Our Celebrity Mandarin Duck at the Pond

So our fickle New York City media have decided that Mandy the Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) is the "most handsome" duck around and worthy of a spot on the local CBS news and in other media outlets (including The Times).

  Mandy the Mandarin Duck, the Pond, Central Park, October 28, 2018

Mandy the Mandarin Duck, the Pond, Central Park, October 28, 2018

Mandarin and wood ducks are the only two members of the Aix genus, which apparently denotes the most handsome ducks in the world. I agree that Mandy is very striking — one might even call him the Taylor Mac of the duck world — but I wouldn’t go so far to say he is the most handsome! As you can see from these side-by-side photos, Woody still rules the Pond!

  Mandy the Mandarin Duck, the Pond, October 28, 2018

Mandy the Mandarin Duck, the Pond, October 28, 2018

  Woody Woody Duck, Prince of the Pond, October 28, 2018

Woody Woody Duck, Prince of the Pond, October 28, 2018

Now for those of you who might think that Mandy is the first Mandarin duck to appear in Central Park, here is a photo from March 18, 2016, of a Mandarin duck in the Central Park Zoo, which is just a hop and a skip away (if you have long legs or wings) from the Pond where Woody lives. I haven't visited recently, so don't know if this little duck is still in residence, but just so you know ...

  Mandarin Duck, Central Park Zoo, March 18, 2016

Mandarin Duck, Central Park Zoo, March 18, 2016

The Filming the Feathers video shows both Mandy and the Central Park Mandarin duck, and is set to music by Keven MacLeod and Shane Ivers.

Mandy 1500 10-28-2018 042P.jpg
Mandy 1500 10-28-2018 061P.jpg

Whale-Watching on the American Princess

My birthday present for myself was a trip on the American Princess, which departed at noon on August 23 from Riis Landing on Jamaica Bay, to see humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). We had a very successful adventure, seeing at least two different whales blowing air and coming out of the water. I took video throughout, and I share with you the video compilation and stills pulled from the video.

  Humpback whale, seen from the American Princess, August 23, 2018

Humpback whale, seen from the American Princess, August 23, 2018

  Humpback whale seen from the American Princess, August 23, 2018

Humpback whale seen from the American Princess, August 23, 2018

The video, very shaky because I was, after all, on a boat in the ocean and hand-holding the camera, is set to music by Audionautrix.

Gotham Whale, a whale research and advocacy organization, has become concerned about potential overfishing of the menhaden, or bunker, fish the whales love. According to Gotham Whale:

“The Omega Fleet recently has been fishing just outside the 3-mile limit of NY/NJ.  They are fishing legally, but we believe threaten the local population of bunker in the area where whales feed.”

The Gotham Whale policy:

“While supporting long term regulatory and policy changes in the actions below, we believe that influencing the Omega Company directly could have an immediate and beneficial effect.  Our strategy is to direct public attention to the problem and exert pressure in terms of public relations for Omega Protein.  We hope the Company will see fit to find other fishing grounds.  Our suggestion would be to fish at least 20 miles from the entrance of NY Harbor.  Gotham Whale has been documenting humpback feeding in this area since 2011 and we would like it to continue.  We are also appealing to the owners of Omega Protein to further persuade them to leave the bunker for the whales.”

To sign the petition, visit: https://gothamwhale.org/petition1/

Summer Splendor at Snug Harbor

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden is a wonderful retreat on Staten Island that offers 23 historical buildings, including museums, cultural institutions, and nine botanical gardens on 83 acres just a short bus ride from the Staten Island ferry terminal at St. George. I visited on August 10 for the first time, and was rewarded with so many gorgeous flower photos, plus some nice bugs and butterflies. I've now added a Snug Harbor page to this Web site, which you can visit for even more flowers and insects.

  My favorite shot from August 10 at Snug Harbor

My favorite shot from August 10 at Snug Harbor

Below are some of the flowers and bugs I loved seeing. I tried in many shots to get as deep inside the bloom as I could, as well as to show the "landscape" of a flower. And I was so excited to get shots of the sulphur butterfly, as well as monarchs.

  The "landscape" of a flower

The "landscape" of a flower

  Deep inside a bloom

Deep inside a bloom

  The interior offers color, and a bug

The interior offers color, and a bug

  Sulphur butterfly

Sulphur butterfly

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  Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly