Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

"The Telegraph" just published an article about plans for a massive new wind energy farm:

World's biggest offshore wind farm to add £4.2 billion to energy bills

Hornsea Project One wind farm will see 174 turbines - each taller than the Gherkin - built 75 miles off the coast of Grimsby, spanning an area five times the size of Hull
By Emily Gosden, Energy Editor
12:57PM GMT 03 Feb 2016

The world's biggest offshore wind farm is to be built 75 miles off the coast of Grimsby, at an estimated cost to energy bill-payers of at least £4.2 billion.

The giant Hornsea Project One wind farm will consist of 174 turbines, each 623ft tall - higher than the Gherkin building in London - and will span an area more than five times the size of Hull.

Developer Dong Energy, which is majority-owned by the Danish state, said it had taken a final decision to proceed with the 1.2 gigawatt project that would be capable of powering one million homes and create 2,000 jobs during construction.

First electricity from the project is expected to be generated in 2019 and the wind farm should be fully operational by 2020.

The wind farm was handed a subsidy contract by former energy secretary Ed Davey in 2014 that will see it paid four times the current market price of power for every unit of electricity it generates for 15 years.

Read the entire story here.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, February 13, 2016 to Sunday, February 14, 2016:

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday February 13, 2016
Bush Terminal Park
Leader: Chris Laskowski cell #646-236-6167; celaskowski@yahoo.com
Focus: a morning tour that may also include at leader's discretion and afterwards Greenwood Cemetery or otherwise another coastal location for waterbirds, gulls, and winter passerines. Site profile http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/bush-terminal-park
No registration necessary. Meet: 9:00 am outside on the west corner above the R train stop "45th Street". (Brooklyn) http://web.mta.info/nyct/service/rline.htm

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Hudson River Audubon Society
Saturday, February 13, 2016
Eagle Viewing on the Hudson
Meet at Georges Island Park 7:00am
http://hras.org/wtobird/george.html

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Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Sunday, February 14, 2016 - 9:00am
Massapequa Preserve and South Shore Ponds Bird and Waterfowl Walk
We will bird the ponds at Massapequa Preserve, then head east in search of variety of wintering ducks and land birds. Bring a scope if you have one!
Registration: 631 885 1881 or aveblue@gmail.com
Directions: Meet at the Massapequa Preserve entrance at Pittsburgh Avenue and Parkside Blvd.

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, February 13, 2016
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, February 13, 2016, 10:30am – 4:00pm
Snow Birds of Floyd Bennett Field and Fort Tilden, Queens
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Winter brings many rare birds to NYC that can’t be found here at any other time! Perhaps most exciting are the “snow birds”, such as snow buntings and snowy owls, of the Arctic tundra that can occasionally be found in tundra-like habitats further south, . We will travel to the abandoned runways of Floyd Bennett Field (America's first municipal airport) in search of these and other winter visitors (such as horned lark, American tree sparrow, and rough-legged hawk). We will then head to Fort Tilden and Breezy Point to look for wintering ducks, grebes, loons, and other seabirds along the beaches. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $86 (60)
Click here to register

Saturday, February 13, 2016, 12pm – 7pm
Soaring Raptors: Eagles and Owls of the Hudson River Valley, NY
Guide: Joe Giunta, Happy Warblers LLC
You don’t have to travel to Alaska to see our country’s emblem, the American bald eagle. Thanks to one of the most successful reintroduction programs on record, many eagles now soar over the nearby Hudson Valley. Travel with us to see this spectacular raptor, as well as possibly spot the secretive short-eared owl. Part of the Hudson River EagleFest at Croton Point. Bring lunch, water, and binoculars. Transport by passenger van is included. Limited to 12. $102 (72)
Click here to register

Sunday, February 14, 2016, 9:30am – 11:30am
Winter Birding Along the Hudson: Wave Hill
Guide: Gabriel Willow with Wave Hill
Meet at the Perkins Visitor Center. The Hudson River valley hosts an impressive diversity of bird species, even during the winter months. Come explore the beautiful gardens and woodlands of Wave Hill and observe the hardy birds that spend the winter in this urban oasis. Advanced registration is recommended, either online, at the Perkins Visitor Center, or by calling 718-549-3200 x251. Walks run rain or shine; in case of severe weather call the number above for updates. Ages 10 and up welcome with an adult. NYC Audubon members enjoy two-for-one admission

Sunday, February 14, 2016, 12pm – 2pm
Winter Seals and Waterbirds of NY Harbor
Guide: NYC Audubon guide
Meet at South Street Seaport’s Pier 16 and come aboard NY Water Taxi’s eco-friendly vessel for a winter adventure in New York Harbor! Look for harbor seals on the rocky shores of Governor’s Island and the more remote Hoffman and Swinburne Islands. Learn about the surprisingly diverse winter birds of New York City, including ducks, geese, loons, and sandpipers, many of which migrate south from the Arctic. See the Statue of Liberty and pass under the Verrazano Bridge. Dress warmly! Limited to 90. To register, contact New York Water Taxi at 212-742-1969 or www.nywatertaxi.com/audubon-winter. $35 for adults; $25 for children under 12; $105 for family pack for 2 adults and 2 children

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North Fork Audubon Society
Saturday, February 13, 2016, 10:00am
Orient Beach State Park
Love is for the Birds. Winter Bird Walk with Tom Damiani
Beginners welcome and binoculars available.

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, February 13, 2016, 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Acme Pond
Cost: Free
Contact: Clay Wollney 718-869-6327
The woodlands and ponds of this little known area will be explored during an approximately two mile hike. The Acme Pond area has developed into a nicely wooded forest over the past 150 years with sweetgum, white oaks and hickories as the dominant trees. The pond is reputed to be the home of large bass and provides a secluded location for many birds as well as birds and turtles. Meet at the corner of Hylan Boulevard and Holten Avenue. For more information contact Clay Wollney at (718) 869-6327.

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, February 14, 2016
Massapequa Preserve

Notes:
All walks start at 9:00 A.M.
There is no walk if it rains or snows or temperature is below 25°F.
For more information or in case of questionable weather conditions, please phone Joe at 516 467-9498
For directions to our bird-watching locations, click here.

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, February 13, 2016
Birding: Winter Birds at Ridgewood Reservoir, Queens
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. This program will focus on the different bird species which spend their winters in our NYC Parks.
Free!

Great Backyard Bird Count at Queens Botanical Garden, Queens
11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Join QBG for this 19th annual bird counting event and add your results to the world totals.
Free!

