Sunday, July 26, 2015

Challenges!

     I have been needing to do some cycling, as my sister and I are riding the NYC Century Bike Tour in September and are pushing to do 75 miles, and 100 would be really awesome, but we are shooting for over 55 (what we completed last year). So I decided I would get in some birding at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, buuuuut, I would bike there from my home in Kensington Brooklyn. Round trip, I cycled about 36 miles. Not too shabby, I'd say.
     In challenging myself, I also thought of my next challenge, that would take me from my 30th birthday, on 8/8/15 to my 31st (ew) birthday on 8/8/16. For one year I am challenging myself to my own big year. Big years are competitions birders partake in with each other to see who can rack up the most species in a year. My only competitor is myself and I am not limiting this to birds. I would like to tally up any animal species I can find and properly identify. I am also not going on crazy vacations to chase species, but when I do go away, don't think I won't be looking!
     I suppose to all my friends (if anyone actually reads this), apologies in advance for my super hyped up nature Attention Deficit Disorder. Because if something walks, buzzes, soars, or slithers by, I'm on it-- not that this doesn't already occur in my day to day.
     I am going to hopefully get the camera cleaned this week so it is ready to go for my birthday weekend. 30 will not mean I'm slowing down, it will only be me with even more energy!
     Anyway, about that bike ride to Jamaica Bay.... Enjoy!
Saw these two dudes, just hanging on what used to be West Pond... and I was like, they are not gulls... And now after the fact, I realized I misID'd... totally Juv. Forster's terns! Meh, it happens. Not gull-billed terns.

Waterfront property in Broad Channel Queens. I never noticed the other bird box below the platform. Wonder what the osprey charges for rent...
Aphids on Milkweed. Not sure what the other little white dudes are, but I saw ants on another plant interacting with the aphids. I wonder if ants use the aphids like I have seen in books, where the aphids produce a  "honey dew" from all the juice they suck from the plant that the ants harvest and eat. Almost like farmers and their cattle. Not sure how sweet a toxic milkweed plant is... I wonder...
A snowy egret fishes as the tide begin to rush into the West Pond.
From the most western portion of West Pond I saw flocks of birds flying, fast. Then I saw a large bird behind them, also fast. Through binoculars I saw 2 falcons. I saw they landed and got to them in hopes they'd still be there. And lucky, they were! 
These birds were Juveniles, I could tell from their blueish eyeing and beak, which would be yellow in adults. Also thinking this one is a male, he was much smaller than his counter part.
This other bird was visibly larger, I am thinking perhaps a juvenile female. 
They sat for quite a while before taking of together.
Such a cool bird!
Mom leads her family. Dad marched ahead. Well there were definitely 2 adults, don't know which one's which, but the kids were a few inches shorter than their parents. 
Pretty sure that is mom's/dad's "Don't mess with this" face.
Another Osprey Platform on Cross Bay Blvd had two osprey near by one my ride in and on my ride out. Thought it would be a good chance for a photo op.

Love that binocular vision!!