23 August 2011

August 23, 2011 Green Roof Biodiversity, Rooftop Garden, Breaking Ground Contracting, Jacksonville - Kevin Songer - Picasa Web Albums

August 23, 2011 Green Roof Biodiversity, Rooftop Garden, Breaking Ground Contracting, Jacksonville - Kevin Songer - Picasa Web Albums

Gulf Fritillary on the Green ROof

Check out these photographs from the Breaking Ground Green Roof yesterday afternoon. The Green Roof always looks different at various times of the day, morning, noon and evening.

26 April 2011

The Urban Araras

Endangered, the Blue-and-yellow-Makaws (Arara ararauna) or araras, as people call them here in Brazil, are large birds. They may reach a lengh of 33 inches, from the beak to the end of the tailfeathers and may live for 60 years, or more.

The araras are active birds and love to climb, swing, bounce and chew. Their toys should be strong, for they are known to be destructive. They have powerful jaw muscles, and chewing is necessary to keep them healthy and in shape.

Their sociability and even temperaments make them great pets. Their intelligence, willingness to learn, and talking abilities only help make them more precious in the eyes of bird lovers. The Blue-and-yellow-Makaw, like most parrots, thrives on attention from its owner and will form a steady bond with its family members (about.com)

The makaws generally mate for life. Their nest is a tree hole and the female typically lays 2 or 3 eggs. The female incubates the eggs for about 28 days, and the chick fledges from the nest about 90 days after hatching.

Ticuna & Uaiuai starting their day

I personally, have been having a joyful experience with a couple of this species:

Ticuna and Uaiuai belong to the owner of a restaurant by the lagoon, where I usually workout when I have time; and Uaiuai (the male) has learned my name. Whenever he notices me from afar, he starts screaming it really loud! This made me smile when I listened to it for the first time. But yesterday, I remarked that the single scream had turned into a "chorus". The extravagant blue-and-yellow couple was leading a bunch of kids I had never met before! O...o, araras can be fussy, indeed!!

Ticuna & Uaiuai by the sunset

Araras are such beautiful birds, but according to most bird experts they're not for everybody. Space and exercise may not be enough for a species that is prone to ear-shattering vocalizations and contact calls. Before choosing an arara as a pet, one should study and evaluate circustances. Especially if the bird is going to live in an urban environment.

And here I am, heading to the lagoon again.. Let's see what the surprise is for today....

02 April 2011

Parque do Carbono / CO2 Park

The world's largest urban natural forest is alive!


Four hundred and ten thousand seedlings of 50 different local species are to be planted to recover degraded spots at Pedra Branca State Park - just for the start.

Camorim lagoon and the white rock - from where the name of the park is originated

Pedra Branca State Park is a state protected area in the west zone of the city of Rio de Janeiro, comprehending 125 km2 of the Atlantic forest biome, and is where the highest point of the city, Maciço da Pedra Branca (1 024 m), is located.

Camorim waterfall

This green area contributes to biodiversity conservation and benefits the regional microclimate, preventing erosion and landslides. The reforestation aims to help preserve the water basins and the rich fauna and flora with their ecosystems

A view from Maciço da Pedra Branca

It was in the mid XIX century, when the city of Rio was going through serious droughts as a consequence of deforestation, that the Emperor D. Pedro II demanded the reforestation of the Tijuca barren hills, up north of town, (where Christ the Redeemer on the Corcovado mountain is placed). For this pioneer ecological event, seedlings were collected at what is now being called CO2 Park.

circuito das águas

At its own turn, Pedra Branca State Park is getting ready to meet the goal of receiving at least twenty four million seedlings for reforestation and be officially renamed

Parque do Carbono (CO2 Park).

The neighborhoods next to the park

28 March 2011

Tufted Titmouse, Orchard Spider and Florida Springtime, Urban Biodiversity

I finished working with the green roof plants this afternoon and sat on the back porch to watch the sun go down.  The garden flowers shown in the afternoon sun as did the lone orchid spider and the bathing tufted titmouse!  Urban wildlife at its finest!
Orchid Spider, Leucauge venusta

Tufted titmouse, Baeolophus bicolor

Tufted titmouse, Baeolophus bicolor

Tufted titmouse, Baeolophus bicolor

Tufted titmouse, Baeolophus bicolor

Spring in Florida Garden!

