Friday, July 31, 2015

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, July 31, 2015:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* July 31, 2015
* NYNY1507.31

- Birds Mentioned

Cory’s Shearwater
Great Shearwater
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel
Tricolored Heron
CATTLE EGRET
Piping Plover
Willet
UPLAND SANDPIPER
Whimbrel
Red Knot
STILT SANDPIPER
Short-billed Dowitcher
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE
RED PHALAROPE
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL
Royal Tern
Least Flycatcher
Purple Martin
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Grasshopper Sparrow
BLUE GROSBEAK

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, July 31 at 6:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are RED and RED-NECKED PHALAROPES, CATTLE EGRET, UPLAND and STILT SANDPIPERS, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL and BLUE GROSBEAK.

The nicely plumaged female RED PHALAROPE, first spotted at Jones Beach West End on Friday the 10th, was last reported late last Saturday afternoon, still on the now completely dry pools between the Roosevelt Nature Center and the West End 2 Parking Lot. Presumably dealing with less than ideal phalarope habitat due to its leg injury, the phalarope had also been seen Thursday by Short Beach next to the boat basin off the Coast Guard Station, but Sunday it could not be found at either location.

Last Sunday two RED-NECKED PHALAROPES were reported from a whale-watching boat trip out of Montauk, and also recorded were 50 CORY’S and 5 GREAT SHEARWATERS and 20 WILSON’S STORM-PETRELS.

Here in the midst of shorebird season the water level situation on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge still remains way behind schedule and is now compounded by an algae mat covering the areas that are slowly becoming exposed. Like the repairs to the West Pond, the Park Service has really dropped the ball with the East Pond, and this marvelous shorebird resource has so far effectively been unavailable for the thousands of shorebirds that annually take advantage of it. Efforts are being made to deal with the issue, but so far shorebird numbers have been minimal. The season’s first STILT SANDPIPER did appear Thursday on the East Pond, where about 250 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS and a few other shorebirds were also present.

One surprise at Jamaica Bay was a CATTLE EGRET, now a scarce bird regionally, that was reported yesterday near the breach on the West Pond, while a TRICOLORED HERON was noted at the Bay Wednesday.

Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes has been drawing in shorebirds recently, with last weekend providing a WHIMBREL Sunday, plus a few “WESTERN” WILLETS, increasing numbers of RED KNOTS, over 350 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS, and a mix of other expected shorebirds, including the locally breeding PIPING PLOVERS. Up to 8 ROYAL TERNS were also present, as their numbers too are on the increase. Other ROYALS for the week included 2 at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn and 2 at Jones Beach West End last Sunday.

A nice shorebird find was an UPLAND SANDPIPER up on the landfill at Croton Point Park in Westchester Monday.

A walk west along the beach at Smith Point County Park in Shirley Saturday produced 4 immature LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS.

A BLUE GROSBEAK along with about 25 GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS were present at the Calverton Grasslands on the former Grumman Airport property last Saturday, again emphasizing the natural value of this resource. A pair of BLUE GROSBEAKS along with a recently fledged juvenile were found Thursday at the restricted Brookhaven National Lab property.

Some recent landbird migrants in our area have included LEAST FLYCATCHER, PURPLE MARTIN, CLIFF and BANK SWALLOWS and a few species of regionally breeding warblers.

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

Oneline Tides Resource

When shorebirding it's extremely useful to know the tide tables for a given location, i.e. when will the mudflats be exposed (or covered)? I found this very simple website for finding tides on the Gulf Coast, US East Coast and US West Coast. Here is a link to the New York area sites.

Shorebirding 101

I'm not an expert on shorebird identification. Any day now tens of thousands of these long distance migrants will stop to rest and refuel in our area. Like many birders around Brooklyn and New York City I find some of these species frustrating to ID and have to study up every year in preparation for the fall shorebird migration. In addition to the numerous excellent field guides that are available, one very good resource that I have relied upon is Jack Connor's "The Complete Birder: A Guide to Better Birding". Here is an excerpt from the chapter on shorebirds:

Five basic principles are especially important in shorebird identification:

1. Learn habitat preferences.

Like the 'song' in 'songbird', the 'shore' in 'shorebird' is something of a misnomer. Most shorebirds prefer marshes and wetlands to coastal shores and inland areas attract nearly as many species as saltwater areas. In fact, several species - upland and buff-breasted sandpipers, mountain and golden plovers, and others - are actually easier to find thousands of miles inland no where near the ocean.

2. Slow down and specialize.

Shorebirding requires a radical change of pace from other forms of birdwatching. Since only a handful of shorebirds are identifiable at a glance, it's seldom possible to reel off a string of identifications without hesitation. Ordinarily, a lot of work is involved, and there is much time for doubt. Urgency and impatience are mortal sins, dogged persistence the cardinal virtue.

3. Concentrate on standing birds.

Shorebirds fly fast; several species can cruise at seventy miles per hour. They also tend to fly erratically and evasively, twisting and twirling against the sun, into shadow, back against the sun. A few species (willet, black-bellied plover and a couple of others) are best identified on the wing, and shorebird experts can identify almost all species in flight. As a rule of thumb, however, less experienced shorebirders need not concern themselves with flying birds. Shorebirds spend the majority of their time with their feet on the ground. For most of us one shorebird on the ground is worth ten in the air.

