Posts Tagged 'Jamaica Bay'

Blue On Blue


Two Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) were cutting across the parking lot repeatedly. They were gathering nest material: Seems awfully late, doesn’t it? Many species have already fledged this year. Others are well into incubation. But Cedar Waxwings are very late nesters: they want their young to be hungry around the same time as summer’s fruits and berries ripen. A Diamondback Terrapin nesting at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. She comes ashore, clambers towards some sandy soil, and starts digging a hole with her back feet before laying her eggs and covering them up. We saw more than a dozen in the waters, crawling around, or in the hands of Hofstra’s Jamaica Bay Terrapin Research crew. These terrapins, the only local turtle species that lives in briny water, have, like many turtle species, temperature sex determination. That’s right, the sex of the wee baby turtles is determined by temperature. Read more about JBTR research.

I also had a fantastic Independence Day with the terrapins (hey, it’s not their fault some idiots built JFK on their breeding grounds) some years ago.

Raptor Wednesday

Red tail feathers coming in! This Buteo jamaicensis looks like it was one of last year’s fledglings. They don’t get their brick-red tails until they’re a year old. Also a good view of the cummerbund-like belly-band that most of our best-dressed eastern Red-tailed Hawks sport.

Tree Swallows

Tachycineta bicolor.
The problem is staying on. Remember how the male American Kestrel bunched up his claws so not to dig into his partner’s back? Here, the male bites some head feathers. Ouch!

Forecast: Birds

A very few of the birds noted on recent trips to Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Central Park, and Green-Wood Cemetery:Exploration of nest box at Jamaica Bay’s West Pond. Troglodytes aedon. And then suddenly there were three of these bubbly-voiced House Wrens zooming about. But don’t fall for the small-is-cute thing. I reported this collar. Waiting to hear back.Agelaius phoeniceusBoom!Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus).The male. The female. Rather harder to photograph.Cardellina canadensis, Canada Warbler, one of the last migrants to arrive. Sturnus vulgaris.All ready to fledge — others have, while Baltimore Orioles are just starting their nests. Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus).Cedar Waxwing, Bombycilla cedrorum.

Rust Never Sleeps

Cedar-apple rust (Gymnosporangium juniperivirginianae) just past its peak gelatinous stage on an Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. These telial horns fire off spores during the wet spring season. The spores float off, perhaps to find a rose family tree like an apple or crabapple (Malus) for the the next stage of its life.

One of my favorite lifeforms.

Let’s Hear It For Humility

“Area Closed/Protected Natural Area.”

Just being a fan of the natural world’s beauties doesn’t mean you’re a friend of nature. Some people think their photography or their bird lists are more important than anything else. But no, they aren’t, not by a long shot. Primary is the care, caution, and respect we pay to the world we’ve done so much to harm. Humility dictates that we come second.

Photographers can sometimes be quite egregious, and bird-watchers get hopping mad about them, but there are also bird-watchers who trample and trespass, pound on trees to stir up owls, play recordings of birds during breeding season, and otherwise throw ethics under the SUVs of their ego and/or their wallets.


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