You may wait a long time before one of these gliders comes to a stop. Both the Spot-winged (Pantala hymenaea) and Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens) dragonflies seem to spend their whole working day in the air. These are the constantly moving yellow to golden dragonflies that are now being seen above our meadows and grassy swards. Their zig-zaggy dance is hypnotic.
I think we have more Spot-winged than Wandering, but I don’t net the critters out of the air, so I can’t say for sure. Whichever, Green-Wood has been a good place for them recently. A dozen or more at a time, clearly onto something edible which we can’t even see. And if you look in the distance and the light is right, there are even more. At eye-height or above, or lower. Moving, moving moving.
But perhaps if you’re doing something else, you’ll catch one taking a break. We were underneath a Persimmon tree. This Spot-winged slipped under the canopy to perch above us: it was taking shelter, out of sight of predators and… well, not this paparazzo.This is only the second time I’ve ever seen one of these perched. The spots (really more like fat commas) on the hind wings are close to the body and fairly subtle, almost impossible to see in the air. (Clicking on these images will open them to a larger version.)
Both of these Pantala species are migratory.
Published July 22, 2016
Tags: Green-Wood, trees
When I spotted Brian Nash Gill’s Woodcut recently, I was intrigued. A few days later I came across this character-laden stump in Green-Wood.
Of course, this isn’t a print, it’s just a picture with the “Noir” filter on my iPhone camera.
…Frog (Lithobates catesbeianus).
And bull! too, to the repulsive display of nativism, racism, ignorance, and unparalleled mendacity at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
One of the many surplus Red-eared Sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans) dumped into local waterways. Idiots buy them and tire of them and let them loose. The red “ear” is actually just a mark; on this specimen it’s rather pale; sometimes it doesn’t show at all. I once counted 70 RESs, which are native to the southeast and the Mississippi Valley, along the Lullwater from bridge to bridge. Releasing pet turtles is illegal because of the risk of disease, but that stops nobody.
Why do people insist on taking animals from the wild for their own, all-too-often ephemeral, entertainment? I suppose if they see it in a store or bucket on the street — it’s actually illegal to sell turtles smaller than 4″ because of the risk of salmonella — they don’t think it’s a wild animal to begin with. Or one that will grow out of a toy aquarium before too long; these animals can live for decades. Or after Junior’s attention has moved on to other whims, and that cute lil’ turtle is no longer so.
There’s a subculture of fancy turtle and tortoise fans that make much of their fetish here in the city and elsewhere, pleased how their pet, for instance, spends the winter in the freezer to mimic the amazing down-cycling some of these animals use to get through the frozen months. Really? You’re proud of having de-natured a wild creature for your own vanity and ego? And spare me the argument of breeders, who are doing it for profit.
There’s a now-famous tortoise that is walked in Central Park to much social media hoopla. But the poor creature belongs in habitat on another continent, not Central Park. Such attention, like dumb kids’ movies, has probably amped-up the demand, unleashing the cruel and destructive pet-hunting industry — for where there are warped desires, the profiteers will leap in to provide and crush everything else beneath their feet.
Published June 21, 2016
Tags: birding, birds, Brooklyn, Green-Wood
The other day, I heard an American Robin (Turdus migratorius) singing at 4:09 a.m. Another night-singer you might hear in our parts is the Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos), pictured here in full diurnal aria.
What you definitely won’t hear here is the “Blackbird singing in the dead of night” of the Beatles, because that’s Turdus merula, the Common Blackbird of Europe. Same as the bird that jumps out of the pie; in fact, it’s very like it’s Turdus cousin, our Robin, in habits, except for singing all through the night. In the Scottish Highlands, I did hear them through the short nights of summer.
Our smallest dragonfly species, the Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera). This is a male. A female was also seen dipping her abdomen down into a lens of water atop a waterlily leaf, depositing her eggs. Blue Dashers, Green Darners, and Black Saddlebags were also about, but we certainly haven’t yet hit peak dragonfly.