4. Study the silhouettes. Postpone the plumages.

Most shorebirds are better identified by their shapes than by their colors. Their light browns, creamy buffs, and subtle grays tend to wash out in the harsh light of the open areas they prefer. Even more important, the seasonal changes of shorebird feathering are complex and variable. All species have at least three visibly distinct plumages.

5. Divide and conquer.

Identifying shorebirds is a sorting operation. Here more than with any other group of birds, the process of elimination is the key technique.


Six Questions for Sorting Shorebirds

1. Is it one of the instantly identifiable shorebirds?

There are a few shorebirds that are instantly recognizable because of distinct plumage pattern or some other physical characteristics like the bill on an avocet or skimmer. Instantly Identifiable: American Oystercatcher, American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt.


2. Is it a plover?

The key components of plover silhouettes are: rounded, relatively thick-ish bills that are shorter than the length of its head; short necks; body lengths not much longer than body heights; and legs that appear roughly equal to the body heights. The plover silhouette is made of circles and soft curves. Plovers: Killdeer, Wilson’s, semipalmated, piping, black-bellied, American Golden.


3. Is it one of the odd sandpipers?

Five sandpipers are identified by their weird, eye-catching bills. The three curlews have long, curling bills and two godwits - God, what bills they have - up-swung, huge, and two-toned. The other three odd sandpipers are made easy by their exclusive habitat preferences. The woodcock is the only shorebird to be found under a closed canopy in deep woods. Two phalaropes, the red and the rednecked, are the only shorebirds regularly found far offshore. is point onward, the questions become tougher, and the distinctions blur. Odd sandpipers: Long-billed Curlew, Whimbrel, Marbled Godwit, woodcock.


4. Is it a peep?

And most of the time most of us hope the answer is no. The term 'peep' is correctly applied to only six species, the sanderling and the five Calid-ris sandpipers that are smaller than the sanderling. They are clustered together in a all the field guides, but the fine distinctions required within the group make identifying the peeps one of the toughest problems in all birding. Peeps: sanderling, white-rumped, Baird’s, semipalmated, western, least.


5. Is it a longlegs?

Eleven sandpipers fit this description. They have legs that are noticeably longer than their body heights; body lengths noticeably longer than their body heights; and relatively straight bills that are at least as long as their head lengths and in most cases obviously longer. Most members of this group have long necks and a lanky look. The lesser yellowlegs is typical. Longlegs: Willet, Upland Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Wilson’s Snipe, Long-billed Dowitcher, Short-billed Dowitcher, Solitary Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper.


6. Is it a plump?

Ten midsized sandpipers have short necks and a chunky look. In specific contrast to the longlegs the plumps have legs that seem not noticeably long and in many cases much shorter than body heights; body heights nearly equal to body lengths (excluding the wings); and bills of various shapes but most obviously curved or noticeably shorter than head length. The ruddy turnstone and purple sandpiper are typical plumps. Since apparent leg length and body width can change with posture, "Longlegs or plump?" is sometimes a close judgment call, and a couple of species barely fit into one group or the other. Plumps: Red Knot, Ruddy Turnstone, Purple Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Dunlin, Pectoral Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper.


Hopefully, the water level on the East Pond of Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge will continue to drop and the mudflats will open up in time for the annual shorebird return.
...Read more

Friday's Foto

The Semipalmated Plover is a common small North American plover found on beaches, lakeshores, and tidal flats. This plover has a single dark breast band, the similar Killdeer has two. Unlike most northern breeding shorebirds, it nests on gravel bars along rivers or ponds rather than tundra habitat. The term "semipalmated" refers to its partly webbed feet. Due to their extremely large range, versatile food choice and increasing population the IUCN categorizes this species conservation status as "Least Concern".

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New Content

I've just added a new page of local birding organizations here. You can also access it from the contents in the right hand column.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Treehugger Tuesday

Better Go See The Arctic Before it's too Late

From the New York Times:

Way Cleared for Shell to Start Drilling in Arctic Ocean
By Coral Davenport JULY 22, 2015


An oil-drilling rig in Port Angeles, Wash., that Shell hopes to use for exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast. Credit Daniella Beccaria/seattlepi.com, via Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration cleared the way on Wednesday for Shell to start drilling in the Arctic Ocean this summer, but the safety restrictions it is imposing could slow the pace at which rigs strike oil.

The authorization was widely expected, after the Interior Department gave conditional approval in May for the company’s long-delayed application to drill in the untouched waters of the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s northwest coast.

The permit would allow Shell to start drilling at the top of the seabed but would not allow the drill to penetrate into the oil reserves until the company has quick access to equipment called a capping stack, which is used to shut down wells in case of emergency spills.

Shell’s nearest capping stack is on a vessel that is en route to Portland, Ore., for repairs. If the vessel can eventually be deployed in the Chukchi Sea, Interior Department officials said, the company may submit an application to drill into the oil reserves.

“Without question, activities conducted offshore Alaska must be held to the highest safety, environmental protection, and emergency response standards,” said Brian Salerno, the director of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. “Without the required well-control system in place, Shell will not be allowed to drill into oil-bearing zones. As Shell conducts exploratory activities, we will be monitoring their work around the clock to ensure the utmost safety and environmental stewardship.”