20 March 2011

Columba livia, Rock Pigeon, Masterful Urban Adaptor

Scientific Name: Columba livia
Rock pigeon, Pigeon
Family: Columbidae

Common Pigeon, Columba livia

Wikipedia estimates the population of the common pigeon in Europe alone to be over 30 million.  Native to Europe, North Africa and parts of Asia, the pigeon is truly the perfect Urban Core adaptor.  Originally adept to nesting along the face of sheer rock cliffs, pigeons now can be found roosting on bridges, skyscrapers and concrete structures around the world.

Yes, their eyes are truly red, babies are commonly referred to as 'squabs', and there is even a National Pigeon Society! 

17 March 2011

Luna Moths and Jincy Rhianna, Urban Wonders

Though we are deep in the concrete jungle, unusual wildlife shows up here on the Urban Farm daily, drawn to, I believe in part, an unusual sprite.   Jincy Rhianna is going on 15 years.  When two years she spoke to a rattlesnake (I saw it with my eyes), telling it not to strike her in a field of Tu Mu Shui plantation.  At four years hummingbirds would fly to her hands, resting in her cupped palms.  Her and her brother Ruairi Aidan would sneak off, hike deep into the cypress swamp and sit at the feet of Grandmother Cypress, an ancient tree, listening to the stories told on the swamp breezes as they rustled through the spanish moss.   Then the day came where we followed fate, sold the coastal pine flatwoods refuge and moved into the Urban Core of Jacksonville.  But Jincy's water faery spirit lingers on.  And today I come home from a greenroof trip across Florida to find the photos of her and a young Luna Moth on the camera.  She is not home to tell me about the moth.  But I understand.  I understand I do not really understand anything except Jincy's Irish Faery Spirit and She Nature exist in a realm I could only imagine.  I will ask her later what their eyes told one another, for a Luna Moth has large 'eyes' on its wings yet no mouth and does not eat.  It lives only one week, born to mate, just as all Saturniidae.

Trí ní is deacair a thuiscint;
intleacht na mban,
obair na mbeach,
teacht agus imeacht na taoide.

Actias luna & Jincy Rhianna

Actias luna & Jincy Rhianna

Actias luna & Jincy Rhianna

Actias luna & Jincy Rhianna

10 March 2011

Atafona & Climate Change

Atafona is a place where the effects of climate change have become explicit.

In 30 years, more than 200 construction buildings near the beach have submerged (over 15 blocks have been destroyed) due to the sea level rise and to the fury of the wind. The coastline is advancing the land about 6m per year and the beacon had to be moved into the city twice.

Located in the north of the state of Rio de Janeiro, the district of Atafona is known for the healing properties of its waters (ocean and river) and for its ruins, sculped by the erosion.

Because Atafona attracts tourists and artists in general, efforts are made to adapt the local communities to economic activities that are related to the constant modification in the environment and topography.

digital mapping of the erosion in the urban area of Atafona The name Atafona has an indigenous origin, meaning windmill.

Buteo jamaicensis, Urban Core Adaptation, Nature Urbaine

The two red-tail hawks living in our neighborhood are becoming increasingly used to our presence, indicating a high level of urbanization.  We have a bird houe stand adjacent to one of the greenhouses in the back and whereas before when the hawks would watch our activities from high up in the trees, they now swoop down for a closer view.

Of course, we would never hurt them.  In fact they keep our yard free of any mice and many other pest creatures as they are fast and voracious hunters and feeders.

Yet it is amazing just how much the Urban Core has changed the habits of birds and other wildlife.

