Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Last Weekend's Birds

Last weekend I did a little spring birding at Prospect Park, Green-Wood Cemetery, Coney Island, Coney Island Creek Park and Gerritsen Creek. Like the previous weekend, my Saturday birding agenda kicked off at pre-dawn. I like to be where the birds are when the sun comes up, so was walking into Prospect Park just as the sky was lightening from black to navy. Robins, cardinals and House Sparrows had already been singing for 30 minutes. The annual mockingbird at the end of my block must be late to arrive as I haven't heard his 3am concert. I was optimistic that there would be a nice mix of warblers and other migrant songbirds vocalizing in the park at this early hour and couldn't wait to get started.

I was kind of hoping to find something really interesting before 6am. That way I could use my Twitter account like an alarm clock for any followers who opted to sleep in on a beautiful spring morning. Luckily for them that didn't happen, though, and my first tweet didn't go out until 6:28am. We were standing at the Lily Pond, just upstream from the nature center when we spotted a Louisiana Waterthrush. I heard the weak trill of a Palm Warbler and the high-pitched rising scale and chatter of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. I would hear several through the morning. We noticed some activity in the trees at the back of the pond and walked over for a closer look. Within a moment or two we spotted Blue-headed Vireo, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Palm Warbler, Pine Warbler and Yellow-rumped Warbler in the trees at the edge of the pond. After about 20 minutes we headed towards the nature center. Standing near the concrete "duck feeding station" I heard the raspy "skeow" call of a Green Heron, but couldn't see the source. Mustering my best impression of the "skeow" call, I was shocked with the bird flew up from the edge of the water and headed directly towards me. My first thought was how narrow this small wading bird looked straight on, sort of like a dart. My second was whether I should duck as he looked like he was coming right at my head. At the last moment he ascended into a tree above and behind me. I never realized I was so gifted at calling in Green Herons, but I think I'll leave that talent off of my resume.

Green-Wood Cemetery was the next stop after 2 good hours in Prospect Park. There were lots of both species of kinglets present, but for the most part the cemetery was fairly quiet. The one exception was the area around the edges of the Sylvan Water. A lone cherry tree at the southeast edge of the pond was loaded with hungry warblers. Around a dozen Palm Warblers, a several Pine Warblers and a few Yellow-rumped Warblers chased down insects amongst the trees pink blossoms. A Northern Parula flew in from the shrubs across the road and joined the feeding frenzy. Teetering along the shore at the edge of the pond was a fifth warbler species - a Louisiana Waterthrush. By the time we left the cemetery it was late morning and the songbird activity was beginning to slow down. We decided to go to Coney Island to look for migrating seabirds and shorebirds.

One of our target birds at the shore was Northern Gannet. From the edge of the jetty at the end of West 37th Street we scanned back and forth across the water. There were lots of Brants and a couple of dozen Common Loons. A single Purple Sandpiper foraged for arthropods within the jetty's green-fringed boulders. It took about 15 minutes, but eventually a lone gannet was spotted soaring over the bay. A few minutes later we were scanning the water off the end of Stillwell Avenue. There were more loons in the water here, 19 to be exact, and a few Horned Grebes.

Coney Island Creek Park is at the northern end of West 37th Street. It has a narrow strip of trees and low vegetation adjacent to the sand dunes that border Gravesend Bay. On a good spring migration morning it attracts a surprising diversity of birds. Saturday was not one of those days. One surprise was spotting a pair of lingering Bonaparte's Gulls on the shore. I had been standing a shore distance from them for probably 10 minutes before I noticed. After a long, brutally cold winter of chasing gulls in this area, I was sort of done with "gull mode" and was focusing on everything else.

A short distance east of the park is the actually creek. It's usually a good spot to see a nice mix of waterfowl. A sand spit here is a great winter spot for gulls. Neither the spit nor the water held many birds. A single Red-necked Grebe remained in the area. Normally spotting the grebe would be a big deal. As a friend recently pointed out, this winter's irruption of Red-necked Grebes has New York birders a bit "grebed out". I was optimistic that I'd find my first Blue-winged Teal of the year on the creek, but I guess that will have to wait for another day.

My final stop during Saturday's long day was Gerritsen Creek, in Marine Park. The hope was to find a few wading birds, maybe a tern or two and a couple of shorebirds. One of the first year birds found on our walk down the west side of the creek was a Forster's Tern. The bird was perched on a wooden piling exposed by the low-tide. Later we spotted our first Snowy Egret of the season. Migrating Common Loons were relatively abundant and seen in multiple locations during the day. Unfortunately I also stumbled (literally) on this dead one along Gerritsen Creek's shore. I'd never seen one up close and was surprised to learn that the dark collar is actually an iridescent green color.

On Sunday I was at home getting ready to go to a fundraising event in Manhattan when I received this tweet:



I was about to hop on my bike and ride into the park to find this rare bird until I received this follow up.



In my addled mind it seemed as if there was still a question whether there was actually a Yellow-throated Warbler in Prospect Park, so I put my bike away and got ready to take a shower. I was in the bathroom when my phone chimed and the following message popped up:



I had about 10 minutes to spare, so re-dressed, grabbed my bins and bicycle and pedaled into Prospect Park. It wasn't difficult to find the warbler as there was at least a dozen people with their bins trained on it. I would have liked to linger and watch the bird for a while, especially considering that, if you're lucky, you only get to see one a year. I said hello to a few people, but really had to rush back home. When I bid everyone "good birding" and clipped into my pedals, my friend Dennis captured the sentiment of spring migration craziness when he said to me, "And here we are again..."

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Dates: April 9, 2014 - April 13, 2014
Locations: Coney Island Beach--35th St. Overlook, Coney Island Creek Park, Green-Wood Cemetery, Prospect Park, Salt Marsh Nature Center at Marine Park--Southwest
Species: 85
Checklists: 7

Brant
Wood Duck (3.)
Northern Shoveler (1.)
Ring-necked Duck (1.)
Bufflehead
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Common Loon (19.)
Horned Grebe
Red-necked Grebe (2.)
Northern Gannet (1.)
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Egret (2.)
Snowy Egret (1.)
Green Heron (1.)
Black-crowned Night-Heron (2.)
Osprey (1.)
Red-tailed Hawk (2.)
American Coot
American Oystercatcher (3.)
Killdeer (2.)
Purple Sandpiper (1.)
Wilson's Snipe (1.)
Bonaparte's Gull (2.)
Laughing Gull (3.)
Great Black-backed Gull
Forster's Tern (1.)
Belted Kingfisher (1.)
Red-headed Woodpecker (1.)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (1.)
Monk Parakeet (5.)
Eastern Phoebe (27.)
Blue-headed Vireo (2.)
Northern Rough-winged Swallow (2.)
Tree Swallow (7.)
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper (6.)
Winter Wren (1.)
Carolina Wren (2.)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (1.)
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (15.)
Hermit Thrush (16.)
Brown Thrasher (2.)
Cedar Waxwing (2.)
Louisiana Waterthrush (1.)
Northern Parula (1.)
Palm Warbler (20.)
Pine Warbler (11.)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (14.)
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER (1, Prospect Park.)
Eastern Towhee (1.)
Chipping Sparrow (3.)
Swamp Sparrow (1.)
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Rusty Blackbird (3.)
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird

Other common species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, Mute Swan, American Black Duck, Mallard, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Finch, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow
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Brooklyn Red-tailed Hawk Update

It has been a while since I've posted any updates on our local Red-tailed Hawk pairs. Sometimes the revolving seasonal bird activity distracts me from the one species that got me started in birdwatching. Perhaps it is because what seemed unusual to me over 20 years ago has become common place. Barely a day passes that I don't notice at least one Red-tailed Hawk around Brooklyn or NYC's other boroughs. As my knowledge of and interests in other family of birds evolves, I still enjoy periodically going back and tracking down Brooklyn's hawks.

There are three nesting pairs in and around Prospect Park and a possible fourth pair at Fort Greene Park. A pair at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden has been using a pine tree that borders the Brooklyn Museum parking lot for their nest for a third year. I am guessing that this is the pair named "Nelly" and "Max" who used to nest in a Japanese Black Pine at the edge of Nelly's Lawn in Prospect Park. Nelly and Max stopped using the nest in Prospect Park at the same time the pair showed up across Flatbush Avenue at the botanic garden.

