Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

From Mother Nature News website:

Brooklyn's Prospect Park enlists goats for weed-removal duties
The poison-ivy scarfing ruminants are on loan from an upstate farm.
Matt Hickman
May 19, 2016, 1 p.m.

Irene and Sandy. Sandy and Irene. The mention of these rather two innocuous names — not to be confused with your great aunt in Minneapolis or your dental hygienist — still packs a painful wallop at Brooklyn’s most celebrated green space, Prospect Park.

After all, it was Hurricane Irene (August 2011) and Superstorm Sandy (October 2012) that wreaked considerable havoc on Central Park's 585-acre outer borough sibling. (Ten years Central Park’s junior at 150 years old, the two parks share designers in the form of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.)

In total, the storms damaged or destroyed more than 500 trees with Prospect Park's lower-traffic (read: long-neglected and historically cruisy) northeast section sustaining the brunt of the arboreal beating. Sylvan, secluded and centered around a vegetation-choked reflecting pool and a rose-less rose garden (a “dilapidated nook that looks like it would be right at home at Grey Gardens,” as the New York Times describes it), the fancifully named Vale of Cashmere was hit particularly hard by Sandy and Irene with 50 mature trees lost.

At first, it seemed that the damage inflicted on the Vale of Cashmere by the two storms (plus a freak tornado or two) would never be truly remedied, leaving this lonely pocket between Prospect Park Zoo and Grand Army Plaza in an accelerated state of decay — mysterious, overgrown, littered with felled trees. Despite their naturalistic appeal in a completely man-made park, the northeast woodlands were doomed to remain a place that the millions of annual visitors to Brooklyn’s handsome flagship park would continue to pass by while en route to somewhere else.

Last year, however, the park’s nonprofit parent organization, the Prospect Park Alliance, announced plans to spruce up the northeast corner including a $727,000 campaign to rehab the Vale of Cashmere’s storm-impacted woodlands. The initiative is somewhat similar to the Central Park Conservancy’s efforts to draw visitors to that park’s less-trafficked woodland areas like the just-reopened Hallett Nature Sanctuary.

Much like the Vale of Cashmere, the Hallett Nature Sanctuary has been besieged with invasive plants. But whereas the Central Park Conservancy relied largely on human and mechanical labor to clear the Hallett Nature Sanctuary of downed trees and weeds, the Prospect Park Alliance has called in the big guns to help revive the Vale of Cashmere.

Goats.

On loan from Green Goat Farm in the Hudson Valley, the team of eight ruminant landscapers will spend this summer happily devouring layers of poison ivy, English ivy, goutweed and other impossible-to-annihilate invasive species that have thrived in the wake of Irene and Sandy. You see, an area ridden with downed trees presents the perfect opportunity for invasive plants to do what they do best: sneak in, proliferate and completely take over, making it near impossible for native plants to regain their dominance.

The woeful weeds have met their match in the goats, which are famously prodigious and not-all-that-picky eaters.

Goat clearing invasive plants in Prospect Park. Wait. Back up.

How very apropos.

Shame there’s not a section of the park named Oberhasli Dell that also needs attention. However, the industrious octet enlisted for the job isn’t of the luxurious wool-producing Cashmere variety — the goats are a mix of Angora and Nubian breeds with one cute-as-a-button Pygmy named Max.

Interestingly, most of the goats are more or less advanced in age — retired farm animals living out their golden years as professional landscapers. "This is their snowbird retirement summer in the city," Grace McCreight, a spokeswoman with the Prospect Park Alliance, tells MNN. "They seem pretty psyched to be here."

In addition to taking advantage of the goats’ seemingly bottomless four-chambered stomachs (they can eat up to 25 percent of their body weight in vegetation per day), there’s also a matter of terrain: they can more easily access uneven, hard-to-reach areas of the gated-in section of Prospect Park that they’ve been assigned.

Goat clearing invsaive plants in Prospect Park “The area, a steep hillside, presents unique challenges and access issues for staff and machinery, but is easily accessible to goats, which provide a green and environmentally friendly approach to weed removal,” explains the alliance.

Prospect Park Alliance is footing the bill for the goats’ exceptional weed-clearing services — they command a $15,000 paycheck for the entire season — using the aforementioned $727,900 in funds, which were allocated to the Alliance through the National Park Service’s Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Assistance Grant Program for Historic Properties. In addition to goat-assisted woodland restoration, the grant money will be used for other woodland restoration projects in and around the northeast section of the park. McCreight describes the goat-scaping initiative as being part of the "first wave of restoration" at the Vale of Cashmere.

Once fall arrives and the goats have scarfed all the invasives that they can possible scarf and are ferried back upstate, restoration of the woodlands will continue with the planting of native trees and shrubs. Park officials believe that the goats' months-long munch fest followed by aggressive planting efforts will not only help beautify and lure new visitors to this previously ignored section of Prospect Park but also attract birds and other forms of wildlife. You can see them at work in the video below:



"Woodland restoration has always been an important focus for the Alliance,” notes Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue in a news release. "These goats will provide an environmentally friendly approach to our larger efforts, and help us make the park more resilient to future storms."

Only a couple of short days into their stint, Prospect Park’s caprine seasonal workers have been greeted with no shortage of fanfare complete with a warm welcome from amateur comedian and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

Oh dear.

And despite being being sequestered behind an 8-foot-tall security gate, the alternately napping and nomming animals are indeed visible to the public. "Kids absolutely love it," notes McCreight. "Goats are not only a great way to restore woodlands but also a great way to get the family out."

While there hasn't been much in the way of salacious water cooler gossip at Prospect Park Alliance HQ about the new hires thus far, McCreight does note that Diego, a Nubian, is loving all the attention. "She really seems to love being in front of the camera." As for Max, the pygmy, McCreight hints that her new colleague may have a wee bit of a Napoleon complex: "He doesn't seem to let his size bother him."

The Duchess County transplants will be subject to a slew of goat-themed special events hosted by the Prospect Park Alliance including a Fun on the Farm day (March 22) complete with goat’s milk ice cream and felt ball-making tutorials. The goats, which will remain in a protected area, won't be making too many public appearances over the coming weeks — they've got a lot of work to do. However, those desperately looking to bond with a friendly farm animal that isn't on the clock can do so next door at the Prospect Park Zoo's barnyard petting area.
...Read more

Monday, May 23, 2016

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, May 28, 2016 to Monday, May 30, 2016:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, May 28, 2016, 12pm – 1pm
Introduction to Bird Watching
Look! Up in the sky, it’s a bird! But what kind of bird is it? Take a tour and learn about the magnificent array of birds that call Prospect Park home. Led by Brooklyn Bird Club.