Buteo jamaicensis

Buteo jamaicensis

08 March 2011

Urban Wetlands and Wood Storks, Urban Wetlands Restored by Nature

Scientific name : Mycteria Americana
Wood Stork, Tantale d'Amérique
Family/Famille : Ciconiidae
Urban Wood Storks

Botanical name : Acer rubrum
Red Maple, Erable rouge
Family/Famille : Aceraceae
Urban Red Maple in Bloom
Urban Red Maple in Bloom

Many urban areas have been built where wetlands once stood.  And nature always reverts away from the fill and extra dirt over time, restoring native hydrology and creating the ecosystems that truly belong.

The above photos are of Urban Core Jacksonville areas where fill was brought in to cover the wetlands yet over time the original wetland plants came back.  Along with the wetland plants came the wetland dependent wildlife.  Wood storks, to me, look like prehistoric birds.  They are beautiful and can be occasionally seen foraging in these Urban Core wetlands nature is restoring.

04 March 2011

Feeling the Mood, Getting the Groove and Afterglow, Shorty the Urban Red Tail Hawk & Mate

Puffed Feathers, Sure Mood Indicator

Urban Red Tail Hawks, Contemplating Next Move
The Groove
Afterglow & Afterthoughts 

01 March 2011

The Brazilian Agouti

The Brazilian Agouti, Dasyprocta leporina, is a South American agouti species from the Dasyprotidae family. It is also called "red-rumped", "orange-rumped" or the "golden-rumped" agouti. It lives in a wide variety of habitats as long as there is water and dense plant growth.These habitats may include gardens and crop fields. It is also found in the rainforests or other forests of Brazil and northward.

photo: Os Roedores

Campo de Santana, a park at the busy urban center of Rio de Janeiro holds a population of more than a thousand agoutis among other small animals.

Tijuca Forest, world's largest urban forest, also in Rio, is the home of a great range of animal species; nevertheless, agoutis hadn't been seen there for a long time. For this reason, since 2010, a group biologists from Tijuca Forest have been working on the readaptation of some "very urban" Brazilian agoutis to the forest, a much "less urban" habitat.

Read This is my Brazilian Agouti fact sheet! @ The Daniel's Animal Facts Blog.

Urban Ducks Adopt Neighborhood Swimming Pool

Scientific name : Anas platyrhynchos
Canard de Colvert
Mallard Duck 
Family/Famille : Anatidae

Urban Mallard Ducks 

Urban Mallard Ducks 

Urban Mallard Ducks 

Urban Mallard Ducks 

27 February 2011

Grand Cormoran à la pêche dans le Petit Rhône

Un grand Cormoran (Phalacrocorax carbo) au pied d'un pont surplombant le petit Rhône à Arles

Great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) down a bridge over the Rhône in Arles

Great Cormoran in Arles, France

25 February 2011

House Finch, Carpodacus mexicanus

Originally native to Mexico, the House Finch was imported during the 1940's into North America.

To avoid prosecution under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, many dealers when confronted by game wardens or regulators would let the birds free.  House Finches have now naturalized into Florida.

Scientific Name:  Carpodacus mexicanus
Common Name:  House Finch

Carpodacus mexicanus, Male

Carpodacus mexicanus, Male

Carpodacus mexicanus, Female

24 February 2011

Urban Pelicans, Pelecanus occidentalis

Pelicans have adapted their lives to most Urban seaside areas, taking advantage of readily available food.

To me, Pelicans are a majestic bird, prehistoric in appearance, fun, almost comical to watch.

Urban Nature at its seaside finest.

Scientific Name:  Pelecanus occidentalis
Common Name:  Brown Pelican
Pelecanus occidentalis, January 2011, Mayport, Florida

22 February 2011

Shorty's Mate - Urban Red Tail Hawks - Buse à queue rousse - Today's Photos

Red Tail Hawk, Shorty's Mate, Jacksonville, FL

Red Tail Hawk, Shorty's Mate, Jacksonville, FL

Red Tail Hawk, Shorty's Mate, Jacksonville, FL

Red Tail Hawk, Shorty's Mate, Jacksonville, FL

Red Tail Hawk, Shorty's Mate, Jacksonville, FL