Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website Gizmag:

Ocean Cleanup Project's trash-catching prototype takes to the angry Dutch seas
Nick Lavars / June 27, 2016



Its been a few years since Boyan Slat first revealed his bold concept to clean up the world's oceans, and now we're set to see how his trash-catching barriers fare in the real world. The Dutch entrepreneur's Ocean Cleanup Project has successfully deployed its debut prototype off the coast of the Netherlands, which will serve as a first test-case ahead of a much larger installation planned to tackle the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 2020.

Slat's garbage-collecting barriers have been described as artificial coastlines. They are basically long floating arms that rely on the ocean's natural currents to gather up plastic waste. Since he first introduced the concept, the Ocean Cleanup Project has raised US$2.1 million in crowdfunding and completed a feasibility study on its main target, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which some experts believe to be twice the size of Texas.

But before tackling this monumental vortex of ocean trash, the team needs to investigate how the barriers stand up under extreme conditions. Measuring 100 m (330 ft) long, the North Sea prototype is fitted with sensors that monitor its motion in the ocean, along with the physical loads that it is subjected to as waves rise and fall around it.

According to the Ocean Cleanup Project, a minor storm in this part of the world results in more violent sea conditions than an exceptionally heavy storm in the Pacific Ocean, which it says only occurs once every hundreds of years.

While it may inadvertently collect some trash in the North Sea, that's not really the immediate objective. The data that the team gathers through its monitoring of the prototype will help the engineers prepare to build a full-scale system that can withstand the conditions of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. And Slat says that the prototype surviving the test is no guarantee.

"This is a historic day on the path toward clean oceans," he says. "A successful outcome of this test should put us on track to deploy the first operational pilot system in late 2017. I estimate there is a 30 percent chance the system will break, but either way it will be a good test."

The operational system Slat refers to is a larger project spanning 2 km (1.2 mi) off the coast of Tsushima Island between Japan and South Korea. Here plastic waste is of particular concern to local governments with around 1 cubic meter (35 cu ft) of pollution for each of the more than 40,000 residents washing up on the island each year.

Other installations are planned in the years following, before a 100 km (62 mi) floating system is rolled out at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch between Hawaii and California. Slat says that the system could make it possible to cut the time required to clean up the world's oceans from millennia to mere years.

Source: The Ocean Cleanup Project
...Read more

Monday, June 27, 2016

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, July 2, 2016 to Monday, July 4, 2016:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Sunday, July 3, 2016, 8am – 9am
Early Morning Bird Walk: Taking Wing
This is the time of year when young birds outnumber adult birds. Join the Prospect Park Alliance in search of fledglings as they test their wings!

**********

Gateway National Recreation Area
Every Sunday Weekly and Every Saturday Weekly from 06/04/2016 to 09/03/2016 11:00AM to 12:00PM
Birding for Beginners
Join us for an introduction to this fun hobby. Learn the basics of birding. Bring binoculars and a field guide or borrow them from wildlife refuge!
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fee Information: Free

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

Every Saturday Weekly from 05/28/2016 to 08/27/2016 1:00PM to 3:30PM
Canarsie Walk-up and Paddle
Kayak tryouts for those who have never done it before. Open to the public, ages 6 and up with an adult. No reservations required.
Location: Canarsie Pier, Brooklyn
Fee Information: FREE
Contact Name: Ryan Visitor Center
Contact Phone Number: (718)338-3799

Every Sunday Weekly from 06/05/2016 to 09/04/2016 11:00AM to 12:00PM
Fort Tilden Bunkers Walking Tour
Join a Park Ranger for an exploration of Fort Tilden's gun batteries, and find out about the fort's role in the defense of New York Harbor.
1 mile.
Location: Fort Tilden-Building 1
Fee Information: Free

Saturday, July 2, 2016, 6:00PM to 8:00PM
Horseshoe Crab Tagging and Population Count
Meet at the Beach Center then travel to Crooke's Point to search for and tag horseshoe crabs. Visitors must show up no later than 6 p.m. in order to receive a special program parking permit for Crooke's Point. Wear appropriate shoes. Reservations are required, please call 718-354-4655 to make a reservation and for more information.
Location: Great Kills Park Lot G Beach Center

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, July 2, 2016
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11am to 12:30pm beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Friday, July 1 - Monday, July 4
Boreal Birding in the Adirondacks
Guide: Gabriel Willow
NYC Audubon is for the first time offering a trip to the Adirondack region, NY state's wildest country. The Adirondack Park's 6 million acres constitutes 1/3 of the land area in NY State - the Park is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States, greater in size than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier, and Grand Canyon National Park combined! Within its boundaries are vast forests (ranging from deciduous to boreal) and rolling farmlands, towns and villages, mountains and valleys, and lakes, ponds and rivers. This diversity of habitat leads to an incredible diversity of plant and bird species, including several boreal specialties of the mountain spruce and fir forests that cannot be found in NYC such as gray jays and boreal chickadees. Join NYC Audubon guide Gabriel Willow and local Adirondack resident, guide, and President of the NYS Ornithological Association, Joan Collins on a four-day tour of this wild region. We will stay in the town of Saranac Lake at Amanda's Village Motel, a charming motel overlooking the Lake, spend our days exploring the mountains and valleys in the region, and dine at restaurants in Saranac Lake and nearby Lake Placid, NY. Transport by passenger van included. $770 ($220 single supplement)
Click here for a complete itinerary
Click here to register

Saturdays, May 7-July 30, 8-9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks, The Bronx
Guides: NYC Audubon, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy with the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy
Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

**********

Sullivan County Audubon Society
Sunday, July 3, 2016
Our 23rd annual Sullivan County Butterfly Count. We cover the same 15-mile diameter circle as our Christmas Count. Participants can join a team, be a garden watcher if it is in the circle, or just allow your butterfly habitat to be counted. Every set of eyes is valuable as a spotter. To join call leader Renee Davis at 482-5044 before 7 pm. Rain date: Wed. July 6.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, July 2, 2016
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Bird Walks focus on wildlife happenings in the park and are led by NYC Audubon experts.
Free!

