Posts Tagged 'Sunset Park'

Roof Crow

A Fish Crow, identified by its vocalizations, patrolling neighboring roofs. For bugs.
Crunchy snacks.
I believe the prey here is a Common Green June Beetle.
Seemed to already dead up there. Crow was scavenging and found several tidbits.


Two years ago, Laughing Gulls were swarming over a bunch of these same beetles at Bush Terminal Park.

American Kestrels eat these beetles, too.

Raptor Wednesday

On Sunday morning, there were five American Kestrels on and off the solar building, which is about one-third of the way down the block from here. Two males, three females. In this pic, there’s a male on the left. There are two females on the chimney, and another female on the far right pipe.
On Monday morning, there were an astonishing five females!
Five plus one male. Are all these females siblings? I would expect the mother to be hunting like mad and not perched with her chidden.

One of the female fledglings on our roof.

I wonder what they think about the fireworks? Saturday night was the worse night yet, launched from nearby in the park and from right across the street, an intermittent barrage from 10pm until 3:30am. Bursts could be seen through closed eyes.

Another Very Special Edition of Raptor Wednesday

I was worried. It’s late June. Shouldn’t I have seen these fledglings sooner? In truth, they don’t look like they came out of the nest yesterday. I suspect they’ve been out and around for a few days now.
She scrunches down before lift-off.

There was actually a young male up there, too. I’d heard somebody behind the bulkhead, but it wasn’t until the female flew that I found the source of the vocalizations.
So, at least two successful fledglings! Keeping an eye out for more.

A Very Special Edition of Raptor Wednesday

Yup, it’s Thursday, but yesterday morning an American Kestrel caught my eye because it crossed the bow of the apartment windows and landed in a tree.
It was where it landed that was out of the ordinary. Usually, the #BrooklynKestrels pair land up near the top of the tallest London Plane tree bordering the park. This was much lower down and way out on a branch. Curious, I trained the ‘scope on the creature. No blue wings, so female. And she looked like she had a rather fuzzy head.
Yes, a female fledgling. Soon her mother was in the air chasing a crow. Then the male, or at least a male, was in the air, too. The female fledgling flew up towards our building and I wondered if she was on the roof…
Fuzzy head, very pale legs (they will turn yellow with time), and a pale cere, the skin right above the bill (this will also darken with time and become yellowish).
Pouncing on invisible prey… all the usual signs of youth.

Ladies and gentlemen, we finally have fledglings.

Big city, small falcon.

Masha Gessan on moral clarity.

This review, too, of Gessan’s new book.

Raptor Wednesday

In a London plane tree across the street, the American Kestrel male stashes prey. The nesting kestrels used this same spot two years ago, too.
These last two pictures are from the same day, but different caches. Both, obviously, bird. Note that the kestrels will eat their prey’s feet, swallowing with the toes pointed outwards, for obvious reasons…

Here They Come/Here They Come/Here They Come

Yesterday morning the “bronk!” of a raven lifted my eyes to the window. They were passing right over the building. Four of them! Another followed from another angle. Looks like the class of 2020 is on the wing.
Two of them landed on St. Michael’s for a brief perch above their domaine.

A hour or so later I heard through the grapevine that the five of them were spotted in Green-Wood. Last year around this time I ran into a family of six in Green-Wood. In 2016, I had my first view of that year’s family in early June.

(Post title of Laurie Anderson: “Strange angels/singing just for me”)

Raptor Wednesday

The local male American Kestrel. He’s working like a dog now that there must be nestlings in the hole in the cornice where the nest is.
These photos, from Sunday morning, document him hunting and eating insects. From the size and color, I’d say roaches or waterbugs that he was grabbing off a couple of rooftops across the street. He used a pair of dish antennae as perches to eat.There aren’t many bites in even a large insect. Especially considering the crunchy chitinous exterior. A bit of that being dropped here.
Some quick cleaning of his toes and a few strops of his bill on the edge of the dish before his next sortie.

Less then ten minutes later, he was on the nearby TV antenna calling out in that trilling purr he uses to signal fresh meat for the female in the nest nearby. He’d killed a bird for brunch.

Raptor Wednesday

If you crossed Rear Window and The Birds
The local American Kestrels making more little falcons. Copulation lasts about ten seconds. Frequency seems to be key. They’ll do it multiple times a day, totaling hundreds of times over the pre-brooding period.

Witches’ Broom

A hackberry tree, Celtis occidentalis. Notice the clumpiness in the canopy?
A slightly closer view of one fo the clumps. (They were all out of hand’s reach.) This is witches’ broom, a gall-like growth of branches sprouting in multiples. Hackberry is particularly susceptible. In this case, it seems to be caused by a combination of a fungus and a mite. I gather the mite carries the fungus…

It is thought to be:

“attributed to two agents acting together: a powdery mildew fungus (Sphaerotheca phytoptophila) and a minute, wormlike, eriophyid mite (Eriophyes celtis, synonym Aceria snetsingeri) about 200 microns long.”

The mite’s name has recently been changed to Aceria celtis.

Evidently there are strains of hackberries that are immune to it. People think it’s unsightly. People!

This specimen is in Prospect Park. There are two young hackberries outside our window here. You may remember that the city’s street tree survey insisted they were hawthorns. We fixed that. Just the other day I noticed that one of them had some witches’ broom in it. I don’t think the tree had any there last year. I’m not positive, but I don’t feel like they were there.


For the third year in a row, American Kestrels are in the ‘hood! A male has been around all winter, spotted almost every day. But lately a female has appeared. Copulation was observed on 1/23 on a roof pipe just to the right of this chimney pot. No sign of a female again until this past Friday, when I took these pictures.
I suspect they had sex, but didn’t see it. It happens quite quickly.
It was crazy weather Friday. A sudden squall literally blurred my view of these birds on an antenna in the morning. After it passed, the obviously drenched male perched on this chimney shaking and and bobbing his tail up and down.

They regrouped later in the day. These shots were from the early afternoon, when a very stiff wind sent the clouds hurling across the sky. In the first shot above, the birds are facing the weather. We’re talking birds that weigh about 4 oz…
This is the slightly larger female (no blue on her wings) lifting off…


To build his vanity wall in Organ Pipe National Monument, Trump has waived 41 laws, trashed a unique desert freshwater springs environment, and violated Native American holy places. And now all Republican Senators, but one, have given him carte blanche to do whatever it takes to win re-election, to committee any crime, in alliance with any and every international gangster state and non-state member of the Fascist International.


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