Published February 23, 2017
Tags: Green-Wood, trees
The twigs right now! The twigs! Green, red, orange, brown. Spring is coiled for the spring.
This is our old friend Liriodendron tulipifera. Look at those leaf scars! The bundle scars, too, are nice and obvious. In the Native Flora in Winter course I just took at NYBG, some species’ bundle scars were damned hard to see, even under magnification (magnification is a necessity in this endeavor).
Here’s how Harlow describes these in his key: “terminal buds with 2 outer scales; flattened, glabrous; leaf scares nearly circular; bundle scars numerous, scattered in an irregular ellipse.” Core and Ammons: “Leaf scars alternate, large, round; bundle-scars many, in an irregular ellipse; stiplue-scars linear, encircling the twig.”
Hey, we’re doing Where the Wild Things Are again on Tuesday.
Published February 22, 2017
Tags: birding, birds, Brooklyn, Green-Wood
See me?Well, I don’t want to be seen.
Speaking of being seen! There are lots of elections this year, and although the Republican anti-democracy campaign plows full speed ahead, their nasty little oligopoly isn’t here yet.
The purple, duck-billed buds of Liriodendron tulipifera. These are just over 2cm long and were taken from some recent windfall branches.
Thoreau seems to have become acquainted with “tulip trees” on Staten Island, where he lived from May-December of 1843, having gone there to tutor Ralph Waldo Emerson’s brother’s children. I read in one source that that there were no specimens of this species in his native Concord. The tree’s range does go into Massachusetts and Vermont, even Canada in some sources, so I wonder if they were all cut down by HDT’s time.
I needed a background, and Leslie Day’s Field Guide to the Street Trees of New York City came in hand. This book does not actually include Tuliptrees because they are very rarely found on our streets. There was one right around the corner of my old Cobble Hill apartment. If you remember, that was where I found this Eastern Tiger Swallow caterpillar, which feeds on this tree.
Tomorrow is a sort of national or general strike against the extremism of the Trump regime. Not sure how much headwind they have, but Strike4Democracy has more details. Backyard & Beyond will join this action.
Meanwhile, March 8 is scheduled as a Day Without Women.
Until then, folks should read Engler & Engler’s This Is An Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-first Century.
Published February 14, 2017
Tags: Brooklyn, Green-Wood, mammals
It was a very chilly day.
FYI: There was such a demand for my Brooklyn Brainery Where the Wild Things Are NYC class that we’re doing it again on February 28th at 6:30.
Published February 8, 2017
Tags: birding, birds, Brooklyn, Green-Wood
It is not easy being a large hawk. They’re slow, obvious, and nobody likes them. A case in point: this young Red-tail (Buteo jamaicensis) was being hassled by several Blue Jays, who screamed and shouted in alarm. They were pressing the advantages of the many smaller against the larger one. Even a bold Black-capped Chickadee got involved in the verbal melee.But it wasn’t just verbal. My fellow-birder noticed this disturbance on the bird’s head. Then both of us saw one of the Jays slam into this spot, no doubt exacerbating the effects of the earlier blow(s).
Yes, it is not easy being an airborne hunter. Which helps to explain why most won’t make it to their first birthday.
FYI: it looks like there are still spots available for our Croton Point Bald Eagle expedition.
It sometimes seems like I have a raptor sighting every day. So, for the last month, I’ve been keeping tabs. My “daily raptor” is a good practice. In the political shitstorm, it is my daily rapture.
Over the 31 days of January I had 37 raptor sightings, the majority of them (21) from my windows. Others were seen around and about Brooklyn (Bush Terminal, Green-Wood, overhead here and there) and the Bronx (in and near NYBG). There have been four species: Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine, Cooper’s and Red-tailed Hawk. Cooper’s and Red-tailed are the most frequent. Some of these sightings were undoubtedly the same bird, like that reliable male Kestrel on the antenna (who hasn’t been seen since the 16th). My protocol was loose; if I saw a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk circling the neighborhood ten minutes after seeing a juvenile RTH circling the neighborhood, I didn’t count it as another sighting. But if I saw a juvenile three hours later, I did.
So how about some eagles? I’m leading a Brooklyn Brainery excursion to Croton Point Park on Feb. 11th.
“I believe that what we need is a nonviolent national general strike of the kind that has been more common in Europe than here. Let’s designate a day on which no one (that is, anyone who can do so without being fired) goes to work, a day when no one shops or spends money, a day on which we truly make our economic and political power felt, a day when we make it clear: how many of us there are, how strong and committed we are, how much we can accomplish.” Francine Prose.