Friday, August 01, 2014

Friday's Foto

Many long distance shorebird migrants have already begun heading south. The Pectoral Sandpiper, one of those frequent flyers, breeds across both the North American arctic, as well as, northern Siberia. They winter in southern South America and Oceania. Game hunters used to call this bird the "Grass Snipe", due to their preference for wet meadows. "Birdlife International evaluates their vulnerability as "Least Concern" due in part to their extremely large range.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Treehugger Tuesday

The following article was just published on the Discovery News website:

Humans Caused 322 Animal Extinctions in Past 500 Years
Jul 24, 2014 02:00 PM ET // by Jennifer Viegas

Our species caused 322 animal extinctions over the past 500 years, with two-thirds of those occurring in the last two centuries, according to a paper published in a special issue of the journal Science this week.

Many animals are threatened with human-caused extinction now, with researchers expressing particular concern over amphibian and invertebrate (creatures without a backbone) losses. Numbers of the latter group have nearly halved as our population doubled in size over the past 35 years.

Ecologists, zoologists and other scientists believe that, without urgent steps to stem the losses, we are facing global scale tipping points from which we may never look back or recover.

Could These 10 Animals Be Resurrected?

"Indeed, if current rates (of human population growth) were to continue unchecked, population size would be, by 2100, about 27 billion persons -- clearly an unthinkable and unsustainable option," co-author Rodolfo Dirzo, professor of environmental sciences at Stanford University, told Discovery News.

Dirzo and his colleagues call for "decreasing the per capita human footprint," by developing and implementing carbon-neutral technologies, producing food and goods more efficiently, consuming less and wasting less.

They also say it is essential that we ensure lower human population growth projections are the "ones that prevail."

Haldre Rogers and Josh Tewksbury, authors of another paper in the same issue, believe that, "animals do matter to people, but on balance, they matter less than food, jobs, energy, money, and development."

They continued, "As long as we continue to view animals in ecosystems as irrelevant to these basic demands, animals will lose."

World's Sixth Mass Extinction May Be Underway

Keeping animals alive and ecosystems healthy translate to big bucks on a global scale. Tewksbury, director of the Luc Hoffmann Institute of the World Wide Fund for Nature, pointed out that Southeast Asia's Mekong River Basin, through its fisheries, supports 60 million people. Rogers, a researcher in Rice University's Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, added that 73 percent of visitors to Namibia are nature-based tourists, with their money accounting for 14.2 percent of that nation's economic growth.

"Whale watching in Latin America alone generates over 275 million dollars a year," Tewksbury said. "Multiple studies have demonstrated how turtles are worth more alive than dead."

In the United States, he added, shark-watching results in $314 million per year, directly supporting 10,000 jobs.

He and the other researchers point out that human health, pollination, pest control, water quality, food availability and other critical factors are also dependent on ecosystem stability.

In the United States, he added, shark-watching results in $314 million per year, directly supporting 10,000 jobs.

He and the other researchers say that human health, pollination, pest control, water quality, food availability and other critical factors are also dependent upon ecosystem stability.

Yet another paper in the latest issue of Science outlines controversial measures, beyond basic conservation efforts, to improve the current situation. These include re-wilding, meaning placement of underrepresented species back into the wild; human removal of invasive species; and, perhaps most controversial of all, de-extinction: bringing already extinct species back to life.

Secret to Surviving Extinction? Don't Be a Picky Eater

"People are currently grappling with the implications of de-extinction, including how to select the best candidate species," co-author Philip Seddon, a zoologist at the University of Otago, told Discovery News.

Rogers said that restoration and re-introduction have shown progress.

"The return of the bald eagle and the California condor to the skies and the wild turkey to the lands of the U.S. are great success stories," she said.

She and Tewksbury are also working on the island of Guam, where the invasive brown tree snake has rid the island of birds, causing the forests there to be without seed dispersers for 30 years. This, in turn, has contributed to financial challenges for locals.

Secret Grizzly Bear Feeding Site Discovered

It's a mistake, though, to limit the value of non-human animals to their economic value, the researchers believe.

"From the cave paintings that represent the dawn of art to the icons of culture and sport around the world today, wild animals are a part of our fabric, and in a very real, evolutionary sense, these animals have made us who we are," said Tewksbury.

"The loss of these animals from landscapes around the world is thus a loss for all of humanity."
...Read more

Monday, July 28, 2014

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of August 2, 2014 to August 3, 2014:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, August 2, 2014
Pop-Up Audubon
Saturdays and Sundays, April 5 – October 19, 12 – 5 p.m. / November – December, 12 – 4 p.m.
Free The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

Sunday, August 3, 2014
Morning Bird Walk: Early Migrants
Free Meet the amazing birds of Prospect Park on this expert-guided walk. Start your Sunday morning surrounded by nature!

Pop-Up Audubon
Saturdays and Sundays, April 5 – October 19, 12 – 5 p.m. / November – December, 12 – 4 p.m.
Free The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, August 2, 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, August 2, 2014, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walk
Guide: 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, August 2, 2014, 11am – 2pm
Shorebird Identification Workshop (trip - Jamaica Bay)
Instructor: Joe Giunta, Happy Warblers LLC Shorebirds are one of the most challenging groups of birds to identify, yet beautiful and fascinating once they can be distinguished. Learn to identify plovers and sandpipers (including "peeps") by learning behavior, field marks, and songs. Then take a field trip to Jamaica Bay to practice your new skills!
Limited to 12. $65 (45) for package of class and trip.
Click here to register!

Sunday, August 3, 2014, 7pm – 9pm
Sunset EcoCruise to the Harbor Heron Islands: Brother Islands
Guide: Gabriel Willow With New York Water Taxi Meet at South Street Seaport's Pier 16. We're excited about this summer's ecocruises; we’ve expanded our explorations of the City's island rookeries to three different locations! Depending on which weekend you choose, cruises may visit the fascinating Brother Islands, the large egret and cormorant colonies on Hoffman and Swinburne Islands, or the great expanses of Jamaica Bay. Whichever your destination, you'll experience the wonders of New York's famous harbor at sunset and see some of the three thousand herons, egrets, and ibis nesting on these urban island treasures. To learn about specific cruise dates and register, visit New York Water Taxi online or by phone at 212-742-1969.
Limited to 140. Pricing varies by destination.

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 2 P.M. to 4 P.M.
Long Pond Park
During the summertime, Long Pond Park is a likely place to observe a variety of animals from turtles and snakes to deer and chipmunks. We’ll also look for the bird life, examine the geology of the area and observe evidence of past human use of the area during this unhurried stroll through about one and a half miles of the park. Meet at PS 6, on Page Avenue and Academy Avenue about 3 blocks northwest of Hylan Boulevard.
For more information phone Clay Wollney at 718-869-6327.

Sunday, August 3, 2014, 11 A.M. to 1 P.M.
Wolfe’s Pond Park’s Ancient Trees
Walk the cool woods of this park made famous for its ancient trees, notably Tulip and Oak. We will also explore placid Acme pond. The entrance to the park is from Cornelia Avenue off Hylan Boulevard. Park closest to the restrooms, where we will meet. If it’s raining at the time of the walk, the event is postponed to Sunday, August 10.
For more information, e-mail Hillel Lofaso at hillel5757@gmail.com or call 718-477-0545.

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014, 2 P.M. to 4 P.M.
High Rock Park
Participants will experience the legacy of biodiversity left behind by the Wisconsin Glacier over 12,000 years ago. The topography of the area sheds light on the geological history of the area. Meet in the Nevada Avenue parking lot at High Rock Park.
For more information e-mail Will Lenihan at wleni5584@gmail.com or call 518-645-0220.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, August 2, 2014
Bird Walk at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.
NYC Audubon experts lead the way as we marvel at quirky but logical bird behavior and delicate feathers in exquisite patterns. Bring binoculars if you have them and wear sturdy…
Free!

Idlewild Birding by Canoe Adventure at Idlewild Park, Queens
11:00 a.m.
Few experiences compare with being on the open water in New York City. Our trained Urban Park Rangers will lead you on canoe adventures that range from the gentle waters of…
Free!

Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Join the Alliance to learn about the 250 species of birds that call Prospect Park home.
Free!

Sunday, August 3, 2014
Birding at Mosholu Avenue and Broadway (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
10:00 a.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife.
Free!
...Read more

Friday, July 25, 2014

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, July 25, 2014:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jul. 25, 2014
* NYNY1407.25

- Birds mentioned

EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Cory's Shearwater
Great Shearwater
Wilson's Storm-Petrel
BROWN PELICAN
Willet (subspecies "Western Willet")
WHIMBREL
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper
Little Gull
Bonaparte's Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
BLACK TERN
Royal Tern
CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW
Worm-eating Warbler

- Transcript

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transcriber: Ben Cacace

BEGIN TAPE

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, July 25th 2014 at 9:30pm. The highlights of today's tape are BROWN PELICAN, WHIMBREL, BLACK TERN, EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE, CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW and shorebird migration.

A BROWN PELICAN was seen flying north of the Jones Inlet from the Coast Guard Station at Jones Beach West End on Wednesday.

Single WHIMBRELS reported on Tuesday, one from Cupsogue and the other from Ocean Beach, Fire Island on Thursday.

A subadult LITTLE GULL was found this afternoon on Orient Point on the ferry going to Connecticut.

A BLACK TERN was found at Cupsogue on Tuesday and an adult BLACK TERN was seen today at Robert Moses State Park, Fire Island.

The EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE was last reported from the Chelsea Pier area in Manhattan on Sunday.

Two CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOWS were reported last week, one at Napeague Harbor Road at Napeague on Tuesday and the other was heard at the Sunken Forest, Fire Island on Thursday.

A consensus of reports for migrating shorebirds indicate the numbers are very low recently. The shorebird migration at the East Pond Jamaica Bay is greatly reduced this year while other choice shorebird sites at Cupsogue and Pike's Beach also report greatly reduced numbers.

Last Saturday 14 species of shorebirds were seen in Cupsogue highlighted by a few WESTERN SANDPIPERS along with a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL. Ten species of shorebirds were reported Sunday at the East Pond, Jamaica Bay including 3 STILT SANDPIPERS along with a BONAPARTE'S GULL. Sixteen species of shorebirds were seen at Cupsogue on Tuesday including the aforementioned WHIMBRELS, PECTORAL SANDPIPER, 2 "Western" WILLETS along with 5 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS and the best report of numbers of shorebirds occurred today with 700-800 shorebirds of 9 species reported at the sandbars at the Coast Guard Station, Jones Beach West End with SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER the most abundant.

Other interesting reports of the week were from a seawatch last Sunday at Robert Moses State Park, Fire Island reporting 20 CORY'S SHEARWATERS, one GREAT SHEARWATER and 3 WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS and a ROYAL TERN seen at Pike's Beach on Thursday and a WORM-EATING WARBLER was at Central Park last Sunday.

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

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Friday's Foto

Feeding on aquatic insects, marine worms, small fishes, small crustaceans and mollusks, the Willet is a large shorebird that can be found breeding around Brooklyn, as well as, New York City's other 4 boroughs. There are actually two distinct subspecies. The eastern subspecies of Willet breeds from Nova Scotia to Mexico and the Caribbean in coastal saltmarshes. The western subspecies breeds in freshwater prairie marshes. In flight, this shorebird is easily identified by a conspicuous, broad white stripe on each wing. According to Birdlife International, their worldwide populations appear to be stable.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Little Brooklyn Birding after a Break

I think I've mentioned a few time in recent weeks that the month of June and much of July could be considered the slack tide of bird movements around NYC. It's mostly a good time to follow the progress of any local breeding birds, or to look for emerging butterflies. I hadn't done much of either, but last weekend I dusted off my binoculars and began looking around for our local Red-tailed Hawk fledglings, as well as, any southbound shorebirds.

The low-tide cycle at Plum Beach was relatively early in the morning on Saturday, so I headed over there just after sunrise. Perhaps it is just wishful thinking, but it certainly seems as if the mudflats have increased in area since the Army Corp of Engineers created the new jetties to protect the parkway. Unfortunately, there weren't many shorebirds foraging there in the morning. There were the usual, locally breeding American Oystercatchers, including a new banded individual with the code "EL". I wonder if he is related to "C6", who has been returning every spring for the past 4 years. There were also a small number of Semipalmated Plovers and Semipalmated Sandpipers. In all, we tallied 8 species of shorebirds over a couple of hours. I was hoping to find a Saltmarsh Sparrow on the marsh side of the dunes, but I guess they didn't breed there this year. By September there are usually a good number of these marsh sparrows stopping off here on their way south.

Heydi and I also made a run over to Gerritsen Creek where the pickings were also pretty slim. One unexpected observation was of a fledgling Yellow-crowned Night-Heron spotted standing on the western shoreline. I didn't think that this species nested in Brooklyn, but the bird was still young enough that it had a crown full of spiky, down feathers. Just before we left a flock of shorebirds was seen flying north up the creek from the direction of Plum Beach. I managed to get my scope on them and ID'd the birds as Greater Yellowlegs and Short-billed Dowitchers. They touched down on the exposed shoreline across from the nature center for a few seconds, spooked, then took off again, heading west over the treetops and apartment buildings. All three of the young Osprey from the nest platform on the east side of the creek have fledged, including the "runt" of the brood. It was also interesting to note that there were good numbers of young Boat-tailed Grackles out with family groups foraging along the west side of the creek.

On Sunday my wife and I took a walk through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. My main objective was to try and locate the recently fledged Red-tailed Hawk pair from the pine tree nest in the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden section. I also really enjoy the flowers at this time of year and the insects that they attract. In fact, I'll pretty much look at anything with wings. I was hoping to spot some interesting butterflies or dragonflies while there.

I haven't been to the garden since they completed the Native Flora Garden expansion and wanted to check it out. They did a beautiful job and it was bursting with flowering asters, milkweed and other native wildflowers. I looked around for some butterflies to photograph, but the flowers were mostly dominated by Honey bees and bumble bees. I also spotted a single Banded Longhorn beetle enjoying the nectar.

From there we headed across the Cherry Esplanade and over towards the hawk nest. Along the way I was surprised to hear the melodic "Oh Sweet Canada, Canada" song of a White-throated Sparrow. These sparrows overwinter in Brooklyn and NYC, but in July should be on their breeding grounds in extreme northern New York State and across Canada. I considered the possibility that a very talented mockingbird had fooled me (it wouldn't be the first time), so decided to playback the song off of my iPhone. Within a second of me playing the song a male White-throated Sparrow flew out of a cherry tree and perched in a shrub next to me. It was the real deal and very peculiar that this bird would still be in Brooklyn. I put my phone away and continued towards the hawk nest.

We didn't find any signs of the hawks right away, but within a few minutes I heard the incessant alert calls of several robins coming from the direction of the Magnolia Plaza. As we got closer I then heard the whining cry of a begging Red-tailed Hawk fledgling. Somebody was hungry and wanted to be fed...now!

My wife and I had been scanning the mature spruce trees that border the walkway below the Celebrity Path for several minutes before we finally spotted the source of the calls. A very large (presumably female) fledgling with a very dark, thick belly-band was perched next to her pale headed father. He didn't appear to be too interested in delivering lunch and mostly just stared down at the gathering humans below. At one point the young hawk was so determined to get her parent's attention that she began tugging at his breast feathers with her beak. He eventually tired to this game and took off, soaring in slow, ascending circles above the garden. His recently fledged offspring followed along but couldn't keep up as the adult gained altitude. As the young bird flew back to a perch near the Japanese Garden, her father was joined by his mate and the two flew off to a perch on the antenna tower near the southern end of the garden.

We had just started walking towards the Lily Pool terrace when I heard the raspy call of a fledgling robin. After a short search I spotted this tiny bird sitting out in the open. It was in direct line of sight of the antenna tower and about 100 yards from where the young raptor had been perched. I was very concerned the little thing would become a hawk snack, so hopped over a low hedge and herded the robin into the cover of some shrubs. Unfortunately, the adult continued to call it from across the foot path and the fledgling tumbled back out into the open. I moved it back into the underbrush and it came back out. This went on for a few minutes until the parent flew over to feed in within the protection of some dense ivy. I felt like, at least this time, the young robin would be safe from the hawks. It doesn't always work out so well for baby robins.

The weather forecasts call for some north and northwest winds over Friday evening, which could bring some southbound shorebirds into the area this weekend. Provided that we don't get hit with thunderstorms, I'm planning on heading to Brooklyn's coastal areas. With a little luck I'll have something good to report.

**********

Dates: 07/19/14 and 07/20/14
Locations: Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Gerritsen Creek and Plumb Beach
Species: 66

Greater Scaup (8.)
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron (5.)
Great Egret (2.)
Snowy Egret (1.)
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (4.)
Osprey (3.)
Red-tailed Hawk (3.)
Clapper Rail (1.)
American Oystercatcher
Black-bellied Plover
Semipalmated Plover (4.)
Spotted Sandpiper (1.)
Greater Yellowlegs (3.)
Willet (5.)
Least Sandpiper
Semipalmated Sandpiper (20.)
Short-billed Dowitcher (12.)
Laughing Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Least Tern
Common Tern
Forster's Tern
Black Skimmer
Chimney Swift
Belted Kingfisher (1.)
Peregrine Falcon (1.)
Willow Flycatcher (2.)
Eastern Kingbird
Red-eyed Vireo
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch (1.)
House Wren
Carolina Wren (1.)
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwing
Yellow Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow (1.)
Common Grackle (1.)
Boat-tailed Grackle
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch

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

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Treehugger Tuesday

One of the worlds most widely used insecticides has been found to not only kill target pest species, but also birds and bees. This sounds all too similar to the unintended consequences of widespread DDT use prior to its ban. From The Guardian:

Neonicotinoids linked to recent fall in farmland bird numbers
Research demonstrates for the first time the knock-on effects to other species of class of insecticides known to harm bees

Damian Carrington
The Guardian, Wednesday 9 July 2014 13.02 EDT

New research has identified the world’s most widely used insecticides as the key factor in the recent reduction in numbers of farmland birds.

The finding represents a significant escalation of the known dangers of the insecticides and follows an assessment in June that warned that pervasive pollution by these nerve agents was now threatening all food production.

The neonicotinoid insecticides are believed to seriously harm bees and other pollinating insects, and a two-year EU suspension on three of the poisons began at the end of 2013. But the suspected knock-on effects on other species had not been demonstrated until now.

Peer-reviewed research, published in the leading journal Nature
this Wednesday, has revealed data from the Netherlands showing that bird populations fell most sharply in those areas where neonicotinoid pollution was highest. Starlings, tree sparrows and swallows were among the most affected.

At least 95% of neonicotinoids applied to crops ends up in the wider environment, killing the insects the birds rely on for food, particularly when raising chicks.

The researchers, led by Hans de Kroon, an ecologist at Radboud University, in the Netherlands, examined other possible reasons for the bird declines seen during the study period of 2003 to 2010, including intensification of farming. But high pollution by a neonicotinoid known as imidacloprid was by far the largest factor.

“It is very surprising and very disturbing,” de Kroon said. Water pollution levels of just 20 nanograms of neonicotinoid per litre led to a 30% fall in bird numbers over 10 years, but some water had contamination levels 50 times higher. “That is why it is so disturbing – there is an incredible amount of imidacloprid in the water,” he said. “And it is not likely these effects will be restricted to birds.” De Kroon added: “All the other studies [on harm caused by neonicotinoids] build up from toxicology studies. But we approached this completely from the other end. We started with the bird population data and tried to explain the declines. Our study really makes the evidence complete that something is going on here. We can’t go on like this any more. It has to stop.”

David Goulson, a professor at the University of Sussex, who was not involved in the new studies, said the research was convincing and ruled out likely alternative causes of bird decline. “The simplest, most obvious, explanation is that highly toxic substances that kill insects lead to declines in things that eat insects.”

There was little reason to doubt that wildlife in the UK and other countries were not suffering similar harm, he said. “This work flags up the point that this isn’t just about bees, it is about everything. When hundreds or thousands of species or insect are being wiped out, it’s going to have impacts on bats, shrews, hedgehogs, you name it. It is pretty good evidence of wholesale damage to the environment.” Goulson said that, unlike the Netherlands, the UK did not monitor neonicotinoid pollution and the EU ban would not remove the substances from the environment. “They are still being widely used, as the moratorium only applies to three neonicotinoids and some crops. There is still a lot of them going into the environment. The door is far from shut.”

A spokesman for Bayer CropScience, which makes the neonicotinoid that was examined in the study, disputed the findings. “It provides no substantiated evidence of the alleged indirect effects of imidacloprid on insectivorous birds. Bayer CropScience is working with the Dutch authorities and agricultural stakeholders to ensure the safe use of imidacloprid-containing crop protection products and to preserve the environment.”

He added: “Neonicotinoids have gone through an extensive risk assessment which has shown that they are safe to the environment when used responsibly according to the label instructions.”

But de Kroon said new research, including his own, was showing that neonicotinoids posed an even greater threat than had been anticipated and new regulations had to take this into account. In 2012, MPs warned regulators appeared to be “turning a blind eye” to the harm caused by neonicotinoids.

David Gibbons, head of the RSPB centre for conservation science, said: “This elegant and important study provides worrying evidence of negative impacts of neonicotinoid insecticides on birds. Monitoring of neonicotinoid pollution in UK soils and waterways is urgently required, as is research into the effects of these insecticides on wildlife.”

A Defra spokesperson said: “Pesticide use across Europe is tightly regulated to protect the environment and public health – [pesticides] are a safe, effective and economical means of managing crops. We continue to review evidence on neonicotinoids.”

Also on Wednesday, further research showing that neonicotinoids damage the natural ability of bees to collect food was published in the journal Functional Ecology. The work used tiny tags to track bees and found those exposed to the insecticide gathered less pollen.

“Exposure to this neonicotinoid seems to prevent bees from being able to learn essential skills,” said Nigel Raine, a professor at the University of Guelph, Canada. He said the regulatory tests, which only looked for short-term, lethal effects, were failing to prevent serious harm. “These tests should be conducted for extended periods to detect the effects of chronic exposure.”
...Read more

Monday, July 21, 2014

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of July 26, 2014 to July 27, 2014:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Pop-Up Audubon
Saturdays and Sundays, April 5 – October 19, 12 – 5 p.m. / November – December, 12 – 4 p.m.
Free The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

Sunday, July 27, 2014
Pop-Up Audubon
Saturdays and Sundays, April 5 – October 19, 12 – 5 p.m. / November – December, 12 – 4 p.m.
Free The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, July 26, 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, July 26, 2014, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walk (spring)
Guide: NYC Audubon, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy With the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics.
For more information, please call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free.

Sunday, July 27, 2014, 7pm – 9pm
Sunset EcoCruise to the Harbor Heron Islands: Bridges and Birds
Guide: Gabriel Willow With New York Water Taxi Meet at South Street Seaport's Pier 16. We're excited about this summer's ecocruises; we’ve expanded our explorations of the City's island rookeries to three different locations! Depending on which weekend you choose, cruises may visit the fascinating Brother Islands, the large egret and cormorant colonies on Hoffman and Swinburne Islands, or the great expanses of Jamaica Bay. Whichever your destination, you'll experience the wonders of New York's famous harbor at sunset and see some of the three thousand herons, egrets, and ibis nesting on these urban island treasures.
To learn about specific cruise dates and register, visit New York Water Taxi online or by phone at 212-742-1969. Limited to 140. Pricing varies by destination.

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, July 26, 2014, 9:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
10-Mile Greenbelt Circular Hike
Join us for a pleasant tour of the woods, ponds and lakes of the Greenbelt. We will walk 10 moderate miles. Meet at Willowbrook Park at the Victory Boulevard entrance parking lot near the ballfields; the s62 Victory Boulevard bus stops here. Bring lunch and beverage and sturdy walking shoes. We go in all weather, but walk is shortened if high pollution levels occur.
For more information call Dominick Durso at 917-478-7607, Charles Perry at 718-667-1393 or Don Recklies at 718-768-9036.

Sunday, July 27, 2014, 2 P.M. to 4 P.M.
North Mt Loretto State Forest
We will observe swamps, ponds and a maturing forest ecosystem as we search for evidence of animal life, the geologic history and human influence of this diverse area on the south shore. Meet at the parking lot for North Mt. Loretto on Amboy Road in Richmond Valley.
Call Clay Wollney at 718-869-6327 for more information.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Bird Walk at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.
NYC Audubon experts lead the way as we marvel at quirky but logical bird behavior and delicate feathers in exquisite patterns. Bring binoculars if you have them and wear sturdy…
Free!

Birding at Blue Heron Nature Center (in Blue Heron Park), Staten Island
10:00 a.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. Birding programs are appropriate for all skill levels and beginners are welcome. To enhance your experience we…
Free!

Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Join the Alliance to learn about the 250 species of birds that call Prospect Park home.
Free!

Sunday, July 27, 2014
Pelham Bay Birding Canoe Adventure at Pelham Bay Park, Bronx
11:00 a.m.
Few experiences compare with being on the open water in New York City. Our trained Urban Park Rangers will lead you on canoe adventures that range from the gentle waters of…
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, July 19, 2014

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, July 18, 2014:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jul. 18, 2014
* NYNY1407.18

- Birds mentioned

EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

White-winged Scoter
Black Scoter
Cory's Shearwater
Wilson's Storm-Petrel
AMERICAN AVOCET
Willet (subspecies "Western Willet")
WHIMBREL
Western Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Gull-billed Tern
Royal Tern
Parasitic Jaeger
Cliff Swallow

- Transcript

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transcriber: Ben Cacace

BEGIN TAPE

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, July 18th 2014 at 11:30pm. The highlights of today's tape are AMERICAN AVOCET, WHIMBREL, EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE, seawatch results and shorebird migration.

Two AMERICAN AVOCETS reported for the region this week. One on Monday at the Swing beach at Croton Point Park in Westchester County and the other Tuesday at the foot of Dyckman Street in Manhattan at the Hudson River in Fort Washington Park.

Two WHIMBREL reported today from Cedar Point Park in Southold and another was seen here on Sunday. On Wednesday, a seawatch at Robert Moses State Park, Fire Island produced two WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS and 2 flyby WHIMBRELS.

The EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE was seen again today at Chelsea Waterside Park area at the Chelsea Pier bus depot in Manhattan.

Last Sunday a seawatch at Robert Moses State Park found 2 WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS, one PARASITIC JAEGER and one LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL.

Also on Sunday at Cupsogue County Park a seawatch produced 4 CORY'S SHEARWATERS and 14 large unidentified shearwaters along with a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL. At Cupsogue on Sunday 240 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS, 1 WESTERN SANDPIPER and 4 "Western" WILLETS were found indicating a small build up in shorebird migration. Ten species of shorebirds were found Sunday at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge highlighted by a STILT SANDPIPER.

Today at Fire Island there was a notable swallow flight with all 6 regularly occurring swallow species highlighted by 6 CLIFF SWALLOWS.

Other interesting birds of the week include a GULL-BILLED TERN at Oceanside Marine Nature Study Area on Thursday, 3 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS at Orient Point on Monday and 100 BLACK SCOTERS at Davis Park on Fire Island on Sunday, a ROYAL TERN at Cherry Grove, Fire Island on Sunday along with a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL.

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

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Treehugger Tuesday

Antibacterial Products and the Environment

New studies into a pair of common components of antibacterial soaps and other products find that they pose a huge risk to humans and the environment. The follow article is from CBCNews:

Ban antibacterials triclosan and triclocarban, report says
Canadian Environmental Law Association says lakes and rivers are at risk
The Canadian Press Posted: Jul 10, 2014 2:23 PM ET Last Updated: Jul 11, 2014 4:00 PM ET

Canada should ban two antibacterial chemicals used in a host of consumer products and accumulating in the waters of the Great Lakes, a report issued Thursday said.

