Thursday, March 31, 2011

New York City Sky (SWF)

DSC_0278 A Rainbow Fountain in the Resevoir 3-12-11

DSC_0368 Golden Architecture against an azure sky 3-12-11

DSC_0371 Faces watching over the City 3-12-11

DSC_0414 Scrollwork Standard 3-12-11

DSC_0415Willows in Central Park 3-12-11

Skywatch Friday

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New York Life List-Kathiesbirds

16. rb merg-k

Red-breasted Merganser in Prospect Park Lake 3-13-11

My eBird New York Life List: (bold lettering denotes new location or date)

  1. Pileated Woodpecker: Whitehall NY 11-14-1989
  2. Red-tailed hawk-New York Hutchinson River Parkway  6-16-2009
  3. Northern Flicker-The Ramble 6-19-2009
  4. Common Grackle
  5. Mourning Dove
  6. Mallard
  7. House Sparrow
  8. Gray Catbird
  9. European Starling
  10. Red-bellied woodpecker
  11. Northern Cardinal
  12. Red-winged Blackbird
  13. Rock Pigeon
  14. Blue Jay
  15. American robin
  16. Barn Swallow-High Line Trail 6-20-2009
  17. Double-crested Cormorant
  18. American Crow-Inwood 6-21-2009
  19. Chimney Swift
  20. Northern Mockingbird-Isham Park 6-21-2009
  21. Canada Goose-Inwood Hill Park 6-21-2009
  22. Red-eyed Vireo
  23. Great Egret
  24. Baltimore oriole
  25. House Finch
  26. Eastern Towhee
  27. Tufted titmouse
  28. White-breasted Nuthatch
  29. Wood Thrush
  30. Song Sparrow-Dyckman Street Pier 6-21-2009
  31. Turkey Vulture-NY Rt 84 Orange County 9-1-2010
  32. Dark-eyed Junco-Falconer’s Hill 3-12-11
  33. White-throated Sparrow
  34. Black-capped Chickadee-The Ramble 3-12-11
  35. American Goldfinch
  36. Brown Creeper
  37. Downy woodpecker
  38. Brown-headed Cowbird-Central Park Pinetum 3-13-11
  39. Ring-billed Gull-Central Park Reservoir 3-13-11
  40. Bufflehead
  41. Great Black-backed Gull
  42. Northern Shoveler
  43. Pied-billed Grebe
  44. Ruddy Duck
  45. Cooper’s Hawk-Prospect Park Lullwater 3-13-11
  46. Red-breasted Merganser
  47. Coot
  48. Gadwall-Brooklyn Heights Promenade 3-13-11
  49. Brant
  50. American Black Duck

