Posts Tagged 'Fort Tilden'

Pipilo erythrophthalmus

Eastern Towhee, often more heard than seen because they like the shadows of the shrubs and the woodland floor and the thickness of the scrub. “Pipilo” comes from the Latin for to peep or to chirp. This is a male, seen in Green-Wood.In the southeast, you can find them with white eyes. Up here they have red eyes. The species epithet, erythrophthalmus, means red-eyed. The light wasn’t quite right for revealing that very well.But check out the different patterns and shadings on this vent-view. Of course, this is breeding season. Out at Fort Tilden on Sunday, several males were seen and heard with a vengeance. The throat feathers fly when these boys sing out.There was not a warbler to be seen in that barrier beach scrub (not yet nearly as green as inland Brooklyn, which really started glowing this weekend). But, being in the middle of concurrent towhee, wren, and thrasher songs certainly made up for that.

Waiting Out the Winter

Two specimens from the general area of back-of-the-beach scrublands at Fort Tilden. Big silk moth cocoons, I think.From a distance, they look like lingering leaves, of which each bush or tree still had a few.

Mussel-breaking

This Herring Gull* dropped this mussel on the beach twice, to no effect. The first drop on a parking lot, however, was quite successful.

*A sharp-eyed reader caught my initial error in calling this a Ring-billed Gull.

Fort Tilden Autumn

IMG_4181IMG_4179IMG_4189IMG_4176Note: We actually did see porpoises or dolphins swimming parallel to the beach in the strong surf.

Hopper, Cricket

IMG_4248Good sand-colored camouflage here.IMG_4256Here, not so much, but then crickets are usually tucked away someplace, heard much more often than seen. Grasshoppers and crickets (and katydids, etc.) are in the order Orthoptera, the “straight-winged.”

Pluvialis squatarola Updated

Pluvialis squatarolaUPDATED, edited, and corrected:

An astute eye and excellent photographer, Deb Allen has let me know that this is actually a Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola). The bird is sporting non-breeding plumage, hence the lack of the tell-tale black belly (which, to make things interesting, the American Golden Plover also sports). Sorry about the error, indignor quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus. I am always open to corrections.

Semipalmated Sandpiper. Not to be confused with the Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus). “Semipalmated” means it has short webs between its toes: “palmated” meaning webbed. A good reminder that many of these names were based on dead specimens in hand, where you can see this kind of detail.Pluvialis squatarolaThree were working the wrack-line at Fort Tilden. The birds are in-between their breeding grounds in the Arctic and their non-breeding grounds along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of South America.

Blooms and Pods

asterSmooth Aster
goldenGoldenrod.
podsHoneylocust.

Monarchs

Danaus plexippusThe air above Fort Tilden’s narrow reach was full of Tree Swallows and, to a lesser extent, Monarch Butterflies. The Monarchs were being pushed hard towards the east in the breeze. We saw about a dozen of them. One was quite high, noticed as we watched a Peregrine on patrol way up there.Danaus plexippusDanaus plexippus. Some were still eating. This is a good reminder that, this late in the year, there’s are no milkweeds in bloom around here. But the goldenrods are ripe, tiny little suns of nectar and pollen.

Merlin Hunting

Falco columbariusA plump silhouette on a dead pine. The first rule of birding is to always look at the anomalies. And hope the sun comes out! Falco columbariusFalco columbariusBecause that, and an old concrete gun platform to lean on, makes for a better photograph.Falco columbariusThis bird was hunting around these dead pines at Fort Tilden. Falco columbariusIt perched on several of them and made various passes around the area. At one point something was caught and eaten, presumably an insect.

Bombus/Solidago

bombusThe cold snap combined with the rain took the bees by storm. They were clustered to various late summer blossoms Friday and Saturday, stunned if not lost. But yesterday, the air warmed, and by afternoon the sun was out. The goldenrods at Fort Tilden were alight with a few of these hardy little beasts. Note the pollen smeared everywhere. The pollination year comes to an end, but the last of this year’s bumblebees soldier on.


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