Check out City Birder Tours, and Green-Wood sponsored tours on their calendar pages here.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, October 12, 2018

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Oct. 12, 2018
* NYNY1810.12

- Birds Mentioned

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Black-billed Cuckoo
Common Nighthawk
Virginia Rail
American Oystercatcher
American Golden-Plover
MARBLED GODWIT
Stilt Sandpiper
BAIRD'S SANDPIPER
Long-billed Dowitcher
Parasitic Jaeger
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Caspian Tern
Royal Tern
Black Skimmer
Bald Eagle
Broad-winged Hawk
American Kestrel
Merlin
WESTERN KINGBIRD
Worm-eating Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
CONNECTICUT WARBLER
Mourning Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Canada Warbler
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
Nelson’s Sparrow
Lincoln’s Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
BLUE GROSBEAK
DICKCISSEL

Greetings! This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, October 12, 2018 at 9 pm. The highlights of today’s tape are WESTERN KINGBIRD, MARBLED GODWIT, BAIRD’S SANDPIPER, CONNECTICUT WARBLER, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, BLUE GROSBEAK, DICKCISSEL and CLAY-COLORED SPARROW.

Another WESTERN KINGBIRD provided this week's rarity highlight, though it was a bird seen only for a brief time last Monday afternoon at the Salt Marsh Nature Center section of Marine Park in Brooklyn, searches to relocate it coming up empty.

Six MARBLED GODWITS have remained around Jones Inlet at least to Thursday, often seen on the island sandbar just east of the Coast Guard Station at Jones Beach West End. Also on the bar Thursday among a nice selection of shorebirds were an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER plus large gatherings of AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS and BLACK SKIMMERS, with 11 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS also at West End.

A BAIRD'S SANDPIPER was still around the tip of Breezy Point Thursday, along with 4 PARASITIC JAEGERS harassing Gulls and Terns off the tip as well. Two PARASITIC JAEGERS were also noted off Robert Moses State Park Thursday, where 9 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were also counted. Other multiple LESSER BLACK-BACKEDS included 4 at Breezy Point Saturday.

Single LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS were identified last Sunday on Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge’s East Pond as well as at Santapogue Creek in West Babylon. A STILT SANDPIPER was also still on the East Pond Tuesday.

Several reports of CASPIAN TERNS this week included 4 at Jamaica Bay Tuesday and 2 each at Mecox Saturday, Plumb Beach and Piermont Pier Sunday and Floyd Bennett Field Thursday, while ROYAL TERNS remain at various coastal sites, including up to 4 at Plumb Beach.

Strong northwest winds today provided a decent hawk flight locally, with about 20 BALD EAGLES, for instance, recorded over Central Park and a few BROAD-WINGED HAWKS still moving through. At Fort Tilden today the hawk count included 102 MERLINS and 594 AMERICAN KESTRELS, the latter, however, overshadowed by over 5,000 KESTRELS counted at Cape May today.

Single BLUE GROSBEAKS last weekend were noted on Saturday at Flushing Meadows Park and at Croton Point and on Sunday at the Queens Botanical Garden.

DICKCISSELS during the week included 1 still in Central Park Saturday, another at Floyd Bennett Field Saturday, and on Monday 2 each at the Salt Marsh Nature Center and at Robert Moses State Park.

CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS reported this week included 1 at Floyd Bennett Field during the week, 1 at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Sunday, and 1 in Kissena Park, Queens, Sunday to Tuesday. Among the other SPARROWS now arriving are some NELSON’S in various coastal salt marshes and some LINCOLN’S and WHITE-CROWNED.

Among the more unusual WARBLERS this week were a CONNECTICUT reported in Central Park Monday and Tuesday, a MOURNING banded at Tobay Saturday, and an ORANGE-CROWNED in Gardiner Park in West Bayshore Sunday.

A YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT was spotted at Southard’s Pond Park in Babylon last Sunday.

A small influx of YELLOW WARBLERS this week augmented the list of late lingering WARBLERS locally, including WORM-EATING, CAPE MAY and CANADA.

A small unfortunate fallout of VIRGINIA RAILS onto the streets of lower Manhattan Saturday through Monday demonstrates the fragile and uncertain nature of rail migration and the perils the birds sometimes find themselves faced with.

On the later side this week have been COMMON NIGHTHAWK and BLACK-BILLED and YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOOS.

To phone in reports, on Long Island call Tony Lauro at (631) 734 4126 or call Tom Burke at (914) 967-4922 and leave a message.

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, October 10, 2018

Weekly Sparrow Spotlight


The White-crowned Sparrow is another uncommon visitor to the east coast who one would be unlikely to confuse with another sparrow. It’s large size and bold black and white head stripes give this sparrow a unique appearance. Fall juveniles have brown stripes in place of the black. Look for this conspicuous sparrow in brushy habitats and woodland edges.

Is sparrow ID giving you trouble? Join me for my two part sparrow identification class at Green-Wood Cemetery. Click here for more info or to sign up.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website MNN:

Scottish doctors prescribe bird-watching, walking and other 'nature prescriptions'
Mary Jo DiLonardo
October 8, 2018, 10:23 a.m.

Mother Nature offers amazing benefits. A stroll in the fresh air can clear your head, relax your body and just make you feel better. Now doctors in Scotland are encouraging some patients to get outdoors for some natural medicine.

Doctors in Shetland, an archipelago of Scotland, are going to start prescribing bird-watching, taking rambling walks and picking up driftwood from the beach to help with health and well-being.

The Nature Prescriptions program is a partnership between NHS Shetland and The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Scotland. According to a release about the project, "Nature Prescriptions recognizes the benefits of nature on reducing blood pressure, reducing anxiety and increasing happiness as well as the growing disconnection with nature throughout society."

Patients will be offered fliers that include suggested bird walks and calendars from RSPB, showing bird species and plants and which routes to take, reports The Guardian.

After a successful pilot program at a doctor's office in Scalloway in 2017, the program will be rolled out to all 10 general practitioner's offices throughout Shetland.

A supplemental approach

The nature walks won't replace traditional medicine, but they'll provide a supplemental treatment, says Dr. Chloe Evans, who piloted the program.

"I want to take part because the project provides a structured way for patients to access nature as part of a non-drug approach to health problems," Evans said.

"The benefits to patients are that it is free, easily accessible, allows increased connection with surroundings which hopefully leads to improved physical and mental health for individuals."

Depending on the time of year, suggestions might include walking on the beach to look for shells, going bird-watching, hill walking on the moors or just standing still and quiet for a few minutes for some outdoor mindfulness.

"There is overwhelming evidence that nature has health benefits for body and mind. Shetland is 'stappit foo' [stuffed full] of natural wonders. Whenever you open your front door you can hear or see some kind of natural delight – be it a gull or a lapwing calling or the roll of a heathery hill," said Karen MacKelvie, community engagement officer for RSPB Scotland.

"However, despite many doctors using the outdoors as a resource to combat ill-health, far fewer recommend the same strategy to their patients. So, we saw an opportunity to design a leaflet that helps doctors describe the health benefits of nature and provides plenty of local ideas to help doctors fire-up their patients’ imaginations and get them outdoors."

Scottish doctors prescribe bird-watching, walking and other 'nature prescriptions'

It's no secret that spending time outside is good for your health, but doctors in Scotland are prescribing this natural medicine for overall well-being.
...Read more

Monday, October 08, 2018

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, October 13, 2018 to Sunday, October 14, 2018:

Bedford Audubon
August 25, 2018 through November 27, 2018, 9am to 4pm
Chestnut Ridge Hawkwatch
Arthur Butler Sanctuary, Chestnut Ridge Rd., Bedford Corners, NY
The fall Hawkwatch starts Saturday, August 25! Join us at the Chestnut Ridge Hawkwatch at the Arthur Butler Sanctuary on Chestnut Ridge Road in Bedford Corners every day from 9 am to 5 pm, weather permitting, to experience the miracle of raptor migration. Our data is combined with other Hawkwatch sites to create population and migration analyses that help us better protect raptors and their habitats.
See more details

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, October 13, 2018, 7:15am
Prospect Park Saturday Walk
Leader: Dennis Hrehowsik Meet at Ocean/Parkside Avenues, “The Pergola” at 7:15 am No registration necessary.
Please review our trip guidelines here: http://brooklynbirdclub.org/information-registration

Saturday, October 13, 2018, 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Prospect Park: Birdwatching for Beginners
Leader: Cyrus Baty Birdwatching for Beginners meets at the Prospect Park Audubon Center at The Boathouse at 12 noon. Bring binoculars if you have them; otherwise, binoculars are available for loan.

**********

Gateway National Parks
Saturday, October 13, 2018, 10:00am to 1:00pm
Hawk Migration at Fort Tilden
Location: Meet @ Ft. Tilden Chapel
Fees: Free
American Littoral Society Partnership-program.
View Details

Sunday, October 14, 2018, 11:00am to 2:00pm
Greenbelt to Great Kills Hike
Location: Willowbrook Park - 1 Eton Place
Join us and our friends from NYC Green-belt Educators to travel (one way!) from Willowbrook Park to Great Kills Park.
View Details

**********

Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, October 14, 2018, 10:00am - 12:00pm (class)
Sunday, October 21, 2018, 10:00am - 12:00pm (walk)
Me and My Sparrows
It’s a little known fact that the common house sparrow was introduced to North America right here at Green-Wood. In 1854, about 100 were brought from England and released in the Cemetery (as well as along the Narrows) as natural predators of the inchworms that were destroying trees throughout the city. Today there are approximately seventy-four million sparrows in the United States, and even veteran birders say they are among the most difficult to distinguish. Are you ready to take the sparrow challenge? From the American Tree Sparrow to the White-crowned Sparrow, this course will focus on the seventeen regularly-occurring New World sparrow species around the Big Apple, breaking down the basics of size, shape, and behavior.

Once ticket secures a spot for both sessions, on October 14th and October 21st, from 10 AM to 12 PM. Comfortable footwear is recommended, as we will be exploring Green-Wood for part of the class.

$25 for members of Green-Wood and BHS / $30 for non-members

Sunday, October 14, 2018, 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Alive at Green-Wood
There’s a lot more to a cemetery than death. There’s life – a lot of it. In fact, for Green-Wood, the natural environment is a critical part of our future. Join us for this new walking tour to explore the potential of the Cemetery’s 478 acres as a public garden, a distinction that means much more than manicured lawns and azaleas. It means that we work to teach our visitors about Green-Wood’s ecology and environmental diversity. As an accredited arboretum, the Cemetery has over 7,000 trees and a master plan that includes new interpretive panels (signs) across the grounds. You’ll learn so much about the natural beauty and wildlife at Green-Wood that you’ll want to come back and give your own tour to family and friends!

Comfortable footwear recommended. Please note, tour route is on grass and uneven terrain.

$15 for members of Green-Wood and BHS/$20 for non-members.

Click here for our inclement weather policy.

**********

Hudson River Audubon
Saturday, October 13, 2018
The Big Sit and 10am Lenoir Hawk Watch
Meet at Lenoir Nature Preserve behind the Lenoir Mansion anytime between 8AM and 3PM
A great way to enjoy birds without an effort!
The object of the "BIG SIT" is to tally as many bird species as we can in a day from a single position. We'll be out on the Lenoir lawn (at our hawk watch sight) overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades. Bring a chair, drink and snacks and join us anytime on that day and help us find the birds!
http://www.hras.org/wtobird/lenoir.html

**********

Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon
Sunday, October 14, 2018 - 9:00am
Robert Moses Hawk Watch
The best place to see migrating raptors on Long Island. Great viewing platform, with some of the birds flying by at eye level, always has expert hawk watchers to answer any questions you may have. Exploring the surrounding areas should turn up other migrants as well as possible rarities.

Directions: Proceed south on Robert Moses Parkway, over the bridge to Robert Moses State Park. From the water tower circle (check for peregrine falcon), proceed east to parking lot #5. We will meet in the NE corner of the parking lot. Call 631-885-1881 to register.

Sunday, October 14, 2018 - 11:00am
Buck Moths in Westhampton
Perhaps Long Island’s most unique insect, the buck moth dwells only along the coast in pitch pine-scrub oak barrens, including the Long Island Dwarf Pine Plains, on deep dry sands. We will journey to the Dwarf Pine Plains in Westhampton Beach to find this autumn specialty.

Directions: Take Exit 63 off the Sunrise Highway and go south 0.2 mile to a parking lot of the Suffolk County Water Authority building. The trail begins at the south side of the lot. Call 585-880-0915 to register.

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, October 13, 2018
Randall’s Island
Leader: Alan Drogin
Registrar: Miriam Rakowski — miriamrakowski@hotmail.com or 212-749-7376
Registration opens: Monday, October 1
Ride: $10 or public transportation

Sunday, October 14, 2018
6TH Annual Starr Saphir Memorial Fall Migration Walk, Central Park
Leader: Lenore Swenson — information only lenoreswenson@gmail.com or 212-533-9567
No registration. Public transportation
Meet at 103rd Street and Central Park West at 7:30 am

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturdays -- 11:00 a.m.
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11am to 12:30pm beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Included in All-Garden Pass
Get Tickets

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, October 13, 2018, 8am – 8pm
NYC Audubon Day at Hawk Mountain, PA
Guides: Gabriel Willow, Hawk Mountain Education Specialist
Mid-October is the perfect time to visit Hawk Mountain, one of the premier hawk-watching spots in the East. Gabriel Willow and a Hawk Mountain education specialist will introduce us to the variety of raptors that may be seen, including Golden Eagles, buteos, and falcons The path to the hawk watch site is a 3/4 mile hike through mountainous woodland. Bring lunch. Group program, trail admission, and transportation by van included. Limited to 12. $139 (97)
Click here to register

Saturday, October 13, 2018, 9:00am – 11:30am
Fall Migrants of Inwood Hill Park
Guide: Annie Barry
Join Annie Barry for a hike through a mature forest in search of kinglets, warblers, flycatchers, sparrows, thrushes and more, then search the shore of the Inwood Hill Park saltmarshes for herons and ducks. Some hilly walking required. Limited to 15. $36 (25)
Click here to register

Saturday, October 13, 2018, 9:00am – 10:30am
Van Cortlandt Fall Bird Walks
Guides: NYC Audubon, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy with the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy
Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free.

Saturday, October 13, 2018, 10am – 1pm
Hawk Migration at Fort Tilden, Queens
Guide: Don Riepe with American Littoral Society, Gateway National Recreation Area
Meet at the little church in Fort Tilden. Hike along the beach, dunes, and woodlands to look for migrating hawks, falcons and other raptors. Visit the hawk-watch platform for a good view of beach and bay. Contact Don Riepe at 718-474-0896 or donriepe@gmail.com to learn more and register. Limited to 30.
Free

Sunday, October 14, 2018, 8:00am – 10:30am
Fall Migrants of Woodlawn Cemetery, The Bronx
Guides: Tod Winston, Joseph McManus, Susan Olsen with Woodlawn Conservancy
Join us for a morning bird walk and tour of beautiful Woodlawn Cemetery: Tod Winston and Joseph McManus will help look for fall migrants and year-round residents on the expansive, wooded cemetery grounds, while the Woodlawn Conservancy's Susan Olsen will share fascinating stories about Woodlawn’s history and the interesting mixture of individuals interred there. Visit www.thewoodlawncemetery.org/events for more information. Limited to 20. $35 (25)
Click here to register

Sunday, October 14, 2018, 9:30am – 11:30am
Fall Birding at Wave Hill, Bronx
Sundays, September 9, October 14, November 11 and December 9, 9:30-11:30am
Guide: Gabriel Willow with Wave Hill
Meet at the Perkins Visitor Center. Naturalist Gabriel Willow contributes his extensive knowledge of bird species and their behaviors on these captivating walks. Wave Hill’s garden setting overlooking the Hudson River flyway provides the perfect habitat for resident and migrating birds. Ages 10 and up welcome with an adult. NYC Audubon members enjoy two-for-one admission (see www.wavehill.org for more information)

Sunday, October 14, 2018, 2pm – 3pm
Governors Island Bird Walk
Saturdays, September 8, September 15, September 29, October 6 and October 27, 2-3pm
Sundays, September 9, October 14 and October 28 2–3pm
Guide: NYC Audubon
Meet at Nolan Park house #17. Join us for a bird walk around beautiful and historic Governors Island, which boasts over 192 species recorded on ebird.org. Learn about the island’s fascinating history and search for waterbirds, raptors, waterfowl, and more. Binoculars are available. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

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North Shore Audubon
Saturday, October 13, 2018, 9:30am – 12:00pm
Upper Francis Pond and Bailey Arboretum (map)
Leader: Jennifer (516) 767-3454

Please inform walk leader that you are attending.
See "Walk Locations" for directions.
Wear water-resistant footwear, bring binoculars and drinking water. Wear long pants and socks so you do not touch poison ivy.

**********

Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, October 13, 2018 or Sunday, October 14, 2018
Big Sit
Leader: Corey Finger - 10000birdsblogger@gmail.com

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, October 14, 2018
Point Lookout Town Park (and Lido Preserve afterwards)

From the Southern State Parkway, exit onto the Meadowbrook State Parkway south. Exit from the Meadowbrook at Loop Parkway (just before the Jones Beach toll booths) toward Point Lookout. The Loop Parkway ends west of Point Lookout at Lido Boulevard. Continue straight across Lido Boulevard into Point Lookout Park. Travel past the ticket booths and curve left into the very large parking lot on the south side of the park. Park in the southeast corner, closest to the private homes of the village of Point Lookout and the beach. We will walk east along the beach toward Jones Inlet. After returning to the parking lot, we will drive west on Lido Boulevard to Lido Beach Passive Nature Preserve on the north side of Lido Boulevard to walk through the bay marsh.
Directions to Point Lookout Park via Google Maps | Directions to Lido Beach Passive Nature Preserve via Google Maps

Bird walks led by a member of SSAS are conducted nearly every Sunday morning from late August through early June. Walks are open to the public and are free of charge. We especially encourage youngsters to attend.

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.


**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, October 13, 2018
Tour of the Ridgewood Reservoir at Vermont Place Parking Lot (in Highland Park), Queens
11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
The Ridgewood Reservoir in Highland Park is a 50+ acre natural oasis that straddles the border of Brooklyn and Queens.
Free!

Birding: Fall Migrants at Beach 59th Street and Boardwalk (in Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk), Queens
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Our Urban Park Rangers will guide you to the best viewing spots in New York City to see fall migratory birds.
Free!

Tour of the Ridgewood Reservoir at Vermont Place Parking Lot (in Highland Park), Queens
1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
The Ridgewood Reservoir in Highland Park is a 50+ acre natural oasis that straddles the border of Brooklyn and Queens. Join us to explore this incredible natural resource.
Free!

Sunday, October 14, 2018
Fall Birding at Perkins Visitors Center (in Wave Hill), Bronx
9:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Naturalist Gabriel Willow contributes his extensive knowledge of bird species and their behaviors on these captivating walks.

Tours of the Ridgewood Reservoir at Vermont Place Parking Lot (in Highland Park), Queens
11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
The Ridgewood Reservoir in Highland Park is a 50+ acre natural oasis that straddles the border of Brooklyn and Queens. Join us to explore this incredible natural resource.
Free!

Tours of the Ridgewood Reservoir at Vermont Place Parking Lot (in Highland Park), Queens
1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
The Ridgewood Reservoir in Highland Park is a 50+ acre natural oasis that straddles the border of Brooklyn and Queens.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, October 06, 2018

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, October 5, 2018:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Oct. 05, 2018
* NYNY1810.05

- Birds Mentioned

Common Nighthawk
Whimbrel
HUDSONIAN GODWIT
MARBLED GODWIT
BAIRD’S SANDPIPER
Short-billed Dowitcher
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER
Wilson’s Snipe
Caspian Tern
Royal Tern
Broad-winged Hawk
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Black-billed Cuckoo
Red-headed Woodpecker
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Yellow-throated Vireo
Philadelphia Vireo
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Purple Finch
Pine Siskin
Tennessee Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
CONNECTICUT WARBLER
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Cape May Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Palm Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
Vesper Sparrow
LARK SPARROW
Nelson’s Sparrow
Lincoln’s Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
BLUE GROSBEAK
DICKCISSEL
Rusty Blackbird

Greetings! This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, October 5, 2018 at 9 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are MARBLED and HUDSONIAN GODWITS, BAIRD’S SANDPIPER, LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER, CONNECTICUT WARBLER, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, LARK and CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS, BLUE GROSBEAK, DICKCISSEL and more.

A week of decent variety featured 5 MARBLED GODWITS last weekend on the bar adjacent to the Coast Guard Station at Jones Beach West End. First noted there on September 20, their numbers increased to 6 by Tuesday; a single was also seen last Saturday at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, where 2 HUDSONIAN GODWITS were also present last weekend on the East Pond.

Four WHIMBRELS were still around Fort Tilden last Sunday, while 3 BAIRD’S SANDPIPERS at Breezy Point’s tip on Saturday dropped to 1 on Sunday.

Up to 4 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS continue with other shorebirds, including some SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS, along Santapogue Creek off Venetian Boulevard in West Babylon – please be careful not to intrude onto private property when visiting this area.

A WILSON’S SNIPE was flushed at Floyd Bennett Field last Saturday.

Three CASPIAN TERNS were at Breezy Point last Saturday, with 2 more at Mecox that day, and 2 appeared at Robert Moses State Park Wednesday, while the more frequent ROYAL TERNS along the coast included 8 at Brooklyn’s Plumb Beach last Saturday.

A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was spotted in Central Park Tuesday, and 1 or more continue at Connetquot River State Park.

Among the passerines, WARBLERS expectedly continue to decline both in variety and numbers – among the more notable this week were single CONNECTICUTS in Central Park Saturday and on Governor’s Island Sunday, with a MOURNING at Floyd Bennett Field Saturday, and early ORANGE-CROWNEDS were reported from Fort Tilden Sunday and Gardiner’s Park in West Babylon Thursday. TENNESSEE, CAPE MAY, and BAY-BREASTED WARBLERS are among the other migrants still being seen, though now the WARBLERS are mostly PALM, BLACKPOLL, YELLOW-RUMPED and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT. Single YELLOW-BREASTED CHATS were noted this week in Central Park last Saturday, in Mattituck Sunday and at Robert Moses State Park Wednesday.

A LARK SPARROW lingered in Central Park’s north end to last Saturday, and single CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS were noted in Kissena Park in Queens Sunday, at Floyd Bennett Field on Wednesday, and at Croton Point Park in Westchester Wednesday. Croton also featured VESPER SPARROW as well as a DICKCISSEL Thursday, the latter just 1 of several DICKCISSELS noted this week. Others chronologically included 2 at Fort Tilden and 1 each at Howard Beach and Robert Moses State Park last Saturday, 1 at Flushing Meadow Park in Queens Sunday, 1 at Crab Meadow Beach Tuesday, and singles at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and in Central Park today.

BLUE GROSBEAKS, besides 2 continuing on private property in Manhasset, included 1 on Fire Island Saturday and 1 out in Orient Thursday.

A small number of PHILADELPHIA VIREOS featured 2 at Robert Moses State Park last Sunday, that same day also finding a couple of PINE SISKINS moving by. Several SISKINS and good numbers already of PURPLE FINCHES certainly raise hopes of a good winter finch movement coming up.

FLYCATCHERS this week included a couple of reports of OLIVE-SIDED plus various Empidonax species, and also still coming through are the last of the COMMON NIGHTHAWKS and both BLACK-BILLED and YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOOS as well as BROAD-WINGED HAWKS. Other notable migrants this week included YELLOW-THROATED VIREO, GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, RUSTY-BLACKBIRD and such arriving SPARROWS as NELSON’S, LINCOLN’S and WHITE-CROWNED.

To phone in reports, on Long Island call Tony Lauro at (631) 734 4126 or call Tom Burke at (914) 967-4922 and leave a message.

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, October 03, 2018

Weekly Sparrow Spotlight


To the uninitiated, it would be easy to pass off the Eastern Towhee as something other than a sparrow. It’s robust size, large bill and robin-like plumage might make some mistake it for a thrush. Its habit of hanging out in mixed flocks of sparrows and scratching in the ground for seeds quickly dispels that notion. Breeding locally in dense thickets, they frequently give away their location by calling their own name (“ta-wee”).

Is sparrow ID giving you trouble? Join me for my two part sparrow identification class at Green-Wood Cemetery. Click here for more info or to sign up.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website Earther:

Mass Die-Off of Orcas Feared Due to Chemicals Banned in the '70s
Maddie Stone
October 1, 2018

A group of industrial chemicals humans started banning decades ago could cause many of the world’s orca whale populations to collapse over the next century, an alarming new study has found.

Polychlorinated biphenyls, better known as PCBs, are manmade compounds once used in a range of applications from electrical appliances to household paints. They were widely banned in the 1970s and 1980s after extensive contamination of humans and the environment was uncovered. Research has since linked the chemicals to endocrine and immune system disruption and reproductive failure in vertebrates—a legacy that continues to ripple through the biosphere thanks to PCBs’ longevity and their knack for accumulating up the food chain.

Nowhere is this more evident than in orca whales, apex predators that have the unfortunate tendency to hoard industrial pollutants in their blubber. PCB concentrations above 50 milligrams per kilogram of tissue are a health concern for marine mammals, yet in some orca populations numbers in the hundreds are more common. Mother whales pass the chemicals to their babies in the placenta and in their milk, transferring the toxic heritage from generation to generation. Despite all this, nobody had systematically investigated what PCBs could mean for orca whales’ futures.

The new study, published Thursday in Science, did just that, and the results aren’t pretty: Out of 19 populations examined, 10 appear to be at “high risk of collapse” over the next 100 years due to PCB exposure alone.

“It really was quite shocking to all of us,” lead study author Jean-Pierre Desforges, a biologist at Aarhus University, told Earther.

To arrive at their depressing conclusion, Desforges and his colleagues built a global database of PCB concentrations in orca whale blubber, and used prior studies of how PCBs impact reproduction and immune deficiency in whales (they used data on minke whales for reproductive effects, owing to a lack of data from orcas). This was all fed into models to look at the the accumulation and loss of PCBs in the 19 populations over the next 100 years, and to project population-level trends.

Not surprisingly, orcas living near highly industrialized areas where PCBs have leached into soil and waterways tended to be most contaminated and have a grimmer future outlook. But diet also plays an important role, as illustrated by the fact that whale populations dining primarily on marine mammals tended to have much higher PCB exposure than neighboring populations that preferred a lower food chain, fish-based diet.

Five populations—the Northeast Pacific Bigg’s whales, orcas in the Strait of Gibraltar, and those in waters off Japan, Brazil, and the United Kingdom—“tend[ed] toward complete collapse” in the researchers’ models. Five more groups were also projected to decline over the next century thanks to PCBs, to say nothing of other stressors from noise pollution to overfishing.

Marine ecologist Olivia Lee of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, said the study’s models offered “a sobering potential case of disaster for orcas in a world of persistent PCBs.” She did point out a few caveats, including the fact that the authors chose to keep the effect of PCBs on calves the same from generation to generation, something which “really helped drive population trends downwards.”

“I don’t think this is a bad approach, but it leaves no scenarios for adaptation in the 100 year simulation,” Lee said.

Desforges also said that prey switching, which can happen when one food source becomes more or less abundant, could alter whales’ exposure into the future. If rapid Arctic warming drives more whales north, for instance, that could affect their diets with untold impacts on PCB exposure.

Nothing is set in stone, but the findings certainly underscore the need to rid the world of these chemicals for good. The Stockholm Convention, an international treaty to reduce and eliminate persistent organic pollutants like PCBs, went into effect back in 2004. But the treaty doesn’t compel nations to stop using PCB-laden equipment until 2025, and globally, an estimated 80 percent of old PCBs have yet to be destroyed via incineration, waste-kilns, or one of many chemical decontamination methods. The pervasive use of these chemicals in paints and sealants in the 1950s and 1960s means lots of old buildings remain contaminated, too.

“In reality, countries aren’t really getting rid of equipment as fast as they should be,” Desforges said. “We’re trying to make sure people understand this crisis isn’t over.”
...Read more

Monday, October 01, 2018

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, October 6, 2018 to Sunday, October 7, 2018:

Bedford Audubon
August 25, 2018 through November 27, 2018, 9am to 4pm
Chestnut Ridge Hawkwatch
Arthur Butler Sanctuary, Chestnut Ridge Rd., Bedford Corners, NY
The fall Hawkwatch starts Saturday, August 25! Join us at the Chestnut Ridge Hawkwatch at the Arthur Butler Sanctuary on Chestnut Ridge Road in Bedford Corners every day from 9 am to 5 pm, weather permitting, to experience the miracle of raptor migration. Our data is combined with other Hawkwatch sites to create population and migration analyses that help us better protect raptors and their habitats.
See more details

October 5, 2018 - October 8, 2018
Cape May Migration Bonanza!
Be part of a perennial favorite—our annual Columbus Weekend trip to Cape May. Fall is the best season to visit this world-class birding hotspot, and our Naturalist-in-Residence, Tait Johansson, will maximize your experience by leading you to a variety of habitats in search of migrating raptors, passerines and shorebirdsd. Register early: this trip has a strict limit of 16 participants! Cost: Lodging, meals, and $100 for members, $130 for non-members and we’ll credit $30 towards your membership. We've negotiated special rates with two inns in Cape May which include: The Heritage Inn- Room rate of $170.00 per night for Friday and Saturday night, $150.00 on Sunday night. Also available is the Sound Winds Inn- Room rate of $165.00 per night for Friday and Saturday night, $145.00 on Sunday night. You may make your reservation directly with either facility by calling 609-884-7300. Let them know you are with Bedford Audubon for your special rate. Easy-Moderate.
Please register with Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914-302-9713.
See more details

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Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, October 6, 2018
Liberty State Park to Finderne Wetlands, New Jersey
Leader: Peter Dorosh
Focus: Sparrows peak time, raptors, land bird migration
Car fee: $20.00
Registrar: Peter Dorosh Prosbird@aol.com or text only cell 347-622-3559
Registration Period: Sept 29th – Oct 4th
Please review our trip guidelines here: http://brooklynbirdclub.org/information-registration

Saturday, October 6, 2018, 7:15am
Prospect Park Saturday Walk
Leader: Dennis Hrehowsik Meet at Ocean/Parkside Avenues, “The Pergola” at 7:15 am No registration necessary.
Please review our trip guidelines here: http://brooklynbirdclub.org/information-registration

Saturday, October 6, 2018, 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Prospect Park: Birdwatching for Beginners
Leader: Cyrus Baty Birdwatching for Beginners meets at the Prospect Park Audubon Center at The Boathouse at 12 noon. Bring binoculars if you have them; otherwise, binoculars are available for loan.

Sunday, October 7, 2018, 8:00am - 11:00am
Prospect Park First Sunday Walk
Meets at the Prospect Park Audubon Center at The Boathouse, the first Sunday of every month except July and August. Leaders are members of the Brooklyn Bird Club. Bring binoculars.

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Eastern Long Island Audubon
Saturday, October 6, 2018, 8am
Fire Island Hawk Watch and Hike to the Lighthouse
Leader: Eileen Schwinn
For this well-liked field trip, we will meet at the eastern end of Parking Lot 5, at Robert Moses State Park. We will stop at the Hawk Watch, where, with favorable winds, we will be joining other Long Island birders for a while, and hopefully see a number of east to west flying raptors. We will then walk the 3/4 mile boardwalk to the Fire Island Lighthouse, looking for migrating song birds along the way. Dress for the weather, and perhaps, bring a light snack and water. Binoculars a must. For more details, please contact Eileen Schwinn at beachmed@optonline.net or call 516-662-7751 the day of the trip.​

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Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, October 7, 2018
Birding in Peace
By September, offspring of this year's nesting birds will be on their own. Returning warblers will be in their less flamboyant fall plumage. Large numbers of blackbirds, flycatchers, sparrows, vireos, and swallows will also be passing through. By October, waterfowl are returning, and we’ll look for raptors heading south. November will bring back our overwintering feathered denizens from the north.

Before our gates open to the general public, birding expert Rob Jett leads these peaceful Saturday/Sunday morning walking tours to discover the many birds that call Green-Wood home. Green-Wood’s official birding checklist is available to pick up from the security guard at the main entrance on 25th Street or to print here. Comfortable footwear is recommended.

$10 for members of Green-Wood and BHS / $15 for non-members

Click here for our inclement weather policy.

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Hudson River Audubon
Saturday, October 6, 2018
Hawk Day - Lenoir Nature Preserve
10:00 AM to 12:30 PM - Hawk Watch on lawn
1:00 PM - Live Hawks! Meet hawks from Pace.
3:00 PM – Butterfly Walk. Learn about the incredible journey of the Monarch Butterfly
http://www.hras.org/wtobird/lenoir.html

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Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon
Sunday, October 7, 2018, 11:00am
Buck Moths in Westhampton
Perhaps Long Island’s most unique insect, the buck moth dwells only along the coast in pitch pine-scrub oak barrens, including the Long Island Dwarf Pine Plains, on deep dry sands. We will journey to the Dwarf Pine Plains in Westhampton Beach to find this autumn specialty.

Directions: Take Exit 63 off the Sunrise Highway and go south 0.2 mile to a parking lot of the Suffolk County Water Authority building. The trail begins at the south side of the lot. Call 585-880-0915 to register.

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Linnaean Society of New York
Sunday, October 7, 2018
Staten Island Conference House Park and Mount Loretto
Leader: Seth Wollney
Registrar: Judy Rabi — jsrabi@verizon.net or 917-658-1832
Registration opens: Monday, September 24
Ride: $20

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturdays -- 11:00 a.m.
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11am to 12:30pm beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Included in All-Garden Pass
Get Tickets

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, October 6, 2018, 9:00am – 10:30am
Birding Brooklyn Bridge Park
Guide: Heather Wolf
Meet at Pier 1 park entrance at the intersection of Old Fulton Street and Furman Street. Join Heather Wolf, author of Birding at the Bridge, for a picturesque bird walk along the Brooklyn waterfront. Target species include Barn Swallow and Gray Catbird (both of which nest in the Park and will be raising young at this time), Laughing Gull, Common Tern, and more. RSVP preferred. Limited to 19. Free
Click here to register

Saturday, October 7, 2018, 9:00am – 10:30am
Van Cortlandt Fall Bird Walks
Guides: NYC Audubon, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy with the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy
Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free.

Saturday, October 6, 2018, 2pm – 3pm
Governors Island Bird Walk
Saturdays, September 8, September 15, September 29, October 6 and October 27, 2-3pm
Sundays, September 9, October 14 and October 28 2–3pm
Guide: NYC Audubon
Meet at Nolan Park house #17. Join us for a bird walk around beautiful and historic Governors Island, which boasts over 192 species recorded on ebird.org. Learn about the island’s fascinating history and search for waterbirds, raptors, waterfowl, and more. Binoculars are available. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

Sunday, October 7, 2018, 9am – 12pm
Sparrow ID Workshop Trip
Thursday, October 4, 7-8:30pm (class); Sunday, October 7, 9am-noon (trip)
Instructor: Gabriel Willow
Sparrows are one of the most challenging groups of birds to identify, yet beautiful and fascinating once they can be distinguished. Learn to identify those LBJs (little brown jobs) by studying behavior, field marks, and songs. Sparrow species seen in prior years include Field, Swamp, Savannah, White-crowned, and Lincoln's. Limited to 12. $65 (45)
Click here to register

Sunday, October 7, 2018, 9:30am – 10:30am
Queens Botanical Garden Bird Walks
Saturdays September 8 and October 20, and Sundays, September 23, October 7 and 28, 9:30-10:30am
Guide: Corey Finger with Queens Botanical Garden
Explore Queens Botanical Garden in search of migrant songbirds and learn about the valuable resources that the Garden offers birds and other wildlife. Binoculars available. Register for one date or the whole series of five walks (walk-ins welcome). Email info@queensbotanical.org or visit www.queensbotanical.org/calendar to register. Each walk limited to 25. Free (with Garden admission)

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North Shore Audubon
Saturday, October 6, 2018, 9:30am – 12:00pm
Garvies Point Preserve
Leader: Lindy (516) 628-1315
Please inform walk leader that you are attending.
See "Walk Locations" for directions.
Wear water-resistant footwear, bring binoculars and drinking water. Wear long pants and socks so you do not touch poison ivy.

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NYC Wild!
Saturday, October 6, 2018, 12:00pm
Brooklyn: Green-Wood Cemetery Photography and Nature Walk

Sunday, October 7, 2018, 1:00pm
Brooklyn: Prospect Park Photography and Nature Walk
For the FULL INFORMATION ABOUT EACH WALK click HERE to take you to the Eventbrite Profile page where you will find all details (scroll down to the thumbnails) for each of the outings and how to SIGN UP !

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Saturday, October 6, 2018, 12:00pm – 2:00pm
Seaside Nature Preserve
Though only 21 acres in size the Seaside Nature Preserve includes a natural beach, an open field, playgrounds and an overall relaxing environment for humans and wildlife. Scheduled for low tide we will be able to take a look at intertidal life as well as observe the potential for expansion during this hour-long stroll. Meet at the park entrance at the end of Nelson Avenue. For more information call Clay Wollney at 718-869-6327.
Read More

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Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, October 6, 2018
Greenwich Audubon Hawk Watch
Leader: Steve Schellenger (516) 987-8103

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, October 7, 2018
Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve

From the Meadowbrook Parkway, use the Merrick Road M9 east exit. Enter the Department of Sanitation entrance immediately on right (if you’re driving west on Merrick Road, make a U-turn after Central Boulevard and before the Meadowbrook Parkway). Look for signs to Levy Park and Preserve parking lot.
Directions via Google Maps

Bird walks led by a member of SSAS are conducted nearly every Sunday morning from late August through early June. Walks are open to the public and are free of charge. We especially encourage youngsters to attend.

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.


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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, October 6, 2018
Birding: Fall Migrants at 138th Place and 11th Avenue (in Powell's Cove Park), Queens
9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Our Urban Park Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in New York City.
Free!

Birding: Fall Migrants at Isham Street and Seaman Avenue (in Inwood Hill Park), Manhattan
9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Our Urban Park Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in New York City.
Free!

Sunday, October 7, 2018
Bird Walks with New York City Audubon at Queens Botanical Garden, Queens
9:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Spot and identify creatures of flight and learn how Queens Botanical Garden provides important resources for birds like water, shelter, and insects to eat.

Birding: Fall Migrants at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle. To enhance your experience, we encourage you to bring binoculars, or ask a ranger to borrow a pair.
Free!

The New York City Naturalist Club: Trees of Tompkins Square Park at Saint Marks Place and Avenue A (in Tompkins Square Park), Manhattan
12:00 p.m.–1:30 p.m.
This hike is of light intensity, featuring a leisurely stroll on mostly paved paths and an introduction to tree identification.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, September 29, 2018

New York Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, September 28, 2018:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Sept. 28, 2018
* NYNY1809.28

- Birds Mentioned

Cackling Goose
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Black-billed Cuckoo
CHUCK-WILL’S-WIDOW
American Golden-Plover
Whimbrel
HUDSONIAN GODWIT
Stilt Sandpiper
BAIRD’S SANDPIPER
Pectoral Sandpiper
Long-billed Dowitcher
RED PHALAROPE
POMARINE JAEGER
Parasitic Jaeger
BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Caspian Tern
Royal Tern
NORTHERN FULMAR
Cory’s Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
Great Shearwater
MANX SHEARWATER
Northern Gannet
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-headed Woodpecker
Philadelphia Vireo
Worm-eating Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
CONNECTICUT WARBLER
Cape May Warbler
CERULEAN WARBLER
Bay-breasted Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Wilson’s Warbler
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
LARK SPARROW
Lincoln’s Sparrow
DICKCISSEL
Purple Finch

Greetings! This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, September 28, 2018 at 8 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are NORTHERN FULMAR, RED PHALAROPE, CHUCK-WILL’S-WIDOW, MANX and other SHEARWATERS, POMARINE JAEGER, BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE, HUDSONIAN GODWIT, BAIRD’S SANDPIPER, CERULEAN, YELLOW-THROATED and CONNECTICUT WARBLERS, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, LARK and CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS and DICKCISSEL.

The storm Tuesday that produced very heavy rains also provided some interesting birds locally.

A sea watch conducted at Riis Park Tuesday morning was highlighted by a NORTHERN FULMAR passing well offshore, other notables including 2 GREAT SHEARWATERS and 3 PARASITIC JAEGERS.

Two RED PHALAROPES also dropped down Tuesday onto Hillview Reservoir in Yonkers, where they were nicely photographed. Unfortunately this reservoir, part of the NYC water supply, is not open to visitors.

Off Robert Moses State Park on Fire Island Tuesday there were 1 MANX, 10 CORY’S and 5 GREAT SHEARWATERS, 11 NORTHERN GANNETS and a PARASITIC JAEGER.

A watch off Sagg Main Beach in Sagaponack that morning produced 72 CORY’S, 3 GREAT, 1 late SOOTY and 4 MANX SHEARWATERS, 26 NORTHERN GANNETS, 10 PARASITIC JAEGERS and an immature BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE. The latter was not the first KITTIWAKE locally this fall, with another immature photographed off Fort Tilden last Saturday.

Another watch Tuesday from Old Inlet just west of Smith Point Park recorded 25 CORY’S and 2 GREAT SHEARWATERS, a PARASITIC JAEGER and 60 ROYAL TERNS.

And also eye-opening on Tuesday were gatherings of LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS along Long Island’s south shore, with 61 counted both at Jones Beach West End Field 2 and at Robert Moses State Park and another 60 noted at Old Inlet. Most of these were well dispersed the next morning.

A POMARINE JAEGER was spotted off Great Gull Island last Sunday, and today Jones Beach Field 6 netted a GREAT SHEARWATER, a PARASITIC JAEGER and 3 CASPIAN TERNS.

Shorebirds this week featured an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER at Fort Tilden Saturday, 1 or 2 BAIRD’S SANDPIPERS at Breezy Point last weekend, and 3 HUDSONIAN GODWITS on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Monday along with 6 STILT and 3 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, 2 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS and a CASPIAN TERN.

Five WHIMBRELS were at Fort Tilden last Saturday and again Thursday, and 6 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS continue at Santapogue Creek in West Babylon.

A CHUCK-WILL’S-WIDOW was a great find in the Ramble in Central Park last Saturday, and the week there provided a number of other good sightings as well, including a male CERULEAN WARBLER from last Friday into Saturday, a CONNECTICUT WARBLER and a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW last Sunday, a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT on Wednesday, and at the north end a LARK SPARROW Thursday and today and a DICKCISSEL today.

Other species this week in Central and other regional parks have included both YELLOW-BILLED and BLACK-BILLED CUCKOOS, PHILADELPHIA VIREO, LINCOLN’S SPARROW, PURPLE FINCH, and a decent variety of WARBLERS including TENNESSEE, BAY-BREASTED, CAPE MAY, WORM-EATING, and WILSON’S.

A YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER was quite a surprise at the Grumman grasslands complex in Calverton last Saturday.

Another DICKCISSEL was at Robert Moses State Park last Saturday, and a LARK SPARROW was spotted at Floyd Bennett Field Sunday.

A CACKLING GOOSE at Bay County Park in East Rockaway Sunday was somewhat early.

Two RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were still in Connetquot River State Park last Sunday.

A nice flight of over 5,000 BROAD-WINGED HAWKS passed over the Greenwich Audubon hawk watch last Saturday, heading into Westchester.

To phone in reports, on Long Island call Tony Lauro at (631) 734 4126 or call Tom Burke at (914) 967-4922 and leave a message.

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, September 26, 2018

Weekly Sparrow Spotlight


The Lark Sparrow is one of the only sparrows seen around Brooklyn that is unlikely to be mistaken for anything else. It’s large size and bold head pattern is distinctive. This sparrow breeds, primarily, west of the Mississippi, however during the Fall migration they are a rare migrant along the east coast. One of my favorites, I’ve seen this beautiful sparrow in Brooklyn a handful of times in the past 25 years. Three of those times in Green-Wood Cemetery.

Is sparrow ID giving you trouble? Join me for my two part sparrow identification class at Green-Wood Cemetery. Click here for more info or to sign up.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website Earth Times:

The future of the sea? How the ocean economy can fight plastic pollution.
By Stefan Ranstrand Stefan Ranstrand

Society is becoming increasingly aware of the perils facing our oceans, and the new Foresight Future of the Sea report from the UK government puts the ocean plastic pollution crisis into sharp focus

Plastic accounts for around 70 percent of all litter in the ocean and the amount is set to triple between 2015 and 2025, according to the report. The long-term result of this is that, by 2050, the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish, meaning an increased risk to sea creatures, marine biodiversity and pollution on beaches.

This crisis also has economic and social implications with many areas of human activity impacted, from the food supply chain and global economy to employment and trade.

Innovations in science and technology led by forward-thinking companies and governments are key to avoiding this disaster scenario. The Foresight Future of the Sea authors highlight the role that this ocean economy will play in helping us understand and solve long-term issues affecting the sea.

What is the ocean economy?

The ocean economy represents all organizations and companies that operate directly or indirectly in the marine environment, from shipping and fishing businesses to offshore renewable energy farms and plastics recycling operations.

