Friday, August 29, 2014

Firsts!

     I rode my bike down to the Salt Marsh Nature Center in Mill Basin, Brooklyn. I was hoping for shore birds, but the tide was (really) high and most I got were 2 great blue herons, a great egret, and yeah, just that. When walking within the shrub and tree filled South West portion of the nature center, the song birds were very active. I also had a few first sightings ever, and one super awesome first sighting of the year:
I was really hoping for this song sparrow to be more like a  salt marsh sparrow...
The large milkweed bug, this is a TRUE BUG, not all insects are bugs, but all bugs are insects-- it's like when you learn about rectangles and squares in math class. You can see the proboscis folded under this bug's body, which it uses to pierce milkweed seed pods to feed.
As opposed to the bug above, this species is the small milkweed bug, creativity runs strong throughout nomenclature...
Morning mallard streches.
"Whatchu want?!" This young mockingbird already has some sort of battle scar, part of his lower mandible has been chipped away.
This male horseshoe crab was very much alive, thankfully I love horseshoe crabs. You know its a guy because its first pair of legs look like boxing gloves.
Be free!
A silver skipper.
One for the life list- a great crested flycatcher! You can almost see his crest.
I think he let me get close because I was attracting SO MANY mosquitoes!  
This common yellowthroat looks like a pom-pom, I adore these little guys!
One of the clearings in the SW portion of the nature center. The goldenrod is gorgeous right now!
A first of something-- I found out when you cannot differentiate between an alder and willow flycatcher it's referred to as a Traill's flycatcher, which is not by any means a species of flycatcher. But I have no idea which one this is, so Traill's it is!
This American redstart was just walking around on the trail, like it's completely normal... 
Great blue heron runs a red light.
This is the first great blue heron I have seen this year (really!). 
I love how the fiddler crab is underwater, but he is poking his eyestalks out above the water.
The American kestrel is the smallest species of falcon in North America. This little guy is perched on an unoccupied osprey nest platform. These little guys are also called sparrow hawks, for their dining on sparrows, but they will also eat insects.
A skipper of some sort. 
Yellow "dots" = aphids
 Round guy- red with black spots = lady bug (not a REAL bug, but a beetle, possibly, also not a lady) aka nymph predator,
Red-orange and black oval guys= milkweed bug nymphs (not yet adults)
 And the grand finale-- my first (confirmed) monarch butterfly of the year! These butterflies are facing (really, really) tough times, so seeing one today was AWESOME- I paparazzi'd out with this guy...