Sunday, June 10, 2007


Last night, around 845 pm, the local mocking bird was vocalizing, and I swear he was singing the car alarm song. Mocking birds will incorporate both other bird songs as well as other local sounds. This one does a sequence of three that are just like the variable car alarm.

Headed over to Jamaica Bay Wildlife refuge today. Cloudy and humid-cool there, and the bugs were out; I intercepted a couple of mosquitoes but don’t seem to have been bitten (miraculous!). Two life birds identified: gull-billed tern and cattle egret. Others: double-crested cormorant, great egret, black-crowned nigh heron, glossy ibis, Canada goose, mute swan, gadwell, black duck, mallard, osprey (with three chicks in the nest), clapper rail (2!), killdeer, oystercatcher, willet, laughing gull, herring gull, great black-backed gull, common tern, least tern, mourning dove, eastern wood-peewee, crow, tree and barn swallow, robin, catbird, mockingbird, brown thrasher, starling, cedar waxwing, yellow warbler, common yellowthroat, towhee, song sparrow, red-winged blackbird, house finch. There was also a flycatcher that was probably a willow, since they’re expected this time of year, but I can’t differentiate among the empidonax quartet.

On the train out to JBWR, three young women on the platform opposite had tee shirts proclaiming: “I’m a Puerto Rican bitch.” Their mamas must be proud. On the way back, five thugged-out homies bellowed “nigger” and “bitch” so many times I thought they didn’t have any other nouns in their vocabulary. In between these trains, I had to pass through Broad Channel, an insular community in every sense of the word, which made it a rather tribal day.

Bee and garden people got together for some grilling tonight. I took rhubarb cherry compote. Didn’t go up to see the bees because they were showing kids the hives and I thought they should get a chance, plus I was wearing shorts. So the mosquitoes had some supping, too: East Village skeeters are a tougher crowd that those pansies out in Jamaica Bay.

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