Sunday, May 24, 2015

Turtle Day

Yesterday, May 23rd, was World Turtle Day, a day for celebrating turtles and tortoises, to raise awareness of them, and to help protect their disappearing habitats. I am reposting photos from all the blogs I've written about turtles. This one is an Eastern box turtle from New Jersey. Click here to read my blog about it. Or just click to enlarge. 
This common snapping turtle was sunning on the shore of the Reservoir in Central Park in Manhattan.  Click here for the blog. 

I saw this lovely painted turtle in Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in  Vernon, New Jersey. Click here to read about the refuge and other interesting animals you can see there. 
These red-eared slider turtles were sunning on rocks in Central Park in Manhattan, a great place to raise your turtle awareness. There are lots of red-eared sliders and quite a few other nice turtles to see there. Click here to read the original blog about a nature walk I led there last year. That blog also mentions the pair of eastern spiny softshell turtles pictured below. 
Eastern spiny softshell turtles. Note the turtle necks. 

The big turtle on the left in this photo is a red-eared slider. The little one of the right is a yellow-bellied slider.  They are sharing a log in Central Park. Click here to read more.   
World Turtle Day. May 23rd. My awareness was raised enough to notice this guy holding up a lamp in front of my bank.

A turtle haiku from Kobayashi Issa, 1825

"short summer night --
in the field turtles

Sunday, May 17, 2015


A few of Brooklyn's monk parakeets. Click to enlarge. 

I stopped by Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn this week to visit the locally famous parakeets. This group flew over and landed by me, sat and squawked for a while, and then flew deeper into the cemetery. Monk parakeets have been around Brooklyn for about forty years; the colony at Green-Wood is one of the largest in the city. I wrote a long blog about them a while ago; click here to read it.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sunny and Warm today. Sigh.

This starling found a discarded apple in the grass. He stopped eating to regard me as I took his photo but resumed when I walked away. Click to enlarge. 

I'm on my way back outside to enjoy the day. In that spirit, a poem: 

I Meant to do My Work Today

By Richard LaGallienne

I meant to do my work today
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me. 
And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro, 
And a rainbow held out its shining hand,
So what could I do but laugh and go? 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Chipping Sparrow

I just spent a week in the pine lands of southern New Jersey. Chipping sparrows there started singing at dawn and kept on until the sun set. I saw dozens of them. This one was gathering material for a nest. 
The chipping sparrow, Spizella passerina, is easily identified by its red cap, gray face, black stripe through the eye, and white eyebrow and throat. Click on the photos to enlarge. 
Spring is slowly waking in the woods. Click here to hear the chipping sparrow sing. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tent Caterpillars

I am in the New Jersey pine barrens taking photos. Here's an eastern tent caterpillar. Click to enlarge.  
More coming soon!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The First Real Day of Spring

One of Brooklyn's white-throated sparrows, Zonotrichia albicollis.  Click to enlarge. 
One thing signals the start of spring to me -- when the white-throated sparrows start to sing. So, according to me, spring started this past Wednesday when I heard the first one right outside my window. Today they were singing all over Brooklyn.

The song is distinctive and once you know what it is you will easily pick it out above the city noise. Click here to see and listen to some white-throats singing.