Croton Landing – Wild Rose

Certainly a Wild Rose, but I’m not entirely sure which one. I suspect it’s a Carolina Rose described by the USDA Forest Service as follows:

Carolina Rose is a member of the Rosaceae (Rose) family. The rose family includes well-known species as diverse as garden roses, strawberries, apples, peaches, and blackberries. Roses typically have leaves with 3 to 9 leaflets, stems with hooked prickles (“thorns”) and bristles, and upright or arching stems (canes). Flowers have a base petal number of five, with many cultivated roses showing a hundred or more petals.

Carolina rose usually has five or seven leaflets, but may have three, on leaf that is 10 to 15 centimeters (4 to 6 inches) long by 6 to 8 centimeters (2.4 to 3.2 inches) wide. The stems are upright, grayish on new growth, and brown on older branches. The plants spread by rhizome/root shoots and form small to large thickets from 0.5 to 1 m (18 to 40 inches) high. Flowers on Carolina rose are about 6 to 8 centimeters (2.5 to 3 inches) across, with five light pink petals and a yellow center. Flowers are generally borne singly on the ends of the current year’s growth. The sepals have glandular hairs on them (see photo). Prickles are few to numerous on the stem.

Carolina rose is a species of varied habitat occurring in dry soils in and at the edge of prairies, woodlands, and savannas, in fencerows and thickets, in upland forest, and dunes. It is found from Maine south to Florida, west to Texas, north to Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota. It also occurs in Canada from Ontario east to Nova Scotia. This rose can be confused with Virginia rose (R. virginiana). Virginia rose is less heavily armed, has leaves with seven to nine leaflets, and usually bears flowers on second or third year canes.

The species can be cultivated and is frequently sold by nurseries. It needs full sun to moderate shade. It is drought tolerant, but does best with regular watering in well-drained soils. The fruit or hip, rather tart, is edible, but is full of seeds and irritating hairs so should be carefully cleaned before consumption. Numerous species of bees visit this plant.

Taken with a Sony RX-100 M3.

Croton Landing – Red Winged Blackbird

Another (See also: Croton Landing – Killdeer) attempt at wildlife photography with a wholly inadequate focal length lens. Again the result is heavily cropped.

This is a red winged blackbird. I couldn’t help but be attracted to the bright splashes of color on the wings against the shiny black plumage of the rest of the bird. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology describes it as follows:

A stocky, broad-shouldered blackbird with a slender, conical bill and a medium-length tail. Red-winged Blackbirds often show a hump-backed silhouette while perched; males often sit with tail slightly flared.

Male Red-winged Blackbirds are hard to mistake. They’re an even glossy black with red-and-yellow shoulder badges. Females are crisply streaked and dark brownish overall, paler on the breast and often show a whitish eyebrow.

Male Red-winged Blackbirds do everything they can to get noticed, sitting on high perches and belting out their conk-la-ree! song all day long. Females stay lower, skulking through vegetation for food and quietly weaving together their remarkable nests. In winter Red-winged Blackbirds gather in huge flocks to eat grains with other blackbird species and starlings.

Look for Red-winged Blackbirds in fresh and saltwater marshes, along watercourses, water hazards on golf courses, and wet roadsides, as well as drier meadows and old fields. In winter, you can find them at crop fields, feedlots, and pastures.

Taken with a Sony RX-100 M3.

Croton Landing – Killdeer

I’m quite interested in wildlife photography, but I’ve always shied away from it. There are a couple of reasons for this. First I lack the patience. Second I don’t really have the right “gear”. While I would normally make the point the “gear” shouldn’t matter that much in this case I think it does. It seems to me that without a very long and fast telephone lens taking pictures of distant animals is very difficult. And acquiring such a lens seems to be very expensive. This picture was taken at the entirely inadequate 70mm equivalent maximum zoom of the Sony RX-100. It was then heavily cropped.

Still it did stimulate my interest. Maybe I’ll see if I can find an old Minolta AF lens at a reasonable price. Then I’ll only have to come to terms with the “lack of patience” issue. It might be a good challenge.

The bird is a “Killdeer“. Apparently it’s a very noisy bird, and its English name comes from its distinctive “kill deer” cry

Taken with a Sony RX-100.

Croton Landing – Breakwater

A while back I took the dog for a walk at Croton Landing Park. It was a gorgeous, sunny day – if a little too hot and humid for my taste. Wonderful Hudson River views. Here looking west across the River Hudson towards Haverstraw. I love the way the rocks divide the small inlet from the Hudson proper. In the distance on the other side of the Hudson High Tor State Park.

Taken with a Sony RX-100 M3.