Posts Tagged 'Prospect Park'

Barking Mad Monday

FagusThe distinctive bark of Beech (Fagus), its typical smoothness broken up by age.CeltisHackberry (Celtis). On the young trees especially, these nobby, layered, butte-like protuberances are characteristic. The red hairs of a Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) vine find them a good place to anchor.HalesiaThis is a mature Carolina Silverbell (Halesia carolina).AesculusAnd this strange stuff is Fetid Buckeye (Aesculus glabra), better known as Ohio Buckeye. It does have a high odor. This beast was recently cut down in Prospect. Aesculus glabraSure looked fine inside. Unless this center of the bole means something…FagusAnd then there was this Beech, which toppled and took out some fencing and a swath of bamboo. The interior here is big enough for me with my arms akimbo. If not two of me, which, admittedly, might be a bit much.

Check out theorist of civil resistance Gene Sharp’s famous list of 198 nonviolent actions you can use/mix and match/collect ’em all.


img_1957An early form of writing or waterfowl prints in the ice?

“Amazingly, we take for granted that instinct for survival, fear of death, must separate us from the happiness of pure and uninterpreted experience, in which body, mind, and nature are the same. And this debasement of our vision, the retreat from wonder, the backing away like lobsters from free-swimming life into safe crannies, the desperate instinct that our life passes unlived, is reflected in proliferation without joy, corrosive money rot, the gross befouling of the earth and air and water from which we came.” ~ Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard. Reading this again after many years. I know a number of people who “chase” rare birds; they always make me think of this book.

Sometimes the hunt is very much besides the point. Just ask the Simorgh: the great being/power/bird “The Conference of Birds” journey to for answers in the 12th century Persian poem. Thirty birds, most reluctantly, with their all too human excuses, finally make it to meet the Simorgh, only to discover their own faces reflected back to them. “Simorgh” meaning, well, “thirty birds.”


Anas clypeataNorthern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) male working on feather maintenance. Anas clypeata

There’s preening, and then there’s overweening preening. Did you see the Tiny-Fisted One’s Christmas “card” tweet? Cheeto Mussolini couldn’t even be bothered to gather together his klan o’ grifters for a bogus family picture. Sad.

Snow Geese

Chen caerulescensAmidst perhaps 200 Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) on the Upper Pool, a trio of Snow Geese (Chen caerulescens).Chen caerulescensThe all-white with black wingtips bird (spectacular in flight) in the background is an adult. The varying-degrees-of-gray are youngsters.Chen caerulescensThis is actually one of the most abundant species of waterfowl on the continent, but since we don’t have any fallow agricultural land here in the city, nor much wetlands anymore, they are rarely found here in our interior parks. Jamaica Bay’s the closest spot to catch them in winter. I’ve seen tens of thousands down on the tip of the Delmarva Peninsula: it’s noisy!

A passing group of school kids wanted to know how geese and ducks can stand standing on ice. Aren’t they freezing? No. It’s all in the circulation, or lack there of. Here’s a succinct description of how they do it.

Ah, you’ve noticed the side grin? Perfectly normal bill shape.

Talk about distortion, though: Trump appointees have given $50 million to the Republicans who are supposed to oversee their appointments. The “drain the swamp” shouts heard at Trump rallies were always an affront to the beautiful habitat of swamplands. What they meant was flush the sewers, but of course the man they voted for is a sewer-creature ~ which may explain the hair, too. Chumps.


gnatThe other evening I walked from Sunset Park to Grand Army Plaza, the last half mile through Prospect Park’s Long Meadow, which was surprisingly empty of the usual clutter of bipeds and canines. As I entered the park at 9th Street, past Layette and groom, I saw the horse-chestnuts and buckeyes anticipating conker-fall, and a Red-tailed Hawk perched on a bare branch of a pine tree surveying the landscape. On the Meadow itself I was infested with storms of tiny flies. They clumped in the air, whirling around themselves. (Above magnified perhaps 3x, along with my own tectonically-crinkly hide.)

They landed on my hands, bare arms, and shirt. Perhaps they fed on my sweat, for it was a devilishly humid sunset and I had zigzagged from 41st to 9th Streets and 5th Avenue to Prospect Park West (9th) in a hurry. What matters is that they did not bite me (I am a mosquito feeding-station.) No, I could have eaten them, like the Common Green Darner I saw plowing through them like an ice-breaker the ice, but I kept my mouth shut.

Magic Hour Bird & Feathers

Some bird identification challenges: img_9816A.) Spotted at distance about 45 minutes before sunset in Prospect Park two weeks ago.featherB.) A single feather found in Green-Wood.feathersC.) Also in Green-Wood sometime later, with quite a few others of its kind. Somebody was plucking.

Question Mark

Polygonia interrogationisThere are two comma or anglewing butterflies of the Polygonia genus we see regularly here in NYC. You can tell them apart when their wings are spread, but it’s subtle.Polygonia interrogationisBut they often perch upright. So the namesake comma mark on the hindwing is the tell-all. Of course, this is hard to see in the field!Polygonia interrogationisThe fabled question mark. You won’t be the first grammarian to say it looks more like a semi-colon.

This example is perched distantly on some Duckweed, in case you are wondering about the curious pebbly-look of the background.


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