Sunday, February 14, 2016
Winter Birding at Wave Hill at Perkins Visitors Center (in Wave Hill), Bronx
9:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
The Hudson River valley hosts an impressive diversity of bird species, even during the winter months. Explore Wave Hill’s tranquil gardens and woodlands with naturalist Gabriel...
...Read more

Saturday, February 06, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, February 5, 2016:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Feb. 5, 2016
* NYNY1602.05

- Birds mentioned

BARNACLE GOOSE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
ROSS'S GOOSE
Cackling Goose
TUNDRA SWAN
EURASIAN WIGEON
Canvasback
BARROW'S GOLDENEYE
Red-necked Grebe
American Bittern
Razorbill
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Iceland Gull
GLAUCOUS GULL
Short-eared Owl
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
LAPLAND LONGSPUR
LARK SPARROW

- Transcript

If followed by (+) please submit documentation of your report electronically and use the NYSARC online submission form found at http://www.nybirds.org/NYSARC/goodreport.htm

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to nysarc44(at)nybirds{dot}org.

If electronic submission is not possible, hardcopy reports and photos or sketches are welcome. Hardcopy documentation should be mailed to:

Gary Chapin - Secretary
NYS Avian Records Committee (NYSARC)
125 Pine Springs Drive
Ticonderoga, NY 12883

Hotline: New York City Area Rare Bird Alert
Number: (212) 979-3070

To report sightings call:
Tom Burke (212) 372-1483 (weekdays, during the day)
Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126 (Long Island)

Compiler: Tom Burke, Tony Lauro
Coverage: New York City, Long Island, Westchester County

Transcriber: Ben Cacace

BEGIN TAPE

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, February 5th 2016 at 4pm. The highlights of today's tape are BARNACLE GOOSE, ROSS'S GOOSE, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, TUNDRA SWAN, BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, EURASIAN WIGEON, BLACK-HEADED GULL, GLAUCOUS GULL, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, LAPLAND LONGSPUR and LARK SPARROW.

A new week but pretty much the same lingering birds. The BARNACLE GOOSE was still frequenting Tung Ting Pond in Centerport last weekend. This pond on the west side of the Chalet Motel and the Centerport Mill Pond off the north side of Route 25A. Lots of CANVASBACKS are also on the Mill Pond. A second BARNACLE GOOSE was seen Sunday and Monday in Mattituck on a field east of Locust Avenue this presumably the same individual noted several times this winter on nearby Marratooka Lake off New Suffolk Avenue. A ROSS'S GOOSE has been present for a few days at least to Wednesday at Bergen Point Golf Course in Great South Bay this off Bergen Avenue south of Route 27A. A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE flew into Belmont Lake State Park very late Saturday evening fortunately calling as it arrived. A few others presumably continue in the region as do a few CACKLING GEESE. Two TUNDRA SWANS were still on Hook Pond in East Hampton Wednesday.

The drake BARROW'S GOLDENEYE was present off the west side of the Sands Point peninsula Saturday but the issue here is parking. Sands Point Preserve is on the east side of the peninsula and provides good views of that portion of the water and with hunting season now over perhaps the Goldeneye flocks will gather off there again. The west side is effectively all private and the police will harass cars that stop along the roads there so use your best judgement if you visit that area.

Two drake EURASIAN WIGEON were still on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge yesterday frequenting the west side north of the Big John's Pond overlook. Another EURASIAN WIGEON was on Fresh Pond in Northport Monday to Wednesday this off Fresh Pond Road north of Route 25A.

An adult BLACK-HEADED GULL was still present Monday at Five Islands Park in New Rochelle, Westchester County. Look for the gull around the tanks at the water treatment plant next to the park or on the islands in the harbor. If not there try Premium Millpond to the east in Larchmont. The immature BLACK-HEADED GULL frequenting Prospect Park Lake in Brooklyn was seen as recently as Tuesday. Another BLACK-HEADED GULL was spotted at Brooklyn Bridge Park on Tuesday and Thursday near Pier 4 and may be the same one seen at Bush Terminal Piers Park today. A GLAUCOUS GULL in Brooklyn has been seen recently between the Brooklyn Army Terminal Pier 4 and nearby Bush Terminal Piers Park where it was today. A few ICELAND GULLS include one visiting Central Park Reservoir recently.

RAZORBILL was noted off Fort Tilden Sunday but more unusual was one in Long Island Sound off Old Field Point in Setauket Wednesday. A [...] number of RED-NECKED GREBES includes singles recently off Coney Island, Floyd Bennett Field and Fort Tilden plus one in Three Mile Harbor in East Hampton Wednesday.

A LARK SPARROW was still along the outer turnaround at Jones Beach West End as of yesterday and a LAPLAND LONGSPUR visited Randall's Island in Manhattan from Sunday to Tuesday. Lingering immature RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were noted last weekend both at Willowbrook Park on Staten Island and at Blydenburgh County Park in Smithtown the latter around the parking lot at the north entrance off New Mill Road. Also continuing are AMERICAN BITTERNS along Dune Road west of Shinnecock Inlet and two SHORT-EARED OWLS at the Calverton Grasslands at the former Grumman airport.

To phone in reports on Long Island, call Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126 or weekdays call Tom Burke at (212) 372-1483.

This service is sponsored by the Linnaean Society of New York and the National Audubon Society. Thank you for calling.

- End transcript
...Read more

Friday, February 05, 2016

Friday's Foto

Horned Larks, the only member of the lark family that is native to the new world, are a common winter visitor to coastal Brooklyn. They are named for their horn-like feather tufts, most visible on males. Their breeding range is Alaska and the Canadian Arctic, coastal regions of Canada, and south throughout most of the U.S. They winter from southern Canada southward throughout the U.S. and into northern and central Mexico. They are also found in Eurasia. Preferred habitats include plains, fields, airports, and beaches. The IUCN Red List lists their conservation status as "least concern", however, "The 2014 State of the Birds Report listed them as a Common Bird in Steep Decline, and they rate a 9 out of 20 on the Partners in Flight Continental Concern Score. Loss of agricultural fields to reforestation and development, and human encroachment on the birds’ habitat, are factors in their decline—but the overall trend is not fully understood." Their scientific name, Eremophila alpestris, means "desert loving", "of the high mountains". Look for them around NYC at Floyd Bennett Field, Calvert Vaux Park, Coney Island Creek Park, Riis Park, Ft. Tilden and Breezy Point.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

The following piece was just published in The Christian Science Monitor:

What our ancestors' hankering for big eggs meant for a 500-pound bird

Scientists examined burnt fragments of the massive eggshells to determine the link between humans and the bird's extinction.
By Christina Beck, Staff  - January 29, 2016

Ancient humans ate the eggs of gigantic, flightless birds, a recent study finds.

The study was conducted by a team of Australian and American scientists, who analyzed burn patterns on eggshell fragments.

The giant bird, which scientists have dubbed Genyornis newtoni, weighed roughly 500 pounds and stood about seven feet tall. Its eggs would have been the size of cantaloupes, and likely weighed 3.5 pounds. Genyornis was just one of many massive ancient animals, a group that scientists collectively call megafauna.

Other gargantuan examples of Australia’s frightening animal past include a 1,000 pound kangaroo and a wombat the size of a moderately sized car. Despite their impressive size, these megafauna were no match for humans; about 85 percent of these animals went extinct after people arrived on the scene.

