Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Upcoming Trips

Below is a list of upcoming local trips for the weekend of October 3rd - 4th, 2009:

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, October 3rd, 2009
End to End: Marine Parkway Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge (Ft. Tilden/Floyd Bennett Field)
Trip Leader: Scott Whittle
Focus: fall passerines peak, sparrows, waterbirds, and raptors
Car Fee: $12.00
Registrar: Peter Dorosh, Email Prosbird [AT] aol.com or TEXT Message 347-622-3559
Registration period: Sept 22nd - Oct 1st


New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, October 3, 3 - 5pm
Fall Migration at Randall's Island
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Meet at 104th and FDR Drive and walk across the foot bridge to Randall’s Island. Randall’s Island is a prime spot for viewing birds during fall migration due to its location in the east river. Explore the results of recent restoration efforts on the island. This trip will feature 2 ½ miles of walking and some modest climbs. Limited to 20.
$20

Autumn Photography in Jamaica Bay
Saturday, October 3, 10am - 2pm
Raindate: Sunday, October 4, 10am - 2pm
Instructors: Lloyd Spitalnik and Don Riepe
Meet at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Center. This instructional trip is for all photographers. Big lens, small lens, point and shoot- everybody is welcome! Capture photos of birds in flight, insects, flora, and more. This calss will feature something for everyone. Limited to 16.
$90


Queens County Bird Club
Sunday, October 4th, 2009, 8am
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge (Mini trip)
Leader: Ian Resnick


Urban Park Rangers

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Early Morning Birding
8:00 a.m.
Learn everything you need to know about birds with the Rangers.
Location: Marine Park, Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Birding Club
9:00 a.m.
It's migration season! As birds begin to fly south for the winter, they often stop to…
Location: Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx
Cost: Free

Every Tree Has a Name
10:00 a.m.
Learn how to identify different species of trees and discover cool facts about them.
Location: Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
Cost: Free

Fall Nature Journaling Seriers (Part 1)
1:00 p.m.
Explore the last forest in Brooklyn as it undergoes fall foliage changes! We will be…
Location: Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Unlocking the Sanctuary
1:00 p.m.
We’re going to unlock the gates! The Hallett Nature Sanctuary contains four acres of…
Location: Central Park, Manhattan
Cost: Free

Creepy Crawlers Extravaganza: Owl Prowl
6:00 p.m.
Whooo'sss that calling in the woods? Look, listen, and learn how to identify these…
Location: High Rock Park, Staten Island
Cost: Free

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fall Migration
10:00 a.m.
It’s that time of year again, when many birds head south in preparation for the…
Location: Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens
Cost: Free

Hawk Migration
11:00 a.m.
Join us on a bird walk featuring the hawk migration as they stop to "fuel up" in…
Location: Pelham Bay Park, Bronx
Cost: Free

Insect Insanity
11:00 a.m.
Bug out with the Rangers and learn all about the creepy crawlers living in Fort Greene…
Location: Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Creepy Crawlers Extravaganza: Mysterious Mushrooms and Treacherous Toadstools
11:00 a.m.
We’ll trek in search of Witches’ Butter, Scaly Tooth, Jack O’Lanterns,…
Location: Wolfe's Pond Park Comfort Station west of Cornelia Avenue
Cost: Free

Beginner Orienteering
1:00 p.m.
Join us as we teach the basics of using a map and compass to navigate your way around the park.
Location: Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Falconry Extravaganza
1:00 p.m.; 3:00 p.m.
Learn all about birds of prey from the Urban Park Rangers wildlife experts at our annual…
Location: Central Park, Manhattan
Cost: Free

Creepy Crawlers Extravaganza: Skulls and Bones
1:00 p.m.
Can you identify the different skulls and bones of our park night creatures? Let the…
Location: Blue Heron Park Preserve, Staten Island
Cost: Free
...Read more

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Yesterday I saw a Ruby-throated Hummingbird get caught in a spider's web. It managed to free itself after a few moments. The experience really impressed me with the delicate and meager nature of these iridescent creatures. Coincidentally, when I returned home I had received an email from Bobby Horvath regarding a hummingbird rescue.

From: Robert Horvath
Date: September 21, 2009
Subject: hummingbird

This female came in last week after hitting a window and had an injured right wing. Luckily it ate on its own immediately so we had hope. Today we took it to Westbury Gardens and happily gave it another chance to migrate. It hung around a bit then took off like a bullet. Cathy brought the feeder tube and gave her 1 last quick drink before she took off.

Bobby



...Read more

Monday, September 21, 2009

Upcoming Trips

Below is a list of upcoming local trips for the weekend of September 26th - 27th, 2009:

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, September 26th, 2009
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Leader & Registrar: Gil Schrank (gschrankny@aol.com)
Registration opens Monday 9/14.
Ride $15.


Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, September 26th, 2009
Eastern Long Island
Trip Leader: Ian Resnick (718-631-9643, avian@nyc.rr.com)
Carpool: 6:00am Alley Pond Park Lower Lot
Meet: 7:30am at the Princess Diner, Southampton


Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, September 26, 2009

Brooklyn & Queens Birding Big Day Out
8:00 a.m.
Pack a lunch, bring your binoculars and get ready for a daylong birding marathon in the…
Location: Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Mission of the Monarch
10:00 a.m.
As summer turns to fall, the Monarch Butterfly embarks on an incredible journey southward…
Location: Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens
Cost: Free

One in a Million Tree-mendous Walk
11:00 a.m.
Join the Urban Park Rangers for a guided tree walk, as we learn to identify different types…
Location: Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx
Cost: Free

Canoeing Basics
11:00 a.m.; 3:00 p.m.
Enjoy some quality time on Wolfe's Pond. We’ll teach you the basics of canoeing…
Location: Wolfes Pond Park, Staten Island
Cost: Free

Hawk Walk
1:00 p.m.
Autumn means the beginning of bird migration. We’ll hike to Moses Mountain in search…
Location: High Rock Park, Staten Island
Cost: Free

The Great Squirrel
2:00 p.m.