Plover Day! at Beach 86th Street and Shorefront Parkway (in Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk), Queens
11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Enjoy family-friendly games, crafts, and educational activities that raise awareness of this amazing shorebird.
Free!

Monday, July 4, 2016
Hallett Nature Sanctuary at Hallett Nature Sanctuary (in Central Park), Manhattan
2:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
During these limited hours, visitors can explore the normally-closed Hallett Sanctuary at their own pace along the rustic trail.
Free!
...Read more

Friday, June 24, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, June 24, 2016:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jun. 24, 2016
* NYNY1606.24

- Birds mentioned
WHITE-FACED IBIS+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

American Bittern
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Piping Plover
Willet (subspecies "Western Willet")
Red Knot
White-rumped Sandpiper
WESTERN SANDPIPER
Gull-billed Tern
Black Tern
Roseate Tern
COMMON TERN (Siberian form longipennis)
Royal Tern
Barn Owl
Acadian Flycatcher
Cliff Swallow
Grasshopper Sparrow
Summer Tanager
BLUE GROSBEAK

- Transcript

If followed by (+) please submit documentation of your report electronically and use the NYSARC online submission form found at http://www.nybirds.org/NYSARC/goodreport.htm

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to nysarc44(at)nybirds{dot}org.

If electronic submission is not possible, hardcopy reports and photos or sketches are welcome. Hardcopy documentation should be mailed to:

Gary Chapin - Secretary
NYS Avian Records Committee (NYSARC)
125 Pine Springs Drive
Ticonderoga, NY 12883

Hotline: New York City Area Rare Bird Alert
Number: (212) 979-3070

To report sightings call:
Tom Burke (212) 372-1483 (weekdays, during the day)
Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126 (Long Island)

Compiler: Tom Burke, Tony Lauro
Coverage: New York City, Long Island, Westchester County

Transcriber: Ben Cacace

BEGIN TAPE

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, June 24th 2016 at 6pm. The highlights of today's tape are WHITE-FACED IBIS, BLUE GROSBEAK, WESTERN SANDPIPER, interesting COMMON TERNS and more.

An adult WHITE-FACED IBIS has been continuing its fairly regular visits to the southeast corner of the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge as reported each day from Saturday at least through Tuesday afternoon. Diligent scanning through the flock of Glossy Ibis gathered there as they continuously cycle into and out of the pond plus some patience have and may still produce views of the White-faced. Saturday morning the White-faced stayed for about 25 minutes and then flew out alone towards the marsh south of the former West Pond but it could not be relocated there. Also Saturday morning a TRICOLORED and four LITTLE BLUE HERONS were feeding at mid-tide on the flats on the former West Pond. The south marsh and adjacent area has also been attracting one or two GULL-BILLED TERNS lately. Two ROYAL TERNS flew east over the East Pond Saturday morning and an ACADIAN FLYCATCHER that had been in the vicinity at Big John's Pond and was still singing there Tuesday morning and if there one should certainly visit the bird blind at Big John's Pond to view the young BARN OWLS in the nest box across the pond but please do nothing to disturb them.

Out east at least 3 BLUE GROSBEAKS have been present among the nice assemblage of birds around the grasslands at the former Grumman airport in Calverton. The Grosbeaks, including adult and subadult plumaged males and a female, have been in the vicinity at the southwest section of the airport property and surrounding fields near the terminus of Line Road at Grumman Boulevard. As these birds are hopefully nesting please do nothing that would interrupt their activities. Also in that area could still be a SUMMER TANAGER pair present earlier and GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS are common nesters in the grasslands there.

At Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes where an entry fee is now charged shorebirds present recently on the celebrated flats there featured an apparent adult WESTERN SANDPIPER last Saturday along with some PIPING PLOVERS, single WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER and RED KNOT, a Western WILLET among the Easterns and small numbers of a variety of species that will not be completing the journey farther north this summer. An AMERICAN BITTERN was also seen Saturday along with a ROYAL TERN and two ROSEATE TERNS while quite interesting there was a COMMON TERN showing aspects of the Siberian form longipennis though solidifying this identification would require much more detail than is currently available. Interestingly as well a similarly plumaged COMMON TERN was nicely photographed yesterday at Nickerson Beach west of Point Lookout. But again it is difficult to determine given the variability among age groups of COMMON TERNS exactly which subspecies is involved here. A BLACK TERN was also at Nickerson Thursday and scattered ROYAL TERNS have occurred from Plumb Beach and Nickerson Beach all the way out to Great Gull Island.

CLIFF SWALLOWS have been present within New York City limits recently but a couple feeding over the fields at Van Cortlandt Park Saturday through Wednesday and others constructing a couple of nests at Orchard Beach, these in the Bronx.

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

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Friday's Foto


This week's installment is a slideshow of recent blooms from around Brooklyn. They include both native and non-native species: American Smoke Tree, Arrowwood Viburnum, Butterflyweed, Common (Asian) Daylily, Common Milkweed, Common Yucca, Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus, Eastern Purple Coneflower, Goutweed, Indian Blanket, Oakleaf Hydrangea, Pickerelweed and Purple-flowering Raspberry.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

From Mother Nature Network:

National Aquarium to open first oceanside dolphin sanctuary
Aquarium says it will retire all dolphins by the end of 2020.
Michael d'Estries
June 14, 2016, 11:22 a.m.


National Aquarium oceanside dolphin sanctuary A rendering of the proposed National Aquarium oceanside dolphin sanctuary. (Photo: National Aquarium/Studio Gang)

After five years of weighing options on how to best provide for its pod of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, the National Aquarium of Baltimore announced this morning that it will build a first-of-its-kind ocean sanctuary for the marine mammals.