The study, published Friday in the science journal Nature Communications, is the first to shine some light on the connection between humans and the extinction of Australia’s gigantic megafauna.

"We consider this the first and only secure evidence that humans were directly preying on now-extinct Australian megafauna," Gifford Miller, a geology professor at University of Colorado, Boulder.

The cause of Australia’s megafauna extinction has been much debated in scientific circles for over a hundred years.

One popular theory is that climate change catalyzed a mass extinction among the megafauna. However, the continental drying that occurred about 40,000-60,000 years ago (main suspect) was less severe than an earlier climate shift during the Pleistocene epoch.

Since the megafauna were able to survive through the Pleistocene’s climatic shift, it seems unlikely that later, less severe climate change would do them in.

"The lack of clear evidence regarding human predation on the Australia megafauna had, until now, been used to suggest no human-megafauna interactions occurred,” says Professor Miller, “despite evidence that most of the giant animals still roamed Australia when humans colonized the continent."

Scientists are not sure precisely when humans arrived in Australia. They do know that the continent’s earliest inhabitants landed on Australia’s northern coast after a several hundred mile raft journey from Indonesia, and that by about 47,000 years ago they had scattered across the continent.

To determine the link between humans and Genyornis, scientists first examined eggshells from the bird’s nesting sites in sand dunes. Using optically stimulated luminescence dating, an age determining technique that examines quartz grains in the eggshells to determine when they were last exposed to sunlight, scientists dated the shells to between 44,000 and 54,000 years old.

In about 200 of the 2,000 egg sites that scientists sampled, the eggshells were blackened and burned.

In order to rule out wildfire as the reason for the burned shells, scientists studied the amino acid decomposition of the eggshells. Instead of being uniformly burned all over, as eggs caught in wildfire would be, the amino acids in the shells exhibited a gradient of decomposition. They were more burnt on one end than the other, indicating cooking fires rather than wild fires.

The burnt eggshell fragments were also found in tight clusters, and exhibited signs of being cooked in fires up to 1,000 Fahrenheit, far hotter than a natural bush fire.

Try as they might, Miller and his team were unable to come up with a scenario in which the eggshell blackening occurred due to natural causes. Miller says, "We instead argue that the conditions are consistent with early humans harvesting Genyornis eggs, cooking them over fires, and then randomly discarding the eggshell fragments in and around their cooking fires."

Ancient emu eggshells in Australia have been found to exhibit the same characteristics of the burnt Genyornis eggshells, adding strength to the team’s argument.
...Read more

Monday, February 01, 2016

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, February 6, 2016 to Sunday, February 7, 2016:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Sunday, February 7, 2016, 10am – 11am
Early Morning Bird Walk: Backyard Birds
Join the Prospect Park Alliance and learn about the Great Backyard Bird Count and search for your favorite “backyard bird”. Find woodpeckers, chickadees, and nuthatches eating from feeders along Prospect Park’s nature trails. Please note this tour leaves promptly at 10 am. Led by the Brooklyn Bird Club.

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Bedford Audubon Society
Saturday, February 6, 2016, 9am - 3pm
Eaglefest!
Join us at the New Croton Dam for a day of viewing our Nation's symbol, the Bald Eagle. We'll also be monitoring the local waterfowl and other birds, too. Snow date Sunday, February 7. No registration necessary.

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Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, February 6, 2016 (RESCHEDULED FROM JANUARY 24)
Jones Beach, Long Island
Leader: Mike Yuan
Focus: coastal species, waterbirds, sea ducks, raptors, dune passerines
Car Fee: $22.00
Registrar: Mike Yuan mjyuan@gmail.com
Registration Period: January 30th - February 4th

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Eastern Long Island Audubon Society
Saturday, February 6, 2016 at 9:00am
Montauk Point and the Montauk Area
Trip Leader: Eileen Schwinn
​We will meet at the Concession Stand/Restaurant at The Point to look for ducks and alcids, as well as any other birds that might be wintering in the general Montauk area. We will travel to Fort Pond, Camp Hero, and various other “Hot Spots” along The Montauk Trail! Dress for cold, wind and generally nasty weather — it wouldn’t be Montauk any other way!! Contact Eileen Schwinn at beachmed@optonline.net for more information, or call the day of the trip if there are any questions: 516-662-7751

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Gateway National Recreation Area
Sunday, February 7, 2016
Experience the Winter Beach at Fort Tilden
Location: Building One at Fort Tilden
Time: 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Fee Information: Free
The sun, moon and earth will be in position on this day to create a notable low tide. Explore the intertidal zone and walk the sea floor with American Littoral Society naturalist Mickey Maxwell Cohen, author of "Adventures at the Beach", to observe the usually-hidden biological treasures from beyond the tides.
This is an American Littoral Society/ Gateway NRA partnership program.
Approx. 2 miles.

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Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Sunday, February 7, 2016 - 9:00am
Point Lookout Bird Walk
Look for loons, grebes, and Harlequin Ducks, a showy duck that is most easily observed at Point Lookout. Bring a scope if you have one!
Registration: 631-851-1881
Directions: Meadowbrook Pkwy to Loop Pkwy. At the end of Loop Pkwy, turn left. Go to the end of the road. Park anywhere near the entrance to the Park. Meet by the gate to the Park.

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Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, February 6, 2016
Coney Island Pier to Coney Island Creek
Leader: Rob Jett a.k.a. "The City Birder"
Registrar: Irene Warshauer — iwarshauer@aol.com or 212-249-6561
Registration opens: Monday January 25
Public transportation
Meet: McDonalds on corner of Stillwell Ave and Mermaid Ave at 8:00am

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, February 6, 2016
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, February 6, 2016, 9am – 3pm
Winter Waterfowl of the Brooklyn Coast
Guide: Kellye Rosenheim
Join Kellye Rosenheim on a multi-stop tour of Brooklyn's most productive coastal winter waterfowl sites. We'll visit Bush Terminal Piers Park, Gravesend, and Calvert Vaux, where we'll look for interesting saltwater species such as common golden-eye, long-tailed duck, loons, and horned grebe in addition to our more common winter visitors. Bring lunch and dress warmly! Transportation by van included. Limited to 12. $86 (60)
Click here to register

Sunday, February 7, 2016, 10am – 1pm
Central Park Winter Walk: Superb Owl Sunday!
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Meet at the entrance to Central Park at Central Park West and 72nd Street. Some of the best sightings await hardy nature-lovers willing to venture out in winter! Several species of owls can be seen in Central Park for example, but generally only in the colder months. "Winter finches" such as Pine Siskins, Redpolls, and Crossbills have also been found at the feeders or in conifers in the park. Observing the adaptations for cold-weather survival among Blue Jays, Titmice, and other resident species is fascinating as well. Warm up after the walk with a hot chocolate by the fireplace at the Loeb Boathouse. Limited to 15. $36 (25)
Click here to register

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
February 7, 2016, 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Crooke’s Point
Cost: Free
Contact: Paul Lederer 718-987-1576
Maritime spits such as Crooke’s Point are dynamic typographical features which are formed and sculpted by water and wind action. Join naturalist Paul T. Lederer in a talk and walk where he will discuss the geology and human history of the site as well as the plants and animals that call this place home. Participants will meet at the Beach Center Parking Lot in Great Kills Park near the dirt road leading out to Crooke’s Point. To get to the Beach Center Parking Lot, follow Buffalo Street to just before it turns into the dirt permit road.
For more information or directions contact Paul Lederer at (718)-987-1576.

February 7, 2016, 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Mount Loretto North Woods
Cost: Free
Contact: Clay Wollney 718-869-6327
We will observe a variety of ecosystems as we search for evidence of animal life, the geologic history and human influence of this diverse area on the south shore. Meet at the parking lot for North Mount Loretto on Amboy Road in Richmond Valley.

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Queens County Bird Club
Sunday, February 7, 2016, 8am – 3pm
Croton Point
Leader: Ian Resnick 917-626-9562
CONTACT LEADER to confirm meeting time/location

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, February 7, 2016
Massapequa Lake

Notes:
All walks start at 9:00 A.M.
There is no walk if it rains or snows or temperature is below 25°F.
For more information or in case of questionable weather conditions, please phone Joe at 516 467-9498
For directions to our bird-watching locations, click here.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Sunday, February 7, 2016
Birding: Owls at Orchard Beach Nature Center (in Pelham Bay Park), Bronx
1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. Birding programs are appropriate for all skill levels.
Free!

Birding: Winter Waterfowl at Baisley Pond Park Parking Lot (in Baisley Pond Park), Queens
1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. This program will focus on the different species of waterfowl which overwinter in our Parks.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, January 30, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, January 29, 2016:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jan. 29, 2016
* NYNY1601.29

- Birds mentioned

BARNACLE GOOSE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
ROSS'S GOOSE
HARLEQUIN DUCK
BARROW'S GOLDENEYE
Red-necked Grebe
American Bittern
Clapper Rail
Razorbill
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Iceland Gull
GLAUCOUS GULL
SNOWY OWL
Short-eared Owl
Red-headed Woodpecker
Pine Warbler
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
LARK SPARROW

- Transcript

If followed by (+) please submit documentation of your report electronically and use the NYSARC online submission form found at http://www.nybirds.org/NYSARC/goodreport.htm

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to nysarc44(at)nybirds{dot}org.

If electronic submission is not possible, hardcopy reports and photos or sketches are welcome. Hardcopy documentation should be mailed to:

Gary Chapin - Secretary
NYS Avian Records Committee (NYSARC)
125 Pine Springs Drive
Ticonderoga, NY 12883

Hotline: New York City Area Rare Bird Alert
Number: (212) 979-3070

To report sightings call:
Tom Burke (212) 372-1483 (weekdays, during the day)
Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126 (Long Island)

Compiler: Tom Burke, Tony Lauro
Coverage: New York City, Long Island, Westchester County

Transcriber: Ben Cacace

BEGIN TAPE

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, January 29th 2016 at 6pm. The highlights of today's tape are BARNACLE GOOSE, ROSS'S GOOSE, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, HARLEQUIN DUCK, BLACK-HEADED GULL, GLAUCOUS GULL, SNOWY OWL, LARK SPARROW and CLAY-COLORED SPARROW.

With last weekend's birding activities pretty much stymied by the storm this week's highlights are mostly holdovers.

BARNACLE GOOSE continues to frequent Tung Ting Pond in Centerport. This small pond on the west side of the Chalet Motel Inn parking lot and the Centerport Mill Pond on the north side of Route 25A. Another BARNACLE GOOSE has reappeared on Marratooka Lake off New Suffolk Avenue in Mattituck being seen there with Canadas on Sunday and Thursday. A ROSS'S GOOSE presumably one of the two floating around the Nassau / Suffolk County line was spotted Thursday morning at the Cedar Beach Golf Course on Ocean Parkway. The flock it was with ultimately flying off to the north. A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE noted Wednesday across from the Pine Lawn train station, directions were sketchy, was likely one of the two that had been roosting overnight at Belmont Lake State Park a little southeast of there.

A drake BARROW'S GOLDENEYE has returned to Sands Point spotted Monday in a Common Goldeneye flock at Half Moon Bay on the west side of the Sands Point peninsula. In prior winters it has moved around the peninsula with the tides sometimes being seen off or just west of the Sands Point Preserve. Two HARLEQUIN DUCKS seen in Jones Inlet Wednesday usually frequent the jetties at Point Lookout or Jones Beach West End.

An adult BLACK-HEADED GULL in Westchester County was seen Tuesday around Five Islands Park in New Rochelle this likely the same bird that visited this area in late November to mid December in 2014. The entrance to Five Islands Park is on Lefevres Lane off Route 1 just west of Salesian High School. The entrance road passes on the right, a water treatment facility, and the BLACK-HEADED often frequents the visible filtration tanks along with some Ring-billed Gulls it can also roost on the off-shore islands in the small harbor. An immature GLAUCOUS GULL was spotted today at the Brooklyn Army Terminal Pier 4 off the end of 58th Street in Brooklyn and local ICELAND GULLS have featured one visiting Central Park reservoir at least to Tuesday, one apparently roosting overnight on the piers by Brooklyn Bridge Park and two seen together at the south end of Randall's Island last Sunday.

A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens was seen again today with at least one PINE WARBLER [...] and at least two LARK SPARROWS continue in the region, one at Jones Beach West End around the outer turnaround and the other at Croton Point Park in Westchester near the large parking lot.

Somewhat scarce so far this winter a RED-NECKED GREBE was present off Coney Island Pier in Brooklyn today and a RAZORBILL was spotted off Jones Beach West End, an immature RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was spotted at Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island Wednesday and birds of note along Dune Road west of Shinnecock Inlet recently have included AMERICAN BITTERN, CLAPPER RAIL and SNOWY OWL. Two SHORT-EARED OWLS have been appearing regularly in the evening along the grasslands at the former Grumman airport in Calverton. They can be seen from the roadways through the property but do not enter the runways which are off limits.

To phone in reports on Long Island, call Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126 or weekdays call Tom Burke at (212) 372-1483.

This service is sponsored by the Linnaean Society of New York and the National Audubon Society. Thank you for calling.

