Posts Tagged 'NYBG'

Nests

Green Heron, evidently abandoned. A rather loose collection, looking precarious, like a Mourning Dove’s, but larger and twiggier.Red-winged Blackbird.  Lots of grassy-sedgy material in these whirling constructions.Fierce defenders of their breeding areas, RWBBs will go after anything that gets in their space, including much bigger birds like Red-tailed Hawks. As I approached this lake, one chased off a Green Heron. A friend in Illinois was recently attacked by a RWBB. The ones around these nests just yelled at me.Oops! Baltimore Oriole male leaving nest after dropping off some chow.

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Anil Dash put this very well in one-two tweets yesterday:

“We don’t have effective registration of firearm sales only because gun advocates want to preserve the ability to shoot federal officials.”

“That’s not conjecture, that’s the stated reason. Hunting & self-defense are not compromised by registering firearm sales.”

Case in point, Raul Rand, while running for President last year, shared this tweet from one of his lunatic fringe allies: “Why do we have the Second Amendmenment? It’s not to shoot deer. It’s to shoot at the government when it becomes tyrannical!”

Douglas-cones

This color! Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) cones start out red. As they mature through the spring, they turn this surprising and delightful purplish.Then they green as the chlorophyll comes into its own. In the fall, they will dry out and turn tan-brown, opening to release up to 50 tiny seeds per cone. A tree has to be about 20 years old before it starts producing cones, and the more mature trees produce more. This UC site has a lot more information about this species.

The three-pointed bracts sticking out from the scales of the pendulous cones are distinctive.

These photos are from way out of the native range of this wonderful tree, in the New York Botanical Garden. Here’s a little something I wrote about them on their native slopes.

And in a throwback to Thoreau Thursdays, here’s a fine thought-provoking review of Walls’s new biography of Thoreau.

Wood Thrush

If the rich fluty yodeling of a Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) hadn’t alerted me, I probably wouldn’t have noticed their nest.You can just see the top of the bird’s head here, rusty orange, with white eye-ring.And the heavy spotting on the breast.

Tis the season. Clutch size for this species is 3-4. The eggs are blue/bluish, slightly paler than the classic Robin’s egg blue. Incubation is done by the female and lasts 13 days. The species is declining across its range; one factor may be acid rain, which leaches calcium from the soil, resulting in decreases of calcium-rich invertebrate prey needed during breeding. As a side note, this was in the Thain Family Forest in the NYBG, which boasts that it’s the last old growth patch in NYC: the yellow signs of a recent pesticide application were still up.

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I was recently reading some of Stephen Jay Gould’s essays — from his famous monthly run in Natural History, which have thankfully all been collected — and thought, wow, here is a voice sadly missed. What else I’ve read of him so far, The Mismeasure of Man and Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale ad the Nature of History, are richly rewarding; and now I intend to go deeper. This appreciation by Matthew Lau concurs.

Trilliums and Trilliums

These were some of the native trilliums in the New York Botanic Garden earlier this month.

The seeds of these plants are distributed by ants, who are attracted to the lipid- and protein-packed elaiosomes (“oily body”) on the seeds.

Like all wildflowers, these beauties are best left alone. Picking the flower can kill the whole plant. In some states, taking trilliums (in general, or particularly rare and endangered species, depending on the state) is illegal. It’s a pity that such laws have to be made. It’s freaking 2017, already!

Sigh, so it is. Here’s how the loose cannon in the White House is smashing the ship of democracy to smithereens. And here he is compromising intel sources by boasting of it to… the Russians.

How many deaths will Trump’s willful ignorance and arrogant incompetence lead to?

Whole Birds

Was there some grumbling about Tuesday’s bird-parts photos? Here’s an Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) to tide you over until you get outside.And a Chestnut-sided Warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica).One of my favorite warblers. A Veery (Catharus fuscescen), our least marked thrush.Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina), our most-marked thrush.Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea), le rouge et le noir.

Little Brown Jug

Arrowleaf or heartleaf ginger, also known as little brown jug (Hexastylis arifolia). You can see the arrow and heart inspiration, but what’s with the jugs?As in wild ginger (Asarum canadense), a related plant, the action is at ground-level. The little brown jugs (LBJs?) are flowers that start out green and age brown. While these particular specimens were found in the native plant section of the NYBG, they are more specifically native to the SE, getting as north as Virginia and as west as Kentucky. Ants evidently disperse the seeds.

(Remember, these aren’t related to the ginger root you eat.)

Don’t Know Jack?

Someone hath browsed off the overhanging spathes and tips of the spadicies of these Jack-in-the-pulpits (Arisaema triphyllum). This gives us a good view of the pin-striped goodness within these curious flowers.Otherwise you have to get personal.This is a flower that hides itself.Who is this Jack, you might well ask, and what is he doing in the pulpit? To say the spadix “looks like a man,” as does Better Homes & Gardens, seems quite the euphemism. The part is not the whole. According to this site, the plant is pollinated by fungus gnats and thrips. Also of note on that page: the ill-tasting plant scares off herbivores, so who did the work seen up top? Two legged? Deer not yet in the know?


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