Sunday, July 17, 2016

Some New Urban Wildlife

When I went outside yesterday to look for some urban wildlife around Brooklyn Heights, I was overwhelmed by an apparent irruption of wild Pokemon creatures like the Doduo pictured above. Click to enlarge for a better look. 
This Clefairy was just hanging out on a street corner. Looking at me. 
And I saw this Polliwag who looked like he might be up to no good. 
This Zubat flapped at me. 
A Staryu was hanging out at Brooklyn Borough Hall Plaza. 
This little wild Eevee was frolicking in the Metro Tech gardens. 
In the same garden -- a Rattata in the grass. 
There were lots more of these things in the neighborhood -- dragons, snakes, rhinos, cats, monkeys, octopus and other fabulous forms. If you go out to hunt for them, which I and apparently thousands of other New Yorkers think is fun, try Pier One at Brooklyn Bridge Park where there are often active lures. On Saturday night it was like Times Square down there. For now at least, the Pokemons seem to be everywhere. Like this guy, below, (or is it these guys, below) in my local supermarket.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Goats at Work

Four goats are at work eating weeds in Brooklyn Bridge Park. It's a big improvement over lawn mowers of the more common sort. This guy is on the job right now. The name on his collar says Hector. Click to enlarge. 
Here's another one. His collar (from a different photo) says Horatio. They are nubian goats. The park hired them for their eco-friendly ways and their climbing skills to trim the steep slopes of the noise-attenuating berm at the Pier 3 uplands. 

I've seen them a few times from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade when they are on the east side of the berm. Can you see them in this photo? Follow the line of the crane down to the crest of the hill. Goats are a big surprise in this setting for people who are not expecting them. 
Here is a more magnified shot from the same vantage. The other two goats are called Minnie and Eyebrows. They all spend their nights in a shed and they are on the job every day, munching away inside a fenced enclosure. 

Go take a look at them if you are near. But don't feed them or they won't do their job as well and don't disturb them -- just look. They are way cool! 

Mmmm... tasty weeds. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Happy July Fourth!

It's sunny and warm outside. Butterflies like this pearl crescent, Phyciodes tharos, love that. Me too! Have a great holiday! Click on the photo to enlarge.  

Sunday, June 26, 2016

World Giraffe Day!

I took these photos of a pair of young giraffes at the Cape May County Zoo in Cape May Courthouse, New Jersey. Adorable, right? 
 World Giraffe Day was this past week on June 21st. You will recognize that date as the spring equinox and the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. The Giraffe Conservation Foundation, GCF, picked that day to celebrate giraffes, the animals with the longest necks, and to bring attention to the problems of protecting wild giraffe populations; the GCF works to preserve giraffe habitat and to identify and mitigate threats to them. And they raise money to conserve and manage giraffes across Africa.

Don't worry if you missed World Giraffe Day or didn't know about it; it started in 2015 so this is only the second one. You'll be ready for next year. Click here for Giraffe Day attire recommendation.

Click here for the World Giraffe Day Facebook page. 

Click here to read about giraffe conservation on the GCF webpage. 

Click on the photos to enlarge. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Linden Time Again

The linden tree, Tilia americana, is also called basswood, lime tree, white wood, and bee tree. 
Click to enlarge. 
This blog is normally about wildlife, but I'm taking a moment to praise the linden trees that are blossoming in New York right now. In a city not noted for smelling good, the event is a delightful occasion.

Linden trees smell fresh, green, flowery, and sweet -- a little like melon, a little like honey. The smell wafts hauntingly around the trees and spreads on warm breezes. It makes me stop and inhale. It smells so good that I look forward to passing each linden on my daily route, especially a big old tree on the northeast corner of Central Park West at 66th street; its flower-covered branches droop over the sidewalk and diffuse perfume all around.

Lindens are native to eastern North America. They are common in cities, suburbs, and forests, so a lot of places smell good right now. Closely related trees, also called lindens, grow throughout the Northern hemisphere. They are prized for their beauty. Their wood is especially valued by carvers -- linden wood decorates the great cathedrals of Europe. Linden leaves and flowers are used for perfumes and teas. Honey made from linden flowers has a light minty herbal taste that is renowned among honeys.

Aromatherapists use linden to "calm and relax the body and the mind." We could use more of that. We should plant more lindens.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Time to Smell the Roses

Brooklyn smells like roses this week. 
Well, maybe not everywhere -- but the parks smell great. I was home for a week-long stay-cation and I took a walk in nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park every day. The air was sweet with the scent of roses and I recommend a visit while they are still in bloom. And when you pause to smell them, take a look inside.
You might find a rose weevil, making holes.
Or a lovely half-green sweat bee.
Or maybe a honeybee with its pollen sacs full of yellow rose pollen. 
Or a Japanese beetle. Click on the photos to enlarge. 
Or even a pair of common eastern bumblebees double-teaming. 
There's lots more going on in there. Take a look. And a sniff.