Thursday, October 30, 2014


Ed Gaillard: insects &emdash; Monarch Butterfly, Central Park
Monarch Butterfly

To celebrate our anniversary last Saturday, Elena and I went to Central Park.  We got married in the Conservancy Garden, in a downpour; this year, it was bright and sunny, with the North Garden in riotous bloom and a bunch of Monarch Butterflies.

Ed Gaillard: insects &emdash; Monarch Butterfly, Central Park
a riot of color

We counted at least nine in the North Garden, and another half-dozen in the rest of the Park.  That's more Monarchs than I've seen in one day in at least three years.  Maybe Monsanto hasn't quite managed to drive them extinct yet.

Before the garden, we walked down Harlem Meer from 110th Street.  A couple of Ruddy Ducks dozed on the Meer, and kinglets, Song Sparrows, and Hermit Thrushes were abundant.  Then we saw this:

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Turkey Vultures, Central Park
Most people wouldn't consider this a good omen for a wedding anniversary. We're different!

First, four Turkey Vultures drifted over the Meer from the northwest.  Minutes later, they were joined by a flock of at least twenty, who kettled up over the North Woods.  I've never seen a big group like that over the Park.

The vultures headed south--I saw a couple of other reports later of a group of 4 followed by 25 farther downtown.

Up on the Mount near the compost area, there were a flock of Chipping Sparrows (I was unable to turn any of them into Clay-Colored Sparrows by simple force of will, alas), and my first Fox Sparrow of the season.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Fox Sparrow, Central Park
crazy like a Fox Sparrow

On the path back down to the Conservancy Garden were a bunch more Kinglets, mostly Golden-Crowned.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Golden-Crowned Kinglet, Central Park
Whaddaya want? I'm busy, here.

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