Posts Tagged 'mammals'

Mammal Monday

If it’s quiet enough, not generally a condition found within the bounds of NYC, a squirrel gnawing on a walnut will ring throughout the area.The eating of buds, on the other paw, is much more subtle. You may only notice when things start falling on your head.

Mammal Monday

Usually raccoons sleep off the night’s revels in a conifer, as here in Green-Wood, but when in Rome….Someplace, for instance, where the evergreens are in short supply, as in this section of Pelham Bay. A sharper eye than mine pointed out that this hammock is fundamentally made up of poison ivy vine.

In the news: canine distemper virus is sweeping through the city’s raccoon population. Since the infected raccoons can infect dogs, perhaps this will get people to leash their dogs in the woods? The NYCParks website warns about it for Pelham Bay Park. The Prospect Park Alliance has had an advisory up since October. Green-Wood, of course, isn’t a park: no dogs allowed, although it does have feral cats.

I’ve come across five dead or dying raccoons in Green-Wood in the last month.Here’s a sad trio of them. Point of argument, there are probably too many raccoons in Green-Wood. Many of the big trees there have their bases ringed with raccoon turds. The animals are nurtured by the garbage accessible on the bordering streets, the rich takings of fruit and nuts within, and, of course, no predators. Not to be vulgarly Malthusian, but viruses love large populations.

Mammal Monday

There’s not much cover in Green-Wood this time of year.

Mammal Monday

This squirrel was first spotted with a mouth full of leaves. It was lining this arboreal snug.

The big leafy bundles in trees, sometimes mistaken for bird’s nests, are summer squirrel nests. (Actually, none of our birds build nests of leaves.) In winter, squirrels want something more substantial: a tree hole, an attic…. A squirrel nest is called a drey or dray, which the OED tracks back to E17 but throws up its hands when it comes to etymology: “[Origin unkn.]”

Mammal Monday

The signs of raccoons are everywhere in Green-Wood, particularly at the base of trees where they leave their poop piles. They sometimes also leave an impression…. We were surprised to spot this one sleeping in the rough on a chilly day. You’d think it would be snug in some tree hole somewhere waiting for the night.

Bat Outta Green-Wood

About three weeks ago, I was surprised by a bat in Green-Wood batting around in the early afternoon. It zipped about in a clearing for a moment or three.
It was an Eastern Red (Lasiurus borealis). Too bad I was in the bat’s shadow.

Just heard about a more recent sighting: warm days can bring them out, but is there enough for them to eat?

The Eastern Red Bat is not one of the species that migrate to spend winters in cave hibernacula. They will move to warmer climates, for instance into the southeast. But now that it’s so damn warm up here, too, will they stick around? When it does get cold, they can burrow into the leaf litter (huh!) and enter a state of torpor for short periods of time.

Mammal/Mushroom Combo Monday

A melanistic variation on the ubiquitous Eastern Grey Squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis. These darker ones are said to tolerate colder weather better. Another notion has it that urban environments, with less predators, are also more likely to see greater numbers of both black and white variations of S. carolinensis. Our first example is digging up a nut or berry, but these squirrels are so successful because they’re practically omnivorous. The leftover-monger with snout in the hazelnut spread is from 2015 in Prospect Park. Besides scavenging our ample waste-food, gathering seeds, nuts, and fruits, and the occasional invertebrate and even vertebrate, they also eat mushrooms. Not sure if the small, tentative bite marks here, however, are squirrel. This mushroom was found in Green-Wood, which interestingly doesn’t have as high a density of squirrels as Prospect Park or the botanical garden in the Bronx (first picture).


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