Thursday, June 20, 2013

A tree walk

   Snapping Turtle -- Photo by KEN CHAYA --  taken on 6-17-13 at The Loch 

Two days ago, [6/18/13] I went on a marvelous tree walk in the North Woods, given under the aegis of the Linnaean Society. The leader was tree expert KEN CHAYA who is the co-author [with Edward S. Barnard] of the unique folding map of Central Park entitled CENTRAL PARK ENTIRE. Besides offering renderings of every paved walk and roadway in the park, this useful [and beautiful] object provides information and locations for  thousands of Central Park's trees. 

The walk began at 6:30 and ended at about 9:00 pm, and the fact that it was raining for the entire duration of the event did not detract a bit from its marvelousness.  About 15 people [with about 5 children] showed up, raincoats, umbrellas and all. In addition to being highly knowledgable and erudite, Ken is a delightful guy. He infected everyone, young and old, with his extraordinary passion for trees.  The following link gives a small idea of what I'm talking about:

PS  I couldn't resist including Ken's photo of the Snapping Turtle he'd encountered in the park the day before the walk. You'll have to go to the park to see the trees, or at least get Ken's map

Monday, June 17, 2013

PS to Barn Owl post

Lee Stinchcomb has a certain way with numbers. She just wrote in about the Barn Owl story I posted a few minutes ago:

I think the duo is a trio.

A rare exception to my "this blog is only about Central Park" policy

Young Barn Owls in nest on the lower level of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

My friend Rebekah Creshkoff just got the following message from her friend Tim Higginbotham, who "runs the subway's music buskers program" according to Rebekah.
Most folks are well aware that peregrine falcon families have nested at on the towers of some of MTA’s bridges for years now, and when the chicks arrive every spring they get a lot of press, including in MTA Today, which in the past has featured both photos and video.
But did you know MTA bridges are also providing a safe haven for barn owls?
These dark-eyed chicks were discovered nesting inside a strut on the lower level of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.According to Dan Fortunato, a maintenance superintendent at Bridges and Tunnels, one of our contractors happened upon the fluffy white duo, and Fortunato contacted the New York City Department of Environmental Conservation, as is regularly done on behalf of the falcon families.
 “We will just leave them be, until they fly away,” said Fortunato, in keeping with Bridges and Tunnels’ wildlife-friendly custom.
The nocturnal Tyto alba, commonly called the barn owl, is found all over North and South America.  At night, barn owls hunt by flying low, back and forth over open habitats, searching for small rodents. These owls require large areas of open land over which to hunt. This can be marsh, grasslands, or agricultural fields. For nesting and roosting, they prefer quiet cavities, either in trees or man-made structures such as barns or silos…or the lower level of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge,

Ah, the wonders of technology

Black-billed Cuckoo-- photo by CCNAB from the Internet

Two days ago Cathy Weiner wrote in ebirdsNYC:

Happened upon a Black-billed Cuckoo while walking on the cedar path at the lower lobe of the Lake and was able to film for a very lucky 14 seconds before it flew east. Happy birding!

And then, because cuckoo sightings always stir up controversy [a black-billed? a yellow-billed?] she included a link to a video that made her ID impeccable: