Welcome to "The Last Leaf Gardener," a blog by Patricia Youngquist. I am a photo-artist, bird-lover and urban gardener living in NYC. My website includes my non-nature themed images (Black and White as well as Kaleidoscopic). Click on the second image in sidebar (Right)) to visit. I also have published a three volume book series, "Words In Our Beak," in which the stories are told by Cam, the bird pictured above. Click on the first image in the sidebar (also Right) for info.
If one enters the park from the statue, a short walk down a sidewalk takes you to a dog run where I happened upon a lone ghost holding a Jack-O-Lantern (as seen in the image directly below).
I came to the conclusion that this ghost had not gotten the memo that Halloween was over, or, that he/she may be the ghost of Christmas past, awaiting the holiday, which is (as of this posting) now only four days away. But whatever this ghost's circumstances were, I may never know, for I did not stop to ask him/her.
Instead I made my way west a few yards where there is an arch that one must pass under (seen in the image below) in order to go down to see the Hudson River.
If you go straight (left arrow), there is a long staircase to descend and if you go right (right arrow) there is a steep ramp (shared by pedestrians and cyclists) that leads to the river. I usually opt to take the stairs to avoid cyclists.
In any event, upon descending the stairs, I reached the greenway which runs parallel to the river (as I've mentioned in previous posts, including the entry that I made this past Monday) and I headed north towards the boat basin where I hoped to see Jewel, a Muscovy duck, who spends her time year round in NYC.
I was so blessed to find her there, standing on one of the river's piers (as seen below).
She soon flew to a higher point, one of the rocks alongside the river, where she spent time with Mallard ducks observing other Mallard ducks, as evidenced in the photographs below.
She almost looked like a lifeguard as she perched there and watched the Mallards as well as the Canadian geese swimming in the river (below her vantage point).
Meanwhile, on the lawn that is situated to the east of the river — parallel to the greenway — squirrels munched on snacks (as seen below).
But as much as I loved seeing all this wildlife, I had to cut my visit short as the sun was setting early; a view of the winter's solstice sunset over the Hudson in NYC can be seen in the next image.
In spite of the fact that the sunset quite early, the day of the solstice is not the earliest time one will experience the earliest sunset of the year. According to a web-page within timeanddate.com, although the winter solstice "is the shortest day of the year in terms of daylight, but it does not have the latest sunrise nor the earliest sunset of the year. This is because of a discrepancy between our modern-day timekeeping methods and how time is measured using the Sun known as the equation of time."
This page proclaims that the "Earliest Sunset a Few Days Before (the solstice)" and the authors of this page also say "If you look at the sunrise and sunset times for any city in the Northern Hemisphere around the December Solstice, you will notice that the earliest sunset occurs a few days before the solstice and the latest sunrise happens a few days after the solstice. This is also true for locations in the Southern Hemisphere. There, the year's earliest sunset happens a few days before, and the year's latest sunrise occurs a few days after the winter solstice in June."
Be that as it may, how was your winter solstice, dear reader?
*REFERENCE: Eleanor Roosevelt's statue is featured in all of the versions of the book (pictured below), Words In Our Beak Volume One. This is because Cam (the cardinal who is the book's author) is a great admirer of Ms. Roosevelt.
The digital versions of Volume One within the Words In Our Beak book series that are mentioned in this entry may only remain available for a limited time, but hardcover versions of Volume One, Two and Three can now be found wherever books are sold.
Please click here to go to my blog post that provides details as to where you can get these books.
Additionally, I have rendered some images from these books into other formats and they are available viaFine Art America(FAA). Some of my other photographs (Black & White Collection, Kaleidoscopic Images and the famous Mandarin duck who visited NYC) can also be found on my FAA pages.