Shell has sought for years to drill in the icy waters of the Chukchi Sea, a region that federal scientists believe could hold up to 15 billion barrels of oil.

But the approval of the permit enraged environmentalists, who fear that a drilling accident in the treacherous Arctic Ocean could be far more devastating than the Gulf of Mexico BP spill of 2010. That accident killed 11 men and sent millions of barrels of oil into the gulf.

The Obama administration initially granted Shell a permit to begin offshore Arctic drilling in the summer of 2012. But the company’s first efforts were plagued by safety and operational problems. One of its oil rigs, the Kulluk, ran aground and had to be towed to safety.

In 2013, the Interior Department said the company could not resume drilling until all safety issues were addressed.

“Neither Shell nor the oil industry as a whole has learned the lessons of 2010 or 2012,” said Andrew Sharpless, the chief executive of Oceana, an environmental group. “As its ongoing missteps show, Shell is not prepared to operate safely in the Arctic Ocean, where bad weather, darkness and floating ice increase the risks of an accident, and there is no proven way to clean up spilled oil. The government’s approvals for Shell’s drilling fly in the face of common sense.”

Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, who is the chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, called the approval of the permit “good news for Alaska and our country.”

“However, it is not the final regulatory hurdle Shell faces,” she added, “and it is important that the agencies continue to work in good faith and in a timely fashion to complete the remaining regulatory requirements.”

A version of this article appears in print on July 23, 2015, on page A14 of the New York edition with the headline: Way Cleared for Drilling by Shell in Arctic Sea.

© 2015 The New York Times Company
...Read more

Monday, July 27, 2015

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, August 1, 2015 to Sunday, August 2, 2015:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, August 1, 2015, 12–1 pm
Introduction to Bird Watching
Look! Up in the sky, it’s a bird! But what kind of bird is it? Join the Prospect Park Alliance to learn about the magnificent array of birds that call Prospect Park home. Led by the Brooklyn Bird Club

**********

Fresh Kills Park Alliance
Sunday, August 02, 2015, 11:00am
Discovery Day
Come to Freshkills Park for an opportunity to discover the trails and hills of the landfill-to-park project! We’re opening up the future North Park and miles of additional interior trails along East Park for walking, bicycling, jogging and exploring. Spectacular landscapes and panoramic views await you!

Kayak Staten Island will lead a free kayaking program from 11am – 3pm in the Fresh Kill and Main Creek waterways, bicycles will be available for riding around the trails, and a bus to the scenic overlook will run throughout the day. Guided tours on wildlife, landfill infrastructure and park planning will also be offered; artist Tattfoo Tan will lead a group bike ride as part of his project NERTM; and kitemaking and kiteflying returns to the overlook! Visitors are encouraged to bring their sketchbooks and cameras to document the park in progress, bring their walking shoes and water to hike the site, and to pack a picnic or get lunch from event food trucks.

Shuttles into the site will run continuously from parking at Wild Avenue to the creek of North Park, and on a scheduled basis from St. George Ferry Terminal (see below for the shuttle schedule). Visitors including bicycle riders and dog owners can walk or bike into the site at 350 Wild Avenue and do not need to take a shuttle.

All ages. Free. The site will be open from 11am-4pm with the last entrance at 3:30pm.

SHUTTLE BUS SCHEDULE
From St. George Ferry Terminal to Freshkills Park, departing at:
- 11am
- 12pm
- 1pm
- 2pm

From Freshkills Park to St. George Ferry Terminal, departing at:
- 1pm
- 2pm
- 3:30pm
- 4pm (last bus)

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, July 11, 2015
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

Trips return on September 5, 2015

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, August 1, 2015, 8:00am – 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.

Sunday, August 2, 2015, 9am – 12pm
Shorebird Identification Workshop
Thursday, July 30, 6:30-8:30pm (class)
Sunday, August 2, 9am-12pm (trip)
Guide: Joe Giunta, Happy Warblers LLC
Shorebirds are one of the most challenging groups of birds to identify, yet beautiful and fascinating once they can be distinguished. Learn to identify plovers and sandpipers (including "peeps") by learning behavior, field marks, and calls - then take a field trip to Jamaica Bay to practice your new skills. Limited to 12. $65 (45)
Click here to register

Sunday, August 2, 2015, 6pm – 9pm
Sunset EcoCruise to the Harbor Heron Islands: Jamaica Bay
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.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, August 1, 2015
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Park at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds.
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? Join the Prospect Park Alliance to learn about the magnificent array of birds that call Prospect Park home.
Free!

Sunday, August 2, 2015
Discovery Day at Freshkills Park Event Entrance, Staten Island
11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Come to Freshkills Park for an opportunity to discover the trails and hills of the landfill-to-park project!
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, July 25, 2015

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, July 24, 2015:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jul. 25, 2015
* NYNY1507.25

- Birds mentioned

BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

WILLET (subspecies "Western Willet")
WHIMBREL
RED PHALAROPE
ROYAL TERN
WORM-EATING WARBLER
LARK SPARROW
Savannah Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow
Eastern Meadowlark

- 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 Saturday, July 25th 2015 at 3:30pm. The highlights of today's tape are BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK, WHIMBREL, WESTERN WILLET, RED PHALAROPE, ROYAL TERN, LARK SPARROW and WORM-EATING WARBLER.

Two BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCKS were found and photographed on Tuesday at a pond at the Nickerson Beach County Park Lido Beach west of Point Lookout. The birds unfortunately were not seen again after Tuesday.

Sixteen species of shorebirds were surveyed last Sunday at the Cupsogue flats highlighted by WHIMBREL and WESTERN WILLET. 22 WHIMBREL were found on the eastern end of the south shore of Long Island on Tuesday, 13 birds at the Cupsogue flats, another 6 flying through the area and 3 at the Moriches Inlet flats. Another 4 WHIMBREL were found also on Tuesday at Breezy Point. Two to four ROYAL TERNS were seen at Cupsogue from Sunday to Tuesday.

The RED PHALAROPE was still present at the Roosevelt Nature Center Jones Beach West End yesterday. This also has been seen at the flats at the Coast Guard Station which lies north of the nature center.

A LARK SPARROW was found Tuesday and continued through Thursday at the eastern exit of parking field 2 at Robert Moses State Park Fire Island. The bird was also seen at the adjacent athletic fields east of the exit.

Good numbers of GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS, SAVANNAH SPARROWS and EASTERN MEADOWLARKS were found at the runway areas of the Grumman property in Calverton through the week.

A WORM-EATING WARBLER was seen last Saturday at Strawberry Field Central Park along with about 10 species of other warblers.

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, July 24, 2015

Friday's Foto

The Whimbrel is the most widespread, large curlew sandpiper of the family of shorebirds known as Scolopacidae. They breed in Arctic regions across both North America and Eurasia and winter along the coasts of six continents. Due to this species extremely large range and relative abundance (although numbers have declined) the IUCN lists the Whimbrel's conservation status as "Least Concern". In Brooklyn look for migrating Whimbrels from late-July to early-September at Calvert Vaux Park, Gerritsen Creek and Plum(b) Beach. Read about the Center for Conservation Biology's Whimbrel tracking project here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Treehugger Tuesday

While many municipalities in the United States appear to be ignoring the known negative impacts of feral cats on the environment (or proposing legislation that would exacerbate the problems), the Australian government has begun to address this menace.

From "The Guardian":

Australian government declares war on feral cats in bid to save native animals

Greg Hunt’s plan to cull two million feral cats and create native animal safe havens receives cautious welcome from environmental groups


Numbats are among the Australian mammal species considered under threat. Photograph: AAP

Oliver Milman
Thursday 16 July 2015 03.12 EDT

The Australian government has pledged to kill two million feral cats and create new safe havens for native animals in an attempt to improve the fortunes of 20 mammal, 20 bird and 30 plant species that are at risk of extinction.

Federal environment minister, Greg Hunt, unveiled a five-year threatened species strategy at Melbourne zoo on Thursday, promising to “halt and reverse the threats to our magnificent endemic species”.

The first 10 mammal species identified for priority action are the numbat, mala, mountain pygmy-possum, greater bilby, golden bandicoot, brush-tailed rabbit-rat, eastern bettong, western quoll, Kangaroo Island dunnart and eastern barred bandicoot.
Kookaburra and magpie among Australian birds in decline, says report
Read more

A further two – the leadbeater’s possum, Victoria’s faunal emblem that was recently listed as critically endangered, and the central rock rat – will get “emergency interventions”, Hunt said.

The environment minister, who announced the bird species that will receive help on Wednesday, said that two million feral cats, a major cause of native mammal and bird declines, will be wiped out “humanely” by 2020.

A total of 10 new feral cat-free enclosures will be established, with $750,000 spent, creating one of the largest fenced habitat areas in the Northern Territory. Meanwhile, cats will be targeted in a further 10m hectares of open landscape.

Hunt said that all of the states and territories have agreed to list the feral cat as a harmful pest, with the animal targeted through baiting, shooting and poisoning.

Just $6.6m has been dedicated to the strategy, with the majority of the money focused on cat eradication. Private donations may be required to fund 20 proposed plans, which include the expansion of the breeding population of the numbat in Western Australia and the extermination of feral cats on Kangaroo Island in South Australia.

Despite habitat loss being the primary threat to most of Australia’s endangered animals, the new strategy commits to “revegetate” existing habitats, rather than ensure they are completely off limits to developments such as mining and housing.

Australia has one of the worst extinction records in the world, losing 29 mammal species since European arrival on the continent. Feral cats, altered fire regimes, the expansion of the agriculture industry and other pests and weeds have been cited as reasons why nearly 1,800 species are nationally listed as being under threat.

“We are drawing a line in the sand today which says ‘on our watch, in our time, no more species extinction’,” Hunt said. “It’s tough, it’s a challenge, we can do much and we can do better.

“We can do a lot but we can do most if it’s a combination of the commonwealth states and community together.”

Asked about the funding, Hunt said: “What I’d like to see is additional funding from others. The whole idea here is putting out a prospectus. There are other projects we want to encourage. We want to encourage with this prospectus private, philanthropic, NGO and state and territory additional support.”

The strategy was announced at a threatened species summit that featured speeches from John Berry, the US ambassador to Australia, who praised Australia’s “leadership position” on conservation.