- End transcript
...Read more

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday's Foto

Winter is a good time to scan the coastal waterways of Brooklyn for a scarce "white-winged gull". Iceland and Glaucous Gulls are rare, but regular cold weather visitors to the borough of Kings. For today's photo I decided to mix it up a bit with a very oddly plumed gull that we found at Jamaica Bay back in 2004. While it would be easy to mistake this individual as one of the aforementioned, it actually turned out to be a leucistic Laughing Gull. Once nearly eliminated from New York, Laughing Gulls are now common breeding birds around the state. A chance meeting with Kenn Kaufman in the parking lot at JBWR shortly after spotting this bird helped clinch the identification.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

The following article is from the website Gizmodo:

Madrid Bans Cars, Plans Plants
Alissa Walker
Yesterday 2:24pm

Cities have been kicking out cars to curb pollution and boost the well-being of their residents. But Madrid has proposed something even smarter. It’s not only banning cars from its downtown, it’s adding more green space. This is an important part of the equation that many cities don’t get right.

In 2014, Madrid announced a progressive plan to ban all cars from many central neighborhoods as well as a more comprehensive ban of diesel-powered vehicles (which is becoming standard in many large European cities). Now there’s the makeover the city needs to prepare for that future: The Madrid + Natural plan, announced this weekend by engineering firm Arup. In order to prepare the city for inevitable effects of climate change—hotter summers with less rainfall—Arup plans to counteract the root of those problems by cleaning, greening, and cooling the city on a very grand scale.

That’s why a key part of the proposal is simply to plant more trees. Lots more trees, and pretty much everywhere possible. Green roofs, green walls, green infrastructure. These will not only give people more enjoyable places for residents, but in some cases, swapping hot asphalt with more permeable surfaces can help to cool the city at street-level.

It also means capturing and storing water when it does rain in the form of gardens and fields—not storm drains that flush the water away. Most of all, I love the idea of “greenery districts” which are essentially heavily vegetated streets that can provide an oasis for wildlife in the city and also give humans a respite from the heat.

Especially after the Paris climate talks, cities are trying to reduce their carbon footprints, but reducing or removing cars only solves half of the problem. You not only have to beef up transit options and build better infrastructure for walking and biking, you also have to re-green the city to reclaim that automobile real estate for people and nature. We’ve seen the same half-approaches in Milan, Delhi, and Beijing over the last few months when some or all of the cars have been removed from streets for a predetermined period—pollution is reduced, at least for the moment, but it always comes back.

This is exactly why temporary car bans don’t work. The city doesn’t propose enough bigger changes that will affect the long-term health of its residents. Madrid is taking a huge and very important step in that direction.
...Read more

Monday, January 25, 2016

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, January 30, 2016 to Sunday, January 31, 2016:

Bedford Audubon Society
Saturday, January 30, 2016, 3-6pm
Shawangunk Grassland National Wildlife Refuge
Leader: Tait Johansson
Discover Rough-legged Hawks, Northern Harriers and Short-eared Owls! Depart Bylane at 1:30pm. Dress warm. Easy
Registrer with Jeanne Pollock at jpollock@bedfordaudubon.org or 914.519.7801

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Sunday, January 31, 2016
Brooklyn's southwest coast
Leader: Dan Frazer cell # 347-355-1330, danielericfrazer@gmail.com (info)
Focus: Coastal species, waterbirds, sea ducks, raptors
No registration necessary. Meet: 8:30 am at TD Bank below the Bay Parkway train stop "D" line: http://www.usbanklocations.com/td-bank-bensonhurst-branch.html
Note: the primary birding locations are Caesar's Bay locale and nearby BJ's retailer coast views, Calvert Vaux/Drier Offerman park area. A bus runs towards Caesar's Bay from the train stop.

**********

Hudson River Audubon Society
Saturday, January 30, 2016
Owl Prowl at Pelham Bay Park
Meet at Pelham Bay Park at 8 AM; far left corner of the Orchard Beach parking lot.
Pelham Bay Park is known for its wintering owls. Northern Saw-whet, Great Horned, Long-eared and maybe a Barn or Barred owl might be found on this trip. We will also search the woods and water for winter birds. American Wigeon, Bufflehead, Red-breasted Merganser should be in the bays.
http://www.hras.org/wtobird/pelhambay.html

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, January 30, 2016
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, January 30, 2016, 9am – 4pm
Winter Eagles on The Hudson
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Join NYC Audubon for one of the most incredible avian spectacles in NY: a search for Bald Eagles wintering along the Hudson River. They gather to feed and rest on the frozen river by the dozens or even hundreds. We will travel in comfort, taking Metro North to Croton Point Park, where we will look for eagles near the train station before hiking up to Croton Point Park, which can also host wintering Short-eared Owls, Snowy Owls, Snow Buntings, Horned Larks, and other cold-weather specialties. The walk is about two miles over easy terrain. Dress for cold weather. Limited to 20. Meet at the clock in Grand Central Station at 8:45 for a 9:20 departure. Round-trip Metro North fare ($20.50) not included in trip price. $53 (37)
Click here to register

Sunday, January 31, 2016, 12pm – 2pm
Winter Seals and Waterbirds of NY Harbor
Guide: NYC Audubon guide
Meet at South Street Seaport’s Pier 17 and come aboard NY Water Taxi’s eco-friendly vessel for a winter adventure in New York Harbor! Look for harbor seals on the rocky shores of Governor’s Island and the more remote Hoffman and Swinburne Islands. Learn about the surprisingly diverse winter birds of New York City, including ducks, geese, loons, and sandpipers, many of which migrate south from the Arctic. See the Statue of Liberty and pass under the Verrazano Bridge. Dress warmly! Limited to 90. To register, contact New York Water Taxi at 212-742-1969 or www.nywatertaxi.com. $35 for adults; $25 for children under 12; $105 for family pack for 2 adults and 2 children

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, January 30, 2016 @ 9:15am – 4:00pm
Winter 10-Mile Greenbelt Walk
Cost: Free
Contact: Dominick Durso 917-478-7607 / Don Recklies 718-768-9036
Save the date for this iconic winter encounter with Staten Island’s woodlands, ponds, hills and vistas. Dress warmly and bring lunch and beverage. We’ll meet at the the Greenbelt Nature Center at the corner of Rockland and Brielle Avenues.

Sunday, January 31, 2016 @ 8:00am – 10:00am
North Mount Loretto State Forest
Cost: Free
Contact: Anthony Cianimino
Join birder Anthony Ciancimino for a guided bird walk through North Mount Loretto State Forest. This area is great for birding year round, and the diversity of species can be good even in the dead of winter. Pileated Woodpeckers are possible as well as various wintering species. If the wetlands in the state forest are open we can identify a nice variety of waterfowl as well. Participants will meet in the state forest parking lot along Amboy Road, between Georgia Court and Richmond Valley Road. For more information contact Anthony Ciancimino at sibirdwatcher@yahoo.com.

Sunday, January 31, 2016 @ 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Conference House Park Beach and Woods
Cost: Free
Contact: Clay Wollney 718-869-6327
The past and present blend in Conference House Park where history stretches back thousands of years with the seasonal occupation of the Lenape and hundreds of years with the habitation of the Dutch and English. We will observe evidence of the human occupation of the area, observe local geology and discover what the natural and unnatural debris at the high tide line has to reveal. Meet at the parking lot at the end of Hylan Boulevard on the left.