Come learn about everyone’s favorite rodent. We’ll uncover their basic biology,…
Location: Jackie Robinson Park, Manhattan
Cost: Free

Family Overnight Camping
5:00 p.m.
A night of camping under the stars in Manhattan’s last natural forest! This will be…
Location: Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
Cost: Free

Starfest
8:00 p.m.; 10:00 p.m.
The Urban Park Rangers and the Amateurs Astronomers Association invite you to an evening of…
Location: Central Park, Manhattan
Cost: Free

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fall Migration
10:00 a.m.
Many birds fly south every autumn in preparation for the upcoming winter.
Location: Pelham Bay Park, Bronx
Cost: Free

Fort Totten Park Trolley Tour
10:00 a.m.; 12:00 p.m.
Explore the park on a trolley tour as it make several stops on the way.
Location: Fort Totten Park, Queens
Cost: Free

Saltwater Fishing
11:00 a.m.
Rather than catch a big fish in a small pond, why not try to catch a big fish in Flushing…
Location: Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens
Cost: Free

Toadstool Trek
1:00 p.m.
Learn some tools and techniques on your way to becoming a beginner mycologist. We’ll…
Location: Central Park, Manhattan
Cost: Free

Birds of a Feather
1:00 p.m.
Let’s see how many different type of birds we can find as we get ready for our fall…
Location: High Rock Park, Staten Island
Cost: Free

Fall Migration
2:00 p.m.
Many birds fly south every autumn in preparation for the upcoming winter.
Location: Highland Park, Queens
Cost: Free
...Read more

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Linnaean Society Speakers Program

The Linnaean Society of New York is hosting a presentation by biologist Kimberly Bostwick. I learned about Kimberly and her study of the amazing manakins from an episode of "Nature". I look forward to this really interesting presentation.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009, 7:30 p.m.
The American Museum of Natural History, Linder Auditorium
Speaker: Kimberly Bostwick, Curator of Birds and Mammals at Cornell
University Museum of Vertebrates and Research Associate, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University
Subject: Cloud Forest Virtuosos: Discovering the Amazing Wing-Instruments of Club-winged Manakins

We often have the sense that all the major biological discoveries have been made long ago. In this talk, Bostwick encourages the audience to discover for themselves the solution to a mystery that puzzled even Darwin, and has only been worked out in recent years. That is, some animals exhibit exceptions to the rule of "survival of the fittest" and conform more to the idea of "survival of the sexiest". Male Club-winged Manakins, an Andean cloud-forest bird, is one of these exceptions; it has a unique, specialized, and very costly method of courting females, that will be revealed and explored in detail.

Kimberly Bostwick received her Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. She has authored numerous papers on bird ecology and evolution. She most recently appeared in the first episode of PBS’s Nature series entitled Deep Jungle.

The meeting is open to the public, without charge.

Programs are held in the American Museum of Natural History, Lindner Theater; please enter at West 77th St. between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue.
...Read more

Rare Sparrow at Floyd Bennett Field

I took a bike ride out to Floyd Bennett Field this afternoon, not looking for anything specific, but just to see what birds might be around. Within one minute of entering the park I spotted a beautiful sparrow.

I had entered the park at the Aviator Sports exit and pedaled directly to the Cricket Field. A flock of Canada Goose were the only birds feeding on the stubby grass. I continued towards the opening in the berm that takes you out onto the main road and a small parking area for the "North Forty". As I passed the berm a large sparrow flew out of a patch of pokeweed and over my head, landing next to a puddle at the north side of the parking area. Flashing white tail feathers caught my eye as it was flying. I focused my bins on a sparrow with an unmistakable, bold facial pattern. At the time, it was overcast, but even at a distance this bird's thick crown stripes and ear patch really stood out. I called my friend Shane and told him that I was looking at a Lark Sparrow.

Shane was just across the bridge at Fort Tilden. I said I'd wait, which gave me time to study the bird. It seemed skittish as it drank and bathed at a small puddle. It stayed close to the edge of the pavement, nervously feeding on seeds. There was a lot of helicopter activity flying over the North Forty, but I suspect
what was really spooking this bird was the presence of two or three hungry kestrels.

When Shane arrived we quickly relocated the bird, which had flown back towards the pokeweed patch where I had initially spotted it. It was feeding in a weedy area on the back side of the berm that borders the parking area for the North Forty. It is just south of the cricket field. After Shane left I continued riding around Floyd Bennett Field, checking the grasslands for birds and butterflies. The sky eventually cleared, so I rode back to try and find the Lark Sparrow to take some photos.

I relocated the bird pretty quickly and watched it from 3:45pm until about 4:00pm. It seemed to have a feeding circuit which included the edge of the berm at the southwestern edge of the pavement, the puddle at the north edge of the pavement and the weedy area just behind the puddle. Good luck if you go looking for this anything-but-plain-looking sparrow.
...Read more

Monday, September 14, 2009

Where's Mommy?

Four years ago a Snow Goose crash landed in Green-Wood Cemetery. Its right wing looked badly broken and we didn't know if it would survive. I emailed a few biologists and conservationist friends for advice. They all suggested leaving it alone and letting nature take its course. She survived the ordeal and actually seemed to thrive.

Marge would make periodic visits to check on the small goose and bring her cracked corn to eat. She would make sure that "Mommy" got enough to eat by chasing off the local Canada Geese who would try to steal the food. A couple of years later three juvenile Snow Geese appeared at the Sylvan Water. One of the juveniles had a mangled foot, which eventually fell off. Mommy now had some friends and the three youngster quickly bonded with her. Marge had four wayward Snow Geese to keep an eye on and bought a lot more cracked corn. Amazingly, the injured young goose survived the loss of his foot, but was bullied by all the other geese. A waterfowl pecking order quickly became obvious at the Sylvan Water; Canada Geese bossed around everyone, Mommy bossed around the three juvenile Snow Geese, and the two healthy Snow Geese bossed around "Limpy". The poor physically challenged goose was frequently seen alone, leaning up against a pine tree next to the pond (he needed to lean to give his stump a rest). Finally, having had his fill of fowl temperaments, he joined a passing Snow Goose flock during the next migration period. Snow Geese are a lot smaller than the aggressive Canada Geese, but "Mommy" tolerated their bullying and seemed to have accepted her non-migratory existence, especially since she had two buddies. After a time, she began to recognize Marge's car and would run the entire length of Sylvan Water, honking, whenever her car pulled up. One would think that Mommy would become habitualized to humans, but she never did and remained a very wild bird.

