Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bikeventure for the Last Day of September!

Today ended up being a 28 mile trek all together. I love my bike and I absolutely love using it in order to get out and about, especially for these kinds of outings.
     I woke up early, ate, checked the weather, and hopped on my bike. I planned to venture to the Rockaways in Queens and visit Fort Tilden and Breezy Point. The morning was so dramatic, the clouds made the sky seem so full of emotion. They set a lovely backdrop for the NYC skyline and today's adventure...
Some serious clouds clear for the Freedom Tower and downtown Manhattan, the skies were pretty amazing at 8:30 AM, along the Belt Parkway.
Speaking of the Belt Parkway, this cloud speaks numbers about how I feel about the Belt. It's kind of like the worst place ever, traffic always, when I am on it. Looking East the clouds were angry...
Looking West, the skies seemed happier. I had to stop while crossing the Gil Hodges Bridge from Brooklyn to Queens to take this picture of the Brooklyn skyline. Coney Island is on the left, the Verrazano to the right.
Also from the Gild Hodges Bridge, those clouds make NYC seem so much smaller!
First greeted by this common yellowthroat at Fort Tilden. 
A look of disapproval, for sure.
Chlorophyll is starting to break down in the leaves of plants, resulting in autumn colors. Even poison ivy is really pretty in autumn.
The path is boarded by lots AND LOTS of poison ivy. It's pretty and pretty itchy. 
Queen Anne's Lace still has a certain delicateness even when dried up to seed. 
Had an osprey fly by, with breakfast! 
Saw many monarchs flying in their migration to Mexico.
N. Mockingbird.
Clouds were stealing the show today.
Had a huge flock of cormorants fly by... 
Many birds use the "V" formation, including these cormorants.
The trail in Fort Tilden leads you to Battery Harris, a huge cement structure that you can go up to the top of, for great vantage points, like the Manahattan Skyline, Brooklyn, and out to the ocean.
This is Battery Harris, a cement structure, this is a casemate for large cannons during the WWII era.
A bumble bee on some goldenrod.
Along one of the sandy paths, I found a small freshwater pond, and this yellow-rumped warbler does not seem thrilled to have found me.
Warblers are notorious for being confusing come fall. But the yellow rump, is a dead giveaway for the yellow-rumped warbler.
Northern flicker
Leading out to the beach. Between the goldenrod and the Virginia Creepers, turning red, with blue fruit, it was vary pretty. 
Herring Gull Conversations. Catch them in the right moment, it's nature at its finest.
Just absolutely glorious. Nature at its most magnificent.
Love it.
I use landmarks, especially on beaches when looking for trails that aren't really marked. So I saw this square when walking in. When walking out I noticed the creepy inscription. 
This cricket looks like its giggling, while perched on this perfect yellow flower, holding its tiny front legs up to its mouth.
An Eastern phoebe hunting insects. 
After Fort Tilden, I biked down to Breezy Point Tip. The beach was covered in peeps, that is bird for shorebirds, like sandpipers.  I think this is a Western Sandpiper... or a semipalmated. I really am not good with these guys.
This one just looks like a "Go ahead. Make my day." 
Like I felt like I almost stepped on some, they were so well hidden and in every nook and cranny of sand!
Snuggled up and snoozing, with some semipalmated plovers too! 
Semipalmated plover.
This breaks my heart. I originally thought maybe this guy had something stuck on his foot, but no, its line, whether fishing or another, it is wrapped around both feet. I reported this guy when I got home, I can only hope someone got him and is taking care of his little feet.
The line is causing swelling in the toes and the left foot seems to be not useable at the moment, as it seems curled up and tangled. This bird could not walk, it could fly, short distances. If it cannot walk, it cannot forage and feed. One persons carelessness results in unfortunate tragedies like this.
Western sandpiper? Who knows, shorebirds are something I need work on. 
Like, how cute are these little nuggets?! They found or made pockets in the sand and just take a nap, together.
A ring billed gull reflects, literally.
This is how an oystercatcher should look and behave. A second one came in to walk to shoreline. 
An oystercatcher should generally not act like this, in the open, where it can be picked off. I hope help gets to this little guy and I hope people find proper ways to dispose of their trash to prevent this from happening.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Prospect Park 9/26/14

     Started my day with a lovely walk through Prospect Park. The park is quiet, but if you look up in the trees you can find tons of birds foraging on insects, fueling themselves for their journey south.

An Eastern Phoebe (named after the call it makes) darts to nab flying insects.
This bird sits, waits, watches, then flies out and catches insects. So, you often see them darting from a perch and back. 
The red tail hawks were restless, they vocalized much of the 2 hours I walked around. WhenI saw this bird, it was flying low with another, and above them, higher in the air column were 2 more, circling. I later encountered one in the woods, presumably one of the birds sighted earlier.
A black and white warbler (one of the less confusing fall warblers) walks briskly along as well as up and down branches, in search of insects.
A Northern parula eyes the undersides of leaves for hiding insects. 

One insect that can sit out in the open without worry...
Since silkweed bugs feed on milkweed plants, as this one is doing, they take on the toxic chemicals that the plant contains. Their bright colors as as a warning, "don't eat me!" If something did take a nibble, either they would be left with an unpleasant taste or an awful case of indigestion.
A male house sparrow happily bathes in the upper pool.
Shot of the day, totally goes to this mute swan, darn you, for being so picturesque!