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Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Linden’s Hawkrise Sanctuary within the Meadowlands Watershed
Leader: Peter Dorosh
Focus: Discovery of birds within a new club location; late migrants, marsh birds, early breeders
Car fee: $25.00
Registrar: Peter Dorosh, Prosbird@aol.com or text only cell 347-622-3559
Registration Period: May 21st - May 26th
Site profile: http://ebird.org/content/nj/news/birds-of-lindens-hawk-rise-sanctuary/

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Gateway National Park
Every Sunday Weekly and Every Saturday Weekly from 05/28/2016 to 08/28/2016 9:30AM to 11:30AM
Camp Gateway Walk-up and Paddle
Try kayaking! Open to the public, ages 6 and up with an adult. No reservation required. Bring a snack, water and sunscreen. Bus: Q35
Location: Floyd Bennett Field – Brooklyn, Seaplane Ramp
Time: 9:30AM to 11:30AM
Fee Information: FREE
Contact Name: Ryan Visitor Center
Contact Phone Number: 718-338-3799

Every Saturday Weekly from 05/28/2016 to 08/27/2016 1:00PM to 3:30PM
Canarsie Walk-up and Paddle
Try kayaking! Open to the public, ages 6 and up with an adult. No reservation required.
Dress to get wet; bring sunscreen, a snack and water.
Location: Canarsie Pier – Brooklyn
Time: 1:00PM to 3:30PM
Fee Information: FREE
Contact Name: Ryan Visitor Center
Contact Phone Number: 718-338-3799

Every Sunday Weekly from 05/29/2016 to 08/28/2016 1:00PM to 4:00PM
Riis Landing Walk-up and Paddle
Try kayaking! Open to the public, ages 6 and up with an adult. No reservation required. Bring sunscreen, a snack and water.
Location: Riis Landing, Queens
Time: 1:00PM to 4:00PM
Fee Information: FREE
Contact Name: Ryan Visitor Center
Contact Phone Number: 718-338-3799

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Great South Bay Audubon Society
Saturday May 28, 2016, 8:00am
Jamaica Bay
Leaders: Michael McBrien (631-758-2350), Ken Thompson (631-612-8028)
Southern State Pkwy. to Belt Pkwy. to Exit 17, Cross Bay Blvd. South. Continue south for about 2 miles. Look for entrance of refuge on the right (west) side. There are signs for park entrance.

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, May 28, 2016
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

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturdays, May 7-July 30, 8-9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks, The Bronx
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

Saturdays, April 30–May 28, 10-11am
Birding Basics For Families: The Ramble, Central Park
Guides: NYC Audubon, Conservancy Discovery Guides
Offered by the Central Park Conservancy
Meet at the Belvedere Castle (inside the Park, mid-Park just north of the 79th Street transverse). Experience Central Park’s precious bird habitat and migration hot spot with Conservancy Discovery Guides and NYC Audubon. Witness firsthand how the Conservancy’s work has made the Park a sanctuary for birds. Binoculars available. Free: pre-registration is recommended as space is limited. Ages 5+. Families only: maximum of three children per parent or guardian; no groups For weather cancellation updates and pre-registration information, call 212-772-0288.

Sunday, May 29, 2016, 8am-12pm
Birding Gems of Staten Island: Clove Lakes Park
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Meet at the Manhattan terminal of the Staten Island Ferry and journey to the "Forgotten Borough" to discover some of the beautiful forests and incredible birding spots at Clove Lakes Park. Look for ducks and seabirds in New York Harbor on our way across on the ferry ride and then catch a bus to the Park. Numerous warblers, vireos, tanagers, and other migratory songbirds can be seen here, as well as nesting eastern screech owls and great blue herons. We'll even see one of the largest and oldest trees in NYC! Limited to 15. Bus fare ($2.75 each way - please bring your MetroCard or exact change) not included in registration price. $43 (30)
Click here to register

Sundays, May 1–May 29, 10-11am
Birding Basics for Families: North Woods, Central Park
Guides: NYC Audubon, Conservancy Discovery Guides
Offered by the Central Park Conservancy
Meet at the Dana Discovery Center (inside the Park at 110th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues). Experience Central Park’s precious bird habitat and migration hot spot with Conservancy Discovery Guides and NYC Audubon. Witness firsthand how the Conservancy’s work has made the Park a sanctuary for birds. Binoculars available. Limited to 20. Age 5 and up. Free: pre-registration is recommended as space is limited. Ages 5+. Families only: maximum of three children per parent or guardian; no groups. For weather cancellation updates and pre-registration information, call 212-860-1370

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North Shore Audubon Society
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Upper Francis Pond and Bailey Arboretum
Meet: S/Equestrian entrance
Leader: Lindy Nielsen 628-1315

Walks are for beginners and experienced birders alike.
Weather permitting, walks start at 9:30am unless indicated.
Please note: all phone numbers are area code 516 unless otherwise indicated. In most cases, the contacts are also leaders for the respective walks. We would like to encourage carpooling, where possible.

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Sunday, May 29, 2016 @ 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Crooke’s Point
Cost: Free
Contact: Paul Lederer 718-354-9200
Maritime spits such as Crooke’s Point are dynamic typographical features which were formed and sculpted by water and wind action. Join naturalist Paul T. Lederer in a talk and walk where he will discuss the geology and human history of the site as well as the plants and animals that call this place home. Meet at the Beach Center Parking Lot in Great Kills Park near the dirt road leading out to Crooke’s Point. To get to the Beach Center Parking Lot, follow Buffalo Street to just before it turns into the dirt permit road. For more information or directions contact Paul at 718-354-9200.

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South Shore Audubon Society
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Marine Nature Study Area

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

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Look! Up in the sky, it’s a bird! But what kind of bird is it? Take a tour and learn about the magnificent array of birds that call Prospect Park home.
Free!

Monday, May 30, 2016
Hallett Nature Sanctuary at Hallett Nature Sanctuary (in Central Park), Manhattan
2:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
During these limited hours, visitors can explore the normally-closed Hallett Sanctuary at their own pace along the rustic trail.
Free!

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Wild Bird Fund
Saturday, May 28, 2016 @ 9:00AM - 11:00AM
Focus on the Birds with Charles Chessler
Join the WBF and native New York photographer Charles Chessler for a fun couple of hours learning how best to capture the beautiful birds that visit and make Central Park their home.
At 9:00 Charles will spend a half hour discussing some basic photographic concepts and best settings for bird photography. Then we’ll head into the park to see what we can see…and, hopefully, we’ll all go home with some exciting images.
$20 per person; Members $15
Reservations required: events@wildbirdfund.org

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Young Birders Club
Sunday, May 29, 2016 (RAIN DATE May 30th)
Whiteface Mountain for Bicknell's Thrush (Adirondacks)
Sponsoring NYSYBC Partner: Northern New York Audubon Society
Trip Leader: Joan Collins
~ OPEN TO NYSYBC YOUTH MEMBERS ONLY ~

This trip will require an overnight, because we'll have special permission to drive up Whiteface Mountain long before dawn! We'll be looking for Bicknell's Thrush, which is seriously threatened by climate change and will likely be on the endangered species list soon. Our trip leader, Joan Collins, is the president of NYSOA (NYS Ornithological Association, our parent organization). Joan is a professional bird guide who leads Adirondack birding trips year-round. She is a New York State licensed guide who has climbed all the Adirondack fire tower peaks.

Bicknell’s Thrush begins to sing at 4am, so we'll be gathering at 4:30. We'll have the mountain to ourselves for several hours before we head back down for a breakfast break. After that, Joan will take us to some boreal bird habitats in the area.
Booking 2 nights' lodging would be a good idea. Extra time in the Adirondacks is never a bad thing!
Permission form due by 5/16/16 (earlier than usual due to the more complex logistics of this trip).
...Read more

Friday, May 20, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, May 20, 2016:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* May. 20, 2016
* NYNY1605.20

- Birds mentioned
Bicknell's Thrush +
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Least Bittern
Stilt Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Wilson's Phalarope
Chuck-will's-widow
Eastern Whip-poor-will
Red-headed Woodpecker
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Acadian Flycatcher
Alder Flycatcher
Philadelphia Vireo
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Worm-eating Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Golden-winged Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Kentucky Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Palm Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Summer Tanager
Blue Grosbeak

- 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, May 20th 2016 at 10pm. The highlights of today's tape are WILSON'S PHALAROPE, CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW, LEAST BITTERN, SUMMER TANAGER, BLUE GROSBEAK, PROTHONOTARY WARBLER, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER, MOURNING WARBLER, PHILADELPHIA VIREO, BICKNELL'S THRUSH and RED-HEADED WOODPECKER.

