Posts Tagged 'Inwood'

Pothole

IMG_6951Seemingly drilled into the schist of Inwood Hill by some kind of large-bore drill, this is actually a glacial pothole, scoured out by the mighty power of swirling water and abrasive stones during the heady days of the Wisconsin glaciation. The diameter is a little over a foot and a half.

The heights of Inwood, very like a whale from the vantage point of the Hudson, are the northern prong of the Fort Washington Ridge. Geologically, this rock is known as the Manhattan Formation, made of mica and hornblende schist. (“Manhattan’s gneiss, but full of schist” goes the immortal line.) This is the good, hard stuff, the serious, no-nonsense rock, but everything has its weaknesses, and time grinds it all up, as in the mills of the gods.

But Let’s Not Get Too Sentimental

Turdus migratoriusAmerican Robin nests are the easiest to see, not least because there are so many of them. Turdus migratoriusThis one was in Inwood Hill Park. When we walked by again coming down the hill, it wasn’t filled by the parent bird. Sometimes the birds will dart off, but that does leave the eggs vulnerable. The day before we watched as three Crows each took a turn eating the eggs in a high nest in Prospect Park. A bit of blue egg was seen. Other thrushes have blue eggs, so it may not have been a Robin, but it probably was.

So Crows are notorious for raiding nests, but their reputation here is much overblown. This may surprise you, but this species actually takes more bird eggs than Crows: Tamias striatusYes, the adorable Eastern Chipmunk. Which just goes to show you that moral views of nature should always be suspect.

Home, Sweet Home

XylocopaXylocopaA Carpenter bee (Xylocopa) in the wood of a Parks Department sign at Inwood Hill.

At top, there are holes for birds at both gable ends, and House Sparrows, of course, have moved in.Passer domesticus

Building

Cyanocitta cristataA Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) shapes a growing nest with its body. “Its” because this could be either male or female, as both work on the nest. Cornell’s All About Birds does say that on average males do more gathering of nesting materials and females more actual nest-building. Note the ribbon: our cast-offs are finding some use.

Inwoodwood

redrockLooking geological, an old tree slowly returns to the elements.

City Lores

InwoodI saw my first egrets of the year Saturday, with three Great Egrets and four Black-crowned Night-herons at Floyd Bennett Field’s little freshwater pond, amidst a thunderous chorus of spring peepers. On Sunday, I saw another Great Egret in Inwood, looking here towards the Bronx, with perhaps a bit of Marble Hill in there as well.Ardea albaSpring means breeding, and these birds flare emerald in the lores during breeding season. Ardea albaThe lore is the space between the eye and bill. Hard to see without optics even if the bird is close.Ardea albaLike some experimental teen’s eyeshadow, no?

Weekend Birds, Ice, Sky

Mimus polyglottosNorthern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglots). This bird was quite territorial, chasing robins, sparrows, and me, making two passes overhead. Spring must be not too far away.Picoides pubescensDowny Woodpercker (Picoides pubescens). A rather subtle tapping alerted me to this one.LarusSize comparison between Herring (Larus smithsonianus) and Ring-billed (Larus delawarensis). All of the above were in Brooklyn Bridge Park.InwoodGratuitous: Inwood Hill in winter with Canada geese and a couple of Mallards in the foreground.HudsonAnd the Hudson from Fort Tryon. Spent some time — but not that much time in the cold — scanning the ice floes for Bald Eagles. No luck. A friend in Riverdale spotted a dozen eagles on the ice below him on the river in the thick of the cold this week. sky


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