Archive for January, 2011

On Friday I went galumphing through the fresh snow in Prospect Park. Near the northwest corner of the lake I saw hundreds of specks out on the ice near a lead of open water. It seems the memo must have gone out to various bird species that this was the place to meet. Gulls, ducks, and geese were well represented. There was quite a bit of activity near the shore. Some ducks came in for a landing:

Followed by gulls:

I thought these were going to land on me:

Time to go:


In the summer there is an electric boat (the Independence) that tours the lake, and there are pedal boats for rent. And the geese will still be there, despite attempts to get rid of them.

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Four Sparrow Marsh is in Brooklyn, squeezed between Toys “R” Us and the Belt Parkway. I’ve boated and driven past it innumerable times and never thought it was anything more than a patch of undeveloped land probably full of old cars and trash.

But it turns out that it’s home to more than sixteen bird species, including four species of sparrow—salt-marsh, song, swamp, and savannah. Hence the name.

It also turns out that it may not be undeveloped for long. Yesterday Karen sent me a link to New York City Audubon. There are plans to build the Four Sparrows Retail Center on the marsh. NYC Audubon is not categorically opposed to the development: “An appropriately designed retail project, with adequate buffers to protect this critical habitat and a design sensitive to the waterfront and to birds could be an asset to the city,” they say. A public meeting to discuss the project had been scheduled for January 11, but it was postponed. Click here for more information about the marsh and the project, and to find out the new date for the meeting (not yet known).

This afternoon I found myself near Four Sparrow Marsh, so I headed over with my camera and tromped around in the snow a bit.

A pale moon, just past first quarter, was rising:

Since I was already out-and-about and with cold feet, I decided to check out the nature trail at the Salt Marsh Nature Center, another place I’ve driven and boated by without stopping.

Here’s a parting shot of some cold ducks:


The Salt Marsh is worth checking out. I’ll be back when it’s warmer.

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The annual New Year’s Day polar bear swim took place at Coney Island yesterday. Although disappointed by the unseasonably warm day, hundreds of would-be polar bears (and assorted hangers-on) crawled from their dens and gathered on the beach:


The excitement was palpable as the gathered throng awaited the signal. And then—there it was! A ripple passed through the crowd as the swimmers raced to the water’s edge and plunged in:


Wave after wave of scantily clad bathers followed:


Looks like this guy would do it again:


It seems jumping into the Atlantic Ocean in January isn’t so bad as long as one wears the proper hat:

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