Monday, August 19, 2013

New Beginnings

The view from Lookout Hill, looking out over the area I live all the way down to the parachute drop in Coney Island.
     Normally I do not have the chance to go for a walk on a Monday, but recently I just ended my time working as a zoo educator so I could start a new adventure. Beginning (very) soon, I will be a New York City public school teacher at a high school here in Brooklyn. I am very excited for this new phase in my life and also very nervous (but in the good way, if there is such a way). Last friday was my last day at the zoo and I have this "free" time, I use the term free loosely because I am also trying to get myself organized with some of the things that were passed onto me from all my teacher friends. One thing that I am very excited about is that Prospect Park will act as a classroom on some days which is just absolutely wonderful.
     I took a walk through Prospect this afternoon. The weather was weird, it could be a bit chilly, but pretty warm in the sun. The sun came in and out of the clouds and the park was very bright, I squinted a lot, and I do not like wearing sunglasses, so that is my own problem. Enjoy what I saw through my squinted eyes:
A nice juvenile male wood duck.
Wood duck males grow up to be stunning birds. Males take on a bright green head and a contrasting chestnut body, females look pretty much like this. We can tell this one is a male though by its markings, the white chin strap and the yellow around the eye, and you can even see a bit of green on the top of his head.
As their name implies, these ducks love wood! They are perching ducks, meaning they perch up on trees and even nest in tree hollows. This young fella a few weeks ago had to take a leap out of his tree nest and land safely on the ground. This is pretty much free falling, as they are literally tiny little ducklings!
A male downy woodpecker.
A young mourning dove needs to be careful, he was literally walking next to me, with little fear.
A very beautiful orb web. Also, a very beautiful spider, there were a few of these in the area. Saw this little one walking up to Lookout Hill.
So if this does not blow you away, well, then, I feel bad for you. Katydids always amaze me with how well natural selection worked out for them. These insects are in the same family as grasshoppers and crickets. This one was out in the open, but any passerby would surely over look this gorgeous creature.
A closer look... it even has the veins of the leaves, just so flippin' neat!!! Katydids are named because of the sound they make, a buzzing with syllables that make it sound like it is saying in monotone buzzing, "KA-TY-DID." You can hear them stand out in this youtube video.
A fallen sassafras leaf  foreshadows the coming of autumn...

Pollination.
Found some goldfinches near the top of Lookout Hill.
These birds have a very distinct call and flight patten, making them easy to identify.
The male goldfinch in particular is very easy to identify.
A young mockingbird was flitting about very clumsily in this shrub. You can tell it's a youngin' by the yellow corners of its mouth. 
SQUIRREL!