The Urgency of Fall

Remember how I used to have that blog and I was all into birds an’ junk? I still do! And I’m still into birds! And junk! I just haven’t posted in a while.

Fall came. I’d like to say it crept up on me, but that’s not really true. I had a long full summer. It didn’t rush headlong after the fourth of July like it usually does.

To mark the return of Fall (begrudgingly), and my birthday (also begrudgingly), my friend Dayna suggested that we go out to Jamaica Bay. A capital idea. I wanted to toss a bottle there. And I also like looking at birds. And junk.

Cormorants using a platform intended for osprey. Don't worry, I saw a ospery and he didn't look homeless.

I was sort of thinking about the change of season, thinking more about getting bagels really. But when we got to Jamaica Bay, Fall in all it’s garish glory snapped my foggy head to attention.

People love to wax poetic about Spring. To be honest, I’ve never been much of a fan of Spring. It just makes me impatient for Summer. Summer’s totally better. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the beauty of Spring. But where Spring is a clear crystal needle of a note piercing the Winter, Fall is a shout. A howl. All timidity gone, calling in reckless abandon, “Take me! Take me! This is it! These are my seeds! I made them for you!”  This is the season where bucks crash through school windows, charge cars, polishing their antlers, forgetting to eat.

You can see it in every plant. So blatant. So garish. Spring is the prettiest girl at the bar. Her hair just so, sipping her wine, confident that her radiance will bring others to her. Fall, on the other hand, is ten whiskeys in, on top of the table, tearing her shirt open, screaming herself hoarse. She’s loved before, and baby, she’s going out with a bang.

Or at least that’s how I see it. This sumac?

Totally trying to get laid.

I didn’t alter the color of these berries at all:

Have you been to Jamaica Bay? I know I say this about every corner and pocket of the city, but really, Jamaica Bay is pretty special. You’d be shocked at the variety and sheer amount of birdlife you can see there.

Double-crested cormorants, a bunch of snowy egrets, a bunch of ducks (mallard, black, think I saw a shoveler but I didn’t really check hard), a black crowned night heron on the opposite side of the pond along with some introduced swans.

Jamaica Bay is so important to this city’s wildlife. We’ve lost most of our wetlands. Thought of as bad and useless land, they were largely drained and paved over. This was before we realized how valuable they were. Wetlands are extremely productive ecosystems. Which shouldn’t be surprising. It’s where the land meets the sea. Meeting points in general are pretty fertile ground, whether we’re talking about people or ecosystems, ideas or oysters.

What remains of Jamaica Bay is still vital, is still productive, and is more important than ever.  Flooded twice a day by the tide, Jamaica Bay is a beating heart of nature in New York, providing the lifeblood to countless animals that live there, radiate out, and pass through in migration. Without these undeveloped stretches, where would we dump our bodies? Without all that wildlife, how would they be so thoroughly disposed of?

Look! It’s my old friend, Beachjunx!

Did you know that New York has native cactus?

Well it does. Prickly pear is native to almost every state in the union. Tumbleweed on the other hand?…

I thought these were only native to Red Hook. I used to have a quite lovely but lonely studio there and joked about how it was just me, a cat, and some tumbleweeds. Little did I know, even they had abandoned me for greener pastures. Seriously though, anyone have any idea that we had/have tumbleweeds here? It smells really good. Have it at my apartment now.

So I had a bottle with me, but for some reason it just didn’t feel right. I just didn’t want to toss it there for some reason. The weather had cleared so after Jamaica Bay, we decided to check out Floyd Bennett Field. Here’s some goldenrod really living up to its name:

And here’s a guy living up to his boat’s name. Chillin’. Enjoying the day. This dude rules.

Suspenders even?

A beautiful, mournful looking kestrel. You can see these little raptors in the city quite a bit.

After Floyd Bennett we went somewhere I’ve been meaning to revisit for a while. Four Sparrow Marsh. I have quite a personal history with the place and I will go deeper into it in a later post.

Here’s a picture of a song sparrow that I took that day. One of the eponymous sparrows of this park.

You need to be prepared for some bushwackin’ with Four Sparrow and the mosquitoes are  biblical. We didn’t have bug repellent and Dayna didn’t have appropriate footwear for a proper trek, so we just ducked a little ways in. But then! A fox! A red fox in the brush! I never expected to see one in Brooklyn. After one look at me he quickly (slyly?!) slinked off. Here’s where he/she was:

Seeing the fox was quite a good birthday present. I didn’t even toss the bottle. Don’t worry though, it gets tossed soon.

2 Responses to “The Urgency of Fall”

  1. 1 Rony November 11, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    Yes yes and yes. More please,

  2. 2 Meemsnyc March 2, 2012 at 5:46 AM

    I totally have to make my way out to Jamaica Bay in the spring. I can’t believe all those birds are there! So incredibly cool. I have only seen a red fox once. In upstate NY. What a treat to see one in Brooklyn.

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