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

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Spring Comes to Green-Wood Cemetery

We are still experiences mostly north winds and chilly days, nonetheless, flowers have started to bloom and northbound migrants are arriving. Here are some photo highlights from my recent walks in Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery from my friends Jim Demers, Sean Sime and Mike Yuan. The most exciting finds were Blue Grosbeak and Summer Tanager at the Sylvan Water:












Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Treehugger Tuesday

From "Mother Nature Network":

This accidental discovery could help solve our plastic pollution crisis
Mary Jo DiLonardo
April 17, 2018, 2:11 p.m.

Scientists have developed an enzyme that can break down plastic bottles — and the creation was a happy accident.

An international team of researchers made the discovery while studying a natural enzyme that was believed to have evolved to eat plastic in a waste recycling center in Japan.

The researchers modified the enzyme to analyze its structure, but instead accidentally engineered an enzyme that was even better at breaking down the plastic used for soft drink bottles, polyethylene terephthalate or PET.

"Serendipity often plays a significant role in fundamental scientific research and our discovery here is no exception," said lead researcher, professor John McGeehan of the University of Portsmouth in the U.K., in a statement.

"Although the improvement is modest, this unanticipated discovery suggests that there is room to further improve these enzymes, moving us closer to a recycling solution for the ever-growing mountain of discarded plastics."

The new enzyme starts breaking down the plastic in just a few days. But the researchers are working to improve the enzyme so it breaks down plastics even more quickly. They say the discovery could offer a solution for millions of tons of plastic bottles made of PET that linger in the environment. Plastic takes more than 400 years to degrade.

Read the entire article here.

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, April 21, 2018 to Sunday, April 22, 2018:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, April 21, 2018, 12pm – 1pm
Introduction to Birdwatching
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a birdwatching walk and learn about Prospect magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 7:15am
Prospect Park Saturday Walk
Leader: Dennis Hrehowsik
Meet at Ocean/Parkside Avenues, “The Pergola” at 7:15am
No registration necessary.

Please review our general trip information and guidelines on this page.

**********

Great South Bay Audubon
Saturday, April 21, 2018 - 8:30am
Connetquot River SPP
Leader(s): Bob Grover (516-318-8536) Ken Thompson (631-612-8028, John Gluth (631-827-01208)
Meet in parking field. Entrance is on the westbound side of Sunrise Highway (Rte. 27) west of Pond Road. If coming from west to east, Take exit 47A and go to the next overpass, Oakdale Bohemia Rd. to cross over bridge, then head westbound and stay in right lane to entrance.
(Nature walks will be cancelled if it is raining or snowing.)

**********

Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Birding in Peace
Our April tours will be a feast for the ears and eyes with the trilling song of Pine Warblers and drumming pronouncements of Woodpeckers on newly blossoming trees (including magnolias, maples, quinces, and dogwoods). We’ll discover thousands of songbirds resting before their trip north as well as arriving herons and egrets at Green-Wood’s glacial ponds.

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

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

Click here for our inclement weather policy.

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, April 21, 2018 - Rain Date April 22
Pine Barrens for Early Spring Butterflies and More
Leader: Rick Cech
Registrar: Sandra Maury — sandramaury39@gmail.com or 212-874-4881
Registration opens: Monday, April 9
Ride: $45

**********

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

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, April 21, 2018, 8:00am – 10:30am
Beginning Birding Series Trip
Classes: Wednesdays, April 4, 11, and 18, 6:30-8:30pm
Trips: Saturday, April 14, 8am-2:30pm (Jamaica Bay) and Saturday, April 21, 8-10:30am (Central Park)
Instructor: Tod Winston
Learn the keys to identifying the spectacular variety of birds that migrate through New York City every spring. Even if you've never picked up a pair of binoculars, you’ll soon be identifying warblers, thrushes, waterbirds, and more—both by sight and by ear. Three fun and educational in-class sessions and field trips to both Central Park and Jamaica Bay (transport to Jamaica Bay included). Limited to 12. $179 (125)
Click here to register

Saturday, April 21, 2018, 10am – 2pm
Explore, Learn, and Protect: Junior Ranger Day at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Center
With American Littoral Society and Gateway National Recreation Area
Meet at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge to celebrate New York City’s national park. Join Gateway National Recreation Area staff in special activities to help children and families connect with parks and engage in exploring, learning, and practicing stewardship. No limit. Free

Sunday, April 22, 2018, 8am – 11am
Prospect Park Bird Walk
Guide: Heather Wolf
Join Heather Wolf for a leisurely walk to see spring migrants and breeding bird residents of “Brooklyn's Backyard.” Beautiful Prospect Park’s wide variety of habitats attract a large number of migrants and breeding bird species—significantly more than Central Park, in fact. We will explore the Park's meadows, forests, and waterways in search of waterfowl, warblers, tanagers, and more. Limited to 15. $36 (25) per walk
Click here to register

Sunday, April 22, 2018, 8:00am – 10:30am
The Birds of Woodlawn Cemetery
Guides: Tod Winston, Joseph McManus, Susan Olsen with the Woodlawn Conservancy
Join us for a morning bird walk and tour of this beautiful cemetery: Tod Winston and Joseph McManus will look for spring migrants and year-round residents on the expansive grounds, while Woodlawn Cemetery's Director of Historical Services Susan Olsen will share fascinating stories about the cemetery’s history and the interesting mixture of individuals interred there. Limited to 15. $35 (24)
Click here to register

Sunday, April 22, 2018, 10am – 1pm
Birds and Plants: New York Botanical Garden in Springtime
Guides: Gabriel Willow
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) per walk
Click here to register

**********

North Shore Audubon
Saturday, April 21, 2018, 8:00am – 11:30am
Hempstead Lake SP
Leader: Steve S. - ‭(516) 987-8103‬
(map)

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

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 12:00pm – 2:00pm
Earth Day at Buck’s Hollow @ Latourette House Golf Course
Enjoy a spring hike through the heart of the Greenbelt. Participants will discuss the diversity of flora and fauna in this rich woodland along the Red Trail. Fresh blooms and early spring bird song will welcome park visitors. Meet at the LaTourette House Golf Course parking lot. Call Ray Matarazzo at 718-317-7666 for more information.
Read More

