Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Red-tails,Raccoons, Screech Owls, Pigeons, and Lots of Creepy Crawlies Part II

After sniffing the air, the rest of the sandwich is above him but he doesn't see it. He stands on his hind legs and lustily bats the vegetation. Nothing. Okay, that's it. Enough with the appetizers. It's time for the main course. He scampers across the path.

Swiftly he climbs the fence and then turns around.

And just what might be in this paper bag?

He finds something tasty, takes it in his mouth, quickly comes off the fence, and runs into the vegetation on the far side. By now Francois has appeared so we head out. What? Carol spots another raccoon in a tree just twenty steps away.

I walk under the arch and three young raccoons shoot back into a crevasse in the rock. Next outcropping there seems to be two raccoon families getting ready for their day, our night.

Just a wee bit further down the path and there are two more! Then I hear scolding birds. Are they going to make it easy for us to find the Screechs? James O'Brien has planted himself and is scrutinizing the trees inch by inch.

Actually it's a bit hard to tell just where all that ruckus is coming from. We all scan. Then it seems the songbirds have moved up the path or we slightly misjudged their position. Then an owl is spotted. Hooray!

The Robins and Catbirds get serious. Wait! Something moves, then something else. We've found TWO! James says, they're the juveniles. They triangulate, they do the bizarre Screech Owl stretch.

And as stretching is such a big move, we spot the THIRD!! They start taking short hops. They head for the water, we follow. We're able to observe them for almost an hour. We show passers-by, who are as usual delighted with the sighting.

We were lucky and as usual for owl watchers a grand time was had by all. Even though it was extremely hot and humid and due to the earlier rain in the day, the mosquitos were horrendously active. Eventually we loose the three owls as there is very little ambient light. In fact the air is downright thick. Hot, sweaty, bitten, but smiling we head back the way we had come.

I'm not sure who noticed the creepy crawlies first, perhaps it was James but the phrase with a cetain disbelieving interp, "What is THAT?" , became extremely popular there for a moment.

THAT as it turned out, was Millipedes. Hundreds of them. No actually THOUSANDS of them.

They were all over the gateposts.

They were all over the top of the wall.

They were all over the side of the wall.

And as we went closer in an attempt to take photos, there was a disturbing crunch, crunch under our feet--Sorry little fellas. Tthe sidewalk was carpeted with them as well. All converging on the millipede spawning area.

Was this all the millipedes in the park? How do they know when to meet? What about where to meet? Why the attraction to the stone in the wall? There is plenty of other stone inside the park.

We're all struggling to get a focus on them in the near pitch dark. Then someone's flash goes off. I cringe. Wait. These aren't birds or mammals. These are bugs and seem to care less about the flash.

So here's a shot where you can actually see them in detail.
So what do Millipedes do for a living? It turns out they process dirt. Yup, they process dirt.
Guess it's a good thing we have them or our dirt wouldn't get millipede processing. Who knew?

Dot, originally an orphaned chick with a dead nestmate, currently a very large cock pigeon who was handfed and Has some human habituation issues, sticks his head out of his doorway and attempts to think of ways to copulate with my daughter Sam's head. He has a thing for blondes.


Reward Nabs Pigeon Poacher in New York City

In Defense of Animals' Reward Gives Formerly Homeless Tipster A Fresh Start

New York, N.Y. - In Defense of Animals (IDA) announced today that the $2,500 reward IDA offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone netting pigeons in New York City has been claimed ."We are grateful to the tipster who will be receiving the $2,500 reward, and also to our New York City members whose donations made both the arrest and the reward possible," said IDA's East Coast Director Valerie Sicignano.

The reward was claimed by Desi Stewart. Stewart is a formerly homeless street sweeper employed by the Doe Fund, a charity that employs homeless New Yorkers to clean city streets. Stewart had read IDA's Reward Poster for Pigeon Netters in the morning and then, later that same day, witnessed a man spreading bird seed on the ground and netting a large number of pigeons on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

He immediately called The Department of Environmental Conservation who dispatched an officer to the scene. Officer Buckey arrived within moments and arrested the pigeon poacher. The Brooklyn resident named Isaac Gonzalez pleaded guilty in Manhattan Criminal Court on Thursday June 26th, 2008. He will have to pay three fines including one for pigeon netting.

Anyone witnessing a pigeon netting in the five boroughs of New York City should call New York State DEC Officer Joseph Pane at (718) 482-4941. The DEC is the lead Agency in New York City in regard to the pigeon netting investigation.
In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization located in San Rafael, Calif. dedicated to protecting animals' rights, welfare, and habitat through education, outreach, and our hands-on rescue facilities in Mumbai, India, Cameroon, Africa, and rural Mississippi.

1 comment:

Karen Anne said...

I hope those are big fines, and not just $25 or somesuch, or I suppose he'll be right back out there.