Monday, September 01, 2014

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of September 6, 2014 to September 7, 2014:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Pop-Up Audubon
Saturdays and Sundays, April 5 – October 19, 12 – 5 p.m. / November – December, 12 – 4 p.m.
Free
The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

Sunday, September 7, 2014, 8 a.m.
Early Morning Bird Walk: Fall Migration
Free
Meet the amazing birds of Prospect Park on this expert-guided walk.
Start your Sunday morning surrounded by nature!

Pop-Up Audubon
Saturdays and Sundays, April 5 – October 19, 12 – 5 p.m. / November – December, 12 – 4 p.m.
Free
The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Prospect Park
Meet: 7:30 am at Grand Army Plaza Stranahan Statue park entrance
Leader: Sean Zimmer

Sunday, September 7, 2014
World Shorebird Day at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Leader: Steve Nanz
Focus: waterbirds, shorebirds, early passerines
Car fee: $10.00
Registrar: Heidi Steiner-Nanz, email heidi.steiner@verizon.net
Registration period: August 26th - Sept 4th

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, September 6, 2014
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, September 6, 2014, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walk
Guide: 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 7, 2014, 8am – 11am
Fall Warbler Identification Workshop (trip)
Class: Thursday, September 4, 6:30-8:30pm Trip: Sunday, September 7, 8-11am Instructor: Joe Giunta, Happy Warblers LLC Identifying “confusing fall warblers” can be tricky, even for the experts. Come study some of the most puzzling species that stop through our area during fall migration with expert Joe Giunta, and then enjoy a second session in the “classroom” of Central Park.
Limited to 12. $65 (45)
Click here to register!

Sunday, September 7, 2014, 10am – 11am
Birding for Families in Central Park
BIRDING FOR FAMILIES IN CENTRAL PARK Sundays, September 7–November 30, 10-11am Guide: NYC Audubon Offered by the Central Park Conservancy Meet at the Dana Discovery Center (inside the park at 110th Street between Lenox and Fifth Avenues). Bring the kids and visit one of New York City’s richest bird habitats. As a family, learn how to spot and identify our feathered neighbors in their natural surroundings. Binoculars can be borrowed from the Dana Center. For weather cancellation information, call 212-860-1370.
Limited to 20. Age 5 and up.
Free

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Sunday, September 7, 2014, 10:30 A.M. to 2:30 P.M.
Greenbelt Loop and Lunch
We’ll walk 6 moderate miles starting and ending at the Greenbelt Nature Center, with lunch at High Rock. This walk includes a gradual climb up Moses’ Mountain. Bring ample water and lunch. Wear a long-sleeved shirt, comfortable pants and a hat. Shorts are not recommended. Meet at 10:30 a.m. sharp at the Greenbelt Nature Center on Rockland Avenue and Brielle Avenue. If it’s raining at the time of the walk, the event is postponed to Sunday, September 14.
For more information, e-mail Hillel Lofaso at hillel5757@gmail.com or call 718-477-0545.

Sunday, September 7, 2014, 2 P.M. to 4 P.M.
Old Mill Road
Meet behind St Andrew’s Church, at the end of Old Mill Road. We will experience ecological succession in action while hiking a landscape once deforested by British troops during the American Revolution.
For more information e-mail Will Lenihan at wleni5584@gmail.com or call 518-645-0220.

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Bird Walk at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.
NYC Audubon experts lead the way as we marvel at quirky but logical bird behavior and delicate feathers in exquisite patterns. Bring binoculars if you have them and wear sturdy…
Free!

Fall Migration Walk in Inwood Hill Park at 218th Street and Indian Road (in Inwood Hill Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.
Learn about the migratory birds of the season in the new wetlands and the ancient forest.
Free!

Sunday, September 7, 2014
Ranger's Choice: Hawk Watch at Pelham Bay Park, Bronx
1:00 p.m.
The Old Pelham Bay landfill remains closed to the public, making it a great place to watch migrating birds of prey.
Free!
...Read more

Friday, August 29, 2014

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, August 29, 2014:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Aug. 29, 2014
* NYNY1408.29

- Birds mentioned

AUDUBON'S SHEARWATER+
COMMON RINGED PLOVER+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

King Eider
Cory's Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
Wilson's Storm-Petrel
Northern Gannet
Bald Eagle
AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER
AMERICAN AVOCET
Solitary Sandpiper
Whimbrel
HUDSONIAN GODWIT
MARBLED GODWIT
Western Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
BAIRD'S SANDPIPER
Royal Tern
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Cape May Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
LARK SPARROW
BLUE GROSBEAK
DICKCISSEL

- 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, August 29th 2014 at 7pm. The highlights of today's tape are COMMON RINGED PLOVER, AMERICAN AVOCET, HUDSONIAN GODWIT, MARBLED GODWIT, BAIRD'S SANDPIPER, AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER, AUDUBON'S SHEARWATER, DICKCISSEL, BLUE GROSBEAK and LARK SPARROW.

Last Sunday at Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes a male COMMON RINGED PLOVER was skillfully picked out from among the shorebirds gathered on the mudflats north of the Cupsogue parking lot. The bird was shortly lost as the tide dropped further and the shorebirds spread out. But later in the afternoon as the tide was rising the plover again appeared on the flats where it was nicely photographed. Regrettably the bird did not do the same routine on Monday and has not been relocated since.

Also on the flats at Cupsogue one or two MARBLED GODWITS have been spending time between the flats themselves on the large bar that opens up in the inlet just to the west. Showing very different behavior on Monday an HUDSONIAN GODWIT stopped for less than a minute on the flats before continuing east similar to an earlier WHIMBREL that at least stayed for a few minutes. Other shorebirds there featured two quick visits from an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER Monday and WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER while ROYAL TERN numbers have grown to over 20. Offshore Monday morning were single CORY'S SHEARWATER and NORTHERN GANNET.

At Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge the successful Shorebird Festival last Saturday featured very nice looks at a MARBLED GODWIT on the East Pond with a decent variety of other shorebirds there including several WESTERN SANDPIPERS plus a flyover adult BALD EAGLE. A BAIRD'S SANDPIPER showed up on the East Pond Wednesday and continued at least through Thursday.