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hawk Rescue Attempt

1. M G in Ghost Run 11-6-2010 MG in Ghost Run 11-6-10
I often wonder if my life has any meaning, if my being here really makes a difference. This morning I am awakened by the sound of the phone ringing next to my head. My cats are curled up warm next to me. Gus has already left for work. I  move the cats out  of the way and reach over groggily for the phone. From the caller ID, I see that it is my sister calling me. I answer the phone. I hear her excited voice in my sleepy ear. “Kathie, do you know anyone who can help an injured hawk?" I’m sitting here on the side of Rt. 85 looking at this injured hawk!”
Now, you need to realize that my sister is in Connecticut and I am in Massachusetts. She proceeds to tell me she has been sitting there for 10 to 20 minutes already and the bird has hardly moved. It was on the side of the road at first, but then flew feebly into the lower branches of a hemlock or spruce tree about 2 feet off the ground. My sleepy brain is trying to think as I walk toward the front of the house and turn my computer on. Who to call? Who can help? From previous experience, I know this is not going to be quick or easy. I tell her to call the non-emergency number of the local police or the Department of Fish and game. Meanwhile, I am getting ready to do research on the internet.
Still in my nightgown and with no breakfast, I Google CT Wildlife Rehabbers. I start texting names and numbers to her. She starts calling numbers. Meanwhile, I think of Suzie Gilbert and her book, Flyaway that I did a book review of last year. She is a raptor rehabilitator and also my friend on Facebook, so I go to her page and leave her a message. Finally, I realize I should put this message out on my Facebook wall. Perhaps someone there can help. so, I share a note as my status update.
Meanwhile, MG has now been sitting there for almost an hour with no one answering their phones. She has left messages all over the place but so far no one has called her back. She is still watching the hawk which she describes as looking like a “dirty ball of snow.” I am trying to figure out what hawk this could be and all I can think is that it is a Northern Goshawk.
Help and suggestions start to pour in. Susie Gilbert sends me some info. Dawn Fine offers to Tweet it out. Loralea Kirby sends me a list of rescuers and rehabbers. Then, MG calls me to tell me an off duty CT State Trooper has stopped and offered to help! Later on we learn he is Sergeant Martinez.
MG has now been there for an hour and a half. The officer offers to stay with the bird until someone comes to help.He calls the Department of Environmental Protection.  Meanwhile MG has to leave as she drives a school bus and needs to go for her noontime run. There are kindergarteners to pick up and drop off. She stops briefly at home where she gets a call from one rehabber whose name I got off the internet list. This rehabber tells her that she no longer does rescue and rehab because it soon took over her life and she was not able to keep up with the demand. Sadly, she also informs MG that most raptor rehabbers only want to help the rare birds and have no interest in helping the Common Red-tailed hawk! I am shocked to learn this. How great the need must be for Raptor Rehabbers!
When M.G. leaves for her bus run she passes the officer again. He informs her that Todd Selecki of A Place Called Hope is on his way and he will stay until Todd arrives. Later she calls me with an update saying the officer called her and told her that when they tried to capture the hawk it still had enough strength to fly away into the woods and they were unable to capture it. He gave MG Todd’s name and number, which was also one of the numbers I had texted her hours ago. Since she passes this location on a regular basis, she can call Todd if she sees it there again.
So, all of this drama started for me around 9 a.m. By now it is noontime and I am still in my nightgown, still haven’t eaten, still haven’t fed my cats. As I walk away to take care of all of those things I am struck by how many people got involved to try to save one poor hawk on the roadside in Connecticut.
I want to give a huge Shout Out and Thank You to the following people. This incident has taught me numerous things: our lives do matter and I belong to an amazing group of people called birders who have huge hearts and are always willing to help not only a bird, but a friend in need! And, I want to thank my sister, MG also. She did not have to stop and help this bird, but because she loves me and she knows I love the birds, she did. She used her precious time and energy to try to save a wounded hawk. My sister is a runner, and these photos are from The Ghost Run she did last fall on the Airline Trail in Connecticut. While she did not “win” that race, she is certainly a winner in my heart!
Thank You Sergeant Martinez of the CT State Troopers for all of your help! (He stayed with the bird for 2 hours!)
Thank You Fellow Bird Lovers:
Please consider donating to any of these Raptor Rehabilitators. The need is so great! Time, money and supplies are all needed. Go to their websites for more info or Google one in your home state!
And to my dear sister, Keep on running!!!
2. M G in ghost run MG, my sister, my friend (#1581)!
Note: if there are any updates on this hawk I will post it on my blog and Facebook page! We think it was a Northern Goshawk.

Update: It was not a goshawk. It was a sharp-shinned! Read Update: Hawk Finds Help from a Place Called Hope

A Walk by Brooklyn Bridge

1. Prospect Park-k Gateway to Prospect Park 3-13-11

Our walk through Prospect Park is done. We stand at the transition zone of city and park.

2. gnarly tree-k I look at the trunk of this gnarly tree, its architecture standing in contrast to the city that surrounds it.


