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2011 Plan of birding

2012: Sep. - Gulls feeding on ant swarms
2013: Periodic cicada
Winter: Snowy Owl
Early Spring (Apr/May): look for Fragile Forktail (Ischnura posita), Eastern Forktail & other dragonflies/damselflies emerges from its nympahal skin (exuvia) to commence the aerial portion of its life   src
ebird bird account 2012 up to 5/8 

6/30/2012 (Sat)  morning  / pm after eating Dim Sum take-out
Home / Kissena Corridor Park & Kissena Park
camera: GH2 with  Olympus Zuiko 70-300mm

Blue Jay family at 78th Rd.  The adult did not fly away because of the innocent juvenile. 
Along the way leaving from Kissena Corridor Park, I saw many beautiful snowy white Rock Doves.

   Blue Jay -  <1>   <2>  
   Robin -
   RWBB - female-1   
   Tufted Titmouse bathing

Amberwing (male) - <1> (
Orange Bluet - <1a>    (Paint.NET did a good job in sharpening)  
<3>   <4a>   <4b>  
   Bee -

   Butterfly -

Anglewing :
      Cabbage White (the yellow one is also this species -
They are mostly white with black markings and spots on the top of their wings. Underneath, the wings are yellowish-green.) :
   Eastern Cottontail Rabbit, cute juvenile with red veins in its ears
 - <1>  

 (1) Use Helicon Filter to do post-processing.  Then Paint.NET to further sharpening.
 (2)  On male orange bluets, the thorax is orange with a thick, black stripe along the back and black shoulder stripes. His abdomen is mostly black with some orange rings, orange below, and orange near the tip. His large eyes are orange on a black head; small orange postocular spots are connected across the back of the head by an orange bar. On female orange bluets, the thorax is similar looking to the male thorax only the color is dull yellow instead of orange. Her abdomen is mostly black above and dull yellow below. Her large eyes are yellow-brown with small yellow postocular spots connected by a thin, yellow bar. The female can also be one of three forms. The first remains blue throughout life, one becomes green and the third becomes orange.  wiki
 (3) Pic found on Web:
Orange Bluet - juvenile female (blue color)   Orange Bluet - juvenile 1 (blue color)   Orange Bluet - juvenile 2 (blue color)   Orange Bluet - juvenile male    Orange Bluet - female (orange color)

6/23/2012 (Sat)  11:15am-1:15pm / pm after Dim Sum
JBWR / Kissena Park
camera: E-PL1 with Olympus Zuiko 70-300mm and FZ35 / GH2 with  Olympus Zuiko 70-300mm

Test Olympus Zuiko 70-300mm lens.  On E-PL1, weight is highly unbalanced.  Many times I accidentally pressed the video button on the top-right.  IBIS helps to focus and take video.  AF is slow compared to Panasonic 100-300mm.  Still has a lot to learn E-PL1 with this lens.  After testing on GH2 at Kissena Park in the afternoon, I prefer using it with GH2 rather than the low-IQ E-PL1.  Disadvantages: (1) heavy; (2) no IS so have to set high shutter speed (1/500 for 300mm) and it is difficult to MF at 300mm; (3) AF is annoying so set MF on body when idle and switch to AF-S when AF is need (on lens, set to AF for most times unless to shoot macro and for 1 m focus distance).  AF is not that slow; seems to be more usable than on E-PL1.  Bottom line:  using Olympus Zuiko 70-300mm lens with GH2.  Shaking video can be edited by YouTube.  Use tripod to take osprey nest video.  Problems to tackle:  (1) How to improve MF?

   Dragonfly -
Blue Dasher
E-PL1 RAW processed by ib : male-1   male-2  
E-PL1 RAW processed by Corel After Shot Pro v1.0.0.39 : female-1   female-2  
Amberwing (male) - <1>   
    Damselfly -

Orange Bluet -   <1a>   <1b> (post-processed by Paint.NET)
   Black-crowned Night Heron
(E-PL1 RAW processed by
Corel After Shot Pro v1.0.0.39) : <1>
   Laughing Gull -
   A fly? in green
-   <1>   <2>   <3>  
   Butterfly (
Sulphur?) - <1>


   Wren singing

Blue Dasher, female (E-PL1)

 (1) Olympus RAW:

Edit Modes for RAW shooting

RAW Development in OLYMPUS Viewer – Exposure compensation, White Balance, WB Fine Adjustment, Contrast, Sharpness, Saturation, Color Space, Noise Cancellation, False Color Suppression and add Art Filter effects.

RAW Development in ib software – Exposure compensation, White Balance, WB Fine Adjustment, Contrast, Sharpness, Saturation, and add Art Filter effects.

RAW Development in OLYMPUS Studio – Exposure compensation, White Balance, WB Fine Adjustment, Contrast, Sharpness, Saturation, Color Space, Noise Cancellation, and False Color Suppression. Studio also allows for camera control from the computer.  (I have v2.11)

In-camera Editing, RAW Data Edit
Newer Olympus cameras support editing certain aspects of RAW files right in the camera. This feature is typically found in the camera’s “Edit” menu. Raw editing options include image quality, White Balance, Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation and Art Filters. Please check your camera manual for available RAW Edit functions.

1 Olympus Master shipped with digital cameras until 2009, and will work on those cameras it was shipped with. Olympus [ib] software replaced Olympus Master and will work on current and older Olympus Digital cameras.

2 Olympus Studio was sold as a stand alone camera control and image editing product from the E-1 and supports all DSLR cameras through the E-5. This includes the ability to control the camera from either a MAC or PC computer. For information on obtaining a copy of OLYMPUS Studio 2, please send an email to

 (2) Orange bluets are similar to cherry, burgundy, and scarlet bluets. All three bluets are red not orange. General vesper bluets (more info: src1) are similar, but the black humeral stripe is either lacking or narrowly reduced in that species. Threadtail damselflies are orange and are found along side the orange Bluet, but they will have much longer and thinner abdomens. Their abdomens are twice as long as the length of their wings. It also looks similar to the Florida bluet ( rare in NE: one is seen at South Carolina ) which is orange in color.  

Orange Bluet  (3)
An immature female Eastern Forktail looks superficially similar to Orange Bluet.  But at 35 mm in length, a male Orange Bluet (Enallagma signatum) is a bit longer and has a more slender profile. Also note that abdominal segment S9 is completely orange.   src  

 (4) Pic on Web:  male Orange Bluet with a bad infestation of parasitic mites

 (5) Florida bluet at South Carolina - These were not out until almost 2:00 PM—I know, because finding more was the primary motivation for returning the next day and I looked pretty intently. Not being active until later in the afternoon—at least at the water, is typical of the non-blue bluets.  (so, to look for non-blue bluets at Kissena or JBWR, go in late afternoon.)  src   

 (6) M4/3 advantages and disadvantages 

6/16/2012 (Sat)  11am-12:30pm / pm after Dim Sum
Forest Park around waterhole / Kissena Park
camera: FZ35

Forest Park : Cabbage Whites, many; clustering on the mud by roadside to obtain salts (I can't tell whether they are mainly males or not).  Chipmunks, many.  Many birds at waterhole, including Northern Flicker, a Hairy or Downy Woodpecker & Blue Jays.  Green Bottle Flies (seen also before James's wedding at Chinatown on 9/24/2011 & 111111).  
Kissena Park:  3+ Amberwings, 2 Orange Bluets, 1 Familiar Bluet or alike.  Male Long-horned Grasshopper/Cricket made mating call to a female? (same species?) but she went away possibly because of our presence.  Or the first grasshopper is of different species and it just happened to be here?  Since the first has
short antennae so it is a grasshopper or locust (a Caelifera) and the second looks like a cricket/bush cricket? (long thin antennae, stridulation [鳴聲] from rubbing forewings together; I didn't see any movement of hind legs), they are probably not the same species.   

