Posts Tagged 'Sunset Park'

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.

Raptor Wednesday

It snowed on Saturday. Twice. In between, I happened to be watching several squirrels capering across the park from my window. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught something fly at a bush and then away, turning up to a tree limb. Several squirrels made a racket up there before retreating.
It was a young Cooper’s hawk. Seemed small, so probably a male. Female Cooper’s are notably larger than the males.
He had caught a bird in the bush. I think House Sparrow.

Circled the tree to try get some shots through the branches. The hawk ate unconcerned about the world on the ground, children riding sleds, snow blowers blowing, cars making their awful din.

Raptor Wednesday

This glorious smokestack is the throne of Peregrines. I’ve seen them up here often during the past couple of winters. Not so much during spring and summer, however, when, presumably, breeding keeps them busy. I can see this ‘stack from the home front, but these shots are from much closer, the playground next to Sunset Park High School.
That playground is at 3rd Avenue. The school itself fronts 4th Avenue.
Which is where this male American Kestrel is perching. Right across 4th is an entrance to Green-Wood Cemetery. The expanse of russet on this bird’s chest, with the minimal black dots, suggest that this may be the same bird seen regularly from the apartment, a.k.a View From The Moraine.
Much closer to home, and typically the play ground of the local kestrels, the pipes on this roof also make a good place for an Accipiter to briefly park. Male Cooper’s, I think.

End of An Era

I’ve been blessed with a few years of red and swamp white oaks as street tree neighbors on my way to the subway. A plethora of life forms sucking, chewing, reproducing, and dying on these trees has been visible at eye-level.

Argh, but the contractors recently came through to limb all these up. Now the branches and leaves are well out of reach.

Limbing trees can make their boles stronger, but I’ll wager the impetus for this is parking. Street trees, after all, must make way for cars. Pedestrians on the sidewalks are quite capable of avoiding branches, and now they’ve lost an excellent outdoor schoolroom. One of these blocks isn’t at all residential, and the other has…a parking lot next to the row of young oaks.

Raptor Wednesday on Thursday

Having spotted this Red-tailed Hawk on the roof of my apartment building when I returned home last week, I hurried up the five flights to see what I could see.
The bird was mantling over its prey, spreading out wings and tail feathers.
Classic raptor behavior. We surmise from this that the bird is trying to conceal its prey from others.
Like, um… so it seems a good surmise. This other Red-tail was also a juvenile. I wonder if these were siblings? (Saw four adult Red-tails soaring together over Green-Wood recently; more recently this last weekend, saw three from my window along with a Common Raven, but in the excitement and the cloudy light, I didn’t get any ages.)
Access to our roof is via the stairway bulkhead. The wind was fierce. I didn’t want to go out, which would probably have scared off the hawk. So I held the door to keep it from being banged open by the wind with one hand and took pictures with the other.Here’s the other hawk, the one without the pigeon lunch.
Nicitating membrane, the other eyelid of birds, visible here.
I retreated as quietly as I’d arrived. The neighbor right below this corner could hear the bird screeching. Sometime later, I noticed one of the hawks flying downhill, with a gull behind, the gull probably eager to pick at scraps, if there were any.


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