On the streets of Brooklyn, NY

3. pagoda top-k 

4. helmet head-k 

5. iron crest-k 

6. gargoyle-k 

7. brooklyn brownstones 

8. stone detail-k 

We see so many things as we walk the streets of Brooklyn, a place I have only seen in movies or pictures. After finding a cafe to finally have a warm breakfast in, we head down to the East River to see the Brooklyn Bridge.

9. Brooklyn Bridge-k Brooklyn Bridge and New York City Skyline

I have never seen the Brooklyn bridge before and there it stands in all its glory. It is much larger than I imagined. We are standing on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and C—, excellent tour guide that he is and lover of all things New York, starts to point out the buildings we can see from here across the river. C—knows his buildings like I know birds, and really, I am interested but…what is this I see down in the river?

10. East river pilings-k Are there birds on these pilings…

11. pilings-k …do I see some Brant? and some mallards and gadwalls…

12. ducks n geese-k 1…2…3…Brant; 1…2 Mallards, Oh! Wait! 8 Gadwall? Wow!

13. me n Brooklyn Bridge-kOkay, now that I have counted birds I am ready to see the sights. Here I am with the Brooklyn Bridge.

Brooklyn Bridge

14. bridge-k 

15. bridge-k 

15a. bridge-k 

New York Skyline

16. skyline-k 

17. Empire state building-k Woolworth Building and Frank Gehry’s 8. Spruce Street

18. close-up-k 



Empire state building-k







Not Empire State Building




NOT Empire State Building! AIG Building!

(C—has corrected me! Thankfully!)

19. Statue of liberty-k Statue of Liberty

20. harbourCranes in Port Elizabeth, NJ with Governor’s Island in foreground.

21. cityscape-k Cityscape

22. temple-k City Municipal Building

23. hot chocolate-k By now I am cold and very tired. We have walked everywhere for the past 2 days. My legs feel like lead after all these miles of walking.  As we head for the subway station we walk past this place tucked into a row of warehouse buildings. C—asks if I like hot chocolate. I tell him sometimes. He asks if I have ever heard of Jacque Torres Hot Chocolate? The answer is “no.” But there is a bench in front of the store, so I sit down to rest my feet while C—goes inside to buy us each a small cup.

24. pigeonsWhile he is inside the store, I watch the building across the street, an abandoned warehouse, except for these street pigeons. C—soon emerges with our hot chocolate and we sit on this quiet gray street and sip chocolate paradise in a cup. It is warm and velvety smooth and, Oh! so rich! Though it warms me inside I am glad we only got small cups as I would never have been able to finish anything larger! However, if I am ever back here again, I am coming back for more!

25. music-k We find our way to the subway where music once again fills the air. When the train pulls into the station it feels good to sit for awhile as we ride back to the apartment in contented silence. When we leave New York City later this evening after a long nap I feel like I have lived two weeks of memories in a little over 48 hours. So, you know I have to say it…

26. I love NY-k I LOVE NEW YORK!

And Thank You C—for showing it to me!

My World Tuesday reprise

(scroll down to see part 1 of this adventure)

Note: this post was corrected today, 3-29-11, when C—emailed me to correct all my building ID mistakes! (I always help him with his bird IDs!)

Links to info on buildings:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Prospect Park (MWT)

1. subway angel-k New York City Subway Tile Detail 3-12-11

On Sunday, March 13th we plan to rise early and leave for Brooklyn  to do more birding in Prospect Park. But, we are tired from our late night after going to a Modern Dance show at the Joyce Theater, then dining late, then talking until almost 2 a.m., and then remembering we had to “Leap Forward” with Daylight Savings time and switch the clock an hour ahead! This meant we were now going to bed at 3 a.m.! Thus, we rose a bit later around 6:30 and got ourselves together. I do not like to ruin a day by rushing and so by the time we get to  the subway and then to the park, it is closer to 9:30 or 10 a.m.! Still, I know I will be happy with whatever birds I see.

