28 September 2006

Unexpected Ornithology (and Yet Another Elephant)

Thursday 9/28, Run #56: East Flatbush, Flatlands, Mill Basin

10.26 miles
Time: 1:20
Pace: 7:47
Temp: 65
Dewpoint: 60
Weather: mostly sunny

click on image for interactive map

Unique Miles Today:
Total Unique Miles:
Percent of Brooklyn Run:

Route: My run today began at the corner of Avenue J and Flatbush Avenue, from which I continued south to Avenue K, then went east to E. 40th, south to Kings Highway, over a block to E. 41st, south to Troy, north just a bit to Avenue L, east to E. 51st, south to Flatbush Avenue, continuing on to Avenue U, back north to E. 53rd, up to Avenue T, west those few yards to E. 52nd, and then a back-and-forth thing between Avenues T and U on 53rd Place, E. 54th, Pearson, E. 57th, E. 58th, E. 59th, E. 60th, and E. 61st. Then I headed east to Mill Avenue, south to Strickland (with the dead-end piece of Avenue V there), out to National, south a block back to Mill Avenue which curved around and continued up to Ralph Avenue, which I ran for a couple of yards before heading east on Mill Lane to E. 64th. Then I went north to Avenue N but doubled back and continued on to Avenue T, then east to E. 66th, north back to Avenue N (and the dead-end of piece of E. 66th), west back to E. 64th, over to Ralph Avenue, north to Avenue M, west to E. 57th, north to Avenue I, west to Schenectady, north to Glendale Court, west to E. 45th, north to the dead end and then back south to Avenue H, west to Troy, north to the dead end and back to Avenue H, west to E. 43rd, north to the dead end there, too, but back again to Avenue H, west to Albany, north to Farragut, west to E. 34th, then doubling back to E. 35th, heading north up to Brooklyn Road, west back to E. 34th, south down to Farragut again, and finally west to New York Avenue.

Notes: On a somewhat warmer and muggier morning, I went back to southeast portion of Brooklyn to color some more streets orange down there. Physically it was not one of my better runs, and like Tuesday's, this one was marked by a general sluggishness that left me feeling like I hadn't taken any time off last week at all. For now, the plan is to take tomorrow off, then run both Saturday and Sunday. Maybe I'll feel better then.

But enough about me. The good news is that today's run was great fun otherwise, with a few unexpected surprises. First of all, not long into the run as I was on Avenue L waiting to cross a street I heard an unusual squawking. A mild (if undeveloped) interest in birding (and an appreciation for some of Olivier Messiaen's compositions, which often included birdsongs) have left me fairly capable of identifing the more common birds by ear, but this one was out of the ordinary. I looked up and soon located the sound's source -- three bright green parrots building an impressive nest on the utility pole above me (it was hard to get a good picture, but the best one's below). Now, this isn't big news to many Brooklynites -- populations of wild Monk Parrots have been spotted all around the borough. But it was my first time actually getting a good look at them, and it was a fantastic way to start off the run. These birds are very well documented, too -- here are a few links:

Brooklyn Parrot Interactive Google Map
Brooklyn Parrots Revisited (Gowanus Lounge)

You can even take a Brooklyn parrots safari (run by Steve, the BrooklynParrots.com guy) on October 14 -- details are on the site -- or purchase a Brooklyn Parrots coffee mug. So now you know.

In other unexpected bird-related events, I came across a brood (is that the right word? "flock" doesn't sound right) of chickens in Mill Basin. There's a relatively short, mostly unpaved dead end road that angles off of Strickland by Mill Avenue and heads down toward the water. The roadway itself is cluttered with rusting industrial debris and old cranes, and at the end is an ironworks (see the picture below) and what look like a few old factories. Since most of Mill Basin is a very upscale suburban residential kind of place, I was naturally curious to see what was at the end of this somewhat incongruous road, and headed down (it wasn't on my Hagstrom map, but it was labled as an extension of Avenue V on Google Maps). Anyway, what was at the end of the road was chickens. They scattered and hid upon seeing me, so photographic opportunities were limited, though I did manage to get a pic of a straggler (that's down below, too). It's just this kind of thing that keeps these runs interesting -- chickens on a mostly unused industrial road, pecking away between old truck parts. Huh.

Oh, and I came across another elephant statue. I couldn't believe it, either. What's up with Brooklyn and elephants, anyway? This makes two in the course of my last two runs...

OK, on to the pictures.

At the end of Avenue V

Chicken on Avenue V, near the ironworks

An old memorial (plastic flowers stapled to plywood), maybe, also on Avenue V

Parrots nesting on Avenue L

Seriously, what are the odds? (Mill and Ralph Avenues)


At 7:32 PM, Anonymous humbled said...

Wow, the Brooklyn parrots! I'd heard of 'em, of course, but didn't know where their hangouts were. So thanks for the info, and especially for the web resources. A parrot hunt is now officially on my list of "things I really need to get to the next time I'm in NYC." (Right up there next to City Island.)

(Here in Detroit, we don't have parrots, but we do have urban pheasants. Overgrown vacant lots are their preferred habitat, although they'll put up with especially lush suburban landscaping if they have to.)

At 7:48 PM, Blogger carrie g. said...

a chicken in NYC - what are the odds??

At 7:17 AM, Blogger Feminist Runner said...

You almost went to the zoo today! The Brooklyn parrots are awesome -- there is (or was) a huge gathering of them in Midwood, near the HS and Brooklyn College campus as well. My girlfriend said sometimes the squawking gets so loud it interrupts her classes.

Sorry you're still feeling a little sluggish. I hope you get back to feeling good soon.

At 11:55 PM, Blogger Gary said...

After doing some googling and reading up on the parrots, I'm kind of surprised I hadn't come across them earlier. And they're some pretty controversial birds, too -- some folks love them, but others consider them an invasive species that's causing a nuisance and disrupting the local ecosytem. Hmmm... I still think it's kind of cool, though, to see them. Then again, I've never had a class interrupted by them, either!

At 10:42 PM, Blogger D said...

that is pretty cool about the parrots - I had no idea there were any in brooklyn. Wouldn't have expected you to see chickens either, but I guess that area is full of surprises :p


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