The Backyard Science group regularly features the Daily Bucket. Blossom end rot threatening your tomatoes? New frog in the neighborhood? Surly yellow jackets showing up? Please add your own observations in a comment. Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds, and more are all worthy additions to the Bucket. Include, as close as is comfortable, your location. Your impressions will provide additional viewpoints of the life around us.Nestled within some of the most urbanized land on earth, New York City’s Central Park provides a 480-acre respite. Manmade mountains of concrete, steel and glass hem the Park in. Ten million people, whose quests crowd the sidewalks even at midnight, live and work nearby.
The Park’s gently sloping meadows and groves that include cedars, oaks, dogwoods, and maples proffer solace to the ten million. Some of the last surviving Dutch Elms in North America even offer shade, saved by their urban isolation.
The Park offers habitat to hardy birds and critters. Over 200 bird species, ranging from wrens, pigeons, and blackbirds, to flickers, hummingbirds and red-tailed hawks makes a home there, while ospreys and herons often fly warily over its large lakes. However, the flickers I saw were panhandling from the tourists, in league with the pigeons and sparrows.
In the 160 years since the Park’s formation, the Park workers have struggled to maintain a relatively natural habitat. They must battle native wild cherry, which strives to take over and create a monoculture. The Park attempted to produce a mature forest, over time, but the occasional discovery in the Park of the Asian longhorn beetle, a destroyer of trees, has stalled their efforts.
The Park boasts its own variety of centipede, and butterflies also frequent its verdant foliage.
Raccoons, possums, squirrels, chipmunks, and an elusive coyote are the resident mammals. The Park keeps the public out of a small corner, where the coyote may be resting. Mallards, geese, and turtles occupy the large ponds there.
The Park’s geology, paraphrased from Wiki:
Manhattan schist and Hartland schist, which are both metamorphosed sedimentary rock, are exposed in various outcroppings, and glitter with mica.
The most recent glacier was the Wisconsin glacier which receded about 12,000 years ago. Glaciers left behind glacial erratics (large boulders dropped by the receding glacier) and north-south glacial striations visible on stone outcroppings.
Originally, the site was mostly bare rock, and the Park imported about a million cubic feet of New Jersey topsoil. It looks odd, to see massive glacial rocks peeking through the topsoil.
While an average National forest in the United State probably has more diversity of creatures, Central Park’s greatest worth may be in the valuable habitat it provides to the ten million people around it; some moments of calm, in green meadows, and under soaring trees.
And then I saw another turtle near the park, that was ten feet across:
That's all folks, for this New Yawk bucket. Please tell us a little about your corner of the earth.
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