Friday, June 29, 2018


     Oh hey there! It's been quite some time since I have been on this thing- life has taken a major turn as Tim and I purchased a home in Brooklyn- something we thought we could never do. Now, it's not in any trendy part of Brooklyn, but it's Brooklyn, it's a legit detached house (and nearly 100 years old-- 98, to be exact), and it ours!
     Now, being an old house, of course it came with lots to do- ripping up carpets, painting, installing/refurbishing wood floors, moving (did you know you could saw a box spring in half and reassemble to get it up a flight of tight stairs? me neither!), buying new appliances, installing new appliances, telling the kid neighbors next door that your yard is no longer a place to smoke their joints, fixing things, questioning the thought behind how things were put together by the past owners, and acclimating our pets-- all of that destroyed my free time. Also, I never have been so interested in any of this - matching paints, cleaning, etc - but when you own something and gave your life saving towards this hunk of home, you suddenly have a change of heart.
     In the time living here, I noticed a huge difference in my neighborhood birds- blue jays are out of the picture but now I hear gulls, living closer to the water - laughing, herring-- and all the odd noises they produce. The other day, while driving through the neighborhood, I had a glossy ibis fly over- not too shabby!
     With the exception of a bird outing on early June with my friend Molly (who is featured in this NY TIMES article) and attaining a life golden-winged warbler- I haven't gotten out much. So today, despite heat soaring into the 90's, I like it hot and I was ready to get out!
I stopped out at Jamaica Bay hoping to see not just birds, but also a local reptile-- the Diamondback Terrapin.

This female was not too far out onto the trail and she was busy digging a hole in which to nest.

Heat can be problematic to us creatures that produce our own body heat- but for reptiles, it is power. It raises their metabolism, it gives them energy, and it helps to incubate their eggs.

Diamondback terrapins are monitored here by a group of volunteers based from Hofstra University. I was able to let one of them know that this female was hard at work as they put cages up over nests to reduce nest predation by raccoons.

Saw quite a few yellow warblers who nest here.

This tree swallow is just appalled... at the temperature.
Birds can't sweat, so open mouth "panting" helps for cooling down.

Young tree swallow is also pretty warm in that box!

I bet this little nugget is calculating costs for installing ductless AC...

Soon that young tree swallow will fledge and eventually will take on the amazing plumage of its parents.

...speaking of glossy ibis...

Spotted another large female simply on the move.

I love how each terrapin is such an individual, their spots, blotches, and patterns vary greatly from one turtle to the next.

They also have really cool feet- their rear feet have flaps on their heels- I'm sure it helps with swimming a bunch, but also excavating a nest if you're looking to lay eggs. 
Spotted an osprey not on a nest platform.

Osprey were blessed with a truly majestic look on their face...

After this photo I then proceeded to donate much of my blood to the local mosquitoes. I came off the trail bleeding, having been stabbed mercilessly by many little needles. I also ran to CVS for some after bite as I got destroyed and big bottle of deet -- I have no mercy for mosquitoes, the natural stuff never works for me- gotta spray myself down with carcinogens. 

Now, sprayed down with off-deep woods, I continued on to one of my new neighborhood birding spots- the Marine Park Salt Marsh!
I enjoyed watching this yellow-crowned night heron on the hunt.

So, I didn't spray my face with deet-- and that's then where the biting flies and mosquitoes honed their sights on-- I coulda used your help, dude.

This was fun to watch- little bird, big attitude!
A male red-winged blackbird chases off a great egret that flew too close to his singing perch.

Chased that egret a good 30-40 yards!

Family photo. There are three chicks in there!

2 of a family of seven barn swallows assess the water feature they should avoid below.

Always enjoy a good stare down with a grey catbird.
It was good to get out again, hoping I can do some before work birding as I pass through the nature center on my way to work and can pass through Plumb beach-- biking is good for that! Here's to picking up the habit again and exploring my new patches fully.