Last weekend Jon and I went all the way to Breezy Point in a failed attempt to see a snowy owl. This is what we saw, which was cool but, “I want to see a f’ing owl.” (If we ever have a nature television show that will be the tagline. “Yeah that Siberian Tiger is cool, but I want to see an f’ing owl!”)
I was so excited to see birds starting to use the new feeders we put up in our new backyard. At first it was just sparrows and starlings with some mourning doves eating the seeds that fell on the ground. Then I spotted gorgeous House Finches!
I will record all of these birds as part of the Great Backyard Bird Count, which is happening now through 2/17! Take a look in your yard or nearby park for at least 15 minutes and count the birds you see in that period of time. This is a great activity for the whole family, kids, cats, etc.
The data from YOU citizen scientists is used by REAL scientists to understand where and how many species of birds there are in a specific place at a specific time – this weekend! You can watch all this data being submitted in real time on the GBBC website.
Birds to look out for in Brooklyn: Pigeons, Starlings, Sparrows, House Finches, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Red Bellied Woodpeckers, Down Woodpeckers, Robins, Red Tailed Hawks, Mourning Doves, Juncos, Seagulls, Cooper’s Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, Kestrels, Snowy Owls (for real!)
Last year I made this video with the house finches that lived on our fire escape before our landlord flipped out about the bird feeder…Maybe they followed us to our new home.
Since this posting I have investigated further and believe that the bird pictured is in fact an American Kestrel – which are just as bad ass birds of prey. In fact their call sounds like they are saying Killy-Killy-Killy!A reader sent us this awesome shot of a Peregrine Falcon spotted on McGuinness Blvd and Huron St! These badass birds are bird eaters – watch out pigeons – and they can reach speeds of over 200mph during their notorious a high speed dive to kill prey – making it the fastest animal! And it’s right here in Greenpoint!
Okay, “killer” is an exaggeration. A reader wrote in to tell us a funny, but at the same time a little frightening story about her recent run in with an aggressive bird in Transmitter Park. The part about other birds that hang out to watch the action really got me laughing:
“I go to Transmitter Park a lot, it’s very close to my office. On one such visit about a month ago as I walked into the entrance that’s closest to the children’s playground a bird tried to land on my head (at least this is what I thought was happening). Without seeing it, I swatted near my head and turned around just in time to see the bird fly away. I totally thought it was a random, one off thing. Continue reading
Greenpoint Landing, Beer & Cheese, Summer Sour, Hog Days, Gay Pride, Quiet Clubbing, Bird Canoe Trip! – What’s Happening Greenpoint? (6/25-7/1)
Cancelled: Community Forum on Sexual Violence @ Greenpoint Church (136 Milton St) 7:30pm, the recent sexual assault in Greenpoint will be discussed as well as ways to create a community-based strategy for staying safe
• Riders Alliance Happy Hour @ Dino (222 DeKalb Ave) 7-8pm, Drink good beer, sample fancy cocktails and find out more about the Riders Alliance and the fight for better transit in New York, RSVP
• Heavy Metal Laser Plane Comedy Show @ Legion (790 Metropolitan Ave.) 8pm, Free, hosted by Tom Cowell and John Anderson, Comics Sean Donnelly, Christi Chiello, Matteo Lane, Monroe Martin III, RSVP
* Community Workshop on Greenpoint Landing & 77 Commercial St @ Newtown Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant Visitor Center (329 Greenpoint Ave) 6:30-8pm, Free, Open to the public, to discuss what is “as-of-right” (per the 2005 Waterfront Rezoning), what is still negotiable, ULURP approval, RSVP