Zugunruhe hit hard during last fall's migration and the overwhelming urge to leave became irresistible to the young Snow Geese. Marge was present when the two youngsters began circling in the air above the pond, preparing to leave. Mommy started honking frantically for her friends to come back. They returned to Sylvan Water that day, but shortly after took off for good. She must have been very upset. Marge gave her extra cracked corn to help drown her sorrow.

Mommy would never let anyone get close enough to touch her, but I was convinced I could persuade her to eat from my hand. Three weeks ago I decided to test my theory. With an opened handful of cracked corn, I sat down near the edge of the pond. Mommy walked over, but stopped a couple of feet short of my outstretched hand. She kept honking at me and motioning her head towards the ground. After about 5 minutes she slowly approached my hand, opened her bill, then bit my middle finger. It wasn't painful, so I just sat motionless, with my hand opened. A few minutes later, she stretched her head towards me, then quickly snatched up a mouthful of corn. I guess she realized I wasn't going to hurt her and she plunged her head into the palm of my hand, gobbling up the corn until it was gone. While this was happening, Marge was busy chasing off the Canada Geese, who, given half a chance, would have mugged me, not just for the food in my hand, but also the 25 pound bag in the trunk of her car. I went back a week later to see if she remembered me. She did and cautiously took the corn from my hand.

In recent weeks. Mommy had been seen wandering farther and farther from the safety of the Sylvan Water. She also seemed to be flying more than in the past. Her right wing still had an awkward crook and we never saw her ascend more than about 6 feet. We also never witnessed her traveling by wing anymore than the width of the Sylvan Water, so I was baffled by the latest news from Marge - Mommy was missing! She wasn't hanging around with the local Canada Geese at the Sylvan Water, nor was she at any of the other ponds in the cemetery. Both Marge and Tommy, one of the cemetery security guards, had been looking for the small, white goose, but she seemed to have vanished. Could she have finally regained enough strength to migrate? The timing is right for the southbound trip, but I never thought she would be able to compensate for her misaligned right wing.

It has been a week since Mommy has gone missing. The landscape crew of the cemetery has been asked to keep a look out for her. I still find it difficult to believe that she had the ability to fly across the cemetery, let alone the long distance migration to the southern United States or Central America. It might explain her voracious appetite the last couple of times I saw her - she was planning her prison break. I really hope that she made it and that nothing bad has happened to her. The cemetery is nearly 500 acres, so it is possible that she is just wandering around in one of its many hidden dales. I'm also hoping that she didn't settle down in the cemetery's Dell Water where this monster Snapping Turtle was lurking in the mud.
...Read more

Staten Island Birding

On Saturday I led a trip to Staten Island for the Brooklyn Bird Club. We were lucky with regard to the weather as the only rain we encountered was at the end of the trip. It wasn't a tremendously birdy day, but there was a nice mix of birds seen, as well as, some interesting non-bird sightings.

The southern edge of Staten Island, along Hylan Boulevard, is a great jumping off point for several excellent green spaces. Our first birding destination would be Conference House Park, at the extreme southern-most point on Staten Island. After birding the woods and shoreline of Conference House Park we would backtrack to Mt. Loretto Unique Area. Mt. Loretto is primarily grassland habitat, but there is a small section of remnant woods, as well as, a couple of ponds and a high bluff overlooking Raritan Bay. From there we would drive to Blue Heron Pond Park to walk the park's wooded trails looking for migrating songbirds. Wolfe's Pond Park is a short distance away and includes a freshwater pond and a stretch of beach. A promenade at the end of Arden Avenue is a good spot to scan for shorebirds and waterfowl. It is also the location for an annual nesting colony of Purple Martin. Depending on the time, weather and people's energy levels, I planned to also visit Great Kills Park and Miller Field.

The weather throughout the morning was overcast and cool, not the best conditions for bird activity. At Conference House Park we encountered some scattered songbirds, mostly American Redstarts and Cedar Waxwings. Several Blue Jays were calling from a stretch of woods close to the shore. As we walked a sandy path towards the edge of Raritan Bay I spotted a very large juvenile Cooper's Hawk flying low down the beach. He ascended to a perch in an Ailanthus tree directly in front of us. No doubt he was the cause for the crying jays and, likely, the lack of songbird activity. We walked to a large open shelter at the far end of the Conference House's rolling lawn. From there we scanned the bay and sandy beach. A Common Loon was preening in the glass calm water. Barn Swallows flew back and forth, snapping up insects above the water. Tree Swallows had been streaming north all morning. I commented that someone needed to point them in the other directions.

Despite the gloomy weather, the grassland at Mt. Loretto seemed to glow yellow from flowering goldenrods stretching across the fields. A Yellow Warbler, spotted as we walked the western trail to the ponds, seemed appropriately dressed for the wildflower display. There was a flock of about a dozen Wood Ducks on one pond, while several wading birds (Great Blue Heron, Great Egret & Black-crowned Night-Heron) were seen on the pond at the opposite side of the road. Earlier, Eddie had pointed out a Snowy Egret flying overhead.

