"Prospect Park in the Dark" was an event for park members and families Friday night. As sunset lingered, we gathered at the Audubon Center in the Boat House. The duckweed has almost covered the lake.
After a briefing on nocturnal urban nature by author Marie Winn, we traipsed out to see twilight on the wing. Saw the family of mute swans, three green herons, a cardinal foraging in a trash can, chimney swifts, and what I call the "mocha" ducks, a streaky hybrid of mallards and white eatin' ducks (which are close enough to mallards to interbreed).
The mocha ducks have the distinctive curly tail "cowlick" of the mallards. Thanks to guide Gabriel Willow and electric boat Independence captain Jim for a silent glide across the lake.
Next, it was on to look for bats, with Brooklyn's "bat man" Paul Keim and his trusty sonar detector.
On Paul's hand-held sonic decoder, we could hear the chittering signals of the little brown bats that swooped overhead. He said bats are a "keystone species": If they go, we go, because without them, the insects will take over the earth.
That was happening in the Nethermead, at a bug-viewing pavilion with a UV light, laptop and super-macro camera. The celebrity sighting of the night was this stag beetle. Earlier, lightning bugs had risen over the clover in ethereal clouds, just as the stars began to pop out overhead.
Here's a catbird singing (not meowing,
that was me), while our birding guide tells us stuff in the background. Bird starts singing at 12 seconds in, and ignores the commentary with aplomb.