♫ Fucked Up / Title Flight / Hop Along @ House of Vans (25 Franklin St) 7pm, All ages, More info
# “Beer & Cheese” with Janet Fletcher @ Diamond Bar (43 Franklin St.) 7pm, Meet the author, buy the book, $12 cheese and beer pairings
♫ Late night, Low Down Piano w/ Smokin’ Billy Slater @ Manhattan Inn (632 Manhattan Ave) 10:3pm, Free, sit back or dance it up while Smokin’ Billy Slater gets down and dirty on the white baby grand
♥ Summer Sour @ Brouwerij Lane (78 Greenpoint Ave) Thru Sunday, Pucker up! $25 flights
♦ Phaedo @ Storefront Bushwick (16 Wilson Ave) 6-9pm, featuring the work of ten abstract artists, title refers to the Platonic dialogue whose subject is the death of Socrates and the immortality of the soul, RSVP
♦ Showpaper Retrospective @ Market Hotel (1142 Myrtle Ave) 7-9pm, FREE, a complete retrospective of every issue printed over the last 6 years – an awesome opportunity to view the ENTIRE SERIES chronologically, Performance by Ashcan Orchestra at 8pm
♦ The End of the Beginning @ Calico (67 West St #206) 7-10pm, Season wrap and fundraiser party, free beer, RSVP
♫ Polish American Folk Dance Company 75th Anniversary Party @ Warsaw (261 Driggs Ave) 8:30pm-2:30am, $10, Music, entertainment, hot buffet, raffles, cash bar, RSVP
♫ Darlings / Juniper Rising / A. Rex & J. Rex / King Prom @ Silent Barn (603 Bushwick Ave) 8pm, $8
• The Insalubrious Valley Walking Tour w/ Mitch Waxman (Grand St & Morgan Ave) 11am-2pm, $30, includes lunch, the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens where the industrial revolution happened provides a dramatic and picturesque setting for this exploration, More info
# NYC Hog Days of Summer @ Domestic Construction (218 India St) noon-9pm, $30, Traditional North Carolina Whole Hog BBQ, Craft Beer Brewing & Heritage Pig Farming, Live Bluegrass, Benefits Just Food NYC, Buy Tix
♫ Endless Boogie / TV Baby / Degreaser @ Union Pool (484 Union Ave) 2pm, FREE
♫ First Annual Gay Pride Party @ Wythe Hotel (80 Wythe Ave) 8pm-1am, FREE, music from DJs Lauren Flax (Creep), Amber Valentine (Misster, Scissor Sunday), performances by Amber Martin, Tyler Ashley, & Merrie Cherry (Dragnet), free Greenhook Gin cocktails 8-9pm, proceeds donated to Without Walls, RSVP at wythehotel.com
♦ Classic Bike Film Screening @ City Reliquary ( ) 8pm-12am, Join Harry Schwartzman, curator of “Strong Backs, Weak Minds – the saga of the Coney Island Velodrome,” for a screening of 2 classic films about 6-day racing – Joe E Brown’s ’6 Day Racer’ and ‘Open All Night’ a scandalous 1924 silent movie set in the swarmy world of the 6 day racer, More info
They will be screened outdoors and refreshments will be available for purchase.
♫ Quiet Clubbing Outdoors @ CitiStorage (5 North 11th St) 8pm-2am, $40 in advance, $50 at door, live DJ performances pumped into headphones on the waterfront, RSVP
♫ Crazy Pills / Dead Stars / The Suicide Dolls / Haybaby @ Big Snow (89 Varet St) 8pm, $7
* Birding and Intertidal Zone Tour @ NBBC Boat Club (49 Ash St) 9am-noon, $20, Did you know that creeping along in a canoe is the best way to view the intertidal zone and view a heron unruffled? More info
♦ Build ‘Em Strong BBQ & Live Music YMCA Fundraiser @ The Cee Flat Gallery (988 Manhattan Ave 2nd Fl) 4-7pm, $20 at door, $15 in advance, an evening gallery experience and summer barbeque to benefit the work of the Ridgewood YMCA, More info
# Spaghett-It-On Mondays @ Adelina’s (159 Greenpoint Ave) 5-8pm, $7, pasta with Roman style Marinara sauce and a genesee beer
* Greenpointers’ Pick
♥ Pheremones likely
♦ Art Event
☺ Comedy Event
# Foodie Event
Man, I wish I didn’t have to go to dumb work or I’d be checking out birds on the Maspeth Creek (49th St & Maspeth Ave), tomorrow Friday April 26th, 2013 at 1pm hosted by Newtown Creek Alliance and Department of Environmental Conservation.
