Journal archives for April 2024

April 04, 2024

Birds in my highly urban Backyard in NYC

Maybe it is because we are in spring now, but I have been seeing more birds in the backyard in the Upper East Side of Manhattan recently. The backyard here is not good habitat, very urban, no bare soil, no grass, no plantings at all-- it is all concrete and brick with three weed trees. There is one large Ailanthus tree, and a smaller one, as well as a medium-sized White Mulberry tree.

Further west in the backyards along 77th and 78th Streets there is a large stand of bamboo, a Saucer Magnolia, and an American Elm, as well as several more Ailanthus trees, one with quite a lot of ivy growing on it.

Blue Jay.
Saw one today, the first for a very long time.

Northern Cardinal.
I managed to photograph one today after failing to photograph the one that was in the backyard the two previous mornings.

Mourning Doves.
I usually see a few Mourning Doves each day. Back when I still had the bird feeder I got as many as 20 mourning doves each day. The coop board made me remove the bird feeder as it ended up attracting pigeons.

House Finches.
Yesterday I saw three of them in the morning. Two were males.

House Sparrows.
Not surprising to see a few of them.

Feral Pigeons.
Usually I get a couple of these in the mornings.

Posted on April 04, 2024 07:13 PM by susanhewitt susanhewitt | 11 observations | 8 comments | Leave a comment

April 20, 2024

The small beach at RestHaven is currently hard to reach

On Friday I went to the RestHaven Ruins, which are just outside Charlestown on the Old Hospital Road. If you can get through to the little beach there, there is often very good rarer-quality small-size shell drift washed up there.

However, the whole area has grown up a lot since last year with saplings, thorny acacia bushes and bull nettles, and it is now surprisingly difficult to make your way across the site, even just because of the extremely tough tall grass that grows there.

In the old days there was a flock of goats who lived there, and they made very good paths through the whole area, paths about 1 foot wide.

but for us, when we were trying to cross the area. we walked over a fire ant nest, and I got bitten on my left ankle 20 times. Ouch!

In the end, Nikki and I had to give up and go back to the parking lot by the Cholera gravyard, and then drive from there over to the old tennis courts.

From the tennis counts it was possible, although not super easy, to make your way down to the north end of the little sandy beach.

The shelling was pretty good once you got there, although by no means was it the best I have ever seen it. When it is at its best it can be really mind-blowing in terms of richness and variety.

The worst thing was that when we walked over the Fire Ant nest I got liberally bitten by Fire Ants all around my ankles. i got 20 bites just on my left ankle. They all have yellow/white blisters on them now. Yikes!

Posted on April 20, 2024 09:49 PM by susanhewitt susanhewitt | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Going to the rich end of Cockleshell Bay on St. Kitts

Today I went on the 9 am water taxi across the Narrows to Cockleshell Bay with my good friend Nikki Johnson. She is a biology teacher and is very good at finding unusual seashells.

We stayed on Cockleshell almost 2 hours. The big rich patch of shell drift which has accumulated at the north end of Cockleshell Bay is still really quite good, although crawling around on that lumpy, shelly, rocky, gravely surface is far from easy or pleasant even using my good-quality knee and elbow pads. Next time I come I will also wear thick linen pants and a thick linen shirt to help protect my arms and legs.

We found quite a good selection of species, although without checking my old lists, I don't know how many of the species we found today are new to the overall St. Kitts list. I hope at least a few of them are. I will ask Ed if he can ask the hotel office to print out a draft of the new St. Kitts paper when he finds it tomorrow.

Posted on April 20, 2024 10:00 PM by susanhewitt susanhewitt | 15 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 24, 2024

Nature walk on Oualie Bay

During my vacation trip to Nevis, when I don't go out on a special visit somewhere, instead I walk around the hotel grounds on this bay of the northwestern part of this tiny island. I try to find as many interesting organisms as I can to photograph, ranging from the hotel cat to a house fly.

Posted on April 24, 2024 10:24 PM by susanhewitt susanhewitt | 25 observations | 2 comments | Leave a comment