Sunday, June 7, 2009

Wild kingdoms

Highlights of this weekend’s borough-y adventures include a fragment of pottery found at Dead Horse Bay that had “Handpainted -- Occupied Japan” on the bottom of it. This notice was evidently used for export material from 1945-52. I didn’t score that, a father and son team did, but I kept the kid amused with a starling skeleton and the head of a field mouse that had probably been decapitated by a feral cat -- “Cool!” he said, adding “We found a rat skull in school.” Three still-fuzzy American oystercatcher babies were there, running about the beach, so we took care to give them and their nervous parents some room. A least tern became species 153. Two Baltimore oriole nests were found today in Prospect Park, and we got a look at three different permutations of the Orchard oriole: mature male, first year male, and female. A great crested flycatcher was also seen in the Nethermead (species 154), best view I’ve ever had. A blue-gray gnatcatcher was in a neighboring tree: perhaps it was nesting, which would be rare for the park. One red-tail eyas was visible in the Nelly’s Lawn nest. A green heron was vocalizing (“singing” might be too gentle a word for this sound). Cherries were starting to ripen, and we all had a look at a chipmunk with its cheeks bulging with berries. Butterflies, dragonflies, bees, and wasps galore; an eyed click beetle was spotted flying, then landing; these are the ones with the false eyes on the pronotum to fool predators. A tiger swallowtail made a rare photogenic landing, and, naturally, I was not toting my camera. Image above from a couple of weeks back. I didn’t think anyone was in the nest but the autoflash caught these robins.

No comments: