Posts Tagged 'Coney Island Creek'

Knotweed

Fallopia japonicaAn eight-foot high forest of Knotweed (Fallopia japonica) on Coney Island Creek.

Case in Point

Coney Island Creek this morning before the sun came out. Old barges … a home-made submarine, shopping carts, toxic muck. Pigeons: check. Rats: check, a longshoreman-sized one amid the rocks who turned around to give me the beady eye.

But also Common Loons, a Great Blue heron and Black-crowned Night heron on the rotting wood barge, Canada geese surrounding a single Ross’s goose or Snow goose, Ring-billed gulls, Bufflehead ducks, Mallards, American Black ducks, American wigeon, and, rather unusually, an American Avocet. This black and white wading bird of the west and south has a long, upturned bill that it sweeps back and forth through shallow water as it feeds energetically. This was the first time I’ve ever seen one.

About five years ago, a Western Reef Heron, native to Africa and consequently extremely rare in North America, was discovered hanging out in the same area. I’d never seen one of those either.

David Attenborough, come on down!

Coney Island Creeky

Coney Island is no longer an island and it is no longer full of what the Dutch called konijn, or, as the English would say, conies — that is, rabbits. Coney Island Creek, which cuts into the western end of the neighborhood, is all that remains of the watery border between the erstwhile island and the rest of Brooklyn’s outwash plain. I crossed that plain on the F train this weekend to get a good look at the Creek for the first time. The shot below is from the moving train; this is the eastern-most end of the Creek, which is really more or less a canal. It was low tide: From the bridge at Cropsey Avenue, I spotted Mallard, Bufflehead, Ruddy, and Red-breasted merganser: Continuing west along Neptune Avenue, I poked my camera through some fencing for this Dutch landscape, looking towards Gravesend Bay and the Narrows in the distance: At Kaiser Park, just past Mark Twain JHS, I walked down to the rocky edge of the Creek. From there I saw Brant, Canada, Mute swan, Gadwell, Horned grebe, American black duck, and more Mallards, Bufflehead, and Red-breasted mergansers. The whole purpose of my trip was to see the Redhead ducks that had been reported in the Creek earlier. Success! The pair, drake and hen, were behind the school’s handball courts. I’d never seen this species of duck before: the male has a dramatic rufus head and a light blue bill; the female is much plainer, with a blue-grey bill. As I’ve always been particularly susceptible to red-heads, I’m glad I made the journey.

Also noted in and around the Creek were:
Three of the at least five cats on the rocks. That’s a Horned grebe there in the water. I’ve seen feral cats throughout my explorations of Brooklyn’s wildness, but these were the best-looking and least skittish ever. They’re a major problem for wildlife.
The Quester I, Jerry Bianco’s homemade submarine. This is not to be confused with Duke Riley’s homemade submarine. Brooklyn boys do dream big.
A soft-shelled clam, what we carnivores call a steamer. There were also ribbed mussel shells around the rocks, but the most common sight was, alas, plastic crap:


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