Maggie Barry, New Zealand’s minister for conservation, also spoke, calling the efforts to combat feral animals, such as possums and stoats in New Zealand, a “war”.

Environment groups broadly welcomed the federal government’s new strategy, although some questioned the level of funding committed to the plan and also the lack of any stricter controls on habitat loss.

“This strategy’s four actions areas – tackling feral cats, providing safe havens for species at risk, improving habitat and intervening to avert extinctions – are commendable,” said Kelly O’Shanassy, chief executive of the Australian Conservation Foundation.

“The strategy does fall significantly short in a number of areas. Threatened species recovery work is run on the smell of an oily rag. New money announced today is welcome, but funding remains inadequate. We urge the government to commit more.

“The strategy also fails to meaningfully address the biggest threat to threatened species and ecological communities – the loss and fragmentation of habitat – either through investment in new protected areas or by safeguarding existing critical places.”

The Places You Love alliance, a group of more than 40 environment and community groups, also gave the plan a cautious welcome but urged Hunt to ditch a plan to create “one-stop shops” that would devolve environmental approvals to the states.

“Our legal analysis clearly demonstrates that currently no state or territory major project assessment process that may affect listed threatened species meets the standards necessary for accreditation by the federal government,” said Glen Klatovsky, director of the Places You Love alliance.

“We believe that the ‘one-stop shop’ process will chronically reduce environmental standards and cause irreparable harm to our most critically endangered species and habitats.”
...Read more

Monday, July 20, 2015

New NYC Field Guide

Author Leslie Day has written a new field guide for New York City called "Field Guide to the Neighborhood Birds of New York City". This well written and beautifully illustrated guide is not intended to be an exhaustive resource of all the species recorded in the city's five boroughs, more like an introduction to the more common residents, migrants and breeding birds. It covers 90 of the birds species most likely to be encountered around the Big Apple. Geared more towards beginner and intermediate birders, it's a lovely publication that would be a nice addition to anyone's nature library regardless of skill level.

Full disclosure: I did the species accounts fact checking for the author:

In Celebration of Moths

National Moth Week is July 18-26, 2015.

National Moth Week celebrates the beauty, life cycles, and habitats of moths. “Moth-ers” of all ages and abilities are encouraged to learn about, observe, and document moths in their backyards, parks, and neighborhoods. National Moth Week is being held, worldwide, during the last full week of July. National Moth Week offers everyone, everywhere a unique opportunity to become a Citizen Scientist and contribute scientific data about moths. Through partnerships with major online biological data depositories, National Moth Week participants can help map moth distribution and provide needed information on other life history aspects around the globe. This year, National Moth Week will spotlight the Sphingidae family of moths found throughout the world commonly called hawk moths, sphinx moths and hornworms.

Click here for Press Release

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, July 25, 2015 to Sunday, July 26, 2015:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, July 25, 2015, 12–1 pm
Introduction to Bird Watching
Look! Up in the sky, it’s a bird! But what kind of bird is it? Join the Prospect Park Alliance to learn about the magnificent array of birds that call Prospect Park home. Led by the Brooklyn Bird Club

**********

Gateway National Recreation Area
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Birds of Summer
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fee Information: Free
Slide show and hike with NYC Audubon naturalist Don Riepe

**********

Littoral Society
Saturday, July 25, 2015, 10:00am - 01:00pm
Breeding and Migratory Birds of Summer
Meet at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge for a slide presentation and hike around the ponds and gardens with American Littoral Society naturalist, Don Riepe. About 70 species of songbirds, shorebirds, wading birds and waterfowl breed in Jamaica Bay. Learn about their history and migration.
Registration required.
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Contact: NE Chapter, (718) 474-0896

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, July 11, 2015
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

Trips return on September 5, 2015

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, July 25, 2015, 8:00am – 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.

Saturday, July 25, 2015, 8:20am – 3:00pm
Croton Point Park
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Travel in comfort aboard Metro North to visit Croton Point Park, a beautiful 500-acre park on a peninsula on the Hudson River, about one hour north of the city. The park is rich in natural and human history - it has the oldest native american oyster shell middens in the northeast, revealing that it was inhabited as long as 7,000 years ago; today, the park has a wonderful mix of forest, wetlands, and grassland. The grasslands are atop a hill formed by a former landfill, and are home to hard-to-find breeding bird species such as indigo bunting, grasshopper sparrow, bobolink, and eastern meadowlark. The woodlands nearby are home to breeding great horned owl, willow flycatcher, and orchard oriole, as well as the more expected common breeders. Bring lunch for a picnic in one of the river-side pavilions. Round-trip Metro North fare ($19.50) not included in trip price. $53 (37)
Click here to register

Sunday, July 26, 2015, 7pm – 9pm
Sunset EcoCruise to the Harbor Heron Islands: Hoffman and Swinburne 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)
July 25, 2015, 9:15 am – 4:00 pm
The Summer 2015 – 10 mile Walk
Ten moderate miles at a comfortable pace. Enjoy wonderful vistas, beautiful woodlands and the sounds of summer throughout our Greenbelt. Meet at our new meeting place where the parking is easier: the beginning of the white line trail, in the Eaton Place parking lot in Willowbrook Park. Bring lunch, beverage and sturdy walking shoes as well as camera, binoculars and field guides. We go in any weather but our walk is shortened if high pollution levels occur.
For more information call Dominick Durso at 917-478-7607 or Don Recklies at 718-768-9036.
Free

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Staten Island Museum
Saturday, July 25, 2015, 8:30pm - 10:30pm
Moth Night: Return to the Woods!
Location: Greenbelt Nature Center, 700 Rockland Avenue
$10 for Adults/ FREE for kids under 12
Stay up late and celebrate National Moth Week! Join the Staten Island Museum at the Greenbelt Nature Center for a fluttery affair and hike through the dark beauty of the Greenbelt. Observe moths at the glowing moth attractor and through our microscope. Dance performance by Deep Tanks Butoh! All ages welcome. Bring your flashlight, camera, "moth" container and science notebook.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Park at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds.
Free!

Wildlife Viewing: Raptor Watch at Wilde and Melvin Avenues (in Schmul Park), Staten Island
11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. Birding programs are appropriate for all skill levels and beginners are welcome.
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? Join the Prospect Park Alliance to learn about the magnificent array of birds that call Prospect Park home.
Free!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Orchard Beach Lagoon Birding Excursion (Intermediate) at Pelham Bay Park, Bronx
10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Explore the Orchard Beach Lagoon, including Bartow Creek as we look for birds that live in this estuarine habitat of the Long Island Sound.
Free!
...Read more

Friday, July 17, 2015

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, July 17, 2015:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jul. 17, 2015
* NYNY1507.17

- Birds mentioned

GREAT WHITE HERON+ (white morph of Great Blue Heron)
WHITE-FACED IBIS+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Spotted Sandpiper
WILLET (subspecies "Western Willet")
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin
Short-billed Dowitcher
RED PHALAROPE
GULL-BILLED TERN
ROYAL TERN
SAVANNAH SPARROW
GRASSHOPPER SPARROW
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, July 17th 2015 at 9:15pm. The highlights of today's tape are GREAT WHITE HERON, WHITE-FACED IBIS, WESTERN WILLET, RED PHALAROPE, ROYAL TERN, GULL-BILLED TERN, grassland sparrows with BLUE GROSBEAK.

At dusk on Thursday a GREAT WHITE HERON was found at the spillgate area west of the tower at the JKF Sanctuary Tobay Beach Jones Beach.

The WHITE-FACED IBIS was last reported last Saturday on Captree Island east of the highway going south in the marshes north of the community.

Five WESTERN WILLETS highlighted by about 500-600 shorebirds were present last weekend at the Cupsogue flats north of Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes. A few hendersoni SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS were present along with about 100 griseus SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS. Hundreds of LEAST SANDPIPERS and a hundred SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS and a few DUNLIN. Also seen here was a ROYAL TERN.

The previously reported RED PHALAROPE was present through today at the Roosevelt Nature Center Jones Beach West End. The bird frequents rain pools and flats south of the nature center. A GULL-BILLED TERN was in this area last Saturday.

We have a report that the Richmond Avenue mound of the Fresh Kill landfill Staten Island now supports grasslands where yesterday 60 GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS, 4 BLUE GROSBEAKS, hundreds of SAVANNAH SPARROWS and 6 broods of SPOTTED SANDPIPERS were surveyed. We do not believe that this area is open to the public. The RBA will investigate the possibility of public access and will advise.

We have also been advised that shorebird flats west of the Smith Point County Park Fire Island and Old Inlet are similar to those at Cupsogue and these areas should be investigated and may produce productive shorebird birding.

Tom Burke will be away this week please call in reports to Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126.

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

Yellow-crowned Night-Herons are chunky, medium-sized wading birds found along coastlines. This mostly nocturnal species often feeds during the day. A preferred food around the Brooklyn coast is Fiddler Crabs. The easiest place to spot one is in Marine Park along Gerritsen Creek. This spring a pair successfully nested on Governor's Island. According to the "Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names", this specie's scientific name, Nyctanassa violacea, means "night queen" (or "night duck"), "violet colored". The latter referring to the iridescent highlights seen on their flight feathers in good light. The IUCN Redlist currently lists this species as "Least Concern" due to their extremely large range and fairly high population.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Birding All-Star Break

For me birding during the month of July is somewhat like the All-Star break in major league baseball. Like the All-Star game, the birding is for the most part inconsequential. It also gives one time to reflect on the first half of the season, whether baseball or birding, consider one's strategy during the second half and take time to smell the roses (and all the other blooms).

I thought it might be interesting to create a chart of the number of species I'd tallied in Brooklyn up to July broken down by month. It should come as no surprise that the abundance gradually increased from January to its peak in approximately mid-May. From that point most of the birds that nest locally have settled into family rearing and the remaining species have continued north to other breeding grounds. That's not to say that Brooklyn is a relative birding wasteland during the Dog Days, there's just not as many species, and certainly not the overall bird count that one experiences during a spring fallout day.

Unlike the sudden burst of activity in the spring, during the second half of the season expect a much more drawn out, gradual increase. Like major league baseball, the birding break is generally short-lived and some arctic breeding birds have already begun their southbound journey.

This week I did some very casual birding and both Gerritsen Creek and Prospect Park. I managed to tally 63 species of birds. It might have been a bit higher had I not gotten caught in a torrential downpour at Marine Park and barely dodged even more rain at Prospect Park.

**********

Location: Salt Marsh Nature Center at Marine Park, Brooklyn
Date: Jul 14, 2015
Species: 40

Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Osprey
American Oystercatcher
Least Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Laughing Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Least Tern
Common Tern
Forster's Tern
Black Skimmer
Chimney Swift
Willow Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Warbling Vireo
Fish Crow
Barn Swallow
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwing
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow Warbler
Boat-tailed Grackle

Other common species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, Mallard, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, American Robin, European Starling, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Sparrow

*********

Location: Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Date: July 15, 2015
Species: 44

Wood Duck
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Egret
Green Heron
Red-tailed Hawk
Laughing Gull
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Northern Flicker
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Warbling Vireo
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Wood Thrush
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwing
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch

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

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Treehugger Tuesday

Bee Colony Collapse Disorder Explained

The following is another excellent video produced by Kurzgesagt (German for „in a nutshell“):

Monday, July 13, 2015

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, July 18, 2015 to Sunday, July 19, 2015:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, July 18, 2015, 12–1 pm
Introduction to Bird Watching
Look! Up in the sky, it’s a bird! But what kind of bird is it? Join the Prospect Park Alliance to learn about the magnificent array of birds that call Prospect Park home. Led by the Brooklyn Bird Club

**********

Fresh Kills Park Alliance
Saturday, July 18, 2015 10:00am
Freshkills Park Site Tour
Site tours are approximately an hour and a half long and tell the story of the past, present and future of Freshkills Park development via a guided bus ride through the site. Stops at the top of the park’s hills offer beautiful panoramic views of Staten Island. Space is limited, all ages welcome. Free. Meet at the St. George Ferry Terminal Information Booth (across from Au Bon Pain).
Sign Up at EventBrite

**********

Gateway National Recreation Area
Saturday, July 18, 2015
North Shore Paddle
Location: Canarsie Pier
Time: 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Fee Information: Free
Beginners paddle along the north shore of Jamaica Bay. Reservations required. Call 718-338-3799.

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, July 11, 2015
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

Trips return on September 5, 2015

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, July 18, 2015, 8:00am – 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.

Sunday, July 19, 2015, 12pm – 4pm
It's Your Tern Festival 2015
Click here for details on the 2015 Tern Festival on Governors Island!

Sunday, July 19, 2015, 7pm – 9pm
Sunset EcoCruise to the Harbor Heron Islands: Hoffman and Swinburne 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, July 18, 2015, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Long Pond Park on a Summer Evening
Long Pond Park offers many opportunities to observe wildlife activities on a summer evening. During a one-and-a-half mile hike through the woodlands of Long Pond Park we will look and listen for wildlife from owls to frogs and insects. Meet by PS 6, on Page Avenue and Academy Avenue about 3 blocks northwest of Hylan Boulevard.
For more information call Clay Wollney at 718-869-6327.

Sunday, July 19, 2015, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Discover Dragonflies with Paul T. Lederer
Dragonflies have been a part of the fauna of this planet long before dinosaurs roamed the earth. Learn about the identification, behavior and ecology of these fascinating insects. Bring binoculars if you have them. Participants will gather at the Blue Heron Park Nature Center located at 222 Poillon Avenue.
For more information call Cliff Hagen at 718-313-8591.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, July 18, 2015
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Park at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics.
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? Join the Prospect Park Alliance to learn about the magnificent array of birds that call Prospect Park home.
Free!

White Island Birding Excursion by Canoe (Advanced) at Burnett Street and Avenue U (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Explore the water of Gerritsen Creek and paddle by this special island where only wildflowers and wild birds reside.
Free!

Sunday, July 19, 2015
Birding: Ridgewood Reservoir at Ridgewood Reservoir, Queens
10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in New York City.
Free!
...Read more

Friday, July 10, 2015

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, July 10, 2015:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* July 10, 2015
* NYNY1507.10

- Birds Mentioned
WHITE-FACED IBIS+
ARCTIC TERN+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Common Eider
Black Scoter
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Cormorant
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel
Glossy Ibis
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
WHIMBREL
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
RED PHALAROPE
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Black Tern
Forster’s Tern
Royal Tern
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
SUMMER TANAGER
BLUE GROSBEAK

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, July 10 at 6:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are RED PHALAROPE, ARCTIC TERN, WHITE-FACED IBIS, WHIMBREL, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, BLUE GROSBEAK, and SUMMER TANAGER.

A breeding-plumaged female RED PHALAROPE this morning dropped into the pools between Jones Beach West End Lot 2 and the Roosevelt Nature Center and was still there in mid-afternoon.

Certainly unexpected by location was a subadult ARCTIC TERN found Saturday morning near South Jamesport Park on the North Fork, the bird photographed as it associated with two immature FORSTER’S TERNS on Peconic Bay; the three birds took off shortly, and though the FORSTER’S returned, the ARCTIC did not.

The Captree Island WHITE-FACED IBIS was reported as recently as yesterday, though not noted on a regular basis lately. Look for it among the GLOSSY IBIS in the marsh north of the private community road west of the Robert Moses Causeway, and please park appropriately off the road.

Now as the shorebird migration is starting up, with the first wave of adults heading south, a few WHIMBREL have already appeared in our region. Singles last Sunday were spotted at Marine Park in Brooklyn and Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes, with another at Breezy Point Wednesday and one at Piermont Pier in Rockland County today. Among the expected species on the move have been decent numbers of SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS plus lower totals of LESSER and GREATER YELLOWLEGS and LEAST SANDPIPERS. A WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER was also at Cupsogue Sunday, along with a BLACK TERN.

Unfortunately the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, one of the east coast’s most celebrated feeding and resting stopover points for shorebirds, is nowhere near ready to accommodate the first wave passing through now. If you’d like to voice your concerns and request better, more attentive management of the East Pond’s water level, please call Dave Taft at 718-338-3625 or email him at dave_taftnpsgov. Thanks if you do.

At Breezy Point along with the WHIMBREL Wednesday were an immature LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL and four WILSON’S STORM-PETRELS offshore. Seabird numbers seem to have been slight for the week, but a research boat out of Connecticut last Monday did note 15 WILSON’S STORM-PETRELS in very eastern Long Island Sound in the vicinity of Little Gull Island. They rarely make it far into Long Island Sound, but it is something to watch for.

A COMMON EIDER was with 21 BLACK SCOTERS off Rockaway Beach Thursday.

A ROYAL TERN was noted Sunday at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn, where two young GREAT CORMORANTS were seen moving by with three DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS on Monday. A small number of non-breeding GREATS often summer on Long Island, so these and the one Tuesday at Bush Terminal Piers Park in Brooklyn are not that unexpected.

Single male BLUE GROSBEAKS were noted Sunday at Connetquot River State Park and Wednesday at the former Grumman Airport grasslands in Calverton, while at least two YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS were still being seen and heard just inside the entrance booth at Connetquot this week.

And reports of “new” locations this week for a SUMMER TANAGER in Manorville and a BLUE GROSBEAK in Rocky Point indicate there are probably even more out there to be discovered.

For the next two weeks, the RBA will be handled by Tony Lauro-- please call Tony with reports at 631-734-4126.

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

Shorebirds are the first family of birds to begin their Fall southbound migration. Around this time, an important group to focus one's studies are five small sandpipers collectively known as "peeps". They are Least Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper and Baird's Sandpiper. Pictured here is probably the most common around NYC during migration - Semipalmated Sandpiper. Cameron Cox of the website "Surfbirds" has a very good identification guide here. The IUCN has recently uplisted the conservation status of the Semipalmated Sandpiper to "Near Threatened" due to population declines. The scientific name, Calidris pusilla, means "gray speckled sandpiper, very small". Would that make the Least Sandpiper's scientific name mean "really, really small".

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Treehugger Tuesday

From The Guardian:

Migratory Connectivity Project: Songbirds Return to North America
Saturday 4 July 2015 11.35 EDT
GrrlScientist

The Migratory Connectivity Project seeks to connect people and cultures throughout the Americas by fostering the public’s love of and appreciation for migratory birds


Long-billed curlew, Numenius americanus, takes a rest stop at Padre Island National Seashore. Photograph: Padre Island National Seashore (Public domain).

Did you know the coast of Texas is a critically important place for migratory birds in the U.S. and Canada? This is where most migratory birds that breed in the eastern United States and throughout Canada first make landfall after a long migration across the Gulf of Mexico. This is where they seek food, water and rest before continuing northward on their migratory journeys.

But unfortunately, populations of North American migratory birds are declining, and in many cases, scientists aren’t exactly sure why. The Migratory Connectivity Project, a collaboration between the US Geological Survey bird banding lab and Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, is devoted to better understanding the migratory patterns of North American birds so they can learn how to protect them. They do this by analysing USGS bird band recovery data and using this data to construct migratory connectivity maps for all birds breeding in North America. Here’s a preliminary map for the tree swallow, Tachycineta bicolor:


A preliminary migratory connectivity map for the tree swallow, Tachycineta bicolor. Data used to construct this map provided by USGS. Composite: Migratory Connectivity Project

Further, the Migratory Connectivity Project also is utilising new technologies to track migratory birds, linking populations of birds so they can learn how to protect them from threats throughout their entire life cycle, and they work to connect people and cultures throughout the Americas by fostering the public’s appreciation for migratory birds.

In this inspirational video, we follow Pete Marra, head of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center as he and his team travel to North Padre Island, a small barrier island that is part of the much larger Padre Island National Seashore. This national park is the second largest island in the United States, and it protects 70 miles of critical coastal habitats needed by endangered species such as Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, Lepidochelys kempii, and by 380 species of birds. Padre Island also isolates a narrow stretch of water from the Gulf of Mexico; forming one of the few hypersaline lagoons in the world:



Every year, Dr Marra and his team travel to North Padre Island to study songbirds that are returning to North America from their tropical wintering ranges in the Caribbean, and in Central and South America. They also share this experience with local schoolchildren because this is critical to the birds’ long-term survival. They teach their students about the value of connectivity.

“What we want to communicate to people is that ‘your back yard is tied to a back yard in Guatemala’”, said Dr Marra.

“We’re all linked.”
...Read more

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