Friday, September 23, 2011

Gratuitious photo of a "turtle"

Calling this a turtle is like calling a rowboat a ship or a Schooner a dingy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I really don't like this frog. It doesn't look good.
This is how I like to see a frog.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Leopard Frog Pain

This summer has been quite rainy and made for a difficult experience to cut the grass. I think it could be called "the summer of the earthworm" because of how many healthy earthworms I've come across. Also, its more difficult to mow the lawn when there is a muddy area in the grass so it has the feeling of a swamp.
When the lawn mower hit a spot that was kind of hilly, I noticed some hoppers hopping out of the lawn. I was taken aback and turned off the power of the lawn mower. I felt kind of disgusted about these frogs. Some frogs bother me and gross me out, I like it when they're in a pond and poke there eyes out. When they hop around on land it's really unnerving for some reason. Especially when there are more than three of them. When they hop up so you can see them and then go back and hide in the grass, its almost worse than when slugs do that kind of thing. Nothing is worse than stepping on a slug and I can't even say about what its like with a frog. (AAGH!! I feel like throwing up thinking about it.) Anyway, these spotted Leopard frogs bother me. I'm kind of scared of them. Land dwelling frogs, I guess that they have to stay around and I'm not ever going to dismiss their presence. Especially since they have such a strong one.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Frogs 'croak Birds 'chirp

Interestingly enough on a nature walk this afternoon I heard but a single frog croaking who made just one 'croak noise. Several moments later another noise that reminded me of a bullfrog came about in a manner suggestive of life-in-a-swamp.

Frogs and turtles go hand in hand. Both have a zen-like way of being submerged and then peering out of the water.

Then out of nowhere a bird will make a call and the frog might notice it. Another way to test a frogs awareness or intelligence is to watch it for a while and test its ability to recognize your presence without casting a shadow over its body.

Bullfrogs. So many frog species.

Turtles. Box, painted, CRAZY snapping turtles. not to mention sea turtles which are of their own category, same goes with tortoises (how about the 181 year old tortoise named "Jonathan" found on St.Helena near Africa).

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Green Snakes

Green snakes like to slither out of the bushes in front of you when you are walking down a path.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

This has almost NOTHING to do with birds (but its relevant)

For the past few weeks I've been in a state of worry for well being of sharks. Today I felt that I had to share. This is because I have a copy of the new Town and Country magazine, with the lovely Mariel Hemingway and Langley Fox on the cover. WHAT does T & C have to do with sharks? Well, turn to page 103 and you will notice a full page ad with Oceana and January Jones explaining how shark populations are crashing around the world and that "healthy oceans need sharks". I was happy to see the ad because ever since I watched an episode of Tavis Smiley with Don Cheadle as a guest.

Don Cheadle went on vacation to the Baja in Mexico. His daughter, who is about 14 went snorkeling. She wants to be a marine biologist whens she grows up... when she went snorkeling, she noticed not a lot of the beautiful coral dwelling fish. Why was this? Well...........
Apparently, Chinese fisherman paid people in Mexico to hunt and kill as many sharks as possible (not sure of the exact number but A LOT) so that they could fish for the fish that they like, since the sharks were eating them. This messed with the coral reefs delicate ecosystem. Suffice to say, the colorful tropical fish can't survive with out the big time predators that sharks are.

Plenty of questions came up after watching this, one: Is this ethical? Do people take morals and ethical practices serious in world-wide business today? On the other hand, has that ever been the case? China and Mexico seem like a dangerous duo and I mean that with the utmost respect. Does China really put such a high value on fresh caught wild fish that they are willing to wantonly destroy the beloved shark population? Do they have a problem against farm raised fish. answer to this one: I had a taste test with farm raised and wild caught grilled salmon. one of the salmon fillets had the traditional salmon color to it and the other had more of orange hue. Both tasted great, although there were quasi-remarkable differences. Adaptation. I had to adapt to the farm raised flavor.
I'm curious if Oceana will confront the Chinese fishing industry (the president ? their pr people?) and/ or Mexico's HR and talk to them about how we need to keep our sharks swimming around eating their prey. They could have a nice conversation about this and see where it leads. Open water territory is fishy in general. Also, how high of a value do you place on coral reefs? Sharks? There are many, many different species of sharks. Especially in the pacific and its a real shame to waste them away.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Jamie Wyeth Self Portrait

The Congo: viva la African Grey

The African Grey

The Congo is full of emerald mystery, deep intrigue, and of course the most i n t e l l i g e n t bird of all. The African Grey. Supposedly the African Grey is hand in hand with the highland gorilla. Both have shown on the record to be able to communicate to people either through sign language (gorilla) or actually talking (the grey). Think about Koko the Gorilla and Alex the Grey.

