Sunday, May 31, 2015

Spring Robins

I took this picture of my local American robin on the first day of spring this year.  Click to enlarge. 
We had come through a very cold winter. Like some robins in these parts, this one stayed north. I fed him raisins. There were days when it was so cold that he'd take a raisin and hop away into a place sheltered from the wind to eat it. He kept his feathers puffed up for insulation and often hunkered down so his legs were covered by his belly feathers. 
This is how he looks today. No need to puff up feathers on a warm day in May. Doesn't he look relatively sleek and leggy? I know this is the same bird because during winter he learned to come to a platform very close to my window for raisins and he still does; the other birds are wary of coming so close. 
Here's how he looks when he's singing. 
And he is not alone! He's showing up with this one that I think might be planning to build a nest with him. She is more brown above than black and overall more pale. Click to enlarge and compare them.

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. 
Chinese 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?