Friday, May 9, 2008


I’ll be helping out on the NYC Audubon’s harbor heron tours[drag down for details] this summer (swabbing the deck, talking pirate, ogling the saucy wenches: there is nothing quite as fun as simply messing about in boats, as Ratty so wisely noted). These “three hour tours” (actually, about an hour and a half) head up the East River on an NYC Water Taxi catamaran to observe the bird colonies on U Thant, Mill Rock, and North and South Brother islands. Great egrets, snowy egrets, black-crowned night herons, and double-crested cormorants (along with lesser numbers of glossy ibises, cattle egrets, little blue herons, tricolored herons, yellow-crowned night herons, & green herons) nest on theses uninhabited islands, along with 14 others that are regularly surveyed in the great estuarial system that is the Hudson River, New York Harbor, Long Island Sound, and Jamaica Bay. Considering the massive damage we do to our archipelago home, it’s heartening to know that last year they counted 6352 nesting sites. The tours are every Sunday starting June 8.

If you look up in the evenings, you’ll often see herons and cormorants heading to their nesting sites after a day spent foraging. Birds from Prospect Park head SW towards Hoffman and Swinburne Islands south of the Verrazzano Bridge. In Central Park, you will see them flying easterly, heading home towards the Brothers after a day spent stalking the Meadowlands. Early mornings, they’ll make the reverse flight, day after day. The night herons, on the other hand… well, you can guess from their names: they like to feed at night. The other night in the Loch while owling, we saw a black-crowned fly in. Later it, or another, had perched on a log over the water, patiently waiting for fish, amphibian, or mammal to wander before its still razor beak.
Stumbled upon this beautiful book about damselflies last night. Some of the (un)common names of these Odonata: superb jewelwing, smoky rubspot, sweetflag spreadwing.
Via bee maven Gerry, read this wonderful cranky piece on why beekeeping, and by extension our whole "relationship" with nature, is all so god-damned wrong. We don't have a relationship with nature, we are nature, and we have to return to thinking like that.

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