   Grasshopper/Cricket - (the first grasshopper, a female?) (look like this in bugguide  M. sanguinipes?)
(male) - <1>   with Orange Bluet
Orange Bluet & Familiar Bluet -  <1> (the blue bluet is not the blue form of Orange Bluet)
Cabbage White

Bottle Flies
Chipmunk - <1> (red-eye correction)
- <1>   <2> (picking up a worm)   <3> (looking for meal table to enjoy the worm) 
- <1> (male awaiting to molt) 

   Northern Flicker - <1>


   Wildlife, Forest Park, esp. at waterhole
Chipmunk; itchy Robin; juvenile? Northern Flicker bathing; Blue Jays; Cabbage White obtaining salts)


Around the beginning of spring (early March to late May), Mallard drake leaves his mating partner after the egg laying.   He joins up with other males to await the molting period which begins in June.  During the brief time before this, however, the males are still sexually potent and some of them either remain on standby to sire replacement clutches (for female Mallards that have lost or abandoned their previous clutch) or forcibly mate with females that appear to be isolated or unattached regardless of their species and whether or not they have a brood of ducklings.   wiki
 (2)  Female Amberwings' wings are covered in brown spots, unlike the male, whose are entirely amber. From :  Mirror ; also this YouTube video
 How to Tell the Difference Between a Grasshopper and a Cricket  
美國科學考察人員在菲律賓山區發現了一種會發出類似人類笑聲的蟬。  src1   A laughing cicada and an inflatable shark are just two of the 300 new species scientists believe they've identified on a recent expedition in 2011.
Can I attract butterflies without gardening?   "I scatter salt pellets (for my water softener) in my gravel driveway and hose down the area to provide a moist "salt lick" for the butterflies.  Many butterflies visit for minerals and/or water."
Why Do Butterflies Gather Around Puddles?
          Butterflies get most of their nutrition from flower nectar. Though rich in sugar, nectar lacks some important nutrients the butterflies need for reproduction. For those, butterflies visit mud puddles ( 泥水坑 ).
          By sipping moisture from mud puddles, butterflies take in salts and minerals from the soil. This behavior is called puddling, and is mostly seen in male butterflies. That's because males incorporate those extra salts and minerals into their sperm.
          When butterflies mate, the nutrients are transferred to the female through the sperm. These extra salts and minerals improve the viability of the female's eggs, increasing the couple's chances of passing on their genes to another generation.
Some Ensiferans like mole crickets have short, grasshopper-like antennae.  Read more:
 (8)  Orthoptera is an order of insects with paurometabolous or incomplete metamorphosis, including the grasshoppers, crickets and locusts. Two suborder: Suborder Ensifera ( crickets, katydids and bush crickets ) and Suborder Caelifera ( grasshoppers & locusts ).  The grasshopper is an insect of the suborder Caelifera in the order Orthoptera. To distinguish it from bush crickets or katydids, it is sometimes referred to as the short-horned grasshopper. Species that change color and behavior at high population densities are called locusts.
Stridulation - How and Why Crickets Make Sound  
(10) The anatomical parts used to produce sound are quite varied: the most common system is that seen in grasshoppers and many other insects, where a hind leg scraper is rubbed against the adjacent forewing (in beetles and true bugs the forewings are hardened); in crickets and katydids a file on one wing is rubbed by a scraper on the other wing.   wiki

    pic1 (麻雀)       pic2 (五色鳥?)        五色雛鳥

6/9/2012 (Sat)  pm after Dim Sum
Kissena Park
camera: FZ35

Cabbage Whites, Anglewing, Yellow Jacket, Honey Bee, damselflies (4 are light orange), dragonfly.  
Rabbits, two.  Catbirds. 

   Anglewing: <1> 
   Mallard: <1>  (does the male start to molt?)

6/5-6/2012 (Tue-Wed)


2123 Events 

6/2/2012 (Sat)  morning / pm after Dim Sum with Emily
JBWR / Kissena Park
camera: FZ35

Big John's Pond:  Black-crowned Night Herons.  Gadwall pair.
Common Snapping Turtle, very large; its shell at least 18 inch long. (not
Alligator Snapping Turtle)
Cabbage White, male (
medium-sized butterfly; male has one spot on forewings).  Yellow Jacket.
Yellow Warblers, many.  Glossy Ibises flying over.  Osprey parents have 2 babies. Goslings of Canada Goose, many. 
Tern.  Shorebirds, probably Semipalmated Sandpipers which are on their way north to breeding grounds in the Arctic tundra.  (so we can see them both in late May/early June and late July/August at Jamaica Bay).
Kissena Park: Rabbit/Hare (having
black ear tips so probably Snowshoe Hare).  Eastern Amberwing (3+).  Cabbage White, quite a lot.  A big carp fish was released by a fishing sportsman.  Fishing at Kissena.

   Blue Dasher, female or immature male - <1> (incline to be an immature male; cf.  
   Black-crowned Night Heron - <1>

The snapping turtle normally has a shell length ranging from 8 -18 1/2"and has a tail nearly as long as the shell. The tail has saw-toothed keels on it. The shell ranges in color from dark brown to tan and can even be black in some individuals. Snapping turtles have characteristic tubercles on their necks and legs. Plastrons of snapping turtles are very small and leave much of the extremities exposed. Snapping turtle necks, legs, and tails have a yellowish color and the head is dark in color.  src

5/26-28/2012 (Memorial Long Weekend) 
Pine Hill Retreat Center in Canadensis (Monroe County), Pennsylvania, esp. Turtle Pond and High Acres Park 
camera: FZ35

Many damselflies and dragonflies.  Catbirds.  Eastern Chipmunk perches with puffy cheeks, very cute.  Grasshoppers.  Mosquitoes(?) mating.  

   Moth/Butterfly (at night) - 
<1> ( Homochlodes fritillaria Pale Homochlodes; id site : Homochlodes lactispargaria is nearly identical but not found in Monroe County, PA) 
 (blue Fragile Forktail - probably an immature one; or even a teneral female?)  ref:  src1   src2   src3   src4 (viewed by IE)
   Eastern Chipmunk - <1>

   Insect (thought a green-eyed large
Mosquito) -  <1>

(1) The chipmunk is perhaps most well known for its puffy, furry cheeks, which hold and carry food from place to place. The chipmunk picks up fruit, seeds or nuts with its front paws and then with its incisors, removes seeds (or other nutrients )from pods. Its tongue then shifts the seeds backwards, stuffing them between its teeth and the cheek area. The chipmunk then continues to collect food until the pouch area is full, at which time it deposits the seeds in its nest or buries them for safe keeping. The cheek pouch size of the chipmunk increases with age.  src
(2) Photographic Guide To Common Mosquitoes Of Florida

Checklist of moths in Monroe County, PA - Pale Homochlodes in Family Geometridae 尺蠖蛾科 (Geometrid Moths or Geometer Moths)
A well-known member of Geometer Moths is the Peppered Moth (桦尺蠖, 又称桦尺蛾), Biston betularia, which has been subject of numerous studies in population genetics
Jonathan Wells is one of a number of creationists who have criticized the use of peppered moth melanism as an example of evolution in action. In his book Icons of Evolution, Wells alleges that peppered moth studies, and in particular Kettlewell's experiments, were erroneous. Similarly, in 2002 Judith Hooper repeatedly implied fraud and error in Kettlewell's experiments in her book titled Of moths and men. Despite some valid criticisms of the early experiments, there has been no evidence of fraud. Subsequent experiments and observations have supported the initial explanation of the phenomenon.  wiki

5/23/2012 (Wed)  about 7:30pm
On the way home from work

I saw many juvenile Starlings and one juvenile Mockingbird. That why I was attacked by the Mockingbird parent. It flied towards me a couple of times and was so close to me for several seconds. The whole process lasts probably more than one or two minutes.  It never happens to me before. This first-time encounter shows the greatness of parenthood!

