Posts Tagged 'Prospect Park'

Accipiter gentilis II

This is a juvenile. Goshawk adults, who settle into their plumage by their third year, have blue-grey backs and gray fronts. They’re unmistakable; I’ve never seen one. These yearlings, on the other wing, look like they could be mistaken for a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk. This is a bigger bird than a Cooper’s, but sizing can be tricky without something to compare it to. It so happened that while I was watching this bird atop Lookout Hill, a Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) appeared. (I’d heard that these two had been seen sparring earlier.) The Gos chased it across the butterfly meadow. This Gos is Buteo-sized.
Note this long Accipiter shape. And these first two pictures give a good view of the brown patch on the auricular, underneath the eye to the right. The partial dark malar mark, which Wheeler says most juveniles will have, is a little harder to see underneath the eye.

Bill McKibben remembers the lessons Jonathan Schell drew from the 20th century. “Violence is the method by which the ruthless few can subdue the passive many. Nonviolence is a means by which the active many can overcome the ruthless few.”


Looks like a crown feather of an American Woodcock to me. Just under an inch long. On the snow in Prospect; it was devilishly difficult to get the warm gold of the edging accurately into digital form!And you can, I think, see these crown feathers pretty well here.


Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) will come to your hand if you hold out birdfeed. Looks like they will also probably come to your hand if you’re dead in the snow. This was at some distance, but I assume Grey Squirrel remains.It’s a bird-eat-mammal world out there. The omnivorous approach is the most adaptable to circumstances, like a heavy snowfall covering other food sources up.

Cardinalis cardinalis

You know how modern, big-money campaigns work, right? Known partisan voters are bombarded with fliers, TV and internet ads, and robocalls. A few people and corporations make a pile of money. The unregistered voters and non-voting registered voters are completely left out of the loop. But door-to-door canvassing was the point of that Harper’s article I cited earlier this week. It’s the same point here.

Last Woodcock

Orange-bellied American Woodcock taken by Red-tailed Hawk. Dramatic, but not the last word. The other night, we heard a few Woodcocks, who have some great alternative names (bog snipe, bog sucker, timberdoodle, Labrador twister), at Floyd Bennett Field. The males were calling, then flying into the air twittering and burbling to impress potential mates.

The Woodcocks abide, even as their habitat is diminished and the poisons take their toll (as do hunters).

In other news, it it possible to beat the beast. Last December, in Houston TX, smack in the middle of one of the most reactionary states of the union, the Democrats celebrated victories while the national party, having wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on the bullshit of TV and consultants, reeled.

More Woodcock

Positioned high and back, these eyes can see threats from behind and above. We tread very carefully and left it as it was in that snow hole.Shhh.

Amazing! The Trumpidiot in charge of the Department of HHS, who was, you will recall, approved by the Republicans even in the face of some insider trading, says that states should make decision on vaccinations, because we all know how disease is stopped cold at borders.

In Trump’s malignant nation-busting budget, billions are promised for defense (already the most bloated military budget in the world) and boondoggles like a “border wall” while TSA, Coast Guard, emergency management, chemical accident, etc. etc. programs are to be be defunded. Some “security.” I personally think these bastards are desperate for terrorist attack to exploit, like a Reichstag Fire, in the needless panic that typically follows such things. It worked initially, and it worked for their model-of-autocracy, Putin, too.


There’s a system of four letter codes birding banders/ringers use to identify bird species. It’s usually made up of the first two letters of the bird’s common name, which is frequently two words long. Thus NOrthern GOshawk is NOGO. Just what you needed, right? Three things to call ’em: a common name, a scientific binomial (in this case: Accipiter gentilis, the noble hawk) and a particularly “in” code. NOGO baby!

Anyhow, a young Goshawk was seen last month in Prospect Park. Then it was seen again, and again. And again! Goshawks are the rarest of the three Accipiter species in the Northeast. The female can be as large as a Red-tailed Hawk. They are rare even in their boreal and mountain ranges. They are extremely rare inside the city.

The adults are quite distinctive, but this one is a youngster. First year birds look somewhat like a juvenile Cooper’s, only on steroids.I went into the park in the very late afternoon. There was something in that tree! Well, it wasn’t the Goshawk because this bird was an adult Accipiter — the russet barring, the red eyes — a Cooper’s Hawk. Carry on. Several other birders were loitering below the previous evening’s Gos perch. One of them had startled a Woodcock earlier. Very startle-able, Woodcocks. But the vigil was for naught, unless you count the rising moon, which was very nearly full. And I do, I do!

A fat moon rises
As we wait for a Goshawk
In leftover snow.

A call went up. There! But that relatively short tail… it was a Red-tailed Hawk. Nearly two hours later, the Cooper’s was in the same tree. Had it been there the whole time? It flew off right after sunset. The Red-tailed Hawk flew by soon, too, in the same general direction. They both looked like they were leaving the park. To roost in somebody’s back yard?

The Robins and Cardinals were singing their sunset hearts out.

Oh, wait, that NOGO? No go.

Twilight’s roaring birds
Are enough to keep me warm
After the snowstorm.
A wanderer does not care
If he sees the Snow Leopard.

But one keeps going into the mountains anyway. Three, four, five times, and then… stay tuned.


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  • Osprey are loud. But nothing beats the falsetto meow-roar of the Indian Peafowl. 12 hours ago
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