"Junior" the long time mate of the late "Big Mama" appears to have moved on. He has taken a new mate and the pair has settled on a nest site in a pine tree on "The Flats" of Green-Wood Cemetery. The nest tree is only about 600 yards south-west of Junior and Big Mama's final nest. That was also a pine tree, but sustained major damage from one of this past winter's storms. As of last weekend, the hawks didn't appear to be incubating eggs yet. The nest is at the very top of the tree and not easy to see. If I find a good viewing vantage point I'll post directions here.

My friend Steve called me on Saturday morning to tell me about a large nest he found in Prospect Park. I was aware that a pair of Red-tailed Hawks had been nesting somewhere in a stand of pines at the south end of the baseball fields a couple of years ago, but had no luck confirming the location. Like Junior's nest in Green-Wood, this nest is near the top of a conifer and very difficult to see. Through Steve's scope, however, we could see that there is a red-tailed sitting on eggs.

So, who is this pair? An educated guess would be Alice and Ralph. In 2012 they were unceremoniously evicted from their pine tree nest site of 9 years in the Ravine by a pair of owls. Shortly thereafter I began receiving notes about a pair of red-tails building a nest at the south end of the baseball fields.

If you live near and/or bird around Fort Greene Park let me know if you spot any Red-tailed Hawks nesting in that park. I'll be sure to come by and check it out. To learn about the hawks in Manhattan, check out Bruce Yolton's "Urban Hawks" blog and James O'Brien's "The Origin of Species" blog.
...Read more

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Treehugger Tuesday

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued their latest report and the message is predictable, but will world leaders act in time.

From The Guardian:

The IPCC's message is clear: it's the end of business as usual for fossil fuel users

The UN's climate change panel is unambiguous – we need to make huge policy changes to wean ourselves off CO2 producers

Jim Skea
theguardian.com, Monday 14 April 2014 08.21 EDT

'There will be no single solution across the world but the expansion of renewable energy is likely to be ubiquitous.'

There are choices that need to be made if dangerous climate change is to be avoided in the 21st century. Previous reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have confirmed that the influence of human activities on the climate is unambiguous, and that climate change will have a major impact on human activities and ecosystems. Its third report, published yesterday, sets out the huge challenge that needs to be addressed by policymakers.

The evidence is clear: sticking to business as usual will lead to temperature rises of three to five degrees above pre-industrial levels. This will potentially lead to catastrophic effects on water resources and agricultural productivity, and accelerate sea level rise. If momentum is maintained, the pledges made by UN members at the Cancun Climate Convention in 2010 would probably take us to the bottom end of that range, close to a three-degree rise. But they would not meet the two-degree goal set by the UN and accepted as the target needed to avoid dangerous climate change.

Hitting the two-degree target has not been ruled out, but the IPCC has concluded in its report that major changes would be needed to energy systems, requiring technological and institutional change on a massive scale. Global emissions of greenhouse gases would need to fall by 40-70% to meet the target. This could imply a tripling or quadrupling, by 2050, of cleaner electricity sources such as renewables, nuclear or fossil fuels, along with carbon capture and storage, and the aggressive pursuit of energy efficiency opportunities. There will be no single solution across the world but rather a patchwork of responses as countries make their own choices. However, the expansion of renewable energy is likely to be ubiquitous.

The implications of delay are clearly stated in the report. If we postpone action until 2030, the two-degree target will be beyond our grasp unless technologies to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere are used. Afforestation and reduced deforestation will help but the alternative of burning biomass and capturing and storing the CO2 would need to be adopted. This is controversial and raises wider sustainability concerns. Prompt action will cut costs and leave open a wider range of options.

Cost is a critical question that needs to be addressed in any proposals for action, or inaction. In the report, the IPCC has suggested that action to cut greenhouse gas emissions could reduce global growth by 0.06% per year over the 21st century, leading to a 1.7% reduction in global consumption by 2030 and 3.4% by 2050 relative to a business as usual strategy. Is this affordable? It does not sound much when set against the impact of climate change. And other benefits from improved air quality and reduced dependence on imported fossil fuels are not costed in. However, expenditure would fall heavily on energy bills rather than being spread imperceptibly across the economy. The political leadership challenge is clear.

What does it mean for the UK? The Climate Change Act contains a legally binding target for an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This is broadly compatible with the IPCC conclusion that global emissions need to fall by 40-70%. The UK also has a system of five-year carbon budgets that act as stepping stones towards the 2050 target. UK policy therefore has a built-in mechanism which, if used, can ensure that emissions reductions are not delayed. The government is considering a recommendation from the committee on climate change that the fourth carbon budget, covering 2023-27, should not be loosened. The IPCC report provides substantial support for this argument. If the UK is going to play a leading role in international negotiations, cut emissions in line with the IPCC analysis and keep its options open, the prompt action signalled by the existing fourth carbon budget is essential.

This, along with the evidence presented by the IPCC in its previous reports, should provide governments around the world with the information they need to accelerate action against the dangerous impact of climate change.
...Read more

Monday, April 14, 2014

New Feature

I just added an eBird rarities gadget to the "Recent Sightings" page here.

Upcoming Nature Trips

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

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Introduction to Birdwatching
Saturdays, through June 28, 12 – 1 p.m.
Free
Explore the Park's natural areas and learn how to look for amazing birds.

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Brooklyn Bridge Park & Red Hook Waterfront
Meet: No registration necessary. Meet 7:30 am at Northeast corner of Pier One near the Barge Music boat
Leader: Mike Yuan
Focus: sparrows, wrens, early spring land passerines, some waterfowl
Note: In case of inclement weather, call or text leader at 1-917-647-3396 (preferred). If traveling by public transportation, bring bus fare for bus to Red Hook.

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Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday April 19, 2014 - rain date
Hook Mountain for Early Spring Butterflies and Birds (Note flexibility in scheduling for weather, flight periods)
Leader: Rich Cech
Registrar: Lenore Swenson– lenoreswenson@gmail.com or 212-533-9567
Registration opens: Monday March 31
Ride: $25

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Littoral Society
Sunday, April 20, 2014, 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Hike the Trails of the North Forty Natural Area
Guide: Mickey Maxwell Cohen, American Littoral Society
Meet at the Ryan Visitor Center, Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, NY. Join naturalist, Mickey Maxwell Cohen and discover birds, early wildflowers and hidden W.W. II military bunkers in this developing maritime woodland. This hike is in partnership with Gateway National Recreation Area.
For questions and rsvp, email: bmcohen2@gmail.com or call (718)474-0896.

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, April 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

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, April 19, 2014, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Park Nature Center
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 718-548-0912.
No registration necessary. No limit. Free.

Saturday, April 19, 2014, 9am – 3pm
Beginning Birding (trip)
Classes: Wednesdays, April 9, 16, and 23, 6:30-8:30pm Trips: Saturdays, April 19 and 26, Times TBA Instructor: Tod Winston Learn the keys to identifying the spectacular variety of birds that migrate northwards through New York City every spring. Even if you've never picked up a pair of binoculars, you’ll soon be identifying warblers, thrushes, waterbirds, and more—both by sight and by ear. Three fun and educational in-class sessions and field trips to Central Park and Jamaica bay (transport to Jamaica bay included). limited to 12. $160 (112) Click here to register!

Saturday, April 19, 2014, 10am – 1pm
Birds and Plants II: New York Botanical Garden in Springtime, The Bronx
Guides: Gabriel Willow With The New York Botanical Garden Enter through the Mosholu gate and meet at the Mosholu ticketing booths at the Reflecting Pool near the Visitor Center. 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. $39 (27) Click here to register

Sunday, April 20, 2014, 10am – 11am
Birding for Families
Sundays, March 2 - May 25, 10-11am Guides: NYC Audubon Offered by the Central Park Conservancy Meet at the Dana Discovery Center (inside the Park at 110th Street between Lenox and Fifth Avenues). Bring the kids and visit one of New York City’s richest bird habitats. Learn as a family how to spot and identify our feathered neighbors in their natural surroundings. Binoculars can be borrowed from the Visitor Center. For weather cancellation information, call 212-860-1370. Limited to 20. Age 5 and up.
Free. Click here to learn more and to register

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North Shore Audubon Society
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Leader: Lenore Figueroa - 718-343-1391

Walks are for beginners and experienced birders alike.
Weather permitting, walks start at 9:30 a.m. unless indicated otherwise. If in doubt, call the trip leader. Please note: all phone numbers are code 516 unless otherwise shown. In most cases, your contacts are the trip leaders.
The early winter walks are leaderless. For questions, contact Wendy Murbach at 546-6303.
For directions, click sitefinder view.
We encourage carpooling where feasable.

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, April 19, 2014, 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M.
Forest Restoration Workshop in the Egbertville Ravine
Meet at the side of Meisner Road (toward the Eger Home) close to the intersection of Meisner and Rockland. We will follow the steam along Rockland Avenue and clean up trash from the stream edges and the banks of the bluebelt pond and fish what floatables we can from deeper waters. This is a long work session, so join us for whatever time you can contribute. If you have waterproof gloves and boots, bring them. Protectors will provide bags and tools. In case of rain this event will be postponed until the 26th.
Call Don Recklies at 718-768-9036 or Chuck Perry at 718-667-1393 for more information.

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, April 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…

Birding: Spring Migrants at Prospect Park Picnic House (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
10:00 a.m.
New York City is directly under the Atlantic Flyway migration route for many bird species. Check out which species are visiting NYC.
Free!

Sunday, April 20, 2014
Hike the Trails of North Forty Natural Area at Ryan Visitor Center (in ), Brooklyn
10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Join American Littoral Society naturalist Mickey Maxwell Cohen and discover birds, early wildflowers, and hidden W.W. II military bunkers in this developing maritime woodland.
Free!
...Read more

Friday, April 11, 2014

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending April 11, 2014:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Apr. 11, 2014
* NYNY1404.11

- Birds mentioned

Blue-winged Teal
Horned Grebe
Red-necked Grebe
Little Blue Heron
Green Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Glossy Ibis
Black Vulture
American Kestrel
Least Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Wilson's Snipe
Laughing Gull
Iceland Gull
CASPIAN TERN
SNOWY OWL
Chimney Swift
Red-headed Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe
NORTHERN SHRIKE
Blue-headed Vireo
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Northern Parula
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Pine Warbler
Palm Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Worm-eating Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Rusty Blackbird

- Transcript

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transcriber: Ben Cacace

BEGIN TAPE

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, April 11th 2014 at 8pm. The highlights of today's tape are Winter holdovers and Spring migrants including SNOWY OWL, NORTHERN SHRIKE, CASPIAN TERN and more.

The Spring season is evolving slowly with hints of more to come.

At Jones Beach West End both a SNOWY OWL and the over wintering NORTHERN SHRIKE were still present last Sunday. The shrike still west of field 2.

In addition ICELAND GULLS were noted during the week in Prospect Park on Tuesday as well as at Orient Point earlier in the week and at Shoreham today.

RED-NECKED GREBES also remain at some coastal sites but 9 in Jamaica Bay as seen from Floyd Bennett Field on Monday plus up to 3 on Prospect Park Lake this week and another on Central Park reservoir. Many HORNED GREBES also continue. Some of both grebes in nice plumage now.

Three nice Spring counts featured the lingering flock of PECTORAL SANDPIPERS at Sunken Meadow State Park with up to 24 reported, 36 AMERICAN KESTRELS counted at Floyd Bennett Field on Monday and 30 EASTERN PHOEBES in Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn Monday. A couple of CASPIAN TERNS were noted along the Hudson River on Tuesday.

BLUE-WINGED TEAL are now appearing at several appropriate locations and other arriving non-passerines have included GLOSSY IBIS, LITTLE BLUE and GREEN HERONS, YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, LAUGHING GULL, LEAST SANDPIPER and CHIMNEY SWIFT.

A WILSON'S SNIPE was present in Central Park Wednesday and Thursday and a BLACK VULTURE was a flyover there on Sunday. Other singles also seen locally during the week.

Arriving swallows joining widespread TREES and less common NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGEDS have been a small number of BARNS and a CLIFF SWALLOW or two starting with one at Hempstead Lake State Park Sunday. PURPLE MARTINS have also appeared on Long Island since last Saturday.

Other reports included HOUSE WREN, BLUE-HEADED VIREO with one in Central Park Thursday and a decent number of BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS arriving Thursday.

Among the warblers joining the fairly widespread PINE, PALM, YELLOW-RUMPED and LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSHES have been a pair of NORTHERN PARULAS in Calverton Monday, a WORM-EATING in Prospect Park Thursday and a couple of BLACK-AND-WHITES starting Thursday.

Other birds of note have been the lingering RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS at a few locations and some RUSTY BLACKBIRDS at various appropriate sites.

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

Since I began this weekly feature, I think the American Kestrel has graced "Friday's Foto" at least once a year. This small, colorful falcon is so photogenic, how could I not? Over the past two weeks they have been migrating through Brooklyn in large numbers. Many will continue north, some will remain and breed locally. Slightly larger than an American Robin, the kestrel primarily eats insects, small rodents and, occasionally, small birds. According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, "Despite their distribution and relative abundance throughout much of the eastern United States, Kestrel numbers have significantly and steadily declined in the past fifty years, particularly in the Northeast."

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Last Weekend's Birds & More Migrants

Last weekend's birding trips saw a slight increase in arriving spring migrants, with a marked decrease in some of our overwintering waterfowl.

On Saturday I led a trip to Green-Wood Cemetery for 9 members of the Linnaean Society of New York. Many were hoping to see their first Pine Warbler of the season along with other early arrivals. Weather forecasts sounded like it was going to be downright balmy, but the temperature remained in the low 50's and northwest winds made it feel quite a bit colder at times. By early afternoon winds were gusting to nearly 45 mph! Despite less than ideal spring migrant conditions, we did manage to see a few new arrivals.

The highlight of the morning was tracking down a Wilson's Snipe that my friend Mike spotted earlier and tweeted about. Usually associated with wet, muddy habitats, this stout, long-billed shorebird was resting beneath a weeping cherry sapling within a strip of manicured grass adjacent to the Crescent Water. The bird blended in so well with the circle of recently turned soil around the sapling's trunk than some in the group had a difficult time distinguishing it from lumps of earth.

I did manage to find a couple of Pine Warblers for the group, as well as, a single Yellow-rumped Warbler. Other spring migrants observed in the cemetery were Great Egret, Osprey, lots of Eastern Phoebes, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush and Chipping Sparrow. In addition, as I was pulling up to the main entrance on my bike early on, a few of the participants were watching a Merlin flying over 5th Avenue. Three other species that I missed that others in the group spotted were Great Blue Heron, Turkey Vulture and Tree Swallow.

On Sunday morning Sean picked me up at 5:20am. We would be meeting Heydi at Hendrix Creek just before sunrise. While many birders are scouring Prospect Park and woodland habitats for spring migrants, we decided to explore the creeks, mudflats and landfills for shorebirds, raptors and grassland specialties. As the sun was coming up over the landfills roosting Northern Harriers began waking and soaring out over the two man-made mountains at the edge of the water. We counted 9, which was the most I've ever observed in a single day, not just in Brooklyn, but all of New York City.

The hundreds of waterfowl that overwinter at Hendrix and adjacent Spring Creek have been whittled down to just dozens of individuals. Low-tide was just after sunrise, so we walked a short distance up Hendrix Creek. A small flock of Wilson's Snipe, which had been perfectly camouflaged in the mud and vegetation, popped up in front of us and flew several yards ahead of us.

At Marine Park we walked the trails along the east side of Gerrittsen Creek. Along the shore near the nature center on Avenue U were 7 Greater Yellowlegs. Their calls, as well as, hundreds of Red-winged Blackbirds, several Boat-tailed Grackles, a few oystercatchers, and a small number of Killdeer created an early morning chorus of whistling squeals which, to my ears, is probably the antithesis of the woodland's dawn chorus. Still, it was nice to hear such varied nature sounds around me after this past winter's deep freeze when the dominant sounds were wind, creaking ice and the occasional hailstorm.

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Date: April 5, 2014 - April 6, 2014
Locations: Green-Wood Cemetery, Hendrix Creek, Salt Marsh Nature Center at Marine Park--Southwest, Spring Creek Park
Species: 75
Checklists: 4

Brant (25.)
Wood Duck (1.)
Gadwall (8.)
Northern Shoveler (14.)
Green-winged Teal (15.)
Lesser Scaup (3.)
Greater/Lesser Scaup 35
Bufflehead (25.)
Ruddy Duck (38.)
Ring-necked Pheasant (1.)
Common Loon (1.)
Pied-billed Grebe (1.)
Horned Grebe (2.)
Double-crested Cormorant (18.)
GREAT EGRET (3.)
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (1.)
Osprey (3.)
Northern Harrier (9.)
Red-tailed Hawk (4.)
American Oystercatcher (4.)
Killdeer (5.)
Greater Yellowlegs (7.)
Wilson's Snipe (8.)
LAUGHING GULL (8.)
Great Black-backed Gull (2.)
Belted Kingfisher (1.)
Red-headed Woodpecker (2.)
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (2.)
Northern Flicker
American Kestrel (2.)
Merlin (1.)
Peregrine Falcon (1.)
Monk Parakeet
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay (1.)
American Crow (3.)
Fish Crow (3.)
Common Raven (1.)
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (1.)
Tree Swallow (25.)
Black-capped Chickadee
Brown Creeper
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush (2.)
Pine Warbler (2.)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (1.)
American Tree Sparrow (1.)
Chipping Sparrow (3.)
Savannah Sparrow (1.)
Fox Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow (1.)
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Eastern Meadowlark (1.)
Common Grackle (5.)
Boat-tailed Grackle (3.)
Brown-headed Cowbird (21.)

Other common species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, Mute Swan, American Black Duck, Mallard, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Downy Woodpecker, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Song Sparrow,Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Finch, House Sparrow
...Read more

Macro Spring Blooms

I've been experimenting with a DIY macro attachment for my iPhone. Made from the sensor lens that I took out of one of my old point-and-shoot cameras, the resulting focus is a bit less than 1"; without the adapter, about 3". The results are fairly decent:

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The Red-tailed Hawk Journals

If you'd like to continue reading about my experiences with Brooklyn's Red-tailed Hawks "Big Mama" and "Split-tail", my book, "The Red-tailed Hawk Journals: A City Birder in Brooklyn", is now available as an eBook from Amazon here.

You can also read eBooks on your smartphone, PC or Mac computer with free Kindle reader software available here.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Treehugger Tuesday

A new report on the effects of motor vehicles is shocking, but really not that surprising.

From Streetsblog USA:

1.5 Million Lives Lost: The Global Toll of Motor Vehicles Each Year
by Angie Schmitt

In 2010, more people were killed by motor vehicles than by AIDS, or malaria, or tuberculosis. That year, 1.3 million lives were cut short by vehicle collisions, and 185,000 more people died as a result of health problems caused by vehicle exhaust. Combined, those vehicle-related factors accounted for 2.9 percent of all deaths globally, according to a report released yesterday by the World Health Organization.


Read the entire piece here.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Upcoming Nature Trips

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

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Introduction to Birdwatching
Saturdays, through June 28, 12 – 1 p.m.
Free
Explore the Park's natural areas and learn how to look for amazing birds.

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Brooklyn Botanic Garden, "A Short Birding Stroll for Spring's Delights"
Meet: No registration necessary. Meet 10:00 am at the Eastern Parkway entrance
Leader: Nancy Tim
Note: BBG is free from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays

**********

Littoral Society
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Beach Cleanup with New York Cares Day Spring
Time: 9:30 AM - 3 PM
Kick off spring with a community cleanup of North Channel Bridge and Cross Bay Boulevard in Broad Channel, Queens with the American Littoral Society and New York Cares! On April 12th, thousands of New York Cares volunteers get their hands dirty in parks, community gardens and public spaces throughout the city. Join us for a fun day of service and help us spread the word to your friends and family!
Advance registration required, click here to register.

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, April 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

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, April 12, 2014, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Park Nature Center
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 718-548-0912.
No registration necessary. No limit. Free.

Sunday, April 13, 2014, 9:30am – 11:30am
Birding at Wave Hill
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. Reservations recommended; register online at www.wavehill.org, by calling 718-549-3200 x305, or at the Perkins Visitor Center. Severe weather cancels; for updates call 718-549-3200 x245 by 8am the day of the walk.
NYC Audubon members enjoy two-for-one admission.

Sunday, April 13, 2014, 10am – 11am
Birding for Families
Sundays, March 2 - May 25, 10-11am Guides: NYC Audubon Offered by the Central Park Conservancy Meet at the Dana Discovery Center (inside the Park at 110th Street between Lenox and Fifth Avenues). Bring the kids and visit one of New York City’s richest bird habitats. Learn as a family how to spot and identify our feathered neighbors in their natural surroundings. Binoculars can be borrowed from the Visitor Center. For weather cancellation information, call 212-860-1370. Limited to 20. Age 5 and up.
Free. Click here to learn more and to register

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, April 12, 2014, 1:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M.
Long Pond Park
We will explore Long Pond Park, keeping an eye out for the local White-tailed deer population and emergence of spring species. Meet for the walk at the corner of Eugene Street and Adelphi Avenue, right by the intersection of Page Avenue and Amboy Rd – (http://goo.gl/maps/UCsFg ). Parking is available on Eugene Street.
For more information call John Paul Learn at 718-619-5051 or email at john.paul.learn@gmail.com.

