Thursday, November 29, 2012
Thank you to everyone who came to my presentation at the New York City Mid-town Manhattan Library on Tuesday night. I had a great time! Sorry that we sold out of books. You can order one from Amazon.com by clicking here. P.S. The chubby reddish brown squirrels in Union Square are eastern gray squirrels.
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Black vultures and turkey vultures roosting on a water tower.
|Check out their shadows!|
|Click on any of the photos to enlarge.|
Sunday, November 18, 2012
|Snow geese, Chen caerulescens. Click to enlarge.|
|Snow geese are white with black wingtips.|
|They have pink bills with a dark line, sometimes called black lips.|
And, from Mary Oliver -- Snow Geese
Oh, to love what is lovely, and will not last!
What a task
of anything, or anyone,
yet it is ours,
and not by the century or the year, but by the hours.
One fall day I heard
above me, and above the sting of the wind, a sound
I did not know, and my look shot upward; it was
a flock of snow geese, winging it
faster than the ones we usually see,
and, being the color of snow, catching the sun
so they were, in part at least, golden. I
held my breath
as we do
to stop time
when something wonderful
has touched us
as with a match,
which is lit, and bright,
but does not hurt
in the common way,
as if delight
were the most serious thing
you ever felt.
I have never seen them again.
Maybe I will, someday, somewhere.
Maybe I won't.
It doesn't matter.
is that, when I saw them,
I saw them
as through the veil, secretly, joyfully, clearly.
|The pictures in the blog were taken at Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Oceanville, New Jersey, near Atlantic City.|
Sunday, November 11, 2012
|The great black-backed gull, Larus marinus. Click to enlarge.|
The great black-backed gull is easy to identify. It is the largest gull in the world, almost two feet long with a four-foot wingspan. It has a dark grayish-black back, white spots on the tips of the wings, and pink legs. Its bill is yellow with a red dot near the tip. In winter plumage, shown above, it has light dusky streaks on its head.
|The great black-backed gull takes four years to reach adulthood and goes through a series of plumages. In this photo a third winter bird is taking wing while an adult floats on the water. Click here for Cornell Lab of Ornithology's plumage descriptions.|
|The fishing pier.|
|The Wonder Wheel is expected to be back in service for next year's opening. I heard on the news today that rides will be free on opening day, Palm Sunday 2013.|
Friday, November 9, 2012
Sunday, November 4, 2012
|Brooklyn Bridge Park and Manhattan. Pine siskins have moved in!|
|Little pines siskins, Spinus pinus, are easy to overlook. They are about five inches long and only weigh about half an ounce. They are mainly brown with streaks on body and head.|
|Yellow wing edges.|
Pine siskins eat seeds of conifers like pine, cedar, hemlock, larch, and spruce. They also eat seeds of birch, sweet gum, maple, and alder. And they eat the tiny seeds of grasses, dandelions, ragweed, and other plants. They occasionally snack on an insect or spider. They are happy to come to feeders for thistle and sunflower seeds.
Pine siskins sometimes travel with other irruptive migrants like crossbills, redpolls, purple finches, evening grossbeaks, and goldfinches. Birdwatchers call these the winter finches; I hope to see some of them in Brooklyn Bridge Park, too! But the park has been closed for a week because of hurricane Sandy and has just reopened. I'm on my way out to look for finches. I'll report back.
The siskins may have been carried far away by the storm. (Click here to listen to a short NPR interview describing how birds can travel inside a hurricane's eye.)