Saturday, July 03, 2010

Pale Male learns a lesson

The Eastern Kingbird is a member of the Tyrannidae family, and the Tyrannus genus. To add to the nomenclatural ferocity, the Eastern Kingbird has been given another tyrant in his species name-- Tyrannus tyrannus.

In the Birdwatcher's Companion, Christopher Leahy comments on the etymology of the kingbird's scientific name:

Of all members of their family, the kingbirds best deserve the name "tyrant."...When potential nest robbers, such as crows or hawks, approach, kingbirds typically sound a loud alarm and fly at the intruder remorselessly until it has been 'escorted' to a safe distance.'

In Lincoln Karim's photos above, taken yesterday [July 3, 2010] you can see a perfect example of Kingbird behavior, as a feisty Central Park Tyrannus tyrannus tells Pale Male where to get off.

photos courtesy of

Friday, July 02, 2010

Friday in the park with Murray

Tiger Swallowtail - female - at Turtle Pond

Tiger Swallowtail - male- at Turtle Pond

Unidentified [by me] bee - at Shakespeare Garden

Cabbage White - at Shakespeare Garden

Black-crowned Night-heron at the Azalea Pond--above and below

Murray notes: The Black-crowned Night-heron had a little breakfast after spending
an hour in a tree, preening, and observing.

All photos by Murray Head, taken in the park TODAY.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Early, earliest, late, latest-ever

Blackpoll Warbler -- Photo by DAVID SPEISER

Two response to yesterday's post about early Cicadas: First, from Tom Fiore:

Hi Marie,

Among insects it is not only cicadas that have emerged earlier than ever this spring, and now early summer. Many butterflies have done the same this spring with new earliest records established for some species in our local area, such as the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and others. The records may not have come from Central Park or even the city proper but have been within 30 miles of the city or less. There also have been some reports of early moths and a number of other insects. There also may be ending dates of some insect's adult flight periods that are among the earliest that have been recorded, in this area.

Meanwhile, a few birds are lingering very late indeed. A Blackpoll Warbler, a typically-later arriving May migrant which is not so unusual to be able to find in Central Park into the first few days of June has continued on, or perhaps another has been around, at the north end of the Park, through today (Wednesday) and is my own latest- ever record of that species in the period well before "fall" migration. Most Blackpoll Warblers don't even begin to migrate south from their northern nesting areas until late August through September.

In the next few weeks some more warblers and other migrant birds may start to appear in Central and other city parks. It is known but not all that well-observed that a large number and fair variety of warblers, in particular, are moving south in the weeks before mid-August, by which time a wider variety of birds have begun to migrate south. For some species, it is actually expected that a lot will have gone south before September. One of the earliest to begin to go south - among the species that are regular in the Park - is Louisiana Waterthrush, not unusual to be found in the first half of July as a migrant in our area.


Then, from Indianapolis, Bill Trankle writes:

Marie, I heard my first cicada around the first of June here in Indianapolis, and while I only heard one and only heard it once, that is the earliest I've ever heard them out here. They're in full throat right now, and even that is earlier than normal (usually mid-July is when you hear lots of them singing).

. We had a warm, early Spring, which is probably the cause, since I'm guessing they emerge based on ground temperature. Bill Trankle Indianapolis, IN

PS From Marie: On Friday Rebekah heard a single cicada. This morning Jack Meyer and I heard quite a number of them emitting their the loud mechanical song near the Pool and the Loch in the North Woods.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Early Cicadas

Cicada-killer wasp dragging cicada to its [the wasp's] subterranean nest

Last Friday I posted a report of an unusually early cicada song heard the day before in Central Park. Today Jan Lipert, of Bayonne N.J. writes:

Hi Marie --
Cicadas are at least 2 weeks early here, also. I have never heard them here in June, nor in Red Bank NJ, where I grew up.

Anyone else hearing cicadas earlier than usual this year?