Tuesday, April 25, 2023,
Monday, April 24, 2023,
This is a Red-winged Blackbird about to burst into song. Much like many Grackles that I have observed, they puff themselves up, and then let loose with either a song or a territorial call. Both the songs, and the calls, serve to attract mates, and to let other possible rivals that this area has been claimed. In this particular case, this gentleman may be advertising to females. This is pure conjecture on my part, and only because this guy is calling out from a Crab Apple Tree, which would not be a common nesting site for a Red-winged Blackbird. They tend to prefer to build their nests in the reeds alongside waterways or ponds. However, this particular tree is only a few dozen feet from a preferred nesting area. JK.
Sunday, April 23, 2023,
This past Tuesday, I had to take a day off from work to take care of a particularly onerous and exceedingly sad task. Afterwards, I went to Frank Melville Park in Setauket, which was fairly close by. If you happen to be a regular reader here, you know that Frank Melville is one of my favorite parks. There’s lots of wildlife there, but I also love meeting all the dogs. It’s not a “dog park” per se, but dogs are welcome as long as they are leashed. I know many of the dogs better than I know their owners. And there’s nothing like interacting with a friendly dog to bring you out of whatever funk you might be in.
I walked through the park, petted some dogs, and chatted with their owners. It was a good morning, and much needed. There is nothing like a happy dog to cure what ails you. I returned to my truck, put away my camera and tripod, and was backing out of my parking space, when I saw my friend Stephanie in my rearview mirror. So, I pulled back into my space, and went to say “Hi”. It turns out that she was there to meet another friend of mine, Daryl, and his wife Lindsay. All three are wonderful folks, so I decided to join them, despite the fact that I had already done a full circuit of the park. Look, good friends are good friends and, to be honest, I need the exercise. 🙂
I should also mention that Daryl is a veritable bird magnet. He can find, and identify, birds better than pretty much anyone else I know, and I know a lot of birders. Daryl is also one of my favorite photographers. No lie. His work is amazing. If he wasn’t so likeable, I would hate him. 🙂 So, I pulled my equipment back out of my truck, and Stephanie and went to catch up with Daryl and Leslie. It didn’t take long because, if you’ve ever spent much time with wildlife photographers, you know that they can camp out at the same spot for quite a while. We can be a boring lot. Not so much to ourselves, but girlfriends and spouses often do a lot of eye-rolling.
So, anyways, as we were walking along the main pond at Frank Melville Park, Daryl spotted this handsome critter. The Prothonotary Warbler is, apparently, a rare visitor to Long Island. I was lucky enough to get these shots, but without Daryl’s keen eye and knowledge of birds, these would never have happened. You rock, Daryl. JK.
Monday, March 13, 2023,
This is Beaker. He’s a Mallard Duck with an unusual profile. Beaker got his name from a popular Muppet’s Show character, for what may be obvious reasons.
Beaker came to Sweetbriar Nature Center after having suffered a rather grievous encounter with a Snapping Turtle when he was still a very young duckling. It seems that the Snapping Turtle took a chomp at Beaker and took off a good deal of his beak.
Beaker, luckily—and amazingly – survived, his Holy Cow! wound. However, despite the fact that he is able to still feed in an almost normal fashion, we are not sure if he can be returned to the wild. On the other hand, Beaker is very personable and has many fans amongst the rehabbers. JK