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Friday, October 01, 2010

Early Autumn in Green-Wood

In preparation for my trip in Green-Wood Cemetery tomorrow morning, I did some scouting this week. It appears that we are now moving into the next wave of migrating species.

While many plants are now fruiting, autumn crocus have blossomed bringing splashes of violet to grassy patches all around the cemetery. As warbler abundance and diversity has begun to wane, southbound sparrows have started to arrive. I spotted my first White-throated Sparrows of the season, as well as, Swamp Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow and Savannah Sparrow. Flocks of Northern Flickers now appear to be everywhere. In addition, some of our winter visitors have even arrived as I spotted my first Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Red-breasted Nuthatches and Brown Creepers of the season.

With pumpkins and other varieties of squashes now in season, I shouldn't be surprised that I keep coming across this interesting looking insect. I had one land on me while on top of Hook Mountain two weeks ago and tried to remember to look it up when I got home. As a reminder, these Squash Bugs turned out to be relatively common throughout Green-Wood this week.

I had two experiences with Yellow-billed Cuckoos this week. One was sort of depressing, but the other very cool. While photographing autumn crocuses in front of William Niblo's mausoleum, I spotted a dead cuckoo on the ground. Not sure how it died as there were no overt signs of trauma. Once I got over the initial sadness, I used the opportunity to get a close-up look at this secretive birds plumage. My second experience occurred while on Ocean Hill. I was scanning a linden tree for birds when I heard a cuckoo making its clucking, "ka, ka, ka, ka, ka, ka" call, followed by a softer "kowp, kowp, kowp." On a whim, I decided to imitate the bird. Within seconds, it popped out into the open and assumed a very strange posture; with his body in a horizontal position, he draped his wings down and cocked his tail up. As I continued making the sound, he started to fan his tail out. I'm not sure how my sounds translated, but it sure kept his interest. After what seemed like minutes, he finally tired of my shenanigans and flew off down the hill.

Here's a slideshow of some Green-Wood Cemetery fruit:


Yojimbot said...

I also had a ybc had been killed by peregrines. I also toook that opportunity to observe its plumage, including those amazing tail feathers and rusty coat!

dr.nola said...

i believe i saw two yellow-billed cuckoos on 9/30 2pm on lookout hill. when did you find the deceased ybc?

Rob Jett said...

I found the dead one on 9/23.

Avris T. said...

I realise that this is rather old, but I thought I'd weigh in on the "squash bug"; that's not a squash bug. It's a brown marmorated stink bug (

Rob Jett said...

Not odd at all. I realized long after this posting that it was the invasive Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. Just never got around to correcting. Thanks for your heads up.

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