This economic value in the UK is predicted to double to $3 trillion (£2 trillion) by 2030, according to the Foresight Future of the Sea report, much of which is driven by the need to understand and solve problems facing the ocean

Among the many innovations which could revolutionize the ocean economy are autonomous vessels, which provide an unprecedented opportunity to explore and research deep-sea areas, and other emerging technologies such as deep-sea mining. Innovations like these are creating a new generation of economic activity, all invested in the oceans.

When it comes to reducing ocean plastic pollution, though, the most effective innovations could be implemented on land. After all, prevention is better than cure. The report states that the major response to ocean plastic pollution is likely to lie in preventing it from entering the sea.

How to reduce ocean plastic pollution

Perhaps the most effective way to reduce ocean plastic pollution is to prevent it reaching the sea in the first place. It sounds simple, but in fact a staggering 32 percent of the 78 million tonnes of plastic packaging produced annually is lost into the natural and built environment. Only ten percent of this plastic is recycled, and the majority of these recycling processes (eight percent) only recycle plastic into lower-value applications. Not exactly the circular economy we are striving for.

We need to reverse these figures recycling more plastic, more effectively. At TOMRA we believe in a dual approach, optimizing both the collection and sorting of plastics.

Firstly, the challenge is to increase recycling rates among consumers, which can be achieved using container deposit schemes and reverse vending machines. For effective recycling or reuse of plastic bottles as well as other used containers such as cans and glass bottles reverse vending machines provide automated collecting, sorting and handling.

When these advanced sensor-based machines are placed near convenient retail spaces, such as supermarkets, collection solutions drive huge changes in consumer behaviour. In Norway, where TOMRA pioneered the first reverse vending machines in 1972, recycling rates for plastic bottles are 97%, compared with the UK, where only curb-side recycling is used and recycling rates are 57%.

Once collected, the resources need to be efficiently separated through automated sorting. Highly advanced technology at waste management centers can precision-sort various types of waste, ensuring the highest possible yield from recyclable materials. TOMRAs revolutionary technology such as Autosort, Combisense and X-Tract sorters plays a key role in optimizing resource productivity, particularly in waste management and recycling, where sensor-based technology can be used to increase precision and streamline processes.

The Future of the Sea?

Current forecasts for the future of the sea make for difficult reading but it doesn't have to be this way. To achieve the ambitious aim of reducing and eliminating ocean plastic waste, we need to implement state-of-the-art approaches that push boundaries. It may seem counter intuitive, but a key part of the ocean economy's solution could come from sensor-based sorting technology on dry land in supermarket entrances and recycling sorting centers.

TOMRA's mission is to lead the resource revolution, rethinking how we obtain, use, reuse and optimize the world's resources. We welcome the Foresight Future of the Sea report, the important messages it raises about the challenges facing ocean plastic waste and the opportunities this presents for the ocean economy.
...Read more

Monday, September 24, 2018

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, September 29, 2018 to Sunday, September 30, 2018:

Bedford Audubon
August 25, 2018 through November 27, 2018, 9am to 4pm
Chestnut Ridge Hawkwatch
Arthur Butler Sanctuary, Chestnut Ridge Rd., Bedford Corners, NY
The fall Hawkwatch starts Saturday, August 25! Join us at the Chestnut Ridge Hawkwatch at the Arthur Butler Sanctuary on Chestnut Ridge Road in Bedford Corners every day from 9 am to 5 pm, weather permitting, to experience the miracle of raptor migration. Our data is combined with other Hawkwatch sites to create population and migration analyses that help us better protect raptors and their habitats.
See more details

Saturday, September 29, 2018, 8:00am - 11:30am
Larchmont Reservoir
Join birder Doug Bloom and Naturalist Tait Johansson for an outing focused on fall migrant birds. Level of Difficulty: Easy-moderate. Register with Susan Fisher at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914-302-9713.
See more details

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, September 29, 2018, 7:15am
Prospect Park Saturday Walk
Leader: Dennis Hrehowsik Meet at Ocean/Parkside Avenues, “The Pergola” at 7:15 am No registration necessary.
Please review our trip guidelines here: http://brooklynbirdclub.org/information-registration

Saturday, September 29, 2018, 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Prospect Park: Birdwatching for Beginners
Leader: Cyrus Baty Birdwatching for Beginners meets at the Prospect Park Audubon Center at The Boathouse at 12 noon. Bring binoculars if you have them; otherwise, binoculars are available for loan.

Sunday, September 30, 2018
South Brooklyn Coastal Loop
Leaders: Bobbi Manian and Dennis Hrehowsik
Focus: passerines, sparrows, marsh species, grassland species
Car Fee: $10.00
Registrar: Dennis Hrehowsik email deepseagangster@gmail.com
Registration Period: Sept 22nd – Sept 27th
Note: trip sequence is Marine Park, Plumb Beach, and Floyd Bennett
Field Please review our trip guidelines here: http://brooklynbirdclub.org/information-registration

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Gateway National Recreation Area
Saturday, September 29, 2018, 10:00am to 11:00am
Birding by the Bay
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fees: Free
View Details

**********

Hudson River Audubon
Saturday, September 29, 2018
Tibbett’s Brook Park
7am Fall Foliage and Bird Walk
Late fall migrant bird walk around the two lakes in full autumn color.
http://www.hras.org/wtobird/tibbetts.html

Saturday, September 29, 2018
Lenoir Nature Preserve
Hawk Watch
19 Dudley St. Yonkers
Meet at 10 AM behind the Lenoir Mansion
http://www.hras.org/wtobird/lenoir.html

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturdays -- 11:00 a.m.
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11am to 12:30pm beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Included in All-Garden Pass
Get Tickets

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, September 29, 2018, 9:00am – 10:30am
Van Cortlandt Fall Bird Walks
Guides: NYC Audubon, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy with the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy
Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free.

Sunday, September 30, 2018, 8am – 4pm
Migration Along the Barrier Islands, L.I.
Guide: Tod Winston
Look for migrating raptors and songbirds as they stop and rest along Long Island's barrier islands. We'll venture to some of the best spots in the vicinity of Jones Beach to find what surprises the north winds have brought us. Bring lunch, water, and binoculars. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $122 (85)
Click here to register

Sunday, September 30, 2018, 10am – 4pm
Pollinator Party and Monarch Festival at Jamaica Bay
Learn about the amazing journeys of butterflies such as the Monarch, along with many different species of moths, bees, and other pollinators at the first-ever Pollinator/Monarch Festival at Jamaica Bay. Meet at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center for a fun day of activities, including indoor presentations, children’s programs, walks around the refuge, and a trip to Fort Tilden, Queens, to see the Monarch Butterfly migration. Contact American Littoral Society at 718-474-0896 or donriepe@gmail.com for more information and to register. Free
The Pollinator/Monarch Festival is a NYC Audubon partnership program with American Littoral Society and Gateway National Recreation Area.

Sunday, September 30, 2018, 2pm – 3pm
Governors Island Bird Walk
Saturdays, September 8, September 15, October 6 and October 27, 2-3pm
Sundays, September 9, September 30, October 14 and October 28 2–3pm
Guide: NYC Audubon
Meet at Nolan Park house #17. Join us for a bird walk around beautiful and historic Governors Island, which boasts over 192 species recorded on ebird.org. Learn about the island’s fascinating history and search for waterbirds, raptors, waterfowl, and more. Binoculars are available. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

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North Shore Audubon
Saturday, September 29, 2018, 8am – 12pm
Bird banding demo JFK Preserve at Tobay Beach
Peggy: (516) 883-2130

NOTE EARLY START TIME
JFK Preserve at Tobay Beach (west of Jones Beach)
Park here: 40.611281, -73.440968
This special parking lot is accessible by heading west from the southwest corner of the Tobay Beach parking lot.

To get to Tobay Beach, take "Ocean Pkwy" that runs from Jones Beach to Captree. Turnoff to Tobay is from WESTbound Ocean Pkwy. If going eastbound, you will need a U-turn about .2 mile past the Tobay Beach entrance. The U-turn is here: 40.610494, -73.425280

Apply for a PARKING PERMIT by mail in advance: http://oysterbaytown.com/wp-content/uploads/JFK-Permit-Application.pdf

Wear water-resistant footwear, bring binoculars and drinking water. Wear long pants and socks so you do not touch poison ivy.

After bird banding demonstration at the JFK Preserve, participants may consider going to Jones Beach Coast Guard Station as a leaderless walk.

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NYC Wild!
Saturday, September 29, 2018, 11:00am
Flushing Meadows Park/World's Fair and The Queens Museum Photography and Nature Walk

For the FULL INFORMATION ABOUT EACH WALK click HERE to take you to the Eventbrite Profile page where you will find all details (scroll down to the thumbnails) for each of the outings and how to SIGN UP !

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, September 30, 2018
Hempstead Lake State Park
From the Southern State Parkway, take Exit 18 (Eagle Avenue) south to Field 3 (use second park entrance and make an immediate left turn.)
Directions via Google Maps

Bird walks led by a member of SSAS are conducted nearly every Sunday morning from late August through early June. Walks are open to the public and are free of charge. We especially encourage youngsters to attend.

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.


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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, September 29, 2018
Birding: Fall Migrants at Forest Park Visitor Center (in Forest Park), Queens
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Our Urban Park Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in New York City.
Free!

Sunday, September 30, 2018
Birding: Shore Birds at Hylan Boulevard and Edgewater Street (in Alice Austen Park), Staten Island
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Our Urban Park Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in New York City. Wildlife viewing is a perfect activity for any age.
Free!

The New York City Naturalist Club: Nature Exploration at Anne Loftus Playground (in Fort Tryon Park), Manhattan
1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
On our hikes, you may explore nature, discover our city’s urban forests, or just unplug from the world to clear your head.
Free!
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Saturday, September 22, 2018

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, September 21, 2018:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Sept. 21, 2018
* NYNY1809.21

- Birds Mentioned

WHITE IBIS+
MISSISSIPPI KITE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Cory’s Shearwater
Manx Shearwater
Broad-winged Hawk
Virginia Rail
Sora
American Golden-Plover
Upland Sandpiper
Whimbrel
HUDSONIAN GODWIT
MARBLED GODWIT
BAIRD’S SANDPIPER
BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER
Long-billed Dowitcher
Parasitic Jaeger
Caspian Tern
Black Tern
Royal Tern
Red-headed Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
WESTERN KINGBIRD
Blue-headed Vireo
Philadelphia Vireo
Purple Finch
Worm-eating Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
CONNECTICUT WARBLER
CERULEAN WARBLER
Yellow-breasted Chat
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
LARK SPARROW
BLUE GROSBEAK
DICKCISSEL

Greetings! This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, September 21, 2018 at 11 pm. The highlights of today's tape are WHITE IBIS, MISSISSIPPI KITE, MARBLED and HUDSONIAN GODWITS, BUFF-BREASTED and BAIRD’S SANDPIPERS, CONNECTICUT and CERULEAN WARLERS, LARK and CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS, BLUE GROSBEAK, DICKCISSEL and more.

This week’s two most unusual reports both involve rather brief sightings, first an adult WHITE IBIS flying north over JFK Bird Sanctuary at Tobay late Sunday morning and then an adult MISSISSIPPI KITE moving south over Clove Lakes Park on Staten Island Monday morning – neither have been reported since.

A WESTERN KINGBIRD found Saturday at the Alley Pond Environmental Center did stick around for the day, unlike the one only seen in flight at Jones Beach West End Wednesday morning.

Single MARBLED GODWITS last Sunday out in Jamaica Bay and at Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes were followed by five together on the bar east of the Jones Beach West End Coast Guard Station on Thursday afternoon.

HUDSONIAN GODWITS included one on the sod fields off Route 51 in Centerport Sunday increasing to two by Thursday, these fields just east of Route 111, another HUDSONIAN at Mecox Inlet Wednesday and Thursday, and one in Eastport today.

A BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER at Heckscher State Park Saturday was followed Sunday by two on the Route 51 sod fields and another briefly at Cupsogue, and a BAIRD’S SANDPIPER was spotted out at Breezy Point this morning.

Four WHIMBRELS were out on the Jamaica Bay islands last Sunday, two again today.

Two AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS were at Mecox Wednesday and Thursday, with two more at Heckscher Thursday, and six LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS were among the Santapogue Creek shorebirds present off Venetian Boulevard in West Babylon last Sunday.

Last Saturday at Mecox there were six CASPIAN, fourteen ROYAL and four BLACK TERNS, with six more ROYAL TERNS at Brooklyn’s Plumb Beach, and today two CASPIAN TERNS visited Playland Park in Rye.

A MANX SHEARWATER was in Long Island Sound just west of Montauk Point last Monday, with a few CORY’S SHEARWATERS also noted there, and two CORY’S off Mecox yesterday were joined by three PARASITIC JAEGERS.

Two SORAS were at the south end of the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge last Sunday, and a VIRGINIA RAIL visited Prospect Park Wednesday.

Among the birds noted during a morning flight on Wednesday at Robert Moses State Park were an UPLAND SANDPIPER and three DICKCISSELS.

Several reports of PHILADELPHIA VIREOS this week included singles last Saturday at Coney Island Creek, Jones Beach West End and Southards Pond in Babylon, with birds also in Central and Prospect Parks this week.

A BLUE GROSBEAK stayed at Jones Beach West End from Saturday to at least Thursday.

A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was found at Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery on Wednesday, and single LARK SPARROWS were noted in Brooklyn at Calvert Vaux Park last Saturday and at Owls Head Park yesterday.

An adult male CERULEAN WARBLER was a surprise in Central Park Thursday, and CONNECTICUT WARBLERS this week were reported at Heckscher State Park Saturday and Floyd Bennet Field Sunday, while the good variety of additional WARBLERS also included WORM-EATING and ORANGE-CROWNED among the more expected species.

A YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT was seen in Central Park last Saturday as well as yesterday and today at the north end.

Besides at Connetquot River State Park, single RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were noted on Wednesday at Fort Tilden and Croton Point Park. Other notable migrants this week featured YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, BLUE-HEADED VIREO, more PURPLE FINCHES, and a good variety of HAWKS including some BROAD-WINGEDS, with the bulk of these moving well inland this year.

To phone in reports, on Long Island call Tony Lauro at (631) 734 4126 or call Tom Burke at (914) 967-4922 and leave a message.

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

- End transcript
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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Uncommon Sparrow in Green-Wood Cemetery


I spotted this lovely Clay-colored Sparrow yesterday nibbling on grass on the ridge adjacent to the Sylvan Water in Green-Wood Cemetery. Slim and small-billed, this pale colored sparrow is an uncommon visitor around Brooklyn during migration. Migrating primarily through the Great Plains, small numbers occasionally stray into the east coast. I also stumbled on one during one of my Spring migration tours on the opposite side of the Sylvan Water.

Is sparrow ID giving you trouble? Join me for my two part sparrow identification class at Green-Wood Cemetery. Click here for more info or to sign up.

Here's an amazing, straight on close up photo. A big thanks to Sean Sime for tolerating swarms of mosquitoes while lying on his stomach in the grass just to get this shot!

Exploring urban nature, birds, birdwatching, birding, hummingbirds, butterflies, dragonflies, bees, hawks, raptors, wildflowers, trees, mushrooms, environment, binoculars, spotting scope