We passed the entrance to Wolfe's Pond Park and, instead, went to Blue Heron Park. I was still optimistic that we'd find some migrating songbirds and the forested trails at the latter offered more possibilities. There was a festival happening at the visitor's center with lots of kids involved with ranger lead activities. We skipped the fun and headed across the road to the the meadow pond trailhead. There weren't many birds along the trail other than a Black-throated Blue Warbler and a Veery, but we did get a little sidetracked looking at a Chinese Mantis and an unidentified katydid nymph. Another very interesting insect we encountered was initially thought to be a damselfly but which turned out to be a Pelecinid Wasp. The females of this slender species has an incredibly long abdomen. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get any photos as it moved from plant to plant. Bugguide.net has a lot of images and good info here. Back across the road we walked the trail toward Blue Heron Pond. The blind in front of the pond only offers views of the trees that have grown between the openings and the edge of the pond. We did finally find a bit of songbird activity near the blind and tallied Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Blue Jay, White-breasted Nuthatch, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Cedar Waxwing, Northern Parula, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Northern Cardinal and Common Grackle. Later, while eating lunch next to the visitor's center, we spotted a flock of goldfinches feeding on Purple Coneflowers.

A quick stop at Wolfe's Pond was uneventful, adding only Mute Swan and House Finch to our day list.

Arden Avenue, just a few minutes north of Blue Heron and Wolfe's Pond, ends at a short promenade along a stretch of beach. I was hoping to location Purple Sandpipers or any shorebirds here. We didn't find any Purple Sandpipers, but there were a pair of Semipalmated Sandpipers and a single Least Sandpiper foraging along the shore. At the northern end of the beach there were about a dozen Ruddy Turnstones hanging out on a rocky jetty.

It was getting close to 3pm and the clouds seemed to be getting darker. I took a quick show of hands to see if anyone wanted to continue at Great Kills Park. It was unanimous, so we hopped into the cars and headed north. Great Kills is 580 acres and could be a single day of birding. With limited time, I decided to just check the shoreline adjacent to the first parking lot, then drive to the marina to scan for waterfowl. When we exited the cars the first thing we noticed was swarms of Tree Swallows flying overhead. It seemed like all the swallows we had been seeing throughout the say were massing over Great Kills. It was a spectacular sight. Down along the shore I spotted one Bank Swallow among a flock of Barn Swallows that were flying below the bluff. Scanning the edges of the small cove to the north we spotted a Great Blue Heron and a Belted Kingfisher. At the marina the only birds we noticed were some gulls flying in the distance and several cormorants diving between the moored boats.

There are some incredible natural areas on Staten Island and I'd like to go back within the week. When I lead trips I usually don't take any photos as it's too much of a distraction. If my schedule allows, I'll go back to Mt. Loretto this week for some picture taking.
...Read more

Upcoming Trips

Below is a list of local trips for the weekend of September 19th - 20th, 2009:

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Saturday, September 19, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Conference House Park, Fall Migration
This park is referred to by some as "Staten Island's Cape May", where with Howie Fischer we witness the migrating birds amassing before flying south over Raritan Bay waters separating New Jersey from Staten Island. Given its natural woodlands and vegetation, this park can be a fall haven for migratory birds.
Bring binoculars.
For more information phone Dick Buegler, 718-761-7496 or Howie Fischer at 718-981-4002.

Saturday, September 19, 9 a.m to 12 noon
Staten Island Beach Clean Up at Sharrott Avenue Beach, Pleasant Plains
Protectors of Pine Oak Woods has again volunteered to participate in the National Beach Cleanup. Gloves, tools, bags and light refreshments will be provided. Cleanup is funded by the NYC Environmental Fund.
Meet in the beach parking lot at the end of Sharrott Avenue off Hylan Blvd. Rain date will be Sunday, September 20.
For more information, phone Dick Buegler at 718-761-7496 or email him at ProtectorsSINY@aol.com

Sunday, September 20, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Long Pond to North Mt. Loretto Woods
Join naturalist, photographer Sandra Mechanic in a pleasant stroll around Long Pond into the N. Mt. Loretto woods.
Meet at the corner of Richard and Bartow Avenues, across the street from Mt. Loretto Unique Area on Hylan Blvd.We will see Pixie Cups, Reindeer Moss and British Soldiers among the smaller lichen treasures, and majestic older Beech, Oak and other forest trees.
Bring camera, binoculars and beverage.
For more information, phone Dick Buegler at 718 761-7496.


Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, September 19, 2009

Early Morning Birding
8:00 a.m.
Join the Urban Park Rangers for this weekly Ranger-led birding walk of the Salt Marsh…
Location: Marine Park, Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Urban Park Rangers Walks at McCarren
10:00 a.m.
Join us on a walk from McCarren to McGolrick Park and discover their past, present, and future.
Location: McCarren Park, Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Wildflower Walk
10:00 a.m.
Come see what’s in bloom this summer as we explore the shore, meadows, and deep…
Location: Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
Cost: Free

John Muir Hike
11:00 a.m.
Stretch your legs and get some air as we traverse the park’s only east-west trail…
Location: Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx
Cost: Free

Orienteering
11:00 a.m.
Test your map and compass skills as you travel this self-guided course through Central…
Location: Central Park, Manhattan
Cost: Free

Tree-mendous Walk
11:00 a.m.
Join the Rangers for a leisurely stroll through the park and find out all about trees.
Location: Fort Totten Park, Queens
Cost: Free

Freshwater Fishing
12:00 p.m.
First come, first- served. Limited equipment provided.
Location: Kissena Park, Queens
Cost: Free

Explore the Park: Owl’s Head Park
1:00 p.m.
Built on the site of the Bliss Estate, Owl’s Head Park contains legacy trees, rolling…
Location: Owls Head Park, Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Living Log
1:00 p.m.
Find out how much life there is in that “dead” log on the side of the trail.
Location: Blue Heron Park Preserve, Staten Island
Cost: Free

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Early Morning Speed Hike!
8:00 a.m.
Get moving with a very brisk walk through Manhattan’s last remaining natural forest!
Location: Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
Cost: Free

Early Birding
9:00 a.m.
They say the early bird gets the worm. What birds will we see? Bring your comfortable…
Location: Bloomingdale Park, Staten Island
Cost: Free

Living Log
11:00 a.m.
Find out how much life there is in that “dead” log on the side of the trail.
Location: Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Hudson River Fishing
1:00 p.m.
Discover the joys of fishing as we connect to the life living within the Hudson River.…
Location: Riverside Park, Manhattan
Cost: Free

The Last Algonquin
1:00 p.m.
Come explore the Kazmiroff trail and learn the ways of Joe Two Trees, the last Bronx…
Location: Pelham Bay Park, Bronx
Cost: Free
...Read more

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fall Warblers in Brooklyn

After a short summer break, I'm back to posting regular blog updates, with one change, however. My weekly species highlights took way too much of my time, so I decided to discontinue them, at least on a regular basis. I may periodically add them as time permits.

