Posts Tagged 'Dead Horse Bay'

12th Month Insect

Diptera are the only things out and about now, and just barely. This fly was on the Dead Horse Bay beach the other day.

A gnat landed on my nose yesterday as I walked down the street.

Flies are hard to ID when they are not in hand. Out of a total of 80 iNaturalist Diptera observations, I have 24 identifications that are research grade.

The coyotes are coming. In fact, they’re already here. Here being NYC, specifically the Bronx — which is part of the mainland and abuts coyote-rich Westchester Co. — and Queens, which is only connected to America by bridges and tunnels. 45 individual coyotes have been charted in this study of our new neighbors. It’s a certainty they will show up in Brooklyn, which borders Queens. However, this single Kings County iNaturalist observation isn’t very convincing.

I saw one in Woodlawn in the Bronx years ago. It was in the middle of the afternoon. My friends were just waking up from a nap… why yes, they did lay down in the cemetery to nap. The coyote looked at me and I looked at the coyote. On our way, we said “We saw a coyote!” to the gate-keeper. He was very Blasé about, saying they crossed the road from Van Cortlandt Park.

A reputable source still has the best local sighting, however: a berg of ice headed down the Hudson with a coyote on one end and two bald eagles on the other.

Mud Waves

Corrugated tidal flats, a rippled landscape.
Some water is still trapped yards from the lowtide front. Somebody’s in there.
These sandy spaghetti-like strands are casings, thrown out of wormholes in the sand.
While we’re on the subject of worms, these are another kind of worm that build tunnels on shells (in this case a big Hardshell Clam.)


Rock revealed at low tide with at least two kinds of barnacles

Other specimens from the same low tide beach:
These are on metal, so the rust red gives it a nice Martian tinge.

In the UK? Today’s the GE!

Shore Dinner

I watched as this Herring Gull dropped this Hardshell Clam (quahog) one two three times before the shell broke apart.
The meaty deliciousness within went down the hatch pretty quickly.
Note the flecks in the eye.
The shelly remains.
Nearby was this half-eaten fish. Possibly Atlantic Menhaden.
When I returned about 45 minutes later, the remains were not being wasted.


From Dead Horse Bay to Marine Park to Green-Wood.

From the top, springtime is icumen in: American Oystercatcher, Osprey, Killdeer, Pine Warbler, Golden-crowned Warbler.

Patriotic Oystercatchers

Haematopus palliatusAmerican Oystercatchers (Haematopus palliatus) are starting to appear on the coast. Here’s a pair from the weekend.Haematopus palliatusLocal nesters, they make nests on beaches and dunes, which isn’t so good, considering beach crowds, unleashed dogs, four-wheeled vehicles (not at DHB, tho’) and other slings and arrows.

Scoter Revealed

Melanitta americanaNow here’s something you don’t see in Dead Horse Bay everyday. Melanitta americanaThis is a drake Black Scoter (Melanitta americana), a not uncommon sea duck, yet I’ve never seen one in any part of Jamaica Bay before. I’ve also never seen one alone, so I wondered if it was ill or hurt; but he seemed to preen and fly perfectly fine. This was my best-ever view of one of these diving ducks. The female is browner and lacks the swollen orange-yellow knob on the bill.

The Dream of Flight



AythyaThe great rafts of scaup that gather in Dead Horse and Gravesend Bays during the winter will soon be heading to breeding areas in the north. AythyaThe males are three-toned. The females are brownish with a touch of white on the cheek. I find separating the Greater (Aythya marilla) and Lesser (Aythya affinis) difficult.

Common Reed

Phragmites australisIt’s certainly photogenic, if nothing else. You don’t find much life in a patch of Phragmites, although Downy Woodpeckers and, as here, a Black-capped Chickadee in winter extremis, peck and poke among the dry stalks for evidence of invertebrates.Poecile atricapillus


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