Saturday, March 27, 2010

Coyote updates

Central Park Coyote -- one of the first photos--sent in by Veryl Witmer
The Pond, February 2, 2010

Yesterday I posted a photo of the coyote in the snow and attributed it to the wrong photographer. In fact it was one of the very first photos anyone took of the Central Park coyote, sent to me by a reader of this website, Veryl Witmer. Here's the letter he wrote accompanying the photos:

Dear Marie:

My name is Veryl Witmer. I am an amateur photographer and often take my camera into the Park to photograph the wild creatures that reside in or visit our park. I visit your web site frequently to see what is in the park - I enjoy it very much - thank you!

Yesterday, I was walking by The Pond and I saw the coyote in the Park that you posted about today. It was hiding out in the Hallett Nature Sanctuary. During the 2 hours that I was there it ventured out onto the frozen pond at least 3 times, always returning to the Sanctuary. It seemed skittish and timid, but at times playful - jumping on the ice.

I returned today hoping for pictures with the snowcover as background, but I didn't see it.

Veryl Witmer

Sorry, Veryl. And thanks again for sending in your great photos.

Here's a link to yesterday's NY Times story of the coyote capture-- from the CityRoom Blog:

And here's a link to the latest story, from a local on-line website:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Coyote captured in Tribeca yesterday was probably "our" coyote

Photo by Veryl Witmer -- the Central Park Coyote, Feb 2, 2010

Just yesterday I was reminiscing about happy coyote-watching days in Central Park.
Today reality set in with the news of a coyote capture in lower Manhattan. The young female animal that was finally caught after eluding great numbers of pursuers for more than 12 hours, was probably our Central Park coyote. Here's the story that appeared in this morning's AM New York, the free paper distributed to subway and bus riders throughout the city: [I'll post more news when I have it]

from AM NewYork

WEEKEND, March 26-28, 2010

Call of the wild in NYC

TriBeCa coyote just the latest animal to
make its way to city
By Emily Ngo

In the end, she just wasn’t wily enough. But the TriBeCa coyote nabbed by police Thursday is only the latest wild animal to stake a claim on Manhattan real estate.

New Yorkers had better get used to the idea of their city becoming a literal concrete jungle.

In recent years, Gotham has welcomed the peregrine falcon, the red-tailed hawk, the white-tailed deer and even the long-gone beaver, emblazoned on the city seal and a key part of its early economy.

“People are very moved by it,” said Marie Winn, author of “Central Park in the Dark: More Mysteries of Urban Wildlife.” “Wildlife in the concrete jungle reminds us that we are a part of nature.”

The resurgence is helped by environmental laws, bans on pesticides, rehabbed parks and the lure of city trash, experts said.

In the most recent case, the year-old female coyote led police on a two-day chase through TriBeCa but was captured Thursday in a parking lot.

She was shot with a tranquilizer dart and taken to animal control in East Harlem, police said.

Where she goes next is unknown, but this week’s episode marks one of several coyote sightings this year.

“I take heart when I hear that coyotes are surviving,” said Scott Silver,
director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Queens Zoo.

With their numbers expanding in the suburbs, some of the four-legged furballs are moving south.

“Coyotes are like people. You’re born, you live with your parents, and when you’re grown, you move away,” said Stephen Zawistowski, executive
vice president of the ASPCA.

Centuries ago, when New York’s landscape was covered with trees rather than skyscrapers, a diverse cross section of animals called Gotham home.

The city was stomping grounds for wolves, mountain lions, bears and wild turkeys.

New York’s unique geographic position between northern and southern climates and under the Atlantic Flyway bird route invites a range of critters, said Margaret Mittelbach, of the Secret Science Club lecture series.

But while some wildlife has rebounded, the city will hardly be the dense forest of yore.

“For every species that is more abundant today than it was 30 years ago, there are two that are in declining numbers,” said Glenn Phillips, executive director of the Audubon Society’s New York City chapter. “That’s the sad news.”

So just how do coyotes get here?

The coyotes who visit Manhattan likely come from Westchester, and while they’re not taking Metro-North, they follow train tracks on their commute. Here’s a step-by-step
route possibly taken by the TriBeCa coyote:
1. Westchester County
The county is teeming with coyotes, and the dogs look
south toward Gotham for more space.

2. The Bronx
Coyotes saunter into the Bronx, which has plenty of
appealing wilderness left.

3. Manhattan
They enter Manhattan by following rail tracks from
the Bronx.

Wildlife in the city

Wildlife sightings in the city:
  1. Earlier this month, a dolphin went swimmingin the polluted Newtown Creek.
  2. Seals have been seen frolicking recently off upper Manhattan and Staten Island.
  3. Jose the beaver settled into the Bronx River in2007.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The coyote, the egret, the Pine Warbler and 4 butterflies

Great Egret 3/24/10 at The Pond

Coyote trotting along a park path near the Pond a few weeks ago

Two photos by BRUCE YOLTON

Yesterday Tom Fiore wrote me and Bruce Yolton a note with an update on the coyote :

I thought you both might be interested to know that I saw, for the first time in the middle of the day, the Hallett Sanctuary Coyote, inside the sanctuary, bouncily walking along next to the Pond as seem from its east shore path, at about 1 p.m. today.

Needless to say I headed for the Pond a few hours later in hope of seeing our newest mammal resident come out of his daytime refuge. I had seen the coyote make an exit several times in the past but hadn't heard any news for a while. Now I knew he was still in the park. . I arrived a little before sunset, and found Bruce there too. We stood in the very place where we'd seen the handsome dog-like animal come bounding out of Hallett a few weeks earlier. Alas! He/she gave us the slip.

Instead we enjoyed seeing a Great Egret
at the southern side of the Pond He was standing as if frozen for quite a long time, neck outstretched, digesting a fish he had caught earlier.

Today another exciting e-mail arrived from Tom:

Hi Marie,

I should mention that Pine Warbler, as well as Great Egret, were among the arrivals on Wednesday - with also a very modest number of Hermit Thrush, Flickers & perhaps a few other additions. Nick Wagerik saw an Eastern Comma at the Shakespeare Garden, and helped to confirm one of 2 Red- shouldered Hawks that flew over. Nick has also seen Cabbage White - and the other day I saw an American Lady, which means 4 butterfly species, already this spring in Central Park...


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Wood Duck tale

This is where ducks should be and what they should do

A duck out of water...

Just looks wrong to me...
[Ramble -- up a tree]

Photos and text by MURRAY HEAD

Sunday, March 21, 2010

And now for our very own first butterfly of spring

Photo of Mourning Cloak butterfly by Lysiane Ribeiro -- 3/19/10

Yesterday I posted Ed Lam's shot of an Eastchester Mourning Cloak butterfly and challenged Central Park nature lovers to find our very own. The challenge has been met.

Lysiane Ribeiro, M.D., M.P.H. sent an e-mail just a few minutes ago. Here it is, smiley and all:
Central Park Mourning Cloak Here you go Marie. :) I took this on Friday, 3-19-10, in the Ramble, right by the feeders.