Last weekend I lead a trip in Prospect Park for the Linnaean Society of New York. Based on the date and weather patterns, I expected that we'd observe a fair number of southbound migrant songbirds, but was pleasantly surprised by a huge arrival of birds. At our first stop, the Vale of Cashmere, we spent at least 30 minutes standing in one spot scanning a mixed flock of birds that was moving back and forth through the trees and understory.

My neighbor, Martha, is a relatively new birder who moved to Brooklyn from California. When I invited her along on the trip she was very excited as many of the east coast birds were new to her. I explained that there should be some good birds around the park, but could not have predicted that it would be a fallout day. I'm not sure how the term "fallout day" originated, but it refers to days during migration when large numbers of birds appear overnight. For beginning birders, spending the day in the field on a fallout day can be overwhelming.

When we descended the stairway into the Vale of Cashmere I immediately spotted a few birds flitting about in a small shrub at the edge of the pond. There were several more in the Black Cherry tree above us. We stood at the bottom of the stairs counting Northern Parula, Chestnut-sided Warbler, American Redstart and, on the ground at the opposite stairway, a pair of Northern Waterthrush. Higher up in the trees was an unidentified empidonax flycatcher (for the most part, I don't even bother trying to identify these confusing flycatchers if they aren't calling). We moved a few yards south of the stairs and yelled out the names of other songbirds feeding in a circuit around the decorative ponds. Occasionally, I would stop and give Martha some field marks and other identifying information on the warblers that we were seeing. I was a little conflicted about the situation for Martha. The deluge of birds might have been overloading her. Is it possible to see too many birds?

While we were at the Vale my phone kept beeping with texts from Peter. He was at the opposite end of the park, on Lookout Hill, experiencing similar songbird activity. Eventually, we left the Vale of Cashmere and began making our way south, through the Aralia Grove, the North Zoo Woods, Rick's Place and the Ravine. There were small pockets of birds all along the way, but nothing like the Vale ... yet. At a patch of Jewelweed near the edge of the Midwood, we picked up our first Ruby-throated Hummingbird. We would see several more by the end of the day. We found another small mixed flock of warblers along the side of Lookout Hill, just passed the Maryland Monument. There were also a couple of thrushes in the underbrush. Steve's group was coming from the opposite direction and we stopped to compare notes. He had seen a Philadephia Vireo near the south stairway, so we hurried in that direction.

It took us a long time to get to the top of Lookout Hill as there was another nice mixed flock of warblers foraging in the trees along the way. We added our first Magnolia Warbler of the day in this spot. The most common species of warbler of the day was easily American Redstart as they seemed to be just about everywhere we looked. At the Butterfly Meadow, on top of Lookout Hill, there was a small flock of goldfinches feeding on the sunflowers that dominate the field.

It was getting close to noon, so I decided to head back down the hill and over to the Nature Center for lunch. I usually give trip participants the option of ending the trip at the center or continuing for a little while longer. Anne and Heydi convinced me that there were more birds to be had at the Peninsula woods. I agreed, but mostly because I didn't like the idea of ending the day with "13" species of warbler. Joe Giunta's group was coming of the Peninsula as we were arriving. We exchanged information on what birds were seen where and when, then continued on our way. At the first patch of bird activity I spotted a Tennessee Warbler. A nice find, especially since I hadn't seen one during the Spring migration. Within a few minutes, another new bird for the day, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak. By the time we looped around the south side of the Peninsula we had added 5 more species to our day list for a total of 55.

When I got home I started to think about Martha's dilemma. Sure it was a great day of birding, but with so many new species, it must have been difficult. She also had one major hurdle to overcome on Saturday. During the fall migration several species of wood-warblers appear in complete different plumage than when they were heading north. For example, the Chestnut-sided Warbler hasn't any chestnut feathers. In fact, most of his black plumage also disappears and the upper parts of his body are, primarily, green. Then there are the "Confusing Fall Warblers"; the Pine Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler and Bay-breasted Warbler. Like the chestnut-sided, these birds loose their colorful plumes and pattern, or in the case of the blackpoll, the black coloration, and appear mostly as drab, olivey birds. Identification isn't impossible, it just takes a good field guide and practice. I also began thinking about the status of the wood-warblers on the east coast versus the west coast. Of the 54 species recorded in the United States, the vast majority are only regularly seen in the Central to Eastern part of the country. Of the 15 species that we saw on Saturday only 3 appear regularly in California - Nashville Warbler, Yellow Warbler and Common Yellowthroat. A few of the others are recorded rarely on the west coast, but then that's one of the things that makes birding so much fun.

(Thanks to Steve Nanz for permission to use his photos.)

Location: Prospect Park
Observation date: 9/5/09
Notes: Linnaean Society trip
Number of species: 55

Double-crested Cormorant
Green Heron
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Empidonax sp.
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Veery
Swainson's Thrush
Gray Catbird
Cedar Waxwing
Blue-winged Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Ovenbird
Northern Waterthrush
Common Yellowthroat
Song Sparrow
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch

Other common species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Mallard, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, American Robin, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Sparrow
...Read more

Monday, September 07, 2009

Upcoming Trips

Below is a list of upcoming local trips for the weekend of September 12th - 13th, 2009:

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, September 12th, 2009
A Staten Island Big Day
Trip Leader: Rob Jett
Focus: fall passerines peak
Car Fee: $20.00
Registrar: Kellie Quinones, email cemi_13@verizon.net or Home phone: 718:545-4073. Please call before 8:00 p.m.
Registration period: Sept 1st - Sept 10th


Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, September 12th, 2009
Fort Tilden & Breezy Point
Leader: Richard ZainEldeen
Registrar: Pearl Broder
Registration opens Monday 8/31.
Ride: $15.

