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

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website Earther:

Are Reusable Bags Really Better For the Planet?
Ian Graber-Stiehl
Wednesday 9:20am

Earlier this week, a pilot whale died after being found with 17 pounds of plastic bags in its stomach. The horrific incident was our latest reminder that plastic bags contribute to the scourge of marine litter. By sheer coincidence, it came on the heels of a major U.N. report pointing to plastic bag levies or bans as key strategies to help reduce that litter. Many seem to be listening.

But as the war against plastic bags intensifies, it’s worth taking a step back and asking: How much better are the alternatives?

The assumption is that the hierarchy of sustainable choices goes reusable totes, paper, and plastic. While that may well be true from a litter perspective, when it comes to emissions, energy and water use, smog, and a host of other factors, it turns out paper and totes often fall behind good ol’ petrol-borne plastic.

A key method used for determining the sustainability of a product is the Life Cycle Assessment. LCAs analyze all the steps (resource extraction, manufacturing, shipping, use, disposal, etc.) in a product’s long journey from factory to landfill, and calculate what impact each has on things like greenhouse gas emissions, resource depletion, the degradation of water bodies, smog production, and the creation of toxic byproducts.

Next to no LCAs peg the plastic bag as a slouch.

Generally speaking, there are two main types of grocery bags: Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) and High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE). An easy rule: thick, glossy bags like the ones you get at department stores, are usually LDPE. Thinner grocery bags are probably HDPE.

One recent LCA by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, which compared 14 types of bags and analyzed their impact in 14 categories, concluded that the most sustainable choice was to use LDPE bags, and reuse them as trash bags. To match LDPE bags in climate impact, cotton bags would have to be reused 52 times—149 times if it’s organic cotton. (That may sound strange, but organic crops can require more land and resources to grow.) To compete with plastic in every LCA category, regular cotton bags would need to be reused 7,100 times, and 20,000 times for organic cotton. Paper bags would’ve needed to be used 43 times to compete.

Why does plastic come out ahead? For one reason, plastic weighs less than paper or cotton, and carries more for the material it uses. In fact, to compensate for the discrepancy in carrying capacity, one LCA by Hong Kong Polytechnic University researchers compared two plastic bags to every one paper bag, and still found plastic bags took less energy to make. Paper bags also produced nearly four times more solid waste, 142 percent more air emissions, and 15 times more water-borne waste.

The staggeringly high number of times cotton needs to be reused is attributable in part to the fact that its lifecycle can create ozone-depleting byproducts, according to that Danish study. But even ignoring ozone, organic cotton bags may need to be reused up to 3,800 times to match LDPE.

Another LCA from the UK Environment Agency analyzed the global warming potential of different bags per their carrying capacity, and compared its results to three other studies’. In all but one study, HDPE bags came out on top.

In that paper, as with others, the weight of the bags was a dominant factor. Even heavier-but-biodegradable plastic bags were determined to be less sustainable than using regular plastic as many times as you can, before using them to take out the trash.

Granted, the UK study assumed bags used in Europe would be recycled all the way in China, which could explain why recycling didn’t improve the bags’ sustainability more. This underscores one issue applying the results of any single LCA study to your situation: No two countries’ manufacturing, shipping, and disposal system perfectly mirror each other.

However, reusing plastic bags as trash bags is a common recommendation of LCAs. And the UK researchers’ conclusions on the overall impact of plastic bags are similar to those drawn by other LCAs, such as those done on bags used in the U.S. and California specifically.

There is a major factor missing from LCAs, though. Many of the places considering plastic bans are coastal areas—where plastic pollution is an serious issue.

An estimated 8 million tons of plastic finds its way to the ocean each year, most of it from developing nations. And bags are among the most common types of marine plastic pollution.

Both shore cleanup crews in California and researchers studying the effects of European plastic bag bans have seen a decisive decline in bags on shores and in the oceans, respectively, since their respective bans.

Plastic in general has even been found all over the oceans, from that poor pilot whale’s stomach to the stomachs of shorebirds to the depths of the Mariana Trench. Scientists are still working out all the impacts, but what we’ve learned so far is alarming.

“There is a growing body of experimental evidence that shows that there are some sublethal impacts on kidney and liver function—maybe some reproductive effects,” to the near-ubiquitous ingestion of plastic by marine animals, Anela Choy of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute told Earther.

At the same time, trying to identify the origins—bags or otherwise—of this plastic is the “wild west,” according to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute researcher Christopher Reddy. That’s because a huge amount of it exists as tiny pieces known as microplastic.

According to the Scripps Oceanographic Institute’s Jennifer Brandon, the most common type of microplastic out there is polyethylene, essentially the same stuff our carry out bags are made of. Still, nobody can really say how much of our current microplastic problem comes courtesy of them.

So, if plastic bag bans can reduce pollution, but leave us with bags that are less sustainable in other categories, what are we to do?

Well, for coastal areas, plastic bag bans probably make sense. For everywhere else, it’s a bit more dependent on how much we reuse those reusable bags.

As a general rule if you’re using totes, use them like hell. Sadly, some surveys suggest that people forget their totes on 40 percent of grocery trips. Others peg them as only getting used, on average, 15 times—a far cry from 7,100. What you can’t put in the totes, just put in plastic bags, and reuse said bags.

Or, if you have a bike with a rack, get pannier bags, They double as totes. Plus, cycling to the store is better anyway.
...Read more

Monday, June 11, 2018

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, June 16, 2018 to Sunday, June 17, 2018:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, June 16, 2018, 12pm – 1pm
Introduction to Birdwatching
Join Prospect Park Alliance every Saturday for a birdwatching tour to learn about Prospect Park’s magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!

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Brooklyn Bird Club
Sunday, June 17, 2018
Bugs and Odes of Staten Island’s Coast, Greenbelt and Bluebelt
Leader: Steve Nanz
Focus: insects, dragonflies, moths, butterflies
Car Fee: $22.00
Registrar: Heidi Steiner-Nanz email heidi.steiner.bklyn@gmail.com or call before 8 pm 718- 369-2116
Registration Period: June 9th – June 14th

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

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Gateway National Recreation Area
Saturday, June 16, 2018, 10:00am to 11:00am
Birding by the Bay
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fees: Free
View Details

Sunday, June 17, 2018, 10:00am to 11:00am
Father's Day Fete
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fees: free
Bring your dad to the Wildlife Refuge for a jaunt around the West Pond Trail.
View Details

Sunday, June 17, 2018, 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Nature-Birding Hiking Series
Location: Fort Wadsworth Overlook
Join us for a hike along the trails and beach.
View Details

Sunday, June 17, 2018, 10:00am to 11:30am
Osprey Watch Guided Walk
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fees: free
Learn all about the amazing osprey on this guided walk of the West Pond Trail.
View Details

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Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, June 17, 2018
Birding in Peace
Summer Birding Sundays
Except for some lingering individuals, by the end of the first week in June nearly all the northbound migrants will have disappeared from the city. Locally nesting birds will be incubating eggs or busily raising their first broods. In July we should see the offspring of our resident Red-tailed Hawks bravely preparing to leave the nest. Warbler songs will be replaced by chirring Cicadas and the tweets of fledgling birds. Butterflies and dragonflies are abundant. By late-July, expect the arrival of the first southbound migrants.

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

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

Click here for our inclement weather policy.

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Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, June 16, 2018
Van Cortlandt Park Nature Trip
Leader: Ken Chaya
Registrar: Anne Lazarus — amlazarus47@gmail.com or 212-673-9059
Registration opens: Monday, June 4th
Public transportation

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

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, June 16, 2018, 8am - Sunday, June 17, 2018, 6pm
Bashakill, Neversink, and Sterling Forest
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. $325 ($75 single supplement)
Click here to register

Saturday, June 16, 2018, 9:00am – 11:30am
The Summering Birds of Inwood Hill Park
Guide: Annie Barry
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

Saturday, June 16, 2018, 9:00am – 10:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks
Guide: NYC Audubon 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 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, call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

Sunday, June 17, 2018, 10am – 1pm
Birds and Plants: New York Botanical Garden in Springtime
Guides: Gabriel Willow
The New York Botanical Garden is home to a large tract of East Coast old-growth forest. During the peak of spring migration, the beautiful gardens come alive with migrating songbirds. Limited to 15. Entrance fee to NYBG not included. $39 (27) per walk
Click here to register

Sunday, June 17, 2018, 2pm – 3pm
Governors Island Bird Walk
Saturdays May 26, June 2, June 23, 2-3pm
Sundays, May 20, June 10, June 17 and June 24 2–3pm
Guide: NYC Audubon
Meet at Nolan Park house #17. Join us for a bird walk around beautiful and historic Governors Island, which boasts over 192 species recorded on ebird.org. Learn about the island’s fascinating history and search for waterbirds, raptors, waterfowl, and more. Binoculars are available. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

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NYC H2O
Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 11am
Ridgewood Reservoir Community Tours

The Ridgewood Reservoir in Highland Park is a 50+ acre natural oasis that straddles the border of Brooklyn and Queens. Built in 1859 to supply the once independent City of Brooklyn with high quality water, it became obsolete with the addition of new reservoirs in the Catskills in the 1950’s and was decommissioned in the 1980’s. Since then, nature took its course in a perfect case study of ecological succession. A lush and dense forest has grown in its two outside basins while a freshwater pond with waterfowl sits in the middle basin.

Join us to explore this incredible natural resource in the heart of NYC. Please make a reservation.

We will meet in the parking lot at Vermont Place.

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New York City WILD!
Saturday, June 16, 2018
Staten Island: Brookfield Park Photography & Nature Walk (7:00 am)

Sunday, June 17, 2018
Randall's Island Park Photography and Nature Walk (12:00 noon)

For the FULL INFORMATION ABOUT EACH WALK click HERE to take you to the Eventbrite profile page where you will find all details (scroll down to the thumbnails) for each of the outings and how to SIGN UP!

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Saturday, June 16, 2018, 10:00am – 12:00pm
Serpentine Arts and Nature Commons Park
Meet at the park entrance on Van Duzer Street between Broad Street and St. Paul’s Avenue. Participants will ascend the steep trails to look at the serpentine outcrops and unique community of plants that manage to live here, as well as relish the marvelous views across the bay. From this walk it will be apparent why hillside preser­vation zoning here is an important issue. Note that some of these trails may be difficult.
Call Don Recklies at 718-768-9036 for more information.
Read more

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, June 16, 2018
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Join NYC Audubon on a walk through the park to observe the many species of birds in Van Cortlandt Park.
Free!

Ridgewood Reservoir Community Tours at Ridgewood Reservoir, Queens
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Join us to explore this incredible natural resource in the heart of NYC.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, June 09, 2018

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, June 8, 201:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jun. 8, 2018
* NYNY1806.08

- Birds mentioned
ARCTIC TERN+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Snow Goose
EURASIAN WIGEON
CORY'S SHEARWATER
Sooty Shearwater
MANX SHEARWATER
BROWN PELICAN
White-rumped Sandpiper
WILSON'S PHALAROPE
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
GULL-BILLED TERN
CASPIAN TERN
BLACK TERN
Roseate Tern
ROYAL TERN
SNOWY OWL
Red-headed Woodpecker
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Mourning Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Henslow's Sparrow
BLUE GROSBEAK

- Transcript

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transcriber: Ben Cacace

BEGIN TAPE

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, June 8th 2018 at 10pm. The highlights of today's tape are BROWN PELICAN, SNOWY OWL, WILSON'S PHALAROPE, ARCTIC TERN, GULL-BILLED TERN, CASPIAN TERN, ROYAL TERN, BLACK TERN, EURASIAN WIGEON, MANX SHEARWATER, CORY'S SHEARWATER, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, BLUE GROSBEAK and more.

Two more Spring BROWN PELICAN reports. First one moving east off eastern Fire Island on Tuesday and then one also going east off Nickerson Beach today. These hopefully an omen of a good Summer to come for this species locally.

A male WILSON'S PHALAROPE spent last Monday around the field 7 puddles at Heckscher State Park joining 2 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS and other shorebirds there. Unfortunately this bird did not reappear Tuesday. It should be noted that very exposed areas such as the pools at Heckscher, while they do attract some great birds, are very susceptible to disturbance due to proximity and birders and photographers should be very mindful to keep their distances and use their vehicles as blinds.

Very unexpected was a SNOWY OWL sitting on a rooftop in Brooklyn Tuesday afternoon. The location along the bay just west of the end of Bay Ridge Avenue.

A good variety of terns recently have featured single immature and adult ARCTIC TERNS at Nickerson Beach on Wednesday. The Common and Least Terns and Black Skimmers nesting at Nickerson have also attracted a few GULL-BILLED and up to 5 ROSEATE TERNS to the colony along with single BLACK TERNS Saturday and today. Two ROYAL TERNS appeared Wednesday both at Heckscher State Park and in Moriches Bay near Cupsogue County Park where an adult CASPIAN TERN visited today.

A drake EURASIAN WIGEON was still on the West Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge last Saturday. A presumably injured SNOW GOOSE also continuing there.

Pelagic birding off Long Island's south shore has been spotty lately. Last Sunday was the most productive day with 33 SOOTY SHEARWATERS counted off Robert Moses State Park while later that day off Triton Lane west of Shinnecock Inlet there were a couple of CORY'S SHEARWATERS followed by 2 MANX and 3 more SOOTY SHEARWATERS.

An ICELAND GULL was still at Moses Park Sunday with another at Smith Point County Park to Wednesday and Smith Point produced the weeks peak count of LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS with 36 Sunday.

RED-HEADED WOODPECKER continues at Connetquot River State Park as does a YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER at Bayard Cutting Arboretum. BLUE GROSBEAKS were noted last Saturday at Calvert Vaux Park in Brooklyn and out at the Calverton Grasslands. Please do not harass in any way these very uncommon local breeders or potential nesters.

Among the late northbound migrants have been several species of warblers including a MOURNING WARBLER at Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn Wednesday and a few species of flycatchers including OLIVE-SIDED and YELLOW-BELLIED.

The HENSLOW'S SPARROW pair at the Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge in Ulster County have settled into a nesting scenario and should only be passively observed from a respectful distance as set out by refuge personnel.

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

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Treehugger Tuesday

From Mother Nature Network:

Extinct-in-the-wild bird hatches at Smithsonian
Guam kingfisher chick is one of the rarest birds in the world.
Mary Jo DiLonardo
June 1, 2018, 2:53 p.m.

The Guam kingfishers looks more stately with its full plumage as an adult. (Photo: Michael Fitzsimmons/Shutterstock)

The Guam kingfisher is an interesting bird. It's known for a distinct, loud call and an aggressive nature when defending its nesting territory. The bird makes its nest by jabbing over and over at a tree with its beak while flying.

Once found only on the island of Guam, the brightly feathered bird is now extinct in the wild and is one of the most endangered bird species on the planet.

But a tiny Guam kingfisher chick is happily eating chopped mice and crickets, mealworms and anoles after hatching May 17 at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. The female is the first to have hatched in four years at the facility. According to the Smithsonian, there are only about 140 Guam kingfishers in the world, and all of them live in captivity.

Read the entire story here.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, June 9, 2018 to Sunday, June 10, 2018:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, June 9, 2018, 12pm – 1pm
Introduction to Birdwatching
Join Prospect Park Alliance every Saturday for a birdwatching tour to learn about Prospect Park’s magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!

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Bedford Audubon Society
Sunday, June 10, 2018, 7:30am - 3:00pm
Bashakill Marsh and Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge
Grab your binoculars and join Naturalist Tait Johansson for a full day of birding! Bashakill supports wetland-dependent breeding species like Virginia Rail, Sora, Common Gallinule, both bitterns, both cuckoos, and a large array of songbirds. The National Wildlife Refuge has breeding populations of Bobolink, Grasshopper Sparrow, and Upland Sandpiper. Depart Bylane at 6 am and return 4:00pm.
Cost: Free. Level of difficulty: Moderate.
Register with Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914.302.9713.
See more details

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Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, June 9, 2018
Breeding Bird Preserves around Beacon and Cold Spring, NY
Leader: Peter Dorosh
Focus: Breeding birds, butterflies and general nature Car fee: $25.00 Registrar: Peter Dorosh Prosbird@aol.com or text only to 347-622-3559 Registration Period: June 2nd – June 7th Note: If there aren't enough cars, we will attempt this trip by Metro North Rail to Cold Spring. Locations for exploration are West Point Foundry Preserve, Long Dock Park, […]

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

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Gateway National Recreation Area
Saturday, June 9, 2018, 10:00am to 11:00am
Birding by the Bay
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fees: Free
View Details

Saturday, June 9, 2018, 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Diamond Terrapin Walk
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fees: free
Join staff in search of nesting Diamondback Terrapins
View Details

Saturday, June 9, 2018, 11:00am to 12:30pm
World Ocean's Day with NYC Urban Park Rangers
Location: Rockaway Beach, Boardwalk and Beach 86th St.
Fees: free
Join us as we team up with NYC Urban Park Rangers in celebrating World Oceans Day!
View Details

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

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Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, June 10, 2018
Birding in Peace
Summer Birding Sundays
Except for some lingering individuals, by the end of the first week in June nearly all the northbound migrants will have disappeared from the city. Locally nesting birds will be incubating eggs or busily raising their first broods. In July we should see the offspring of our resident Red-tailed Hawks bravely preparing to leave the nest. Warbler songs will be replaced by chirring Cicadas and the tweets of fledgling birds. Butterflies and dragonflies are abundant. By late-July, expect the arrival of the first southbound migrants.

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

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

Click here for our inclement weather policy.

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Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon
Saturday, June 9, 2018 - 8:00am
Nickerson Beach, Lido Beach, NY
We will walk around looking for shorebirds and other interesting migrants.
Registration: 631-885-1881
Directions: Meet in SE corner of biggest parking lot at Nickerson.

