Posts Tagged 'Sunset Park'

The One, The Many

In fact, you almost always see Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura) in pairs, year-around.A herd of Rock Doves (Columba livia), not quite as denim-y as they looked that day.

Raptor Wednesday

Well, hello there!

My first sight of this male American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) was a dark shape in a tree. The winter sun is getting so low on the horizon that even at 1:30 in the afternoon every bird with the sun behind it looks like a Starling.Him falcon was mighty obliging, though, allowing me to get in front of him and up the hill he was surveying. People on 5th Avenue had a much better eye-level view, or would have if any were looking.This was my second sighting of a Kestrel that day. The first had been when I was following a Cooper’s hawk with my binoculars from our apartment. That earlier falcon was hovering in air over a nearby building. I think it was very much keeping an eye on the Coop.Blue wings are the main tell to separate the males from the females, who have wings the orange color of the back. The broad black band near the tip of the fanned tail is distinctive for the male, too. But note in the first pictures how it’s hidden when the tail is tight.

Oak Wilt, Damn It

Word around the corner on the avenue, although of course it should also be in Spanish (as here) and Cantonese.

Greenwood Heights is located some twenty blocks away, tucked around Green-Wood Cemetery. There are plenty of oaks in Green-Wood, where the disease may have first been noted, as well as on the street. Here’s a relatively recent street tree planting showing that this fall hasn’t been a total wash:

Weekend Update

It’s been absurdly warm. Lots of trees are nowhere ready to shake off their leaves. Bumblebees, which can take 60 degree temperatures, you might expect to still be around, but some of the smaller bees were out and about, too. This metallic green bee of the Agapostemon genus, for instance. But it’s late October: there isn’t much still blooming, still providing nectar and pollen.There were still Monarch’s moving this weekend. We noticed 15 in a small transverse of Brooklyn on Saturday, 35 on Sunday. More than a dozen each day were feeding at the inexhaustible Buddleja by Green-Wood’s Valley Water. Watching two Cooper’s Hawks soaring around each other, two more Monarchs kited into the binocular view. Monarchs float or sail quite a bit, coasting with the wind or tacking against it. They have been reported flying at 11,000 feet.

In addition to the Monarchs, this patch had some Painted Beauties, a high count of five Common Buckeyes (a record!), some Sulphur, Cabbage Whites, and several skippers, along with European Hornets on the hunt.A few Autumn Meadowhawks, including in tandem mating flight, Common Green Darners, and Familiar Bluets were also spotted.And a moth in the grass.


Yesterday was the first day it felt like fall, more than three weeks past the equinox. And then it dropped to 41 overnight. This morning the radiators were gurgling.

Locally, not many leaves have turned yet, but these, fallen from a Nyssa sylvatica (Black Gum, Black Tupelo), are in the mood.This Eastern Phoebe was a pleasant surprise in Green-Wood, which was otherwise bird-quiet. Two Red-Tailed Hawks circled overhead, a passing airplane between them. Later, walking home down 5th Avenue, I saw a Cooper’s Hawk gliding with the wind, back towards the cemetery.

Radar last night showed a lot of bird movement. Migration ain’t over yet.
Late afternoon.

Just before sunset, I saw a lone Chimney Swift over Sunset Park. The day I’ll see no more for the year is the real beginning of winter. Temps will be in the high 70s again by Thursday…

Meanwhile, Trump will lie about any and every thing, every single day. What a mendacious piece of shit.

Tyrannus tyrannus juniors

Yesterday I noticed a large corvid being chased by something small. I couldn’t get on either of them quick enough tell who was who, but afterwards I noticed an Eastern Kingbird perched on one of the London planes lining the northern edge of Sunset Park. Could this have been the pursuer? They don’t call them Tyrannus tyrannus for nothing. Some minutes later, I saw the whole family. Some snapshots were the result. Above: adult on the left, fledgling on the right.Kingbirds aren’t uncommon in parks, especially perched over water or meadows, but I don’t recall seeing one from the home windows. Above are the two fledglings. They chirped incessantly for food, their pink-red mouths marking their hungry maws. (This was on the plane tree across the street; the same branch has also hosted mating Kestrels.) Youngsters above and below.


Our only marsupial, the Virginia Opossum, Didelphis virginiana, commonly called possum, is plenty familiar with the city. But, being nocturnal, they aren’t seen all that often. This one seems to have lingered past sunrise, at a favored food source: the garbage pails.Remember, these critters are highly resistant to rabies. If they’re snarling at you it means you’re too damn close. And they will faint from stress, the famous “playing possum” trick.


Would there were an antidote to political rabies! That most overrated of Senators, John McCain, yesterday achieved a notoriety even worse than inflicting Sarah Palin on the nation. It’s traditional not to speak ill of the dead (evidently they can’t hear you), so let me get this in now while there is still life in the old bastard.


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