Sunday, September 25, 2016

New York nature

Yes, it exists.

I saw a black and white warbler in Central Park, hunting for bugs in a tree. He was unafraid and sweet to watch.

Bird books say that warblers are widespread but I only ever see them in fall. Last week there was a little yellow one in the garden.

                  Late-flowering boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum), is a marker of early autumn.

A feral cat stalked across a path, looking well fed. An orchestra of staccato chipmunks popped from the woods behind him. Outrage. If you see something say something.

It is golden rod (Solidago) season. Many people think this is ragweed. It is not ragweed.

A bird dropped from a branch in the North Woods. Not identified. I was hoping for mushrooms, after a rain shower, but the rain was not enough.

I did see a great northern flicker. They are usually very shy and take off as soon as they hear or see you. I crept, soft-footed.

A day goes by.

Then, Staten Island, with the Frenchman, via a Car2Go. In Conference House Park (where peace was not reached, in 1776) we saw a fly catcher ruby crowned kinglet (see comments), above - busily catching flying insects.

Cranberry viburnums are ripe. Strange and sour taste.

Goldenrod on the water, its roots in the sand.

Staten Island's southern tip, with tiny waves lapping the beach.

And an army of Japanese knotweed inbetween beach and woods. 

I'll return in spring.

We headed to High Rock and Park, and its woods, where we found white tailed deer.

And, to my delight, dinner. Chicken, of the woods, Laetiporous sulphureus (the underside is brilliant yellow). They were very tender - this can be a very tough mushroom.

We'll be back in a few weeks, as our night time tempertures have dipped, and October is in the offing. That means one thing: maitake, hen of the woods, Grifola frondosa

Wish me luck.


  1. Almost 40 years since I had hen-o-the-woods.(From small wood near London)

  2. For those of us who still think of NYC as brick and concrete skyscrapers, it's nice to be reminded of all the wonderful woods, water and critters that inhabit your island, too.

  3. Great bird shots. I'm tickled that you visited my hometown (SI) and specifically what was my backyard growing up, High Rock Park. Yes, you can be a native New Yorker and still have spent your youth running around in the woods. As an adult, I like learning the REAL names of each plant and not just the monikers we gave them as kids. (Goldenrod would have been something like "yellow feather plant")

    1. I think yellow feather plant is a better name :-)

  4. These are amazing pictures, especially the bird shots. I think the one you identify as a flycatcher might be a female ruby crowned kinglet. The head and beak don't seem quite right for a flycatcher, and the flycatcher's posture is usually more erect. Kinglets appear with other small birds in flocks at this time of year. Did you happen to notice that? Seeing warblers at any time of year is difficult since they are rarely still. Photographing them is even more difficult.

    1. Thank you, Nancy! I think you are right. As you can see I am a lousy birder.

  5. if you've never made chicken of the woods nuggets i recommend them heartily. add a little sriracha in the batter to make them even more delicious.

    1. Oh, that is funny. I have never made any kind of nugget. Raw chicken of the woods nuggets, then egg wash, then flour (or bread crumbs), then fry?

    2. yes, raw chicken of the woods nuggets (which you'll find is very amenable to nugget form), but i prefer a wet batter for deep frying: ~3/4 cup corn starch, ~1/4 cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, salt and pepper, ~1/2 cup cold water, 1 egg. a squirt or two of sriracha to taste.

      i like the idea of breaded chicken of the woods, like a schnitzel. i wish i had some l. cincinnatus to try it on right now.


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