Sunday, September 13th, 2009
Green-Wood Cemetery
Leader: Paul Keim
No registration.
Meet at Main Gate (25th St & 5th Ave) at 8:00 a.m. Public transportation (R Train to 25th St).


Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Saturday, September 12, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Conference House Park Walk
Sandra Mechanic's walk includes exploring the trails along the Arthur Kill. We will find many wildflowers, invasive vines and the famous forest of Hackberry trees.
Meet at the parking lot at the end of Hylan Blvd on the left. Bring camera and binoculars.
For more information, phone Dick Buegler at 718 761 7496.

Saturday, September 12, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Long Pond Park Wildlife and Wildflowers
We will look for evidence of animal life, especially reptiles and amphibians as the summer fades in the woodlands surrounding Long Pond. We’ll also identify wildflowers and examine the geology of the area during this unhurried stroll through about one and a half miles of the park.
Meet at PS 6, on Page Avenue and Academy Avenue about 3 blocks NW of Hylan Blvd.
For more information phone Dick Buegler 718-761-7496 or Clay Wollney at 718-869-6327.


Queens County Bird Club
Sunday, September, 13th, 2009
Prospect Park
Leaders: Bernie and Linda Klempner (718-229-6559, sbk20@nyc.rr.com)
Meet at Grand Army Plaza, 8:00am.


Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, September 12, 2009

Early Morning Birding
8:00 a.m.
Join the Urban Park Rangers for this weekly Ranger-led birding walk of the Salt Marsh…
Location: Marine Park, Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Mushroom Madness
10:00 a.m.
Trek through Inwood in search of a diverse array of mushrooms.
Location: Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
Cost: Free

36th Annual Park Fair
10:00 a.m.
Nature walks by the Urban Park Rangers. Sponsored by the Richmond Hill Block Association.
Location: Forest Park, Queens
Cost: Free

Maps and More
10:00 a.m.
Never get lost again! Learn the basics of maps and compasses, then take your turn on a course.
Location: Willowbrook Park, Staten Island
Cost: Free

Wildflower Hike
11:00 a.m.
Once a month, from spring through fall, join us and learn to ID the beautiful flowers that…
Location: Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx
Cost: Free

Adventures NYC: Park to Park
11:00 a.m.
Join the Rangers on a journey on the Greenbelt’s Red Trail to explore the haunted…
Location: High Rock Park, Staten Island
Cost: Free

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hawk-Watch
10:00 a.m.
Pelham Bay is a hot spot for viewing migrating raptors. Come check them out with the Rangers.
Location: Pelham Bay Park, Bronx
Cost: Free

Insect Insanity
10:00 a.m.
What vital role do insects play in the natural world? The answers can be found with the…
Location: Blue Heron Park Preserve, Staten Island
Cost: Free

The Wonderful World of Plants
11:00 a.m.
Join a guided tour of Fort Totten Park and learn about the useful and beneficial properties…
Location: Fort Totten Park, Queens
Cost: Free

Grandparents Day Nature Walk
1:00 p.m.
Bring grandma and grandpa to the beautiful Salt Marsh Nature Center for a leisurely nature stroll.
Location: Marine Park, Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Birding by Ear
1:00 p.m.
Sometimes it takes more than your eyes to have a successful day bird-watching. Learn how to…
Location: Marine Park, Brooklyn
Cost: Free

History Club: Early Naturalists
1:00 p.m.
What did early naturalists think of the eastern woodlands two and even three hundred years…
Location: Blue Heron Park Preserve, Staten Island
Cost: Free
...Read more

Friday, September 04, 2009

Birding at the NY Botanic Garden

I just received a note from Carol Capobianco at the New York Botanic Garden. They have just resumed their weekly bird walks:

Bird Walks Resume at The New York Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Garden’s weekly bird walks resume for the season September 5, just in time for early fall migration. Today’s Plant Talk blog post tells which birds you might see coming through the Garden on their way south to their wintering grounds.

With Saturday’s walk, guide and naturalist Debbie Becker begins her 24th season leading bird walks for the Garden, from September through June. Debbie’s passion is birding, and she knows the birds of the Garden intimately. Debbie can almost pinpoint the exact tree or shrub, and certainly the section of the Garden, particular species of birds will be found during the different seasons of the year.

Over 200 species of birds have been seen at the Garden, making use of the varied habitats (forest, river, gardens, etc.) found within its 250 acres. Some birds are year-round residents, others come for the summer to nest, others winter here, and still others pass through on their spring and fall migrations, making use of the abundant food supplies—whether it be seeds, fruits, nuts, nectar, insects, or even other birds and small mammals, as in the case of birds of prey.

The Garden has attracted uncommon sightings, as in the case of last winter’s white-winged crossbills, and offers wonderful opportunities to see wildlife up close, such as the great horned owl pair that has been nesting and raising young here for about 20 years. This past spring birders were abuzz when a pair of red-tailed hawks built a nest on the New York City Landmark Library building and hatched and raised three young. See various blogs about the hawks and other sightings at the Garden. As you know, the adult male, Hawkeye, has since died, which is mentioned in today’s blog as well.

And come join us on a bird walk – or come on your own during the week and let us know what you see.
...Read more

Brooklyn's Historic Nature

The Brooklyn Public Library will be showcasing historic photographs of Brooklyn's nature from September 15th - November 5th.

Library Show Highlights Brooklyn’s Natural History
By Robert Voris for The Brooklyn Paper

Times have certainly changed since men wore watch chains and ladies improved their figures with whalebone girdles instead of yoga — but a new photography show at the Brooklyn Public Library shows that nature is eternal.

Prospect Park, which was brand new when George Bradford Brainerd made pictures with glass plate negatives, looks just as good in Richard Golden’s recent photographs.

“While ‘then and now’ images usually focus on the built environment, Richard Golden celebrates Brooklyn’s many green spaces and the people who first recorded them on film,” said Joy Holland, a curator at the library, which houses the prints of Brainerd and Daniel Berry Austin, a turn of the last century shooter, whose work is also featured.