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, January 31, 2016
Point Lookout Town Park

Notes:
All walks start at 9:00 A.M.
There is no walk if it rains or snows or temperature is below 25°F.
For more information or in case of questionable weather conditions, please phone Joe at 516 467-9498
For directions to our bird-watching locations, click here.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, January 30, 2016
Birding: Eagles at Payson Center (in Inwood Hill Park), Manhattan
9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle.
Free!
...Read more

Friday, January 22, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, January 22, 2016:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jan. 22, 2016
* NYNY1601.22

- Birds Mentioned

PINK-FOOTED GOOSE+
BARNACLE GOOSE+
CALIFORNIA GULL+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Greater White-fronted Goose
ROSS’S GOOSE
Cackling Goose
Canada Goose
Tundra Swan
Eurasian Wigeon
Harlequin Duck
Red-necked Grebe
AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN
Long-billed Dowitcher
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Iceland Gull
Glaucous Gull
SNOWY OWL
Red-headed Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe
House Wren
Orange-crowned Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
LARK SPARROW
Dickcissel

If followed by (+) please submit documentation of your report electronically and use the NYSARC online submission form found at http://www.nybirds.org/NYSARC/goodreport.htm

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to nysarc44nybirdsorg

If electronic submission is not possible, hardcopy reports and photos or sketches are welcome. Hardcopy documentation should be mailed to:

Gary Chapin - Secretary
NYS Avian Records Committee (NYSARC)
125 Pine Springs Drive
Ticonderoga, NY 12883

Hotline: New York City Area Rare Bird Alert
Number: (212) 979-3070

Compiler: Tom Burke, Tony Lauro
Coverage: New York City, Long Island, Westchester County

Transcriber: Gail Benson

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

Greetings! This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, January 22, 2016 at 6:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are a possible CALIFORNIA GULL, BARNACLE, ROSS’S and PINK-FOOTED GEESE, AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN, SNOWY OWL, BLACK-HEADED GULL, LARK and CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS and more.

A bird looking likely for an advanced first winter CALIFORNIA GULL was spotted in Brooklyn Tuesday along Gravesend Bay, seen by the middle parking lot between the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and the Kohl’s shopping center, these lots only accessible from the Belt Parkway going East. Birders searching for the Gull Wednesday and Thursday were not able to relocate it, but if refound, more photos including spread wing and leg shots would be desirable to assist in confirmation of the identification.

The good variety of Geese locally does continue, though they do continue to move around. Belmont Lake State Park in the early morning has with some consistency been producing one of the ROSS’S GEESE, 2 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE and a CACKLING GOOSE among the variety of waterfowl roosting there overnight.

A BARNACLE GOOSE has recently been lingering in Centerport, often seen on small Tung Ting Pond, especially in the evening; this pond is off Route 25A just west of the Chalet Motel and the Centerport Mill Pond, where a EURASIAN WIGEON has been hanging out. This BARNACLE was also seen Sunday at the Elementary School on Pulaski Road.

A PINK-FOOTED GOOSE was spotted north of Riverhead last Sunday, located on the south side of Reeves Avenue between Roanoke Avenue and Doctor’s Path.

Another GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE has been visiting Playland Lake in Rye in the mornings recently, and CACKLING GEESE can occasionally be found carefully scanning the Canada flocks, but there are a lot of small CANADA GEESE out there too.

Two TUNDRA SWANS were still on Hook Pond in East Hampton yesterday, and recently EURASIAN WIGEON have been seen Wednesday at the Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center and Tuesday off Floyd Bennett Field, both in Brooklyn, and on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Monday.

A drake HARLEQUIN DUCK was at the Point Lookout jetties Sunday, and a female was found off Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island Monday.

Interesting were 2 AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS reported flying west over the ocean off Jones Beach West End Saturday morning.

During the week SNOWY OWLS were seen at Jones Beach and Shinnecock – if lucky enough to encounter one, please refrain from pushing it around.

The immature BLACK-HEADED GULL was still being seen on Prospect Park Lake Tuesday, and another was in New York Harbor Sunday.

A GLAUCOUS GULL was at Gravesend Bay in Brooklyn Thursday, another has been visiting Center Island Town Park east of Bayville, this one best on a lower tide, and one was still being seen recently around the inlet to Lake Montauk; an ICELAND GULL or two also continue there, and an ICELAND visited Central Park Reservoir Saturday to Monday, with another at Brooklyn Bridge Park Wednesday and Thursday.

Two RED-NECKED GREBES were off Floyd Bennett Field Saturday.

In Flushing Meadows Park the CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was still present Sunday along with the LARK SPARROW, and single LARK SPARROWS were also by the outer turnaround at Jones Beach West End to Thursday and at Croton Point Park in Westchester to Thursday.

A DICKCISSEL continues at Southard’s Pond in Babylon by the parking lot at the south end off Park Avenue.

At least 6 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS were still at Santapogue Creek in Lindenhurst Tuesday.

RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS remain at Willowbrook Park on Staten Island and at Blydenburgh County Park in Smithtown.

A few lingering ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS are not as unusual as the WILSON’S WARBLER still surviving at the Bronx Zoo Wednesday. An EASTERN PHOEBE was still at Jones Beach West End Monday, a HOUSE WREN at Massapequa Preserve today.

To phone in reports, on Long Island call Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126, or weekdays call Tom Burke at (212) 372-1483.

This service is sponsored by the Linnaean Society of New York and the National Audubon Society. Thank you for calling.

- End transcript
...Read more

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

Governor Cuomo Makes Huge Green Investment in New York State

The following article appeared last week on the Nature Conservancy website:

The Nature Conservancy in New York Celebrates Historic Environmental Funding Announced by Governor Cuomo in State of State and Budget Address

$300 Million for Environmental Protection Fund, $250 Million for Water Infrastructure, Capital Funding for State Parks and the Department of Environmental Conservation Will Create Jobs, Benefit Future Generations
Albany, NY | January 13, 2016

Today Governor Andrew Cuomo, in his State of the State and 2016-17 Budget address, further detailed his proposals to make historic investments in New York’s environment. The Governor has included $300 million for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) in the executive budget.

“The Nature Conservancy congratulates and thanks Governor Cuomo for proposing an unprecedented level of funding for the EPF,” said Stuart F. Gruskin, Chief Conservation and External Affairs Officer with The Nature Conservancy in New York. “This investment will benefit our economy, quality of life, and health of our communities today and for future generations by protecting our clean water, working farms and forests, parks, waterfronts and waterways. By conserving our natural resources we reduce risks to communities from climate change, create jobs and sustain New York as a special place to live and work for many years to come,” Gruskin continued.

Noteworthy EPF investments in this year’s proposal include a new focus on climate resiliency, continuing to restore funding land conservation, and increased funding for the Water Quality Improvement Program, State Land Stewardship Program and Invasive Species Program.

