Saturday, April 25, 2015

New York City Rare Bird Alert

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

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Apr. 24, 2015
* NYNY1504.24

- Birds Mentioned

BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER+
WESTERN TANAGER+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

HARLEQUIN DUCK
Green Heron
Black Vulture
Virginia Rail
Spotted Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper
Whimbrel
Red Knot
Least Sandpiper
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Glaucous Gull
Caspian Tern
SNOWY OWL
CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Eastern Kingbird
White-eyed Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Wood Thrush
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Pine Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Palm Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER
Worm-eating Warbler
Ovenbird
Northern Waterthrush
Louisiana Waterthrush
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Seaside Sparrow
SUMMER TANAGER
Scarlet Tanager
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
BLUE GROSBEAK
Indigo Bunting
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
Purple Finch

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

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, April 24 at 6:00 pm.

The highlights of today's tape are BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER, CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW, WESTERN and SUMMER TANAGERS, PROTHONOTARY and YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS, BLUE GROSBEAK, SNOWY OWL, HARLEQUIN DUCK and more spring migrants.

An unexpected surprise was a photo circulating today of a male BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER taken Thursday afternoon in Hawthorne, Westchester Co. at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery by the lake near the main entrance off the Taconic State Parkway. A search today did not relocate the bird, but please let us know if it resurfaces.

The lingering CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW was last noted in Manhattan's Bryant Park last Sunday. That same day a male WESTERN TANAGER in nice plumage was found at Jones Beach West End, where it was tracked for a few hours before losing itself in the West End vegetation. A SUMMER TANAGER showing up at that same location on Tuesday did not fare as well, being hit by a car near the turnaround.

BLUE GROSBEAKS also began appearing this week, the first was found Monday in Northern Westchester at Muscoot Farm, where it was still present Thursday. BLUE GROSBEAK was also spotted at Smith's Point County Park in Shirley on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Continuing the southern migrant theme, at least three PROTHONOTARY WARBLERS were in Brooklyn this week, starting with one Saturday at Prospect Park, where two were noted Sunday through Tuesday and at least one continued to Thursday, while another was also at Greenwood Cemetery Monday to Thursday.

Prospect Park also entertained one or two YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS from Sunday to Tuesday, with other YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS also found at Ridgewood Reservoir in Queens on Sunday and at Hempstead Lake State Park on Thursday.

A decent selection of other warblers also arrived during the week, with about 20 species present all told. Friday the 17th perhaps produced the first PRAIRIE WARBLER and NORTHERN PARULA, with the weekend then contributing WORM-EATING, OVENBIRD and HOODED to the list. During this week additional warblers have included NASHVILLE Thursday, two CAPE MAYS Wednesday, one in Central Park and one at Jones Beach West End, BLACK-THROATED GREEN from Tuesday, BLACKBURNIAN Wednesday, and AMERICAN REDSTART Thursday, plus a few more YELLOWS and COMMON YELLOWTHROATS. Both LOUISIANA and NORTHERN WATERTHRUSHES continue to be seen along with BLACK-AND-WHITE, PINE, PALM and YELLOW-RUMPED.

VIREOS so far have been mostly BLUE-HEADED, along with one or two WHITE-EYEDS, a RED-EYED Tuesday and WARBLING Thursday. Other notable passerines this week have included EASTERN KINGBIRD Wednesday, an EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE Thursday, WOOD THRUSH in Central Park from Tuesday, ORCHARD ORIOLE in Prospect Park Tuesday, BALTIMORE ORIOLE from Wednesday, SCARLET TANAGER in Central Park Tuesday, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK in Prospect Park Saturday, INDIGO BUNTING as of Tuesday, and SEASIDE SPARROW in Oceanside Tuesday. Also occurring now are BROWN THRASHER, GRAY CATBIRD and EASTERN TOWHEE, plus a variety of sparrows, with some PURPLE FINCHES also moving through.

Tops among the shorebirds this week were 3 WHIMBRELS that appeared at the Coast Guard Station bar at Jones Beach West End Wednesday. Other shorebirds included a RED KNOT at Floyd Bennett Field Monday, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, a SOLITARY SANDPIPER or two and LEAST SANDPIPER in Oceanside as of last Friday.

Other migrants have featured GREEN HERON as of the 17th, VIRGINIA RAIL on eastern Long Island as of the 16th, four CASPIAN TERNS on the Mecox flats on Wednesday and a few scattered RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS.

Another bird on the move is BLACK VULTURE, with three or four over Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn Wednesday, preceded by six east of Riverhead on Tuesday and six over Rye in Westchester County today.

A winter touch was added by a SNOWY OWL still on Hick's Island in Napeague Sunday, two HARLEQUIN DUCKS continuing at Point Lookout last weekend, and a GLAUCOUS GULL still around Gravesend Bay in Brooklyn Wednesday.

Groups of LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS during last Monday's storm included 12 at Heckscher State Park and six at Floyd Bennett Field, with two more each at Captree and Robert Moses State Park.

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

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Treehugger Tuesday

April 22nd is Earth Day. Events are planned in the now 184 participating countries. You can find an event in the United States here. Below is a chart created by Earth Day Canada with 10 simple things each of us can do to make a difference (click image to enlarge):

Monday, April 20, 2015

Upcoming Nature Trips

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

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

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Celebrating 40 years birding: A Return to High Tor State Park
Leader: Peter Dorosh
Car fee: $25.00
Registrar: Peter Dorosh Prosbird@aol.com (preferred) or 347-622-3559 text
Registration Period: April 14th - April 23rd
Note: Peter Dorosh celebrates 40 years of birding in a symbolic and commemorative walk, to honor his first Brooklyn Bird Club trip at this locale led back then by Ron and Jean Bourque. Trip requires some upward gradual hiking from the trailhead. More details on the terrain at the time of registration. Other easier nearby locations will be visited-likely Stony Point Park or Mount Ivy County Park as options. High Tor State Park near Nyack is the club's first trip since the leader's debut as participant over 35 years ago.
Reference http://www.nynjtc.org/park/high-tor-state-park
http://tinyurl.com/HTSPApr25

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Sunday, April 26, 2015
Great Swamp NWR and Scherman-Hoffman Sanctuary
Leader: Richard ZainEldeen
Registrar: Barbara Saunders – bsaunders002@nyc.rr.com or 646-872-4029
Registration opens: Monday, April 13
Ride: $30

**********

Littoral Society
Sunday, April 26, 2015, 11:00am - 02:00pm
Earth Day Cleanup at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Another opportunity to clean the planet comes from the American Littoral Society's Northeast chapter in Jamaica Bay. Join Chapter Director Don Riepe and his trusty helpers from 11 am until 2 pm to clean the refuge for migrating shorebirds and horseshoe crabs. Bring gloves and wear boots. Because we all know that cleaning the planet can sometimes be dirty work.

