Merry Christmas 2017!!!

Christmas lasts all year long in Christmas Monsterland, and now, after the daily videos have appeared on Facebook, they are coming to the Chronicler's Tales and the PM Saga Web site! It has been a joy to share Christmas in New York 2017!

  The Tree! at Rockefeller Center, Christmas 2017

The Tree! at Rockefeller Center, Christmas 2017

  South Street Seaport, Christmas 2017

South Street Seaport, Christmas 2017

Part 1 of Christmas in New York 2017 — O, Christmas Trees! — features the big trees flickering around New York City. There are many more huge trees than are shown here, but these are a nice representation. We see the Rockefeller Center tree, the Money Trees (Bloomberg Tower, Wall Street's tree in front of the New York Stock Exchange, the trees in the atrium of J.P. Morgan), the tree at Bryant Park with its huge reflecting ornaments (and some birdies thrown in for comfort and joy), the art in the arch at Washington Square, the tree at South Street Seaport heralded by a Sea of Light, the designer trees at Brookfield Place, and more lights at Madison Square Park.

Here are some photos from this collection. First, some shots from the Rockefeller Center tree and the decorations surrounding it.

The trees in the video really photograph well!

  Madison Square Park, Christmas 2017

Madison Square Park, Christmas 2017

Here Comes Santa Claus!

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is the unofficial launch of the Christmas season in New York City. Yes, some of the stores have already put up decorations and installed their holiday windows, but until Santa Claus arrives at Herald Square on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas isn't really on the horizon in the Big Apple!

  Santa Claus at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Nov. 23

Santa Claus at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Nov. 23

I went to the parade on November 23, and though I was somewhat back of the crowd at 72nd Street and Central Park West, I managed to film the balloons and some of the tops of the floats. No chance to really see the marching bands (until I ran down to Sixth Avenue and Central Park South to see Santa a second time). I set the parade movie to some fun music from the YouTube Audio Library.

I don't go to the parade every year. It is just too stressful. (I almost lost it with an alpha male who complained that I was bumping into him when I lifted my camera to film — maybe he had a point, but his complaint was so hostile and threatening, and he was in a crowded area where one would definitely expect to be bumped — so I tried to move away from his as best I could.)

  Harold the Baseball Player

Harold the Baseball Player

But all in all, it was fun to see the balloons and watch the kids wave back to the people on the floats.

Terns With Crowns

My love affair with shorebirds continues!

  Royal tern, Midland Beach, Staten Island, November 2

Royal tern, Midland Beach, Staten Island, November 2

A group of royal terns (Thalasseus maximus) is called a "highness." That seems appropriate for birds with crowns! I had a chance to watch two highnesses of royal terns on October 31 and November 2, 2017, at Midland Beach on Staten Island.  I also saw a single royal tern at Broad Channel American Park in Queens on October 17, 2017. You can compare the royal terns with the common terns and Forster's terns on the Cornell site. The royal terns are the second largest of the terns (after the Caspian tern), and have distinctive black crests and orange bills.

  Royal tern, Midland Beach, October 31

Royal tern, Midland Beach, October 31

Royal 1500 11-2-2017 SI 213P.jpg
Royal 1500 10-31-2017 SI 007P.jpg
  Royal terns on Midland Beach, November 2

Royal terns on Midland Beach, November 2

What was particularly fun to watch, as you'll see in the Filming the Feathers video, was the young royal terns persistently discussing world affairs with other terns (actually, it was probably a demand for food from a parent). The young bird would follow the older bird around, chirping and complaining. The older bird most often looked as if she wanted nothing to do with the conversation. (Males and female look the same.) At one point (around minute 7 in the video), you can see one insistent youngster slipping, falling, and getting up without a break and continuing the conversation. I used music by Henry Purcell arranged for recorders and performed by Papalin. But I've also left in the sound of the wind, the waves and the loud conversations.

This group of photos was pulled from the video. The photos show flight and displaying behavior.

This group of photo features photos from October 31 and November 2. More photos can be found on the Royal Terns page.