The report, from the Canadian Environmental Law Association, also suggested Canada, the United States and all provinces and states bordering the Great Lakes should prohibit use of the chemicals and assess proposed alternatives before they are used.

Download the report

The two products are triclosan and triclocarban, which are used alone and together in products such as toothpaste, body washes, bar soap and clothing. The chemicals are even found in yoga mats.

Late last year the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it was reconsidering the safety of antibacterial soaps and other antibacterial personal care products because of concerns the chemicals may disrupt human hormones and contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance.

Antibacterial soap could pose health risk, FDA says

And in May, Minnesota made headlines when it banned triclosan.

The report called triclosan a chemical of high concern and triclocarban a chemical that should be replaced with safer alternatives. Those rankings were based on an analysis the group conducted using a tool called the GreenScreen assessment. It measures a chemical's impact against 18 human health and environmental criteria, such as whether there is evidence they cause reproductive toxicity, endocrine activity, eye irritation or skin sensitivity. It also looks at whether the chemicals are flammable and whether they accumulate in the environment.

Bev Thorpe, of Clean Production Action, the organization that hosts the GreenScreen assessment tool, explained the analysis outcome for triclosan.

"This chemical is highly toxic to organisms in ... receiving waters and also persistent and bioaccumulative in the environment, as well as having endocrine active properties (in humans)," Thorpe said during a briefing on the report.
"And it's also very high hazard for acute and systemic toxicity for humans."

Products with triclosan widely available in Canada

Roughly 1,600 products containing triclosan are sold in Canada, with another 130 personal care products containing the antibacterial chemical regulated as drug products.

Two years ago the federal government released a preliminary report on triclosan. It concluded the chemical is not harmful to human health but in significant amounts can cause harm to the environment.
Peter Kent, who was then the federal environment minister, said at the time that the government would begin discussions with industry to encourage voluntary reductions of triclosan in products.

Rolf Halden, director of the Center for Environmental Security at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, said these chemicals are not particularly effective for the advertised purpose when they are added to consumer products. But given the amounts of them in use, they enter the water cycle and are discovered virtually everywhere.

Thorpe agreed. "When you look at the fact that triclocarban and triclosan are used in a lot of personal care products, cosmetics and soaps, all of these chemicals are eventually flushed down the drain.

You can see why these are not a good choice to be putting into consumer products."

Halden suggested that what gets into the water cycle eventually gets back to people. He noted that 97 per cent of breast milk samples tested in a study contained the chemicals.

Fe de Leon, a researcher with the Canadian Environmental Law Association, said government action is needed.

"It really should not be left to the consumers to try to avoid these products, especially given that there is very little benefit to using them," she said.

© The Canadian Press, 2014
...Read more

Monday, July 14, 2014

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of July 19, 2014 to July 20, 2014:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, July 19, 2014
Pop-Up Audubon
Saturdays and Sundays, April 5 – October 19, 12 – 5 p.m. / November – December, 12 – 4 p.m.
Free The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

Sunday, July 20, 2014
Pop-Up Audubon
Saturdays and Sundays, April 5 – October 19, 12 – 5 p.m. / November – December, 12 – 4 p.m.
Free The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, July 19, 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, July 19, 2014, 8am – 1pm
Songbirds and Shorebirds at Alley Pond Park, Queens
Guide: Jeff Kollbrunner Look for breeding birds in the hilly woodlands and salt marshes of Queens' second largest City park - and its most ecologically diverse. We'll look for nesting birds including eastern wood-pewees, wood thrushes, red-eyed vireos, American redstarts, barn and tree swallows, spotted sandpipers, and even great horned owls! Mid-summer is also a perfect time to see shorebirds and wading birds feeding on the exposed mudflats.
Transportation by van included. Limited to 11. $75 (52)
Click here to register.

Saturday, July 19, 2014, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walk (spring)
Guide: NYC Audubon, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy With the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics.
For more information, please call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free.

Sunday, July 20, 2014, 7pm – 9pm
Sunset EcoCruise to the Harbor Heron Islands: Bridges and Birds
Guide: Gabriel Willow With New York Water Taxi Meet at South Street Seaport's Pier 16. We're excited about this summer's ecocruises; we’ve expanded our explorations of the City's island rookeries to three different locations! Depending on which weekend you choose, cruises may visit the fascinating Brother Islands, the large egret and cormorant colonies on Hoffman and Swinburne Islands, or the great expanses of Jamaica Bay. Whichever your destination, you'll experience the wonders of New York's famous harbor at sunset and see some of the three thousand herons, egrets, and ibis nesting on these urban island treasures.
To learn about specific cruise dates and register, visit New York Water Taxi online or by phone at 212-742-1969. Limited to 140. Pricing varies by destination.

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, July 19, 2014, 8A.M. to 10 A.M.
Cemetery of the Resurrection and State Park
Join local birder, Anthony Ciancimino, for a guided tour through this overlooked birding hotspot. The DEC property adjacent to the cemetery includes many different habitats, including freshwater ponds and swamps, hardwood forest, fields, and thickets. Participants can expect to see many different kinds of breeding birds, including Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Orchard Oriole, and various types of swallows. Shorebirds may also be present along the edges of the ponds. Meet at the first entrance to the cemetery near the restrooms, closest to Hylan Boulevard.
E-mail Anthony Ciancimino at sibirdwatcher@yahoo.com for more information.

Saturday, July 19, 2014, 10 A.M. to 2 P.M.
Forest Restoration Workshop along the LaTourette bike path and the Blue Trail
Meet at the bike path entrance on the Old Mill Road next to the old St. Andrews Church. We will walk along path toward its T-junction where we will cut invasive vines that strangle saplings along the trail (our 215th monthly workshop). If you don’t have your own, Protectors will supply gloves and pruners and refreshments. After the work session 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.

Saturday, July 19, 2014, 1 P.M. to 3 P.M.
Acme Pond
Acme Pond is a diverse ecosystem, located on the northwest side of Hylan Boulevard across from Wolfe’s Pond Park. This walk will take us through hiking trails in some of the most idyllic woodlands in all of New York City, leading to a view of a large freshwater pond and its inhabitants. We will meet at the corner of Seguine Avenue and Herbert Street. Parking is available on Herbert Street. (http://goo.gl/maps/59dvC).
Please call John Paul Learn at 718-619-5051 or e-mail john.paul.learn@gmail.com for more information.

Sunday, July 20, 2014, 11 A.M. to 1:30 P.M.
Best of the Blue Trail to the Cropsey Overlook and St. Francis Woodlands
Join Hillel on a walk to the Cropsey Overlook through the woods of the central Greenbelt. Pass ponds and kettle holes and marvel at how ice formed this landscape ages ago. Meet at the High Rock Park parking lot at the top of Nevada Avenue. If it’s raining at the time of the walk, the event is postponed to Sunday, July 27.
E-mail Hillel Lofaso at hillel5757@gmail.com or call 718-477-0545 for more information.

Sunday, July 20, 2014, 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 enjoy the abundance of summer species. Long Pond Park hosts 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 City, covering over 100 acres. Meet at the corner of Eugene Street and Adelphi Avenue, right by the intersection of Page Avenue and Amboy Road (http://goo.gl/maps/UCsFg). Parking is available on Eugene Street.
Call John Paul Learn at 718-619-5051 or e-mail john.paul.learn@gmail.com for more information.

Sunday, July 20, 2014, 2 P.M. to 4 PM
Acme Pond and the North Forest
The woodlands and ponds of this little known area will be explored during an approximately two mile hike. Once heavily farmed, the Acme Pond area has developed into a nicely wooded forest over the past 150 years with sweetgum, white oaks and hickories as the dominant trees. The pond is reputed to be the home of large bass and provides a secluded location for many birds as well as frogs and turtles. Meet at the corner of Hylan Boulevard, and Holten Avenue.
Call Clay Wollney at 718-869-6327 for more information.

**********

Staten Island Museum
Saturday, July 19, 2014, 8:30pm - 10:30pm
National Moth Night: Into the Woods!
Location: Greenbelt Nature Center, 700 Rockland Avenue
$10 per adult/Children under 12 free

Stay up late and celebrate National Moth Week! This year the Staten Island Museum is collaborating with NYC Parks and Deep Tanks Butoh. Featured activities include: Museum moth specimens, microscopes, cool-pops, a night hike, contemporary dancers, and the dark beauty of the Greenbelt. All ages and interests are welcome to bring flashlights, cameras, a container & a science note book. To learn more about National Moth Week visit nationalmothweek.org.

The Greenbelt Nature Center is located at 700 Rockland Avenue and is easily accessible by bus via the S61/S91. Exit the bus at the Rockland Avenue/Forest Hill Road stop, walk south along Forest Hill Road and make a left onto Rockland Avenue, continue to the Nature Center.

There is also a parking lot available for guests arriving by car.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, July 19, 2014
Bird Walk at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.
NYC Audubon experts lead the way as we marvel at quirky but logical bird behavior and delicate feathers in exquisite patterns. Bring binoculars if you have them and wear sturdy…
Free!

Fort Tryon Nature and Birding Walk at Broadway and Bennett Avenue (in Fort Tryon Park), Manhattan
9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Learn about the birds and the environment along Fort Tryon Park's Broadway expanse with author Leslie Day.
Free!

Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Join the Alliance to learn about the 250 species of birds that call Prospect Park home.
Free!

Sunday, July 20, 2014
Birding at Ridgewood Reservoir at Ridgewood Reservoir, Queens
10:00 a.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. Birding programs are appropriate for all skill levels and beginners are welcome. The Rangers will guide…
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, July 12, 2014

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, July 4, 2014:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
*July 11, 2014
* NYNY1407.11

- Birds Mentioned

SANDWICH TERN+
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

LEAST BITTERN
Black Vulture
Virginia Rail
Solitary Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper
Gull-billed Tern
Black Tern
Royal Tern

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transcriber: Gail Benson

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]
Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, July 11 at 5:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are SANDWICH TERN, LEAST BITTERN, EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE, arriving shorebirds, a Jamaica Bay appeal, and a pelagic trip reminder.

Two more brief SANDWICH TERN sightings occurred this week—the first was last Sunday with an adult spotted sitting on the flats at Mecox, this tern flying out to sea shortly thereafter, and it was pretty much the same scenario with another adult found at Nickerson Beach off Lido Boulevard west of Point Lookout on Tuesday. Other interesting Terns at each location featured an adult BLACK TERN also at Mecox on Sunday and two GULL-BILLED TERNS continuing around the Tern colony at Nickerson Beach.

On Wednesday at Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes a fly-by ROYAL was the only Tern highlight there, but a notable increase in southbound shorebirds included a STILT SANDPIPER and an adult WESTERN SANDPIPER among 15 species of shorebirds there.

The family of LEAST BITTERNS continues to be seen at Arshamomaque Preserve, west of Greenport on the north fork. The birds can be viewed from the observation tower overlooking the pond, but a telescope and sometimes some patience are recommended. The Preserve entrance is off Chapel Lane, north of Route 25, south of North Road. VIRGINIA RAILS are among the other birds present there, and a migrant SOLITARY SANDPIPER appeared there Wednesday.

The EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE was still present today in Lower Manhattan—it was seen yesterday near the West Side Highway across from the end of West 23 rd Street and today was back in Chelsea Waterside Park, where previous sightings had also occurred, so the Dove seems to be faithful to that area.

A BLACK VULTURE over Uniondale on Thursday was quite unusual there.

The East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is rounding into good shape for the upcoming shorebird season, but the West Pond remains a disaster thanks to a total lack of repair by the Park Service.

For Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge now is a very important time regarding the future of the West Pond. Proceedings this month will be instrumental in determining whether the breach in the West Pond will be repaired and thus whether the pond and surrounding area will be restored to pre-Sandy productivity. If you haven’t already, please sign the restoration petition, found on the internet at http://tinyurl.com/west-pond-petition Also please refer to Seth Ausubel’s post of Monday June 30 at aba.org under Birding News for New York for information on key meetings and follow-up regarding the refuge. Your involvement is quite important!

For information on and reservations for the See Life Paulagics trip leaving Freeport, Long Island, at 8 PM on Monday, August 11th aboard the Captain Lou Fleet’s Star Stream VIII, please call 215-234-6805 or visit their website at www.paulagics.com

For the next two weeks Tony Lauro will handle the Rare Bird Alert duties, please call Tony to give reports at (631) 734-4126.

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday's Foto

The NYC Department of Parks and Recreation constructed two Osprey nest platforms on the East side of Gerritsen Creek, near their Saltmarsh Nature Center on Avenue U. For the second year in a row a pair of Ospreys has used one of the large wooden structures and successfully reared offspring. These are the triplets from this year very close to fledging age.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of July 12, 2014 to July 13, 2014:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Family Bird Watching Tour
Saturday, June 14 and July 12, August 9, 10 a.m.
Free Geared towards families with children ages 8 and older, the Prospect Park Alliance will help young naturalists learn how to observe and identify some of the 200 species of birds that pass through Prospect Park or make it their home.

Pop-Up Audubon
Saturdays and Sundays, April 5 – October 19, 12 – 5 p.m. / November – December, 12 – 4 p.m.
Free The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

Sunday, July 13, 2014
Pop-Up Audubon
Saturdays and Sundays, April 5 – October 19, 12 – 5 p.m. / November – December, 12 – 4 p.m.
Free The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, July 12, 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

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Friday – Sunday July 11–13, 2014
Montezuma NWR and Environs
Leader: Diana Teta
Registrar: Anne Lazarus – amlazarus@earthlink.net or 212-673-9059
Registration opens: Monday June 2
Ride: $120

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, July 12, 2014, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walk (spring)
Guide: NYC Audubon, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy With the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics.
For more information, please call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free.

Saturday, July 12, 2014, 10:00am – 11:30am
City of Water Day EcoCruise
With Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance Meet at Pier 83, at West 42nd Street and 12th Avenue. As part of City of Water Day, a celebration of the waterways and harbors of New York City, NYC Audubon will once again offer a special ecocruise past Hoffman and Swinburne Islands, exploring the natural history of the area.
Visit www.nycaudubon.org to learn more about City of Water Day and ecocruise details. Limited to 150. Free

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Bird Walk at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.
NYC Audubon experts lead the way as we marvel at quirky but logical bird behavior and delicate feathers in exquisite patterns. Bring binoculars if you have them and wear sturdy…
Free!

Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Join the Alliance to learn about the 250 species of birds that call Prospect Park home.
Free!

Sunday, July 13, 2014
Summer Birding at Perkins Visitors Center (in Wave Hill), Bronx
9:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Naturalist Gabriel Willow contributes his extensive knowledge of diverse bird species and their behavior on these captivating walks through the gardens and woodlands. Observe the…
Free!
...Read more

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Red-tailed Hawk Update

Local birder and hawkwatcher Ann Feldman has been monitoring the Red-tailed Hawk nest located in the Japanese Garden section of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. She just wrote to let me know that the two offspring there have successfully fledged. In addition, the botanic garden has posted a very nice piece about the hawks on their website here. Now comes the fun as the young raptors begin exploring their territory and learn to hunt. Don't be surprised if you have a close encounter on a visit to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden as it takes a couple of months for these large hawks to learn to avoid humans.

Treehugger Tuesday

NBC News just ran a story about how melting ice in the Antarctic due to warming will adversely affect Emperor Penguin populations:

Unhappy Feet: Climate Change Threatens Emperor Penguins

The biggest threat to emperor penguins may not be leopard seals or even killer whales, but a much larger predator: global warming.

Climate change, which is quickly melting the sea ice this species depends on for survival, could cause dramatic drops in the number of emperor penguins across Antarctica by the end of the century, a new study finds. Specifically, more than two-thirds of Antarctica's emperor penguin colonies will decline by more than 50 percent by the end of the century under future climate change scenarios.

The researchers, from France, the Netherlands and the United States, are pushing to have this iconic species listed as endangered before its numbers hit critical lows. Doing so, the researchers said, may establish "a new global conservation paradigm for species threatened by future climate change."


Stephanie Jenouvrier, of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, holds an emperor penguin chick in Antarctica.

Emperor penguins breed and raise their offspring almost exclusively on sea ice. And changes in sea ice concentration (SIC), or the relative area of water covered by sea ice, affect not only penguins, but also the entire Antarctic food web, down to the smallest of species, the researchers noted.

"The role of sea ice is complicated," said Stephanie Jenouvrier, a biologist with the WHOI, in a statement. "Too much ice requires longer trips for penguin parents to travel to the ocean to hunt and bring back food for their chicks. But too little ice reduces the habitat for krill, a critical food source for emperor penguins. Our models take into account both the effects of too much and too little sea ice in the colony area."

- Elizabeth Palermo, Live Science

This is a condensed version of an article that originally appeared in Live Science. Read the entire story here. Follow Elizabeth Palermo on Twitter @techEpalermo, Facebook or Google+. Follow us @livescience, Facebook &Google+.
...Read more

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