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
From the Southern State Parkway, travel west to the Belt Parkway. Exit at Cross Bay Boulevard (Exit 17) south. Continue south on Cross Bay Blvd. through Howard Beach and over the North Channel Bridge (also known as the Congressman Joseph P. Addabbo Bridge). The entrance to the refuge parking lot is on the right side of the road, at a traffic light approximately one and a half miles past the bridge.
Directions via Google Maps

Bird walks led by a member of SSAS are conducted nearly every Sunday morning from late August through early June. Walks are open to the public and are free of charge. We especially encourage youngsters to attend.
All walks start at 9:00am
There is no walk if it rains or snows or temperature is below 25°F.
For more information or in case of questionable weather conditions, please phone Joe at 516 467-9498.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, April 21, 2018
Cabrini Woods Migration Walk at Cabrini Woods (in Fort Tryon Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Urban forests like Fort Tryon’s Cabrini Woods are critical links for migratory birds during their arduous thousand-mile journey along the Atlantic Flyway.
Free!

Animal of the Month Club: Northern Gannet at Wolfe's Pond Park Comfort Station (in Wolfe's Pond Park), Staten Island
1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
Join our park rangers at Wolfe's Pond for a chance to view and learn more about Northern Gannets, a little known resident species of Staten Island.
Free!
...Read more

Monday, April 09, 2018

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, April 14, 2018 to Sunday, April 15, 2018:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, April 14, 12pm – 1pm
Introduction to Birdwatching
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a birdwatching walk and learn about Prospect magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Massapequa Preserve, Massapequa, Long Island
Leader: Peter Dorosh
Focus: Marsh species, pond ducks and waterfowl, early passerines, raptors.
Registrar: Peter Dorosh Prosbird@aol.com or text only cell 347-622-3559
Registration Period: April 7th - April 12th
Site info: http://massapequapreserve.com/ Note: If no cars are available, the trip will travel by LIRR train. There will be extensive walking at the preserve.

Saturday, April 14, 2018 @ 7:15am
Prospect Park Saturday Walk
Leader: Dennis Hrehowsik
Meet at Ocean/Parkside Avenues, “The Pergola” at 7:15am
No registration necessary.

Please review our general trip information and guidelines on this page.

**********

Feminist Bird Club
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Cemetery of the Evergreens w/Earth Arts Initiative

**********

Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Birding in Peace
Our April tours will be a feast for the ears and eyes with the trilling song of Pine Warblers and drumming pronouncements of Woodpeckers on newly blossoming trees (including magnolias, maples, quinces, and dogwoods). We’ll discover thousands of songbirds resting before their trip north as well as arriving herons and egrets at Green-Wood’s glacial ponds.

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

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

Click here for our inclement weather policy.

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Prospect Park in April
Leader: John Suggs
Registrar: Dale Dancis — ddancis@gmail.com or 212-724-3269
Registration opens: Monday, April 2
Public transportation

**********

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

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, April 14, 2018, 8:00am – 2:30pm
Beginning Birding Series Trip
Classes: Wednesdays, April 4, 11, and 18, 6:30-8:30pm
Trips: Saturday, April 14, 8am-2:30pm (Jamaica Bay) and Saturday, April 21, 8-10:30am (Central Park)
Instructor: Tod Winston
Learn the keys to identifying the spectacular variety of birds that migrate through New York City every spring. Even if you've never picked up a pair of binoculars, you’ll soon be identifying warblers, thrushes, waterbirds, and more—both by sight and by ear. Three fun and educational in-class sessions and field trips to both Central Park and Jamaica Bay (transport to Jamaica Bay included). Limited to 12. $179 (125)
Click here to register

**********

North Shore Audubon
Saturday, April 14, 2018, 9:30am – 12:00pm
Jamaica Bay
Leader: Lenore 718-343-1391 mobile 917-837-2922
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 175-10 Cross Bay Blvd, Broad Channel, NY 11693, USA (map)

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

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Sunday, April 15, 2018 @ 10:00am – 12:00pm
Corson’s Brook Woods Wildflower Watch
Join us as we study the progress of wildflowers over the course of the spring in this unique and undisturbed natural area. Park at Jasper Street and For­est Hill Road and meet across the street at the corner of the entrance to the College of Staten Island. Bring field guides. Regis­tration is required. Please contact Hillel at 718-477-0545 or e-mail hillel5757@gmail.com. Please provide a cell phone contact.
Read More

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Massapequa Preserve

From Sunrise Highway, turn north onto Broadway, Massapequa. Travel under the Long Island Rail Road overpass, then make the first right onto Veterans Boulevard (headed east). Go past the Massapequa train station and into the parking lot at the east end of the station. The preserve is directly east of the parking lot.
Directions via Google Maps

Bird walks led by a member of SSAS are conducted nearly every Sunday morning from late August through early June. Walks are open to the public and are free of charge. We especially encourage youngsters to attend.
All walks start at 9:00am
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.

**********

Sullivan County Audubon Society
Saturday, April 14, 2018, 7:00pm
Field Trip to see displaying Woodcocks
Meet leaders Kate and Charles Hyden at the Youngsville School parking lot on Shandelee Road. We will carpool from there.
Call Kate at (845) 439-4325 for more information or if weather is questionable.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Spring Migration at Prospect Park Picnic House (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Our Urban Park Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, April 07, 2018

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, April 6, 2018:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Apr. 06, 2018
* NYNY1804.06

- Birds Mentioned

PAINTED BUNTING+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

EURASIAN WIGEON
GREEN-WINGED TEAL (Eurasian form)
KING EIDER
Common Eider
HARLEQUIN DUCK
Red-Necked Grebe
American Bittern
Tricolored Heron
Cattle Egret
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Glossy Ibis
Turkey Vulture
Piping Plover
Razorbill
Bonaparte’s Gull
BLACK-HEADED GULL
LITTLE GULL
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Snowy Owl
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Brown Thrasher
Louisiana Waterthrush
Orange-crowned Warbler
Palm Warbler
Pine Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Boat-tailed Grackle

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

Compilers: Tom Burke and 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, April 6, 2018 at 9:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are PAINTED BUNTING, LITTLE and BLACK-HEADED GULLS, EURASIAN WIGEON, Eurasian form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL, HARLEQUIN DUCK, KING EIDER and spring arrivals, including YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER.