An AMERICAN AVOCET was seen today in the tidal marsh at the Oceanside Marine Nature Study Area where SOLITARY SANDPIPERS and juvenile WESTERN SANDPIPER were in the pools along the boardwalk by the ballfields west of Jones Beach field 2 last Saturday.

A young male KING EIDER was spotted today off Plumb Beach in Brooklyn and a WHIMBREL also appeared there. Three AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS were at Floyd Bennett Field today.

A fishing trip to Block Canyon Wednesday noted 3 CORY'S SHEARWATER, one SOOTY SHEARWATER and 20 AUDUBON'S SHEARWATERS plus 71 WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS.

Some interesting landbirds this past week began with a DICKCISSEL at the Marine Park Saltmarsh Nature Center in Brooklyn and an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER at Floyd Bennett Field last Saturday these followed by a BLUE GROSBEAK in Brooklyn's Green-wood Cemetery and a LARK SPARROW at Heckscher State Park both on Sunday. An early CAPE MAY WARBLER was spotted at Leeds Pond Preserve in Manhasset last Sunday and a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT appeared at Jones Beach West End today. Other recently reported warblers have included BAY-BREASTED, PRAIRIE and HOODED plus the expected early migration species. Even RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH appeared locally Thursday.

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's Foto

The whistled song of the Olive-sided Flycatcher is often described by the phrase "quick-THREE-BEERS." A relatively large flycatcher they can frequently be found hawking for insects from a tall, exposed perch. Over 50% of the world's population of this bird nests in Canada's boreal forest. In New York State they are considered a "Species of Greatest Conservation Need".

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Silly Groundhog

Late yesterday afternoon I met my friend Marge at Green-Wood Cemetery. We were planning to stay until sunset hoping to spot some Common Nighthawks soaring over the meadows. We were wandering around near Crescent and Dell Waters at approximately 5pm when I noticed something a little odd.

Unlike the other ponds in the cemetery, the Dell Water's clay liner leaks, so the water level ranges from overflowing the coping wall to a shallow puddle at the center of the impoundment. Right now the water level is very low, with a small patch of muddy shoreline at the rectangular pond's northeast corner. When the water level gets this low wading birds and Spotted Sandpipers can usually be seen in that corner. Yesterday, as I scanned from the opposite side of the water I noticed a Green Heron there. Several feet behind him was a small, brown furry animal slowly walking along the base of the stone retaining wall. It was one of the cemetery's resident groundhogs. I had no idea how he managed to get down into the pond, but it was pretty clear he couldn't climb the wall and would need some help.



My first plan was to find a thick tree branch from the woods and create a little inclined bridge for him to climb up. With a long section of wood in place I waited for him to figure it out. He didn't and, as I watched the young animal, it became clear that something was wrong. It was extremely hot, near 90 degrees, and the groundhog merely used the shadow from the branch as respite from the blazing sun. He also seemed to be having trouble with his balance. I wondered out loud how long he had been stuck in the pond. Perhaps he hadn't eaten in days and, with no shade in that spot, he could be suffering from heat stroke. I decided to lie down on the top of the wall and to try and pull him out.

He was much smaller than the potbellied, ground sweeping adult groundhogs I usually see around the cemetery. I assumed that this cat-sized individual was very young, which might explain how he ended up in the pond in the first place. He was small enough, I figured, that I could grab him by the scruff of his neck where (I hoped) he wouldn't be able to bite me. I started by lightly petting him on the nape, to see how he would react. He didn't seem to mind, so I dove in, grabbed him by the scruff and literally tossed him up over the wall and into the grass.

It took a moment for him to straighten out, but then immediately began eating grass, violet leaves and mugwort. This little guy was literally starving and didn't stop eating for the 10 minutes or so that we continued to monitor him. He eventually began to wander away towards the west end of the pond, stopping occasionally to rest in the shade and nibble some more. I left the little wooden "bridge" for him just in case he decides to go exploring below the wall again.


...Read more

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Treehugger Tuesday

A new documentary about saving the Earth's oceans features the work of scientist Sylvia Earle.

From mongaybay.com:

Sylvia Earle is one of the ocean's staunchest defenders. A National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence and former chief scientist with NOAA, Earle has spent a lifetime documenting the rapid decline of the world's oceans and calling for more action to defend the body of water that cradles the world's continents.

Her most recent undertaking, dubbed Mission Blue, is to set-up a global network of Marine Protected Areas to safeguard and restore much-degraded marine habitats. A new Netflix documentary, also titled Mission Blue, follows the life and work of Earle, culminating with her recent efforts to implement marine parks across the world's oceans, dubbed Hope Spots.

Long thought invulnerable to human kind's impacts, marine ecosystems have been plagued by overfishing, pollution, and poor management. Now, global warming and ocean acidification—both caused by burning fossil fuels—are threatening to upend whole ecosystems.

...Read more

Monday, August 25, 2014

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of August 30, 2014 to August 31, 2014:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Pop-Up Audubon
Saturdays and Sundays, April 5 – October 19, 12 – 5 p.m. / November – December, 12 – 4 p.m.
Free
The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

Sunday, August 31, 2014
Pop-Up Audubon
Saturdays and Sundays, April 5 – October 19, 12 – 5 p.m. / November – December, 12 – 4 p.m.
Free
The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Prospect Park
Meet: 7:30 am at Bartel Pritchard Square park entrance
Leader: Ed Crowne

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, August 30, 2014
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, August 30, 2014, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walk
Guide: 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.


**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Bird Walk at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.
NYC Audubon experts lead the way as we marvel at quirky but logical bird behavior and delicate feathers in exquisite patterns. Bring binoculars if you have them and wear sturdy…
Free!

Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Join the Alliance to learn about the 250 species of birds that call Prospect Park home.
Free!
...Read more

Friday, August 22, 2014

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending August 22, 2014:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Aug. 22, 2014
* NYNY1408.22

- Birds mentioned

Red-necked Grebe
Bald Eagle
AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER
Solitary Sandpiper
Whimbrel
MARBLED GODWIT
BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER
WILSON'S PHALAROPE
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Caspian Tern
Black Tern
Royal Tern
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Common Nighthawk
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Purple Martin
Blue-winged Warbler
GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER
Worm-eating Warbler
Ovenbird
Mourning Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Canada Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
DICKCISSEL

- 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

(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, August 22nd 2014 at 7pm. The highlights of today's tape are Fall shorebirds including AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER, BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, MARBLED GODWIT, WILSON'S PHALAROPE plus PROTHONOTARY, YELLOW-THROATED and GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLERS and DICKCISSEL.

In a week certainly not as exciting as the one just before it at least shorebird variety continues its late season increase. Now overall numbers have not been terribly impressive lately. Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge where the annual shorebird festival will take place this Saturday the 23rd the East Pond looks to be in great shape as it awaits a decent influx of birds. A MARBLED GODWIT has appeared on the East Pond Thursday and today and a WILSON'S PHALAROPE was present briefly at the pond's south end last Saturday. A CASPIAN and a couple of ROYAL TERNS have also been spotted during the week but perhaps most interesting were a couple of landbirds. A DICKCISSEL along the gravel roadway at the park's north end last Monday and a male PROTHONOTARY WARBLER started near the blind along the west side of the pond above the Raunt overlook back on Friday the 15th.

Among other notable shorebirds on Long Island a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER found on the 13th at Heckscher State Park was still along the median strip just east of fields 7 and 8 at least to Wednesday.

A MARBLED GODWIT present at Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes last weekend spent much of its time along with a decent assemblage and variety of other shorebirds on the bars just inside Moriches Inlet a little west of the traditional flats north of the parking lot. Some birds did move to these flats as the inlet bars covered over on the rising tide. The inlet flats are viewable from the beach on the east side of the inlet reached from the four wheel drive road west of the parking lot. Today 5 additional MARBLED GODWITS stopped by briefly on the flats before continuing east at Cupsogue. Also at Cupsogue Sunday were a BLACK TERN and up to a dozen ROYAL TERNS. Another MARBLED GODWIT and 11 BLACK TERNS were at Shinnecock Inlet today.

Three AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS showed up Sunday on the Riverhead sod fields along the west side of Route 105 just before it ends at Sound Avenue and these have increased to 5 as of today.

At least one WHIMBREL has been at Cedar Point County Park in Southold on the north fork recently.

The YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER was a great find Saturday at Robert Moses State Park the bird in pines along the north side of parking lot 2 and also quite notable was a PROTHONOTARY WARBLER spotted at Montauk Point State Park last Sunday.

A very noticeable lack of insects recently throughout much of our area has birders wondering whether this will have an adverse impact on Fall migration. Time will tell but a decent variety of warblers recently mostly species breeding not too far north of the city have featured a GOLDEN-WINGED in Prospect Park last Saturday, single MOURNING WARBLERS Monday in Prospect Park and at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT at Fort Tilden Saturday still a great bird even if no longer considered a warbler. Other warblers have included OVENBIRD, several WORM-EATING, TENNESSEE, NASHVILLE, BLUE-WINGED, NORTHERN PARULA, MAGNOLIA, BLACKBURNIAN, BLACK-THROATEDS BLUE and GREEN, YELLOW-RUMPED, CHESTNUT-SIDED, HOODED and CANADA.

Other migrants noted lately have included YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO, COMMON NIGHTHAWKS beginning their late August to early September push, YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER and various swallows and PURPLE MARTINS. A couple of BALD EAGLES have moved through recently as the hawk migration season will soon begin in earnest.

A RED-NECKED GREBE was still at Mecox Bay last Saturday, one BLACK TERN and a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was also noted at Jones Beach West End, 2 SOLITARY SANDPIPERS at Jones Beach Thursday were unusual there.

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

Hummingbirds and a Poem

Over the past week I've seen several Ruby-throated Hummingbirds moving through the area. The ruby-throated is the only regularly occurring species of hummingbird seen in New York and, by their pugnacious attitude, you'd think they were the top of the food chain. Right now showy stands of jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) are flowering all over our parks attracting these tiny titans. At only around 3.2 grams, I've seen them buzz, poke and generally harass birds over tens times their size. More amazing is the thought that twice a year these trans-gulf migrants make the 600 mile trip across open water ... non-stop. Below is a poem I just came across by D.H. Lawrence about these avian gems:

**********

Humming-Bird
D.H. Lawrence (from Birds, Beasts and Flowers, 1923)

I can imagine, in some otherworld
Primeval-dumb, far back
In that most awful stillness, that only gasped and hummed,
Humming-birds raced down the avenues.

Before anything had a soul,
While life was a heave of Matter, half inanimate,
This little bit chipped off in brilliance
And went whizzing through the slow, vast, succulent stems.

I believe there were no flowers, then
In the world where the humming-bird flashed ahead of creation.
I believe he pierced the slow vegetable veins with his long beak.

Probably he was big
As mosses, and little lizards, they say were once big.
Probably he was a jabbing, terrifying monster.

We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time,
Luckily for us.

Fall Songbird Migration

I hadn't spent any time looking for songbirds in Prospect Park this month, opting to stick with shorebirds and terns along the coast. Reports coming out of the park of southbound migrants last week made it seem like warblers had begun to move through the area in earnest. I would normally expect to encounter a handful of these neotropic migrants, but during a trip into the park at the end of the week birders collectively found an astounding 16 species!

When Will Pollard tweeted at 8:50am, "South side of lookout mildly active. Blue-winged and chestnut-sided", I thought, "cool", but continued to work. At 10:50am he tweeted, "Male hooded warbler btwn nether mead arches and lower pool", and he piqued my interest, but I went back to what I was doing. When this tweet came in at 11:31am, "Golden-winged horse path near Quaker cemetery", I grabbed my bins, hopped on my bike and zipped up to the park.

Golden-winged Warbler populations have been declining over the past few decades and I've seen less and less of them in Brooklyn and other New York City locations. They are no longer an annual species for me. Fortunately I was able to chase this individual.