I think it's important to visualize the African Grey in the wild, because of its rare color combination. Grey and red. Is gray a color? Ask artist Jamie Wyeth and he will probably say yes.
The African Grey
Peeping out of a forest of green is
I could get into.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bird Confrontation

This afternoon I took a walk on a nice bit of property at a quaint private school. In the backyard of the art building was a comfortable deck with a few tables and chairs- places to have lunch and gaze out at the small vista. I walked past this area and there I was ASSAULTED WITH LOUD SQUAWKING!!! A family of robins was protecting their young. They were completely freaking out- all out. This means that the robins were puffed out, and making fake-out attempts to dive bomb me with their pointy beaks and sharp bird feet. The young baby bird fell out of the nesting area and onto the ground/ I was scared. I was frightened of the situation in general and I put my keys and cell phone on one of the tables because I was so startled. Then I ran away. BUT....a few minutes later, after calming down, I went back. I had to get my belongings back. THE baby bird made a bee-line, and took off in a straight direction in a violent manner. The adult robins started freaking out AT ME and once again I was frightened and so I left. Before I went back that second time I did see a the dead corpse of a bird. This upset me further and made me stay in the back (the porch wraps around) and took heed from my cool, calm, and collected inner voice.

(please excuse the fervent manner in which this is written, as I am attempting to make the frenzy that I faced come through in this hectic dialogue).

Monday, August 8, 2011

In this picture here, Goethe is gazing out the window at the Roman street. Seemingly unaware of the intense scrutiny.

I like this picture because it looks like a snapshot. Same with the fact that he's so relaxed.

Observation while being observed

Today I saw a robin sunbathing with its wings spread out. I was looking at it for a while, because it looked cute. Then it noticed me and reluctantly hopped away. I felt a little bad, because I was watching it like a weirdo. But I moved on as usual, and went to the backyard to grill some chicken. Then I felt like I was being watched and there in the corner of the yard was another robin. This robin was perched on a fallen branch and casually observing me. I stared back for a staring contest. All the robin did was brush me off, it looked in the other direction. I looked back to where the other robin had been sunbathing earlier, and it was still there but hiding in the bushes.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


here's bedrock.. maybe the beak is not too bad, but that foot - ooof!

Tropical Birds At the Zoo

Last week I took an excursion to the Central Park Zoo. There, I visited the Tropical Zone. I got acquainted with the birds. For one thing, this part of the zoo is not a strange place for me. Which is why it has taken me a whole week to actually write. I'd really like to write about fresh perspectives, new takes on bird watching and "outdoorsing" in general. So writing about this part of the park is a challenge.

1. For the first time in years the Scarlet Ibis now is nesting with chicks.

2. The wild-crazy peacocks still fly out of their given diorama habitat area and go on the path for people.

3. I didn't see the Kookaburra, but I'd like to.

4. I made acquaintanceship with a very special West African Long-tailed Hornbill (Bucerotidae) called Bedrock. Bedrock was given to the zoo under questionable circumstances. He arrived with one of his feet gone, his beak broken a little and without being scared of anything.

Seems like the zoo is doing better than ever.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Driving in cars and dealing with animals

Its come to my attention that while I drive, more often than not a squirrel will suddenly dash in front of the wheels. I've seen chipmunks do similar stunts, as well as different birds. What's disturbing about this is that these woodland creatures are playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse. I don't want to play this game with them, but they instigate and initiate it without my consent. I know that the squirrel sees my car. I know that it knows that you shouldn't do that.
Birds like to fly almost into the dashboard so that they can gain momentum from the wind the vehicle creates and get to ride on the current. ok.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


A few different things that I've been noticing in regards to bird sounds have given me the incentive to think about seriously. It seems that the cardinal has a very annoying chirp most of the time. Then, suddenly it will have a pretty song. It must be a sensitive bird that is vigilant to its surroundings. Why is it the color red? Blue jays although pushy, like to stay up high in trees and watch. Their vigilance is marked by a succession of throaty calls. The problem is that it seems that they want to be a full blown predator. But not ready to make the leap of faith. ( a Hail Mary?) A Cat Bird is my favorite bird because the calls have the nicest sound. They seem to have a sense of humor. On the other hand- if it has the self awareness enough to make jokes (self mocking ones at that) why not use that energy to actually make a great bird call? It's my impression that they have a self handicap as if this were a game of golf! Life's not a game.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Here is a F-22 Raptor which reminded me of the little birds attacking the hawk. What's interesting about the F- 22 Raptors is that they are very expensive.

Hawks versus small birds

Today, I noticed a terrorist act. However, instead of among people- this was among birds.

Five small birds were ganging up on one large hawk. Surrounding and dive-bombing mid-flight. The hawk was making an attempt to fly out of the way. Why was this going on. I think it's an issue of territory, (food, resources, etc) As in: That hawk might have had a history of disrupting the small birds. Then, the little birds decided to band together and chase the hawk out. Either way, it was reminiscent of a dogfight (which is a form of aerial combat between fighter aircraft- up close and personal).

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tropical. Birds.

I'm faced with a very thought provoking task.