National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli said in a statement that the decision is a natural progression of understanding how best to care for captive marine life.

"Although this decision is about our group of dolphins, it is every bit as much about our humanity; for the way a society treats the animals with whom it shares this planet speaks volumes about us," he said.

Officials are currently exploring sites in Florida and the Caribbean for the sanctuary, adding that they hope to receive donations to make the project a reality by the end of 2020.

"There's no model anywhere, that we're aware of, for this," Racanelli told the Associated Press. "We're pioneering here, and we know it's neither the easiest nor the cheapest option."

Initial criteria for the sanctuary include a tropical or sub-tropical environment, natural stimuli (such as native plants and fish), and customized care options for each dolphin. The aquarium also wants the site to "serve as a center for applied science that advances knowledge and conservation."

Animal advocacy groups rushed to praise the news. "The National Aquarium's welcome move recognizes that the needs of intelligent, sensitive, far-ranging dolphins simply can't be met in captivity," wrote PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "This spells the beginning of the end for dolphin captivity and the start of an age in which SeaWorld, the Miami Seaquarium, and other marine parks reject excuses not to retire long-suffering captive dolphins including orcas to sanctuaries."

The National Aquarium's decision comes on the heels of last month's announcement of "The Whale Sanctuary Project," a new nonprofit aimed at creating the world's first seaside sanctuary for whales and dolphins. The estimated $20 million sanctuary will be located in a cold water site in North America and cater to orcas, belugas and dolphins retired from entertainment facilities, as well as injured or ill animals rescued from the ocean.

Like the National Aquarium, the Whale Sanctuary Project hopes to have its site up and running within three to five years.
...Read more

Monday, June 20, 2016

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, June 25, 2016 to Sunday, June 26, 2016:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, June 25, 2016, 12pm – 1pm
Introduction to Bird Watching
Look! Up in the sky, it’s a bird! But what kind of bird is it? Take a tour and learn about the magnificent array of birds that call Prospect Park home. Led by Brooklyn Bird Club.

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Hiking Harriman State Park Kakiat Trail
Leader: Peter Dorosh
Focus: Breeding birds, Butterflies, wildflowers wildlife
Bus fare: TBD
Registrar: Peter Dorosh, Prosbird@aol.com or text only cell 347-622-3559
Registration Period: June 18th –June 23rd
Note: Not for the physically challenged or inexperienced as some strenuous ascent and descent is involved up small mountains.
This is a public transportation trip leaving by bus from NYC Port Authority Terminal.
Trail Profile: http://nynjtc.org/hike/dater-mountain-nature-park-and-harriman-state-park

**********

Gateway National Recreation Area
Every Sunday Weekly and Every Saturday Weekly from 06/04/2016 to 09/03/2016 11:00AM to 12:00PM
Birding for Beginners
Join us for an introduction to this fun hobby. Learn the basics of birding. Bring binoculars and a field guide or borrow them from wildlife refuge!
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fee Information: Free

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

Every Saturday Weekly from 05/28/2016 to 08/27/2016 1:00PM to 3:30PM
Canarsie Walk-up and Paddle
Kayak tryouts for those who have never done it before. Open to the public, ages 6 and up with an adult. No reservations required.
Location: Canarsie Pier, Brooklyn
Fee Information: FREE
Contact Name: Ryan Visitor Center
Contact Phone Number: (718)338-3799

Every Sunday Weekly from 06/05/2016 to 09/04/2016 11:00AM to 12:00PM
Fort Tilden Bunkers Walking Tour
Join a Park Ranger for an exploration of Fort Tilden's gun batteries, and find out about the fort's role in the defense of New York Harbor.
1 mile.
Location: Fort Tilden-Building 1
Fee Information: Free

Sunday, June 26, 2016, 10:00AM to 12:00PM
Hike the Trails of the North Forty Natural Area
Join American Littoral Society naturalist Mickey Maxwell Cohen to discover the enigmas of the winter woods. Participants will carpool from the Ryan Visitor Center to the North Forty trailhead. A magnifying glass will be helpful.
This is an American Littoral Society/ Gateway NRA partnership program.
Approx. 2 miles.
Location: Floyd Bennett Field
Fee Information: Free

**********

Littoral Society
Sunday, June 26, 2016 05:00pm - 08:00pm
Jamaica Bay Sunset Ecology Cruise

Join us for one of the American Littoral Society Northeast Chapter's most popular events -- a three hour, narrated ecology cruise with noted local naturalists, Don Riepe and Mickey Cohen. Enjoy wine, cheese and fruit aboard the Golden Sunshine with our Jamaica Bay experts and learn about the history and ecology of the bay, a 25,000 acre expanse of salt marshes, intertidal flats and upland forests that is home to 330 species of birds, 107 species of finfish and over 70 species of butterflies. See nesting peregrine falcons, osprey, egrets, heron, ibis and many other species and explore the backwaters of the bay while enjoying the beautiful New York City skyline.

Cost: $55.00 per person, $25 for children under 16. Advance payment is required.
Location : Pier 8 - Emmons Ave and Bedford Ave, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY
Contact : email donriepe@gmail.com or call (718) 474-0896
The boat departs from Pier 8 in Sheepshead Bay at the intersection of Emmons Avenue and Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, NY. Please arrive a half hour early to find parking and board the ship.

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11am to 12:30pm beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, June 25, 2016, 8am-5pm
Breeding Birds of the Hudson Highlands
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Join Gabriel Willow on a day-long trip to some of the most exciting & beautiful birding locations in the Hudson Valley - Doodletown Rd., Constitution Marsh, and Indian Brook Farm (in Fahnestock State Park). We'll look for uncommon breeding warbler specialties at Doodletown, such as cerulean, hooded, blue-winged, golden-winged, and worm-eating warblers; We will then head to the Constitution Marsh Audubon Sanctuary to explore a brackish marsh along the Hudson River. They have a beautiful boardwalk and are home to breeding wood duck, bald eagle, least bittern, marsh wren, and more. After a picnic lunch by the banks of Indian Brook, we will drive to Indian Brook Farm, which has extensive grasslands and highbush blueberry stands. These habitats have breeding Field and savannah sparrows, bobolinks, and indigo buntings. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $129 (90)
Click here to register

Saturdays, May 7-July 30, 8-9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks, The Bronx
Guides: NYC Audubon, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy with the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy
Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

Saturday, June 25, 2016, 10am-1pm
Birds, Butterflies, and Terrapins
Guide: Don Riepe
With the American Littoral Society
Meet at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge for a slide program and hike around the ponds and gardens to look for nesting birds and other wildlife. For info and reservations call (718) 474-0896 or e-mail: donriepe@gmail.com. Free.

Sunday, June 26, 2016, 10am–1pm
The Parakeets of Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn
Guide: Gabriel Willow
With Green-Wood Cemetery
Meet at the cemetery entrance at 5th Avenue and 25th Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn. Green-Wood Cemetery is rich in both history and wildlife. It is also the highest point in Brooklyn, affording marvelous views. We will explore its environs in search of spring migrants and its most unique avian residents: the huge flocks of brilliant green monk parakeets that nest there. Native to South America, these charming immigrants are surprisingly hardy and flourish even in our harsh winters. Limited to 15. $46 (32)
Click here to register

Sunday, June 26, 2016, 11am – 4pm
Freshkills Park Discovery Day
Join NYC Audubon in a celebration of the birds of Freshkills Park! From wetlands to woodlands to rich, rolling grasslands, the diverse habitats of Freshkills Park host a wide variety of migratory and resident songbirds, waterbirds, and birds of prey. Come along on a free guided bird walk with an NYC Audubon naturalist to experience the benefits that the restoration of Freshkills Park is having on local wildlife. Walks start at the NYC Audubon table at noon, 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm.

**********

Sullivan County Audubon Society
Saturday, June 25, 2016, 9am - 3 pm
Bio Blitz at the Ten Mile River Scout Camp
See this link

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Bird Walks focus on wildlife happenings in the park and are led by NYC Audubon experts.
Free!

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

Sunday, June 26, 2016
Discovery Day at Freshkills Park at Freshkills Park Event Entrance, Staten Island
11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
This is a one-day opportunity to discover the unique experience and views the park has to offer.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, June 18, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, June 16, 2016:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jun. 17, 2016
* NYNY1606.17

- Birds mentioned
GARGANEY+ (extralimital in Seneca County)
WHITE-FACED IBIS+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Gadwall
Greater Scaup
Hooded Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Black Vulture
Bald Eagle
Red-shouldered Hawk
Virginia Rail
Semipalmated Plover
Ruddy Turnstone
Sanderling
Dunlin
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Wilson's Phalarope
Parasitic Jaeger
Gull-billed Tern
Black Tern
Royal Tern
Black Skimmer
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Black-billed Cuckoo
Barn Owl
Barred Owl
Red-headed Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Merlin
Acadian Flycatcher
Alder Flycatcher
Common Raven
Mourning Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Grasshopper Sparrow
Blue Grosbeak
Pine Siskin

- 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, June 17th 2016 at 6pm. The highlights of today's tape are WHITE-FACED IBIS, WILSON'S PHALAROPE, GULL-BILLED TERN, BLACK TERN, PARASITIC JAEGER, BLUE GROSBEAK, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER and an extralimital GARGANEY.

As the Summer season settles in excitement continues at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. A WHITE-FACED IBIS has maintained its seemingly unpredictable visits to the south end of the East Pond Thursday evening. Sitting in among the many Glossy Ibis that continue to cycle into and out of the pond. On Saturday a WILSON'S PHALAROPE was also spotted on the East Pond and was present around the Raunt on Sunday but not seen thereafter. Young BARN OWLS can periodically be seen in the nest box that is across Big John's Pond as viewable from the bird blind. Please do not do anything to disturb these birds. Waiting patiently in the blind will ultimately provide pleasing views of the young owls. Also at Jamaica Bay a GULL-BILLED TERN has, as in past years, been appearing along the marsh and beach south of the former West Pond. Hopefully at some point we can stop saying "former" if restoration were ever to begin. An ACADIAN FLYCATCHER was also singing along the Big John's Pond trail last Sunday and later.

Other recent tern sightings include a BLACK TERN at Nickerson Beach Wednesday and single ROYAL TERNS at Great Kills Park and Shinnecock Inlet Saturday with 3 at Jones Beach West End Tuesday. Two PARASITIC JAEGERS were also reported off Shinnecock Inlet Saturday. Though seawatching generally has not been very productive lately though it should be rewarding with the appropriate winds.

Also out east two BLUE GROSBEAKS were still present Tuesday around the southwest end of the former Grumman airport in Calverton. This area also home for numerous GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS and other grassland birds. A very valuable but rapidly declining habitat in our region certainly worthy of preservation.

A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was reported Wednesday flying along the median at the western end of Robert Moses State Park and another continues at Muscoot Farm in northern Westchester County.

The Greenwich-Stamford Summer Bird Count including much of eastern Westchester County recorded an average 135 species last weekend. New for the count was a MERLIN in Chappaqua. The 243rd species all time for this 41 year old endeavor. Other highlights featured 10 species of waterfowl including GADWALL, GREATER SCAUP and HOODED and RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS, 3 BLACK VULTURES, nesting BALD EAGLE, at least 6 RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS, a few VIRGINIA RAILS, 10 species of shorebirds including SEMIPALMATED PLOVER and SANDPIPER, RUDDY TURNSTONE, SANDERLING and DUNLIN, a BLACK SKIMMER, both cuckoos at least 12 BARRED OWLS, 4 YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS, two ALDER FLYCATCHERS, over a dozen COMMON RAVENS, 14 species of warblers including HOODED and MOURNING and a feeder visiting PINE SISKIN.