A good week with very good variety but no exceptional rarities. Among the non-passerines probably the most excitement surrounded the LEAST BITTERN that remained in decent view perched in a tree last Sunday in Prospect Park Brooklyn and last Sunday a male WILSON'S PHALAROPE, the less colorful sex in Phalaropes, was spotted in the Captree marsh west of the Robert Moses Causeway. Also present there among the fairly large assemblage of shorebirds were 4 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS and 2 STILT SANDPIPERS were seen there again Tuesday. Last Saturday at Jones Beach West End a CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW was flushed a few times before disappearing and interestingly an EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILL was found singing there Monday evening. Finishing the non-passerines last Sunday single RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were seen at Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn and on the north fork at the Ruth Aleva Preserve in East Marion and 2 continue at Willowbrook Park on Staten Island.

Last Saturday single SUMMER TANAGERS were found at Jones Beach West End at Marcy Woods south of Belmont Lake State Park and at Long Gardens in Stony Brook and in the days following at Kissena Park in Queens Sunday and then on Wednesday in Central Park and at the Rye Nature Center in Westchester. The Marcy Woods bird was still there today. A BLUE GROSBEAK was spotted at Connetquot River State Park last Sunday but could not later be relocated.

A PROTHONOTARY WARBLER was found at the Bronx Zoo last Saturday and another appeared at Clove Lakes Park on Staten Island Sunday and Monday and today one was reported appearing briefly at the Forest Park waterhole. A female GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER visited Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn last Saturday and a female CERULEAN WARBLER was spotted in Central Park yesterday. A MOURNING WARBLER in Forest Park last Saturday and Sunday was followed by others in Central Park from Sunday on, at Green-wood Cemetery Sunday, at Prospect Park Tuesday and Wednesday and at Southards Pond Park in Babylon yesterday. KENTUCKY WARBLERS appeared suddenly on Thursday with 2 in Prospect Park and another in Central Park and one was at Valley Stream Park today. YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS continue in Connetquot River State Park and at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum. Otherwise among the 33 species of warblers in the region have been some WORM-EATING, TENNESSEE, HOODED, CAPE MAY, BAY-BREASTED, BLACKBURNIAN and WILSON'S as well as the more common species at this point in the migration plus one or two late lingering species like LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH and PALM.

Among the vireos 6 species occurred this week including a rather uncommon Spring visit by a PHILADELPHIA noted in Central Park at least to Wednesday. Flycatcher variety has increased thanks to the arrival of some late season empidonax species starting with ACADIAN in Green-wood Cemetery last Saturday, ALDER mostly north of the city and a YELLOW-BELLIED at the Rye Nature Center since Monday. OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER appeared this week in Central and Prospect Parks as well as at Southards Pond in Babylon and the Upland Farm Preserve in Cold Spring Harbor. Among the thrushes some GRAY-CHEEKEDS have joined the mix in low but widespread numbers and a BICKNELL'S was identified by song in Prospect Park starting Tuesday. This species distinction is tricky but doable under the right circumstances.

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

Shy and elusive, the Mourning Warbler is more often found through it's loud, ringing "teedle-teedle, turtle-turtle" musical song emanating from within thickets in the forest understory. Listen:



This medium-sized wood-warbler acquired its common name from the dark hood that reminded early ornithologists of the garb worn by those in mourning. Spending most of their time near the ground, they primarily glean insects from the branches of shrubs and small trees. An estimated 75% of the species' North American population breeds within the Canada's boreal forest.

The IUCN lists their conservation status as "Least Concern".

Their scientific name, Geothlypis philadelphia, means ground warbler from Philadelphia, the city where Alexander Wilson discovered the bird in 1810.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

From the Discovery website:

Vaquita Porpoise Nearly Extinct, Only 60 Left
May 16, 2016 09:40 AM ET // by AFP


Photograph: Ho New/Reuters

Environmentalists warned Friday that Mexico’s vaquita marina, the world’s smallest porpoise, was close to extinction as the government reported that only 60 were now left.

The population has dramatically dropped despite the arrival of navy reinforcements in the upper Gulf of California in April 2015 to enforce a ban on fishing gillnets blamed for the vaquita’s death.

The porpoise’s population had already fallen to fewer than 100 in 2014, down from 200 in 2012, according to the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA), a global group of scientists.

Mexico’s environment ministry said in a statement that a joint census conduct with CIRVA, undertaken with acoustic and visual studies, between September and December estimated the latest population at “around 60.”

“The vaquita is at the edge of extinction,” the World Wildlife Fund said in a statement, warning that 20 percent more have probably died in nets since January.

The vaquita’s fate has been linked to another critically endangered sea creature, the totoaba, a fish that has been illegally caught for its swim bladder, which is dried and sold on the black market in China.

Poachers use illegal gillnets to catch the totoaba and the vaquita, a shy 1.5-meter-long (five-foot) cetacean with dark rings are the eyes, is believed to be the victims of bycatch.

Endangered Species Watch: Vaquita

President Enrique Pena Nieto imposed a two-year ban on gillnets in April 2015 and increased the vaquita protection area tenfold to 13,000 square kilometers (5,000 square miles).

He deployed a navy patrol ship with a helipad, a dozen high-speed boats and two planes to enforce the prohibition.

Environment Minister Rafael Pacchiano said three vaquitas had been found dead and that protective measures needed to be reinforced, but federal authorities are convinced that the vaquita can still be saved.

He urged the local population to report illegal activities.

The Mexican government agreed to compensate local fishermen in a $30 million a year program to give up gillnet fishing while they look for safer alternative nets.

But navy sailors told AFP last month that they were catching gillnets every day — three to 10 times the length of a football field, often ensnaring totoabas, dolphins and turtles.

Captain Oona Isabelle Layolle, of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, said fishermen are still sneaking out at night to cast their nets.

Sea Shepherd, which has sent two boats to the region to help authorities catch gillnets, proposed to officials on Friday that the gillnet ban become permanent, Layolle told AFP.

Increasing the population is challenging because a mature female vaquita only gives birth once every two years, she said.

“There’s still hope,” she said.

The environment ministry said 600 nets were seized in the past year, while 77 people were detained.

Officials say fishermen sell the totoaba’s swim bladders to smugglers who store them in border towns before sending them to the United States or shipping them directly to Asia in suitcases or through parcel services.

Each bladder fetches around $1,500-$1,800 in Mexico, rising to $5,000 in the United States and $10,000 to $20,000 apiece in Asia, according to US authorities.

Consumed in soup, maw is believed to cure a host of ailments, from arthritis to discomfort in pregnancy, and plump up skin due to its high collagen content.

WWF urged the governments of Mexico, the United States and China to take urgent measures and coordinate to stop the smuggling to totoaba bladders.

“In the end, if the vaquita goes extinct, the three countries will share the responsibility,” the environmentalist group said.

The group said Mexico should ban all fishing in the vaquita habitat, compensate fishermen and deploy a newly created environmental police to the region.

“At WWF we are convinced that it is still possible to save the vaquita, but this is clearly its last chance,” said WWF’s Mexico director, Omar Vidal.
...Read more

Monday, May 16, 2016

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, May 21, 2016 to Sunday, May 22, 2016:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, May 21, 2016, 12pm – 1pm
Introduction to Bird Watching
Look! Up in the sky, it’s a bird! But what kind of bird is it? Take a tour and learn about the magnificent array of birds that call Prospect Park home. Led by Brooklyn Bird Club.

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Doodletown, Harriman State Park
Leader: Dennis Hrehowsik
Focus: Songbird migrants, breeding birds
Registrar: Bobbi Manian, email roberta.manian@gmail.com
Registration Period: May 14th - May 19th
Note: This trip will be capped at 16 participants
Site Profile: http://www.rocklandaudubon.org/doodletown.htm

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Eastern Long Island Audubon Society
Sunday, May 22, 2016 at 7:30am
North Fork County Park
Leader: Eileen Schwinn (516) 662-7751
Located on the north side of Sound Ave. in Jamesport (Clearly marked with a sign, “North Fork Preserve”, follow the long, paved driveway to the former hunting lodge parking area), we will visit vernal ponds, meadows and wooded areas. Each day is different in this relatively new Town of Riverhead/Suffolk County Parkland, but we have the opportunity to see visiting migrants and nesting warblers, raptors, and thrushes. Dress for ticks, however, we will be on mowed paths for most of the walk.

