Category Archives: Nature

What is this?

I spotted this little animal in Fort Tryon Park, nosing around not too far from people sunbathing.

Is it a hedgehog? I know at least one person out there who will know.

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Filed under Nature, New York City

Birds at the Cloisters, in Chelsea, and Sleepy Hollow

Over the past several weeks, I was able to interact with the local fauna, namely birds.

My friend Caroline and I went up to the Cloisters, taking the train all the way up to Fort Tryon Park. This was our annual pilgrimage. We walked through the park and got to the Cloisters pretty early. Nonetheless, it was packed, being a holiday weekend. We were, however, able to avoid most of the crowds. We took, instead, photos of the architecture and flora. We got some great pics.

We have taken so many photos of the art in the Cloisters that neither one of us was the least bit interested in taking any more photos. We were parched and went to the little cafe in the Cloisters to get something to drink, and Caroline was hungry. We were stunned to find that the birds flying around the courtyard where the cafe and seating is located landed very close to us and walked within inches of where we were. What did we do? Why we took pictures, of course!

Caroline gets advice on nature photography from expert

Caroline gets advice on nature photography from expert

The most  interesting one I have already posted, the bird that landed on Caroline’s hand and cell phone, (I’ve posted it again), but it needs a bit more of an explanation. Caroline was surprised by the bird’s attempt to land on her, and there was some guy there with a big camera with a very long lens who snapped photo after photo of the action. My camera is small and cannot simply snap photos one after the other. (It might be able to, but the setting would have to be changed.) I was able to get the one close-up where the bird does, indeed, look as if he is giving Caroline advice. (She latter tweeted the pic.) The man showed us the photos in his camera, then walked away. He never offered to send Caroline copies of the photos, in which he caught Caroline’s surprise and shock. I thought that this was in poor taste. After all, if you take a clear, close-up photo of someone, it only seems right to offer the person a copy.

Weeks later, I walked to the Magnolia Bakery in Chelsea with two friends. We ate our goodies across the street in a little park. The birds there came right up to us, basically begging for some food. Baked goods always have crumbs, so I started tossing crumbs to the birds, which quickly gobbled them up, at which point the pigeons, who were a distance away, came running. (Probably had the cute birds trolling food.)

Finally, I snapped some pics of the Canada goslings that were born this spring. Last year I snapped some photos of goslings that resembled fuzz balls. This year, I got the babies when they were a bit older.

 

 

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Filed under Nature, New York City, Sleepy Hollow

Spring at Last: Bird Feeding

The following pictures were taken through my window as I watched the local birds fighting to get to the bird feeder. And I do mean fight: I could hear the squawking and chirping as the birds fought to get into the four openings to the seed.

I decided to feed the birds in winter, spring and fall. They don’t need to be fed in summer, since food is plentiful. I’m actually using up the seed I bought last year.

Those birds really are pigs. Within two days, the feeder is empty. I don’t have to worry about checking on it, though. There’s always a chirp-chirp-chirp, a lone call, that comes right through the windows. Maybe the birds take turns. I don’t know, but the lone chirping is how I know that the feeder is empty.

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Filed under Nature, Sleepy Hollow

Finally, Spring!

(2015-03-16 001)Though March 20th marked the official start of Spring, the weather had other ideas.

We got a snowstorm that day; the snow didn’t start laying until after three. By evening, it looked like a winter wonderland–on the first day of Spring. Most of the snow melted yesterday in the 40 degree-plus weather. I wasn’t surprised. I knew that Winter would give us one last kick. However, we are moving too close to the sun for this type of weather to last much longer.

This pic is of Canadian geese. (Thanks for the identification, Mary!) This is the same flock that I wrote about a few weeks ago. The birds were looking for ground not covered in snow. The small park near the Tarrytown train station was perfect.

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Filed under Nature, Tarrytown

The Hudson, soon to be Ice-Free

What a different two weeks makes!

The image on the left was how the Hudson River looked near the Philipse Manor train station at the end of February. The right image is how the same area looked on March 11th, during a week of temperatures that were above freezing. There’s still ice in places on the Hudson, but it’s finally melting!

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Filed under Nature, Sleepy Hollow

Winter Birds

(2015-02-26 001)Last week, I was surprised by the group of ducks in this photograph. They were across the street from the elderly apartment building. As soon as I stopped to take the picture, they came toward me, thinking that I had food for them, which I didn’t.

I saw a group of birds once before this and the evening after I took this photo. Both were in the small park down from the Tarrytown train station, but it was not this group of birds. That group were swans (geese?) and they were BIG.

Most of the park’s walkways are not plowed, so they were on the big area that was. (Still, that concrete must have been COLD!) I had to make two of them move to get by. The next night, they were again in the park on the concrete.

This winter has been hard on everything. I have a small bird feeder on my back porch that I try and keep filled for the birds, but the ducks and swans are too large to eat from it. Because it’s on a post and open on all sides, the birds usually use my living room window sill as a place to eat. (I discovered this when I heard their wings bumping the window.)

Below are photographs of the Hudson River over the past two weeks. You can see how iced-over it is; the colder it is, the more ice forms. This week we are supposed to have a day with a high around 45 and it’s supposed to rain. I don’t know if that will help or hurt, as everything freezes again every night.

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Filed under Nature, Tarrytown

The Long Winter

Winter seems to be never-ending.

Once we got a major snow dump at the end of January (under a foot, but more than 6 inches), the snow just keeps coming down. We have had scares of more major snowstorms, but so far we have gotten under 5 inches of snow. Yet, the snow doesn’t melt. At least, it’s not melting fast enough for me.

I discovered that my car, parked off the street in a pull-in space that is on a 25-30-degree angle, is stuck: the front tires spin, but I get no traction. Gravity is negated; apparently the ice around the tires is strong enough to hold the car in place. I need to free my car to do laundry by the end of the week.

The photos I’ve taken are earlier in the month, but what you see hasn’t changed. The Philipsburg Manor house and millpond are still covered in snow; the photo of the snow-covered street was just pretty, so I snapped that pic; the shores of the Hudson are still covered in ice; the sunny pic is something that even I have realized that the area is missing: the sun. We have not been seeing the sun very much. Most of the days are just gray and cold. VERY cold. We are in the middle of dangerous cold weather where one can get frostbite if one is not careful.

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Filed under Nature, Sleepy Hollow