The show, which runs from Sept. 15 through Nov. 5, was also curated by Golden, who said that the photos illustrate the foresight of past Brooklyn residents who set aside almost a third of the borough’s acreage for open land.

“The point here is that the sorts of things they [Brainerd and Daniel Berry Austin] were photographing 150 years ago were just there,” Golden explained. “Nowadays these places exist only because of acts of preservation.”

The old photographs showcase landscapes that seem foreign and yet familiar, as shown by a shot of the Bay Ridge shoreline looking from what is today the Shore Parkway towards Sea Gate and beyond — a vista still vaguely recognizable today.

“There are places in Brooklyn that equal the beauty you find in the Hamptons and the Adirondacks,” Golden said. “We should appreciate the fact that they’re right there, accessible by mass transit.”

“Nature Seen in Brooklyn,” at the Central Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library [in Grand Army Plaza at Flatbush Avenue and Eastern Parkway, (718) 230-2100]. Closed Sunday.
...Read more

Rare Brooklyn Visitor

During the late summer, when the greatest diversity of shorebirds are seen around New York City's coastal habitats, another sub-group of these birds are sometimes found farther from the water. They are referred to as "grasspipers". While they are technically shorebirds, they have been given this moniker because of their preference for dry, grassland habitats. This week a pair of grasspipers appeared in Queens. I took a long ride on my bike hoping to find them.

The birds reported were Buff-breasted Sandpipers. I'd seen "buffies" at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and Jones Beach, but these individuals were much closer, at Fort Tilden. I thought it would be a good opportunity for a buffie by bicycle. My plan was to also pedal through Floyd Bennett Field and Dreier-Offerman Park. All these areas have decent expanses of grassland and the possibility of grasspipers.

For this posting I searched the Internet and through my bookcase for a list of North American shorebird "grasspipers", but was unable to find a definitive list of species. Based on "Sibley's Guide to Birds" this is the list of species that I assume are referred to as grasspipers (let me know if you have other information): Northern Lapwing, Black-bellied Plover, American Golden-Plover (European & Pacific), Mountain Plover, Killdeer, Upland Sandpiper, Bristle-thighed Curlew, Long-billed Curlew and Buff-breasted Sandpiper. Kenn Kaufman also describes the Pectoral Sandpiper as being a sometimes "grasspiper".

Anyway, I was disappointed to find a group of soccer players on the fields at Fort Tilden where the Buff-breasted Sandpipers had been reportedly hanging around. I checked all the other fields, but came up empty so rode over to Riis Park and took a swim. After drying off, I pedaled north to Floyd Bennett Field where I searched the grasslands and puddles on the old runways for shorebirds. There were a few Least Sandpipers and Killdeer, but nothing unusual. I headed west, towards Dreier-Offerman Park.

The main entrance to the park was closed due to construction, but a temporary opening in the fence and dirt road has been created about 200 yards south. There were only a few cars in the parking lot and nobody on any of the soccer or baseball fields. At the cove on the south side of the peninsula there were several Black-crowned Night-Herons hunting in the low-tide mud. A pair of Belted Kingfisher rattled from perches on a rotted ship hull closer to Coney Island Creek. I hopped back on my bike and rode slowly across the parking lot then west, towards the largest of the grass fields.

The intense summer sun was shining in my eyes when I spotted the unusual silhouette walking in the grass. At first I thought it was a small egret or ibis. When I focused my bins on the long-billed bird I think I might have muttered an expletive. It was a rare "Brooklyn" Whimbrel. Then I noticed that there was a second one. I don't think that Whimbrels are generally considered "grasspipers", but here they were, strutting through the grass snapping up insects and snails.

I leaned my bike up against a lamppost and called Shane. He lives nearby and I thought he would want to come check it out. Whimbrels can be seen in New York State, primarily on the south shore of Long Island, but it is very unusual to find them in Brooklyn. When I hung up with Shane a female American Kestrel buzzed the field while screaming "klee, klee, klee, klee, klee". The Whimbrels were unimpressed and merely turned their heads sideways to watch the tiny falcon fly off to the east.

The next call I made was to my friend Heydi. Luckily she had just gotten home and was heading into the Marine Park Saltmarsh to do some birding. I explained that there weren't any people using the recreational fields and the Whimbrels seemed pretty content. There was still plenty of daylight left and the birds didn't appear to be in any hurry to depart. She told me that she had to take two buses, but would be there as soon as possible.

I stuck around for another 30 minutes, then headed home. When she arrived at the park Heydi texted me that she couldn't find the birds, so I gave her a call. I spent a few minutes directing her around the fields and footpaths when she finally said, "I think I see a head sticking up from the grass". She found both birds.

I've probably written it many times in this blog, but finding a "good" bird is always much more rewarding when one can share it with others. Heydi took some really nice photos and allowed me to post them here. Thanks.
...Read more

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Peeps & Skippers

In the avian world the term "fall migration" is a bit of a misnomer. A more accurate (but less elegant) label might be "post-breeding migration", because some North American species actually begin their southward migration as early as July. Several species of arctic nesting shorebirds wrap up their breeding cycle during the "Dog Days" of summer, stopping off at New York City's Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. At the refuge they fatten up and rest before continuing their long journeys to Central and South America, where they will spend the winter. I both love and dread this period of birdwatching.

Being witness to the spectacle of tens of thousands of shorebirds in one location is intoxicating, exhilarating and, often, frustrating. The frustration comes into play when trying to identify some of these long distance travelers, in particular, the calidris sandpipers or "peeps". This small shorebirds represent one of the greatest identification challenges for birdwatchers. They are the Least Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper and Baird's Sandpiper. All are, generally, about the same size and shape with varying amounts and patterns of white, gray and brown. The plumages also vary between adults and juveniles of the same species. Also, unlike songbirds, which can be observed in habitats with differing amounts of shade, studying peeps usually requires standing for hours in stifling summer heat at the edges of smelly, insect infested (usually biting insects) ponds, marshes or other wetlands. In August's heat, I'll generally spend a few days at Jamaica Bay attempting to gain some nugget of insight into shorebird identification before packing it in until next year. I've come to accept that if I learn just one new thing with each day of shorebirding, I'll probably be ahead of the game come next migration.

