Friday, April 22, 2016

Earth Day 2016

     From about 9:30 this morning till about 3:30 this afternoon I spent my day outside (with an hour break for lunch). It was the most perfect Earth Day, 80 degrees (shorts weather!!), sunny, got to ride my bike to all my destinations, and got to share some of the day with my good friend Shannon, The Writing Whisperer.
     My day began in a walk through Prospect Park, the trees were alive with birds, the insects were buzzing through the air, frogs & turtles were common sights in the water, and I spotted a sleepy raccoon and very active chipmunks among the many birds.
     After a delicious lunch of Indian food with Shannon, we ventured through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Most of the cherry trees were blooming (not yet to their fullest), the tulips were amazing and the air everywhere was fragrant. The rain held off and we were happy to not have to use my umbrella and rain jacket that I had taken with me.
     Anyway, here are a lot (really, a lot) of pictures from the day, I am very proud of myself as I did not even touch the "sports mode" today- all of these are in manual. Enjoy:
A modest American Robin in Prospect Park.
Mourning Dove, in case you were wondering: this is what it sounds like, when doves cry.
Palm warblers were a common sight today, but not as common as...
The butter butt, yellow-rumped warblers were very very abundant, but I had to check each one out-- just in case! 
That's where the "butter butt" comes from, see the yellow rump, dorsal side, above the tail? Also in shooting in manual mode, it is enabling me to get some higher quality shots, I can crop this down to...
...this. and he still looks decently crisp.
The two species of butterfly I saw today were the cabbage white (pictured) and mourning cloak. I am excited for others to begin showing up soon!
Caught this squirrel (guiltily?) snacking on young leaves and buds in this tree.
Oh yeah, did I mention how abundant the yellow-rumped warblers were today? Many of these guys over winter here in NY, I will say they are fairly drab in the winter- they look quite snazzy in the spring. This is my first warbler I learned to identify, so even though they are plentiful, I still like them very much!
Wild violets growing at the base of Lookout Hill.
Then this guy. He landed exactly across the path from me, near the Ravine and he gave me piece of his mind.
Gave me the side-eye glance.
Flared his crest and fluffed his feathers.
The other side, side-eye.
Chipped a few calls.
All before repositioning himself and finding another male cardinal to square off with. Maybe he just liked that we wear the same color plumage, red hair, red feathers, it's all good.
A female belted kingfisher landed (relatively) close to myself and a few other birders I ran into today, including The City Birder. This may be my "best" Brooklyn Belted Kingfisher photo yet. This is a female, the females have the red on their breast, males lack this coloration.
Young leaves and flowers are really doing a great job of brightening the place up. Fellowing the Ravine there are some small ponds that then lead to the Boathouse, Lullwater, and ultimately, the Lake.
Before this moment, I found both the Northern and Louisiana waterthrush at Ambergill Falls and the Neathermead Arches, respectfully.
At Brooklyn Botanic Garden, blooms were very abundant, also abundant, red-eared sliders!
I like visiting BBG anytime before or after the Cherry Blossom Festival (next weekend!). I, personally don't enjoy large crowds, and honestly, I just want to look, smell, and photo. But if you are into events, it is next weekend: http://www.bbg.org/visit/event/sakura_matsuri_2016
SO FLUFFY!
Turtles basking in the Japanese Garden.
Manual mode for the win, I am pretty excited about how this honey bee turned out!
So of course with blooms, there are pollinators. I can't wait to see more and more as the season wears on. Honey bees of course are of super huge importance and their populations have not been doing super well. If we want to keep eating and surviving, we need to make sure the bees are too!
I do adore the tulips at BBG this time of year.
I found these interestingly named "Purple Prince." I wonder if they were named for him, before his passing yesterday.
I was pretty excited that I can now ID Trout Lilies on my own!
Happy Earth Day, I hope we can try harder to celebrate Earth Day everyday (I very much try to!).