Please RSVP here: jamaicabayearthday.eventbrite.com
Location : Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, April 25, 2015, 8am – 2pm
Beginning Birding (trip)
Instructor: Tod Winston
Learn the keys to identifying the spectacular variety of birds that migrate northwards 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. Two fun and educational in-class sessions, paired with field trips to Jamaica Bay and Central Park (transport to Jamaica Bay included). Limited to 12. $179 (125)
Click here to register

Saturday, April 25, 2015, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks, The Bronx
Guides: NYC Audubon, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy With the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics.
For more information, please call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free.

Saturday, April 25, 9am – Sun, April 26, 2015, 7pm
Cape May Spring Migration Weekend, NJ
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Come welcome the spring in lovely Cape May, NJ, the East's capital of birding. On good spring migration days, the area's forests and marshes are swarming with warblers in breeding plumage. We'll visit Cape May Point, Higbee Beach, Cape May Meadows, and more in search of returning songbirds, shorebirds, wading birds, and terns--as well as lingering winter visitors such as sea ducks and gannets.
Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 10. $330. $50 single supplement.
Click here to register

Sunday, April 26, 2015, 10am – 1pm
Birding Bonanza on Randall's Island
The Randall’s Island Park Alliance 's Natural Areas Team invites you for a free day of birdwatching and fun! We'll explore our wetlands and woodlands in search of resident and migratory birds. There will also be bird-themed arts & crafts and lemonade and light refreshments. Binoculars and birding guides will be provided.
This event is suitable for children ages 7-14 accompanied by an adult. Space is limited. Registration is recommended. To register, email Christopher.Girgenti@parks.nyc.gov or call (212) 860-1899

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, April 25, 2015, 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Poillon Beach Discovery
Discover the wonders of Poillon beach, the historical site of one of Staten Island’s premier recreational hotels. Search for horseshoe crabs and migrant birds which use the wave battered remains of the hotel to forage and feed. The beach in spring offers many made-made and natural wonders. The meeting location is at the intersection of Zephyr Street and Pollion Avenue. Parking is available along Zephyr Street.
For more information contact Jim Scarcella at 718-873-4291 or e-mail him at nrpa2@aol.com.

Saturday, April 25, 2015, 12 Noon to 2 p.m.
Herb or Weed? Walk at Conference House Park
Nothing says herb garden like the scents, colors, and tastes of plants. But which are weeds and which are herbs? Join herbalist Gert Coleman for a walk along the beach and through the paths and gardens at Conference House Park to identify edible, medicinal, and culinary plants. Meet in the parking lot at the end of Hylan Boulevard.
For more information e-mail Gert Coleman at gert.coleman@verizon.net.

Saturday, April 25, 2015, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Long Pond Park
We’ll explore Long Pond Park, keeping an eye out for the local White-tailed deer population and emergence of spring species. It is an uncommon mixture of woodland and wetland, providing a peaceful home to a diverse range of wildlife. Its beauty is easily appreciated and is one of the most pristine natural areas in all of New York, covering over 100 acres. Participants will meet at the corner of Eugene Street and Adelphi Avenue, one block from the intersection of Page Avenue and Amboy Road (http://goo.gl/maps/UCsFg). Parking is available along Eugene Street.
For more information call John Paul Learn at 718-619-5051 or e-mail at john.paul.learn@gmail.com.

Sunday, April 26, 2015, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Mount Loretto Unique Area
With its bluffs nestled 85 feet above sea level, Mount Loretto is home to beautiful vistas of the shore facing Prince’s Bay. The shoreline is home to some of Staten Island’s most unique natural artwork. Nestled in the meadow’s hills are a variety of plants and wildlife. Mount Loretto is a habitat for harbor seals, monarch butterflies, wild rabbits, muskrats, ospreys, and on occasion, bald eagles. Meet at the parking lot at Kenny Road and Hylan Boulevard. (https://goo.gl/maps/34Xd1).
For more information call John Paul Learn at 718-619-5051 or e-mail at john.paul.learn@gmail.com.

**********

Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Lord Stirling Park and Great Swamp NWR, NJ
Leader: John Collins 908-581-4976

MINI TRIPS: Break after lunch +/-
ALL DAY TRIPS: BYO lunch, dinner out. {optl}
WEEKEND TRIPS: Two + days / Overnight

Trip Etiquette
Please register for trips

- Register. Let leaders know you're coming!
- Car pooling or skipping requires planning
- Be advised if there are last minute changes or cancellations. These cannot be communicated to unknown persons.
- Be on time! Most trips begin birding by 8am!
- Please arrive before the starting time so we do not waste precious early morning bird activity.
- Plan your travel time.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Birding: Ridgewood Reservoir at Vermont Place Parking Lot (in Highland Park), Queens
9:00 a.m.
Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle.
Free!

Birding: Raptor Nests at East 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue (in Central Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.
Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle.
Free!

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

Sunday, April 26, 2015
Spring Bird Watching Around the Ridgewood Reservoir at Vermont Place Parking Lot (in Highland Park), Queens
8:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Celebrate John James Audubon's Birthday with a spring bird watching stroll led by Peter Dorosh,of the Brooklyn Bird Club. Binoculars recommended.
Free!

