Posts Tagged 'Marine Park'

Clapper Rail


From Dead Horse Bay to Marine Park to Green-Wood.

From the top, springtime is icumen in: American Oystercatcher, Osprey, Killdeer, Pine Warbler, Golden-crowned Warbler.

Marine Park

Hot and fecund summer comes at you and doesn’t let up. My camera bursts with photos after a walk, an exploration, an adventure. Time barrels along, even though the humidity seems to want to slow it down. These are all from a trip three weeks ago to Marine Park on Brooklyn’s southern edge.A nice little example of the Spartina alterniflora and Geukensia demissa relationship.This dense wet muck soil would be anoxic without the fiddler crabs burrowing into it. They’re the third leg (claw?) of the salt marsh’s grass/mussel/crab trifecta.But be careful, little crabs, the Great Egret stalks at low tide.Even murkier, a Yellow-crowned Heron does the same.It’s also time for shorebirds to start thinking/feeling about heading south. This yellowlegs was grooming and resting. Greater, methinks, not Lesser.Overhead, fledgling Barn Swallows were being fed in mid-air. A half dozen take a break; there’s also a Tree Swallow at the top.The caterpillar here is probably destined for the next generation of Red-winged Blackbirds.



The post-truth reactionary regime is already going strong: half the states are lying about abortion. 

Mammal Monday

Rat on the rocks.


This Yellow-crowned Night Heron was belying its name and hunting during the day. Fiddler crabs were the bird’s target. Stalking oh-so-slowly until the final jab with this heavy bill. The crabs were swallowed whole. Watched half a dozen meet this fate over ten minutes. These herons nest here in the city, usually at its edges. In general, I don’t see them inland as much as Black-crowned Night Herons.

And, boy, do they like crabs! This Cornell page on diet lists ten different types of crabs, along with much else that goes into their gullets.

As a student of American history, I’ve taken it as a given there’s a deep state, founded in 1974 with the National Security Act. It’s not the “Deep State” Trump and his Fox choir rail about, but it certainly has grown some way beyond democracy.

Mockingbird Tales

Over the course of a couple of hours at a single vantage point, amidst many other sights and sounds, we watched Mockingbirds do their thing. Which is noisy territorial policing. In the distance, a Mockingbird chased a female Kestrel. (This also happened quite a bit with the local #BrooklynKestrels after fledging; a Mocker seemed to have appropriated the apartment building down the block during nesting.) The fledgling pictured above harried a Northern Flicker before getting into a swirl with another Mockingbird. Another adult was going after some of the three dozen Starlings who perched on an unused Osprey nest platform.

They’ll sometimes buzz humans, too. Mostly, though, they give a wheezy hiss as they pop up suddenly when you get in their space and give you the stink-eye.


And now back to the front. Is fascism the apotheosis of neoliberalism? Sure seems like it.

Raptor Wednesday

A family of Osprey at Marine Park about three weeks ago. Parents on the posts. One youngster trying out those great big wing things, which can stretch to nearly six feet. The middle one squirting a squiggle of poop into the marsh.

A tree grows in Brooklyn, too, or at least a bush grows on an Osprey nest. I’m guessing a pretty live one was bought to the nest, or else something sprouted in the wood/poop/shell/feather/fish compost of the nest.

Last cattle roundup on Facebook?


Actual entomologists often trap their subject specimens. Some dragonflies can’t be identified unless they’re in the hand. Others rarely stop moving. (Red meadowhawks, I’m thinking of you.)Not that “capturing” a dragonfly by camera is easy. The swaying reed, the moving camera, the photographer’s crappy eyesight… When I spot a dragonfly I don’t think I’ve seen before, my heart starts racing. Which is unfortunate in dragonfly season, already hot enough as it is. These were definitely unfamiliar. Nice of them to perch, too!These are all Seaside Dragonlets (Erythrodiplax berenice). The darks ones are male, the yellow female.Look at this patterning! I think this is a variation on the female.Females further south don’t have as much spotting on the wings.

It turns out I’ve seen the females before, on Plumb Beach, which is not far from where I saw these at Marine Park. That first time was under quite different light conditions, though. The jumping yellow here wasn’t imprinted on my eyes the first time.

This species is unusual: they lay their eggs in salt water, so look for them around salt marshes.

* * *

Paine: “Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man.”

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).


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