Prospect Park, 9/2/2020

Bay-breasted warbler (first winter), Prospect Park

This one is hard to identify! My first guess was pine warbler, then yellow-throated vireo, then briefly Lawrence’s warbler, but in the end I’m going with the first-winter incarnation of bay-breasted warbler.

Morning glory, Prospect Park

Purple coneflower, Prospect Park

Paper mulberry fruit, Prospect Park

Buckeye fruit, Prospect Park

When this tree was in flower, I thought it was a bottlebrush buckeye, but now that there’s a fruit, I’m wondering if it’s a California buckeye.

Prospect Park, 8/30/2020

Common yellowthroat (female), Prospect Park

Porcelain berries, Prospect Park

Common yellowthroat (female), Prospect Park

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Black-and-white warbler, Prospect Park

Black-and-white warbler, Prospect Park

Common yellowthroat (female), Prospect Park

A side-effect of spilling a glass of water on my old laptop is that on the new one, I couldn’t keep going with my somewhat ancient copy of Photoshop Elements, which I think came for free with a scanner a decade ago, and had to pony up for Lightroom Classic. The difference may or may not be visible to you, but I’ve been learning how to use Lightroom Classic for the past week or so, and today finally graduated to taking pictures in my camera’s “raw” format, instead of just having it compress jpegs on the fly. What this means is I have a little more latitude, now, to correct exposure and white balance after the fact, which is awfully helpful because I can’t tell you how many theoretically great photos I’ve taken have proved unusable because a bright sky in the background turned the bird in the foreground into nothing but a silhouette. Also, now I can click a button to correct digitally for flaws in the particular lens that I’m using, which is a subtle improvement, but maybe it’s something? The danger, of course, is that now I’ll be tempted to doctor the photos too much, and that they’ll end up looking same-y through my new ability to indulge my predilections, so I’ve been trying to make myself go easy on the “vibrance” and “saturation” adjustment sliders.

Prospect Park, 7/28/2020

Toby was with me when I photographed this black wasp with blue wings, but then I had to bring Toby home, because the muggy heat was making him wobblier than usual, and I went back outside alone, which left me free to spend more time in the park than I probably should have. In the heat, unfortunately, the park was mostly still and dead. I did see a couple of quite beautiful, mostly black butterflies, but only one posed for me, and I made the mistake of trying to change the lens on my camera in order take a close-up; it fluttered away before I got the lens mounted. The only other thing of note was a woodpecker, high in its tree, and I was trying, ineffectually, to photograph it when a raptor crashed through the canopy, gripping a not-small furry creature in its talons, pursued by two other raptors, all of them crying angrily.

Juvenile Cooper's hawk, Prospect Park

The prizewinner took his breakfast to the crook of a tree, and boasted over it, while tearing off gobbets and swallowing. He was in no hurry, and in a few minutes, several other birders caught up to us, one of whom identified the trio as Cooper’s hawks. I thought that the successful hunter must be a parent, and that the other two must be fledglings, who were hoping for a share of the parent’s meal. But now that I’m home, and can look at Sibley’s, I see that all three were juveniles, which would explain why the one who did make a kill did not share.

Juvenile Cooper's hawk, Prospect Park

The siblings who hadn’t killed loitered on branches nearby and cried, loudly and unembarrassedly. They seemed to be asking for handouts. The raised claw, in the photograph just above, looks to me like a request—like a hawk’s version of an extended palm.

Juvenile Cooper's hawk, Prospect Park

Prospect Park, 7/23/2020

Chipmunk holding tail, Prospect Park

Plum or cherry of some kind?, Prospect Park

Wild bergamot, Prospect Park

Since it was cooler this morning, Toby didn’t need to wear the brace even briefly, but we took a shorter walk, anyway, as a precaution, just up Lookout Hill and back. That might be a bitter cherry, but I’m not at all sure; there was a light green fruit on the same tree that looked for all the world like an olive. The chipmunk was cleaning his tail, and also cleaned his nose, and while licking the inside of one of his front legs extended the leg in what looked like a rude gesture, but I decided against that photo, as too much in the vein of funny animal videos.