Posts Tagged 'Sunset Park'

Sturnus vulgaris

Sturnus vulgarisThe view from the moraine recently.

Here’s another view: ten things you can do to make Trump toast. (We can hardly wait for his resounding condemnation by history, after all.) Beyond the usual pressure, constant pressure on reps of all parties, I for one was intrigued by the notion of becoming involved at the county political level, a bit of a cesspool here in Brooklyn. The next elections for election district members (half of these are unfilled) of the party committee are in June 2018.

Raptor Wednesday

AccipiterIt sometimes seems like I have a raptor sighting every day. So, for the last month, I’ve been keeping tabs. My “daily raptor” is a good practice. In the political shitstorm, it is my daily rapture.

Over the 31 days of January I had 37 raptor sightings, the majority of them (21) from my windows. Others were seen around and about Brooklyn (Bush Terminal, Green-Wood, overhead here and there) and the Bronx (in and near NYBG). There have been four species: Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine, Cooper’s and Red-tailed Hawk. Cooper’s and Red-tailed are the most frequent. Some of these sightings were undoubtedly the same bird, like that reliable male Kestrel on the antenna (who hasn’t been seen since the 16th). My protocol was loose; if I saw a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk circling the neighborhood ten minutes after seeing a juvenile RTH circling the neighborhood, I didn’t count it as another sighting. But if I saw a juvenile three hours later, I did.img_2241

So how about some eagles? I’m leading a Brooklyn Brainery excursion to Croton Point Park on Feb. 11th.

“I believe that what we need is a nonviolent national general strike of the kind that has been more common in Europe than here. Let’s designate a day on which no one (that is, anyone who can do so without being fired) goes to work, a day when no one shops or spends money, a day on which we truly make our economic and political power felt, a day when we make it clear: how many of us there are, how strong and committed we are, how much we can accomplish.” Francine Prose.

Raptor Wednesday

Falco peregrinusHeads up! Peregrine on St. Michael’s, check. But what’s that on the left side? That little one was hassling the big falcon, or at least trying to. I think it was an American Kestrel (Falco sparverius). Falco peregrinusThe little one did not stay, but I hustled down two long avenue blocks.Falco peregrinusFrom the other side of the stupa-like tower.Falco peregrinus

Rather less beautiful: how easily democracies can backslide into authoritarianism.

Raptor Week III

Falco sparveriusThis big antenna a long block away from my apartment is a regular perch for a male American Kestrel. (This is what it looks like without much optical enhancement, btw.) He’ll park on either the taller or the shorter portion (the shorter is bent back towards us), sometimes on the cross-bars. Sometimes just for a minute or two, sometimes a little longer. What is he hunting in the winter? And what kind of antenna is this (there are three more I know of in the ‘hood.)Falco sparveriusAnother time, another borough. I noticed something atop a watertower on West 18th Street in Manhattan. Luckily, I had my camera at hand. This is also a male — note the blue wing. He has caught a small bird. (Curse these overcast days, not to mention my less-than-long lens.)


You can’t ever read Orwell on politics and language too much. Or his “Notes on Nationalism.”

Raptor Wednesday

Buteo jamaicensisAlways note the anomalies, the bumps.Buteo jamaicensisRed-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) on railing. Showing the “belly band” nicely. Buteo jamaicensisWay down in the flatlands, 1st & 40th, Raven country.Buteo jamaicensisAnother day, another sighting. Big shoulders, relatively short, squared-off tail. The mottled white patches on the back, sometimes a little more clearly in a V pattern, are another good sign you’ve got the most common soaring hawk in the country on your local antenna. Buteo jamaicensisMore belly band.Buteo jamaicensisSame day as the second hawk, and I think a different one.

My raptor radar usually turns on when I see a flock, of pigeons or starlings this time of year, swirling in the air. Flocking is a excellent method of confusing and defeating a predator; the raptor doesn’t know which way to turn, which bird to single out. Consider the flocking metaphor for humans as political actors in scary times. It’s really a way of working together. United we fly…

Sunset Park Elm


Five Practical Principles to Guide Our Work Under Trump.

Daily Raptor

Falco sparveriusI don’t see raptors single every day here in Brooklyn, but it sure seems like it averages out that way. Take this weekend. Yesterday morning, before I was fully awake, I looked out the window and saw a Cooper’s Hawk above a confusion of pigeons over towards 4th Avenue. After breakfast: there was a male American Kestrel perched on the tall antenna above the intersection of 40th Street and 5th Avenue. He was flushed by a pair of crows, who flew over to St. Michael’s, which is where I often see Peregrines. This antenna is usually festooned with Starlings; there was a Red-tail on it Friday and a Merlin has been spotted up there as well.

Later in the morning, a Red-shouldered Hawk flew by the apartment! That was a first. I’ve seen them before (here’s a pretty good picture from Croton Point) but not from my view up here on the Harbor Hill Moraine.

The Red-shouldered was heading away by the time I got my binoculars on it, probably the worst view of a bird you could ask for, but over the park it wheeled around, showing me the tell-tale striped tail and “windows” on the wings. That makes for seven species of raptor I’ve seen from my apartment window: Red-tailed Hawk, Peregrine, Merlin, Kestrel, Cooper’s Hawk, Osprey, and now Red-shouldered Hawk.

Accipiter cooperiiLater in the day, I actually got out of the house. In Green-Wood, I had excellent views of a Cooper’s that went head-first after a female Belted Kingfisher, who screamed bloody murder while escaping. A Red-tailed Hawk ambled by as the Cooper’s parked itself in a Sweetgum, as pictured above. Falco sparveriusLater, a Kestrel landed on the neo-gothic pile of Green-Wood’s main entrance. This was also a male, so could have been the same bird I’d seen six hours, and 15 blocks, earlier.

On Saturday, I saw Red-tailed Hawks over Sunset Park and in Green-Wood, where I also had a Cooper’s overhead, and a Merlin jumping between three trees.

I tweet my Daily Raptor sightings at Twitter.

And did you hear about the kleptocracy?
Trump’s “Cauldron of Corruption.
Trump’s crony capitalism, which should really be called “gangster capitalism.”
A cheat sheet, of Trump’s scandals.
Trump is corrupt AF.


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