Archive | July, 2013

New York-Day 4-June 19

31 Jul

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The plaque in the garden commemorating the Commonwealth victims on 9/11. Although the main 9/11 memorial is pristine local workers us this garden for a fag [cigarette] break as witnessed by the discarded tab ends.

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Plaque remembering the American fallen of the Vietnam war. One of the good things Harold Wilson PM did was keep the UK out of this one.

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The main Vietnam memorial. Some very moving inscriptions including passages from letters written home by GIs.

Took the Staten Island Ferry mainly for the Statue of Liberty

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Manhattan from Staten Island Ferry.

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Ferry berthed at Staten Island

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Another Staten Island Ferry going the other way

Had a look round the National Museum of the American Indian in the 1907 Custom House. A very good exhibition and free. I am English and we don’t take pictures in museums but took a few of the building.

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 Christopher Columbus in 1907 Custom House-rather poignant considering it now houses the American Indian Museum.

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Interior of 1907 Custom House

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Street performers near Brooklyn Bridge. Very entertaining but didn’t have the time to watch the full act.

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Started walking across Brooklyn Bridge but very busy and hoardings, due to maintenance  work, blocked the view of the actual river crossing so turned back.

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Brooklyn bridge

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Beekman Building. Interesting architecture as from some angles looks like it been “bent” by a collision . A bit weird when so close to the 9/11 site.

Did a rather pointless “Lonely Planet” tour of film locations this afternoon, including Holly Golightly’s apartment then had another quick walk through Central Park where I added Eastern Kingbird to the trip list.

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Common Grackle-Central Park.

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Chocolate statue for a same sex wedding.

New York-Day 3-June 18

29 Jul


On Tuesday took the subway to Coney Island to visit Nathan’s and sample the famous frankfurters. Instead I had chips [french-fries] with a disgusting liquid “cheese”.

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The other thing Coney Island is famous for is the fun fair.

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At least I had the chance to photograph some gulls on the beach.

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Ring-billed Gull

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Laughing Gull

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American Herring Gull

Ventured onto the beach to get shots of birds on the rocks. Always feel like a voyeur going onto beaches with scantily clad women!

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Double-crested Cormorants, American Herring Gulls and Ring-billed Gull.

From Coney Island headed to Grand Central Station.

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Grand Station Station main atrium.

Next was the UN building.

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Biblical inscription opposite UN building. Great ideal but no sign yet of it being heeded.

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The UN building.

Then headed to the Empire State Building, timing our visit to coincide with sunset

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Empire State building from the “sidewalk”.

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Where’s King Kong?

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The Flat Iron building

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Macy’s

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It’s a long way down!

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Manhattan all lit up including Chrysler Building

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Sunset over Manhattan

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Finally headed to Times Square.

IMG_0305US Force recruitment in Times Square

IMG_0306 My hero Bender

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I found Times Square a bit too much. The lights are so bright! Also very busy but it had been a long day.

Fen Bog and Transmire Bog

28 Jul


Following an aborted trip last year and with a prolonged period of hot weather Roy and I decided to head up to North Yorkshire for Keel Skimmer on Monday 22 July. Initially didn’t look too good with low cloud but this burnt off before reaching Fen Bog. The car park is easily found off A169 almost opposite the Flyingdales RAF base [remember the iconic golf balls  but don’t know what the current structure is known as] and just south of the turn off to Gouthland. For details check here. Immediately found several fritillary butterflies, but checking the picture later were only Small Pearl Bordered, only one I’ve previously seen.

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Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary-Fen Bog

Also our 1st Keeled Skimmer.

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Keeled Skimmer-female-Fen Bog-my only picture due to battery failure. All others are Roy’s.

On entering the reserve proper immediately had a male Keeled Skimmer which was very settled, only flying to defend it’s territory from another male.

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Keeled Skimmer-male-Fen Bog

Also had a “hawker” presumed to be Southern. Only birdlife was Swallow, Chaffinch and Meadow Pipit. The North Yorkshire Railway passes the edge of the reserve so we had regular sightings of steam locomotives.

Moved on to Transmire where we had several close sightings of Golden-ringed Dragonflies on the stream. Good for me as I’d only had flight views previously.

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Golden-ringed Dragonfly-Tranmire Bog

Transmire itself is quite inconspicuous as it’s only a small depression close to the stream. It’s only on closer inspection you discover it’s boggy. Check here for directions. Several more Keeled Skimmers here, including a female found by Roy in grass, as described in the books. Also a good Southern Hawker.

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Keeled Skimmers-Transmire-male above, female below.

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Much better birding with, as well as Chaffinch and Meadow Pipit, a family party of Grey Wagtail and a few Siskin including a very bright male.

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Siskin-male-Transmire

Again a few Small Pearl Border Fritillaries.

[Editorial note-Any regular visitors to this blog will hopefully notice an improvement in picture quality as I’ve found the button that increases the size. Also anyone following my New York trip report can relax as I will post another episode soon.]

New York-Day 2-June 17

6 Jul

On our first full day we headed to central Manhattan

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1st sight of Chrysler Building

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Started the day with dried tomato and cream cheese on onion bagel at Ess-a-Bagel. Considered the best bagels in New York and certainly the best I had on this trip.

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Great Blue Skimmer seen from Dylan’s Candy Bar. A temple to tooth decay.

Had my first look at Central late afternoon. Very busy and not with other birders but managed a few birds. Had brief view of a pair of Baltimore Orioles, a new one for me.

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Mourning Dove

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NYPD patrol car.

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House Sparrow. The commonest bird in New York next being Starling and Rock Dove.

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American Robin. The most abundant American bird. Seems to fills the same niche as Blackbird in the UK, even sings similar. An American tick.

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Northern Cardinal

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View from Central Park.

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Plaque in Strawberry Fields,Central Park. 

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The tribute to John Lennon in Central Park. Among the objects are a model Yellow Submarine, Walrus and John Lennon style sun-glasses.

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The building where John Lennon had his apartment. 

New York-Day 1-16 June.

2 Jul

Flew from Manchester airport early Sunday morning arriving JFK early afternoon. Took the subway which was a fraction of the fare paid by the rest of the party by taxi. Advise: if taking a taxi from the airport get the price first. Found the ride great. Along the way started my trip list with Laughing Gull, Starling, Osprey, Mute Swan and Rock Dove.

After settling into our hotel “91 Chinatown” took a walk into ‘The Financial District”.

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Statue in Chinatown.

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Dog statue-DOGNY-tribute to search and rescue dogs used in the aftermaths of 9/11.

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First view of Empire State building.

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Tribute to 9/11 firefighters

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Firefighters “who made the supreme sacrifice on 9/11”.

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Memorial to firefighters who died on 9/11 [half the New Yorks force].

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Another memorial to 9/11 firefighters.

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National September 11 memorial pool

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The other National September 11 memorial pool.

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The Wall Street Bull

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New Yorks Stock Exchange

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George Washington                                      Confucius

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‘The canyons of Manhattan”

Managed my 1st American Robin walking back to the hotel. A US but not Life tick having seen 2 in Britain.

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The entrance to Little Italy