Archive | September, 2013

New York-Last Day-Lower Manhattan.

11 Sep

Lacking time to go up town and also 23 June was very hot and we were feeling tired so just had walk into Lower Manhattan on our last day.

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City Hall-unfortunately post 9/11 access and therefore viewing is restricted.

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Grey Squirrel in City Hall park. Unfortunately like many New York parks it is used by vagrants making you feel uncomfortable about staying around too long.

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Can’t remember the exact site just like this picture.

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African Burial Grounds-Wanted to visit this site but was too tired to map read and just stumbled across it. In the early days of the city, African people, both slaves and free, had to be buried outside the city walls. With the expansion of the city the burials were disturbed and the remains were re-interred along with a memorial.

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The above are symbols on the memorial which had meaning to the various tribal groups shipped from Africa to America as slaves.

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A floral tribute on one of the re-burial mounds. Had my last American Robin in flight here. To me the bird of New York.

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New York Supreme Court-My last photo in New York.

Tried to visit the large Buddhist temple on our way back to our hotel but weren’t made welcome.

Never thought I’d visit this great city and when I did make plans to go it was to accompany a relative and I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it. However although I’m not a city person I had a great time. If I did it again I’d make more time and plan what I’d want see in the the museums and galleries. Also I try to do some more serious birding in Central Park and spend a full day at Jamaica Bay Refuge.

Bird list for the trip

Double-crested Cormorant

Black-crowned Night-heron

Snowy Egret

Great White Egret

Glossy Ibis

Mute Swan

Canada Goose

Mallard

American Oystercatcher

Laughing Gull

Ring-billed Gull

American Herring Gull

Great Black-backed Gull

Common Tern

Least Tern

American Black Skimmer

Osprey

Rock Dove

Mourning Dove

Chimney Swift

Eastern Kingbird

Tree Swallow

Barn Swallow

Blue Jay

American Robin

Gray Catbird

Cedar Waxwing

European Starling

Yellow Warbler

Northern Cardinal

Red-winged Blackbird

Brown-headed Cowbird

Common Grackle

Baltimore Oriole

House Sparrow

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New York-Day 6+7-June 21+22-American Museum of Natural History and Jamaica Bay Refuge.

6 Sep


On Friday 21 June visited the American Museum of Natural History. Very easy to get there as you can access directly from the subway station. However then followed a lot of queuing, the cause discovered as we reached the paying desk. Instead of just paying your money and going in you have to specify which extra paid for exhibitions  you want to see and this takes time. Getting in we had to quickly navigate to our 1st “extra”. This was the planetarium where we had a very good show voiced by Whoopi Goldberg. Next was a film on how the migration of the Monarch butterfly was worked out. Although very interesting it was just like watching a nature documentary on the big screen. Then had time to look round the early human history then geology section. Our final “extra” was the frogs. Very enjoyable picking out a perfusion of multi-coloured amphibians often well hidden. Got into a conversation with a member of staff. Very interesting but ate into the diminishing time left to see the rest of the exhibits. Rushed round the fossil exhibits. Here my English reserve broke down and I took some photos, mainly to show to my niece who had moved on to San Francisco.

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Finally had a rushed look at the bird dioramas before the museum closed. Went into Central Park but felt we’d finally had enough of crowds.

On Saturday 22 June, our last full day, took the subway to West Bay and Jamaica Bay Refuge. Good to get away from the crowds and do some proper birding. Between the station and the reserve had a small flock of Brown-headed Cowbirds.

Simular to my experience in Florida found the volunteers in the centre of little help regarding what was about.

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Cedar Waxwing were present in good numbers despite being listed as uncommon in summer in the refuge bird list.

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A surprise new bird was Tree Swallow [below] which breeds in good numbers in boxes around the reserve [above].

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The breeding pair of Osprey [below] were a star attraction on the refuge. Interesting to see the nest with New York behind [above].

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Great White Heron

Other birds seen were:-

Laughing Gull

Glossy Ibis

Great Black-backed Gull

Black-crowned Night-heron

Starling

Barn Swallow

Red-winged Blackbird

Snowy Egret

American Herring Gull

Mute Swan

Common Grackle

Canada Goose

American Oystercatcher

Least Tern American

Black Skimmer

Double-crested Cormorant

Yellow Warbler

Common Tern

American Robin

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Cactus flowers

Also several butterflies but only managed to photo one [below]. Currently not named.

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Walking back to the station had a Gray Catbird, another new bird. Continued to the end of the line. As an original Ramones fan had to pay homage to Rockaway Beach.

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Rockaway Beach.

Timed our train back unfortunately to coincide was the mass exodus from the beach and ended up in a packed train but at least our fellow traveller were for several stops exclusively young enough to be my kids!

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For our last night had a great meal in Little Italy.