While still awaiting spring, probably the most exciting sign of seasonal change was the female PAINTED BUNTING that appeared twice at feeders at a private home in Elmsford, Westchester County, first noted there last Saturday and then appearing for a short time on Monday. It has not been seen since, but good distinctive photos were obtained.

Out on Staten Island last Saturday two nice GULLS were spotted with a large flock of BONAPARTE’S GULLS on the pond at Wolf’s Pond Park, first an adult winter-plumaged LITTLE GULL and later an adult BLACK-HEADED GULL. Then this afternoon two adult LITTLE GULLS appeared on the pond, with one fairly well advanced towards breeding plumage.

Other GULLS this week featured an ICELAND at Playland Park in Rye this evening and at least three LESSER BLACK-BACKEDS last Wednesday, with one in the Coney Island area, one at Heckscher State Park and one at Crab Meadow Park, with another last Saturday at Playland Park.

A drake EURASIAN WIGEON was still at the Brooklyn Army Terminal Pier 4 Monday, and a drake EURASIAN form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL has been on the pond at Willowbrook Park on Staten Island at least to Monday.

Three HARLEQUIN DUCKS, including two drakes, were still at the Point Lookout jetties yesterday, and two female KING EIDERS were among an estimated 750 COMMON EIDERS at Shinnecock Inlet last Saturday.

A few RED-NEDCKED GREBES continue in the area, including the one on the Restoration Pond at Alley Pond Park and two each off Floyd Bennett Field and on Gravesend Bay in Brooklyn last Saturday, when one was noted at the Marine Park Saltmarsh Nature Center.

The continuing RAZORBILL flight under proper conditions provided 24 off Tiana Beach west of Shinnecock Inlet last Saturday and 7 off Robert Moses State Park Sunday.

A SNOWY OWL was still at Point Lookout Thursday, and the AMERICAN BITTERN stayed to Saturday in Central Park, where the female BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE remained at least to Wednesday.

An informal hawk watch last Saturday near the Alley Pond Environmental Center produced an impressive 186 TURKEY VULTURES and a variety of hawks.

Among a small number of spring arrivals this week was an early YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER noted yesterday at Connetquot River State Park. This species has bred at Connetquot in past years but last year was poorly represented there, so remember to avoid disturbing or putting any stress especially upon these and other sparsely occurring regional breeders, though of course any disturbances to birds in breeding season should be absolutely avoided.

Other recent arrivals have included TRICOLORED HERON, a CATTLE EGRET last Friday at Shinnecock Inlet, BARN SWALLOW, BROWN THRASHER and BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER.

An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was at the Alley Restoration Pond this week and other arrivals increasing in numbers have included PIPING PLOVER, YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, GLOSSY IBIS, NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW, RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET and, among the WARBLERS, PALM, PINE and LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH.

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

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Friday, April 06, 2018

Friday's Foto

The Common Grackle is a medium-sized, lanky songbird of the "Blackbird and Oriole family". This widespread resident east of the Rockies in southern Canada and the United States has been expanding its range westward in recent decades. It is one of three grackle species found in North America, the other two being Boat-tailed and Great-tailed. Adult males are entirely black with conspicuous iridescence when seen in good light. The widespread form shows bronze gloss to body, blue head, and purple or blue iridescence on wings and tail. The iridescence of the head is different from that of the body. Females are smaller and duller. There are three recognized subspecies. The bronzed grackle is found northwest of the Appalachians and has bronze iridescence on body, a blue head, and purplish tail and wings. The purple grackle is found southeast of the Appalachians and has a purplish body and head, with a blue or greenish glossed tail. The Florida grackle, which ranges from Florida to southern Louisiana and South Carolina, has a greenish iridescence on its back.

This omnivore feeds mainly on insects, but also crayfish, frogs, lizards, minnows, eggs and young of other birds and small rodents. During the winter their diet includes acorns, berries, seeds and waste grain.

The Common Grackle’s conservation status according to the IUCN Red List is “Least Concern”. While abundant and widespread, however, populations declined by almost 2% per year between 1966 and 2014, resulting in a cumulative decline of 58%, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. The 2014 State of the Birds Report lists them as a Common Bird in Steep Decline.

Their scientific name, Quiscalus quiscula, means Purple Grackle.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, April 7, 2018 to Sunday, April 8, 2018:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, April 7, 12pm – 1pm
Introduction to Birdwatching
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a birdwatching walk and learn about Prospect magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!

Sunday, April 8, 2018, 8am – 9am
Early Morning Bird Walk: Changing Seasons, Changing Birds
Join Prospect Park Alliance to welcome the earliest migrants of the year, and to say goodbye to some of our winter residents. This birdwatching tour is led by the Brooklyn Bird Club and leaves promptly at 8am.

**********

Bedford Audubon Society
Saturday, April 7, 2018 @ 7:15pm - 8:30pm
Dance of the Woodcock at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation
Join Naturalist Tait Johansson to see this extraordinary ritual, where the male American Woodcock “peents”, struts, hurls himself into the evening sky, and glides back down to the ground again, all in hopes of attracting a mate.
Meet Naturalist Tait Johansson in the parking area just before the toll booth, and bring a flashlight or headlamp.
Cost: Free. Level of difficulty: Easy-moderate. Please register with Susan Fisher at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914-302-9713.
See more details

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Croton Point Park
Leader: Paul Keim
Focus: Grassland and open space species, early spring passerines, sparrows, raptors
Registrar: Paul Keim phone (landline) 718-875-1151
Registration Period: March 31st h - April 5th
Note: This trip may travel by Metro North train if we don't get enough cars.

Please review our general trip information and guidelines on this page.

**********

Gateway National Recreation Area
Sunday, April 8, 2018, 10:00am to 11:30am
Osprey Watch Guided Walk
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Learn all about the amazing osprey on this guided walk of the West Pond Trail.
View Details

**********

Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, April 8, 2018
Birding in Peace
Our April tours will be a feast for the ears and eyes with the trilling song of Pine Warblers and drumming pronouncements of Woodpeckers on newly blossoming trees (including magnolias, maples, quinces, and dogwoods). We’ll discover thousands of songbirds resting before their trip north as well as arriving herons and egrets at Green-Wood’s glacial ponds.

