Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Weekender from Rockland to Brooklyn

     This weekend took me beyond Brooklyn and back. There is lots to show, so I will let the pictures do the talking. Enjoy!
Saturday 4.18.15: The husband says we need to go upstate so he can help his dad move furniture, I asked if I could go for a hike, and so I did, around Doodletown and Iona Island in Bear Mountain State Park.
The day was warm and summer-like. I got to wear shorts and a t-shirt. A vastly different wardrobe from what I was wearing only a month ago. The Doodletown Brook is lovely to walk along and cooled the air nearby, making it refreshing to walk along in the mid-70's temperatures.
This little gem, a six spotted tiger beetle, caught my eye with that metallic green. These little 1/2 inch insects move quickly and catch smaller insects to eat. You can see the small, sic white spots that give him his name. It's nice to see insects again,  I'm excited o see butterflies too, very soon!
I then next headed down to Iona Island, found a pair of geese on the roadside, taking a dip into the marsh that runs along the road.
Was happy to see not one, but two pileated woodpecker. These birds resemble the Woody Woodpecher cartoon best. They have a red crest, large bill, and are themselves quite large, compared to the other woodpeckers in the area. Very beautiful, very cool to see!
A turkey vulture takes a close pass overhead.
Just before reaching the car I came upon two muskrats swimming in the marsh. Smaller than beavers, muskrats are also rodents, but don't have the large flat beaver tail, theirs more resembles that of a rat, but is slightly flattened. 
Sunday 4.19.15: The nice weather continues, a bit cooler, but sun is shining. Green-Wood Cemetery was my choice to avoid the Sunday crowds in Prospect-- although I kind of regret not going to Prospect as there was some good stuff there this afternoon. Oops! Here, a double crested cormorant shows off his double crests. 
I love double crested cormorants for the two things that are highlighted in this photo-- Those ice blue eyes, not much to explain- they are gorgeous! I also am a huge fan of reptiles, and the feathers on their wings really make them look reptilian and scaly, I love it!
An American Robin just over 5th avenue in Sunset Park.
The mockingbirds were doing a great job with their songs covering many different species of birds within the park, sometimes I had to be careful, thinking I heard a different bird, only for it to be a mockingbird singing through it repertoire.
The solar powered creatures are back, a red-eared slider warms up in the sun. Not a native turtle, the sliders are introduced, they live many years, too often beyond the interest of humans who buy them as cute babies. They grow large and require more care than most are prepaid for. So often, they are dumped, where they often do well, but outcompete native turtles.
A savannah sparrow on Sylvan Water was lovely to see, many sparrows were foraging along where the edges of the trees and shrubs met the grassy shore line.
A sweet sighting of a field sparrow on the shores of Sylvan. 
The male white throated sparrows are actively singing and looking quite handsome. Just in the last three photos you can see how varied these little brown birds are, and by looking just a bit more closer a sparrow becomes more than "just a sparrow."
A hermit thrush above the Dell Water. Related to robins, these birds forage too, on the ground looking for yummy things to eat.
This was not there last week- it appears some bee houses were installed on the Dell Water. I hope they help to do their bee job, pollinating the lovely landscape in and around Green-Wood. 
Bees make me cry and run like a wuss-- this is with use of the 300mm zoom, cropped :) You can't pay me enough money to get closer to these suckers...
This great egret has chosen alternative forms of energy, instead of hunting fish and frogs, the sun gives this one all the energy it needs...
Pretty! The blooms are awesome right now!
I think I found the goose that they modeled Scrooge McDuck after, clearly this bird only eats grass around the fanciest real-estate in Green-Wood!
A common snapping turtle lurks in the Dell Water.
The great egret from earlier catches a frog for dinner. These birds are lightening quick and are able to catch quick little frogs and fish.
(insert "gulp" sound here)
After that meal, its back to hunting-- but looking absolutely stunning while doing so!
Magnolia, I think. Gorgeous, whatever it is, that's for sure!
Another Mocker, mocking his heart out! Did a great kingfisher and kestrel call!
Palm warblers foraged among the graves, adding a burst of color to the grey headstones.
Spring! Yay!!!! :-D (Like, honestly, I am SO HAPPY winter is over!)

Just before leaving had a nice flyover by this young red tailed hawk.