least. I haven’t seen the nest, but I did run into this youngster over the weekend at Bush Terminal Park. No idea where the natal spot was, of course; YCNH also nest in Jamaica Bay, and there may be ones nesting at Bush Terminal (an adult was visible in a nearby Cottonwood).Nycticorax nycticoraxAt least six Black-crowned Night-herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) were in the area as well; the tall Cottonwoods could easily have hidden more. Here’s one of the youngsters. Note the shorter legs and the different color and pattern of the feathers in comparison to the YCNH. Check out the adults of both species from the same spot from a previous visit.

Earlier last week, at Valentino Pier off Red Hook, three BCNH flew by in the gloaming, along with a Great-Blue. The harbor is quite herony.

Morning’s Heronry

Nycticorax nycticoraxJust before Bush Terminal Park opened yesterday morning, we had a trifecta of herons. There were three Black-crowned Night Herons (Nycticorax nycticorax) the adult above, and two juveniles.Nycticorax nycticoraxOne of the youngsters stuck around as parent and sibling (?) flew off “kwoking” to this Cottonwood:Populus deltoidesThis tree also hosted a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) — barely seen at center left — and, presently, this Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea):Nyctanassa violacea.

Painted Skimmer

Libellula semifasciataLibellula semifasciata.

Always Check That Bird

IMG_3659Because the assumption “pigeon” may usually be correct, but it isn’t always. Something about that silhouette…Falco peregrinusPeregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus).Falco peregrinusAt the top of 1st Avenue. You may remember that on January 1st, I found a pair of Ravens (Corvus corax) courting near here. Lately, four Ravens have been seen in the area, so presumably the nest-building seen in March led to good things, the first Ravens born in Brooklyn in… forever? Traditionally a species of highlands, Ravens are now adapting to urbanity. (I’m still hunting for a picture of the family.) But on that first day of the year, I also saw a Peregrine, streaking down 39th St. Good continuity. The Peregrine is traditionally also a bird of highlands, nesting on cliff faces, but following their reintroduction have taken surprisingly well to the canyons of cities.

Monday Morning Preening

Egretta thulaThis is an extreme telephoto, but the bright yellow toes here are a give-away: Snowy Egret (Egretta thula). This bird is a little like a miniaturized version of the Great Egret (Ardea alba), but with black bill/yellow toes to the Great’s yellow bill/black toes. Both species were almost hunted to extinction for their breeding plumes, long wispy feathers that were stuck to lady’s hats into the early part of the last century.

Gone fishing, worming

Nycticorax nycticorax, Larus delawarensis


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