Sunday, August 9, 2009

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

UFOS: Unidentified flying object of the skipper variety

Yesterday on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, we saw a black swan (Cyngus atratus). These natives of Australia have been imported to this continent as ornamentals, so this one is doubtlessly an escapee. It is spectacular: on the water, it's all black with a red bill, but when stretching its wings (or flying) it shows its white flight feathers. The East Pond is now spotted with dozens upon dozens of mute swans, btw. Other birds added to this year’s list: Lesser yellowlegs, Marbled godwit, Whimbrel, Ruddy turnstone, and Short-billed dowitcher.

It was also a fine day for butterflies: we saw more than these, but these were the ones we could identify: Monarch (below), Red Admiral, Viceroy, American Lady, Clouded Sulphur, Cabbage White, Spring Azure (late in the year?).

On the path back to the A train, found this land snail shell. I think it's another C. nemoralis, but quite different from the striped version in the Back 40.


ScottieinaCanoe said...

I live next door to a lake and the former owner had several of those swans you speak of. The swans have long since flown the coop so to speak. The owner, a former physician, who is doing 10 years for insurance fraud and ethical malpractice would like to fly the coop as well.

Again-- very lovely photos. I enjoyed looking at them this evening

Brenda from Flatbush said...

Your day's bird sightings sound like the cast of a Dickens novel!

Matthew said...

I imagine Mr. Whimbrel wears glasses way down his nose and is absentminded, so much so that he misplaces the all important paper that will free the Dowitcher twins from the grasp of the nefarious Yellow-legs for about three hundred pages.

apt pupil said...

I like to see your fingerprints in the photos!

Matthew said...

For the snails, it's either my fingers or my bellybutton...I think the whirl of the vortex of the shell works nicely with the ol' omphalos.