This summer, for some unknown reason, between looking at sandpipers, plovers, dowitchers, yellowlegs and the like, I began examining the local butterflies. I started off by searching Prospect Park for the wildflowers that attracted large numbers of butterflies. When the park's limited plantings of coneflowers, bergamot and buddleia began to fade, I headed over to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Eventually, I hit the jackpot when my friend Heydi and I went exploring Green-Wood Cemetery. The cemetery's abundant and varied plantings attracted a treasure trove of butterflies, moths and other insects. At the soldier's monument on Battle Hill we discovered swarms of skippers on plantings of sedum, verbena and mixed mint species.

videoAs we were running from butterfly to butterfly, snapping pictures and trying to identify these tiny, winged creatures I had an epiphany of sorts. I had foregone the frustration of peep identification for something just as difficult - skippers. The primary differences are that sandpipers don't usually fly away when you are looking at them and that they are always much larger than one's thumb nail! All the skippers that we were seeing were patterned in various shades of brown and orange, ranging in size from extremely small to very small. One of the difficulties with skipper ID is that you frequently need to see the upper and lower surfaces of both the forewing and the hindwing. On the days that I was looking, it seemed like they rarely cooperated or I needed to study my photos on the computer to have a reasonable chance at identification. Fortunately, there were other butterflies and moths that were easier to identify, plus a few migrant songbirds already passing through the area. Some of those birds were most certainly feeding on the abundance of butterflies.

Near the main entrance to the Green-Wood Cemetery I noticed a large patch of, what appeared to be, fennel. I crushed some of the feathery leaves and they had the unmistakable fragrant of licorice. The only insects that I observed feeding on the nectar of the yellow flowers was a species of small, black and yellow wasp. It occurred to me that the insects could actually absorb the aromatic licorice scent and flavor so, when a bird gobbles one up, I wonder, do they smack their bills and say, "Mmmm, refreshing"?

For more on shorebird identification, click here. For a list of migratory insects, click here.

...Read more

Prospect Park Birding Tour

This Saturday I will be leading a birding trip in Prospect Park for the Linnaean Society of New York. Meet at Grand Army Plaza in front of the Stranahan Statue at 7:30 a.m. The statue is next to the path at the northeast corner of the park entrance.

My trip is a casual stroll through, primarily, the wooded areas of the park in search of migrating songbirds. Anyone familiar with my tours (and this blog) can expect some of the trip's focus to include wildflowers and insects. The length of the trip is flexible and I usually base it on the weather, productivity and people participating. You can bring lunch and a snack, but there is also a limited selection of food and beverages at the boathouse nature center.

If you are the chronically late type, leave yourself extra time because I like to begin my trips promptly. The closest subway stations to Grand Army Plaza are:

2 train - Grand Army Plaza
B train - 7th Avenue/Flatbush Avenue
Q train - 7th Avenue/Flatbush Avenue

Hope to see you Saturday.

Brooklyn Bird Club Program

This coming Thursday Scott Whittle will be the Brooklyn Bird Club's evening program presenter, 6:30 arrival. Program starts at 7 PM. It should be an enjoyable evening. The Villa is located inside Prospect Park's entrance at Prospect Park West Avenue and 5th Street. Nearest train is the F line at 7th avenue.

"A New York State Big Year" with Scott Whittle
Thursday, September 3rd, 6:30 P.M.
Come hear about Scott's 2008 New York State Big Year, in which he tallied a record 350 species 365 adventure-filled days.
6:30 PM at the Litchfield Villa

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Turtle and Hawk

Art Drauglis lives in Washington, DC and was in NYC recently on business. He was visiting Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge during some down time when I ran into him and offered to show him around the refuge. When he returned home he sent me an email which included a link to his Flickr page which included the following, great story:

"Shortly after I started up the Powell Mountain Trail in Shenandoah National Park I noticed some movement off in the brush. At first I thought that I had flushed a Ruffed Grouse, but whatever it was had not gone very far. I moved up the trail a few feet and saw the bird again behind a tree. It was a juvenile Broad-Winged Hawk and it seemed to be injured or stuck. One foot was stuck inside of a trap or can. I took a few steps closer and saw that it was actually wedged into a box turtle. The prey had trapped the predator. The hawk had not yet learned that it was too small to lift something the size of a turtle. It was a Blue Ridge Mountain version of the Mexican Coat of Arms (an eagle battling a rattlesnake in a cactus). I have heard that some hawks will pick up turtles and drop them on rocks until their shells shatter; that was not going to happen today."

"I thought that I might be able to assist the situation so I crouched down and moved to within three feet of the pair."

"In order to free it I would have to use one hand to separate toe and turtle and the other to hold the hawk still. Not a recommended course of action. I thought that if I could go at the hawk from behind that the strategy might work, but if I got closer than three feet the hawk would roll back into a defensive posture. Not being able to get away, it was prepared to slash away with it's free foot and beak. Not only that, but every time it leaned away from me, the wedged toe bent at an unnatural angle."

"I have learned that observing wildlife is much more healthy and satisfying when one pays attention to the cues and body language of the animal being observed and reacts accordingly. I backed away a few feet and then left them to their fate."

"I wondered how long the turtle could keep itself boxed up, particularly if it was wounded. I imagined the toe stuck in there wagging around, stabbing and scratching. If the hawk could not free itself by dusk it was doomed. It would be an easy picking for the first bobcat, coyote, fox, or bear to wander by. I should say a relatively easy picking; it would surely fight, but there would not be a chase."



Check out more of Art's photos here or his great furniture website here.
...Read more

Exploring urban nature, birds, birdwatching, birding, hummingbirds, butterflies, dragonflies, bees, hawks, raptors, wildflowers, trees, mushrooms, environment, binoculars, spotting scope