Sandy Hook and above, below & beyond
"I've been a lot of places
Office Christmas Party Aftermath, May 1 2011
Cape May, turn of the Year 2012-2013
Manhattan, Dec 28 2012
Beatrix Potter. The Picture Letters; The Morgan Library & Museum
NY Central Park Zoo: best eider collection ever ...
Scaly-sided Merganser: One of the rarest duck's there is.
The NY Central Park maintains a captive a breeding program , we saw 8 of them there.
Baer's Pochard: another rare duck
Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue: High Altar and Reredos
Christmas Day 2012 walk at Lord Stirling
First Post-Sandy trip to the (North) coast, Dec.23-2012
Beaten by seasonal work, Santa takes a moment to (successfully) look for Dovekies:
(photo by Hadas Parag)
And she shall return from the sea: the Spawn of Sandy
Point Pleasant Beach boardwalk
Ex Waffle place at Manasquam Inlet
Bagworm Moth (Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis) on arborvitae.
We saw hundreds of those cocoon sacks on hedge at Pleasant Point Beach
Congress Hall in Asbury Park
Congress Hall, detail (photo by Hadas Parag)
Tillie (replica of WB tribute), photo by Hadas Parag
Common Loon at Asbury Park
Hooded Merganser at Asbury Park
Hurricane Sandy damage at Long Branch (Pullman Ave)
Bayonne, Dec22, 2012
A study of Great Cormorants at the Bayonne Ocean Terminal
Great Swamp, Nov 11, 2012
Lake Mohawk, Sussex County - Oct.21, 2012
Garter Snake - Andover, Sussex Branch Trail - Oct. 21, 2012
Aaron the Heron, Mindowaskin Park - Westfield - Oct. 10, 2012
Cape May - Oct. 3 and 4, 2012
Cape May Point State Park (view from South Cape May Meadows)
Lark Sparrow at Cape May Point SP
Ghost Crab (Ocypode quadrata) - South Cape May Meadows)
Palm Warbler - South Cape May Meadows)
American Redstart - South Cape May Meadows
Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) - South Cape May Meadows
South Cape May Meadows
Great Egret - South Cape May Meadows
Eastern Phoebe - Cape May Point
Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) - Cape May Point
Fish Crow - Cape May Sunset Beach
Cape May Point
Libinia emarginata, the portly spider crab, common spider crab or nine-spined spider crab
Lesser Black-backed Gull (sub?-adult winter lumage - 3rd cycle?)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (not a Yellow-legged ???, adult breeding)
Common Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) Cape May Point
note the spider crab on the dorsal fin!
Brigantine - Oct. 2, 2012
Westfield market, Sept. 8, 2012
Island Beach State Park, April 8 (Easter Sunday) 2012
Gull trouble: Great Black-backed Gull, (Smithsonian) Herring Gull, Laughing Gull
Blister Beetle: Tricrania sanguinipennis
Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
Shadbush serviceberry (Amelanchier candensis)
Webb's Mill Bog board walk in the Pine Barrens: Golden Club (Orontium aquaticum)
Branch Brook Park, Newark, April 1 2012
One of the frozen yoghurt stores in Westfield
Secaucus, Hackensack River, March 16, 2012
Spruce Run Reservoir, March 11, 2012
Iceland Gull (adult Kumlien form) - winter is not over yet,
also of note were 190 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (4 of which are on this photo)
Sandy Hook, January 29, 2012
Peregrine Falcon and the growing One World Trade Center (aka Freedom Tower).
The tower is at its 90th floor (with 14 more to go) and the bird has a green band on its left leg.
I am not an expert, but I think this a New Jersey Power Ranger. I did not know that these agile, yet diminutive creatures can take out the top-gull of our coast (Great Black-backed Gull, I have some expertise on those).
Barnegat Light, January 24, 2012
Harlequin Duck - most incredibly colored duck there is. A group of these ducks winters (up to 30-40) at the jetty of Barnegat Inlet for at least 20 years. Funny that this relatively small, man-made rocky intertidal area became such a favorite for them. All the better for us, as this area is most likely the best place to enjoy them close-up.
The (sometimes) treacherous jetty, winter home to a lot of confiding rock birds.
Purple Sandpiper - another coastal rock lover
more of those over-colored drakes ... with modest, disinterested duck
Red Knot: rare in winter along the NJ coast
Would you call this beast a Common Loon or rather a Great Northern Diver?
I took this picture of an up-ended lawn chair at last light in the salt marshes of
Manahawkin WMA near the (burned) Bridge-to-Nowhere.
Note the Short-eared Owl as well!