During the wildlife viewing announcements will be about the release of New York Wildlife Viewing Guide, Newtown Creek Alliance Bird Guide and the 2013 Birdwatching Canoe Trip Season with North Brooklyn Boat Club.
Bring your own binoculars!
A juvenile Cooper’s Hawk landed in our yard this morning. Lots of hawks land in our yard and we do our best to take a photo with our iphone through our binoculars. Not any more! Jon got a Pentax K-01, with a SMCDA 100-300mm lens, just for birding!
Here is a video through our binoculars of a mature Cooper’s Hawk from February of last year, in the same spot working on a pigeon breakfast.
Yesterday morning’s walk to the farmers market brought some good bird sightings! It started with a Red Bellied Woodpecker battling with a starling for access to a cavity in a London planbe tree in McGolrick park. We’ve seen a lot of woodpeckers in the neighborhood but they are always a treat and this is a particular favorite of mine with the vivid red head (not sure why its called red bellied as its belly is cream colored) and spectacular black and white speckled wings.
Later as we returned from the market Jen saw something small brown rooting around in the undergrowth which turned out to be a Hermit Thrush!
I’ve only seen these in more dense cover in wooded areas of Prospect and Owl’s head parks so this was a real surprise. They are similar to Robins but smaller and more reclusive. They scratch around in the leaves for insects and have a unique habit (among thrushes) of bobbing their reddish brown tail at regular intervals.
As we turned to leave the thrush to his chitinous breakfast I looked up and saw what at first appeared to be an owl in the tree overhead. It turned out to be a very fluffed up Red Tailed Hawk who had been watching the Thrush and probably thinking of its next meal.
Audubon’s 113th Christmas bird count is taking place through January 5th. Jon and I were honored to be among the participants counting birds this past Saturday in Floyd Bennett Field.
Not only were we in the company of renowned New York birders, like Rob from City Birder, and saw birds we’d never imagined to visit Brooklyn, we were taking part in a very important action for wildlife conservation in our own great city.
According to the Audubon website:
Each of the citizen scientists who annually braves snow, wind, or rain, to take part in the Christmas Bird Count makes an enormous contribution to conservation. Audubon and other organizations use data collected in this longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations – and to help guide conservation action.
We definitely weren’t braving any extreme weather, it was a perfect sunny day in the wide open fields, but we did overcome our fear of being the bottom men, in my case, the only lady, on the totem pole.
“Are you sure they want us? I mean – we don’t know anything!” I kept asking Jon the week before. But by the end of the day, we’d learned a lot and I hope that in 40 years I have the stamina, patience and a hat with my name on it, like our trip leader Ron, who soldiered us through the day with an endless supply of information and energy. This will not be our first and only bird count.
It was confusing at first, the quick identifications in the cricket field, where we were looking for a flock of Horned Lark made my head spin. I kept elbowing Jon, “what are we looking at?” Bird names shouted, binoculars flew and just as I’d focus, the bird had flown away and the team had moved on.
I got an exciting email from K, who works at Martin Luther School in Maspeth. Yesterday, what she believed was a hawk joined the students for lunch, enjoying a freshly hunted seagull. After taking a look at the photo and seeing the distinct eye marking and dark head, I believe that this is a Peregrine Falcon.
Why is this bird so awesome? “The Peregrine is renowned for its speed, reaching over 322 km/h (200 mph) during its characteristic hunting stoop (high speed dive), making it the fastest member of the animal kingdom.” (Wiki.) What a sighting! It might be suspicious to lurk around the school grounds with binoculars, but I need to get a look at this bird! Great shot, K!