Posts Tagged 'Red Hook'

Uncommon Common Goldeneye

A male Common Goldeneye, spotted recently off Red Hook.A rare bird for Upper New York Bay. Seen in ones and twos and occasionally threes. Locally, Jamaica Bay is better. I’ve never been this close.Where pop, Cold War, and birding intersect: bird-watcher Ian Fleming’s Jamaica home was named Goldeneye, whence the Bond title (or was it the other way around?). And “James Bond” was the American ornithologist who wrote the book on West Indian birds. Literally.

Raptor Wednesday: Red Hook Edition

Falco sparveriusA friend sent me a picture of a pair of American Kestrels hanging out in Red Hook. Later in the day, I went by and found the female on an antenna on the same building, which is probably the location of, or near, a nest cavity. Falco sparveriusEvidently, they have been around for years. Locals insist they are eating Rock Pigeons. Nineteenth-century cornices for nesting, 20th century antennas for perching, and squab for dinner?Falco sparveriusA couple of days later, two Kestrels were perched atop a new private school being built, rather inexplicably for a flood plain, across from the Red Hook Farm, several blocks from the earlier sighting. The same or different?

Coastal Brooklyn, Part II

Podiceps grisegenaSo much depends on light and distance. The Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena) above was sun-ward and far.Podiceps auritusThis Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus) was sun-struck and near. Both of these species have very different breeding plumages, which they are named after (that’s not so helpful to those of us so far south of their breeding grounds). I saw the Horned Grebe (a.k.a the Slovenian Grebe) in breeding finery in Iceland and was astonished at the transformation.

Podiceps grisegenaThe Red-necked is a rather larger bird — 4″ longer in length, 6″ longer in wingspan — but in these images, absent scale, the most striking difference is the bill length, with the Red-necked being substantially larger.Podiceps auritusI was surprised by the weights of these birds, which Sibley gives as 2.2lb (1000g) for the Red-necked, and 1lb (450g) for the Horned, but then, they are divers, and need to fight their own buoyancy. Horned are more common in local waters, with four of them to the one Red-necked, that day in the Erie Basin.

Coastal Brooklyn, Part I

Gavia stellataGavia stellataGavia stellataGavia stellataMy closest-ever encounter with a Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata). In the calm waters of Erie Basin in Red Hook. The bird’s upturned bill and smaller size helps to distinguish this species from the Common Loon (G. immer), which in roiling winter waters at silhouette distance is still a challenge. The “red-throat” is part of breeding plumage, so it’s too soon for that, and something we aren’t likely to see in these parts since they breed in the high Arctic.

I love the way the water played with the bird’s reflection. After sailing by, the bird dove underwater… and disappeared.

Red Hook Saunter

Red Hook is the name of the eastern-most town in St. Thomas, USVI, but I’m back home in Brooklyn now, where Red Hook is a neighborhood.Long a working-class dock-side neighborhood, it’s relatively tree-less compared to Brownstone Brooklyn. The City’s Million Trees program is trying to change that (although who cares for the trees once planted remains a bit of a mystery).This cultivar of the American Elm is Dutch Elm-resistant, but it isn’t immune. So I’m thinking they should not have planted two of these next to each other.In addition to this Northern Mockingbird, I spotted Double-crested Cormorant, Brant, Gadwell, Bufflehead, American Black Duck, Red-tailed Hawk, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Rock Dove, Starling (already with the yellow bills of breeding), House Sparrow.At the little rock beach at Valentino Pier, several species of marine mollusks were readily found.As well as the usual flotsam and jetsam of the wrack line.Speaking of lines, Red Hook, which takes its name for the Dutch for Red Point, after the color of the soil and the area’s original shape, is a sitting duck for storm surges.Something this mural at Valentino Pier seems to be suggesting. The Great Wave Off Red Hook: I hope not to see it.


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