Sunday, June 10, 2018 - 2:00pm
Bailey Arboretum, Oyster Bay, NY
This trip is great for families!
Registration: 585-880-0915
Directions: Meet in the parking lot.

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Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, June 9, 2018 (Rain date, June 10)
Ward Pound Ridge for Butterflies
Leader: Rick Cech
Registrar: Lenore Swenson — lenoreswenson@gmail.com or 212-533-9567
Registration opens: Monday, May 28
Ride: $30

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

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, June 9, 8am – Sunday, June 10, 6pm
Bashakill, Shawangunk NWR, and Doodletown Road
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. $325 ($75 single supplement)
Click here to register

Saturday, June 9, 2018, 7:30am – 12:30pm
Explore the Meadowlands by Pontoon Boat
Guide: Tod Winston and NJ Meadowlands Docent
Explore the Meadowlands on a relaxing pontoon boat ride in search of egrets, night-herons, and kingfishers—along with nesting Osprey, Peregrine Falcons, and Marsh Wrens. We'll travel along the Hackensack River to both man-made and restored wetland sites and learn about the area's environmental history. Bring lunch. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 11. $117 (82)
Click here to register

Saturday, June 9, 2018, 8am – 12pm
Birding Gems of Staten Island: Clove Lakes Park
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Journey to the "forgotten borough" to discover some of the beautiful forests and incredible birding spots of Clove Lakes Park. Look for ducks and seabirds in New York Harbor on our way across on the ferry ride and then catch a bus to the Park. Numerous warblers, vireos, tanagers, and other migratory songbirds can be seen here, as well as nesting Eastern Screech-Owls and Great Blue Herons. We'll even see one of the largest and oldest trees in New York City. Limited to 15. Bus fare ($2.75 each way; please bring your MetroCard or exact change) not included in registration price. $43 (30)
Click here to register

Saturday, June 9, 2018, 9:00am – 10:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks
Guide: NYC Audubon 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 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, call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

Saturday, June 9, 2018, 9:30am – 10:30am
Queens Botanical Garden Bird Walks
Saturdays, April 28, May 19, and June 9, and Sundays, May 6 and 27, 9:30-10:30am
Guide: NYC Audubon with Queens Botanical Garden
Explore Queens Botanical Garden in search of migrant songbirds and learn about the valuable resources the Garden offers birds and other wildlife. Binoculars available. Register for one date or the whole series of five walks (walk-ins welcome). To register, email info@queensbotanical.org or visit www.queensbotanical.org/calendar. Each walk limited to 25. Free (with Garden admission)

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

Sunday, June 10, 2018, 2pm – 3pm
Governors Island Bird Walk
Saturdays May 26, June 2, June 23, 2-3pm
Sundays, May 20, June 10, June 17 and June 24 2–3pm
Guide: NYC Audubon
Meet at Nolan Park house #17. Join us for a bird walk around beautiful and historic Governors Island, which boasts over 192 species recorded on ebird.org. Learn about the island’s fascinating history and search for waterbirds, raptors, waterfowl, and more. Binoculars are available. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

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NYC H2O
​Saturday, June 9, 2018, 11am
Lemon Creek Walking Tour
Lemon Creek is one of the longest aboveground creeks in New York City, and its route cuts deeply into the history of Staten Island. Once famous for its oysters and oystermen, it was a favorite haunt of author Joseph Mitchell in the 1950s, and is now a Staten Island Bluebelt, harboring eagles, peacocks, and deer. Join writer and photographer Nathan Kensinger on a walk tracing out the lower portions of this fascinating waterway, as it flows through historic neighborhoods and protected parklands, and out to Prince’s Bay.

Sturdy, close-toed shoes are recommended for this walk, which will involve following footpaths over streams and through wooded environments.
This walking tour is sponsored by Council Member Joseph Borelli.
Rain date: June 23rd.
Click here to sign up

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New York City WILD!
Saturday, June 9, 2018, 1:00pm
Queens: Howard Beach Photography and Nature Walk

Sunday, June 10, 2018, 10:00am
Bayonne NJ: Bayonne Golf Course Promenade Photography and Nature Walk

For the FULL INFORMATION ABOUT EACH WALK click HERE to take you to the Eventbrite Profile page where you will find all details (scroll down to the thumbnails) for each of the outings and how to SIGN UP!

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Sunday, Jun 10, 2018, 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Neighborhood Nature Series, Huguenot
There is nature in every neighborhood on Staten Island and Protectors president, Cliff Hagen, is excited to visit different locations across the Island to explore and enjoy the nature at our doorsteps. Participants will meet in the center of town, Huguenot, at the intersection of Amboy Road and Huguenot Avenue. We will walk the local streets and watch for the busy activity of squirrels and blue jays, search for late migrating birds, butterflies and dragonflies and try to identify aged trees based on bark, colorful foliage and leaf lit­ter. Call Cliff Hagen at 718-313-8591 or e-mail him at ppow@siprotectors.org for more information.
Read more

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Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, June 9, 2018
Nickerson Beach
Leader: Mike Zito (516) 507-9419
Where: Nickerson Beach Park, 880 Lido Blvd, Lido Beach, NY 11561 (map)

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, June 9, 2018
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Join NYC Audubon on a walk through the park to observe the many species of birds in Van Cortlandt Park.
Free!

Bird Walks with New York City Audubon at Queens Botanical Garden, Queens
9:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Spot and identify creatures of flight and learn how Queens Botanical Garden provides important resources for birds like water, shelter, and insects to eat.

Flora and Fauna Walk at Highbridge Park with Leslie Day at Dyckman Street and 10th Avenue Entrance to Highbridge Park (in Highbridge Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Come on a morning nature walk through Highbridge Park, an ideal spot to see many species of animals, insects, and birds.
Free!

Birding: Raptors at Arthur Kill Road and Brookfield Avenue (in Brookfield Park), Staten Island
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. Our Urban Park Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle.
Free!

Biking and Birding Adventure at Ben Abrams Playground (in Bronx Park), Bronx
10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
We'll visit a variety of habitats by bike, hoping to see a diverse array of bird species that reside along the beautiful Bronx River Greenway.
Free!

Sunday, June 10, 2018
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 walks through the gardens and woodlands.
Free!
...Read more

Friday, June 01, 2018

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, June 1, 2018:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* June 1, 2018
* NYNY1806.01

- Birds Mentioned

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

Brant
EURASIAN WIGEON
Common Eider
Red-throated Loon
Common Loon
Sooty Shearwater
CATTLE EGRET
WHIMBREL
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Gull-billed Tern
Caspian Tern
Roseate Tern
Black Skimmer
Red-headed Woodpecker
Acadian Flycatcher
Gray-cheeked Thrush
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER
Mourning Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Henslow’s 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

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

Transcriber: Gail Benson

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

Greetings! This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, June 1, 2018 at 9:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are MISSISSIPPI KITE, PACIFIC LOON, WHITE-WINGED DOVE, RED-NECKED PHALAROPE, EURASIAN WIGEON, WHIMBREL, CATTLE EGRET, PROTHONOTARY and YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS, SUMMER TANAGER, BLUE GROSBEAK and more.

Marking pretty much the end of spring migration, punctuated by an estimated 720,000 warblers moving past a Quebec site along the St. Lawrence Seaway Monday, this week did produce some interesting sightings locally.

Two local MISSISSIPPI KITES involved one flying over Northwest Harbor in the town of East Hampton last Saturday afternoon and a sub-adult soaring over Hempstead Lake State Park Monday morning. Watch for them almost anywhere.

Also on Monday morning, among a few RED-THROATED and COMMON LOONS well out in the Atlantic off Nickerson Beach was a Loon studied with difficulty due to the distance and conditions that was judged to be a PACIFIC LOON in changing plumage. It unfortunately soon disappeared, but Nickerson also provided some other nice birds around the Tern and BLACK SKIMMER colonies on Monday, including single CASPIAN and ROSEATE and two GULL-BILLED TERNS, plus two COMMON EIDER and two SOOTY SHEARWATERS offshore. At the Lido Preserve near Nickerson on Monday, among a flock of ATLANTIC BRANT was a dark individual mostly showing the characteristics of a “BLACK” BRANT.

On Wednesday at Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes a WHITE-WINGED DOVE was photographed sitting on a snow fence in mid-afternoon. This park in particular and along Dune Road have produced past sightings of this species as well.

A RED-NECKED PHALAROPE along the bayside at Breezy Point last Saturday was a nice find.

A drake EURASIAN WIGEON was spotted Monday on the West Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

Three WHIMBREL in the swale at Jones Beach West End Sunday were also noted around the West End before and after that date, apparently hanging around. A large number of seasonal shorebirds has been present recently along south shore gathering sites.

A CATTLE EGRET was at Oakwood Beach on State Island, just northeast of Great Kills Park, at least from Monday to Wednesday.

Single ICELAND GULLS were present early in the week at Cedar Beach in Southold and at Robert Moses State Park, and decent numbers of LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS continue at sites like Moses Park. Four SOOTY SHEARWATERS were off Moses Park Monday, and the activity of offshore pelagics should increase this month.

Two RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were still at Connetquot River State Park Wednesday.

The Forest Park water hole was still producing some nice passerines this week, with a SUMMER TANAGER and a MOURNING WARBLER there last Saturday and a PROTHONOTARY WARBLER and a GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH on Tuesday.

ACADIAN FLYCATCHERS at Prospect Park to Monday and Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn last Saturday are potential nesters around those areas and should be monitored as such. Breeding birds such as the YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER at Bayard Cutting Arboretum and BLUE GROSBEAK at Calverton, while being enjoyed, should not be disturbed in these activities in any way. This also pertains to the HENSLOW’S SPARROW back now at the Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge in Ulster County.

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

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Treehugger Tuesday

From National Geographic:

Oldest European Tree Found—And It's Having a Growth Spurt

A Heldreich's pine discovered in southern Italy has been thriving in a remote part of a national park for 1,230 years.
 
By Sandrine Ceurstemont
Published May 25, 2018


Scientists determined the age of this 1,230-year-old Heldreich’s pine, nicknamed Italus, using a novel combination of tree-ring analysis and radiocarbon dating.
Photograph by Gianluca Piovesan

A craggy pine tree growing in southern Italy is 1,230 years old, making it the oldest tree in Europe that has been scientifically dated.

Moreover, the ancient pine seems to be living it up in its old age, researchers reported last week in the journal Ecology. Examinations show that the tree had a growth spurt in recent decades, where larger rings were added to its trunk even though many trees in the Mediterranean region have been experiencing a decline in growth.

The discovery shows that some trees can survive for centuries even when subjected to extreme changes in climate. This ancient pine, for example, would have germinated in a cold period during Medieval times and then lived through much warmer temperatures, including periods of drought. (Find out how scientists brought a 32,000-year-old plant back to life.)

See photos and read the entire article here

Monday, May 28, 2018

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, June 2, 2018 to Sunday, June 3, 2018:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, June 2, 2018, 12pm – 1pm
Introduction to Birdwatching
Join Prospect Park Alliance every Saturday for a birdwatching tour to learn about Prospect Park’s magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!

Sunday, June 3, 2018, 8am – 9am
Early Morning Bird Walk: Local Nesters
Join Prospect Park Alliance to discover hidden nests! Glimpse the lives of busy bird parents and their hungry nestlings. Tour leaves promptly at 8 am. Led by the Brooklyn Bird Club.

