Posts Tagged 'Green-Wood'

Whole Birds

Was there some grumbling about Tuesday’s bird-parts photos? Here’s an Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) to tide you over until you get outside.And a Chestnut-sided Warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica).One of my favorite warblers. A Veery (Catharus fuscescen), our least marked thrush.Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina), our most-marked thrush.Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea), le rouge et le noir.

Barely Glimpsed Birds

This is a natural history blog, not a photographic one. I try to use my best pictures for illustrative purposes, but my PowerShot SX50 definitely isn’t a SLR with a long lens. Sometimes I get a fine shot. Often not. You’ll notice few in-flight images here, for instance. And sometimes I get shots for reference’s sake only: what was that bird, or flower, or insect? So here are some recent less than great photo opportunities that still have, I think, some educational value.A Piliated Woodpecker (Hylatomus pileatus) in Great Swamp NWR. You can hear them — oh, can you hear them, their maniacal laugh resounding through the woods — and you can sometimes see them. Big as they are, though, they’re generally elusive.Saltmarsh Sparrow (Ammodramus caudacutus) at Marine Park Saltmarsh Nature Center, another elusive species that usually lurks amid the reeds and grasses. So not one to pose too long. There were two; perhaps they’re setting up a nest? There are nesting records for Jamaica Bay and Staten Island. The Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) stand out, but how those little ones in front of them? Click on image to make it larger. The peeps sure blend in, rather better than at the beach. Semipalmated Sandpipers (Calidris pusilla), I think: their legs are barely visible, but don’t look yellow (which could turn them into Least Sandpipers).A bathing Blue-winged Warbler (Vermivora cyanoptera). The two wing bars, not visible here, and the line through the eye of the yellow face and head are the “tells” here. A male American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) is unmistakable even without a head.You’d think an orange and black bird would be easy to see, but male Baltimore Orioles (Icterus galbula) are often best revealed by their song.

Raptor Wednesday

 

The all-Merlin (Falco columbarius) edition.
In Green-Wood. This falcon, seen here on two different perches, was one of two by the Crescent Water at the same time. The other flew into a nearby tree — but the photography possibilities were not worth posting home about. The second bird took off, followed by the first. I wasn’t sure if this territorial or courtship behavior.Another day, another place, this time Marine Park. An hour before sunset, so that House Sparrow looks like dinner.

Sibley gives the following stats for average Merlin size:
length: 10″; wingspan: 24″; weight: 6.5 oz (109g); females always bigger than males.
For House Sparrow:
length: 6.25″; wingspan 9.5″; weight: 0.98 oz (28g).

Raptor Wednesday

Red-tailed Hawks are the Old Faithful of NYC raptors. I see them regularly from my windows, passing parallel to the moraine or swirling over the flatlands below. This was one of two in the same tree in Green-Wood recently. Mating and nesting season is a “go”!Here’s a Prospect Park pair, moments after mating. Note the difference in belly plumage: individual Red-tails have a lot of unique characteristics (all birds do, but it’s much easier to see on the larger specimens). Female left, male right. He’s also a little smaller. The birds had been perched about a 100 yards apart, looking in opposite directions. The female flew to a tree near the male and started to make the noises that must mean, “hey sailor!” because he flew right over. Bird copulation is quite brief for most species, a few seconds long; they may mate multiple times during the day, though, and dozens if not hundreds of times during before brooding.

*
So, to recap:

The President of the United States and members of his administration and current and former associates are under investigation by the FBI for collusion with Russia.

The Russians are sitting on the information hacked from the RNC.

There is no basis for the President’s wild claims that President Obama put a “tapp” on his phones. And, true-to-form, Trump is double-downing in support of his reckless lie, red-meat to his sociopathic fans.

Meanwhile, the GOP’s horrendous Stripping of Health Care from Americans Act has actually made a couple dozen Republican reps nervous. Go get ’em.

Scolopax minor

The first of three American Woodcocks seen on the Brooklyn Bird Club’s Woodcock walk in Green-Wood last weekend.Same bird from the other side. A dozen people walk by stealthily…. The sun came out. But it’s at dusk that these non-shore shorebirds do their magic. The males begin to vocalize repeatedly with a peent/beent call. Then they fly into the air, to descend with a twittering made by their wings. The ladies are impressed by these displays. The whole song and dance can barely be seen in the gloaming, but it can be heard, and we shall listen Sunday night (rain-checked from the original schedule).This one was just about two feet away from the one above, but harder to see. The leaf had just blown onto the bird’s bill before I snapped this. Since then, we had a storm, and in the last couple of days dozens of these birds have been spotted around the city. They’ve no place to hide. Just goes to show you how many of them are here, and how well hidden they usually are. But, exposed to predators like the city’s plague of feral cats, and food hard to get to in the frozen ground (they use those long bills to probe the soil), this unveiling can’t be good for them.

Great Blue & the Democracy of the Heart

Lo and behold, on a recent day I scanned the little islet in the midst of the Sylvan Water and found this Great Blue Heron. Had the bird stuck around all winter? (We’ve have very few days with frozen water). I did see a GBH sail across the Sunset Park plain back in January, heading for the harbor or beyond.

*
This is particularly compelling: the notion of “cognitive elite” and the political uses of calling your enemies stupid. I have definitely committed that sin.

Pod

Gymnocladus dioicusVariation on a Kentucky Coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus) pod.

“Listen to them! The children of the night. What music they make.” Ok, Bela Lugosi’s Count D is talking about the Transylvanian wolves, but Brooklyn has some interesting early spring night musicians, too. Join me on a Brooklyn Brainery expedition to the edges of the borough to listen for spring peepers, choral frogs, and American Woodcock doing their mating flights on the 18th. It will be cold and dark and we will be depending on our ears more than our our eyes, for a change.


Share

Bookmark and Share

Join 478 other followers

Nature Blog Network

Archives