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

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

Click here for our inclement weather policy.

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Staten Island Greenbelt
Leader: Seth Wollney
Registrar: Miriam Rakowski — miriamrakowski@hotmail.com or 212-749-7376
Registration opens: Monday, March 26
Ride: $20

**********

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

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, April 7, 2018, 9am – 4pm
Spring Migration in Pelham Bay Park, the Bronx
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Explore the lovely coves and rocky outcroppings of the City’s largest park, Pelham Bay Park, seeking out migrating songbirds, late wintering birds, ducks, and a breeding pair of Great Horned Owls. The rich and diverse habitat makes this park an urban gem and a great home for wildlife. Past rarities include a Northern Goshawk and a Purple Sandpiper. Bring lunch and water. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $90 (63)
Click here to register

Sunday, April 8, 2018, 9:30am – 11:30am
Spring Birding Along the Hudson: Wave Hill
Sundays, March 11, April 8, May 13, and June 10, 9:30-11:30am
Guide: Gabriel Willow with Wave Hill
Meet at the Perkins Visitor Center. Naturalist Gabriel Willow contributes his extensive knowledge of bird species and their behaviors on these captivating walks. Wave Hill’s garden setting overlooking the Hudson River flyway provides the perfect habitat for resident and migrating birds. Ages 10 and up welcome with an adult. NYC Audubon members enjoy two-for-one admission (see www.wavehill.org for more information)

**********

North Shore Audubon
Saturday, April 7, 2018, 9:30am – 12:00pm
Marine Nature Oceanside
Leader: Ralph (516) 785-3375‬
Marine Nature Study Area, 500 Slice Dr, Oceanside, NY 11572 (map)

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

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, April 8, 2018
Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve

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

Bird walks led by a member of SSAS are conducted nearly every Sunday morning from late August through early June. Walks are open to the public and are free of charge. We especially encourage youngsters to attend.
All walks start at 9:00am
There is no walk if it rains or snows or temperature is below 25°F.
For more information or in case of questionable weather conditions, please phone Joe at 516 467-9498.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Sunday, April 8, 2018
Spring Birding at Perkins Visitors Center (in Wave Hill), Bronx
9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Explore the gardens and woodlands with an expert on a quest to spot both resident and rare birds as they pass through on their northern journey or settle down for the season.
Free!

Birding: Hawk Watch at Pelham Bay Park, Bronx
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. Registration is required.
Free!

Animal of the Month Club: Northern Gannet at Ocean Breeze Pier, Seaview Avenue and Father Capodanno Boulevard (in Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk and Beach), Staten Island
1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
Join our park rangers at Ocean Breeze for a chance to view and learn more about Northern Gannets, a little known resident species of Staten Island.
Free!
...Read more

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Time to Tune Up Your Ears

The annual Spring migration is not just an explosion of colors, but also a huge surge of sounds. The millions of songbirds that pass through (or stay to nest) in the NYC area create a short-lived landscape of warbles, whistles, chips and trills. We won't hear this dawn chorus again until next year's northbound migration. To help appreciate these serenades, and make locating the songster a bit easier all you need to do is spend about a half an hour a day for 7 to 10 days with the right teaching tools.

There are several sources available to help you learn how to identify birds by ear, but the best one for my money is the Peterson Field Guides series of CDs (as far as I am aware, they are not available as digital downloads). These discs are not reference recordings, but rather well organized lessons that use groups of similar sounding species, repetition and mnemonics to help you quickly learn sounds. Here on the east coast of North America you should purchase "Birding by Ear: Eastern/Central" and "More Birding by Ear Eastern and Central North America". There are discs available for the west coast, as well.

Below is a list of recommended tracks to study. Obviously, there are many more common species in our area which you could add as you feel needed.

The colorful wood-warblers are the most important songbirds to learn. Once you've purchased the discs, use iTunes (or similar software) to import the following tracks:

Name Album Disc # Track #
Sing-songers Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 1 4
Warbling Songsters Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 2 6
Wood Warblers and a Warbling Wren Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 3 1
Warblers: Buzzy More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 2 1
Warblers: Simple More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 2 2
Warblers: Two-Parted More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 2 3
Warblers: Complex More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 2 4
Empidonax Flycatchers More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 1 4

Note that I included the empidonax flycatchers on the list as they are notoriously difficult to separate visually, but each have very distinctive vocalizations.

The woodland thrushes are also incredible songsters, so I recommend the following tracks:

Name Album Disc # Track #
Thrushes Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 3 2
Thrushes More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 1 7


One family of bird vocalizations that I tend to neglect are the shorebirds. More often than not, during spring migration a group of calling shorebirds passing overhead are noted only as "flock of unidentified peeps". While their calls and songs may not be nearly as melodic as the wood-warblers, they are each unique and easily identifiable if you take a few minutes each day to study the recommended "Birding by Ear" tracks.

Name Album Disc # Track #
Shorebirds: Pairs More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 3 1
Shorebirds: Plovers More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 3 2
Shorebirds: Whistlers More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 3 3
Shorebirds: Peepers More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 3 4
Shorebirds: Other More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 3 5

Please note that I don't make any money promoting the Peterson Field Guide series. I only do this because I have found that their systematic approach to learning bird-song to be the most effective available. If you have recommendations for other learning tools, feel free to email me or put something in the comments section. Spend 15 - 20 minutes a day listening during your commute, so that by the time all the songbirds begin streaming through NYC I guarantee you'll be able to find a lot more birds and add a whole other dimension to the experience of birding.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, March 30, 2018:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Mar. 30, 2018
* NYNY1803.30

- Birds Mentioned

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
EURASIAN WIGEON
RED-NECKED GREBE
AMERICAN BITTERN
Great Egret
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Glossy Ibis
Osprey
American Oystercatcher
Wilson’s Snipe
Greater Yellowlegs
RAZORBILL
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Laughing Gull
ICELAND GULL
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL
SNOWY OWL
Eastern Phoebe
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Louisiana Waterthrush
Palm Warbler
Pine Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle

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

Compilers: Tom Burke and 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, March 30, 2018 at 8:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are BLACK-HEADED, ICELAND and LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, EURASIAN WIGEON, RED-NECKED GREBE, SNOWY OWL, RAZORBILL, AMERICAN BITTERN and a few more spring arrivals.

This week’s highlight was perhaps no nor’easter to deal with, providing opportunities for a few more spring migrants to arrive, but winter birds still dominate locally. A few sightings of BLACK-HEADED GULL include an adult coming into breeding plumage seen as recently as Thursday near Coney Island Creek as viewed from Calvert Vaux Park. A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was also present there.

An immature BLACK-HEADED GULL has also been visiting Gravesend Bay, seen at the middle parking lot off the eastbound Belt Parkway up to Thursday, this perhaps the same BLACK-HEADED spotted at the Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center Saturday and Wednesday.

An ICELAND GULL has also been in the Gravesend Bay/Coney Island Creek area up to today, and among other scattered LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were three at Robert Moses State Park and two at Calvert Vaux Park today.

Among the lingering waterfowl, a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was still on Tung Ting Pond in Centerport last Saturday, and a pair of Eurasian Wigeon was noted at Brooklyn Army Terminal Pier 4 today, with a drake still at the Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center last weekend.

A number of RED-NECKED GREBES about have included one still at the Restoration Pond at Alley Pond Park today, one at the Salt Marsh Nature Center Wednesday and Thursday, one off Floyd Bennett Field Wednesday, and two in Gravesend Bay today.

After a slow winter except at Montauk Point, RAZORBILLS made a move Wednesday morning when 31 were counted off Robert Moses State Park, mostly headed eastward.

With a few still around, lingering SNOWY OWLS this week were noted within the New York City limits at Breezy Point, Floyd Bennett Field and the Rockaways.

A nice find today was an AMERICAN BITTERN perched in a Tupelo at Tupelo Field in Central Park, while rather odd for Central Park has been a female-type BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE apparently lingering in the southeastern section of the park with a COMMON GRACKLE flock.

Among the newer arrivals this week, these noted today, were some GLOSSY IBIS along the south shore of Long Island, including 48 at Timber Point, a NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW at Randalls Island, and single Brooklyn LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSHES in Prospect Park and Greenwood Cemetery. Increases this week were noted for GREAT EGRET, YELLOW-CROWNED and BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS, OSPREY, AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, WILSON’S SNIPE, LAUGHING GULL, EASTERN PHOEBE, PINE and PALM WARBLERS, and CHIPPING SPARROW.

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

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website Earther:

National Parks Are About to Get a Bunch of Birds They Didn't Ask For
Brian Kahn
Thursday 6:00pm

Acadia National Park is warbler heaven. During the summer, you can hear everything from the rising call of the black-throated blue warbler to the tinkling bell-like call of the black-and-white warbler. Keep your eyes on the underbrush for tell-tale the yellow breast of the Canada warbler, or heavy thickets for the mourning warbler. In all, 25 species of warbler currently occupy park, shaping the ecosystem and soundscape.

But the avian sights and sounds will likely be completely different in just a few decades.

If climate change continues on its current trajectory, 20 of the 25 warblers that currently occupy the park will have no suitable climate. They could be forced to move or perish. Meanwhile, other species could swoop in to take their place.

Acadia is just one datapoint in a massive new study published in PLOS One on Wednesday that looks at how climate change will impact birds across the national park system. Similar stories are likely to play out everywhere from Yosemite’s granite high country to Yellowstone’s bubbling hydrothermal basins, with the study projecting nearly a quarter of bird species will turnover in parks by 2050.

That means that the 300 million annual visitors to parks will, in the future, have a completely different experience. And it means managers will have to make some big decisions on what landscapes they conserve and what species they manage for.

“There’s this recognition of the end of stationarity,” Gregor Schuurman, an ecologist with the National Park Service who worked on the study, told Earther, citing a seminal 2008 ecology paper. “We’re not an intensive management agency, we’re an agency trying to preserve things unimpaired. The end of climate stationarity is a real challenge for us and our thinking.”

Schuurman worked with scientists at the Audubon Society to apply the techniques used in a 2014 paper about climate change’s impact on the 513 species of North American birds to 277 of the 417 sites managed by National Park Service. Data on the historical distribution of these birds came courtesy Audubon’s citizen science bird counts that have taken place for decades. If you’ve participated in those, congratulations, you are now a contributor to a scientific paper.

The researchers fed that data into models that project the climate out to mid-century if emissions continue on their current trajectory, as well as if we made major cuts, and looked at how 17 climate variables—things like mean temperature, daily temperature range, and precipitation in specific months—affected traditional bird ranges across summer and winter.

The result show that between native birds leaving and colonizers showing up, parks will see a 23 percent shift in the types of birds found there if things continue on their current trend (the results are markedly better for birds if we cut emissions). In both winter and summer, new colonizers will outnumber those making an exodus, but the shift is far more pronounced in winter. Joanna Wu, a biologist with the Audubon Society who led the research, told Earther that a number of species that usually migrate to warmer climates in winter may also just stay in certain parks year-round.

Jenny McGuire, an ecologist at Georgia Tech who has done landscape modeling but didn’t work on this study, told the Earther the findings show “that birds will need more food and nesting sites than ever before within the National Parks and points to the critical importance of maintaining or growing park sizes as bird species move into them.”

For hardcore birders—who are part of an estimated $107-billion industry—Schuurman said the study offers a heads up on what species they should be keeping an eye out for.

“I can imagine Big Bend likely seeing new species never before seen in the U.S.,” he said about the park located on the Texas-Mexico border. “Birders may be interested and excited to recording new arrivals.”

But more pressing is what climate change means for park managers. Should Acadia’s superintendent prioritize preserving habitat that lets species living on the southern end of their range hang around a bit longer, or protect habitat that might be more suitable for new arrivals, some of whom may be endangered?

And that doesn’t even get into what climate change will do to the landscapes themselves, the food sources birds rely on and other factors that the current study didn’t weigh into its projections. Even in the absence of perfect information about all those relationships, Schuurman said managers better be thinking about them.

“If we’re talking water birds, do you have aquatic habitat or is there something about climate change that leads you to think we will in the coming decades? You have to have the pieces to put together,” he said.

The choices parks end up making around birds will have huge impacts on other animals as well, since birds with their fancy wings and ability to cover great distances are usually a sign of what’s to come.

“It’s going to challenging to manage for our shifting baseline in the future,” Wu said. “Birds are one of the first responders.”
...Read more

Monday, March 26, 2018

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, March 31, 2018 to Sunday, April 1, 2018:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, March 31, 12pm – 1pm
Introduction to Birdwatching
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a birdwatching walk and learn about Prospect magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!

Sunday, April 1, 2018, 8am – 9am
Early Morning Bird Walk: Changing Seasons, Changing Birds
Join Prospect Park Alliance to welcome the earliest migrants of the year, and to say goodbye to some of our winter residents. This birdwatching tour is led by the Brooklyn Bird Club and leaves promptly at 8am.

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Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, March 31, 2018
Staten Island’s newest park: Brookfield Park
Leader Peter Dorosh
Focus: Initial BBC species list for our first exploration of this new park
Car Fee: $22.00
Registrar: Peter Dorosh Prosbird@aol.com or text only cell 347-622-3559
Registration Period: March 24th – March 29th
Some information about the park: https://tinyurl.com/brookfieldpark
Map: https://tinyurl.com/brookfieldparkmap
Note: The group may also visit Great Kills Park, time permitting.

Please review our general trip information and guidelines on this page.

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Gateway National Recreation Area
Saturday, March 31, 2018
East Pond Exploration
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fees: Free
Spring Naturalist Series- Each week through the spring, join us to learn more about the ecology of Jamaica Bay.
View Details

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Hudson River Audubon Society
Saturday, March 31, 2018
Jones Beach – Early Spring Arrivals
Meet at 8am at the Coast Guard Station in West End II
A variety of birds should be seen from seabirds, ducks, hawks, shorebirds and early land migrants.
http://hras.org/wtobird/jonesbeach.html

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

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, March 31, 2018, 5:00pm – 9:30pm
The Sky-Dance of the Woodcock
Where: Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, NY
Guide: Gabriel Willow
The American Woodcock is a remarkable bird. It is in the sandpiper family but lives in woodlands, often far from beaches. The male performs an incredible crepuscular aerial display and song early in the spring, soon after the snow melts in the northern U.S. We’ll look for it (and bats, owls, and other critters) at Floyd Bennett Field. Bring a headlamp or flashlight and a snack. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $92 (64) per trip
Click here to register

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North Shore Audubon
Saturday, March 31, 9:30am – 12:00pm
Muttontown Preserve
Leader: Ralph -‭ (516) 785-3375‬

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

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Saturday, March 31, 2018, 12:00pm – 2:00pm
Conference House Park
Enjoy a wintery, natural history tour of Staten Island’s southernmost woodland at Ward’s point and a discussion of the Lenape Indians. Utilizing stone tools from the Archaic and Woodland periods Ray Matarazzo will demonstrate hunting, building and cold weather survival skills. Participants will meet at the Conference House Park Visitors Center at 7455 Hylan Boulevard.
For more information contact Ray Matarazzo at 718-317-7666.

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Urban Park Rangers
Sunday, April 1, 2018
Birding at Pelham Bay Nature Center (in Pelham Bay Park), Bronx
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Birding programs are appropriate for all skill levels and beginners are welcome. To enhance your experience bring binoculars, or ask a Ranger to borrow a pair.
Free!
...Read more

Friday, March 23, 2018

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, March 23, 2018:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Mar. 23, 2018
* NYNY1803.23

- Birds mentioned
MEW GULL+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
EURASIAN WIGEON
Red-necked Grebe
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Osprey
Piping Plover
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Laughing Gull
ICELAND GULL
Tree Swallow

- 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

Compilers: Tom Burke and 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, March 23rd 2018 at 8pm. The highlights of today's tape are MEW GULL, BLACK-HEADED GULL, ICELAND GULL, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, EURASIAN WIGEON and a few seasonal arrivals.

Still with a winter flavor but somewhat impacted by the March doldrums and our parade of Nor'easters this week's tape does feature another MEW GULL sighting. This of an adult spotted Sunday morning at the Brooklyn Army Terminal Piers Park. It was photographed as it fed alongside one of the piers but soon disappeared and could not be relocated. This is possibly the same bird found at Floyd Bennett Field last Friday. An immature BLACK-HEADED GULL was seen again Tuesday afternoon at Gravesend Bay in Brooklyn occurring around the middle parking lot off the eastbound Belt Parkway. This an often productive site for gulls. An ICELAND GULL in Brooklyn Thursday was at the Veteran's Memorial Pier.

Among the lingering unusual waterfowl have been a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE present Sunday at Belmont Lake State Park and another continuing through yesterday at Tung Ting Pond in Centerport. A drake EURASIAN WIGEON was still present at least up to Tuesday at the Salt Marsh Nature Center at Marine Park in Brooklyn. A RED-NECKED GREBE was still on the Restoration Pond at Alley Pond Park in Queens on Tuesday and another was still around the Point Lookout Lido Marina on Monday.

Rather unusual, a small group of 6 EURASIAN GOLDFINCHES have apparently survived the winter on Governors Island, which reopens to the public on May 1st. Historically an introduced colony had done fairly well on western Long Island to the late 1950s but then died off with only presumed escapes popping up in city parks and elsewhere since then. It will be interesting to see how these birds fare.

Among the few spring migrants appearing here, despite the weather, have been coastal PIPING PLOVER as of Saturday and YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON as of Monday. There have also been more sightings this week of OSPREY, LAUGHING GULL and TREE SWALLOWS.

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

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Green-Wood Cemetery pre-Spring Walk

This past Sunday I lead an enthusiastic group of birders in Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery looking for early-Spring migrants and overwintering species. A brilliant sun, cloudless blue sky and calm winds belied upper 20˚ temperatures, however a significant increase in birdsong told me that our avian friends were excited about Spring's imminent arrival. As I write this, however, New York City is being enveloped in a late season snow storm of possible historic proportions. Spring time now seems like a pipe dream months away.

Sunday's walk was the second part of a two day class on birding basics for beginners. I was cautiously optimistic that we would see many of the typical overwintering species seen around our area. It had been an unusual few months, though, as periods of blustery, extremely cold weather had several of the expected species seen in either very low numbers or not at all. Some examples are Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, chickadee, titmouse, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, goldfinch, Fox Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco and White-throated Sparrow.

On the low rise at the south edge of the Valley Water we spotted a flock of sparrows scratching the ground beneath a stand of Yew trees. After a quick scan I was surprised to see that it was composed almost entirely of Fox Sparrows. We normally see a few of these robust, rusty-colored sparrows scattered within mixed flocks of other birds during the winter, not in homogeneous flocks. I told the group to keep their ears peeled for its rich, sweet, slurred song as they prepare for the breeding season. We ended up hearing them throughout the cemetery.

This winter a pair of Carolina Wrens had taken up residence near the Sylvan Water. As we descended the stairway at Sylvan Bluff the rolling "tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea-kettle" song of this wren drew our attention to his low perch on the steep ridge next to Sylvan Avenue. We watched as his serenade ultimately called in his mate. It apparently also drew the attention of an immature Red-tailed Hawk. They exchanged places as the wrens flew across to the opposite side of the road and the hawk perched briefly in front of us on the ridge.

Dark-eyed Juncos have been nearly non-existent in the cemetery this winter. On Sunday, however, their numbers seemed to have increased considerably, with several medium-sized flocks scattered around the area. Most were picking through the seeds remaining on the ground beneath stands of Sweetgum trees. Several males were perched above the crowds, announcing their breeding intentions with a high-pitched musical trill.

As waterfowl begin their northbound spring push through the area I was hopeful that we'd see something other than Mallards and Canada Geese on the cemetery's kettle ponds. The only other species we observed, though, was a single male Wood Duck on a now nearly overflowing Dell Water. In recent years this beautiful woodland waterfowl has begun nesting in adjacent Prospect Park. I'm hopeful this guy finds a mate and does the same in Green-Wood Cemetery.

Along the edge of Vernal Avenue is a stretch of several Japanese pagoda trees (Styphnolobium japonicum). I mentioned to the group that I wanted to check them for Cedar Waxwings as the stringbean-like fruit of this species is a favorite winter food source. Approaching the trees I heard their distinctive thin, high-pitched sighing whistle. A flock of about forty of these colorful birds were alternately feeding on the pale green fruits on the ground, then flying into the trees. The hungry birds seemed nearly tame as we watched their amusing acrobatics from only a few yards away.

I wrapped up the walk by checking in on the annual Red-tailed Hawk nest tree to see if the pair had begun repairing their nest yet. Before we even got to the nest, I spotted the male perched in an oak tree above the roadway. He clutched the remains of a kill in his talons. As we watched he called his mate a couple of times. This is typical courtship behavior ("I've brought you some lunch, honey"). We didn't hear or see his mate in the short time we watched, but I did point out a Blue Jay making a poor imitation of the response. That's a good way to become the next meal.

One of the target species of Sunday's walk was American Woodcock. I'd seen a single individual hanging around "The Flats" for the past couple of weeks, but was unable to locate the bird Sunday. I assumed more will be moving through the area shortly and am concerned that with today's snowstorm there might be a repeat of last year's woodcock "snowpocalypse". As an early migrant I assume this odd little woodland bird would be adapted to these weather events, especially since their North American populations seem to be very healthy. I have another walk this coming Sunday. Hopefully the snow will be melted and lots of singing Spring migrants will be filling the trees and shrubs of the cemetery. Or another unexpected blizzard will...
...Read more

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Treehugger Tuesday

In honor of today’s start of Spring, from the website Treehugger:

7 quirky facts about the vernal equinox
Melissa Breyer
March 15, 2018

From dancing tree fairies to the reality of spring fever, there’s more to the March equinox than almost-equal night and day.

There is really no secret as to why the change from winter to spring has been celebrated throughout time. Even for those with the luxury of things like insulated homes and off-season food, winter can be hard and spring is beautiful. It’s a magical time, and both the body and spirit rejoice with the increase in sunlight and a wakening world.

This year, the equinox falls on Tuesday, March 20 at 12:15 p.m. Eastern Time … and not a minute too soon. That the March equinox signals the first day of Spring – for those in the northern hemisphere; and the first day of winter for those in the south – is a well-known fact. Lesser known are some of the more curious occurrences that the day and impending season have to offer. Consider the following.

1. You say equinox, I say equilux
While “equinox” comes from the Latin for equal night, you probably have heard that actually, day and night are not exactly equal on the equinox. Why? The sun may be crossing the celestial equator, but sunlight can be a fickle thing. Because the sun is a disk and not a point, and because of atmospheric refraction, those of us at mid-temperate latitudes actually get about an extra 8 minutes of daylight on the equinox. For the exact split, we have the unsung hero called the equilux, from the Latin for equal light, which comes a few days before its much-more famous sibling, the equinox.

2. Spring fever is deployed
You may know the symptoms; a flushed face, increased heart rate, daydreaming and a delicious inclination towards romance – all wrapped up in a very strong desire to ditch the drudgery and go outside and frolic. The prognosis? Spring fever. And as it turns out, there may be more to it than emotional exuberance that winter is over. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence suggesting a biological basis for the boost of mood, desire and energy that comes with the vernal equinox. Although the exact causes remain elusive, it’s likely that hormones play a role.

3. Things get precise
The fall and spring equinoxes are the only two days during the year when the sun rises exactly due east and sets exactly due west. As a way to hone your sense of direction, pick a landmark from a vantage point where you live and note where the sun rises and sets on the equinox – now you’ll always know east and west.

4. The Great Sphinx gazes directly into the sunrise
Although of course we’re not supposed to look directly at the sun, on the morning of the equinox the Great Sphinx of Giza does exactly that. There are a number of other ancient sites that play tricks with the equinox as well, like Chichen Itza and Angkor Wat.

5. Easter is determined
The vernal equinox is like a calendar marker to determine what date Easter will fall on. In the year 325, the Council of Nicaea decided that Easter would be held on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox. If the full moon falls on Sunday, Easter gets pushed back a week so that it doesn’t coincide with Passover.

6. The fairies come out to dance
The Anjana of Spanish Cantabrian mythology are beautiful 6-inch-tall fairies who take care of the forests. They can communicate with water, help injured animals and storm-damaged trees, and guide those who become lost in the woods. Goals! During the night of the vernal equinox they flock to the fells and dance until dawn, scattering roses all about. Those crazy party pixies. Anyone lucky enough to find one of their floral gifts – a rose with purple, green, blue, or golden petals – will have happiness for the rest of their life.

7. Earth isn’t the only planet to have all the fun
Saturn gets in on the equinox action too! Though it’s a bit harder earned. Saturn also has an equinox every spring and autumn, but since seasons on the ringed planet are a bit more, you know, languid, the wait between equinoxes is notable. With a trip around the sun taking Earth 30 years, Saturn’s equinoxes occur about every 15 years.
...Read more

Monday, March 19, 2018

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, March 24, 2018 to Sunday, March 25, 2018:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, March 24, 12pm – 1pm
Introduction to Birdwatching
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a birdwatching walk and learn about Prospect magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!

**********

Bedford Audubon Society
Saturday, March 24, 2018, 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Vernal Pools at Hunt-Parker Sanctuary
Under the leadership of long-term BAS member Paul Lewis, we will visit these hidden treasures deep in the forest and learn about the vital importance of these seasonal wetlands as spawning areas for salamanders and other amphibians. This program is suitable for children aged 10 and above.
Cost: Free
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Meet at Bylane Farm at 12:45pm wearing boots.
Please register with Susan Fisher at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914-302-9713.
See more details

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Brooklyn Bird Club
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Western shore of Brooklyn: Owls Head to Bush Terminal Parks
Leader: Bobbi Manian
Focus: early spring passerines, woodpeckers, sparrows, ducks, bay and marsh waterfowl
Car Fee: $10.00
Registrar: Dennis Hrehowsik email deepseagangster@gmail.com
Registration Period: March 17th – March 22nd
Please review our general trip information and guidelines on this page.

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Gateway National Recreation Area
Saturday, March 24, 2018, 10:00am to 1:00pm
Early Spring Bird Walk
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fees: Free
Spring Naturalist Series- Each week through the spring, join us to learn more about the ecology of Jamaica Bay.
View Details

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Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Birding in Peace
Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean that there aren’t interesting birds to discover in Green-Wood. For some bird species that migrate south after the breeding season, Brooklyn is their Miami during the cold months. Spend the early morning exploring the cemetery, looking for overwintering waterfowl, nuthatches, woodpeckers, sparrows, finches and any half-hardy birds that decided to stick around. By February we’ll see some of the early north-bound birds beginning to trickle back into the area.

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

Click here for our inclement weather policy.


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Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Sunday, March 25, 2018 - 9:00am
Shu Swamp Preserve
There is no better place to celebrate the beginning of spring than this lovely preserve near Oyster Bay. We’ll look for the earliest migrants and the first blooms, while being serenaded by the rare Rusty Blackbird. Registration: 631-885-1881

Directions: Take Oyster Bay Rd west out of Oyster Bay town and turn north onto Beaver Brook Rd. Follow the road north as it becomes Frost Mill Rd, and look for the parking area on the left just before the train trestle.

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Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, March 24, 2018
Brooklyn South Coastal Birding
Leader: Peter Dorosh
Registrar: Kathleen Howley — kathleenhowley@gmail.com or 212-877-3170
Registration opens: Monday, March 12
Ride: $20

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

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, March 24, 2018, 10am – 5pm
Winter Birds of Sandy Hook, NJ
Guide: Joe Giunta, Happy Warblers LLC
Sandy Hook, a spectacular barrier island at the northernmost point of the New Jersey coast, hosts a variety of species including Arctic-bound migrants and harbor seals that lie on the beach to warm up in the sun. Other possible sightings include loons, sea ducks, snow buntings, and horned larks. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $103 (72)
Click here to register

Saturday, March 24, 2018, 5:00pm – 9:30pm
The Sky-Dance of the Woodcock
Guide: Gabriel Willow
The American Woodcock is a remarkable bird. It is in the sandpiper family but lives in woodlands, often far from beaches. The male performs an incredible crepuscular aerial display and song early in the spring, soon after the snow melts in the northern U.S. We’ll look for it (and bats, owls, and other critters) at Floyd Bennett Field. Bring a headlamp or flashlight and a snack. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $92 (64) per trip
Click here to register

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North Shore Audubon
Saturday, March 24, 9:30am – 12:00pm
Alley Pond Environmental Center
Leader: Trudy - home (718) 224-8432‬ mobile (347) 251-5841‬

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

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Jones Beach West End 2
From the Southern State Parkway, exit onto the Meadowbrook State Parkway south. After entering Jones Beach State Park, exit right (west) into the West End. Continue west to West End 2 parking lot; we meet in the northeast corner of the lot.

From the Wantagh State Parkway, travel south. Upon entering Jones Beach State Park, exit at Bay Drive and continue west to West End 2 parking lot; we meet in the northeast corner of the lot.
Directions via Google Maps

Bird walks led by a member of SSAS are conducted nearly every Sunday morning from late August through early June. Walks are open to the public and are free of charge. We especially encourage youngsters to attend.
All walks start at 9:00 A.M.
There is no walk if it rains or snows or temperature is below 25°F.
For more information or in case of questionable weather conditions, please phone Joe at 516 467-9498.


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Young Birders Club
Saturday March 24, 2018
Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge / Black Dirt Region (Orange County)
Trip Leader: Garret Van Gelder
This trip will be led by our very own Garret Van Gelder, who tells us this is one of his favorite birding destinations.

The Wallkill River NWR was established in 1990 and encompasses 5100 acres. Most of the refuge is located in Sussex, New Jersey but the northern part, Liberty Marsh, is in Orange County, New York.

The 2.75 mile Liberty Loop (most of which is in NJ) links with the Appalachian Trail and circles wetlands and mudflats. The marsh attracts migrating shorebirds, waterfowl and raptors. The area is also known for its Black Dirt which is rich in organic matter. Grassland birds, shorebirds and geese feed from the furrows and ditches.

More than 225 bird species have been observed on the refuge throughout the years. It offers excellent viewing opportunities for birds and a variety of wildlife.

Be prepared -- trails may be muddy at this time of year.

New Trip Registration Form due by FRIDAY 3/16/18. If you have not yet submitted a 2018 medical form (page 2 of the trip registration form) please submit it with your registration form.
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