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Bedford Audubon Society
Sunday, June 3, 2018, 7:30am - 11:00am
Muscoot Farm
Join Bedford Audubon’s Naturalist Tait Johansson and the Friends of Muscoot Farm for a bird walk on the beautiful grounds of this county-owned property. June birds here include Black-billed and Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Prairie Warbler, Hooded Warbler, and, most years, Red-headed Woodpecker.
Cost: Free.
Level of Difficulty: Easy-moderate.
Please register with Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914-302-9713.
See more details

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Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, June 2, 2018
Jamaica Bay Refuge
Leader: Rusty Harold Focus: breeding birds of the marsh Car Fee: $10.00 Registrar: Peter Dorosh Prosbird@aol.com or text only to 347-622-3559 Registration Period: May 26th – May 31st

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

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Eastern Long Island Audubon Society
Saturday, June 2, 2018, 8am
Eric Salzman Memorial Walk at South Fork Natural History Museum
Leader: Eileen Schwinn
Cosponsored by the Eastern Long Island Audubon Society (ELIAS) and the South Fork Natural History Museum (SoFo)
On this joint walk we will explore the avian life of the meadow behind the South Fork Natural History Museum and remember Eric Salzman who led this walk for many years. We will miss his keen ear to ID the bird songs. This walk will provide an opportunity to see and—especially—hear some of our locally breeding birds. The two-hour walk will be followed by a short introduction to the Eastern Long Island Audubon Society. Light refreshments will be served.

There is no charge for this event, but advance reservations are required. Please call SoFo at (631) 537-9735 for reservations and directions to the Museum, if you need them.

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Gateway National Recreation Area
Saturday, June 2, 2018, 10:00am to 11:00am
Birding by the Bay
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fees: Free
Ranger-led nature walk.
View Details

Sunday, June 3, 2018, 10:00am to 11:30am
Osprey Watch Guided Walk
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fees: free
Learn all about the amazing osprey on this guided walk of the West Pond Trail.
View Details

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Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, June 3, 2018
Birding in Peace
Summer Birding Sundays
Except for some lingering individuals, by the end of the first week in June nearly all the northbound migrants will have disappeared from the city. Locally nesting birds will be incubating eggs or busily raising their first broods. In July we should see the offspring of our resident Red-tailed Hawks bravely preparing to leave the nest. Warbler songs will be replaced by chirring Cicadas and the tweets of fledgling birds. Butterflies and dragonflies are abundant. By late-July, expect the arrival of the first southbound migrants.

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

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

Click here for our inclement weather policy.

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Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon
Sunday, June 3, 2018, 8:00am
Tiffany Creek, Oyster Bay, NY
Great local spot to see colorful migrants and other birds.
Registration: 631-885-1881
Directions: Meet in the park lot off Sandy Hill Rd.

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Linnaean Society of New York
Sunday, June 3, 2018
Eastern Long Island Spring Specialties
Leader: Eileen Schwinn
Registrar: Regina Ryan — reginaryan@reginaryanbooks.com or 212-787-5589
Registration opens: Monday, May 21
Ride: $40

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

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, June 2, 2018, 7am – 1pm
Breeding Birds of Jamaica Bay
Guide: Tod Winston
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is home to nesting Cedar Waxwings, Brown Thrashers, White-eyed Vireos, Tree Swallows, Yellow Warblers, American Redstarts, Osprey, Willet, and seven species of wading birds. We'll walk the refuge trails and observe these species and many more on their breeding grounds. Bring lunch. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $93 (65)

Saturday, June 2, 2018, 9:00am – 10:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks
Guide: NYC Audubon 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 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, call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

Saturday, June 2, 2018, 1pm – 8pm
Kingsland Wildflowers Sensorium
Brooklyn-based artists Cara Marie Piazza of Calyx Apothecary, fashion designer Merica Lee, and Marie Lockhart of Lockhart Embroidery team up to present you with a day of sensorial delights to celebrate and support Kingsland Wildflowers. Join us for a holistic day that will stimulate your senses while playing with crafts and supporting ecology, community, and preservation. Email njackson@nycaudubon.org to learn more.

Saturday, June 2, 2018, 2pm – 3pm
Governors Island Bird Walk
Saturdays May 26, June 2, June 23, 2-3pm
Sundays, May 20, June 10, June 17 and June 24 2–3pm
Guide: NYC Audubon
Meet at Nolan Park house #17. Join us for a bird walk around beautiful and historic Governors Island, which boasts over 192 species recorded on ebird.org. Learn about the island’s fascinating history and search for waterbirds, raptors, waterfowl, and more. Binoculars are available. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

Sunday, June 3, 2018, 11am – 4pm
Freshkills Discovery Day
DescriptionGuide: NYC Audubon with NYC Parks
At 2,200 acres, Freshkills Park is almost three times the size of Central Park and the largest park to be developed in New York City in over 100 years. It also has a significant history as the site of the former Fresh Kills Landfill. The landfill has been covered with layers of soil and infrastructure, and the site has become a place for wildlife, recreation, science, education, and art. Trails and paths normally off-limits to the public will be open on this day and offer views of the park’s hills, creeks, and wildlife. Activities include guided birdwalks, hiking, running, bike-riding, kayaking, free shuttle buses into the park and to the top of a hill offering panoramic views of New York, and educational tours and displays. Visit www.freshkillspark.org for more information. No registration required. No Limit. Free

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NYC H2O
Saturday, June 2, 2018, 6:30pm
Horseshoe Crab Discovery Walks
Join NYC H2O to see the horseshoe crabs as they come ashore for their mating ritual as they have done for the last 450 million years. Horseshoe crabs are trilobites, some of the planets' oldest living creatures. They play a critical role in coastal ecology as scavengers whose eggs provide food for migrating birds. In the Northeast, horseshoe crabs numbers are declining due to loss of habitat as well as the over-harvesting of horseshoe crabs for biotech purposes and commercial bait.
Click here to sign up

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Saturday, June 2, 2018, 12:00pm – 2:00pm
Brookfield Park
Join Protectors of Pine Oak Woods for a natu­ral history tour of Staten Island’s newest open space park. We will view numerous salt creeks, freshwater wetlands, grasslands and beautiful scenery; a must for hawk watching. Brookfield Park stretches along the south eastern banks of Richmond Creek and runs from Richmond Avenue to Richmondtown. Meet in the main parking lot at 575 Arthur Kill Road, just north of Armstrong Ave­nue. For more information contact Ray Matarazzo at 718-317- 7666.
Read More