“Ensuring that New York is resilient in the face of a changing climate is one of Governor Cuomo’s great achievements, and with this allocation he continues that leadership,” said Gruskin. “The Governor has also provided New Yorkers with amazing recreational opportunities through his commitment to open space conservation, and The Nature Conservancy has been proud to partner with his administration to conserve important lands for future generations.”

In addition to his landmark EPF proposal, the Governor included in his budget a $100 million increase in grant money for waste water and drinking water infrastructure projects, growing the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2015 program to a total of $300 million. This 3-year program was created in the last state budget and originally funded with $200 million. This $100 million increase will allow the program to meet more of the significant demand that exists for such funding. The first $50 million of grants from this program was released in December 2015 and leveraged more than $400 million in total project investments in communities throughout the state.

“The Nature Conservancy supported the creation of the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2015, and we fully support Governor Cuomo’s forward-looking proposal to increase that fund by $100 million,” said Gruskin. “This program provides communities critical grant funding to ensure clean water and effective wastewater disposal – necessary services for public health, safety and sustainable growth.”

In his speech, Governor Cuomo proposed landmark initiatives to mitigate climate change, further asserting New York as a national leader and transforming the state to a clean energy economy. In addition to a new program within the EPF to fund work to mitigate climate change and increase resilience of communities, Governor Cuomo set a goal of transitioning New York off of coal energy by 2020. This goal will help the state reach its ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions 40 percent by 2030.

Governor Cuomo also continued his support for reducing nitrogen pollution on Long Island. The Nature Conservancy has identified nitrogen pollution of Long Island’s groundwater, beaches and bays as a top threat to the environment, public health and the economy of that region. The Governor’s budget proposal continues to allocate resources to address this issue, including the creation of a Island-wide nitrogen reduction plan and funding to transition properties currently reliant on septic systems to community sewage treatment systems.

“The Nature Conservancy congratulates and thanks Governor Cuomo for making historic commitments to New York’s clean water and natural resources in his Executive Budget Proposal, and looks forward to working with the Governor and Legislature to ensure that these proposals are enacted in the final state budget,” said Gruskin.
...Read more

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, January 23, 2016 to Sunday, January 24, 2016:

Brooklyn Bird Club
Sunday, January 24, 2015
Jones Beach, Long Island
Leader: Mike Yuan
Focus: coastal species, waterbirds, sea ducks, raptors, dune passerines
Car Fee: $22.00
Registrar: Mike Yuan mjyuan@gmail.com
Registration Period: January 16th - January 21st

**********

Gateway National Parks
Sunday, January 24, 2016
Hike the Trails of the North Forty Natural Area
Location: Floyd Bennett Field
Time: 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Fee Information: Free
Join American Littoral Society naturalist Mickey Maxwell Cohen to discover the enigmas of the winter woods. Participants will carpool from the Ryan Visitor Center to the North Forty trailhead. A magnifying glass will be helpful.
This is an American Littoral Society/ Gateway NRA partnership program.
Approx. 2 miles.

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, January 23, 2016
Pelham Bay Park

Leader: Rob Jett
Registrar: Louise Fraza — louisefraza@yahoo.com or 212-534-6182
Registration opens: Monday January 11
Ride: $15

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, January 23, 2016
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, January 23, 9am – Sun, January 24, 7pm
Winter Waterfowl Weekend at Montauk
Guide: Gabriel Willow
The gatherings of sea ducks around Montauk Point are the largest winter concentrations in New York State; the Christmas bird count on Montauk Point consistently tallies from 125 to 135 species, one of the best totals in the Northeast. Species that come to feed on the Point’s rich kelp and mussel beds include common and red-throated loon, common eider, all three scoter species, bufflehead, common goldeneye, great cormorant, and red-breasted merganser. Harlequin duck and king eider also occur here regularly during the winter. Accommodations at Daunt's Albatross in Montauk. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $300 ($50 single supplement)
Click here to register

Saturday, January 23, 2016, 8:30am – 10:30am
Eagle Watch and Bird Walk at Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
Guide: Annie Barry
Meet at the western end of Dyckman Street in front of La Marina restaurant and join Annie Barry for a winter hike through the various landscapes and habitats of Inwood Hill Park. Located at the northern tip of Manhattan where the Harlem River meets the Hudson, Inwood Hill Park offers shoreline vistas, a relict forest and the last natural saltmarsh in Manhattan. We will begin with an eagle watch on the Hudson shore, then move into the forest to search for wintering and year-round birds, and finally to the saltmarsh to look for wintering ducks. Some hilly walking required. $36 (25)
Click here to register

Sunday, January 24, 2016, 12pm – 2pm
Winter Seals and Waterbirds of NY Harbor
Guide: NYC Audubon guide
Meet at South Street Seaport’s Pier 17 and come aboard NY Water Taxi’s eco-friendly vessel for a winter adventure in New York Harbor! Look for harbor seals on the rocky shores of Governor’s Island and the more remote Hoffman and Swinburne Islands. Learn about the surprisingly diverse winter birds of New York City, including ducks, geese, loons, and sandpipers, many of which migrate south from the Arctic. See the Statue of Liberty and pass under the Verrazano Bridge. Dress warmly! Limited to 90. To register, contact New York Water Taxi at 212-742-1969 or www.nywatertaxi.com. $35 for adults; $25 for children under 12; $105 for family pack for 2 adults and 2 children

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, January 24, 2016
Hempstead Lake State Park

Notes:
All walks start at 9:00 A.M.
There is no walk if it rains or snows or temperature is below 25°F.
For more information or in case of questionable weather conditions, please phone Joe at 516 467-9498
For directions to our bird-watching locations, click here.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, January 23, 2016
Birding: Super Winter Bird Walk at Grand Army Plaza Arch (in Grand Army Plaza), Brooklyn
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle. Birding programs are appropriate for all skill levels and beginners are welcome.
Free!

Sunday, January 24, 2016
Birding: Winter Waterfowl at Forest Avenue and Silver Lake Park Road (in Silver Lake Park), Staten Island
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle. Birding programs are appropriate for all skill levels and beginners are welcome.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, January 16, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, January 15, 2016:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jan. 15, 2016
* NYNY1601.15

- Birds Mentioned

ROSS’S GOOSE+
PINK-FOOTED GOOSE+
BARNACLE GOOSE+
WESTERN GREBE+
COMMON MURRE+
THICK-BILLED MURRE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Greater White-fronted Goose
Cackling Goose
Canada Goose
Tundra Swan
Eurasian Wigeon
KING EIDER
Harlequin Duck
BARROW’S GOLDENEYE
RED-NECKED GREBE
NORTHERN FULMAR
Manx Shearwater
Northern Gannet
Razorbill
BLACK GUILLEMOT
Black-legged Kittiwake
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Iceland Gull
Glaucous Gull
SNOWY OWL
Red-headed Woodpecker
American Pipit
Yellow Warbler
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
LARK SPARROW
Dark-eyed Junco
DICKCISSEL

If followed by (+) please submit documentation of your report electronically and use the NYSARC online submission form found at http://www.nybirds.org/NYSARC/goodreport.htm

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to nysarc44nybirdsorg

If electronic submission is not possible, hardcopy reports and photos or sketches are welcome. Hardcopy documentation should be mailed to:

Gary Chapin - Secretary
NYS Avian Records Committee (NYSARC)
125 Pine Springs Drive
Ticonderoga, NY 12883

Hotline: New York City Area Rare Bird Alert
Number: (212) 979-3070

Compiler: Tom Burke, Tony Lauro
Coverage: New York City, Long Island, Westchester County

Transcriber: Gail Benson

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

Greetings! This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, January 15,
2016 at 6:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are pelagic trip results, including NORTHERN FULMAR and COMMON MURRE, plus WESTERN GREBE, BLACK GUILLEMOT, THICK-BILLED MURRE, ROSS’S, BARNACLE and PINK-FOOTED GEESE, KING EIDER and BARROW’S GOLDENEYE, BLACK-HEADED GULL, SNOWY OWL, DICKCISSEL and LARK and CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS.

An inshore pelagic trip last Saturday aboard the Brooklyn VI from Sheepshead Bay, sponsored by See Life Paulagics, went out about 20 miles and encountered 13 NORTHERN FULMARS, a COMMON MURRE and 4 RAZORBILLS, 50 NORTHERN GANNETS, and 15 BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES. See Life Paulagics is also running an offshore pelagic January 23 on the same boat. For information call them at 215-234-6805.

The eastern Nassau – western Suffolk County area has recently been hosting a good variety of geese, but they have been moving about somewhat. A PINK-FOOTED GOOSE was roosting on Miller’s Pond in Smithtown and feeding on adjacent ballfields last weekend, but with the pond getting rather frozen it has apparently relocated elsewhere.

Two separate ROSS’S GEESE have also been present – one using Avon Lake and the adjoining creek and yards in Amityville last weekend was present at the same time that one was found Saturday in Massapequa at the Berner Middle School. The second bird was later seen on Unqua Lake and Elda Lake and by Wednesday was visiting the Sweet Hollow Middle School in Melville. Thursday found one in the early morning on Belmont Lake State Park and later off Pinelawn Road south of Route 495.

A BARNACLE GOOSE was similarly nomadic, first being noted on the North Babylon High School fields Sunday and then Monday seen at Elda Lake as viewed from Phelps Lane Park south of the high school. Today one was the Tung Ting Pond in Centerport before flying off.

At a couple of the above mentioned sites 1 or 2 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were also present, including 2 Thursday and today at Belmont Lake State Park, two off Pinelawn Road Thursday, and 1 at Babylon High School Sunday.

Further east a BARNACLE GOOSE was present Saturday with CANADAS along the south side of Oregon Road east of Alvah’s Lane in Cutchogue, and close to 200 AMERICAN PIPITS were in the same field.

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE included one on Lake Ronkonkoma Saturday and one or more continuing in East Hampton either along Further Lane or at Hook Pond, the latter site still also hosting 2 TUNDRA SWANS.

Some CACKLING GEESE have also been noted, including the 2 remaining at Flushing Meadow Park well into this week.

Featured Ducks included the drake KING EIDER still along the south side of Montauk Point, where 1 or 2 HARLEQUIN DUCKS have also been, and the female BARROW’S GOLDENEYE seen again Saturday off northeastern Staten Island.

A EURASIAN WIGEON was still on the east pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Tuesday, another at the Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center Thursday.

Alcids at Montauk last Saturday, besides a decent number of RAZORBILLS, included a fly-by BLACK GUILLEMOT at the Point and a fly-by THICK-BILLED MURRE at Culloden Point along the north shore west of the point. Some RED-NECKED GREBES are also in that area.

The WESTERN GREBE off Piermont Pier was enjoyed by many up to last Saturday but not thereafter.

A recent SNOWY OWL influx has included sightings in Brooklyn at Floyd Bennett Field today and Plumb Beach yesterday, Shinnecock Wednesday and Napeague Tuesday. Please give these Owls plenty of room while they roost during the day - do not push them around.

A sea watch off Robert Moses State Park Sunday reported a MANX and an unidentified large SHEARWATER plus 4 RAZORBILLS and 5 BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES.

The BLACK-HEADED GULL was still visiting Prospect Park Lake to Wednesday, and both ICELAND and GLAUCOUS GULLS have been present at the mouth of Montauk Harbor, with other ICELANDS especially elsewhere.

The LARK and CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS remain with the DARK-EYED JUNCO flock at Flushing Meadow Park, and the DICKCISSEL continues at the south end of Southards Pond in Babylon by the Park Avenue parking lot.

An immature RED-HEADED WOODPECKER remains at the Blydenburgh County Park parking lot off New Mill Road in Smithtown.

A YELLOW WARBLER continues at Floyd Bennett Field, and a LARK SPARROW continues at Croton Point Park, with another at Jones Beach West End Saturday.

To phone in reports, on Long Island call Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126, or weekdays call Tom Burke at (212) 372-1483.

This service is sponsored by the Linnaean Society of New York and the National Audubon Society. Thank you for calling.

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Friday's Foto

Common Eider photo by Sean Sime

Common Eiders are the largest waterfowl in the Northern Hemisphere. This circumpolar species is typically found along northern seacoasts and nest primarily in the coastal high arctic regions of Canada and Siberia. A diving duck it feeds mainly on aquatic invertebrates, such as crustaceans, mollusks and sea urchins found in shallow waters around submerged ledges and reefs off rocky coastlines. Eider down is famous for its extreme insulating qualities and is used in large amounts in their nest lining. In some places, such as Iceland, the down is harvested commercially at coastal "eider farms," where the wild birds are encouraged to nest in sheltered nooks built for them.

The IUCN Red List recently uplisted their conservation status as "Near Threatened". Historically, by the end of the 19th century market hunting reduced southern population in the Atlantic to near extinction. That population currently is healthy. Arctic populations are declining. Some declines are thought to be the result of overharvesting of aquatic resources, pollution, disturbance and hunting. They are also vulnerable to oil spills.

Their scientific name Somateria mollissima means - Somateria Gr. som# a, somatos body; erion wool. mollissima / mollissimus L. mollissimus very soft (super. from mollis soft).

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

The following is from the "Science Daily" website:

Biologists Examine Big Alaska Seabird Die-Off
January 12, 2016
AP / Powered by NewsLook.com

An estimated 8,000 common murres, a type of seabird, have been found dead on the shores of Alaska's Prince William Sound this winter. Biologists don't know why the birds are dying, but unusually warm ocean waters could be to blame. (Jan. 12) Video provided by AP

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