I met Will at the bridle path between Center Drive and the edge of the woods of Quaker Hill. He explained that he had been following a mixed flock of warblers feeding along the ridge from the Nethermead Arches, south, towards the Quaker Cemetery. I had only been there a few minutes when I spotted a pair of Blue-winged Warblers, a redstart, a couple of Black-and-whites and a Chestnut-sided. A Northern Parula joined the flock and sang a muted version of his spring song from a low branch in a spindly sapling. I tried briefly to "pish" in the golden-winged, but only managed to attract a Northern Waterthrush, who perched on a low fence, then dropped to the ground before disappearing onto the wooded hillside. Finally, Will spotted the golden-winged just above eye level foraging in a sapling only a short distance from the bridle path. I tweeted the news and received a call from our friend Bobbi a minute later. She was close by, but when I hung up the phone and looked back for the golden-winged, I couldn't find it.

Lady Luck (or Warbler) then struck again when Bobbi was about 100 yards down the path. Will and I were searching for the golden-winged, but when another bird popped up in the flock we were pleasantly surprised to focus our bins on a female Cerulean Warbler. My first instinct was to try and turn it into a Blackpoll Warbler, but the bird was too green on top, too yellow below, lacked the pronounced streaking and had a distinct, white supercillium. By the time Bobbi made it down to us the flock had dispersed.

Several more birders arrived in the area responding to the golden-winged and cerulean tweets. I spent a couple of hours trying to help them relocate the mixed flock with which these two birds were associating, but was unsuccessful. My friend Sean, who had remained near the entrance of the Quaker Cemetery eventually spotted the Cerulean Warbler, but the Golden-Winged Warbler vanished on the wind.

September is usually a good month for tracking down fall migrants, so it was really nice getting an early preview. Can't wait to see what's going to show up around Brooklyn next month.

**********

Date: Aug 15, 2014 - Aug 21, 2014
Locations: Coney Island Beach, Green-Wood Cemetery, Plumb Beach, Prospect Park Species: 89

Wood Duck (7.)
Black Scoter (2.)
Double-crested Cormorant (70.)
Great Blue Heron (1.)
Great Egret (3.)
Green Heron (2.)
Black-crowned Night-Heron (1.)
Osprey (2.)
Red-tailed Hawk (6.)
Clapper Rail (1.)
American Oystercatcher (8.)
Black-bellied Plover (4.)
Semipalmated Plover (5.)
Spotted Sandpiper 2.)
Greater Yellowlegs (2.)
Ruddy Turnstone (1.)
Red Knot (3.)
Sanderling (1.)
Least Sandpiper (10.)
Semipalmated Sandpiper (1.)
Short-billed Dowitcher (4.)
Laughing Gull
Common Tern (6.)
Forster's Tern (1.)
Black Skimmer (125.)
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (6.)
Northern Flicker (1.)
American Kestrel (1.)
Monk Parakeet
Eastern Wood-Pewee (1.)
Alder/Willow Flycatcher (Traill's Flycatcher) (3.)
Eastern Kingbird (1.)
Warbling Vireo (1.)
Red-eyed Vireo (3.)
Tree Swallow (4.)
Barn Swallow (19.)
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch (3.)
House Wren (1.)
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (5.)
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird (4.)
Cedar Waxwing (7.)

Ovenbird (6.)
Worm-eating Warbler (1.)
Northern Waterthrush (4.)
Blue-winged Warbler (3.)
GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER (1.)
Black-and-white Warbler (17.)
Common Yellowthroat (1.)
American Redstart (11.)
CERULEAN WARBLER (1.)
Northern Parula (1.)
Yellow Warbler (3.)
Chestnut-sided Warbler (2.)
Prairie Warbler (1.)
Canada Warbler (1.)

Eastern Towhee (1.)
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow (1.)
Saltmarsh Sparrow (3.)
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle (29.)
Brown-headed Cowbird (10.)
Baltimore Oriole (7.)

Other common species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, Mute Swan, American Black Duck, Mallard, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull (4.), Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker (1.), Downy Woodpecker (2.), Hairy Woodpecker (1.), Blue Jay, American Crow (1.), American Robin, European Starling, Northern Cardinal (1.), Red-winged Blackbird, House Finch, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow
...Read more

Friday's Foto

There are four species of terns that are listed as either threatened or endangered in New York State. They are Least Tern (Threatened), Black Tern (Endangered), Roseate Tern (Endangered) and Common Tern (Threatened). Despite being the most widespread and abundant of the tern species in NYS, Common Terns have suffered significant declines in populations primarily due to increased human use of beaches for recreation, predation and competition with both Great Black-backed and Herring Gulls. During the late 19th century their populations were decimated by the millinery trade. Common Terns primarily winter along the coasts of Central and South America as far south as Peru and Argentina with small numbers along the Gulf Coast from central Texas to western Florida. One of the more unusual local breeding colonies is on a disused section of the Yankee Pier on Governor's Island in Buttermilk Channel.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Treehugger Tuesday

Ned Barnard and Ken Chaya spent 2 years meticulously mapping every tree in Central Park creating Central Park Entire, The Definitive Illustrated Map, "the most detailed map of any urban park in the world".

In addition to the printed map, there is also an excellent app available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Videos from Coastal Brooklyn

Here are a few short videos I shot recently along Brooklyn's coast:


Short-billed Dowitchers at Plum Beach doing what they do best ... foraging like sewing machines.



Heydi, Joe, Sean and I were standing at the eastern edge of Plum Beach when these three Red Knots dropped onto the beach. One was banded and I'll post more information about it shortly. The trio only stayed for about 3 minutes before flying off across the bay.



In the summer, flocks of Black Skimmers are usually only seen at a breeding colony across the bay from Coney Island at Breezy Point. However, arround this time of year many can be seen beginning to stage for migration on the beach at Coney Island, like this flock at West 25th Street.

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of August 23, 2014 to August 24, 2014:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Pop-Up Audubon
Saturdays and Sundays, April 5 – October 19, 12 – 5 p.m. / November – December, 12 – 4 p.m.
Free
The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

Sunday, August 24, 2014
Pop-Up Audubon
Saturdays and Sundays, April 5 – October 19, 12 – 5 p.m. / November – December, 12 – 4 p.m.
Free
The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

**********

Littoral Society
Saturday, August 23rd, 2014, 7am-5pm
9th Annual Shorebird Festival
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens, NY

Join NYC Audubon members and other birders at the annual festival during peak shorebird migration time in NYC. Meet at the Jamaica Bay Refuge visitor center at 7am (for early birders) to hike around the East Pond during the high tide when birds are in greatest numbers along the controlled shorelines. Others can join in at any time during the day. The event is free and open to the general public, however, a small donation would be appreciated to offset expenses.