Birding Bonanza at Icahn Stadium (in Randall's Island Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Join us for a free, family friendly day of bird watching! Explore 18 acres of natural habitat with expert guides from RIPA and NYC Audubon…
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, April 18, 2015

New York City Rare Bird Alert

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

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Apr. 17, 2015
* NYNY1504.17

- Birds Mentioned

CRESTED CARACARA+
COMMON MURRE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

EURASIAN WIGEON
Red-necked Grebe
Sooty Shearwater
Northern Gannet
Tricolored Heron
Black Vulture
Short-billed Dowitcher
American Woodcock
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Glaucous Gull
Least Tern
Forster's Tern
Razorbill
SNOWY OWL
CHUCK-WILL’S-WIDOW
Eastern Whip-poor-will
Chimney Swift
White-eyed Vireo
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Yellow Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Northern Waterthrush
Common Yellowthroat

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

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, April 17 at 8:00 pm.

The highlights of today's tape are CRESTED CARACARA, pelagic trip results including COMMON MURRE, CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW, SNOWY OWL, EURASIAN WIGEON and spring migrants, including YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER.

A CRESTED CARACARA, the northern Crested species, has been present in the Montgomery area of Orange County since first being spotted there last Friday, the 10th. Though moving about a bit, the bird has recently been staying around Scott’s Corners Golf Course, especially along the entrance road to the golf course, where it has been consuming a former possum. The unfortunate bit of news, though, is that the CARACARA was looked for extensively today but could not be found. The CARACARA is missing its left eye, which might cause it to stay around longer. The golf course entrance road is off of the west side of Route 208 about a quarter mile or so north of Route 17K, east of Montgomery. Please do not park along this narrow road, but park at the golf course itself if you are looking for the bird there.

A pelagic trip last Saturday sponsored by See Life Paulagics aboard the Brooklyn VI out of Sheepshead Bay encountered very cool waters for this time of year, presumably limiting the number and variety of birds seen. Highlights included three COMMON MURRES, one sitting bird in nice full breeding plumage, a small number of RAZORBILLS, 11 RED-NECKED GREBES, and a single SOOTY SHEARWATER. Over 100 NORTHERN GANNETS were tallied, and a decent following of gulls included an immature GLAUCOUS, 3 ICELANDS and 9 or so LESSER BLACK-BACKEDS in varying plumages.

Another interesting lingering bird has been a CHUCK-WILL’S-WIDOW roosting during the day in bare trees in Bryant Park in central Manhattan, first seen there last Monday and still present today. It’s easy to conjecture that the Chuck’s stay in what seems rather unlikely habitat for this species might be due to an unpleasant encounter with one of the surrounding buildings while migrating. This park is off 6th Avenue on the south side of 42nd Street, and the Chuck has been in trees in the northeast corner of the park. An AMERICAN WOODCOCK, perhaps also a building strike victim, was very visible just off the southeast corner of the lawn Monday; a number of injured WOODCOCKS have been treated in the city recently, some with better results than others.

Among the winter species this week, a SNOWY OWL was still near Shinnecock Inlet Wednesday, a drake EURASIAN WIGEON was on Playland Lake in Rye, Westchester County, on Thursday, and single GLAUCOUS GULLS were seen on Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn, Saturday and on Wednesday at Jones Beach Field 6 and at Orient Point County Park.

Besides at Connetquot River State Park, two other YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS featured one still around the south end of Valley Stream State Park Saturday and one at Clove Lakes Park on Staten Island starting on Saturday. EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILLS were singing in Amagansett on eastern Long Island last Tuesday and should be returning to most breeding areas shortly. Four BLACK VULTURES were noted together over the east side of Manhattan last Saturday.

Other seasonal migrants continue to drift into our area, some new reports include TRICOLORED HERON Thursday in Oceanside, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER at Cedar Beach, LEAST TERN along with more FORSTER’S TERNS, additional CHIMNEY SWIFTS, a WHITE-EYED VIREO last Saturday in Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, HOUSE WREN from Monday and MARSH WREN on Tuesday, and a few more BANK and CLIFF SWALLOWS; new Warblers have featured YELLOW WARBLER in Westchester Monday, and NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT in Central Park from Wednesday and Tuesday, respectively.

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, April 17, 2015

Friday's Foto

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, "Rusty Blackbird is one of North America’s most rapidly declining species". The International Rusty Blackbird Working Group is in their second year of gathering data on this little understood blackbird. You can help by entering your Rusty Blackbird sightings on Cornell's eBird website. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources lists this species as "Vulnerable" due to long term population decline. Some theories for this decline include:
 • Loss of wooded wetlands in southeastern wintering grounds
 • Increased competition for food with other blackbird species
 • Increased exposure to an unknown disease to which it has not developed strong immunity

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Treehugger Tuesday

A Little Help for the Bees

From the Charlotte Observer:

Lowe’s to eliminate ‘bee-killing pesticides’ over next four years

BY Katherine Peralta - kperalta@charlotteobserver.com
04/09/2015 2:04 PM | Updated: 04/09/2015 4:29 PM

Following letters and petitions from environmental groups, Lowe’s Home Improvement said Thursday it plans to phase out products that contain certain chemicals shown to be harmful to bees.

As part of its annual corporate responsibility report, the Mooresville-based home improvement retailer said over the next four years, it will phase out products that contain neonicotinoid pesticides as suitable alternatives become commercially available.

Over the past year, more than 20 nurseries, landscaping companies and retailers – including Lowe’s larger rival Home Depot, as well as Whole Foods and BJ’s Wholesale Club – have taken steps to eliminate “bee-killing pesticides” from their shelves, environmental group Friends of the Earth said in a statement Thursday.

Lowe’s said in a statement that it would “include greater organic and non-neonic product selections, work with growers to eliminate the use of neonic pesticides on bee-attractive plants it sells and educate customers and employees through in-store and online resources.”

Environmental groups have been asking Lowe’s to remove the pesticides from their products for about two years, citing bee populations dying at an abnormal rate. In February 2014, activists delivered half a million petition signatures to Home Depot and Lowe’s asking the companies to stop selling bee-killing pesticides, according to the Friends of the Earth website.

Lisa Archer, food and technology program director at Friends of the Earth, said the group is pleased Lowe’s is “listening to consumer concerns” and to the “growing body of science” linking pesticides to bee deaths.

“Bees are canaries in the coalmine for our food system and everyone, including the business community, must act fast to protect them,” Archer said in a statement.