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Gateway National Park
Saturday, May 21, 2016, 5:00pm to 8:00pm
Jamaica Bay Sunset Ecology Cruise
Presented by NYC Audubon and Gateway National Recreation Area. Enjoy a three-hour narrated cruise aboard the 100-foot boat, "The Golden Sunshine." Visit backwater marshes near JFK Airport, and learn about the 13,000 acre Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Includes wine and cheese, fruit, snacks.
Location: Meet at Pier 4, Emmons Ave., Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn
Fee Information: $55
Contact Name: Don Riepe
Contact Email: donriepe@gmail.com
Contact Phone Number: (917)371-8577

Saturday, May 21, 2016, 6:30pm to 8:30pm
The Full Flower Moon and Woodcock Walk
Enjoy a legendary Jamaica Bay sunset and then watch the full flower moon rise over the park. If conditions are right, we may witness the elaborate courtship display ritual of the elusive American woodcock.
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fee Information: Free
Contact Phone Number: 718-318-4340

Sunday, May, 22, 2016, 9:00am to 12:00pm
Horseshoe Crab Walk
Meet at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge visitor center and carpool to a nearby shoreline site to see the horseshoe crabs come ashore to mate and lay eggs. Hundreds of shorebirds will join us on the beach.
Leaders: Mickey Maxwell Cohen & Don Riepe. Call 718-474-0896; E-mail donriepe@gmail.com to make reservations.
An American Littoral Society, NYC Audubon and Gateway NRA parternship program
Fee Information: FREE

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Great South Bay Audubon Society
Saturday and Sunday, May 21 - 22, 7:00am
Sterling Forest and Bashakill
Leaders: John Gluth (631-827-0120), Ken Thompson (631-612-8028)
From Tappan Zee Bridge, take I-87 to Sloatsburg exit 15A, take the exit for Rte 72 (Sterling Mine Rd.), 1- mile up Rte 17. Continue west on Rte 72 for 3 Miles until you reach Rte 84, Long Meadow Rd. Continue up long Meadow Rd to Sterling Lake Rd (4 Mi). Turn left there and continue to Park Visitors Center parking lot on Old Forge Rd. Overnight at Wurtsboro Days Inn (845-888-8727).

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Hudson River Audubon Society
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Muscoot Farm
Meet at 8:00am
We will search for late spring migrants as well as breeding Eastern Bluebirds, Prairie Warblers, Scarlet Tanagers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Indigo Buntings.
http://hras.org/wtobird/muscoot.html

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Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, May 21, 2016 (rain date Sunday, May 22)
Doodletown
Leader: Paul Keim
Registrar: Anne Lazarus — amlazarus47@gmail.com or 212-673-9059
Registration opens: Monday May 9
Ride: $30

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, May 21, 2016
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

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, May 21-Saturday, May 28
Puffins, Warblers, and Lobster Boats: The Enchanting Coast of Maine
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Come along with NYC Audubon and explore Maine's “Country of the Pointed Firs”: land of lighthouses, quaint villages, and lobster pounds... all nestled in a setting of primeval pine forests, bogs, and bucolic islands. Home to some of the East’s last true wilderness, Maine hosts populations of Atlantic puffin, bear, moose, shorebirds, and dozens of warbler species. This land of forests and rocky coast has been an inspiration to artists and naturalists for generations.

We’ll begin our exploration by spending three days on the mainland coast, visiting the salt marshes and beaches to the south before heading to the beautiful fishing village of Camden. From there we will explore nearby hills, meadows, and marshes in search of elusive rails, upland sandpiper and Nelson’s and vesper sparrow. Following our exploration of the mainland, we’ll spend four days on enchanting Monhegan Island—a scene of inspiration for artists including Edward Hopper and the Wyeth family. Birders flock here as well: Seeing 30 warbler species in one day is not uncommon, and many rarities appear here. We will stay at the historic Monhegan House Inn, where meals will include a lobster dinner. Finally, we’ll travel to a puffin nesting colony. While on the water, we'll keep our eyes open for whales and porpoises. $1,950 ($595 single supplement)
Click here to register
For questions regarding the details of this trip, contact Gabriel Willow at gwillow@nycaudubon.org or 718-757-0782

Saturday, May 21, 2016, 8:30-11am
Spring Migrants at Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
Guide: Annie Barry
Meet at the entrance to Inwood Hill Park at the corner of Isham Street and Seaman Avenue. Join Annie Barry for a hike through a mature forest in search of kinglets, warblers, flycatchers, sparrows, Baltimore orioles, and other migrants and residents. We will then move to the shores of the last natural saltmarsh in Manhattan to search for herons and ducks and explore Muscota Marsh, a recently restored habitat within the park. Some hilly walking required. Limited to 15. $36 (25)
Click here to register

Saturdays, May 7-July 30, 8-9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks, The Bronx
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

Saturdays, April 30–May 28, 10-11am
Birding Basics For Families: The Ramble, Central Park
Guides: NYC Audubon, Conservancy Discovery Guides
Offered by the Central Park Conservancy
Meet at the Belvedere Castle (inside the Park, mid-Park just north of the 79th Street transverse). Experience Central Park’s precious bird habitat and migration hot spot with Conservancy Discovery Guides and NYC Audubon. Witness firsthand how the Conservancy’s work has made the Park a sanctuary for birds. Binoculars available. Free: pre-registration is recommended as space is limited. Ages 5+. Families only: maximum of three children per parent or guardian; no groups For weather cancellation updates and pre-registration information, call 212-772-0288.

Saturday, May 21, 2016, 5-8pm
Jamaica Bay Sunset Cruise
With American Littoral Society and Gateway NRA
Meet at pier 4 in Sheepshead Bay to board the 100’ boat “Golden Sunshine”. Learn about the Bay and its history, management and ecology. See egrets, herons, ibis, terns, laughing gulls, osprey, peregrine falcons, and shorebirds. This narrated tour of the bay’s backwater marshes includes wine and cheese, fruit, drinks, and snacks. For information and reservations call Don Riepe at (718) 474-0896 or e-mail donriepe@gmail.com. $55

Sunday, May 22, 2016, 9am-noon
Horseshoe Crabs and Red Knots
Guides: Mickey Cohen, Don Riepe
With American Littoral Society and Gateway NRA
Meet at the Jamaica Bay Refuge visitor center and carpool to a nearby site in Broad Channel to see the annual spring mating ritual of the ancient Horseshoe Crab. Look for endangered red knots, ruddy turnstones, and other shorebirds feeding on the eggs. Children welcome! For reservations, call Don Riepe at (718) 474-0896 or e-mail: donriepe@gmail.com. Free

Saturdays April 9, May 7, June 4, and Sundays April 24 and May 22, 9-10am
Queens Botanical Garden Bird Walks
Guide: NYC Audubon
With the Queens Botanical Garden
Register for one or the series of five free nature walks in partnership with the New York City Audubon Society! The tours will introduce visitors to the feathered friends of the Garden like warblers, blue jays and robins as well as our favorite, the red-tailed hawk! Spot these creatures of flight, and learn about how QBG offers valuable resources for birds and other wildlife in the region. Binoculars available. Limited to 25. Appropriate for all ages. Free with Garden admission. To register, email info@queensbotanical.org or visit www.queensbotanical.org/calendar

Sundays, May 1–May 29, 10-11am
Birding Basics for Families: North Woods, Central Park
Guides: NYC Audubon, Conservancy Discovery Guides
Offered by the Central Park Conservancy
Meet at the Dana Discovery Center (inside the Park at 110th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues). Experience Central Park’s precious bird habitat and migration hot spot with Conservancy Discovery Guides and NYC Audubon. Witness firsthand how the Conservancy’s work has made the Park a sanctuary for birds. Binoculars available. Limited to 20. Age 5 and up. Free: pre-registration is recommended as space is limited. Ages 5+. Families only: maximum of three children per parent or guardian; no groups. For weather cancellation updates and pre-registration information, call 212-860-1370

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North Shore Audubon Society
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Muttontown Preserve
Meet: S/Equestrian entrance
Leader: Lindy Nielsen 628-1315

Walks are for beginners and experienced birders alike.
Weather permitting, walks start at 9:30am unless indicated.
Please note: all phone numbers are area code 516 unless otherwise indicated. In most cases, the contacts are also leaders for the respective walks. We would like to encourage carpooling, where possible.

