Posts Tagged 'Prospect Park'

Purple Gallinule

An immature Porphyrio martinica, pretty rare for our parts, has spent the weekend in Prospect Park. Essentially a tropical species, Purples are found year-around in Florida, the Carribean islands, and parts of Mexico. The specific epithet tells you as much: this purple waterhen is named after Martinique. They have been known to get as far north as southern Canada.When mature, the back will be green, the head, throat and belly this purple-blue; the beak red, the forehead shield a pale blue that often looks white. The green is starting to come through nicely already, depending on the angle of light.Note the very long toes: this bird walks on water… well, on vegetation in the water, anyway. The bird was foraging actively, close to observers (several to many), and occasionally put on some real speed by dashing for thicker cover, especially when it had something in its mouth. I wasn’t able to determine what those prizes were. They mostly eat plants but will scarf up some invertebrates, too.This is the first one I’ve ever seen. Brooklyn has provided quite a lot of my life birds.

Mammal Monday

This European or Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus) was as big as most of the dogs in Göteborg. We were surprised to see it on a backstreet one evening. I think some of the locals were, too. The species has been expanding its range in Sweden.Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris).Like our Eastern Greys, which have become invasive in other parts of Europe, these are very active in parks. Eastern Cottontail back on the homefront, in Prospect Park last week.

The One, The Many

In fact, you almost always see Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura) in pairs, year-around.A herd of Rock Doves (Columba livia), not quite as denim-y as they looked that day.

Look Out: Ranger Robin is Back!

After an unaccountable absence of several years (!), the incomparable Ranger Robin, the no-holds-barred rogue Park Ranger Action Figure, defrocked (hmm, perhaps that’s the wrong word in this context?), excommunicated, and turned out to pasture by the fools in power, is back! Probably on account of good behavior….

And damn, is she anxious.

What, she wonders, will “community” input mean for the Rose Garden in Prospect Park? This long-abandoned section of the park, best known to birders and the down-low, hasn’t seen any roses since… well, way, way back. And the three oval pools have been dry since Mayor John Lindsey’s day. “That was way before my time, bloggy boy,” says R.R. Anyway, the area is scheduled to be… improved. Uh-oh.

Ranger Robin shares my trepidation about all this, considering that, whatever the “input” is, the money will talk. As it did in the Vale of Cashmere, where a local plutocrat dictated the placement of yet another playground, and the Prospect Park Alliance literally stomped all over the po’ people’s pennies, raised to plant bird-friendly habitat, as they knelt to service his bankroll.

Stay tuned…

Quiscalus quiscula

Another day, another Common Grackle youngster being served up a moth for lunch. Note how the young bird’s plumage lacks the iridescence of the mature bird, and is a drab gray rather than blue-black, except in the tail feathers.

(That’s plastic tarp they’re hanging out on, laid down to smother phragmites.)

This, about a remarkably well-preserved hatchling in amber, is astonishing. 

Tree Chipper

We usually see Eastern Chipmunks on the ground, but this is your periodical reminder that they’re fine tree-climbers. That’s how they predate bird nests. This one is about 15 feet up. Cheeks bulging with chow.


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.

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!”


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