Lowe’s, the second biggest home improvement retailer in the U.S., operates 1,840 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The company said it plans to open an additional 15 to 20 home improvement and hardware stores in 2015.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Upcoming Nature Trips

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

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

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Floyd Bennett and Marine Park
Leader: Heydi Lopes
Focus: first Spring neotropical songbird migrants, sparrows, raptors, upland grass species, early shorebirds
Car fee: $10.00
Registrar: Bobbi Manian, email Roberta.manian@yahoo.com
Registration Period: April 7th - April 16th

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Green-Wood Cemetery
Leader: Rob Jett aka "The City Birder" – information only 917-887-4118
No registration: Public transportation (R train to 25th Street)
Meet at the Main Gate (25th Street and 5th Avenue, Brooklyn) at 7:45 am

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, April 18, 2015, 8am – 2pm
Beginning Birding (trip)
Instructor: Tod Winston
Learn the keys to identifying the spectacular variety of birds that migrate northwards 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. Two fun and educational in-class sessions, paired with field trips to Jamaica Bay and Central Park (transport to Jamaica Bay included). Limited to 12. $179 (125)
Click here to register

Saturday, April 18, 2015, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks, The Bronx
Guides: NYC Audubon, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy With the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics.
For more information, please call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free.

Saturday, April 18, 2015, 9am – 4pm
Spring Migration in Pelham Bay Park, The Bronx
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Come explore the lovely coves and rocky outcroppings of NYC’s largest park, Pelham Bay Park, to look for 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, water, and binoculars. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $93 (65)
Click here to register

Saturday, April 18, 2015, 5:00pm – 9:30pm
The Sky-Dance of the Woodcock, Brooklyn III
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 US. There are a few places around New York City where they perform this display. Let's go look for it (and bats and owls and other critters, too) at Floyd Bennett Field. Bring binoculars, comfortable shoes, a headlamp or flashlight, and a snack for a post-woodcock picnic. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $90 (63)
Click here to register

Sunday, April 19, 2015, 10am – 1pm
Birds and Plants: New York Botanical Garden in Springtime, The Bronx
Guides: Gabriel Willow, NYBG Docent
Meet just outside the Garden's Mosholu Gate on Southern Boulevard. The NY Botanical Garden is home to a large tract of East Coast old-growth forest. During the peak of spring migration, the beautiful gardens come alive with migrating songbirds. Limited to 15. Entrance fee to NYBG not included. $39 (27)
Click here to register

**********

North Shore Audubon Society
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Leader: Lenore Figueroa (718-343-1391)

Walks are for beginners and experienced birders alike.
Weather permitting, walks start at 9:30 AM unless indicated by ***, in which case, the walk will start at 6:30 am on BIG Day.
If in doubt, please call the trip leader.
Please note: all phone numbers are area code 516 unless otherwise indicated.
In most cases, the contacts are also leaders for the respective walks.
Go to our website at http://northshoreaudubon.org/ for directions.
We would like to encourage carpooling, where possible.

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, April 18, 2015, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Long Pond Park on a Spring Evening
During a one-and-a-half mile hike through the woodlands of Long Pond Park, we will observe evidence of the geologic history and human influence on the park as well as look for evidence of wildlife of the park. Reptiles and amphibians are out of hibernation and we are likely to meet some of the local species. Participants will meet at PS 6, at the corner of Page Avenue and Academy Avenue.
For more information call Clay Wollney at (718)869-6327.

Sunday, April 19, 2015, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Graniteville Quarry Walk (1975 – 2015)
Dr. Alan Benimoff will lead a 1.5-hour walk highlighting the igneous rocks found here that formed 200 million years ago as the supercontinent Pangaea split apart. You will see a very rare example of a xenoilth that partially melted to form a trondhjemite. Dr. Benimoff will also show evidence that a glacier flowed over this area around 22,000 years ago. Meet in front of the park sign on the south side of Forest Avenue between Van Name Avenue and Simonson Avenue.
Call Dr. Benimoff at 718-477-1974.

Sunday, April 19, 2015, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Crooke’s Point
Maritime sand spits such as Crooke’s Point are dynamic typographical features formed and sculpted by water and wind action. Join naturalist Paul T. Lederer in a talk and walk where the geological and human history of the site will be discussed. He will also give an update on the maritime shrub-forest restoration and the Army Corps of Engineer dredging and sand removal operations. The entrance to Great Kills Park is located at the intersection of Buffalo Street and Hylan Boulevard. Participants will enter the park and gather in the Great Kills Park Beach Center Parking Lot near the beginning of the dirt permit road leading out to Crooke’s Point.
Call Paul T. Lederer at 718-987-1576.

**********

Queens County Bird Club
Sunday, April 19, 2015
Jamaica Bay for Beginners

MINI TRIPS: Break after lunch +/-
ALL DAY TRIPS: BYO lunch, dinner out. {optl}
WEEKEND TRIPS: Two + days / Overnight

Trip Etiquette
Please register for trips

- Register. Let leaders know you're coming!
- Car pooling or skipping requires planning
- Be advised if there are last minute changes or cancellations. These cannot be communicated to unknown persons.
- Be on time! Most trips begin birding by 8am!
- Please arrive before the starting time so we do not waste precious early morning bird activity.
- Plan your travel time.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, April 18, 2015
HSBC Children’s Garden Spring Session at QBG at Queens Botanical Garden, Queens
9:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Children’s imaginations and knowledge blossom as they plant and harvest vegetables and flowers, visit the bee garden, and more.

Birding: Spring Migrants at Picnic House (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
10:00 a.m.
Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle.
Free!

Pop-Up Audubon: Leaf Litter Critters at Eastwood (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Join the Prospect Park Alliance to uncover the secrets of soil creatures, fungus,and decomposition.
Free!

Pop-Up Audubon II: Animal Clues at Peninsula (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
This spring, the Prospect Park Alliance explores the aquatic habitats of Prospect 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? Join the Prospect Park Alliance to learn about the magnificent array of birds that call Prospect Park home.
Free!

Spring Bird and Wildflower Walk at Wolfe's Pond Park House (in Wolfe's Pond Park), Staten Island
1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
Explore the ephemeral beauty of spring wildflowers at Wolfe’s Pond Park, Research Associate Ray Matarazzo, and Curator of Science, Will Lenihan.
Free!

