Published April 24, 2017
Tags: birding, birds, Central Park
Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus): in case you were wondering what the double-crests are. Breeding plumage.As fine an example as any of how optical enhancement can reveal the astonishing beauty of birds. Those eyes!
For anyone sliding into complacency, a perusal of Trump’s latest incoherence transcript will do the trick.
Published April 21, 2017
Tags: birding, birds, Bronx, Brooklyn, Central Park, flowers, insects, invertebrates, plants, Sunset Park
Published December 29, 2016
Art Culture Politics
Tags: Central Park
There are some interesting bird figures carved around the Bethesda Terrace in Central Park. Jacob Wrey Mould, an English architect (and linguistic and musician), who worked closely with Olmsted and Vaux, is responsible for these rather exotic creatures.What would you call them?
As with the Falconer, they’ve seen some serious damage, and the repair work is readily visible.
And speaking of damage, regrettably one of the major topics of the next four years, Trump’s Treasury Secretary nominee is Old Man Potter from It’s A Wonderful Life: a predatory lender.
Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is a good gall-tree. One species of aphid, Hormaphis hamamelidis, forces the tree to make cone-shaped galls on the leaves. The young aphid grows up inside this, protected from its enemies. Another species of aphid, the Spiny Witch Hazel Gall maker, Hamamelistes spinosus, makes the tree make these hard, spiny galls that come off of the twigs.Ken Chaya, who identified these for us, cut a couple of them in half. A spider had taken up residence in one. Another had the white filaments of a cocoon within.
Have to admit missing most of the White-tailed-Deer-in-Harlem story, for I have no interest in television news ratings-fodder. In response, Jason Munshi-South had a good editorial in the Daily News on the need for a sane policy on urban wild animals.
Published December 15, 2016
Tags: Central Park, plants, trees
Recently, we got to join Regina Alvarez, Daniel Atha, and Ken Chaya for one of their Central Park flora expeditions. For three years, the trio have been searching for wild — that is, not planted by the park — plants in Central Park.Atha, who has travelled the world over collecting plants, uses an elegantly simple set-up for his plant press. Two boards, some newspaper sheets, and adjustable straps. The Waldo Tribune fits perfectly.This is a Rosa: full identification would come later. The trio have doubled the number of known grass species in the park, found some very rare Pumpkin Ashes, and cataloged a lot of exotica. The links above will give you more details of their adventures in wild and perhaps not so wild sown plants that make Central Park their home.
For instance: Groundcherry (Physalis) or Tomatillo. In bloom in December.
A 20 Point Guide for Defending Democracy. (So many points, four long years.)
Published September 21, 2016
Tags: birding, birds, Central Park
A female Common Yellowthroat warbler (Geothlypis trichas) absent all her tail feathers. A small bird made even smaller. She may have lost them all at molt, although that’s usually a progression not a sudden loss. Or maybe a cat got her? Whatever the case, she was doing fantastic work grabbing larvae and adult bugs, even a moth. Managed to fly out of the way of a yoga dude so in tune with the universe that he didn’t notice.
Published January 29, 2016
Tags: birding, birds, Central Park, owls
Bubo virginianus, bold as daylight.