For those who may somehow not have heard, a drake GARGANEY has been present since at least June 5th at the Knox-Marsellus Marsh part of the Montezuma NWR just west of the town of Montezuma in Seneca County. The duck is mostly seen from East Road where visibility is usually best in the afternoon. This will be a first New York record pending acceptance by NYSARC.

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, June 17, 2016

Friday's Foto

The cry of Laughing Gulls along Brooklyn's coast is the dominant "music" of the summer soundscape. This medium-sized gull is an abundant breeder on the Atlantic coast of North America, the Caribbean, and northern South America. By late-autumn nearly all will depart the northeastern U.S. wintering from the Carolinas south to Brazil and Peru. Their varied diet consists of small fish, crustaceans, insects, earthworms, snails and refuse. In late spring, horseshoe crab eggs make up a large part of their diet. They are also known to eat the eggs and sometimes young of other birds (they are also not above stealing french fries from children). Due to their extremely large range and increasing populations the IUCN Red List lists their conservation status as Least Concern.

Their scientific name, Leucophaeus atricilla, means whitish-grey, ash-coloured; black-necked.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

From The Guardian:

Bustards Strut their Stuff after Return to the Plain

Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire The breeding season has started late and male great bustards are still performing their elaborate courtship displays

Claire Stares
@ClaireStares
Friday 10 June 2016 00.30 EDT


An adult male great bustard on Salisbury Plain. The bird was reintroduced in 2004, after becoming extinct in the UK in 1832. Photograph: Nick Upton/Alamy

We follow a pitted farm track over the brow of the hill and into the valley, then climb off-road to the hide. The 38,0000 hectare chalk plateau is a haven for wildlife with its patchwork of close-cropped grass, golden oilseed rape and small strips of soil ploughed bare to create stone curlew nesting plots.

In 1998 the Great Bustard Group began exploring the possibility of reintroducing this vulnerable species, which became extinct in the UK in 1832. Annual releases of imported bustards began in 2004 and the first eggs were laid by reintroduced birds in 2007, but the population is not yet self-sustaining. Although breeding has taken place every year, survival rates are low and not all surviving juveniles are recruited to the adult population. Lekking usually peaks in April, but this year the breeding season started later than usual and I’ve been told that there is still a chance of seeing the males perform their elaborate display.
Salisbury travel tips: great bustard birdwatching on the plain
Read more

I spot a drove of three males bobbing their heads as they are dive-bombed by a lapwing protecting her nest. Standing around a metre tall and weighing up to 16kg, they are impressive birds. A couple of markedly smaller females mill around on the periphery, one dust-bathing, another pecking at seeds and insects in the long grass. As she approaches the group, Pink 2, the six-year-old dominant male flicks open his rufous barred tail like an unfolding fan. His neck balloons as he inflates his gular pouch, the blue-grey plumage parting to reveal a deep V of black skin, and his whiskers curve upwards like a handlebar moustache.

He sweeps his wings sharply down to his sides and inverts them, exposing a frill of white feathers like the ruffle-tiered sleeves of a flamenco shirt. Tail cocked, chin raised, eyes bright, he begins to shimmy from side to side, picking up pace and every so often punctuating the dance with a foot stomp. Seemingly unimpressed by his advances, the female wanders off down the bank. Despite being given the brush-off, Pink 2 turns to face his rival males, raising his wings with a defiant flourish.
...Read more

Monday, June 13, 2016

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, June 18, 2016 to Sunday, June 19, 2016:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, June 18, 2016, 12pm – 1pm
Introduction to Bird Watching
Look! Up in the sky, it’s a bird! But what kind of bird is it? Take a tour and learn about the magnificent array of birds that call Prospect Park home. Led by Brooklyn Bird Club.

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, June 18, 2016
Birds, Insects and Odonata of Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Leader: Steve Nanz
Focus: Breeding birds; insects of wetlands and marshes
Car fee: $10.00
Registrar: Heidi Steiner, email heidi.steiner@verizon.net or call before 8 pm 718-369-2116
Registration Period: June 11th –June 16th

**********

Freshkills Park (Staten Island)
Saturday, June 18, 2016, 12:00pm
“A Fresh Look” Photography Tour
This photography tour is a special opportunity to photograph what was once the world’s largest landfill as it is transforming into a 2,200-acre park and cultural destination. Images taken on this tour and between May 15 and June 26 can be submitted to “A Fresh Look,” a photography contest with the Staten Island Advance. Winning photographs will be featured online and in a gallery exhibit at the Staten Island Arts Culture Lounge in the St. George Ferry Terminal in late 2016.

Photographers can also visit Freshkills Park during Discovery Day on Sunday June 26th to take images for the “Fresh Look” photography contest.

Read the contest rules, and submit images taken between May 15 and June 26 to photo@freshkillspark.org for consideration before the July 5 deadline. Entries will be judged by a panel in four separate categories (creativity, composition, content and artistic merit) to establish winners in each of the three divisions: professional, amateur, and student.
Sign Up at EventBrite

Saturday, June 18, 2016, 3:00pm
“A Fresh Look” Photography Tour
Sign Up at EventBrite

**********

Gateway National Recreation Area
Every Sunday Weekly and Every Saturday Weekly from 06/04/2016 to 09/03/2016 11:00AM to 12:00PM
Birding for Beginners
Join us for an introduction to this fun hobby. Learn the basics of birding. Bring binoculars and a field guide or borrow them from wildlife refuge!
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fee Information: Free

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

Every Saturday Weekly from 05/28/2016 to 08/27/2016 1:00PM to 3:30PM
Canarsie Walk-up and Paddle
Kayak tryouts for those who have never done it before. Open to the public, ages 6 and up with an adult. No reservations required.
Location: Canarsie Pier, Brooklyn
Fee Information: FREE
Contact Name: Ryan Visitor Center
Contact Phone Number: (718)338-3799

Every Sunday Weekly from 06/05/2016 to 09/04/2016 11:00AM to 12:00PM
Fort Tilden Bunkers Walking Tour
Join a Park Ranger for an exploration of Fort Tilden's gun batteries, and find out about the fort's role in the defense of New York Harbor.
1 mile.
Location: Fort Tilden-Building 1
Fee Information: Free

**********

Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Saturday, June 18, 2016 - 2:00PM
Summer Solstice Hike for Families
Take a hike! Join us as we celebrate the summer solstice with this kid-friendly hike on the Greenbelt Trail at the Cold Spring Harbor Library. We will walk in the woods overlooking beautiful Cold Spring Harbor, while stopping to check out birds and other wildlife along the way.
This very hilly hike is suitable for kids aged 8 and up, accompanied by a guardian.
Pre-registration is a must. To register, please call 631-903-5556.

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, June 18, 2016
Eastern Long Island Spring Specialties
Leader: Eric Salzman
Registrar: Regina Ryan — reginaryan@reginaryanbooks.com or 212-787-5589
Registration opens: Monday June 6
Ride: $40

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, June 18, 2016
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11am to 12:30pm beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, June 18, 2016, 9am–Sunday, June 19, 6pm
Bashakill, Neversink, and Sterling Forest, NY
Guide: Joe Giunta, Happy Warblers LLC
Look for breeding American bitterns, cerulean, hooded, and golden-winged warblers, and more at these three great birding areas. An overnight stay will facilitate being in the right spot at the right time. Bring lunch for the first day, binoculars, and a spotting scope (if you have one). Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 10. $290 ($55 single supplement)
Click here to register

Saturday, June 18, 2016, 8:30-11am
The Summering Birds of Inwood Hill Park
Guide: Annie Barry
Meet at the entrance to Inwood Hill Park at the corner of Isham Street and Seaman Avenue. Join Annie Barry for a hike through a mature forest in search of Baltimore and orchard orioles, eastern towhees, wood thrushes, warbling vireos and other summer residents. We will then move to the shores of the Inwood Hill Park saltmarshes to search for herons and ducks. Some hilly walking required. Limited to 15. $36 (25)
Click here to register

Saturdays, May 7-July 30, 8-9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks, The Bronx
Guides: NYC Audubon, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy with the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy
Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

Sunday, June 19, 2016, 8am-5pm
Breeding Birds of the Hudson Highlands - Father's Day Edition
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Celebrate Father's Day with an exciting outing to visit the proud new avian parents of the Hudson Valley! Join Gabriel Willow on a day-long trip to some of the most exciting & beautiful birding locations in southern New York - Doodletown Rd., Constitution Marsh, and Indian Brook Farm (in Fahnestock State Park). We'll look for uncommon breeding warbler specialties at Doodletown, such as cerulean, hooded, blue-winged, golden-winged, and worm-eating warblers; We will then head to the Constitution Marsh Audubon Sanctuary to explore a brackish marsh along the Hudson River. They have a beautiful boardwalk and are home to breeding wood duck, bald eagle, least bittern, marsh wren, and more. After a picnic lunch by the banks of Indian Brook, we will drive to Indian Brook Farm, which has extensive grasslands and highbush blueberry stands. These habitats have breeding Field and savannah sparrows, bobolinks, and indigo buntings. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $129 (90)
Click here to register

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, June 18, 2016 @ 10:00am – 2:00pm
Forest Restoration Workshop – Egbertville Ravine
Cost: Free
Contact: Don Reckless - 718-768-9036, Chuck Perry - 718-667-1393
Meet at the entrance to the White Trail (on Meisner Road opposite the Bluebelt dam close to the intersection of Manor and Rockland). We will pull and bag Garlic-mustard along the trail and perhaps remove Multi-flora Rose. Protectors will provide gloves, bags and tools (& refreshments). For more information contact Don Recklies at 718-768-9036 or Chuck Perry at 718-667-1393.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, June 18, 2016
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Bird Walks focus on wildlife happenings in the park and are led by NYC Audubon experts.
Free!

Inwood Hill Park Flora and Fauna Nature Walk with Author Leslie Day at 218th Street and Indian Road (in Inwood Hill Park), Manhattan
9:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.
Join Leslie Day, author of "Field Guide to the Natural World of New York City", and discover the birds, mammals, and plant life of Manhattan’s northern-most park.
Free!

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

**********

Young Birders Club
Sunday June 19, 2016
Doodletown (Rockland County)
Sponsoring NYSYBC Partner: Edgar A. Mearns Bird Club
Trip Leader: Gerhard Patsch

Doodletown is part of the Palisades Interstate Park. It is the site of a former hamlet just south of Bear Mountain and north of Dunderberg Mountain. The site was settled by at least 1762 and, at its peak (about 1945), was home to about 300.

Today this site is a fantastic birding hotspot with a great variety of warblers (including Cerulean and Hooded). Many other species are found here as well. To get an idea of what our trip might be like, check out Eamon Freiburger's report about our last trip there in June 2013.

The beginning of the outing will involve a steep walk along an old roadway. At the top of the hill is a reservoir. Everyone should carry water and a snack if they desire. Sneakers or light boots are suggested.

Watch your Inbox for directions and details on meeting time and location.

Permission form due by 6/10/16
...Read more

Friday, June 10, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, June 10, 2016:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* June 10, 2016
* NYNY1606.10

- Birds Mentioned

WHITE-FACED IBIS+
MISSISSIPPI KITE+
BLACK-NECKED STILT+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Cory’s Shearwater
Great Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
MANX SHEARWATER
AUDUBON’S SHEARWATER
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel
LEACH’S STORM-PETREL
BROWN PELICAN
LEAST BITTERN
Glossy Ibis
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE
Pomarine Jaeger
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Black Tern
Roseate Tern
Royal Tern
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Black-billed Cuckoo
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Acadian Flycatcher
Gray-cheeked Thrush
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER
Mourning Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Grasshopper Sparrow
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, June 10, 2016 at 7:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are BLACK-NECKED STILT, BROWN PELICAN, WHITE-FACED IBIS, MISSISSIPPI KITE, RED-NECKED PHALAROPE, AUDUBON’S and MANX SHEARWATERS, LEACH’S STORM-PETREL, LEAST BITTERN, SUMMER TANAGER, BLUE GROSBEAK and PROTHONOTARY and YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS.

A nice week for rarities, with last week’s BLACK-NECKED STILT staying in the marsh north of the parking lot for Smith Point Marina in Shirley at least to Monday.

On Sunday a BROWN PELICAN was spotted flying along the ocean off Robert Moses State Park, and Sunday also produced the season’s first WHITE-FACED IBIS, with one appearing among a sizeable gathering of GLOSSY IBIS at the south end of the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. The WHITE-FACED was also seen there again briefly on Thursday. Last Saturday the East Pond also attracted a RED-NECKED PHALAROPE at the south end but not thereafter.

A MISSISSIPPI KITE was reported from Sterling Forest in Rockland County yesterday.

The Captree Summer Bird Count held last Saturday recorded 123 species and also added to the rarities list, Connetquot River State Park providing a LEAST BITTERN and a continuing but seldom encountered PROTHONOTARY WARBLER up near the fish hatchery and 2 YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS, these nesting near the park entrance and adjacent park buildings. Also on the Count were 2 male SUMMER TANAGERS found at Heckscher State Park and 5 ROSEATE TERNS at Democrat Point at the west end of Fire Island, where SOOTY SHEARWATER and WILSON’S STORM-PETREL were noted offshore, with a MANX SHEARWATER there the previous evening. Both YELLOW-BILLED and BLACK-BILLED CUCKOOS were on the count, continuing their good numbers regionally this year.

In Calverton Saturday a pair of SUMMER TANAGERS and a male BLUE GROSBEAK were around the southwest end of the former Grumman Airport, where good numbers of GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS are also in residence.

Sea watching along the south shore of Long Island this time of year can produce various SHEARWATERS, such as the 1 CORY’S and 3 SOOTY SHEARWATERS seen off Jones Beach Field 6 on Sunday, and results generally improve the further east you go, but certainly notable was the gathering of roughly 300 SHEARWATERS off Camp Hero at Montauk Point State Park on Monday, these all CORY’S and SOOTY but for the 1 GREAT SHEARWATER identified. Also present there were 4 BLACK TERNS, these interestingly absent, or at least undetected, in our region until sightings Sunday from Staten Island and Fort Tilden, followed by other singles Monday at Breezy Point and Shinnecock Inlet.

Nonetheless, for pelagics it is best to get offshore. Weather unfortunately forced a cancellation of the scheduled See Life Paulagics trip this week, but a private fishing boat out well south of Shinnecock Inlet last Friday and Saturday encountered a few hundred LEACH’S STORM-PETRELS and good numbers of WILSON’S STORM-PETRELS, most of them at night, along with small numbers of CORY’S, GREAT and SOOTY SHEARWATERS plus 2 MANX and 1 AUDUBON’S SHEARWATERS and 2 POMARINE JAEGERS.

ROYAL TERNS were noted Saturday at Great Kills Park on Staten Island and at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn, along with 2 Sunday at Jones Beach West End, where 4 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were present.

For land birds the migration is all but over. An OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER in Central Park last Saturday and a few species of WARBLERS, including some expectedly late MOURNINGS, have been present this week. Other notable late migrants have included ACADIAN FLYCATCHER and GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH.

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

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Friday's Foto

Arguably one of the most spectacular of North America's moths, the Cecropia Moth is also our largest native species. A member of the giant silk moth family (Saturniidae), females can have a wingspan of up to 6" across. They can be found across most of North America east of the Rocky Mountains. The caterpillars feed on a wide variety of host plants including box elder, sugar maple, wild cherries and plums, apples, alder and birch, dogwoods, and willows. Adult Cecropia Moths do not feed and survive for approximately 2 weeks. Their conservation status is secure.

The scientific name, hyalophora cecropia, means glass bearer; King of Athens (Cecrops).

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

From Popular Science:

Bionic Leaf Is 10 Times Better At Photosynthesis Than Real Plants

Take that, trees
By Meaghan Lee Callaghan Posted Yesterday at 4:39pm

Plants take in carbon dioxide, water, and sunshine to create a sugary fuel. Now researchers have done the same, but even better.

A recent study in Science describes the system, named Bionic Leaf 2.0. In the “leaf,” solar energy splits up a water molecule, and bacteria turn hydrogen and carbon dioxide into liquid fuel, mainly isopropanol. The fuel could possibly be used to power a car's engine or motor in the future.

The researchers, led by Daniel Nocera and Pamela Silver from Harvard University, have made advancements on their original Bionic Leaf, released last year. The system had some problems, mainly with the metal catalyst that helped the reaction. In the first edition, the catalyst also set off a reaction that attacked the bacteria’s DNA.

The new system has a new catalyst made of cobalt and phosphorus. This solves the bacteria-attacking problem and also increases the efficiency of the reaction to 10 percent efficiency. Normal photosynthesis in plants is one percent efficient at converting solar energy to biomass.

Once cost and the availability of the resources needed for the reaction have been assessed, this technology has the potential to bring another type of solar energy to users. Nocera said in a press release that they are continuing their research, chiefly on bringing this technology to the developing world.

...Read more

Monday, June 06, 2016

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, June 11, 2016 to Sunday, June 12, 2016:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, June 11, 2016, 12pm – 1pm
Introduction to Bird Watching
Look! Up in the sky, it’s a bird! But what kind of bird is it? Take a tour and learn about the magnificent array of birds that call Prospect Park home. Led by Brooklyn Bird Club.

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Friday, June 11 - Monday, June 13, 2016
Birding the Bashakill and the Shawangunks Valley
Leader: Mike Yuan
Focus: Breeding birds, water and marsh birds
Registrar: Mike Yuan, email mjyuan@gmail.com
Registration Period: April 15th – June 1st
Car Fee: $100
Stipend for Leader (per person): $20
Note: Trip capped at 8 participants. This trip ends Monday afternoon.

**********

Gateway National Recreation Area
Every Sunday Weekly and Every Saturday Weekly from 06/04/2016 to 09/03/2016 11:00AM to 12:00PM
Birding for Beginners
Join us for an introduction to this fun hobby. Learn the basics of birding. Bring binoculars and a field guide or borrow them from wildlife refuge!
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fee Information: Free

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

Every Saturday Weekly from 05/28/2016 to 08/27/2016 1:00PM to 3:30PM
Canarsie Walk-up and Paddle
Kayak tryouts for those who have never done it before. Open to the public, ages 6 and up with an adult. No reservations required.
Location: Canarsie Pier, Brooklyn
Fee Information: FREE
Contact Name: Ryan Visitor Center
Contact Phone Number: (718)338-3799

Every Sunday Weekly from 06/05/2016 to 09/04/2016 11:00AM to 12:00PM
Fort Tilden Bunkers Walking Tour
Join a Park Ranger for an exploration of Fort Tilden's gun batteries, and find out about the fort's role in the defense of New York Harbor.
1 mile.
Location: Fort Tilden-Building 1
Fee Information: Free

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, June 11, 2016 (rain date Sunday, June 12)
Ward Pound Ridge for Butterflies
Leader: Rick Cech
Registrar: Lenore Swenson — lenoreswenson@gmail.com or 212-533-9567
Registration opens: Monday May 30
Ride: $30

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, June 11, 2016
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11am to 12:30pm beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center

**********

Newtown Historical Society
Sunday, June 12, 2016 at 9AM - 12PM
All Faiths Cemetery
67-29 Metropolitan Avenue

Join naturalist Rob Jett and Christina Wilkinson of the Newtown Historical Society on a walk through All Faiths Cemetery. We will observe the natural environ- ment, including birds, butterflies, plants and trees and discuss the history of the cemetery, it's role in the development of Middle Village and visit the graves of noteworthy people who are buried there. Meet up in front of the cemetery office on the north side of Metro. Bring binoculars and water and wear comfortable shoes. Terrain is hilly.

This event is free and is part of the bicentennial celebration of Middle Village. Sponsored by Juniper Park Civic Association, Newtown Historical Society and All Faiths Cemetery. For more information call 718-366-3715.

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, June 11, 2016, 9am–Sunday, June 12, 2016, 6pm
Bashakill, Shawangunk, and Doodletown, NY
Guide: Joe Giunta, Happy Warblers LLC
Look for breeding eastern meadowlarks, American bitterns, cerulean warblers, and more at these three great birding areas. An overnight stay will facilitate being in the right spot at the right time. Bring lunch for the first day, binoculars, and a spotting scope (if you have one). Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 10. $290 ($55 single supplement)
Click here to register

Saturday, June 11, 2016, 7:30am-12:30pm
Explore the Meadowlands by Pontoon Boat, Secaucus, NJ
Guide: Tod Winston and NJ Meadowlands Docent
With NJ Meadowlands Commission
Explore the Meadowlands' Mill Creek Marsh, a 225-acre restored wetland off the Hackensack River. We'll take a relaxing pontoon boat ride in search of egrets, night-herons, belted kingfishers, and marsh wrens--along with nesting osprey and peregrine falcons. Bring lunch. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $101 (71)
Click here to register

Saturday, June 11,2016, 8-11:00am
Prospect Park Bird Walk
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Meet under the arch in Grand Army Plaza. Join Gabriel Willow for a leisurely walk to see later-spring migrants and breeding bird residents of 'Brooklyn's Backyard', beautiful Prospect Park. Prospect Park has a wide variety of habitats that attracts 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 some of the other species that call the park home. Limited to 15. $36 (25)
Click here to register

Saturdays, May 7-July 30, 8-9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks, The Bronx
Guides: NYC Audubon, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy with the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy
Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

Sundays April 10, May 8, and June 12, 9:30-11:30am
Spring Birding at Wave Hill, The Bronx
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. Walks run rain or shine. Ages 10 and up welcome with an adult. NYC Audubon members enjoy two-for-one admission. For more information, visit https://www.wavehill.org/events/spring-birding-10/

**********

Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, June 11, 2016
Explore the Alley Creek wetlands with the Natural Areas Conservancy
This is a chance to discuss their plans for the area north of Northern Blvd, as well as to provide birding assistance.
REGISTRATION REQUIRED – use this link
Where: Alley Pond Environmental Center, 22806 Northern Blvd, Little Neck, NY 11362

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, June 5, 2016
Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve

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

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, June 11, 2016
Birdwatching at the Ridgewood Reservoir at Ridgewood Reservoir's Vermont Place Entrance (in Highland Park), Queens
8:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Start your day off with an early morning bird-watching walk led by the Brooklyn Bird Club.
Free!

Jane's Walk: Exploring the Wetlands at Alley Pond Park at Alley Pond Environmental Center, Queens
10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Join the Natural Areas Conservancy as we tour the landscape and discuss our plans for restoration.
Free!

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

Sunday, June 12, 2016
Summer Birding at Perkins Visitors Center (in Wave Hill), Bronx
9:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Naturalist Gabriel Willow contributes his extensive knowledge of diverse bird species and their behavior on these captivating walks through the gardens and woodlands.
...Read more

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