Sunday, April 19, 2015
Pop-Up Audubon: Leaf Litter Critters at Eastwood (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Join the Prospect Park Alliance to uncover the secrets of soil creatures, fungus,and decomposition.
Free!

Pop-Up Audubon II: Animal Clues at Peninsula (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
This spring, the Prospect Park Alliance explores the aquatic habitats of Prospect Park.
Free!

Soarin' Over Staten Island at Freshkills Park Event Entrance, Staten Island
11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Half hawk watch, half kite festival, and all fun! A windy spring weekend is the perfect time to head to the top of Freshkills Park’s North Park and look for migrant hawks.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, April 11, 2015

New York City Rare Bird Alert

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

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Apr. 10, 2015
* NYNY1504.10

- Birds mentioned

CRESTED CARACARA+ (Orange County)
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

HARLEQUIN DUCK
Red-necked Grebe
Snowy Egret
Glossy Ibis
Black Vulture
NORTHERN GOSHAWK
Broad-winged Hawk
Lesser Yellowlegs
ICELAND GULL
Lesser Black-backed Gull
GLAUCOUS GULL
SNOWY OWL
Chimney Swift
Pileated Woodpecker
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Wood Thrush
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Pine Warbler
Palm Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Eastern Towhee
Boat-tailed Grackle

- 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/...

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, April 10th 2015 at 7pm. The highlights of today's tape are an Orange County CRESTED CARACARA, SNOWY OWL, NORTHERN GOSHAWK, HARLEQUIN DUCK, GLAUCOUS GULL, ICELAND GULL and YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER plus other Spring migrants.

This morning a CRESTED CARACARA was found in Montgomery, Orange County. The bird was seen on the west side of River Road about a mile north of Route 17K frequenting the field near two ponds. Issues to be addressed of course would be the bird's provenance and whether it is a northern or southern Caracara. The northern would presumably be the expected species. The bird did disappear later in the day.

Otherwise with the Spring season somewhat delayed the March doldrums have been pushed back into April but once the weather breaks for good migrants should begin streaming rather than trickling in.

Most of the rarities have a Winter flavor including SNOWY OWL Monday to Wednesday in the marshes off Dune Road west of Shinnecock Inlet near Tiana Beach. Fortunately this owl seems to be staying far enough out to discourage pursuit. The immature NORTHERN GOSHAWK was reported again at Jones Beach West End on Thursday and a pair of HARLEQUIN DUCKS continue around Point Lookout seen Thursday off Lido Beach. In Brooklyn both GLAUCOUS and ICELAND GULLS continue to be seen around Gravesend Bay including near the Caesar's Bay shopping mall. Other single GLAUCOUS GULLS were noted at Shinnecock Inlet Monday and Orient Point Thursday. A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was at Jones Beach field 6 Thursday and a few RED-NECKED GREBES also remain along the Brooklyn and Staten Island shoreline.

Two somewhat out of place species were a female BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE spotted on the east side of the landfill at Croton Point Park last Sunday and single PILEATED WOODPECKERS in a Bethpage yard last Sunday and at the Cemetery of the Resurrection on Staten Island at least through Thursday.

Two BLACK VULTURES spotted over Central Park Monday afternoon were subsequently seen continuing north over Inwood Hill Park.

Among the landbirds certainly the YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER at Valley Stream State Park was the most unusual this bird found March 30th still frequenting the same area at least to Wednesday at the south end of the park and sometimes just across Hendrickson Avenue. Another YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER was back at Connetquot River State Park in Oakdale as of Tuesday. Please keep any disturbance of the nesting Connetquot birds to an absolute minimum.

A few new arrivals and an increasing number of those appearing a little earlier. Besides the PINE and PALM WARBLERS and LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSHES scattered about a BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER appeared in Prospect Park Sunday. Other reported passerines have included BANK, NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED and CLIFF SWALLOWS, HOUSE WREN, WOOD THRUSH, some BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS as of Monday, EASTERN TOWHEE and various sparrows.

Among the arriving non-passerines have been SNOWY EGRET, GLOSSY IBIS, LESSER YELLOWLEGS, BROAD-WINGED HAWK and CHIMNEY SWIFT.

To phone in reports on Long Island, call Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126 or during the day except Sunday 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, April 10, 2015

Friday's Foto

Like the arrival of the Eastern Phoebes and the emergence of the first spring crocuses, the appearance of Mourning Cloak butterflies is a true signal that spring has finally come in New York City. They are one of only a few butterfly species that will overwinter here. They manage this by hibernating, frozen in "cryo-preservation", hidden in tree cavities or under loose bark.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Treehugger Tuesday

From mongabay.com:

Turning Prairies into Gas: Study Finds U.S. Biofuel Production has Big Impacts on Grasslands
Glenn Scherer
April 02, 2015

Corn and soybean cultivation soared in the late 2000s, as U.S. agribusiness rushed to respond to federal legislation rewarding biofuels production. Debate since the institution of the program has centered on the question of whether biofuel crop expansions have come at the expense of plowed-under biodiverse grasslands and prairie ecosystems.

A new study largely settles that argument. Researchers using detailed high resolution satellite imagery found that the loss of carbon-storing natural lands converted into carbon-emitting biofuel croplands is significant, says a paper published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

The study is the first comprehensive analysis of U.S. land-use change between 2008 and 2012, the critical time period following the institution of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, which generated America’s biofuel boom.

Crops, including corn and soy commonly used for biofuels, expanded onto 7 million acres of new land in the U.S. between 2008 and 2012, replacing millions of acres of grasslands, according to University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers Tyler Lark, J. Meghan Salmon and Holly Gibbs.

Grasslands host diverse species, ranging from bobolinks to the greater sage grouse and black-footed ferret. They also store large amounts of carbon in their soils, as a buffer against climate change. Yet, the researchers found nearly 80 percent of cropland expansion over the study’s four year period replaced grasslands, including 1.6 million acres of undisturbed natural grassland equivalent in area to the state of Delaware.