New York City, December 22, 2011
I paid a brief visit to the recent New York City celebrity, the (possible & likely) Rufous Hummingbird at the American Museum of Natural History. The birds showed up feeding at the Mahonia plantings at the east side of the Planetarium entrance at 81st street. It stayed there for about 4 minutes and zipped away towards East. These hummingbirds, a western species, ought to be in Mexico by now (but they are regular in Florida in winter).
detail of the hummer's tail
The hummer feeds from these Asian plants :
Mahonia cf. bealei, leatherfleaf mahonia
New York City, December 20, 2011
Did Professor Pallas ever dreamt of being
part of a Manhattan window display?
Tintin at FAO Schwarz
Pelham Bay, New York, December 10, 2011
Merrill Creek Reservoir, November 20, 2011
Where is Snowy?
I took us about 2 weeks to finally make the pilgrimage to Merrill Creek reservoir to see the gorgeous female immature Snowy Owl. It was clearly worth the trip. The owl likes to sit in amidst the lower part of the rocky scree at the main damn (facing away from the reservoir).
11-11-2011 Surprise Lake hike
Great Blue Heron & crane, Oct.30, 2011, Bayonne, NJ, Lefante Hudson River Walkway.
Harsimus Cemetery, Jersey City, August 20, 2011
Eileen Markenstein, the president of the Historic Jersey City & Harsimus Cemetery Organization, showed us around the now abandoned Harsimus Cemetery. This place is an excellent combination of history and urban nature.
Hadas and I compiled a first plant list and so far we found 73 species of spontaneous plants, but there are more - see here (plant list).
Eileen always needs volunteers to keep the balance between culture and nature (see www.jerseycitycemetary.org)
Asia meets North America
Tramea carolina Carolina Saddlebag
Green-gilled Lepiota (Chlorophyllum molybdites), spore print on the right (note the green spores)
Partly leucistic House Sparrow
Coney Island, Brooklyn NY, August 2, 2011
Yes, we took the Wonder Wheel & the Brooklyn Flyer (photo), but not before seeing a celebrity:
Grey-hooded Gull: 2nd in the US and quite a celebrity (see New York Times article)
also my first since Kenya (I missed it in Eilat once).
Post-lifer Pina Colada on the boardwalk
Normal gulls (and pigeons)
Palm tree with extreme high water potential (very positive) - I need to remember to show this in class
Coney Island community gardens
And I have to confess that I took the pilgrimage already 3 days before and missed the Star-gull by a mere 1 hour.
Childs Building that until recently housed a roller skates rink. Build in 1923 in Spanish Colonial Revival style, it was the home of one of the many Childs Restaurants and briefly (in 1927) was a strict vegetarian restaurant (until William Childs was removed from the board of stockholders in 1928).
After the rain outside our house in Westfield
Hike to Surprise Lake, July 25, 2011
Chinese garden Hard passage
Aralia hispida (no, not an umbellifer!)
Puddingstone chasm (whatever that is)
Dragons (have to) live here
Sandy Hook, July 17, 2011
Least Tern with chick(s)
Eastern Hognose Snake (Heterodon platirhinos)
July 16, 2011 NJMA (New Jersey Mycological Association) mushroom foray
at Meadowoods, Mendham Township
Killers at Site 15 - Liberty State Park, July 13, 2011
A swarm of these impressive hymenopteran insects (length about 4 cm): are busy building a nest on a sandy path at Site 15:
Eastern Cicada Killers (Sphecius speciosus). As the name implies - good not to be a cicada for once.
Spotted Sandpiper nests successfully at Site 15 (Chromium Restoration Site) at Liberty State Park. July 6, 2011
I never noticed them breeding in the area before.
One of the proud and nervous parents
2 of the four chicks 1 of the four chicks (getting back to where the others are)
[ ... noticed that they all wearing glasses? As all young things, they must be Harry Potter fans!]
Great Kills, Staten Island, NY - June 29, 2011
Rüdiger and I once invented a new bird listing system by which one is not simply counting the species seem but the combination of species seen through a given binocular. With about 10.000 bird species in the world and allowing for combinations of up to 10 species (or even more), how many combiantion are possible?? Any mathematicians out there?
What about bird species on the same photo? Below I give an example that is hard to come by.
Believe me, the far background in the photo below is Coney Island NY, so what wrong/special?
Correct, Hooded Crow in the Americas! If this is indeed a wild bird (and it behaves like one), this a record number one (after four or so that were expected to be escapees, see:
I arrived at the described parking lot at the south end of Great Kills at 4 pm and finally after a lot of walking around made contact with the celebrity at 7 pm (after being alerted to its whereabouts by a nice non-birder who asked me if I am looking for THE crow). I am going to count it!
Silene coronaria (rose champion): I found one large individual of this non-native (Eurasian origin) plant along the paths in the coastal scrub/forest at Crooke's Point. I have not seen this species in the NE before.
King Eider at Sandy Hook, May 8 2011
Wilson's Petrels - Hatteras, North Carolina June 2009