Sunday, April 13, 2014, 10:00 A.M. to Noon
Arbutus Avenue Woodlands
Join Mike Shanley as we explore the woodlands along Arbutus Avenue in Annadale Staten Island. This area contains a number of important Bluebelt areas as well as an abandoned Horse Stable that will soon be developed. We will be meeting at the Blue Heron Park Nature Center.
Please e-mail Mike Shanley at Falecore@yahoo.com for more info.

Sunday, April 13, 2014, 2:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M.
Acme Pond
Acme Pond is a diverse ecosystem. This walk will take us through hiking trails in some of the most idyllic woodlands in all of New York City. We will meet at the corner of Seguine Avenue and Herbert Street. Street parking is available on Herbert Street and in parking lots off of Herbert Street (http://goo.gl/maps/59dvC ).
For more information call John Paul Learn at 718-619-5051 or email at john.paul.learn@gmail.com.

**********

Queens County Bird Club
Sunday, April 13, 2014, 7:30am
Rockaways Minitrip
Leader: Corey Finger 518-445-5829
Trips Note:
MINI TRIPS = Break after lunch +/-
ALL DAY TRIPS = BYO lunch, dinner out. {optl}
WEEKEND TRIPS = Two + days / Overnight

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, April 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!

Nature and Birding Walk Through the Heather Garden at Margaret Corbin Circle (in Fort Tryon Park), Manhattan
9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Learn to identify and value the flora and fauna of northern Manhattan with Leslie Day.
Free!

Birding: Spring Migrants at Alley Pond Park Adventure Center (in Alley Pond Park), Queens
10:00 a.m.
New York City is directly under the Atlantic Flyway migration route for many bird species. Check out which species are visiting NYC.
Free!

Birding for Kids at Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
10:00 a.m.
Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in New York City
Free!

CANCELLED: Bird Walk at Sherman Creek Park (in Sherman Creek), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Sherman Creek Park offers a diversity of ecosystems that provide habitat for many of New York City’s bird species. Come check out some of the best birding spots in Manhattan…
Free!

Freshkills Park Hike at Schmul Park, Staten Island
1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
Join the Freshkills Park Staff as we hike areas we are developing into brand new parkland on Staten Island.
Free!

Sunday, April 13, 2014
Birding at Pelham Bay Ranger Station (in Pelham Bay Park), Bronx
11:00 a.m.
Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in New York City.
Free!
...Read more

Friday, April 04, 2014

New York City Rare Bird Alert

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

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Apr. 4, 2014
* NYNY1404.04

- Birds mentioned

EURASIAN WIGEON
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Redhead
Long-tailed Duck
RED-NECKED GREBE
Little Blue Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Virginia Rail
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet
Lesser Yellowlegs
Pectoral Sandpiper
SNOWY OWL
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Brown Creeper
Winter Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Pine Warbler
Palm Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Chipping Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Purple Finch

- Transcript

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transcriber: Ben Cacace

BEGIN TAPE

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, April 4th 2014 at 7pm. The highlights of today's tape are SNOWY OWL, RED-NECKED GREBE, EURASIAN WIGEON, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER and Spring migrants.

A somewhat lackluster week was augmented by an increasing number of early Spring arrivals. On the Winter front only a few SNOWY OWLS continue in the region with 2 still at Jones Beach West End last Saturday and at least 4 others from Great Kills Park on Staten Island to Dune Road west of Shinnecock Inlet. Hopefully most of the birds involved in this spectacular invasion are now making their way successfully back north.

The wintering EURASIAN WIGEON was still off Milton Point in Rye today and there are still some decent concentrations of ducks around now in diminished numbers including such species as REDHEAD and NORTHERN PINTAIL as well as some sea ducks especially LONG-TAILED DUCK. A Eurasian form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL was spotted Tuesday northwest of Wading River on ponds on the south side of North Country Road. Continuing RED-NECKED GREBES featured 3 together on Prospect Park Lake in Brooklyn from Wednesday through today. But the one on the Central Park reservoir was last noted Wednesday.

Besides the over wintering RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS still present this week at Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx and