Thursday, September 26, 2013

Nick & the Bee

Here's the photo I promised to post, of Nick Wagerik about to kiss a bee. He was a true nature lover, wouldn't you say? Here's very advance notice: we are beginning to plan a Nick memorial/ celebration  to take place in Central Park next spring.

Photo by LLOYD SPITALNIK -- The Shakespeare Garden -- 2006
R.I.P Nick Wagerik 1950 - 2013

PS I find I have to re-focus my eyes to see the action in the photo clearly

The Gill was hopping this morning

Northern Flicker, male --- Central Park -- photo by MURRAY HEAD

Joe DiCostanzo [] writes:

It was mostly cloudy for my American Museum of Naturl History bird walk this morning from 7-9 am. It was not as active as yesterday morning but there were birds around. The Maintence Meadow was far less busy than yesterday, but there were still a few birds there. The most active spot we found was The Gill in the vicinity of Loupat Bridge. We found over 30 species with the highlights including:

Northern Flicker (good numbers all over the Ramble)
Eastern Phoebe (scattered around Ramble)
House Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (The Gill)
Swainson's Thrush (good numbers)
Hermit Thrush (I had one on the way out near the Upper Lobe; my first of the fall)
Brown Thrasher 
Northern Parula (Maintenance Meadow and The Gill)
Chestnut-sided Warbler (The Gill)
Magnolia Warbler (everywhere)
Black-thrated Blue Warbler (scattered abut including a male by The Gill)
Palm Warbler (Hernshead)
Black-and-white Warbler (scattered around)
American Redstart (scattered inidividuals)
Ovenbird (Evodia Field)
Common Yellowthroat
Eastern Towhee (calling near The Tupelo)
Swamp Sparrow (ne of Tupelo Meadow)
White-throated Sparrow
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Maintence Meadow)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

First Junco and LOTS of other birds

White-throated Sparrow - photo by LLOYD SPITALNIK

Angus Wilson reports today on yesterday's visit to The Ramble - 9/24/13:

As noted by others there has been an influx of White-throated Sparrows in the last couple of days. I came across at least 15, all immatures but doubtless birders spending more time will have found many more. Another species more typical of October was my first Slate-colored Junco of the season.

In addition, here's Joe DiCostanzo's report for this morning [9/25/13]

Beautiful morning in the park with a good variety of birds. My American Museum of Natural History group recorded about 45 species of birds from 7:00 - 9:30 am in the Ramble. Lots of activity in the Maintenance Meadow. Highlights included:

Broad-winged Hawk (some perched in trees, others flying low over head and one kettleof perhas 20 birds)
Red-tailed Hawk (probably one of the residents)
Spotted Sandpiper (on shore of Lake)
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (male and female, Maintenance Meadow)
Eastern Phoebe
Red-eyed Vireo
Red-breasted Nuthatch (spotted by Lenore Swenson)
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Gray-cheeked Thrush (1, Maintenance Meadow with at least 2 Swainson's)
Swainson's Thrush
Brown Thrasher (several in Maintenance Meadow)
Cedar Waxwing (Maintenece Meadow)
Northern Parula
Chestnut-sided Warbler (Tupelo Meadow)
Magnolia Warbler (everywhere)
Black-throated Blue Warbler (male, Maintenance Meadow)
Palm Warbler (several at Hernshead)
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Ovenbird (east side of Tupelo Meadow)
Common Yellowthroat
Scarlet Tanager
Field Sparrow (1, Maintenance Meadow)
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow (1, Maintenance Meadow)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (1, Maintenance Meadow)

Joe DiCostanzo

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Nick caught on a happy day.

LLOYD SPITALNIK, nature photographer extraordinaire and super-regular Central Park Regular, sent in this wonderful photo of Nick Wagerik. He writes:

Hi, I can't find the image of Nick kissing the bee but I think this one is really good. Nick caught on a happy day.

PS I know I have the Nick-kissing-the-bee photograph somewhere. I'll post it soon.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A trip with Nick to Van Cortland Park - 5/20/06

Nick with a rare moth - The Black Witch -- above and to left --8/14, 2005
[The happy smile was almost as rare as the moth.]


I've been receiving a number of tributes for Nick Wagerik -- I'll post them soon.  In the meanwhile, here are my notes from a trip I took with Nick a number of years ago. It  will give you an idea of the riches such an experience offered.

5/20/06 NYC Butterfly Club trip to Van Cortland Park--leader: Nick Wagerik -- 11 a.m. [a Nick meeting hour – he is not an early morning person]– Ostensibly a wildflower walk, but everyone knows it will also feature butterflies, odonates and other insects as well as flowers

11 am – We take the 1 train to its last stop - 242 street. The park is right at the bottom of the elevated stairs at this stop.

Just about all the Nick-ites are there, except for Davie and Julia:
Tom Fiore and Kristine Wallstrom 
Dorothy Poole
Michael Bonifanti
Ed Lam [accepting [modestly] congratulations for his new Damselfly book.
Peter Post
Lee Stinchcomb
Lenore Swenson
David Rosane and girlfriend
Sheila Rosenberg
David Kunstler [an official of the park –who also tells Nick that actually he needs a permit to lead such a walk. Everybody jeers and ignores him]

What we saw  [vaguely in order of appearance]:

Common Groundsel [Senecio vulgaris]-nearly rayless composite – 
English Plantain [Plantago lanceolata] Lee calls it “the shoot-em-up flower” and proceeds
                                                   to demonstrate.]
Lesser Stitchwort [Stellaria graminea} 5 petals –leaves in pairs
Star of Bethlehem  [Ornithogalum umbellatum]  Lily family - 6 petals [Ann says she
                        hates this flower – Nick puts her down – says it’s not invasive
Purple Nightshade or Bittersweet Nightshade [Solanum dulcamara] 5 swept back purple
                          petals and protruding beak formed by anthers
Pineapple weed [Matricaria matricarioides] nice smell—like pineapple
Galinsoga [Galinsoga] Composite – 5 tiny 3-lobed rays

[butterflies: Peck’s slipper, American Lady, Painted Lady]

 At the marsh: Yellow Cress [Rorippa islandica]  - crucifera family - lots of it around
Curly Dock   -- polygonaceae – Rumex Crispus—wavy leaf margins
Velvet Grass—Nick: “This is one of my very very favorites”

[Yellow Warbler singing, also Baltimore Oriole and Song sparrow] 

Bulbous Buttercup [Ranunculus bulbosus] – reflexed sepals – you can identify it that way
Yellow Water-lily, Spatterdock –[Nuphar advena]
Cursed Crowfoot [Ranunculus sceleratus]

Odonates: Orange Bluet, Blue Dasher, E. Forktail,  Eastern Pond Hawk– [large dragonfly]

We come to a little swamp – there someone spots an amazing creature: a phantom cranefly – hard to see – it is transparent – skitters over the water- now you see it, now you don’t

on a rock at the water’s edge we spot an emerging Unicorn Clubtail –[dragonfly – a gomphid] Peter Post photographs it – a rare view of an extremely fresh dragonfly.  Suddenly it takes off on its maiden flight –Ed Lam gives me the exuvia in a photo-film container—Peter falls in the water – ankle high – while photographing

False Solomon Seal or wild spikenard - Smilacina racemosa 
Canada Moonseed [Menispermum canadense] moonseed family-menispermaceae 
Clethra – Pepperbush
Greenbriar – in flower
Tall Meadow Rue –[Thalictrum polygamum] buttercup family- ranunculaceae
[black locusts] in flower
CommonWood Sorrel Oxalis montana
Blueflag Iris [Iris versicolor]
Wild Blackberry [Rubus allegheniensis]
Common Blue-eyed Grass- [Sisyrinchium montanum]
Bladder Campion [Silene cucubalus]
Arrow Arum [Peltandra virginica] flower pointed green
Yellow Flag Iris [Iris pseudacorus]
Spring Cress [Cardamine bulbosa]

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sad memories of Nick Wagerik

                                Photos of Nick and a few remembrances

                     Lee Stinchcomb, Davie Rolnick,  Nick Wagerik -- 2006
on a bench near the feeders at the Evodia field

Nick standing on a garbage can, inspecting a moth on the Moth Tree
April 15, 2010
[others in the photo, from left to right: me [pointing], Lee Stinchcomb, Davie Rolnick]

 Yesterday I received a note from Tom Fiore expressing his sadness about Nick:
...I know this tragic loss is felt by many hundreds who
knew Nick, many of whom cared greatly for and about him as well as having learned so much from him, as he was invariably a fantastic teacher, and for some, a real mentor in the fields of nature study. What I always saw in Nick was someone who really pushed the limits of what can be learned, understood, thought about, studied & also enjoyed in following and focusing on that which one has an interest in. He was occasionally a little difficult but much more often so willing to share in his knowledge, and truly infectious in the simple joy of
learning and being involved in pursuit of knowledge. It was a privilege to have known him and to learn at least a little from him. I am still not fully able to believe that his life ended in a tragic way. I had seen him, just briefly, in the Shakespeare Garden, a place he dearly loved and where he spent innumerable free hours, not much more than a week prior to this sad news. I feel for all of his many friends and of course for his family. We have lost a very great soul from this Earth, as well as a superb naturalist and much-loved teacher. I am sure there will be more tributes and remembrances.


and Mary Birchard writes:

What terribly sad news. I had not seen Nick in a long time but fondly remember long summer afternoons at Turtle Pond learning about dragonflies from Nick, a superb teacher.