Schedule of Events:

7:00 - 7:30 am - Coffee and doughnuts available in the picnic area
7:30 - 10:00am - Hike to East Pond (north and south areas) to observe shorebirds
10:00 - 10:20am - Coffee break, registration
10:30 - 11:15am - Introduction: Refuge Issues and Wildlife Management 2014 (Don Riepe)
11:15 - Noon - Shorebird Photography (Lloyd Spitalnik)
Noon - 1:00pm - Lunch (on own)
1:00 - 4:00pm - Hikes to Breezy Point, Plumb Beach, and other selected birding areas around Jamaica Bay
4:00 - 5:00pm - Shorebird Identification and Behavior (Kevin Karlson)

This event is a partnership program between the American Littoral Society, NYCA, and Gateway NRA.

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, August 23, 2014
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, August 23, 2014, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walk
Guide: 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.


**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Sunday, August 24, 2014, 10 A.M. to Noon
Crooke’s Point, Great Kills Park
Join naturalist Mike Shanley as he explores Crooke’s Point at Great Kills Park. Crooke’s Point offers many types of habitat including pristine beach, woodlands, and coastal dunes. The point is an important site for many types of birds and butterfly, so bring binoculars! Mike will discuss the history of the Point and how its character has changed drastically over time. Meet near the restroom in the last public parking lot before the Crooke’s Point entrance.
For more information phone Mike at 917-753-7155.

Sunday, August 24, 2014, 11 A.M. to 1 P.M.
Studies in the Greenbelt: Summer in the Greenbelt
We will explore the Greenbelt including parts of Pouch Camp to observe all the different plants and animals of a unique woodland and its meadows, streams and ponds. Be sure to bring beverage, binoculars and field guides. Meet at the Greta Moulton Gate at the top of Nevada Avenue. If it’s raining at the time of the walk, the event is postponed to Sunday, August 31.
For more information, e-mail Hillel Lofaso at hillel5757@gmail.com or call 718-477-0545.

**********

Queens County Bird Club
Sunday, August 24, 2014
BioBlitz at Caumsett State Park
Allday trip
Leader: Rich Kelly -- 516-509-1094 7:30am
Event starts at 7:30am. note fee collection at Caumsett begins at 8am

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Bird Walk at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.
NYC Audubon experts lead the way as we marvel at quirky but logical bird behavior and delicate feathers in exquisite patterns. Bring binoculars if you have them and wear sturdy…
Free!

Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Join the Alliance to learn about the 250 species of birds that call Prospect Park home.
Free!

Sunday, August 24, 2014
Early Morning Bird Walk at Wave Hill, Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.
Join naturalist Gabriel Willow on a special early morning bird walk. You’ll be amazed by the diversity of birds that are active on the grounds before the gates open to the…
...Read more

Friday, August 15, 2014

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, August 15, 2014:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Aug. 15, 2014
* NYNY1408.15

- Birds Mentioned

FEA’S PETREL+
WHITE-FACED STORM-PETREL+
BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETREL+
BRIDLED TERN+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Cory’s Shearwater
Great Shearwater
AUDUBON’S SHEARWATER
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel
LEACH’S STORM-PETREL
BROWN PELICAN
AMERICAN AVOCET
Western Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper
BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE
LITTLE GULL
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Caspian Tern
Royal Tern
Blue-winged Warbler
Golden-winged Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Canada Warbler
LARK SPARROW



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, August 15 at
6:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are pelagic trip results including FEA’S PETREL, WHITE-FACED, BAND-RUMPED and LEACH’S STORM-PETRELS, AUDUBON’S SHEARWATER and BRIDLED TERN, plus BROWN PELICAN, LITTLE GULL, AMERICAN AVOCET, BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, RED-NECKED PHALAROPE and LARK SPARROW.

The long-anticipated overnight pelagic trip aboard the Captain Lou Fleet’s Starstream VIII from Freeport, sponsored by See Life Paulagics, arrived at the mouth of Hudson Canyon, about 110 miles out in the Atlantic, well before dawn Tuesday morning, and a spectacular day began. An impressive chum slick attracted hundreds of Storm-Petrels as well as a short but very satisfying visit from a FEA’S PETREL, nicely photographed as it cruised by the boat. A WHITE-FACED STORM-PETREL also appeared a short while later, while the intervening time was spent studying and enjoying great looks at numbers of BAND-RUMPED and LEACH’S STORM-PETRELS as they circulated among the many WILSON’S. A few AUDUBON’S SHEARWATERS plus a BRIDLED TERN on the way back in were among the other highlights. The official pelagic totals included the 1 exceptional FEA’S PETREL, 6 CORY’S, 5 GREAT, and 6 AUDUBON’S

SHEARWATERS, over 1,000 WILSON’S, 43 LEACH’S, 56 BAND-RUMPED, and 1 WHITE-FACED STORM-PETRELS, and 1 BRIDLED TERN. Common and Bottlenose Dolphins, a breaching Minke Whale, Loggerhead Sea Turtle, and Hammerhead Shark were some other highlights. A great trip!

Another pelagic Saturday out over 150 miles southeast of Shinnecock recorded 1 LEACH’S and 23 BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETRELS, 2 CORY’S, 1 GREAT, and 4 AUDUBON’S SHEARWATERS.

Last Saturday morning a BROWN PELICAN spotted flying east off Jones Beach West End was, after a cell phone alert, seen again ½ hour later off Robert Moses State Park Field 2, still continuing east. Perhaps it was also this one flying west past Tobay about 2 hours later.

Also at Jones Beach West End, a sub-adult LITTLE GULL found sitting on the close bar off the Coast Guard Station Sunday morning was seen in that same area Monday.

Then on Wednesday, a RED-NECKED PHALAROPE visited a dune pool west of the West End 2 parking lot.

Good numbers of LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS also continue at West End, occurring in the West End 2 parking lot, at the pools between West End 2 and the Roosevelt Nature Center, or along the outer beach. In addition, 29 LESSER BLACK-BACKEDS were counted at Smith Point County Park Thursday evening.

A couple of ROYAL TERNS and a variety of shorebirds have also been at West End, and 2 ROYALS have also spent some time at Plum Beach in Brooklyn.

