Saturday, November 11, 2006

RUSTY BLACKBIRD and leaf litter in the Ramble

Rusty Blackbird at Gill - 11/9/06
Photo by Lloyd Spitalnik

Fall leaf litter pix and an acorn quiz.
Please write in your thoughts about Acorns 1-3. [some may be the same!]
Acorn 1.

Acorn 2.

Acorn 3

Pin oak

Predominantly Ginkgo leaves

More about leaf litter:

Recently, in a posting about red bats hibernating in leaf litter, I wrote to Regina Alvarez, the park's Woodlands Manager, expressing a hope that leaf litter remain undisturbed in the Ramble, and that leaf blower use be limited. Here's her answer:
Marie -
It has been a long time now that the staff has been informed not to use blowers in the Ramble and the North Woods unless there is a large leaf project (which are very few, generally we just clear leaves off paths and sometimes from the few lawn areas) in the fall, or if they are cleaning up after a tree project. If you see staff in the woodlands
using blowers for anything other than these instances, please let me
know and I will speak with them.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Moth ID confirmed by prizewinning Moth-er

Photo by Bill Taylor

Two days ago I received the photo above on my website mail address,
with the following note:

Dear Ms. Winn:

I am hoping you can help me identify the attached moth photos. I took these photos in September in our backyard in Mahopac,NY. Thank you in advance.

Bill Taylor

I thought I knew the moth, but there was something funny in the photo, at the bottom. Then I had an idea about that too. I sent Bill Taylor my ID of the moth species and my explanation for the funny thing at the bottom. Then, just to be sure, I sent the picture and my idea to Dave Wagner, whom I once met at a NYC Butterfly Club meeting and have been corresponding with ever since.

As you may remember, I am wildly enthusiastic about Wagner's recent book , Caterpillars of Eastern North America. Not only do I have two copies of it -- one for my office and one for home, but I give it as a present at every opportunity: it's a magnificent book.

Wagner replied -- see note below, and added some great news about his book, which didn't surprise me. His book is simply one of the great Field Guides you'll ever find.

Here's my note, and Wagner's reply:

Hi Dave:

I wrote this guy back suggesting it was a Large Tolype [Tolype velleda] just emerged from its cocoon. I'm sending this along just in case you have a different idea, and because I thought you'd enjoy the picture.

Cheers, Marie

Wagner's reply:

That's my guess too. Good to hear from you. Received some good news this week--see note below.

I received a bit of good news that I wanted to share:
(1) Princeton ordered the fourth printing of the guide a couple weeks ago and
(2) yesterday the book won the 2006 National Outdoor Book Award for nature guidebooks:

PS from Marie
Other winners of this prize include David Attenborough (Life in the Underground) and John Nielsen (Condor: To The Brink and Back).

The National Outdoor Book Awards (NOBA) is the outdoor world's largest and most prestigious book award program. It is a non-profit, educational program, sponsored by the NOBA Foundation, Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education, and Idaho State University."

PPS from Marie:

Isn't that a great, amazing moth?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Pale Male sighting

Donna Brown writes:

Tuesday Sam and I went over to the Hawk Bench and there was Pale Male standing on the nest looking around. I'll attach a photo. Somehow it's reassuring to see PM back up there. :-)

PS from Marie: Sam is Donna's pretty teenage daughter Samantha, a nature lover and a young actress.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Meadowlark in Sheep Meadow

Scott Zevon took the great picture above of an Eastern Meadowlark in the Sheep Meadow last Thursday, November 2, 2006. This is an unusual bird for the park. Scott, who is often in the park photographing birds before or after office hours [he's a doctor] writes that it was 4:16 the time, and the bird shared the meadow with at least fifty people, some lying on the grass, some walking around.

Monday, November 06, 2006

PS -- a link for more bat info

One of Central Park's most active bat watchers, Kellie Quinones, sent in a link to an article about red bats you might enjoy.

I'm sending it to Regina Alvarez, Central Park's Woodlands Manager, in hope that they'll go easy on the leaf blowers and leave a lot of leaf litter in the park's woodlands for possible bat hibernators.

Red Bat Trivia

There have been more red bat sightings in Central Park during the last few weeks. One place to look for them, at dusk, is the west side of the Pinetum.

Here are some random red bat facts you might want to know:

According to the BNA, Blue Jays are probably the most important predators of red bats.

Red Bats are migratory, and are even thought to migrate together with large flocks of birds. Sometime during the night of October 18-19, 1955, two male red bats were killed when they struck the 1472 foot high Empire State Building , presumably during their migration flight southward. They were found on one of the building's roof set-backs and picked up by maintenance men, who also gathered 156 birds of 18 species that had struck the building.

The scientific name, Lasiurus borealis, means Northern shaggy-tails. That's because red bats have furry tails, while most other bats do not. They also are furry all over, even on the undersurface of their wings [as Kellye Rosenheim pointed out in a recent posting] This allows them to withstand cold temperatures.

Red bats mate in flight in August or September, but the eggs are not fertilized until the following spring.

Female Red Bats have 4 teats, twice as many as most bat species.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Benefactors named, and Feeder-filling season begins

Jack Meyer received the following e-mail from a British birdwatcher-- he's not sure how she found his e-mail address.:

Dear Sir,

I spent some time in the Park around Tuesday lunchtime at the Rambles – I was the British lady wearing a neck brace.

Some very kind birders spent some considerable time showing me many birds I had never seen before especially the Cape May warbler, the Coopers Hawk and the Wood Ducks to name but a few life time firsts for me having never done any bird watching in the US before.

If by any chance you know 2 of the gentleman concerned whose names were John and Brian would you please pass on my sincere thanks to them for sharing their time and knowledge, it was truly appreciated and was the highlight of my visit to New York.

With kind regards,

Jean Brown Guernsey Branch of the RSPB

Here's the answer, Jean:

The names of your benefactors were Brian Hart and John Beauchamp. Both of them had been at the opening of the Feeder-filling season at the Evodia Field that day.

The first picture above shows how the gallon-jugs containing seeds are attached to trees. The second is of 4 of our best Central Park birders. Brian Hart is third from the left. Lloyd Spitalnik, at left, is the Captain of the squad.