- laying eggs (2-6? / clutch) -
incubation period 12-13 days - condition at hatching: helpless with light gray down - "fledge" (not really fly away, just leave the nest) in 12 days - The young birds are fed by the parents up to five times and continuing until they can forage for themselves, so they really don't fly away from the nest. They seek shelter in low laying brushes and still have the protection of the parents until they can fly!  
Mockingbirds build and use several nests during the breeding season, laying two or three eggs in each nest. In Florida, nest building starts as early as late February, although March is more common. Each pair produces two to three broods per season, with the female laying a total of about nine eggs. Broods frequently overlap, and the male cares for the fledglings while the female incubates the next clutch of eggs.
   In southern Florida, the female bird incubates the eggs for 12-13 days, while the male forages for food and defends the territory from intruders. Both parents feed the hatchlings and defend the eggs and hatchlings against potential predators. When the chicks are about 12 days old, they will venture from the nest and hop around on the ground or in low shrubs. During this transitional period (after leaving the nest and before they can fly), the young birds are still in the care of the parents, who feed them up to five times per hour. If found hopping around on the ground, they should be placed low in a tree or in a shrub and left alone. The parents will continue to care for them for several days until they learn to forage for themselves.
   Many Floridians have experienced the wrath of the mockingbird defending its nest. Fiercely territorial, male mockingbirds have been known to recognize individual humans and will selectively attack them while ignoring other humans who pass by. Although we rarely intend to disturb nests, this behavior is not completely in vain. In southern Florida it has been noted that the strength of attacks against potential predators is directly associated with nesting success.    src
The male Mockingbird probably chooses the nest site and begins building several nests before the female chooses one to finish and lay eggs in. Females may start laying in a second nest while the male is still caring for fledglings from the previous one.  src
- More cool facts:

  • It’s not just other mockingbirds that appreciate a good song. In the nineteenth century, people kept so many mockingbirds as cage birds that the birds nearly vanished from parts of the East Coast. People took nestlings out of nests or trapped adults and sold them in cities such as Philadelphia, St. Louis, and New York, where, in 1828, extraordinary singers could fetch as much as $50.
  • Northern Mockingbirds continue to add new sounds to their repertoires throughout their lives. A male may learn around 200 songs throughout its life.
  • The Northern Mockingbird frequently gives a "wing flash" display, where it half or fully opens its wings in jerky intermediate steps, showing off the big white patches. No one knows why it does this, but it may startle insects, making them easier to catch. On the other hand, it doesn’t often seem to be successful, and different mockingbird species do this same display even though they don’t have white wing patches.
  • Northern Mockingbirds sing all through the day, and often into the night. Most nocturnal singers are unmated males, which sing more than mated males during the day, too. Nighttime singing is more common during the full moon.
  • Northern Mockingbirds typically sing from February through August, and again from September to early November. A male may have two distinct repertoires of songs: one for spring and another for fall.
  • The female Northern Mockingbird sings too, although usually more quietly than the male does. She rarely sings in the summer, and usually only when the male is away from the territory. She sings more in the fall, perhaps to establish a winter territory.
  • The oldest Northern Mockingbird on record was 14 years and 10 months old.

5/20/2012 (Sun)  2-5pm

Big John's Pond:  Black-crowned Night Heron close-up.  Glossy Ibis(es).  Gadwall pair.
Osprey pair at the nest.  House Finch pair, Mourning Dove & a damselfly at Blind Pond.  Laughing Gulls (many, FOS).  Brown Thrashers (two, probably a couple).
Tree Swallow at the same wren nest box (also on 5/31/2010 Mon).  And another Tree Swallow at another swallow(?) nest box at the side of the walk path.
A orange & black bug similar to
Boxelder Bug.

   Black-crowned Night Heron -
molting immature: <1> (or Yellow-crowned?) - I incline to a
Yellow-crowned in prealternate molt, transitioning from first basic to first alternate plumage.  cf:  pic1  
         B-crowned incline: 1. with an adult by side but it flew away yet the adult stayed.  2.
is more common at Big John's (but
Yellow-crowned was not treated as rare at there: see pic here  and here)
         Y-crowned incline: 1. Head plume is shorter.  2.
 Back is grayer rather than black or brown.  3. Bill is stouter and entirely dark.
adult:  <a1>  
<a2>   <a3-1> (un-rotated)   <a3-2>   <a4>    <a5> (food in its mouth)   <a6-whole>   <a6-upper>   <a7>   <a8> (un-rotated)    <a9> 
House Finch -
damselfly -
-  <1>

(a Grass-Skipper: a small orange skipper whose hindwings are held flat while forewings are held at 45 degree angle)
(probably a Fiery Skipper which is most likely found along coast, cf. Other Butterflies from around Cape May)
(not look like Swarthy Skipper, Least Skipper & European Skipper)

(1) Fifty-four species of butterflies and skippers have been recorded at the Refuge and surrounding uplands, with regular use by several rare species, including checkered white (Pieris protodice), white m hairstreak (Parrhasius m-album), Appalachian azure (Celastrina neglectamajor), tawny emperor (Asterocampa clyton), and salt marsh skipper (Panoquina panoquin).  src  
The more regular, or commoner Butterflies of NYC, LI and Lower Hudson Valley
Fiery Skipper is the most common skipper:  src-1
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax (Linnaeus)
          Ardea nycticorax Linnaeus, 1758. Syst. Nat. ed. 10(1), p. 143: southern Europe.
         Subspecies: Nycticorax nycticorax obscurus Bonaparte, 1857: Chile and Patagonia.


         The Black-crowned Night Heron is a stocky dark grey and white heron with a distinctive glossy black crown and back.

         ADULT: The Black-crowned Night Heron has black cap that goes forward to a white line above the bill. The sides of the head and thick neck are white. The thick, down curved bill is black. The lores are green blue; the irises are crimson red. The back is black, and upper wings, rump and tail are grey. The belly is white to pale grey. The relatively short legs and feet are pale yellow. During courtship, the lores are black and legs and feet are red to pink. The black plumage of the head and back takes on a blue green gloss and white head plumes develop that may reach a length of 25 cm.

         VARIATION: Females average smaller than males in most measurements and have shorter head plumes during the breeding season. Black-crowned Night Herons vary in size and color geographically and up to four races have been recognized on these bases. However, variation among individuals is high, light, dark and intermediate color birds occur in South America, with very dark and cream colored birds have been reported (Pitelka 1938, Gochfeld et al. 1982, Davis 1993). Obscurus is larger with a slate grey back and brown grey face and chest. Given its extraordinary range it is intriguing that more geographic variation is not recognizable. Other subspecies, hoactli and falklandicus, have been described but are doubtful.

         JUVENILE: Juveniles have brown plumage, very different from that of the adults (McVaugh 1972). The head and upper parts are grey brown with buff, white, or rufous spots. Lores are green and the irises are orange yellow to brown red, changing to red at 2-3 years. The stout bill is dark and horn. The upper bill is black with yellow or green sides, becoming black with green sides at one year. The lower bill is horn, turning yellow with horn tip or yellow green with black tip about 1 year, and black by 2 years. Upper wing is grey brown with lighter spots; flight feathers are grey brown with white tips. Upper tail coverts brown. Rump is grey brown streaked with white. Tail is grey. Under parts are grey with dark brown streaks. The legs are yellow green to olive green, turning yellow by 2 years. By the age of one year, the juvenile is still has a brown wash, brown cap and back, with some spots remaining and striped below (Davis 1999). Older juveniles (2-3 years) gradually take on adult characters, becoming more solidly dark above with the spots disappearing and lighter below, with some remnant brown feathers persisting on the head, back or wings.

   (the picture may not be a hybrid?)

 5/19/2012 (Sat)  afternoon, after Dim Sum
Kissena Park

Double-crested Cormorant (first time this year at Kissena; an adult in breeding plumage), Osprey chased by a male RWBB & fishing by plunging into the pond, 環頸雉 Ring-necked Pheasant (male),  Eastern Cottontail Rabbit (rusty nape patch), Eastern Forktail, dragonfly (probably), Yellow Jacket, a baby turtle, etc. 

   Double-crested Cormorant - <1> 
Osprey (seems to be a successful fishing)  - <1>    <2>    <3>  (Under strong sunlight at far away, the shutter speed will be set to 1/4000 and osprey picture will be under-exposed.  So use Shutter Priority and set 1/1300.  Though the other parts of the picture may over-exposed, the focusing will be faster and better and the
osprey picture will be better exposed and sharper.) 
House Sparrow
- bathing (親子沐浴, 不是男女共浴)
Eastern Forktail  - <1>   and  P1200860 - 62.JPG
Ring-necked Pheasant (
環頸雉) - <m1>   <m2>


Eastern Cottontail -

 5/6/2012 (Sun)  4-6pm
Forest Park, met Eric Miller and Andrew Baksh at waterhole where finally I can find it by myself

They are waiting for Swainson's Warbler(?) at waterhole.  They saw it(?) before I came.  But it was very quiet when I came.  No luck. 
Saw Baltimore Oriole, male Scarlet Tanager, Hermit Thrush, female RWBB, many Catbirds and Robins. 
There are a lot of Red Admiral
Butterflies.  Even saw them while walking to the church in the late morning.  And Andrew said there are huge number of them at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.  They are easy meal so flycatchers must be very happy.  This is a year of Red Admiral explosion.  Related news:   Chicago CBS

   Scarlet Tanager
   Red Admiral Butterfly -  underside-1  


Red Admiral Butterfly

Lepidopterist Kurt Johnson reports an unusually large number of the species are descending upon Brooklyn, NY  ... in the last two days there has been

an outbreak of Red Admirals (Vanessa atalanta) in Brooklyn the likes of which I have never seen (not even close), and I've been here 45 years. ... [T]here were at least a half dozen Red Admirals for every 10 paces one walked.... [At] the Botanical Garden, Red Admirals were also flying all over the place, chasing each other etc.

Normally, Red Admirals migrate north from Guatemala to Canada beginning in March, but they do not usually arrive so early and in such great numbers. Unusual sitings were also reported in Le Roy, NY by the Daily News, in Trenton, NJ by CBS News and in Ottawa, Canada by

Read more:

Red Admiral - pictures of their wings from underside found on Web - <1>   <2>   <3>
Mild Winters Are Detrimental to Butterflies [However,]  The caterpillars that were exposed to the warmer and more variable conditions were better able to withstand the warmer conditions, simply by being exposed to them. They did so by lowering the sensitivity of their metabolism.
Invasion of red admirals signals a spring butterfly burst in Northeast Ohio
"A most cooperative Olive-sided Flycatcher spent the morning hawking red admirals from tall snags adjacent to K-lot [in NJ]" (Sandy Hook birds May 5 by  Scott Barnes <myiarchus16 AT YAHOO.COM>)  src

5/5/2012 (Sat)  7am - 12pm / 2-2:30pm after Dim Sum before ping pong
Forest Park w/ QCBC, cloudy with intermittent light rain shower, bad for birding  / Kissena Park

Great Horned Owls (female? adult with a young), Baltimore Orioles singing, Scarlet Tanagers (m+f), Great Crested Flycatcher, Blue-headed Vireo (also seen at 5/7/2011), Catbirds, etc.
Warblers: Blackburnian, Black-and-White, Common Yellowthroat, etc. 
QCBC trip members saw or heard: Indigo Bunting, Warblers:
Chestnut-sided, Nashville, Wilson's or Canada, etc.  
Three male
Ring-necked Pheasants and a hare/rabbit (id as Eastern Cottontail Rabbit), Grackle picking grass to build nest at Kissena Park.

   Baltimore Oriole

   Red Admiral Butterfly -  <1>  


   Baltimore Oriole
   Great Horned Owl
Cottontail Rabbit (nape patch rusty so it is Eastern not New England)

I, as a so-so birder, shouldn't expect to see Orchard Oriole in NYC, not common.
Breeding Success of Wild and Hand-Reared Ring-Necked Pheasants - those in Kissena are hand-reared pheasants released into the wild?
    - Kissena Park guide - seems to talk like those pheasants are wild.
Kissena Park
was developed gradually in the early years of the 20th Century (officially opening in 1910), with NYC slowly acquiring territory from private owners and police department property. Kissena Lake was once fed by streams, some of which emanated from the Flushing River, but it was cut off by the Works Progress Administration in 1942 and placed in a concrete retainer.
      It is periodically cleaned of algae buildup and is stocked with fish that support herons, egrets, cormorants and even snapping turtles. “Kissena” is thought to be a Chippewa Indian term meaning “it is cold”; though the Chippewa lived in Michigan, 19th-century horticulturalist Samuel Parsons, whose tree grove is in the park at Rose Avenue and Parsons Blvd. probably named it. It is also home to New York City’s only velodrome.   src
    - A snapping turtle at Kissena Park 
There are 2 giant snapping turtles in the lake that only a few have been lucky enough to see.. once an aligator was pulled (February 27, 2011)
   Male pheasants duel over Royalton Township territory (SW Michigan)  [src]:

       April and May are the peak times during which male ring-necked pheasants defend territory where females nest and care for young. Male pheasants will often fight if one male invades another males breeding territory.

       Two males had such a duel in the front yard of Gary Schwank of Royalton Township. I often travel this area around sunrise and have counted up to five different males "crowing" along Scottdale and Rockey Weed Roads.

       Ring-necked pheasants have declined in this region during the past few decades due to multiple factors such as more powerful pesticides and herbicides which have a negative effect in the food chain, and the elimination of various habitats.

       In some areas, such as south Royalton Township and Oronoko Township, pheasant populations seem to be somewhat stable. The mild winter meant less deaths from the cold. 


4/28/2012 (Sat) 2:30pm & after 4pm
Kissena Park

One female & one male Ring-necked Pheasants, close encounter. 
Baby Turtles, a lot, perhaps 50+.  Many female RWBBs.  A RWBB nest may be at the loop area so a female ignores me even come closer to me while foraging and a male makes red-shoulder arched-wing spreading-tail display (to me or another male?).  Near the site, there is a tree hole which may be used
for nesting by a Starling.  Red-bellied Woodpecker.  Yellow-rumped Warblers, both female & male.

   Red-winged Blackbird, female  -  <1>   <2>   <3>   <4>   <5 (good)>   <6 (good)>  
   Red-winged Blackbird, male  -  <1>  (what is the purpose of this display?)
   Yellow-rumped Warbler, female  -  <1>

Baby turtle (probably Eastern Painted Turtle, not look like snapping turtles)
   Red-winged Blackbird, female 

1. RWBB - info1   Field Studies You Can Try
2. According to some ornithologists, the red-winged blackbird is the most numerous land bird in North America.  src
3. Incubation is the sole responsibility of females. Red-winged blackbird eggs tend to hatch at different times and the mother will continue to incubate until the last egg has hatched. Nestlings are fed almost immediately after hatching. Parents often begin with smaller portions and increase food amounts progressively. Young red-winged blackbirds are fed small arthropods, especially Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies), Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies), and Diptera (true flies). The nestlings are fed primarily by the female although the male will, at times, take part in the feeding process. In cases in which the mother is absent, males are known to take over feeding responsibilities for the brood. Fledglings leave the nest after 14 days and are fed by the female and, to a lesser degree, the male for two to three weeks before joining a flock of females. Within a year most red-winged blackbirds have joined mixed flocks. (Yasukawa and Searcy, 1995)   src
4. The Red-billed Quelea (Quelea quelea) is the world's most abundant wild bird species, with an estimated adult breeding population of 1.5 billion pairs. Some estimates of the overall population have been as large as 10 billion.  wiki
5. The phragmites and mugwort at Kissena Park provide valuable habitat for the Ring-Necked Pheasant    src  (David Jakim, Environmental Geoscience graduate student, 2012)
6. Tent Caterpillar:   there are six species of tent caterpillars in North America. 
    Eastern Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma americanum) is the best known species :   
7. In Virginia, Eastern Painted Turtles breed in the Spring, and females dig nests from May to July. ... do not raise their young. Baby turtles will hatch and dig their way out of the nest in about 10 weeks. [src]   So babies will only be seen in July onshore in Virginia.  But this warm year, there are babies in late April at this man-made pond, so amazing!

4/25/2012 (Wed) am

Rose-breasted Grosbeak, female.  Osprey incubating.  Wren.  Male Ruddy Duck looking for something in the grass near the shore of West Pond.  Blue-winged Teal.  Grasshopper & Butterflies.  Flower fly, probably.

      - Red Admiral -  <1>  
Anglewings? (Hoary Comma?  Eastern Comma?)
   Wren -  <1>   <2>   <3>  
   Tree Swallow -  <1>  

Flower fly?

4/24/2012 (Tue) lunch time?
Columbus Park


4/21/2012 (Sat) pm
morning stay home, after Dim Sum to Kissena Park

No Ring-necked Pheasants.  A lot of Turtles; I think mainly Eastern Painted Turtles.  Damselflies curving their body in order to minimize exposure to the sun.  Butterflies & Bees.  Cowbirds, Grackles, etc.

Mourning Doves nesting at our apartment building?

   Weebly Photo Gallery  (mirror)
   Forktail -
      Fragile Forktail, male; note its broken shoulder stripes & lack of blue abdominal tip - <m1>   <m2>  
      Fragile Forktail, old female (or Eastern Forktail, mature/old female?) - <f1>   <f2>   <f3>   <f4>  
   Butterfly - 
      American Lady (not Painted Lady or West Coast Lady) - <1>    <2>   
   Starling -  <1>     
   Grackle -  <1>   <2>  
   Cowbird -  <1> 

1a. Female Fragile Forktails are with broken shoulder stripes, though these darken with age and can be difficult to see.
Fragile Forktails are one of the earliest of damsels to emerge.   src1  src2
For much of the Northeast, the first damselfly on the wing is the Eastern Forktail. In southern New York, adults usually emerge at the beginning of May. The image on the left was taken on April 17, 2002 – the earliest recorded date for any damselfly in New York State. It was an unusually warm Spring and Eastern Forktails were seen on that same day in both New York and Westchester counties.   src
1d. The record winter [of 2001-02, ten years ago] warmth experienced in Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Jersey also coincided with below normal precipitation in much of the same region.   warm winter
1e. Pictures found on Web of various
Forktails of male/female, young/old - ref1   ref2   ref3
2. The American Painted Lady or American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) -  is most easily distinguishable by its two large eyespots on the ventral side, whereas Painted Lady (V. cardui) has four small eyespots and V. annabella has none. 
3. orientation/training session of participation as a Citizen Scientist in Harbor Heron Foraging Study will be held in the NYC Audubon office at 71 W. 23rd Street, Suite1523 (two hours from 9am).
          John Rowden, PhD
          Associate Director, Citizen Science and Outreach
          New York City Audubon
          71 West 23rd Street, Suite 1523
          New York, NY 10010
          Tel: 212.691.7483
          Fax: 212.924.3870

4. FAMINE  AMINE(ANIME)  MINE  INE (Ine: hereditary ruler, king of Wessex (688-726))  North East  E

4/15/2012 (Sun)  8-10am / 3-5pm
JBWR : cloudy morning / Kissena Corridor Park & Kissena Park : sunny afternoon like summer (70+°C)

JBWR : Brown Thrasher.  Yellow-rumped Warbler.  Somebody saw Field Sparrow and id Greater Scaups.  Common & Boat-tailed Grackles.  Brought tripod but failed to utilize it:  not tall enough for blinds; most of the time ground is not flat; difficult to point the camera to the frame I wanted.  So this cheap tripod is likely only useful for taking video & BIF pictures at Osprey & Tree Swallow nests on open field, esp. cloudy days or at dawn and dusk.
Kissena : Ring-necked Pheasants (1 male & at least 2 females)

   Glossy Ibis -
      Note: 8/19/2010 : FZ35 sharp pictures at East Pond:  <1>
   Yellow-rumped ("Myrtle") Warbler - male in breeding plumage:   <1>
   Cardinal -   <1>    <2>
   Downy Woodpecker (female) -  <1>

Savannah Sparrow - <1>

  The nesting season for the Ring-necked Pheasant lasts about 3 months [in Texas].  The earliest nest recorded was initiated 4 April and the latest nest was 5 July (Berthelsen 1989).  The TBBAP lists 10 July as the latest date a nest was observed; since incubation lasts from 23-25 days (Ehrlich et al. 1988) the nest could have been initiated in June. Peak nest initiation occurs in late April (Berthelsen et al. 1990) or early May (Taylor 1980) with the timing of nesting influenced most by availability of nesting habitat and weather conditions.  src
  Females form group that associates with, and is defended by, one male.  src

4/14/2012 (Sat)  am
JBWR : sunny

Many birds, many insects, many people & many "guns"
Barn Owl (they said there are 3 youngsters there), Black-crowned Night Herons, Rudy-crowned Kinglet (id by its big-eyed look), Hermit Thrushes,
Juncos, Glossy Ibis pair flying across, Catbird, shorebirds at far distance (Sandpipers, Yellowlegs or Dowitchers), Oystercatcher, Forster's Terns, Crows, 3 male & 1 female Cowbirds at feeder area, Cardinals, Robins, Grackles, Shovelers, Scaups (seems to have 2 different sizes so both Greater and Lesser are there?), Ruddy Ducks, Brants, Canada Geese, RWBBs, White-throated Sparrows, Clipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow, probably Savannah Sparrow, perhaps American Tree Sparrow (P1190628.JPG) or Field Sparrow (P1190641.JPG), Palm Warbler, Mute Swan pairs, Cormorants, House Sparrows, Starlings, Mourning Doves (heard), Great Egret, Gulls including Laughing Gull & a Herring Gull finding way to eat a crab (P1190399.Gull.JPG) and flee when another Herring Gull wants to have a share (P1190405.JPG), Tree Swallows, etc.
Insects:  Eastern Carpenter Bees, probably
 Small Carpenter Bees (Ceratina), Yellow Jacket. 

   Tree Swallow -  <1> (cropped)  
   Savannah Sparrow -  <1>
   Canada Goose -  <1>
   Cardinal -  <1>
   Cowbird -  <1>
   Herring Gull -  <1>   <2>   <3>  
   Palm Warbler

   Barn Owl (male or baby?) -
   Various (female Cowbird & male Cardinal at feeder, Song Sparrow singing, probably Savannah Sparrow, male Cowbirds, & Palm Warbler of yellowish race: repeated due to mistake)

   Lloyd Spitalnik's pictures of Barn Owlet at JBWR
Mild Winter, Early Spring: Bad News for Butterflies and Bees (March 17, 2012)  and more:  NSF news
Canada:  Wait a minute! A March?  ... Manitoba's most common butterflies, the morning cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)Others suggest that there may be two generations per year.  ... Early springs may result in two broods of adults, late springs may result in only one. Anybody out there know for sure?   src
report of a fledgling Barn Owl at Big John's (July 13, 2009)

4/8/2012 (Sun)  6:30 (sunrise) - 9:30am 復活主日的清晨

Big John's: Barn Owl (seen and videoed), Belted Kingfisher.
East Pond: a lot Ruddy Ducks, many male RWBBs, a couple of Mute Swan couples, Cormorants, Wren.

West: 殖地爭「窿」戰 - 滿街是燕, 想照飛燕. 與趙飛燕, 都咁矜貴. Nice Junco pictures.  I don't see Red-breasted Mergansers; but some saw and there were a lot (100+?).  Coming early at sunrise will see them flying from West Pond to the bay. 

   Tree Swallow -
      SIF (in flight):  landing

   Barn Owl - <1> (stabilized by YouTube)


4/7/2012 (Sat)  am / pm
Pre-Easter hunt
"New Alley Pond" & Alley Pond Park with Eric Miller (and Andrew Baksh, Jean & Jeff) in QCBC mini trip / Kissena Park after Dim Sum, sunny

"New Alley Pond" feeder:  Cowbird pair. Green-winged Teal pair.
Saw quite a lot of species in the trip: Yellow-throated Warbler, Pine Warbler, Palm Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Junco, Kinglet, female Cardinal singing, Towhee singing (somebody saw at the end of the trip), Chickadee pair at the hole, Titmouse singing (according to Eric), Rusty Blackbird, Brown Creeper, Nuthatch, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, other 4 woodpeckers (sorry, no Red-headed), Hermit Thrush, partial albino or called leucistic Robin (first saw in 2009), Clipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow, etc.   
Kissena Park:  many beautiful Common Grackles.

   Yellow-throated Warbler - <1>
   leucistic Robin - <1>
   Clipping Sparrow -  <1>
   Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - <1>   <2>   <3>   
   Pine Warbler - <1>  or else? female Yellow Warbler?
   Cardinal -

   White-and-purple form of Viola sororia
 - <1>   wiki

  The Pine Warbler is rarely found in deciduous vegetation ( 落葉植物 ) except during migration.  info1

4-7 Queens County Bird Walk @ Alley Pond Park...
From: Andrew Baksh <birdingdude AT>
Date: Sat, 7 Apr 2012 23:49:24 -0400
A Queens County Bird Club walk at Alley Pond Park in Queens, led by Eric
Miller turned out quite the crowd with somewhere around 24 folks in
attendance.  The huge crowd, no doubt attracted to the current Alley Pond
Park star, a Yellow-throated Warbler that was found on Thursday by Bobby
Kurtz.  The YTWA did not disappoint and put in quite the show giving all
those in attendance excellent looks.

In addition to the YTWA, other highlights included, several Rusty
Blackbirds (conservative count was 8-9), Swamp Sparrow, Black-and-white
Warbler, Great Horned Owl, many Pine and Palm Warblers, many Brown
Creepers, 5 species of Woodpeckers, both Kinglets and a Blue-gray
Gnatcatcher that was seen by only a few.  Despite the "good birding" that
many referred to, I could not help but notice that the number of birds
seemed to be down from Thursday when Pine Warblers seemed to be
everywhere.  On that day, we also had several Yellow-rumped Warblers, and a
Louisiana Waterthrush, neither of which were seen today.

A note on the Yellow-throated Warbler.  Today, the bird was again heard
singing by a few of us; the song varied between incomplete to complete, but
it was softly sung and unless one was really attentively listening for the
song, it could easily be missed.  Hopefully the bird sticks around for more
folks to see it, as today we witnessed many birders from across the
boroughs show up in hopes of getting a look.    
more with Photo of the crowd including me and Jean

3/31/2012 (Sat)  am
Kissena Corridor Park, rain

Junco  and probably male Yellow Warbler with breeding plumage.  Nice pictures of Blue Jay.

   Junco - <1>


3/24/2012 (Sat)  am
Kissena Corridor Park & Kissena Park, nice weather

Saw bee (probably Bumble Bee or Eastern Carpenter Bee) & butterflies.  When will I see FOS (First of Season) Catbirds & dragonflies?

   RWBB -   <1> 
   Robin -    <1> 
   Mockingbird -    <1> 
   House Sparrow -    <1>    <2> 

   Song Sparrow

3/23/2012 (Fri)
NYC, very warm

saw butterfly.  Yellow flowers blossom everywhere.  Forsythia shrubs?  Probably  Forsythia × intermedia .

wiki : The flowers are produced in the early spring before the leaves, bright yellow with a deeply four-lobed flower, the petals joined only at the base. 
  連翹 (Forsythia suspensa) : 香港俗稱一串金, 為落葉灌木。花期3~5月;果期7~9月。參見 迎春花  
   Forsythia in Bloom in Lower New York Bay in 2011
   Forsythia × intermedia  :

The hybrids Forsythia × intermedia (F. suspensa × F. viridissima) and Forsythia × variabilis (F. ovata × F. suspensa) have been produced in cultivation.[6] Forsythia intermedia is a hybrid between F. suspensa and F. viridissima. Many cultivars have been selected from this cross including dwarf and compact forms.[12]

Forsythias are popular early spring flowering shrubs in gardens and parks. Two are commonly cultivated for ornament, Forsythia × intermedia and Forsythia suspensa. They are both spring flowering shrubs, with yellow flowers. They are grown and prized for being tough, reliable garden plants.  Forsythia × intermedia is the more commonly grown, is smaller, has an upright habit, and produces strongly colored flowers. Forsythia suspensa is a large to very large shrub, can be grown as a weeping shrub on banks, and has paler flowers.  ( from  wiki )

  Peach -  The flowers are also produced in early spring before the leaves.
Forrest's Pink (Magnolia 'Forrest's Pink') - Forest Pink Saucer Magnolia 木蘭 (Magnolia x soulangiana 'Forest Pink') spectacular cup-shaped and fragrant deep pink flowers in early spring before the leaves.  ssrc   src2

3/13 - 22/2012 (Tue - Thu)  10 days
Costa Rica 哥斯达黎加   Photo Album 1

costa_rica_mybirdlist.htm (hassle of connecting flights: NYC - Miami - San Jose, Costa Rica)

3/10/2012 (Sat)  pm (after Dim Sum)
Kissena Park, colder

Met Henry Yee.  Two male Mallards fight for a female.  Grackles, (probably Downy) Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Ruddy Duck.  No Hooded Merganser.  Most Gulls left.  The index male is missing from the hybrid Mallard group. 

   RWBB -   <1> 
   House Sparrow
-   <1a>   <1b> (pp by Helicon Filter) 

   Mallard - young female looks innocent (note its purple speculum in fact is black in color)   male Mallards circle a female (taken after a vigorous fight between the 2 males of lust)

Info: video found on Web - mallards fighting (slow motion)

3/8/2012 (Thu)  3-5pm
Kissena Corridor Park, very warm & nice weather

Ring-necked Pheasant, male. 
Hare or rabbit.  Possibly Cottontail Rabbit because it lacks black ear tips.   Or European Hare?   Because of its grayer color, probably Eastern Cottontail.  But it is quite big and its body build is more like a Snowshoe Hare (L. a. virginianas).  I incline to this rather than Cottontail Rabbit.  Jackson Ho sees both at Kissena Park in early morning when he runs.

   Ring-necked Pheasant -  <1>  (before filter)   <2a>   <2b>    <3>    <4> 
   Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
   Downy Woodpecker (male)
   Blue Jay
-  <1> 
Cardinal -  <1> 
Snowshoe Hare -  <1> 

   American Robin - closeup 
   Ring-necked Pheasant
-  <1> 

(1) American Hare (Lepus Americanus) - also called Snowshoe Hare.  wiki   It is the larger hare which changes its color in the winter.  Read more:  
The Small Hare (Cottontail?), which does not change color in the winter, Read more:
(3) According to 1981 NY's Wildlife Resources, American Hare or called Varying Hare (Lepus Americanus) grows a white winter coat (pelage) in Nov. & then sheds it in late March.  The tips of the ears are black & some individuals retain patches of brown on their feet, legs or bodies through the winter.  It is intermediate in size between the relatively small cottontail rabbit (a true rabbit) and the large European Hare.  Females tend to be a bit larger than males.   In NYC,
Eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) & New England cottontail 新英格蘭棉尾兔 (Sylvilagus transitionalis) may be the most common.   New England cottontail, the native species, retains its brown color during winter.   Originally, Eastern cottontail was not found in New England, but it has been introduced there and now competes for habitat there with the native New England Cottontail.  Eastern cottontail changes its color in the winter or not?
According to 1981 NY's Wildlife Resources, four subspecies of Snowshoe Hare are recognized in the east, with only L. a. virginianas occurring in NY.
Eastern cottontail undergoes two molts per year. The spring molt, lasting from mid-April to mid-July, leaves a short summer coat that is more brown. From mid-September to the end of October, the change to longer, grayer pelage occurs for winter. Named for the tail's fluffy, white underside, cottontails are smaller than snowshoe hares and jackrabbits. Unlike these 2 true hares, they do not change fur color with the seasons.  src
(6) Eastern and New England cottontails have slightly different body weights as well. The Eastern cottontail weighs on average 2-4 pounds and has a total body length ranging from 15-18 inches. The New England cottontail weighs 1.5-3 pounds on average and has a total body length ranging from 14-19 inches. The males are called bucks and the females are called does.   src   While, Snowshoe Hare (18-20 inches) and European Hare (25-27 inches), according to 1981 NY's Wildlife Resources.
(7) In NY, there is no
Jack Rabbit (Black-tailed Jack Rabbit & White-tailed Jack Rabbit).  Jack Rabbits have longer ears than Snowshoe Hares. 
The Snowshoe Hare is more easily identified as it is the smallest hare. It looks more like a cottontail rabbit. Its ears are shorter than its head, but the underside of its tail is brown, not white like the cottontail.    src
(9) Three major species of hares occur in North America. These hares are of the genus Lepus and are represented primarily by the blacktail jackrabbit, the whitetail jackrabbit, and the snowshoe hare. Other members of this genus include the antelope jackrabbit and the European hare. Hares have large, long ears, long legs, and a larger body size than rabbits.   Antelope jackrabbits are found only in southern Arizona, New Mexico, and western Mexico.  The European hare is found only in southern Quebec, New York, and other New England states.   src
(10) ID hare and rabbit
        - size:  European Hare > White-tailed Jack Rabbit (18-22 inches) > Black-tailed Jack Rabbit (17-21 inches) > Snowshoe Hare >  Cottontail Rabbits.  Female > Male. 
        - In NY, only European Hare, Snowshoe Hare & Cottontail Rabbits. 
        - Snowshoe Hare: the underside of its tail is brown, not white like the cottontail. 
        - In winter,
Snowshoe Hare is white.  The tips of the ears are black & some individuals retain patches of brown on their feet, legs or bodies through the winter.  Cottontail Rabbits are brown.  Eastern cottontails are grayer in winter than in summer while New England Cottontails retain the brown color in winter.
Normally a shy animal, the European brown hare changes its behavior in spring, when hares can be seen in broad daylight chasing one another around meadows; this appears to be competition between males to attain dominance (and hence more access to breeding females). During this spring frenzy, hares can be seen "boxing"; one hare striking another with its paws (probably the origin of the term "mad as a March hare"). For a long time it had been thought that this was inter-male competition, but closer observation has revealed that it is usually a female hitting a male to prevent copulation.  wiki
(12)  European Hare has elongated ears which in this species ranges from 94–102 mm from the notch. The ears of the European hare are grayish white inside and have black tips on the top ends. It also has long hind feet that have a length from 142 to 161 mm. Most of the hare’s body is covered in yellowish-brown to grayish-brown fur but has grayish-white fur on the underside. In addition its face is brown with black rings around the eyes. Unlike some other leoporids, the European hare’s fur does not turn white in the winter, but it does get slightly more grey.   wiki
(13) Differences Between Cottontail Rabbits and Snowshoe Hares

(14)  Snowshoe Hare - In summer, the coat is rusty brown above and white underneath. This mottled pelage, or fur coloration, provides some camouflage in summer. Adults have white feet, a white-tipped nose, and white hairs around the edge and inside of their ears. The winter pelage appears all white (hiding the hare in snow) but is actually tri-colored: The fur closest to the body is dark gray, the middle fur is brown, and the visible outer fur is pure white.  src
(15) Today, wild pheasants are difficult to find in NY State. Most wild pheasants are found in the Lake Plains of western New York. The pheasant population in New York has declined nearly 90% since 1970. Most biologists believe it is because of a lack of fallow grasslands for nesting and brood-rearing.  In 2010, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) adopted a "Management Plan for Ring-necked Pheasants in New York State."  src

(16) Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus in Kissena Corridor Park, Queens, NY ; and a rabbit/hare (March 2010)
(17) Queens County Bird Club Kissena Park Field Trip : Ring-necked Pheasant (October 2009)

3/3/2012 (Sat)  am / 5pm (after ping pong)
am: Kissena Park, rain.  在春雨中漫步影相, 雖然冇靚女陪, 但身邊有一眾老嫩型鴨, 不亦樂乎.
pm: Kissena Corridor Park, warm & nice weather before sunset.

今天是好日, 三三三! 年是三(1+2), 月日都是三. 諸事皆宜. 最愛是星期六, 全日放假!

Kissena Park: The hybrid Mallard group swim together but they are loosely separated into 2 subgroups: mother leads her son and the father lead the other 2 males.  Hooded Merganser pair, several closer encounters.  Cormorant.  Wren singing.
Kissena Corridor Park: many (10+ or even 20+) Robins and other small birds (Sparrows, etc.)   紅磚滿天飛 小鳥已春歸

   Hooded Merganser -  <1>  

   Hooded Merganser pair

3/2/2012 (Fri) 

I saw 2 beautiful Robins at Columbus Park.  Everybody comes back early.  Other than 2/5 at JBWR, this is the first time I see the bird this year.  Last year, the first day I saw is 3/13/2011 (Sun). Again, asking the same question: when shall I see Catbird?

2/29/2012 (Wed) 

記念這個閏年暖冬, 特作詩一首:

一月 Hooded騎上背
二月 Mallard躍叫床
暖 鴨兒 早思春
何須 等到 杜鵑紅

2/25/2012 (Sat)  am / pm after Dim Sum
Kissena Park, highly windy

Less gulls.  Don't see hybrid goose.  See a pair of Mallards' prelude to mating then copulation.  After the sex, the female seems to be very high, jumping up and splashing the water.
pm: The trouble of a hybrid Mallard group at Kissena - 
   The group is probably composed of 2 subgroups which I know before: the hybrid family (father in very Mallard-like characteristic, mother in highly Pintail appearance and the ugly son; pic on 3/12/2011) and 2 hybrid Mallard males (
pic1 on 2/21/2011; pic2 on 2/21/2011).  Or the father in the hybrid family dies or disappears or loses control, then 3 or 2 hybrid Mallard males break into the family and reject the son.  But the mother doesn't like those guys so refuses to join them.  That why we see the 3 hybrid Mallard drakes together; the ugly son is being isolated; and the mother stays on land and refuse to go back to the water joining them.

Photo (am GH2 / pm FZ35):  


Back playground of my home: House Sparrow: fighting, drinking with bathing - 小美女大混戰, 打到滾地葫蘆.


2/22/2012 (Wed) pm

See a pair of Hairy Woodpeckers at City Hall Park.  One male and one female.  Unfortunately I have no camera.

News:  Seals return to NYC Harbor - As many as 50 seals now frolick just off Brooklyn.  Seals are often spotted on Swinburne Island, a man-made island in NY Harbor near Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. source: Metro p.6, by Jesse Greenspan, citing Naturalist Gabriel Willow & Jon Forrest Dohlin, director of NY Aquarium. 

2/20/2012 (Mon) am / pm (for a few minutes before ping pong)
Kissena Park, windy 

Hooded Merganser pair, several closer encounters.  An goose, possibly a hybrid of Canada Goose with an orange or pink feet (a Greater White-fronted Goose, a Snow Goose or others; even from the old Snow Goose?).   Cormorant.  Great Blue Heron.  Afternoon, 2 RWBBs.

Hooded Merganser -  <1>  
   Hybrid Goose -  <1>   <2>   <3>   <4>   <5> (<unfiltered jpg>

   Double-crested Cormorant
Red-winged Blackbird

Note on gall bladder:
   Birds with gall bladders:  ducks, chickens, raptors; and without gall bladders:  psittacines (members of the order Psittaciformes, the parrots and parakeets) & pigeons. 
   Cockatoos have gall bladders, parrots do not.  For example, African Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus) does not.
   Most species of parrots, pigeons and ostriches do not possess a gall bladder.   The dove or pigeon, from ancient times, was considered special because of this anatomical difference, as the "gall" was considered the seat of bitterness in an individual. Hence the dove or pigeon, being without "gall", lacked some of the more unpleasant aspects of personality, shared by man other beasties. Apparently there are Biblical tales about the dove bursting its gall bladder in grief when Noah released it from the Ark, as an explanation for the absence.   src 
Note on hybrid geese & molting:

Hybrid Geese - <1>    a Leucistic Canada Goose or a domestic breed? (June 2002, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge)
I have also seen Snow Goose  x Canada Goose and they tend to be very easy to ID, with the body being mainly Canada and the Neck/Head of the Snow. The bill tends to be very Canada Goose shaped, with a dark colour."  src 
   Snow Goose x Canada Goose:  Google   <1> (mirror)
   First-winter Canada Geese look almost the same as adults. 
   It is suggested that Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) and other geese with bold head and neck patterns (the White-fronted Goose and the genus Branta, which includes Brant) molt head and neck feathers in the late winter and spring.  So in addition to the prebasic molt, they do have a second molt, although it brings about no change in appearance ("aspect").   That means no matter it is a first-winter or a molting adult, the appearance will not be the one seen today at Kissena Park.   Steve Howell's book on Molt pp.71-72
Canada crosses with domestic Brown China goose: the first picture shows the two cross offspring with the Canada parent; the second picture shows one offspring at the front with two Chinas and a Canada in the background; the third picture is of one of the offspring showing off.

2/18/2012 (Sat)  9am until early pm
Fort Tilden (Riis Landing & coastal beach, the Atlantic shore) with Ron, then the windy Breezy Point alone

Long-tailed Ducks, Common Loons, unexpectedly many Red-breasted Mergansers, (probably mostly American) Crows, Brants, a Peregrine Falcon perching & perhaps having some nesting activity at Marine Parkway Bridge.
very few land birds seen
in the Fort Tilden walk, only 2 Mourning Doves, no warblers nor sparrows.
Breezy Point (almost all birds are seen at the East side, or right side, of the exit): many Sanderlings (100+), Ring-billed, Herring & Great Black-backed Gulls.  No Snowy Owl seen.  The guy said not seen it for many days already.  Dune location of the owl:
East side, or right side, of the exit, about the 2nd dune.  But according to this, it was still there on Tuesday and Wednesday and was seen late in the days.

   In flight / taking off or landing:
(probably American) Crow  -  <1>  
     Long-tailed Duck
  -  <1>  
     Sanderling -
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
        <1> (1/800 sec; the gray tail band is not common among non-breeding adults which have unmarked white tails so it is a fourth-winter adult which still has not gained the purely white tail. - or those commonly seen unmarked tails are just the white part and those gray patches are hidden when the tail is not expanded like that in my picture?

Great Black-backed Gull
- <1>
     Unknown Gull
-  P1120609-611.JPG (probably 1st or 2nd-winter Herring),
P1120604-608.JPG (probably the same sub-adult gull)
Great Black-backed Gull  -  big yawn  

   Mourning Dove  -  <1a>   
   Sanderling -

   Red-breasted Merganser - almost 5 min

  Fort Tilden State Park  
Riis Landing (Beach 169th St. and State Rd., Queens - Breezy Point Roxbury, NY 11697)
  Great spots to see wildlife at Fort Tilden:  (1) in the maritime forest, (2) along the Atlantic shore, and (3) near the fort's freshwater pond. (4) The observatory deck on top of Battery Harris East, a historic gun site, offers dramatic 360-degree panoramic views of Jamaica Bay and New York Harbor, and is a great vantage point from which to spot migrating birds.   src
  Peregrine Falcon -
Nine new Peregrine Falcon chicks who inhabit the Verrazano-Narrows (under the bridge), Throgs Neck, and Marine Parkway Bridges were born in May, 2011.  Read more: New York's urban jungle
  Best watch the nest and the falcons at Riis Landing (from Fort Tilden across the Rockaway Point Blvd).
  Ultra fast but only 20% success rate:  Peregrine Falcons often miss the strike and only 20% ends up in kill.  BBC Earth 
  Jamaica Bay Bridges
  Other info:
   (1)  A COMPARISON OF BEHAVIOR AND SUCCESS RATES OF MERLINS AND PEREGRINE FALCONS WHEN HUNTING DUNLINS IN TWO COASTAL HABITATS (1996)  "The success rates of hunting flights for both species (merlin: 7.8%, peregrine falcon: 12.5%) were significantly lower at beaches than previously reported for estuaries."
   (2) "...
 recorded success rates ranging from a low of 18.8% for Peregrine Falcons to 69.3% for American Kestrels." from Hunting Success of Some Missouri Raptors by B. Toland.  Wilson Bull., 98(1), 1986, pp.116-125.  src1 

Abstract of Hunting Success of Some Missouri Raptors

Hunting success varied widely among raptors studied throughout Missouri. Higher success rates occurred in raptors hunting relatively small, easily dispatched prey such as invertebrates, herpetofauna, and rodents. "Attacking" raptors, including accipiters and falcons, which concentrated hunting efforts on relatively large, agile prey (mainly birds) were significantly less successful on a per-attack basis. Young raptors were less successful hunters than were adults, and they may have compensated for relatively less developed hunting skills and flight coordination by pursing more invertebrate prey and less agile quarry than did conspecific adults. Intersexual hunting success comparisons in Northern Harriers (Circus cyaneus) and American Kestrels (Falco sparverius) indicated that males maintain slightly, but not significantly, higher capture rates than females. Females, however, captured larger prey items than their respective mates among 3 species compared (Cooper's Hawks [Accipiter cooperii], Northern Harriers, and Red-tailed Hawks [Buteo jamaicensis]). Raptors used the most successful hunting method most often, and there was a positive correlation between relative use and rate of success of each hunting strategy.

2/17/2012 (Fri) am
Home at bed

Heard (highly probably male) Cardinal calling (the one sound like playing video game) in early morning.  This winter is really so warm!

2/11/2012 (Sat) am / pm
Kissena Park in the snow / clear after

Hooded Merganser pair, Great Blue Heron, Cormorant, the old Snow Goose, Mallards and hybrid ducks, American Black Duck, Ring-billed Gulls, Blue-Jays (heard).  Canada Geese (pm).

   Hooded Merganser - take off   retouched
   rule of thirds
   Great Blue Heron - <1>   <2>  
<3 - Rule of thirds>   <4 - in flight>   (Alert : AP (even shutter speed turns out to be 1/125) is better than SP at 1/500!) 
   Eastern Gray Squirrel -   <1>  

2/5/2012 (Sun) pm
JBWR - met Erin (know Jean) looking for Eared Grebe

Surprised to see Robins.  Yellow-rumped Warblers.  Herring Gulls.  Rafts of Ruddy Ducks.  Scaups.  Coot.  Mute Swans.  Crows.

   Canada Goose - <1>
   Mockingbird -  <1>
   Ruddy Duck -  <1>

2/4/2012 (Sat) am / pm
Kissena & Kissena Corridor Park / "New Alley Pond"

No Mute Swan.  Hooded Merganser pair.  Great Blue Heron, Cormorant, Canada Geese, the old Snow Goose, Mallards and hybrid ducks (or female Northern Pintail / American Wigeon?), Ring-billed Gulls, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Blue-Jays, (probably Red-tailed) Hawk, etc.
"New Alley Pond" :  Cardinals,
Mockingbird, Green-winged Teals, Buffleheads, Canada Geese, Gulls.

   Hybrid duck / Northern Pintail  Waterfowl -
     head close up (note orange iris)
     whole (blue-gray bill is not like American Black Duck so it is a female Northern Pintail / American Wigeon or some kind of hybrid of American Black Duck/Mallard/others with Northern Pintail/?)
*also documented on 3/12/2011. 
     Judging from her son, she is female Northern Pintail or hybrid of Northern Pintail with some other ducks (Mallard/American Black Duck/etc.).  Since she is not like an typical female Northern Pintail, she is probably a hybrid with at least one Northern Pintail as ancestor.
 Iris brown for both sexes of Northern Pintail   src
     I also just find another pair on Web (location is Hawaii): -
        A Mallard drake with some mix of Pintail perhaps x female Pintail-like duck. The female is quite similar with the one in Kissena Park.

   Ring-billed Gull
- <1> (probably 2nd winter)   
1st winter (note iris is not pure black)
   Mockingbird (New Alley Pond is its territory?) - <1>  
   Starling - <1>  

   Green-winged Teal -

Info: This Winter, Give a Bird a Berry

1/29/2012 (Sun) 人日   7:30-8:30am
"New Alley Pond"

1 Wilson's Snipe at last in this cold (feel like 25 °F) morning, temperature around 0 °C though no ice on the pond.  Seen at north end instead of south end. 
Confirmed 4 Ring-necked Ducks & Coot.  Red-bellied Woodpecker in a semi-active state; look like it has not fully waken:-)  Mockingbird.  Many Blue Jays.  Sparrow.  Mourning Dove drinks water at the edge of pond.

   Wilson's Snipe -  <1>     <2>    
   Starling -  <1>  
   Cardinal -  <1> (around Home, camera's jpg file showing almost all dark picture but from RAW I can make this one out)  
<2> (used flash)
-  <1> 
   Ring-necked Duck -  <1> 

   Wilson's Snipe - <1>

   Green-winged Teal - male-1 (can see green patch on wing when it takes off to flight)

1/28/2012 (Sat) 年初六  am & pm after Dim Sum at home
"New Alley Pond" (the pond adjacent to the LIE and Douglaston Pkwy) / Kissena Park

Alley Pond:  no Pink-footed Goose (or any other geese) or Wilson's Snipe (a subspecies of the Common SnipeG. gallinago).  Green-winged Teals, Buffleheads, Pied-billed Grebe, Ring-necked Ducks (both female & male), Coots, Ring-billed Gulls, a pair of House Finch, a Sparrow, a (young?) Painted Turtle, a (1st winter?) Mockingbird, many Blue Jays and other birds.  Should visit again!
Home - 78th Ave:  House Sparrows.

Kissena Park: 
no Mute Swan or Shoveler.  Copulation of Hooded Mergansers on a warm day.  Great Blue Heron, 2 Cormorants, Canada Geese, the old Snow Goose, a pair of American Black Ducks, Ring-billed Gulls, RWBB, etc. 

   House Sparrow -  <1>   <2>  
   American Black Duck -  male   female   pair
   House Finch
-  male-1      male-2     female-1     
   Canada Geese -  <1> 

   Eastern Gray Squirrel -