Tuesday, April 15, 2008

thank goodness for Free Tuesdays

I only had to go into work for 2:00 today, so Chrissy and I took a jaunt over to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to take advantage of its wonderful "free on Tuesdays" policy. The sun was bright and strong, but the air was just cool enough for long sleeves or a light jacket. I wanted to see if the cherry trees had blossomed yet, but I think that won't happen for a few more weeks. But splashes of color are rising up everywhere; the magnolias are going strong, a few weeping-style cherries are in bloom, and the tulips are about to pop open any day now. The garden had a much different feel in the winter - very still, even dormant, as though the plants had shut down to minimum function to conserve energy. On this visit, I had the distinct feeling that I was surrounded by potential energy, as though the plants have a happy secret to tell and might burst from the energy required to keep it quiet.

I saw a lot of the usual suspects like robins and starlings. Now that I recognize white-throated sparrows, I can see them everywhere. That may just be because their numbers are up for the season, but it feels that way with new information sometimes - now that I know, I can't not see.
Walking on the Celebrity Path near the pond, I spotted a yellow-bellied sapsucker in a tree nearby, but lost sight of it when it flew below a ridge. I spent the most time in the Native Flora Garden, where I saw a few things I couldn't identify and which were gone too quickly for note-making. I did see a northern flicker fly around the area a few times, its yellow underwings perhaps the most colorful part of the Native Flora Garden at this time of year. I also saw a thrush and this time took more time to make mental notes of what it had and didn't have for field marks - dark brown chest spots, no spectacles, dark eye with thin, complete white eye ring, a redder tail than back. A hermit thrush! It was nice to do a better job with this thrush than my earlier one at Central Park.

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