Posts Tagged 'Green-Wood'

Three Common Brooklyn Damselflies

In my experience, these are the three most common Brooklyn damselflies. Eastern Forktail male. Beware that Rambur’s Forktail and Furtive Forktail males also have variations on this green thorax/blue end segments coloring. Fragile Forktail male. The broken green lines on the thorax, upside down exclamation points in this case, are unique. Not sure where this “Fragile” name comes from, since I see this species all over the place. Seems like a tough little critter to me.This is a female Forktail — you can just see the exclamation points. Note that the scale is different for all these pictures. The Forktails (Ischnura genus) are small, running from just under an inch to nearly an inch and a half long depending on the species.Here’s a Fragile ovipositing, dipping her abdomen under water to lay her eggs. Familiar Bluet male. Several of the mostly-blue bluets of the Enallagama genus can only really be told apart by their cerci. These are the structures at the end of the abdomen. They use these to grasp females during sex. Only male and females of the same species “fit” together. Attached to him just behind her head, she can bend forward to attach herself to his second abdominal section, the location of his genitalia.Behold, the “wheel” of mating. There are two damselfly nymph husks on this vertical twig. After hatching, damselfly larva become fierce little aquatic predators. They molt as they grow underwater. Given the date these were spotted, early June, these must have overwintered in Sylvan Water before emerging on a warm day to break out as the adult, flying form. See the green eyes of an emerging adult? It will have to harden off and develop some color over the next few hours.Looks like a brand new Fragile Forktail, soon to start clearing the air of tiny insects. (Click all images to fill uyp your screen.)

Recent Birds

Spotted Sandpiper. A few have been working their way around the edges of the ponds in Green-Wood.Black-throated Blue Warbler.Eastern Kingbird.Hooded Warbler female.Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Female, much plainer than the showy male.Most of our migrants are insectivores, but these big-beaks are seed-crushers.
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George Boorujy’s Gang of Warblers is now available as a print. Very reasonably priced, and buying will benefit the continuation of the Audubon Mural Project.

Raptor Wednesday

An Osprey circled over Sylvan Water looking for sign of fish below. Sylvan Water, haunt of, at various times, cormorants, kingfishers, and herons, was not producing breakfast for this huge raptor.Note the toes, swept back under the tail. When these birds dive, they move their feet forward to strike and grasp their fishy prey.
Shallow water hunters, they don’t go into the water deeply, although you may occasionally see one dunking.
They eat live fish almost exclusively, but as with almost everything you read about birds, there are exceptions. They have sometimes been observed eating carrion (fish, mammal, reptile…).

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A one-two punch on Trump’s continuing assault on democracy and the Republican betrayal of America:

1. The Mueller Report’s clear presentation of Trump, Trump Jr., and the Trump campaign alliance’s with Russians, and the obstruction of justice thereafter.

2. The militarization of civilian politics and the making of the immigration-gestapo ICE, “a loyal official militia.” (That is spying on us, of course.) By the way, did you know Border Patrol was once run by white supremacists?

Mammal Monday

Telephoto edition.There were at least two young squirrels in here.
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Interesting programs at the Linnaean Society and Brooklyn Bird Club tomorrow. Unfortunately at the same time. The LSNY is a double-header: Sara Lewis on fireflies, followed by J. Drew Lanham on the art of writing natural history. The BBC has Tessa Boase on the fight in Britain against feather fashion.

Old Nests

The nesting season is already upon us, especially for such early nesters as owls, some raptors, doves. So, here’s one last look at some of the previous year’s nest. These have all made it through the winter, in one form or another. Above, the rough pottery suggests American Robins, who line the inside of their nests with mud.It’s remarkable that these dangling woven bags made by Baltimore Orioles manage to hold eggs, adults, and squirmy youngsters. And then make it through the winter. More and more artificial fibers (rope, fishing line, ribbon) turn up in these things: will some be re-purposed this year? Not that this is necessarily a good idea! Fishing line, for instance, can easily choke nestlings. (On this note: I gather well-meaning people are giving various fibers to the birds, thinking this is a good idea: it isn’t.)Very twiggy in a shrub. Mockingbirds?About two feet above the water, this one looks brand new. Red-winged Blackbird? Another woven affair, about fifteen feet up in a maple. Perhaps the product of one of the locally breeding vireo species.
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Rebecca Solnit on the problem with heroes.

At the end of the bath…

And so our saga comes to an end. I had walked around a corner and there was this Red-tailed Hawk on the edge of the water. A large weeping willow was near by, so I used it as cover to get a bit closer. I got this look. It wasn’t as if the bird didn’t know I was there. But it didn’t give a fig (leaf?) for my presence and went about its ablutions. The whole sequence can be seen here.
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Allow me to call your attention to this excellent short essay on humor in our dark age.

How To Bathe, Part 5

Grooming.Never forget your surroundings.Air dry.
Part 4.
Part 3.
Part 2.
Part 1.


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