Nearly a quarter of all the natural land converted for crop production came from long-standing prairies and ranges, much of it within the Central Plains from North Dakota to Texas. This so-called biofuels gold rush “mimics the extreme land-use change that led up to the Dust Bowl in the 1930s,” said lead researcher Tyler Lark. Because most of this new cropland was planted with corn that may ultimately fill our gas tanks, he added, “We could be, in a sense, plowing up prairies with each mile we drive.”

The conversion from natural lands to corn and soy also exacerbated climate change by emitting as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as 34 coal-fired power plants operating for one year -- the equivalent of 28 million more cars on the road.

Most of the new croplands were also developed on marginal natural lands unsuited for agriculture, and often prone to heightened risk of erosion, flooding and drought.

“There could be severe environmental consequences for bringing this land into crop production,” Lark said.

The scientists hope their findings will help guide policymakers and Congress in the debate over whether to reform or repeal parts of the RFS, which requires blending of gasoline with biofuels that are supposed to be grown only on pre-existing cropland, in order to minimize land-use change and greenhouse gas emissions.

The study discovered an RFS program loophole big enough to drive a tractor through: the researchers found that 3.5 million acres of corn and soy was produced on new, rather than pre-existing, cropland, rendering it ineligible for renewable fuel production under the RFS standard. However, this went undetected due to inadequate federal monitoring of land-use conversion. It is unknown to what degree agribusiness claimed renewable credits for ineligible biofuel crops grown on natural lands converted since 2007.

Lark recommends improved RFS monitoring, mapping and tracking. It would, for example, “be possible to use our raw data to identify locations of prairie and other ineligible natural lands converted to croplands, and those could then be investigated as likely locations entering the biofuel supply chain and being credited as renewable feed stock,” he said in a mongabay.com interview. The current problem with the federal monitoring system he said is that “it only looks at land use on the national level. That really misses the finer scale, high resolution land use changes that are occurring.”

The new study utilized high-resolution satellite imagery data collected over the last four decades by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Geological Survey. The researchers identified where land had been converted to cropland, and the extent and nature of the conversion -- whether, for example, wetlands were planted with soy, or grasslands were turned into cornfields.

The researchers also recommend expanding the geographic scope of a successful federal program, the Sodsaver provision of the 2014 Farm Bill. This policy reduces federal subsidies to farmers who grow on previously uncultivated land, but it now applies in only six Northern Plains states. The findings suggest a nationwide Sodsaver program is needed to protect remaining native ecosystems, since roughly two-thirds of new cropland conversions occurred outside the six current Sodsaver states.

In February 2015, lead researcher Lark presented the team’s findings to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and White House Office of Management and Budget, which share responsibility for rulemaking and review of changes to the RFS.

Fellow researcher Holly Gibbs, a professor in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment, said that the study’s conclusions provide an opportunity to address shortcomings in existing U.S. biofuels policies while facilitating a more climate-friendly approach to biofuels.

“By closing the gaps in the existing Sodsaver and RFS, we could better protect our nation’s grasslands and prairies,” Gibbs said.


Citations:

Lark, T., Salmon, M., & Gibbs, H. (2015). Cropland expansion outpaces agricultural and biofuel policies in the United States. Environmental Research Letters, 10 044003 (doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/10/4/044003)
...Read more

Monday, April 06, 2015

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, April 11, 2015 to Sunday, April 12, 2015:

Brooklyn Bird Club
Sunday, April 12, 2015
Staten Island Spring
Leader: Mike Yuan
Focus: first Spring neotropical songbird migrants, late ducks, sparrows, upland grass species
Car fee: $25.00
Registrar: Dennis Hrehowsik, email deepseagangster@gmail.com
Registration Period: March 31st - April 9th

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, April 11, 2015 (rain date April 12)
Hook Mountain for Early Spring Butterflies and Birds
Leader: Rick Cech
Registrar: Sandra Maury – sandramaury39@gmail.com or 212-874-4881
Registration opens: Monday, March 30
Ride: $25

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, April 11, 2014
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, April 11, 2015, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks, The Bronx
Guides: NYC Audubon, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy With the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics.
For more information, please call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free.

Saturday, April 11, 2015, 8:00am – 10:30am
The Birds of Woodlawn Cemetery, The Bronx
Guides: Tod Winston, Joseph McManus, Friends of Woodlawn Docent
Meet at the Jerome Avenue Entrance of Woodlawn Cemetery.
Join us for a morning bird walk and tour of beautiful Woodlawn Cemetery: Tod Winston and Joseph McManus will look for spring migrants and year-round residents on the expansive, wooded cemetery grounds, while a Friends of Woodlawn docent will share fascinating stories about Woodlawn’s history and the interesting mixture of individuals interred there.
Limited to 15. $35 (24)
Click here to register

Sunday, April 12, 2015, 9:30am – 11:30am
Spring Birding at Wave Hill, The Bronx
Guide: Gabriel Willow with Wave Hill
Naturalist Gabriel Willow contributes his extensive knowledge of diverse bird species and their behavior on these captivating walks through the gardens and woodlands. Observe the plants, insects and habitats at Wave Hill that make it an appealing destination for such a wide variety of birds. Ages 10 and older welcome with an adult. Birders of all levels welcome! Severe weather cancels. Registration recommended, online at www.wavehill.org or at the Perkins Visitor Center. (NYC Audubon Members enjoy two-for-one admission) MEET AT PERKINS VISITOR CENTER, 9:30AM

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, April 11, 2015, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Forest Restoration Workshop at High Rock Park
Meet in the parking lot of High Rock Park located at 200 Nevada Avenue. We will uproot the Oriental Wisteria that has gotten a foothold on the slope of Loosestrife Swamp close to the park entrance. If you don’t have your own, Protectors will supply gloves and pruners (& refreshments). After a two-hour work session (our 224th monthly workshop), we will take a short walk over nearby trails.
For more information call Don Recklies at 718-768-9036 or Chuck Perry at 718-667-1393