Should I think deeply about tropical birds? Tropical birds need their own recognition.

These parrots (for the most part) need a different type of study. This is because of how DIFFERENT they are as compared to birds of the northeast. Especially in intelligence ;)
The crow and raven might be able to compete. Same with the catbird.

Parrots are special.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Cardinal Fledging

In the middle of the road was a baby cardinal. He was right in between the double yellow lines. Eyes wide open looking around completely startled.

He was picked up and taken back to the bird safety bucket (a paint bucket that's filled with rags and torn up toilet paper).

This was marked by something a woman yelled out the window of her car:

"KILL the bird" "KILL the bird"

repeated twice.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


A goldfinch is my favorite when it's eating sunflower seeds directly from a sunflower. I saw this at the Queens Botanical Garden and was pleased.

Here's a link to the Queens Botanical Garden:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Recognizing different birds from the same species

For a while I've been wondering about he necessity of birds who have banded legs and if that is the best way to keep track. For example, I'm under the impression that it might be possible to stay in the loop of what they're doing with or without the band around the "bird-ankle". Take for instance this robin I've spotted for the past few days, I'm sure it's the same robin even though it doesn't have a band. Here is a list of questions in regards to the band:

1. How much of a hurry are scientist in so that they must keep bands on birds. a. I can see how the quandary of "oh it is so much more efficient to keep the band on a leg, because this way we can keep track so much easier".

2. Is the reason why you study birds so that you are in control of the birds vis a vis the bird band? For instance- It seems that if you had the utmost respect for the birds one would be able to keep track with or without the band.

When keeping track of migrants I can see how it could happen where different birds fall by the wayside and maybe it can be difficult to identify deceased birds.

4. Is there such a thing as over zealous study in regards to the scientific exploration of animals, plants, i.e. the natural world as a naturalist?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron reminds me of a dinosaur.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Morning Dove

The morning dove is a bird that I've been reluctant to tackle. This is because of it's seeming to be present in the sense of ALWAYS around with a subtle elegance. It's this elegance that I find to be somewhat annoying because if I'm in a hurry (usually driving a car) and a morning dove is around it takes off and makes a specific bird-call upon take off. This bird-call sounds like panic. Panic in a muted, hushed tone.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Whip Poor Will: the Chameleon of birds

This Whip poor will
is a bird that looks sleepy during the day-time because it is nocturnal.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bird Song Guides for the backyard

Sometimes it's fun to just listen to backyard birds without worrying about all the other birds that are out there. There's a field guide for this also:

This is a sweet little compilation with all your familiar favorites!!
Blue Jays
And a whole track of just woodpeckerss

Bird Song Guides

This is the audio bird guide you can find on amazon. It's thorough.

These are the songs and calls of more than 300 species of land and water birds recorded in the field by the Laboratory of Ornithology, Cornell University, under the direction of Dr.Peter Paul Kelogg and Dr. Arthur A. Allen in collaboration with Roger Tory Peterson. Original LP from 1975

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bird memories, recent sightings and observations

Today I was lucky because I caught a glimpse of an egret. I believe it was the Great White Egret but I'd like to call it a white heron. This is because it's neck was extended and the little white fluffy parts of it's tail feathers were hidden from view.

Yesterday I had to laugh because I heard a cat-bird. Nothing is funnier than listening to a cat bird call. Their song is pretty good too. What this reminds me of is how at the Nature center a loooooong time ago a naturalist was demonstrating how he could catch birds in a "birding net" mid their migratory routes. He had a fledgling and asked us how we knew it was a young bird.

There were many ways to answer his question, and I said "by it's cry". The naturalist said "No". The Gray cat-bird he was holding could not be identified as a fledgling by the noise it made. This is something to ponder and I'm sure a scientist out there somewhere is asking the same question. Is there a significant difference between an adult and a juvenile cat-bird cry?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Frogs. SWAMPS.

Bramble bushes.
Brer Rabbit.
Mallards. Wood ducks.
Loons? NO!

Skunk cabbage.
ducks, ducks, ducks, ducks, ducks, ducks.
Forsythia, so much forsythia, so much forsythia, what are we going to do?

Chicken L'Orange.
thank you.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Anything else?

Mammals, reptiles, amphibians, what else? Mollusks. Do Mollusks count? It has been argued that because a mollusk (such as a Quahog which is also a bivalve) has limited sensory apparati it makes it less of a species. Ok.

Well, what if they way in which quahogs pick up on things is actually something else. Those little "eyes" that they have that signal "clamming up"- further analysis -

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

animals/ Animal intelligence

Alligator Gar.

Canadian Lynx.

Both are predators and both stay away from the ocean-

Meaning that they reside by estuaries. Many Alligator Gars live in the area by the Mississippi river basin. The Canadian Lynx's habitat is scattered but it seems that they might be found in the taiga (lower section of the tundra) part of North America.

The question remains. Which one is smarter? Also can you really gage their intelligence in a way that makes sense?