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Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, June 2, 2018
Ward Pound Ridge BBQ
Leader: Eric Miller 917-279-7530
Where: Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, NY-121, Cross River, NY 10518, USA (map)
more details»

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, June 3, 2018
Massapequa Preserve
From Sunrise Highway, turn north onto Broadway, Massapequa. Travel under the Long Island Rail Road overpass, then make the first right onto Veterans Boulevard (headed east). Go past the Massapequa train station and into the parking lot at the east end of the station. The preserve is directly east of the parking lot.
Directions via Google Maps

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

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, June 2, 2018
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Join NYC Audubon on a walk through the park to observe the many species of birds in Van Cortlandt Park.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, May 26, 2018

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, May 25, 2018:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* May 25, 2018
* NYNY1805.25

- Birds Mentioned

RUFF+
ARCTIC TERN+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Cackling Goose
Canada Goose
Black-bellied Plover
AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER
WHIMBREL
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
GULL-BILLED TERN
BLACK TERN
Roseate Tern
Black Skimmer
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Black-billed Cuckoo
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
Pileated Woodpecker
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Acadian Flycatcher
Alder Flycatcher
PHILADELPHIA VIREO
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Bicknell’s Thrush
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER
Mourning Warbler
KENTUCKY WARBLER
Cape May Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
LARK SPARROW
SUMMER TANAGER
BLUE GROSBEAK
DICKCISSEL

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

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to nysarc44nybirdsorg

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

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

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

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

Transcriber: Gail Benson

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

Greetings! This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, May 25, 2018 at 9:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are RUFF, ARCTIC, GULL-BILLED and BLACK TERNS, AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER, WHIMBREL, PROTHONOTARY, YELLOW-THROATED and KENTUCKY WARBLERS, SUMMER TANAGER, BLUE GROSBEAK, DICKCISSEL, LARK and CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS, PHILADELPHIA VIREO, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER and more.

An interesting week, even as spring migration starts to wind down. A great find Tuesday afternoon was the RUFF spotted around the temporary pools at Field 7 in Heckscher State Park. Sporting a mostly blackish plumage with some brownish highlights, the RUFF on Wednesday drifted between Fields 6 and 7, generally with some BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS, but seemed to move on overnight. Another highlight for those watching the RUFF early Wednesday was a calling DICKCISSEL passing overhead to the west. A CACKLING GOOSE with a small flock of CANADA GEESE was also very unexpected there Wednesday.

Another good find was an ARCTIC TERN nicely photographed last Saturday on the flats at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn; it disappeared soon thereafter, but a ROSEATE TERN there hung around longer. Another adult ARCTIC TERN was photographed Wednesday near the tern and BLACK SKIMMER colonies at Nickerson Beach west of Point Lookout. Nickerson also produced three GULL-BILLED TERNS Tuesday, plus two ROSEATE TERNS Wednesday and a BLACK TERN Thursday. Other GULL-BILLED TERNS were reported from Robert Moses State Park last Saturday and Plumb Beach Thursday.

An ICELAND GULL Saturday at Robert Moses State Park was in company with the week’s largest count of LESSER BLACK- BACKED GULLS, with 38 estimated between parking lots 2 and 5 and along the ocean beach.

Most notable among the increasing numbers of shorebirds gathering mostly along the Atlantic inlets were an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER reported from the marsh off the Lido Passive Sanctuary on the north side of Lido Boulevard last Sunday and a count of 32 WHIMBRELS flying north past Great Kills Park on Staten Island Wednesday.

Interesting among the WOODPECKERS, two RED-HEADEDS were seen together Thursday at Connetquot River State Park and a PILEATED WOODPECKER was spotted today at Caumsett State Park.

Despite declining WARBLER numbers and species totals, a decent mix continues, highlighted by a PROTHONOTARY in Central Park to Monday, a KENTUCKY there Sunday, an increase in the numbers of the later moving MOURNING, and the continuation of some CAPE MAY, BAY-BREASTED and the like. YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER is presumably nesting in Bayard Cutting Arboretum, so please do nothing that would disturb this very rare breeder in our area.

That also pertains to such species as SUMMER TANAGER and BLUE GROSBEAK. Migrant SUMMER TANAGERS featured two in Central Park Tuesday and adult males found at Breezy Point last Sunday, on Governors Island on Monday, and in Prospect Park Wednesday. A BLUE GROSBEAK also visited Governors Island last Sunday.

A LARK SPARROW found last Friday at Shore Road Park in Brooklyn was still being seen there through Sunday, and a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was photographed in Brooklyn’s Green-wood Cemetery on Wednesday.

Interesting this spring have been the frequency of reports of PHILADELPHIA VIREO, usually sparse as a spring migrant here – Central Park has reported a few to Tuesday, and one was nicely photographed in Prospect Park on Wednesday.

The THRUSHES have been well represented, with singing BICKNELL’S THRUSHES reported last Sunday from Central and Forest Parks as well as at Coney Island Creek Park. GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSHES have also been widely noted.

All ten species of eastern FLYCATCHERS were recorded this week, including several OLIVE-SIDED and a few YELLOW-BELLIED, ALDER and ACADIAN.

Both YELLOW-BILLED and BLACK-BILLED CUCKOOS have also been noted in increasing numbers.

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

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website “Earther”:

Lawns Are an Ecological Disaster
Ian Graber-Stiehl
Friday 10:00am

Neil Tyson often conjectures that maybe aliens have concluded humans aren’t intelligent enough to contact. He’s probably referring to our capacity for war, but lawns may display our talent for fruitless carnage even better.

Americans devote 70 hours, annually, to pushing petrol-powered spinning death blades over aggressively pointless green carpets to meet an embarrassingly destructive beauty standard based on specious homogeneity. We marvel at how verdant we manage to make our overwatered, chemical-soaked, ecologically-sterile backyards. That’s just biblically, nay, God-of-War-ishly violent.

To understand the sheer inanity of devoting 40 million acres, nearly half as much land as we set aside for our biggest crops, to an inedible carpet, we need to back up—beyond the modern lawn’s origins with a real estate family peddling the “American Dream” as Whites-only cookie-cutter suburbs—to the evolution of grass.

Most plants grow from the top, according to Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Director Steve Windhager. “Grasses, on the other hand, always grow from the base,” he told Earther. From the plant’s perspective, this was a great strategy for dealing with grazers who’d randomly hit the same patch every few months. But Americans, true to form, are more gluttonous.

We mow our lawns every few weeks. This coaxes our grass into growing its roots outwards, rather than down, spawning more sprawling shoots, in hopes of enabling any one blade to avoid overzealous grazers. However, the $47.8 billion to $82 billion we spend annually on overcutting and landscaping (FYI: we spend $49.47 billion in foreign aid) effectively amounts to trying to kill the grass while offering it life support. We trap it in prepubescence—too young to reseed, racing desperately ever-outward to find reproductive refuges that doesn’t exist.

We cut ourselves equally: Thirty-five thousand people, 4,800 of which are children, are treated annually for mower-related injuries—resulting in 600 youth amputations. The Royal Statistical Society even awarded the fact that nearly eight times more Americans are killed by lawnmowers than Islamic terrorists International Statistic Of The Year.

And yet, Windhager himself participated in a study that found by switching to a mix of native grasses, reducing waterings, and eliminating fertilization, we could slow lawn growth and only need to mow around every two months.

Influential native gardening writer Sara Stein perhaps best summed up the absurdity best: “Continual amputation is a critical part of lawn care. Cutting grass regularly—preventing it from reaching up and flowering — forces it to sprout still more blades, more rhizomes, more roots, to become an ever more impenetrable mat until it is what its owner has worked so hard or paid so much to have: the perfect lawn, the perfect sealant through which nothing else can grow—and the perfect antithesis of an ecological system.”

According to University of Florida ecology and conservation professor Mark Hostetler, that’s no hyperbole: Producing no seeds, nectar, or fruit, few creatures can use can use lawns as habitat. Biodiversity-wise “it’s almost like concrete,” he told Earther.

Up until the 1940s, we at least left odd flowers like clovers—which actually add nitrogen back to soil—alone. Then we figured out how to turn petrochemicals into fertilizer, Windhager said. “The new goal became to have a full monoculture.”

One study found that in urban areas, weeds were the most popular food sources for pollinators. Weeds and native plants are especially helpful for native pollinators—which contribute, even by the most conservative estimates, $3.44 billion dollars to our economy, and which are vastly more threatened than honeybees. A study conducted in southeastern Pennsylvania found that native plants also increased butterfly and bird populations in urban areas by around four and eightfold, respectively.

In exiling animals, lawns cost us, too. “Today’s children, growing up on lawns,” Stein once wrote “will not even have nostalgia to guide them, and soon the animals will be not only missing, but forgotten.”

“I’ve heard lawns compared to a biological desert. That’s really unfair, because deserts can be very diverse places.”

Native grasslands are a mix of cool-weather, shade-hugging so-called C3 grasses, and warm-weather, drought and fire-resistant C4 grasses. Of course, our baking lawns are mainly C3 grasses that grow aggressively with our life support — making some of them, like Bermuda grass, notes Windhager, virulent weeds. As they spread beyond our yards, studies are beginning to find that biodiversity declines.

But hey, turf grasses are still plants, though. Surely they do that one thing that no plant can fuck up, storing carbon?

Hostetler? “When you add everything up, [lawns are] definitely causing a lot more issue with climate change than preventing it.”

Damn.

Native grasses with deeper roots, Windhager said, likely store more carbon underground than shallow-rooted turf. According to the EPA, we use 580 million gallons of gas each year, in lawnmowers that emit as much pollution in one hour as 40 automobiles driving— accounting for roughly 10 to 18 percent of non-road gasoline emissions.

We also dump roughly 10 times more fertilizer on our lawns than on crops, notes Columbia’s Earth Institute. These fertilizers and the 67 million pounds of pesticides with which we drench our lawns ever year degrade, releasing compounds like nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 298 times more potent than CO2. Potential damages from agricultural fertilizer runoff alone were estimated by one study to cost $157 billion annually.

We’ve managed to make grass do the opposite of what photosynthesis is supposed to accomplish. A recent study out of Appalachian State University pegs our lawns’ carbon footprint at around 25 million tons annually.

It gets better. All America’s farmland consumes 88.5 million acre feet of water a year. Lawns, with a fraction of the land, drink an estimated two-thirds as much. Most municipalities use 30-60 percent of drinkable water on lawns.

California is special. If you thought Trump tweets made no sense, LA, prior to the big drought, 70 percent of your water loss came courtesy of lawns. Water use throughout California seems to be rebounding to pre-drought levels. Lawns are soaked once more.

So, how can we unfuck lawns?

“First, let’s limit lawns to those areas where we actually need it,” Windhager said, referring to sporting fields and play areas.

To start, you can reduce your mowing and fertilizing. Better yet, switch to native grasses. Let them reseed themselves. Let the clover live. To avoid annoying the local Homeowner Association, make your native lawn look manicured. For example, “If you just maintain a circle of mowed area around a taller grass area, it makes it clear this was an intentional design state,” Windhager said.

In a few states, such as Texas and Florida, HOAs can’t fine you for not maintaining your lawn the stupid way, provided you do so to save water. Others, like California, offer programs that pay replace your lawn with native plants. And by switching to native plants or xeriscaping (desert-style landscaping), we could put quite the dent in the estimated 9 billion gallons of water we use on our yards every day.

Want to tell your HOA to sit on their sprinkler and spin? Many state have a more obscure program: Replace your yard with all native plants. Certify it through your local Department of Natural Resources branch as wildlife habitat. Get a property tax exemption.

For more information, search for your county Extension (departments devoted to assisting and educating people on ecological matters) or DNR office — or local chapters of native landscaping organizations, such as Wild Ones.

“I’ve heard lawns compared to a biological desert,” Windhager said. “That’s really unfair, because deserts can be very diverse places.”

Start searching now, because soon as you start mowing, you’re paying for green concrete.
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