Sunday, April 12, 2015, 10:30 a.m. to Noon
Nature Center Loop and Meisner Pond
Meet at the Nature Center at Rockland Avenue and Brielle Avenue for a delightful stroll through the early spring woods of the Greenbelt. Watch for early spring flowering and listen for spring warblers. We will add a walk to the Meisner Pond, a restful natural oasis, doubling as a Bluebelt. Easy to moderate trail.
For more information, e-mail Hillel Lofaso at hillel5757@gmail.com or call 718-477-0545

**********

Queens County Bird Club
Sunday, April 12, 2015
Shu Swamp
Leader: Rich Kelly 516-509-1094
Meet at 8:30am at gate. Click for map

MINI TRIPS: Break after lunch +/-
ALL DAY TRIPS: BYO lunch, dinner out. {optl}
WEEKEND TRIPS: Two + days / Overnight

Trip Etiquette
Please register for trips

- Register. Let leaders know you're coming!
- Car pooling or skipping requires planning
- Be advised if there are last minute changes or cancellations. These cannot be communicated to unknown persons.
- Be on time! Most trips begin birding by 8am!
- Please arrive before the starting time so we do not waste precious early morning bird activity.
- Plan your travel time.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, April 11, 2015
Birding: Spring Migrants at Alley Pond Park Adventure Center (in Alley Pond Park), Queens
9:00 a.m.
Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle.
Free!

HSBC Children’s Garden Spring Session at QBG at Queens Botanical Garden, Queens
9:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Children’s imaginations and knowledge blossom as they plant and harvest vegetables and flowers, visit the bee garden, and more.

Spring Birding at Perkins Visitors Center (in Wave Hill), Bronx
9:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Join expert naturalists on a walk through the grounds of Wave Hill and discover the birds passing through the skies during this early migration season. Ages 10 and older welcome with…
Free!

Family Birdwatching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Looking for a fun way to spend time with your family outdoors? Join the Prospect Park Alliance for its monthly family birdwatching tours.
Free!

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

Dunes, Drawing and Dendrology: Beach Walk and Talk at Conference House Park Visitor Center (in Conference House Park), Staten Island
12:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.
Take a guided walk along a section of Conference House Park's nearly two-mile shoreline and learn why Conference House Park's wetlands and natural dunes are so important.
Free!

Chirps and Tweets Family Walk at Wave Hill, Bronx
1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.
Can you mimic a bird call? Discover a range of birds that fly through Wave Hill, on a walk with naturalist and educator Gabriel Willow on a walk through the gardens and woodlands. Ages…
Free!

Sunday, April 12, 2015
Birding at Pelham Bay Ranger Station (in Pelham Bay Park), Bronx
11:00 a.m.
Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle.
Free!

Birding for Beginners at High Rock Ranger Station (in High Rock Park), Staten Island
11:00 a.m.
Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle.
Free!

Chirps and Tweets Family Walk at Perkins Visitors Center (in Wave Hill), Bronx
1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.
Can you mimic a bird call? Discover a range of birds that fly through Wave Hill, on a walk with naturalist and educator Gabriel Willow on a walk through the gardens and woodlands. Ages…
Free!
...Read more

Friday, April 03, 2015

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, April 3, 2015:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Apr. 3, 2015
* NYNY1504.03

- Birds mentioned

Wood Duck
EURASIAN WIGEON
Blue-winged Teal
GREEN-WINGED TEAL (Eurasian form "Common Teal")
HARLEQUIN DUCK
Red-necked Grebe
Great Egret
Little Blue Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Black Vulture
Osprey
Rough-legged Hawk
Piping Plover
Willet
American Woodcock
Laughing Gull
Iceland Gull
Forster's Tern
Eastern Phoebe
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Brown Creeper
Marsh Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Pine Warbler
Palm Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Chipping Sparrow
Snow Bunting
Rusty Blackbird
Boat-tailed Grackle
Common Redpoll

- 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, April 3rd 2015 at 7pm. The highlights of today's tape are Spring migrants including YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER plus HARLEQUIN DUCK, EURASIAN WIGEON, Eurasian form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL and other wintering birds.

As the seasonal transition moves along more expected early migrants continue to show up but one not unusually anticipated in March was a YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER found Monday in Valley Stream State Park and is still being seen up to Thursday morning. This species now breeds very locally in our area and is among those that should not be harassed as they prospect for suitable nesting sites.

Enhancing its reputation as an excellent early Spring migration site Hempstead Lake State Park last Sunday produced a number of the species now beginning to filter through many of our local parks. Besides WOOD DUCK and OSPREY as well as a continuing intergrade Eurasian and American GREEN-WINGED TEAL present with some American GREEN-WINGS. Among the passerines were good numbers of EASTERN PHOEBES and TREE SWALLOWS, some GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS and a couple of BROWN CREEPERS, at least 4 PINE WARBLERS and a PALM WARBLER and 5 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS, a NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW also showed up there Tuesday.

Another arriving warbler was a LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH visiting Fuch's Pond in Northport from Tuesday through Thursday. Adding a wintry touch up to about a dozen COMMON REDPOLLS were also present around this pond which is located along the east side of Waterside Road north of Route 25A.

Other birds on the move have featured a few BLUE-WINGED TEAL, among the herons a LITTLE BLUE HERON at Sunken Meadow State Park Tuesday and 2 YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS in Hewlett yesterday as well as some GREAT EGRETS and BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS, WILLET in Napeague Monday, a few LAUGHING GULLS, FORSTER'S TERN at Jones Beach West End yesterday, BARN SWALLOW at Napeague Harbor Sunday, MARSH WREN, some EASTERN BLUEBIRDS and CHIPPING SPARROW. A BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE showed up in Westchester County Thursday at Marshlands Conservancy in Rye. Also in this category were a nice count of 23 PIPING PLOVERS on the Coast Guard bar at Jones Beach West End Sunday, 2 AMERICAN WOODCOCK in Manhattan's Bryant Park Tuesday and a BLACK VULTURE over Prospect Park on Monday. A Eurasian form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL was seen again Wednesday and Thursday at Brookville Park in Queens with American GREEN-WINGS.

As for Winter birds a pair of HARLEQUIN DUCKS were still around the westernmost Point Lookout jetty last Sunday and a few continuing EURASIAN WIGEON include 2 Sunday still on the West Sayville Golf Course and another Sunday at Grant Park in Hewlett while another around southern Westchester during the Winter has been on Playland Lake in Rye the last couple of days.

A few RED-NECKED GREBES continue with sightings this week from Randall's Island, Battery Park in Manhattan, along the Brooklyn shore with up to 5 still off Floyd Bennett Field Sunday and off Staten Island. One in the Point Lookout boat basin west of the loop causeway on Sunday was in great plumage.

A ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was still at the north end of Jamaica Bay Saturday and an ICELAND GULL was still around Gravesend Bay in Brooklyn today. A nice flock of 30 or more SNOW BUNTINGS were still circulating around Jones Beach West End last Sunday.

To phone in reports on Long Island, call Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126 or during the day except Sunday 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

I think I can say with a fair amount of confidence that New Yorkers are so over this past winter. As if right on cue, snowdrops, crocuses and hellebores are emerging. North bound migrants are appearing and within a few weeks the dawn chorus will be deafeningly melodious.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Red-tailed Hawk Update

On Sunday I went to Green-Wood Cemetery and looked around for any possible Red-tailed Hawk nests. I didn't spot any nor did I see any of our local hawks involved in courtship behavior or carrying nest material. Today's trip, however, was a different story.

I was only about 20 minutes into the walk when I saw a red-tailed flying from Central Ridge, near the Pierrepont family, heading through the trees towards Valley Water. It appeared to be carrying something that I assumed was prey. When it landed on a ledge near the base of the chapel dome I was stunned to see a very substantial nest in place. This dark-faced hawk didn't look familiar, but without comparing photos (and sometimes even with) it's near impossible to tell if this is a new resident. Anyway, after the hawk added some material to the growing nest it flew up to the top of the chapel, no doubt to survey its kingdom.

After a few moments the red-tailed flew back in the direction of Central Ridge where it perched low over the roadway and directly above a small flock of seemingly fearless Canada Geese. This back and forth continued for a couple of minutes when I finally noticed another Red-tailed Hawk. It appeared to be a small male and had just caught something tiny. The raptor flew back over to the nest where it proceeded to eat the unidentified animal. Now here is where it gets a little unusual. This presumed mate to the earlier red-tailed was a "brown-tailed", that is to say, it was an immature hawk. It takes Red-tailed Hawks 2 years to attain their namesake red tail, so it is quite possible that this individual is just entering his second year and the female decided to take him as a mate. It wouldn't be the first time I've observed this happening. Back in 2004, the female from Prospect Park named "Big Mama" was mated with "Split-tail" until a young upstart we named "Junior" successfully challenged her partner of 2 years. That pair remained together until "Big Mama" died in 2013.

This should be a fun nest to watch as the steep hill on the east side of the chapel affords near eye-level viewing. On the other hand, I'm guessing that it will be a tad stressful for the resident colony of Monk Parakeets on the main entrance's steeple ... 200 yards away.







**********

Location: Green-Wood Cemetery, Kings, US-NY
Date: Apr 1, 2015
Species: 33

Canada Goose
Wood Duck (2.)
Osprey (3.)
Red-tailed Hawk (3.)
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher (1.)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (5.)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (1.)
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker (2.)
Monk Parakeet
Eastern Phoebe (7.)
Blue Jay
American Crow (2.)
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse (2.)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (2.)
White-breasted Nuthatch (6.)
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Fox Sparrow (12.)
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Common Grackle (4.)
Brown-headed Cowbird
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow
...Read more

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Treehugger Tuesday

Nitrogen pollution article from The Nature Conservancy via treehugger.com:

A lesson in water quality from clams

The Nature Conservancy (@nature_org)
Science / Clean Water
March 26, 2015

Nitrogen pollution continues to be a problem in water bodies throughout the world. Most of the nitrogen leaking into Long Island's waters comes from a surprising source.

By Nancy Kelley, Director of The Nature Conservancy's Long Island Chapter

In my 15-year career as executive director for The Nature Conservancy on Long Island, I have learned a lot from the low-lying, muck-dwelling (albeit delicious) clam.

Clams were once so abundant in Long Island’s waters it was said you could cross the 25-mile-long Great South Bay by jumping from clam boat to clam boat. In fact, in the 1970's, half the clams eaten in this country came from Great South Bay. Annual harvests four decades ago were upwards of 700,000 bushels. Now, only about 10,000 bushels are harvested annually.

The Nature Conservancy tried to improve this situation by embarking upon an ambitious shellfish restoration project that began 10 years ago. We hoped to repopulate a 21-square mile area of the bay with clams and kick-start mother nature. To date, about 8 million clams have been deposited.

Several years into the effort, though, the reintroduced clams weren’t reproducing as well as we had predicted. Some years, when we counted the numbers of live baby clams, we saw positive results. Other years, not so much. The clams were telling us something. They were telling us there was a problem with our water quality.

But what exactly was the issue? It was, and continues to be, nitrogen pollution—a problem in water bodies throughout the world that causes harmful algal blooms, kills fish, and prevents people from enjoying local beaches, bays and shellfish.

Local research commissioned by The Nature Conservancy revealed that 65 percent of nitrogen leaking into Great South Bay comes from a surprising source: wastewater from residential home septic systems. Only 30% of Suffolk County’s 1.5 million homes are connected to sewers. The remaining 70% have outdated septic systems, sending untreated wastewater into Long Island’s groundwater and from there into its bays and harbors.

Through a major public awareness effort by the Conservancy and its partners, nitrogen pollution from sewage is now recognized as the biggest environmental threat facing Long Island. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone dubs it “public water enemy number one” because it threatens Long Island’s health, economy and quality of life.

In 2014, 13,000 acres of shellfishing grounds were closed because of toxic algal blooms. That number is growing. The solution lies in upgrading and modernizing our wastewater systems to reduce pollution.

Getting homeowners to replace old septic systems with nitrogen reducing technology is no small feat and not inexpensive. The longer we wait to fix our water quality problem, the worse it will become and the more expensive it will be.

The good news? Long Islanders are willing to be a part of the solution. Recent polling shows that 85 percent of Long Island voters strongly support tougher water quality standards if it means that less nitrogen pollution will enter our waters, and they understand that it’s going to cost quite a few…clams.
...Read more

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