2. Grand Army Plaza-k Soldiers and Sailors Arch, Grand Army Plaza 3-13-11

We approach Prospect Park through Grand Army Plaza. Prospect Park is located in Brooklyn, NY and is was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux in 1867. Olmstead is the same landscape architect who designed Central Park, which I love, and so I have a great interest in seeing what he has done here. As usual, I plan to count birds for eBird also, hoping to add a few more species to my New York Life List as well as add a new county to my birding repertoire.

3. Statues-k Bailey Fountain

4. close-up-k Wisdom and Felicity


5. Posieden-k Neptune sculpted by Eugene Francis Savage 1932

I am awed by all this sculpture and beauty around me. There is drama everywhere I look. Though I have never been to Europe, being here gives me a tiny peek at what that must feel like as I walk among these sculptures and cross the plaza to through the arch.

6. Brooklyn Library Brooklyn Library

To our left the golden pillars of the Brooklyn Library call. I am enticed to cross the street and go inside, but I want to be outside on this day and see what there is to see.

6a. Top of arch And so we enter though the arch atop which Columbia in Her Chariot rides.

7. Vulture sky This cloudy day is cooler than it was yesterday and I pull my gloves on to warm my hands as the sun keeps ducking behind the clouds and a chill wind blows.

8. grassy meadow Here at the center of the park a great lawn rolls. I am hoping I will see bluebirds here, but he lawn is only covered in robins and starlings and a few house sparrows to boot.

vulture-k A Turkey Vulture circles above us, a black silhouette against the sky. We head off across the meadow to the Waterfall Trail and soon find ourselves in a wooded area with a merry stream tumbling along beside us. Here we see a cardinal and his mate. I find some chickadees busily working the trees near the stream. Beneath the trees a few mourning doves walk and coo. I wonder if they are looking for food or a nesting site.

9. Downy Woodpecker-k In the same area a Downy Woodpecker feeds undisturbed by me and my camera. At the moment it is hard to believe that I am in the heart of a bustling city!

10. RTHA-k As we emerge near the lake and the boat house a Red-tailed hawk flies into the open hunting.

11. domestic duck-kIn the lake below this domestic duck paddles placidly along unafraid of the hawk. We find a quiet place to sit and eat our breakfast on a little deck that hangs out over the lake. As we nibble on muffins and watch the birds suddenly a new species flies in!

12. merganser-k  I can’t believe my eyes when I see this Red-breasted merganser land!

13. RB merganser-k Though he seems to be waving “Hello,” he is really just taking a bath! We watch him for several minutes and I snap away with my camera. I duck down behind the railings of the deck to make myself less noticeable.

14. coot among ducks-k Across the lake these domestic ducks, mallards and a coot are all napping while the merganser slowly glides by.

15. RB merganser-k They may not be impressed with his beauty, but I am!

16. rb merg-k Red-breasted Merganser in Prospect Park 3-13-11

17. nest-k 

18. rat snake-kProspect Park also has the first ever urban Audubon Center. Located in the boat house here at the lake C—and I go inside where I find a giant Oriole nest for children to play in as well as this gorgeous albino rat snake which this volunteer graciously let me hold. The snake had been warming itself on its heat rock and so feels great on my cold hands! What a beauty it is!

19. daydreams-k Being here with my brother I feel as if this day has all been a lovely dream.

20. spring-k The signs of spring are all around us as the golden glow of this witch hazel shows.

21. birds

I think the birds are ready for spring too!

My World Tuesday!

Birds Seen in Prospect Park:

  1. Turkey Vulture
  2. Blue Jay
  3. American Robin
  4. Rock Pigeon
  5. European Starling
  6. House Sparrow
  7. Canada Goose
  8. Mallard
  9. Red-breasted Merganser*
  10. Cooper’s Hawk*
  11. Red-tailed Hawk
  12. Coot*
  13. Mourning Dove
  14. Downy Woodpecker
  15. American Crow
  16. Black-capped Chickadee
  17. Song sparrow
  18. White-throated sparrow
  19. Northern Cardinal
  20. Gull species

*New species for my New York Life List