Sunday, November 29, 2015

Dabbling for Dinner

The photo seems to be crying out for a funny caption. Something about exercise or synchronized swimming, right? Click to enlarge. 
These Canada geese are tipped over and reaching down with their long necks to gather food plants from the bottom of the shallow pond. The one that's right side up in the back is a designated sentinel; that's a goose thing -- they take turns watching for danger. Every time you look at a flock of geese you will see that some of them, the guards, are watching you right back and ready to honk an alarm.

Here is a haiku from 1822 by the Japanese poet Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue, about that very thing.

how prudent! 
the geese post guards
awake, asleep 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

These New Jersey wild turkeys got nervous when they noticed me approaching. Click to enlarge.  
They slipped away into the trees and quietly disappeared. Stealthy! 

Sunday, November 15, 2015


A mockingbird in a persimmon tree. Click to enlarge.
The sun is going down at around 4:30 here now, so by the time I get home from work it's fully dark. Nevertheless there is autumn beauty all around. The wild persimmons are ripe and the birds are feasting on them!

Here is a poem for the season by Adelaide Crapsey. The poet was born in my  neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights in 1878.

               November Night

               With faint dry sound,
               Like steps of passing ghosts, 
               The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the trees
               And fall. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Columbus Circle Pigeons

There I was, sitting on a bench at Columbus Circle in Manhattan, eating a hot knish and looking around. A lot of things were going on: food vendors, sirens, souvenir sales, people renting bicycles, pet-walkers, skate-boarders, shoppers, police, horse-drawn carriages, beggars, preachers, pedicab drivers drumming up fares, New Yorkers walking fast, traffic churning, trains rumbling below, someone doing yoga, and a guy playing a saxophone. And right there in the center of it all --- pigeons. They seemed to be perching on the statues with particularly artistic flare. 
Is this boy showing off for his mother?
"Look -- three at once!" 
A pigeon delicately balanced upon the nose. 
A tender moment with mother, child, and pigeons.  Click on the photos to enlarge. This is the sixth blog I've written about pigeons! Type "pigeon" in the search box on the right for the others. 

"Pigeon friend of mine, 
Fly on, sing on." -- Carl Sandburg

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Another Walk in New Jersey

I wrote a blog in August about a walk I took in northern New Jersey. Here's another blog about a walk in New Jersey, but this time around Cape May at the end of October. The trees were turning colors around one of the ponds at Higbee Beach Wildlife Management area.  Click on the photos to enlarge. 
There were a lot of buckeye butterflies around. They are migrating now. Click here to see a previous blog about buckeye butterflies. 
Buckeyes are seasonally dimorphic; the undersides of their rear wings are tan or brown in spring but pink like this one in autumn. 
Through the woods and onto the dune path. 
To the windy beach. 
All the while migrating hawks were zipping overhead -- too fast for me to photograph, alas. 
Then a little more woods walking. 
Past a few of these south Jersey style swamps. 
In the sheltered spots there were green darner dragonflies, Anax junius.  They are migrating now, too. We can tell that this one is a male from the blue on its abdomen. 
Then there was this little metallic bee shining like gold in the sunlight. It's scientific name Augochlora pura means "pure golden green." These bees are usually green but can be coppery or gold like this one. It is one of the prettiest bees ever. 
And here is a spiffy hover fly from the genus Sphaerophoria. You would think it was still summer in some of the sunny protected corners of Cape May's fields. 
Then back to the leafy country road and home. 
There are some really pretty places in New Jersey.