The LARK SPARROW found Thursday the 7th at Robert Moses State Park was still being seen along the north edge of parking field 2 at least to Saturday, and another was spotted at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn on Tuesday.

Other shorebird highlights featured an AMERICAN AVOCET present briefly at Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes last Saturday morning and the season’s 1st BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER appearing at Heckscher State Park on Wednesday and still present there today in the median strip east of the parking fields.

Highlights on the east pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge last weekend included WESTERN, WHITE-RUMPED, PECTORAL, and STILT SANDPIPERS. Stilt numbers reached 39 on Wednesday, and a CASPIAN TERN was seen on the pond Wednesday and today. And note that the rains have again raised the east pond water level, so be prepared.

A EURASIAN-COLLARED DOVE was reported again last Saturday at Chelsea Waterside Park in southern Manhattan around West 23rd Street and 11th Avenue. With other types of escaped or released Collared- and Turtle-Doves floating about, should the origins of this bird also be questioned?

Recent migrant warblers have included a male GOLDEN-WINGED, female CERULEAN and HOODED in Prospect Park today, with other species regionally including BLUE-WINGED, TENNESSEE, NASHVILLE, NORTHERN PARULA, MAGNOLIA, BLACKBURNIAN, CHESTNUT-SIDED, YELLOW-RUMPED and CANADA.

To phone in reports on Long Island, call Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126, or weekdays call Tom Burke at (212) 372-1483 <%28212%29%20372-1483>.

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Trans-Gulf Migration Film

Here's a really good video about birds that cross the Gulf of Mexico twice each year to and from their breeding grounds. There is plenty of great footage of our favorite birds included, as well as, very interesting information about the evolution of these neotropic migrants. Be sure to watch it full screen:


Gulf Crossing from Jackson Childs on Vimeo.

Friday's Foto

The "blue canary" looks like someone spray painted a sparrow brilliant blue. However, the vibrant Indigo Bunting is actually more closely related to the cardinal. As with other blue birds, they have no blue pigment in their feathers, but rather, microscopic structures that, like tiny prisms, reflect blue light. Wintering from south Florida through Central America and the Caribbean, this seed-eater nests in brushy habitat at the edges of fields. The bird I photographed likely nested within the "North 40" of Floyd Bennett Field.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Catbird Rescue

Working at home on Monday, it was around noon when a tweet came in from Will Pollard. He was birding in Prospect Park and spotted a Gray Catbird caught on discarded fishing line and hanging from a tree. I made a few suggestions for who to contact, then went back to work. Another message came through a short time later that he couldn't get in touch with anyone. I stopped what I was doing, grabbed my bike and headed up to the park.

Will tried to contact Martin Woess, who works for the Prospect Park Alliance in their forestry division. As an animal advocate he also frequently receives calls to rescue pets or wild animals in distress. He helped me back in spring of 2010 when a bat became snared in discarded fishing line. I stopped at the park offices in the Litchfield Villa thinking they could locate him. They called his office extension but, given his job, I wasn't optimistic he would be at his desk. He wasn't, so I decided to pedal around the park looking for landscape management vehicles. I eventually spotted a large truck parked next to the Nethermead Meadow and stopped to talk to the guy sitting behind the wheel. Explaining that I was looking for Martin to help with a bird rescue, he calmly replied, "Why don't I just give him a call on the radio".

Martin was tied up with a group of volunteers doing a phragmite mitigation project on Prospect Lake. He'd have to wait until a break to meet us. I told them the location of the bird then headed off to meet Will to give him the news and see if there was anything we could do in the meantime.

The catbird was on the north side of the Peninsula along a narrow stretch of water that flows out of the Lullwater. Lots of fishermen frequent the water's edge around this wooded promontory that juts into Prospect Lake. Unfortunately, when casting their lines they often catch overhanging branches, then just cut the lines leaving the hooks and lengths of monofiliment behind. The list of animals trapped by this deadly refuse that I've helped rescue (or been unable to) is too long: Mute Swan, Brant, Canada Goose, Mallard, Double-crested Cormorant, Spotted Sandpiper, Herring Gull, American Crow, American Robin, Baltimore Oriole, Little Brown Bat and, now, Gray Catbird.

The bird was hanging pretty high up in a mature hackberry tree. The branch was out over the water, so it would have to be approached from above. Will and I looked on helplessly as the bird struggled. The lure had a pair of treble hooks, one of which was through the catbird's nostril. With no place to grab onto with his feet, the young bird was hanging from his bill. Blood was visible on its mouth. It was anyone's guess how long he had been there. Periodically his body would go limp and we worried it was too late to help. Within a few minutes Martin Woess and Peter Dorosh arrived to assess the situation. It was immediately clear that the situation was dire. Martin got on the radio and called in the park's professional tree climbers. Here is what happened next:



Update: Martin brought the catbird over to Sean Casey Animal Rescue. Sean looked it over and transported it to a vet. It is now with a wildlife rehabilitator recovering from a broken leg and mouth injuries.
...Read more

Birding Spot on BK Live

Yesterday Tom Stephenson and I were interviewed on the local public access television show "BK Live". It gave us an opportunity to talk about Brooklyn birds and birding, as well as, the plight of the Ridgewood Reservoir. Please note that I am not actually the president of the Brooklyn Bird Club, that would be Rob Bate. Too many birding Robs in Brooklyn, I suppose.

BK Live 8/13/14: Brooklyn Bird Club from Brooklyn Independent Media on Vimeo.

Tour of the Ridgewood Reservoir

From the Newtown Historical Society:

Newtown Historical Society Tour

Nature and history tour of the Ridgewood Reservoir Sunday 8/17

On Sunday, August 17, we will be offering a special nature and history tour of the Ridgewood Reservoir starting at 9am in the main parking lot on Vermont Place at Highland Park.  We will view the historic structures in the recently renovated park, observe the natural world and discuss its future.

You can take public transportation to Highland Park.  The B13 bus stops along Cypress Hills Street and the Q56 stops along Jamaica Avenue.  The Cleveland Street stop on the J train is 3 blocks from the park.  Or, you can drive or bike.

This tour will be led by special guest Rob Jett, author of The City Birder.

This tour is 100% FREE and will be a great experience for children and adults alike.  For more info or to RSVP, write to NewtownHistory@gmail.com or call 718-366-3715.

Thanks, and we look forward to seeing you on the 17th.  Please watch the video below for more information about the historical and environmental importance of the Ridgewood Reservoir.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Shorebird Festival

9th Annual Shorebird Festival at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Saturday, August 23, 2014, 7am-5pm
A partnership program among NYC Audubon, Gateway National Recreation Area and the American Littoral Society

The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is internationally renowned for its fall shorebird migration, when thousands of birds representing over 35 species regularly stop at the East and West Ponds during their southward flight. Peak numbers usually occur in August. Join the 9th Annual Festival to learn about shorebird biology, behavior, and how to identify these species out in the field.

Bring water, lunch, and binoculars, and wear sensible shoes. For more information, please contact NYC at 212-691-7483 x306, the American Littoral Society at 718-474-0896, or Don Riepe at donriepe@gmail.com. Limited to 35

Click here for members-only transportation to the Shorebird Festival from Manhattan.

Program Schedule

7am:

Meet at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center for registration, coffee, and donuts

7:15-10:15am:

Hike to the East Pond to view shorebirds during the high tide (Kevin Karlson, Lloyd Spitalnik, Tom Burke, et al.)

10:15-11am
:
Welcome presentations on Jamaica Bay: Past, Present, and Future (National Park Service, Don Riepe)

11-11:30am
:
NYC Audubon update on shorebird research (NYC Audubon)

11:30am-12:15pm
:
Shorebird Photography (Lloyd Spitalnik)

12:15-1:15pm
:
Lunch (bring lunch or visit nearby delicatessens)

1:15-3:15pm
:
Hike around the West Pond and gardens to look for shorebirds, waders, and early migrating warblers (National Park Service rangers and festival guides)

3:15-4:30pm
:
Shorebirds Identification (Kevin Karlson)

4:30-5pm:
Questions, Social

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Treehugger Tuesday

Internationally Important Wetland Receives Protection

The following story was recently published on the World Wildlife Fund website:

Star of Colombia receives international protection

Posted on 04 August 2014
Colombia: One of the most important wetlands in the world will now be protected from mining threats after it was declared internationally valued following an announcement by the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos.

The Inirida Fluvial Star located in eastern Colombia is one of the most biologically diverse areas of the world and will now benefit from international protection after it was declared Colombia’s sixth RAMSAR site.

The protection of this area, home to the third most important river system on the planet, has taken a decade to come and will prevent extractive industries moving in to mine for potential gold and cobalt reserves.

“This is a significant achievement for both Colombia and the world and a clear statement to support conservation as an option to support economic and social development,” said Director of WWF-Colombia, Mary Lou Higgins.

The area covers over 250,000 hectares and is a mosaic of jungle, savannahs and includes a network of rivers and wetlands. It is home to more than 900 plants species, 400 birds, 470 fish, 200 mammals, and 40 amphibians including threatened species such as river dolphins, jaguars and tapirs.

The new RAMSAR site is located in the Orinoco river basin conserving an important freshwater area in the frontier region with Venezuela, and includes the confluence of four different river systems making it a vital fishing region for both Colombia and Venezuela.

It’s the main source for Venezuela’s fisheries and is also known for its aquarium fishes with 40 percent of the aquarium fishes that Colombia exports come from the Fluvial Star of Inirida. WWF-Colombia is working with fisheries management in the region, promoting sustainable fishing practices.

President Santos affirmed in his declaration speech that protecting the environment was a priority for the country and that his government could not fail in that purpose. The President recognized that even though his government conceived mining as one of the engines for development, there were biologically and culturally valuable places where mining should not take place.

“The Fluvial Star of Inirida establishes a benchmark to begin to rethink the development model based on conservation,” said Ms Higgins.

The President recognized the efforts of WWF, who have been working with local authorities, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, local communities and the Ramsar Secretariat to realize this designation.

WWF-Colombia has supported research projects aimed at gaining further understanding of ecological and hydrological dynamics within the region and has backed local and regional grass-root organisations, providing technical and organisational support.

RAMSAR is an international conservation designation, which protects places renowned for their biological diversity and their freshwater ecosystem richness.

**********

The Inirida Fluvial Star sits in the Orinoco river basin, where four major river systems converge, making it an invaluable fish habitat for Colombia and Venezuela.
...Read more

Monday, August 11, 2014

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of August 16, 2014 to August 17, 2014:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Pop-Up Audubon
Saturdays and Sundays, April 5 – October 19, 12 – 5 p.m. / November – December, 12 – 4 p.m.
Free
The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

Sunday, August 17, 2014
Pop-Up Audubon
Saturdays and Sundays, April 5 – October 19, 12 – 5 p.m. / November – December, 12 – 4 p.m.
Free
The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, August 16, 2014 (rain date August 17)
21st Annual Tom Davis Memorial Shorebird Walk
Leader and Registrar: Sean Sime – sean@seansime.com or 917-324-2735
Registration opens: Monday August 4
Public transportation

**********

Littoral Society
August 14 – 17, 2014
Cape Ann Whale Watch Weekend
Guide: Don Riepe, American Littoral Society

Spend three nights in historic Gloucester, MA. Cost: $395.00 per person includes lodging (double occupancy), half day whale watching trip, lobster/seafood dinner, Essex River marsh cruise, canoeing on the Ipswich River, guided hike at nearby state park and a visit to Parker River Wildlife Refuge. This trip is in partnership with NYC Audubon. For questions email: NEChapter@littoralsociety.org or call (718)474-0896.

To pay by credit card, click here. To pay by check, write check to: American Littoral Society, 28 West 9th Road, Broad Channel, NY 11693

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, August 16, 2014
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, August 16, 2014, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walk
Guide: 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, August 17, 2014, 7pm – 9pm
Sunset EcoCruise to the Harbor Heron Islands: Brother Islands
Guide: Gabriel Willow With New York Water Taxi Meet at South Street Seaport's Pier 16. We're excited about this summer's ecocruises; we’ve expanded our explorations of the City's island rookeries to three different locations! Depending on which weekend you choose, cruises may visit the fascinating Brother Islands, the large egret and cormorant colonies on Hoffman and Swinburne Islands, or the great expanses of Jamaica Bay. Whichever your destination, you'll experience the wonders of New York's famous harbor at sunset and see some of the three thousand herons, egrets, and ibis nesting on these urban island treasures. To learn about specific cruise dates and register, visit New York Water Taxi online or by phone at 212-742-1969.
Limited to 140. Pricing varies by destination.

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, August 16, 2014, 1 P.M. to 3 P.M.
Mount Loretto Unique Area
With its bluffs nestled 85 feet above sea level, Mt. Loretto is home to beautiful vistas of the shore facing Prince’s Bay. The shoreline is home to some of Staten Island’s most unique natural artwork. Nestled in the meadow’s hills are a variety of plants and wildlife. Mt. Loretto is a habitat for harbor seals, monarch butterflies, wild rabbits, muskrats, ospreys, and on occasion, bald eagles. Meet at the parking lot on Hylan Boulevard across from the CYO. (https://goo.gl/maps/xCxHw).
Please call John Paul Learn at 718-619-5051 or e-mail at john.paul.learn@gmail.com for more information.

Sunday, August 17, 2014 – 1 P.M. to 3 P.M.
Wolfe’s Pond Park
Containing mature upland woods, swamp forest, open marsh, ponds, and shoreline on Raritan Bay, Wolfe’s Pond is one of the most diverse parks in the city. Recent walks have including sightings of bald eagles and ospreys. Meet at the comfort stations at the end of the parking lot. The entrance to the parking lot is located off of Cornelia Avenue. (http://goo.gl/maps/n8XBa).
Call John Paul Learn at 718-619-5051 or e-mail at john.paul.learn@gmail.com for more information.

**********

Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, August 16, 2014, 9am
Jamaica Bay Minitrip
Leader: Rich Kelly (516) 509-1094
Note: tentatively meet 9am visitors center but CONTACT LEADER for details

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Bird Walk at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.
NYC Audubon experts lead the way as we marvel at quirky but logical bird behavior and delicate feathers in exquisite patterns. Bring binoculars if you have them and wear sturdy…
Free!

Natural Areas Open House at Randalls Island Natural Areas (in Randall's Island Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Join us for our free Natural Areas Open House event, which will include a guided nature exploration, exciting exhibits detailing the in-depth human and natural history of Randall’s Island.
Free!

Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Join the Alliance to learn about the 250 species of birds that call Prospect Park home.
Free!
...Read more

Friday, August 08, 2014

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, August 8, 2014:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Aug. 8, 2014
* NYNY1408.08

- Birds Mentioned

WHITE-FACED STORM-PETREL+
BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETREL+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Red-necked Grebe
Cory’s Shearwater
Great Shearwater
AUDUBON’S SHEARWATER
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel
Leach’s Storm-Petrel
BROWN PELICAN
AMERICAN AVOCET
Whimbrel
MARBLED GODWIT
Western Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper
Long-billed Dowitcher
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Gull-billed Tern
Black Tern
Royal Tern
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Ovenbird
Worm-eating Warbler
Canada Warbler
LARK SPARROW

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, August 8 at 6:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are a pelagic trip with WHITE-FACED and BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETRELS and AUDUBON’S SHEARWATER, BROWN PELICAN, AMERICAN AVOCET, MARBLED GODWIT, LARK SPARROW and more.

A private fishing boat last Friday the 1st ventured out 90 to 100 miles into the Atlantic south east of Shinnecock, encountering a nice selection of Storm-Petrels. These included a WHITE-FACED STORM-PETREL visiting a chum slick and later 8 plus BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETRELS also doing the same. A single LEACH’S and about 80 WILSON’S STORM-PETRELS were also present. Three AUDUBON’S SHEARWATERS were spotted in the warm water, but otherwise only two GREAT SHEARWATERS were encountered.

A boat not too far off Montauk Point last Sunday recorded one GREAT and 22 CORY’S SHEARWATERS, 54 WILSON’S STORM-PETRELS, and 6 WHIMBRELS.

Back on shore there were two sightings of BROWN PELICANS during the week—3 were moving west off Cedar Beach Monday evening, and then 2 appeared on the Jones Inlet bar across from the Coast Guard Station Tuesday.

The East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge has recently provided a nice variety of shorebirds, but numbers have not been overwhelming. A breeding-plumaged AMERICAN AVOCET was certainly a highlight over last weekend and up through Wednesday, and a MARBLED GODWIT put in a brief appearance on Wednesday on the pond, and then two were seen this morning in the bay south of the West Pond breach. Other East Pond shorebirds have included a LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER Sunday, and just 1 or 2 of WESTERN, WHITE-RUMPED, PECTORAL and STILT SANDPIPERS.

The land bird highlight this week was a LARK SPARROW found Thursday at Robert Moses State Park on Fire Island and still present today. The bird has been ranging along the entire northern border of Lot 2 at the west end of the Park, moving from the Golf Course end to the Volley Ball Courts end.

At Jones Beach West End single BLACK and ROYAL TERNS were present Sunday around the Coast Guard bar, and as the tide got higher Sunday morning the number of LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS kept increasing in the West End 2 Parking Lot, with 34 the highest count, most in the western half of the lot.

Two GULL-BILLED TERNS have been hanging around Plum Beach in Brooklyn recently.

Moving East, a LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER was at the East Marina at the Timber Point Golf Club Monday, and the RED-NECKED GREBE was still at Mecox Bay Sunday.

Six WHIMBRELS were in Accabonac Harbor on the South Fork Thursday, and another WHIMBREL and 25 plus BLACK TERNS were in Napeague Harbor the day before. Swallow movement recently has included some CLIFF and BANK SWALLOWS, and among the few warblers appearing locally have been MAGNOLIA, BLACKBURNIAN, BLACK-THROATEDS BLUE and GREEN, WORM-EATING, BLACK-AND-WHITE, OVENBIRD, and CANADA.

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
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Friday's Foto

The sparrow-sized Piping Plover is one of the smallest plover species in North America. Their dull, sand colored upper body helps them blend into their preferred, coastal beach habitat. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists this bird as Endangered in nine states and Threatened in 26. The term "piping" refers to their plaintive "peep-lo" call.

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