Saturday, November 26, 2011

Occupy the Marina

I'm curious about the mystery birds that occupy the marina these days. So far I've been unable to identify them. Most of the time I see them at twilight, when it's too dark to get a good look or take a good a picture. I got these pictures the other day which shows them a bit more clearly.

Cloud Nine
They sit on the raft by Cloud Nine that the ducks used to occupy. They are very large birds that almost have the shape of a hawk.


The birds can be seen swinging on the rope that ties the boat to the dock.

Gulls just like to have fun.


I watched one bird expertly swoop into the water and come up with a fish. They act like gulls but they don't exactly look like gulls. Could they be some other kind of water bird or maybe mutant gigantic seagulls? They seem to enjoy their isolation, whereas most gulls stick together in large flocks.
Spotting the fish
Making the dive

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Squirrel's Thanksgiving

The wonderful neighborhood store that is the source of our nuts.

Picking peanuts
Fill 'er up


Thanksgiving Feast

Squirrels galore

the feast

Squirrel watcher

beep beep!

The lady squirrel in the rose garden

an elegant perch

 "gray trash"

She's Gotta Have It

All the squirrels were grateful for their Thanksgiving feast, but Spunky was particularly enthusiastic and -- uh, demanding!

me me me me!!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

My Baby Book

My Baby Book
By Alphie the Squirrel

They call me an Alpha Squirrel because I have such a great personality.
Hello World!

The place where I was born 
Up in the Orange Tree
 My baby fur

My twin sister Betie. 

Mommy moved to another tree, but comes back to visit whenever my new Mom arrives to feed us. We get all kinds of yummy nuts. 
Our Mommy
 My new Mom takes lots of pictures. She thinks I'm cute.  

Posing in my birthday suit
 We like to play the peanut game where mom throws a peanut and I catch it, then I run off and bury it some place far away. We play this game over and over again until Mom gets tired. I never get tired, because I have boundess energy. It's REALLY FUN!
Bring it on!
My first peanut butter cracker 
Mmm... sinfully delicious.
Now if I could just get some Nutella* on this...
 life would be perfect!
* Alphie will NOT be getting any Nutella, because chocolate can be dangerous to small animals who may not be able to metabolize it properly. We know it does not work for dogs, and wouldn't want to take any chances with squirrels. 


Monday, November 7, 2011

Where Have All the Pigeons Gone?

Long time passing!

Actually, I'm not sure how long it's been, since today was the first day that I was fully aware of the fact that there were no pigeons clustering around as I fed the squirrels.  I think it may have been a while since I'd seen them, but I just hadn't been paying attention. I did notice today though, as I sat on the bench in the park by the east flagpole, that they were not there on the periphery as they usually are, hoping for a handout -- anything but a peanut, as they are unable to break the shell. There was not a single pigeon to be seen anywhere on that side of the park!

Then I went back to the Orange Tree and noticed there were no pigeons there either. How strange. Seems like they've flown the coop, but where would they go? Pigeons don't fly south! Whoever heard of such a thing? Someone, please tell me, where are the PCV pigeons?

What brought the pigeons to mind was this really huge bird that was sitting on the raft by Cloud Nine in the marina yesterday. This bird was no pigeon. At first I thought it must be one of the ducks, but soon realized that it was a bird, and much larger than any duck. Then I thought it might be a hawk, but I'm really not sure if it was. It did not really look like the red-tailed hawks that we often see (ugh) at PCV.

Unfortunately my camera battery was dead, and anyway it was twilight, too dark for a picture.  I managed to scare the bird away with my stares, and then  noticed a similar but somewhat smaller bird "swinging" back and forth on a rope that tethered the Cloud Nine to the dock. It looked like it was having fun there, if birds can have fun. This must have been the other bird's companion. I'll keep looking on Google to see if I can find a similar bird. It was large, gray and had white specks where its wings folded into its body. The coloring and markings were similar to the mother duck, but this was no duck!

Autumn in New York

It's been a late autumn this year, but we're finally getting some pretty fall foliage at Peter Cooper Village.

Playground Squirrel (in foreground)

It's that time of year when I love taking invigorating walks and enjoying that wonderful air that smells of leaves and apples. But this year I can still smell the Stuytown Stench which, unfortunately is also the Peter Cooper Village Stench. I believe they've laid down yet another layer of that stinky stuff, and there seem to be rings of it around all of the squirrels' trees. They are constantly burying their noses in there, as squirrels do.

Angels with Dirty Faces
WTF is that smell? It sure ain't dirt!

Does it bother them as much as it bothers me, I wonder? It certainly ruined the smells of summer for me, and now it's ruining the smells of fall.
The Autumn Leaves
Aside from that unpleasantness, it's fun hearing the squirrels scampering through the leaves on the ground. Squirrels are extremely sensitive to rustling sounds. For example, when I rustle a plastic bag containing nuts, it makes
nearby squirrels jump sky high and head for the hills no matter how hungry they were a moment ago! The rustling of leaves must be greatly magnified in their tiny ears, as they are constantly leaping and twirling about at the sound, which of course makes even more noise! Add to that the fact that the cooler weather gives them bigger appetites, and they're jumping and jostling one another much more than usual, vying for nuts. They bully the babies terribly, so I have to make extra sure the little ones get their fair share. My pleasure...  they love me for that :)

Peanut Boy
There's a new kid on the block, who rides his bicycle around with a bag of peanuts hanging from the handlebars, throwing peanuts everywhere.  What a delightful idea! Needless to say, the squirrels love it. They're fascinated by contraptions of any sort to begin with. Whenever I bring my cart over they love climbing over it and under it.  I think they are basically bored most of the time and need more stimulation, as they are very intelligent creatures.

Peanut Boy

Like an ice crean truck - there's  even a bell!

Peanuts anyone?

Pleased to meetcha, peanut boy!

Teen Terrorists
On a less pleasant note there are some young people who apparently enjoy terrorizing squirrels. I snapped a few pictures of two girls who were going up to the base of the trees to yell and scream at the squirrels. I saw them doing this in the park by the front gate and started following them.

When I saw them approach the Orange Tree where Alphie and Betie live, I rushed over.

They started their yelling and screaming routine.

Then they noticed me, and seemed to know what I was doing, because they tried to avert the camera.  I did manage to get this picture.

two terrible teenagers
Then they quickly walked away.

Good riddance, girls.