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Saturday, May 21, 2016 @ 10:00am – 2:00pm
Forest Restoration Workshop – High Rock Park
Cost: Free
Contact: Don Reckless 718-768-9036, Chuck Perry 718-667-1393
Meet in the Nevada Avenue parking lot of High Rock (200 Nevada Avenue) to take part in It’s My Park Day with other park volunteers. In this, our 236th monthly workshop, we will remove invasive plants and plant native trees and shrubs within the loop of the road leading to the restrooms and administration buildings. If you don’t have your own, Protectors will supply gloves and pruners. If the work is done before 2:00, we will take a short walk over nearby trails. For more information contact Don Recklies at 718-768-9036 or Chuck Perry at 718-667-1393.

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Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, May 21, 2016 – Sunday, May 22, 2016
Doodl-ing Bash!
Leader: Arie Gilbert - 917-693-7178
Meet: 7:30am at Doodletown
Click here for link to flyer
This perennially excellent trip has been expanded to provide for an even richer species diversity. This weekend trip features Doodletown, Sterling Forest, Bashakill Marsh, and Shawangunk NWR and environs.

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, May 22, 2016
Jones Beach West End 2

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

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Birding Bonanza at South end of the Little Hell Gate Bridge (in Randall's Island Park), Manhattan, Little Hell Gate Salt Marsh (in Randall's Island Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
At our Birding Bonanza event, expert guides from both Randall's Island Park Alliance and NYC Audubon will help you explore the park while you seek and discover our feathered island residents.
Free!

Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Look! Up in the sky, it’s a bird! But what kind of bird is it? Take a tour and learn about the magnificent array of birds that call Prospect Park home.
Free!

Ranger's Choice: Calvert Vaux Park Discovery Hike at Calvert Vaux Park, Brooklyn
1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
Put on your hiking shoes and bring your binoculars as we explore the rocky coast of Gravesend Bay. Space is limited. Registration is required.
Free!

Sunday, May 22, 2016
Birding: Hawk Watch at Parking Area (in High Rock Park), Staten Island
9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Our Urban Park Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle.
Free!

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Wild Bird Fund
Saturday, May 21, 2016 @ 9:00am - 11:00am
Take a Walk on the Wild Side
Cost: $15
Join us with WBF member, artist and birder, Alan Messer for a deep spring bird walk into Central Park for warblers, catbirds, vireos, and late migrant sparrows and finches. This time of year brings the flycatcher family including those difficult to ID of the genus Empidonax. Be ready to haggle! Saturday May 21 – Rain Date Sunday May 22 $10 members / $15 non-members Reservations required: events@wildbirdfund.org
...Read more

Saturday, May 14, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, May 13, 2016:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* May 13, 2016
* NYNY1605.13

- Birds Mentioned

MISSISSIPPI KITE+
WHITE-WINGED DOVE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

American Bittern
SANDHILL CRANE
WILSON’S PLOVER
Upland Sandpiper
WHIMBREL
Stilt Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Glaucous Gull
Caspian Tern
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Black-billed Cuckoo
Common Nighthawk
CHUCK-WILL’S WIDOW
Eastern Whip-Poor-Will
Red-headed Woodpecker
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Acadian Flycatcher
Willow Flycatcher
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Bicknell’s Thrush
Worm-eating Warbler
GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER
Tennessee Warbler
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER
Orange-crowned Warbler
Kentucky Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Canada Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
LARK SPARROW
SUMMER TANAGER
BLUE GROSBEAK
Bobolink

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, May 13, 2016 at 8:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are MISSISSIPPI KITE, SANDHILL CRANE, WILSON’S PLOVER, WHITE-WINGED DOVE, CHUCK-WILL’S-WIDOW, WHIMBREL, PROTHONOTARY and GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLERS, SUMMER TANAGER, BLUE GROSBEAK, and LARK SPARROW.

With the first seven days in May really inappropriate for bird migration to any extent, finally last Saturday winds shifted and brought a lot of migrants to our area. Sunday was good locally in most places, though the constant favorable migratory weather on subsequent days did enable birds to move through rather quickly.

Rarities were interesting and actually began last Saturday when birders at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden watched a MISSISSIPPI KITE fly overhead from Prospect Park out to the northeast. Two subsequent reports of MISSISSIPPI KITE involved fly-bys over northern Staten Island Monday, going northwest, and over Doodletown Road in Rockland County Tuesday. Interesting to note that a brood of 17-year Cicadas is scheduled to emerge this year in New York and will hopefully attract more Kites locally.

A nicely visible CHUCK-WILL’S-WIDOW perched low in the Central Park Ramble Sunday was a delight, especially with an AMERICAN BITTERN nearby.

On Monday what was believed to be a SANDHILL CRANE flew high over the Bronx Zoo. Then on Wednesday a male WILSON’S PLOVER was photographed at Democrat Point on the western tip of Fire Island but was not refound subsequently. Thursday produced a fly-by WHITE-WINGED DOVE at Jones Beach West End, recognizably photographed as it disappeared along the fisherman’s access road; that too has not been relocated.

The list of other interesting birds is long: at Jones Beach West End Wednesday there were 4 WHIMBREL on the Coast Guard bar, following an initial one Sunday, and an UPLAND SANDPIPER was at Dreier-Offerman Park in Brooklyn Saturday, while two STILT SANDPIPERS and 2 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS were at Oak Beach marsh today. A GLAUCOUS GULL was spotted on the flats at Great Kills Park on Staten Island Thursday, and a CASPIAN TERN was still visiting Prospect Park Lake last Saturday, with 1 at Sagg Pond in Bridgehampton Sunday.

Other non-passerines occurring recently have included COMMON NIGHTHAWK and WHIP-POOR-WILL and both YELLOW-BILLED and BLACK-BILLED CUCKOOS. RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were in Prospect Park Tuesday and Forest Park Wednesday.

Among the passerines, certainly unseasonal was the LARK SPARROW found Monday at Robert Moses State Park Field 2. More SUMMER TANAGERS than we can list here have featured birds in Central and Prospect Parks from Sunday, following 1 on Riverside Drive Saturday, and also including individuals on Staten Island Monday and 1 at the Rocky Point Preserve yesterday.

BLUE GROSBEAKS were noted Thursday in Riverside Park, Manhattan and Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

All the THRUSHES lately have included a few GRAY-CHEEKED and a BICKNELL’S singing on Staten Island Thursday and today. OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was in Central Park Monday, and EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, ACADIAN and WILLOW FLYCATCHERS have arrived, as have BOBOLINKS.

And of course there are the WARBLERS - a PROTHONOTARY was reported at the Cemetery of the Resurrection on Staten Island Wednesday, and a GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER was in Prospect Park Sunday and Monday, where a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT appeared today. Among the other 30 species of WARBLERS seen were decent numbers of WORM-EATING, some TENNESSEES from Saturday, ORANGE-CROWNEDS in Central and Prospect Parks plus Hempstead Lake State Park, KENTUCKY at Doodletown, some HOODED, CERULEAN in Inwood Hill and Forest Parks and Hunter’s Garden in Eastport, some CAPE MAYS and BAY-BREASTEDS, CANADAS and WILSON’S, and a YELLOW-THROATED still at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum Wednesday. A “LAWRENCE’S” hybrid was in Central Park Sunday.

Good week!

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, May 13, 2016

Friday's Foto

The Yellow-billed Cuckoo is a long distant migrant that overwinters primarily in South America in Peru, Bolivia and northern Argentina. They are common breeders in open woodlands with dense undergrowth, riparian corridors, and parks of eastern North America. Nesting populations in the western part of the country have declined dramatically and they have been extirpated in Washington state.

More often heard than seen, this shy bird will sit quietly in the canopy searching for caterpillars, katydids, cicadas, grasshoppers and crickets. They are one of the few bird species that can eat hairy caterpillars and respond well to outbreaks of tent caterpillars. The Yellow-billed Cuckoo is one of a small number of North American songbirds who are zygodactyl, that is, they have two toes that face forward and two that face back.

Yellow-billed Cuckoos are sometimes referred to as the "Rain Crow" as they appear to call more often on cloudy days.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists this bird as "Least Concern" despite declines in the west.

The scientific name, Coccyzus americanus, means American Crying Cuckoo.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website Phys.org:

Sea-level Rise Claims Five Islands in Solomons: study
May 7, 2016


At least 11 islands across the northern Solomon Islands have either totally disappeared over recent decades or are currently experiencing severe erosion, an Australian study shows

Five islands have disappeared in the Pacific's Solomon Islands due to rising sea levels and coastal erosion, according to an Australian study that could provide valuable insights for future research.

A further six reef islands have been severely eroded in the remote area of the Solomons, the study said, with one experiencing some 10 houses being swept into the sea between 2011 and 2014.

"At least 11 islands across the northern Solomon Islands have either totally disappeared over recent decades or are currently experiencing severe erosion," the study published in Environmental Research Letters said.

"Shoreline recession at two sites has destroyed villages that have existed since at least 1935, leading to community relocations."

The scientists said the five that had vanished were all vegetated reef islands up to five hectares (12 acres) that were occasionally used by fishermen but not populated.

"They were not just little sand islands," leader author Simon Albert told AFP.

It is feared that the rise in sea levels will cause widespread erosion and inundation of low-lying atolls in the Pacific.

Albert, a senior research fellow at the University of Queensland, said the Solomons was considered a sea-level hotspot because rises there are almost three times higher than the global average.

The researchers looked at 33 islands using aerial and satellite imagery from 1947 to 2014, combined with historical insight from local knowledge.

They found that rates of shoreline recession were substantially higher in areas exposed to high wave energy, indicating a "synergistic interaction" between sea-level rise and waves, which Albert said could prove useful for future study.

Those islands which were exposed to higher wave energy—in addition to sea-level rise—were found to have a greatly accelerated loss compared with the more sheltered islands.

"This provides a bit of an insight into the future," he said.

"There's these global trends that are happening but the local responses can be very, very localised."

For now, some communities in the Solomons are already adapting to the changed conditions.

"In addition to these village relocations, Taro, the capital of Choiseul Province is set to become the first provincial capital globally to relocate residents and services due to the threat of sea-level rise," the study said.

© 2016 AFP
...Read more

Monday, May 09, 2016

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, May 14, 2016 to Sunday, May 15, 2016:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, May 14, 2016, 12pm – 1pm
Introduction to Bird Watching
Look! Up in the sky, it’s a bird! But what kind of bird is it? Take a tour and learn about the magnificent array of birds that call Prospect Park home. Led by Brooklyn Bird Club.

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Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, May 14, 2016
“The Birdathon,” International Bird Migration Day (Teams version)
A global event celebrating the beauty of birds and habitats; this event encourages fundraising for conservation causes.
This year, the Birdathon IBMD theme is “Spread Your Wings for Bird Conservation.”
If you are interested in forming a team with club members or friends, and will fundraise for this year’s conservation cause, or if you would like more information, please contact the BBC Birdathon teams coordinator Bobbi Manian at Roberta.manian@yahoo.com.
The conservation cause will be posted on the BBC Facebook page and Prospect Sightings blog. Funds will be raised for the Jean Bourque Duck Blind habitat at Floyd Bennett Field’s North Forty section. Check the BBC Facebook and the Prospect Sightings blog in the near future.

Saturday, May 14, 2016
"The Birdathon Walk" in Prospect Park
Meet: 7:15 am at the Grand Army Plaza park entrance (Stranahan Statue)
Leader: Paul Keim
Note: Participants can elect to support the club theme (see above)

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Eastern Long Island Audubon Society
Wednesday, May 11 and Sunday, May 15, 2016 both at 7:30am
Hunters Garden
Leader: Eileen Schwinn (516)-662-7751 beachmed@optonline.net
Located on the west side of Route 51 in Northampton (border of Brookhaven and Southampton Townships, just north of Sunrise Highway), Hunters Garden is a DEC managed area which is truly unique. Vernal ponds and dirt trails lead us in a rather hilly section of the South Shore. Cuckoo, Scarlet Tanager, Vireos, Wood and Hermit Thrush, Gnat-catchers, as well as many different warblers, are likely to be seen. Dress for ticks, and bring a snack/ water. We will meet at the clearing at the end of the dirt road (which will have an open yellow gate), approximately one mile from the Route 51 “entrance”. No two days are the same - that’s why we’ve scheduled two trips here!

​Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 9am
Hallockville Farm and Hallock State Park
Leader: MaryLaura Lamont
The Hallockville Farm Museum and State Park is located at 163 Sound Ave, in Riverhead. During peak migration, we have a good chance to see thrushes, vireos, warblers and more, on this walk past farm fields, woods leading up to views of Long Island Sound. There is a $6 per person charge for this walk, which benefits the Hallockville Farm Museum Educational Program. Please call the Museum for information and a for a reservation at 631-298-5292.

Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 8am
Terrell River County Park
Leaders: Jay Kuhlman and Beth Gustin (631) 848-9883
Meet at the trail head, on the south side of Montauk Highway in Center Moriches. The parking area is directly across from Kaler’s Pond Nature Center. The forest, marshland and bay beach provide habitat for Indigo Bunting, Black and White Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Saltmarsh Sparrow and Great-crested Flycatcher.

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Gateway National Park
Saturday, May 14, 2016
International Migratory Bird Day
Celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act with a day of fun activities for the entire family, including bird walks, live bird demonstrations with Volunteers for Wildlife. Then join us to help replant the West Pond bird blind with native plants.
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Time: 9:00AM to 4:00PM
Fee Information: Free

Sunday, May 15, 2016
Celebrate Beach Plums at Plumb Beach
American Littoral Society naturalist Mickey Cohen leads this nature walk. Enjoy the profusion of Beach Plum blossoms while learning about the ever-changing Plumb Beach.
Location: Plumb Beach Round House
Time: 10:00AM to 12:00PM
Fee Information: Free
Contact Phone Number: 718-338-3799

Sunday, May 15, 2016
Warblers for Beginners
For many birders spring means warblers. Identifying these fast and tiny birds can be quite a challenge and even intimidating. Join a Ranger for an intro to the warblers that can be found at the Wildlife Refuge. A brief slideshow will precede a walk on the West Pond Trail.
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Time: 2:00PM to 3:00PM
Fee Information: Free

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Great South Bay Audubon Society
Saturday, May 14, 2016, 7:00am
Alley Pond Park
Leaders: Mike Cooper (516-523-2369), Steve D’Amato (631-264-8413)
Northern State Pkwy to Exit 23, which reads: Cross Island Parkway, Union Turnpike and Alley Pond Park. Go to Union Turnpike (NOT Alley Pond Park). At the signal light, turn right onto Union Turnpike. Proceed to the next signal light which is Springfield Blvd and turn right. Go about 4 blocks to 76th Ave. Turn right onto 76th Ave. and proceed to Alley Pond Parking lot on your left.

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Hudson River Audubon Society
Saturday, May 14, 2016 (rain date May 15)
Birdathon
Bird like crazy in Westchester County to raise money for our chapter. Details to follow.

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Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Sunday, May 15, 2016 - 9:00AM
Sterling Forest, Orange County
Among spectacular scenery, an excellent place to look for spring migrants such as Hooded, Cerulean, Golden-winged and Blue-winged Warblers, and Yellow-breasted Chat.
Registration: 585-880-0915
Directions: Take Exit 15 off of NY 87 and head north. Make a left onto 17A. In about 2 miles make a left onto State Route 84 (Long Meadow Road). Follow this about 4 miles to HQ Building/Visitor Center where we will meet.

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Littoral Society
Saturday, May 14, 2016
International Bird Migration Day
Meet at the Jamaica Bay Refuge for a series of walks and talks about bird migration in NYC.
Leader: Don Riepe. (times TBA). For more info call the refuge at (718) 318-4340. With Gateway NRA
Location: Jamaica Bay Refuge
Contact: 718-318-4340

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, May 14, 2016
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

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, May 14, 2016, 8am-Noon
Birding Gems of Queens: Forest Hills Gardens and Forest Park
Guide: Tod Winston
Meet near the 71 Ave E/F subway station – specific location to be announced. Join Tod Winston as we tour the lovely green neighborhood of Forest Hills Gardens--often rich with songbirds--on our way to Forest Park. There we'll hike through the park's native woodland habitat in search of tanagers, orioles, and warblers, and visit the famous "watering hole," popular with thirsty migrants and eager birders alike.
Limited to 15. $36 (25)
Click here to register

Saturdays, May 7-July 30, 8-9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks, The Bronx
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

Saturdays, April 30–May 28, 10-11am
Birding Basics For Families: The Ramble, Central Park
Guides: NYC Audubon, Conservancy Discovery Guides
Offered by the Central Park Conservancy
Meet at the Belvedere Castle (inside the Park, mid-Park just north of the 79th Street transverse). Experience Central Park’s precious bird habitat and migration hot spot with Conservancy Discovery Guides and NYC Audubon. Witness firsthand how the Conservancy’s work has made the Park a sanctuary for birds. Binoculars available. Free: pre-registration is recommended as space is limited. Ages 5+. Families only: maximum of three children per parent or guardian; no groups For weather cancellation updates and pre-registration information, call 212-772-0288.

Saturday, May 14, 2016, 11am-2pm
Birds and Plants II: New York Botanical Garden In Springtime, The Bronx
Guides: Gabriel Willow
Meet by the ticket booth just inside the Garden’s Mosholu Gate on Southern Boulevard. The New York Botanical Garden is home to a large tract of East Coast old-growth forest. During the peak of spring migration, the beautiful gardens come alive with migrating songbirds. Limited to 15. Entrance fee to NYBG not included. $39 (27)
Click here to register

Class: Friday, May 13, 6:30-8:30pm
Trip: Sunday, May 15, 8am-noon

Introduction To Bird Song (trip)
Guide: Joe Giunta, Happy Warblers LLC
Do you ever wonder who is singing? Learn to identify the large variety of migrant and resident birds in New York City. Joe Giunta will first introduce you to the subtleties of bird-song identification in the classroom followed by a field trip in Central Park to bird by eye and ear. Limited to 12. $72 (50)
Click here to register

Sundays, May 1–May 29, 10-11am
Birding Basics for Families: North Woods, Central Park
Guides: NYC Audubon, Conservancy Discovery Guides
Offered by the Central Park Conservancy
Meet at the Dana Discovery Center (inside the Park at 110th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues). Experience Central Park’s precious bird habitat and migration hot spot with Conservancy Discovery Guides and NYC Audubon. Witness firsthand how the Conservancy’s work has made the Park a sanctuary for birds. Binoculars available. Limited to 20. Age 5 and up. Free: pre-registration is recommended as space is limited. Ages 5+. Families only: maximum of three children per parent or guardian; no groups. For weather cancellation updates and pre-registration information, call 212-860-1370

Sunday, May 15, 2016 11am – 4pm
Freshkills Park Discovery Day
Join NYC Audubon in a celebration of the birds of Freshkills Park! From wetlands to woodlands to rich, rolling grasslands, the diverse habitats of Freshkills Park host a wide variety of migratory and resident songbirds, waterbirds, and birds of prey. Come along on a free guided bird walk with an NYC Audubon naturalist to experience the benefits that the restoration of Freshkills Park is having on local wildlife. Walks start at the NYC Audubon table at noon, 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm.

Sunday, May 15, 2016, 1-4pm
Nesting Peregrines and Red-Tails of the Upper West Side
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Meet in front of Riverside Church. Many New Yorkers are astonished to discover that their city of steel and glass is home to a diverse population of large birds of prey: The City boasts the world’s highest densities of the peregrine falcon, the world’s fastest flyer, and a growing population of red-tailed hawks (several pairs of which have reached celebrity status). We’ll visit the nesting site of a pair of each of these fascinating species, and may glimpse parents feeding their chicks. Limited to 15. $39 (27)
Click here to register

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North Fork Audubon Society
Saturday, May 14, 2016
Bird Watching Field Trip to Central Park
We will take a bus to NYC for a bird trip to Central Park with Pat Hanly and will be meeting at the Central Park Boathouse Cafe at 8:00am. We will bird together in the Ramble until 11am and then walk over to the New York Historical Society to view the currently displayed Audubon paintings (the museum shows 4-5 at a time on a rotational basis). Participants are responsible for their own travel and food. Pat will be taking the Jitney and you can call him in advance if you desire to book your trip on that same bus or to arrange a meeting place on the day of the event. His cell number is 631-312-0824.

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North Shore Audubon Society
Saturday, May 14, 2016
BIG DAY - Alley Pond Park 76th Ave.
**6:30 am start time meet in parking lot.
After lunch, you can choose to continue to Jamaica Bay.
QCBC Leader Ian Resnick 917-626-9562

Walks are for beginners and experienced birders alike.
Weather permitting, walks start at 9:30am unless indicated.
BIG DAY starts at 6:30am.
Please note: all phone numbers are area code 516 unless otherwise indicated. In most cases, the contacts are also leaders for the respective walks. We would like to encourage carpooling, where possible.

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Saturday, May 14, 2016 @ 12:00pm – 2:00pm
High Rock Park – Pouch Camp
Cost: Free
Contact: Ray Matarazzo 718-317-7666
Feathers, ferns and flowers abound throughout the Spring woodlands of High Rock Park. Participants will enjoy an exploration with Ray Matarazzo of birds, botany and more during an afternoon walk around Loosestrife Swamp and along the shores of Lake Orbach at Pouch Camp. Meet in the parking lot at 200 Nevada Avenue. For more information contact Ray Matarazzo at 718-317-7666.

Saturday, May 14, 2016 @ 2:30pm – 3:30pm
Spring Ten Mile Hike
Cost: Free
Join with veteran hike leaders, Dominick Durso, Charles Perry and Don Recklies as they explore the white trail through Willowbrook Park, Corson Brook Woods, Hyerdall Hill and on through the Greenbelt during this year’s Spring Ten Mile Hike. The spicebush and woodland flowers should lend to the fresh colors of Spring. Overhead birds abound and sing continuously as they feed in the branches above. The walk requires some endurance. Wear appropriate clothing and bring fluid, food and protection from insects and sun. Meet in the parking lot directly behind the Carousel For All Children located at 2 Eton Place. For more information contact Dominick Durso at 917-478-7607, Don Recklies at 718-768-9036 or Chuck Perry at 718-667-1393.

Sunday, May 15, 2016 @ 10:00am – 12:00pm
Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve
Cost: Free
Come enjoy the fruits of Protector’s first conservation victory with a guided walk through this ecologically unique, 265-acre Preserve. Underlain by a layer of sand and clay that was deposited during the Cretaceous Period, the site underwent clay mining operations during the mid-19th century to early 20th century that marked the landscape with numerous ponds and wetlands. We will tour these wetlands as well as sandy uplands that support some of the rarest tree species in all of New York! Meet at the parking lot at 83 Nielson Avenue. For more information contact Will Lenihan at wleni5584@gmail.com.

Sunday, May 15, 2016 @ 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Crooke’s Point
Cost: Free
Contact: Paul Lederer 718-354-9200
Maritime spits such as Crooke’s Point are dynamic typographical features which were formed and sculpted by water and wind action. Join naturalist Paul T. Lederer in a talk and walk where he will discuss the geology and human history of the site as well as the plants and animals that call this place home. Meet at the Beach Center Parking Lot in Great Kills Park near the dirt road leading out to Crooke’s Point. To get to the Beach Center Parking Lot, follow Buffalo Street to just before it turns into the dirt permit road. For more information or directions contact Paul at 718-354-9200.

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Queens County Bird Club
Sunday, May 15, 2016, 7:30am – 1pm
Forest Park
Leader: Jean Loscalzo 917-575-6824

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, May 15, 2016
Hempstead Plains
(See www.friendsofhp.org/site/index.php?id=9 for directions)

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

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, May 14, 2016
Discovery Hike: Spring Birding at Greenbelt Nature Center (in Blood Root Valley), Staten Island
9:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.
Early spring signals the migration of birds from their winter homes. Observe and identify birds with binoculars.
Free!

Birding: Spring Migration at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle.
Free!

Songbird Migration Walk with Expert Naturalist Mike Feller at 218th Street and Indian Road (in Inwood Hill Park), Manhattan
9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Join expert naturalist Mike Feller for a nature walk in Inwood Hill Park and Muscota Marsh to learn about the migratory birds of the season in the new wetlands and the ancient forest.
Free!

Summer on the Hudson: The Art of Birding A Walk through Forever Wild Bird Sanctuary at Riverside Park Bird Sanctuary (in Riverside Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Join Jeff Nulle, long-time volunteer park tender and past president of the Linnaean Society of New York, on National Migratory Bird Day.
Free!

Birding: Ridgewood Reservoir at Vermont Place Parking Lot (in Highland Park), Queens
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Our Urban Park Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle.
Free!

Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Look! Up in the sky, it’s a bird! But what kind of bird is it? Take a tour and learn about the magnificent array of birds that call Prospect Park home.
Free!
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Friday, May 06, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, May 6, 2016:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* May 06, 2016
* NYNY1605.06

- Birds Mentioned

CURLEW SANDPIPER+
HERMIT WARBLER+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

KING EIDER
Horned Grebe
Cattle Egret
Semipalmated Plover
UPLAND SANDPIPER
WHIMBREL
Ruddy Turnstone
Red Knot
Dunlin
Least Sandpiper
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Glaucous Gull
Least Tern
CASPIAN TERN
Common Tern
SNOWY OWL
Whip-poor-will
Red-headed Woodpecker
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Swainson’s Thrush
Worm-eating Warbler
Golden-winged Warbler
Blue-winged Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Prairie Warbler
Canada Warbler
Grasshopper Sparrow
Nelson’s Sparrow
Seaside Sparrow
SUMMER TANAGER

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, May 6, 2016 at 6:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are HERMIT WARBLER, CURLEW SANDPIPER, KING EIDER, SNOWY OWL, UPLAND SANDPIPER, WHIMBREL, CASPIAN TERN, SUMMER TANAGER, YELLOW-THROATED and other WARBLERS and spring migrants.

Not a great week for migration locally. Continued northerly and easterly winds are, at best, pushing a majority of our migrants to the west of us, while holding up others, but many regional breeders are making their way to their nesting grounds.

Nonetheless, some interesting birds have occurred, certainly the best of which was the apparent HERMIT WARBLER enjoyed by three birders tolerating very distasteful weather in Central Park last Sunday morning. Though singing a somewhat aberrant song for a HERMIT, more reminiscent of a Black-throated Green’s song, the few photos and descriptions certainly seem to point to a pure HERMIT. Unfortunately the bird was never relocated after the initial sighting.

Though generally in sparse numbers, besides the Hermit and last week’s Swainson’s, about 29 other species of WARBLERS were seen locally this week. New arrivals have included a GOLDEN-WINGED reported at Clove Lakes Park on Staten Island Thursday, CERULEANS noted at Inwood Hill Park Sunday, Prospect Park Monday and Willowbrook Park on Staten Island Thursday, and a CANADA in Rye Monday. A YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER continued in Central Park to Saturday, with another in Prospect Park Monday, and 1 was still singing at Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Great River Saturday. An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was at Central Park’s north end Saturday, and another visited Hempstead Lake State Park Monday and Tuesday. Other of the currently less common WARBLERS have featured a few WORM-EATING, BLUE-WINGED, NASHVILLE, HOODED, CAPE MAY, MAGNOLIA, BLACKBURNIAN, CHESTNUT-SIDED, BLACKPOLL and PRAIRIE.

Another passerine of note was a SUMMER TANAGER at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn Saturday.

The week’s other exceptional report involved a CURLEW SANDPIPER in good plumage at Big Egg Marsh in Broad Channel Wednesday morning, noted by a single observer in a large flock of DUNLIN that also included a few hundred RED KNOTS as well as SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, RUDDY TURNSTONES, LEAST and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS and other expected species. A CATTLE EGRET was reported there today.

An interesting movement of CASPIAN TERNS through the region recently, mostly along the Hudson River, has also produced one at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn Monday and 1 at Montauk Point Tuesday, with Wednesday finding 1 at Prospect Park Lake and 1 on Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge’s East Pond. On Thursday 2 were noted visiting Prospect Park, 1 today, and singles were spotted Thursday at Quogue Wildlife Refuge and in Milton Harbor in Rye, with 1 again at Southard’s Pond Park in Babylon today.

Other migrants of interest this week included a WHIMBREL along Dune Road west of Shinnecock Inlet Monday along with a few NELSON’S SPARROWS, an UPLAND SANDPIPER nicely photographed in the swale at Jones Beach West End Wednesday, a WHIP-POOR-WILL singing in Mamaroneck Wednesday, and CLIFF and BANK SWALLOWS at Hempstead Lake State Park Thursday.

A GRASSHOPPER SPARROW continued at Dreier-Offerman Park in Brooklyn to Saturday, and another was photographed at the Great Hill in Central Park Wednesday.

Two LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were noted at Floyd Bennett Field Tuesday.

RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were still at Willowbrook Park on Staten Island yesterday, Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island Tuesday, Maple Swamp off Pleasure Drive in Flanders Monday, and Muscoot Farm in Westchester Monday.

Among some notable “winter” birds seen this week were a female KING EIDER off Orient Point Sunday, a breeding plumaged HORNED GREBE on Central Park Reservoir this week, a GLAUCOUS GULL at Smith Point County Park Monday, and a SNOWY OWL photographed on Fisher’s Island last Saturday.

Among some new recent arrivals have been COMMON and LEAST TERNS and SWAINSON’S and GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSHES.

Of interest have been 3 SEASIDE SPARROWS along the Hudson River Greenway around 55th Street in Manhattan to today.

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

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

- End transcript
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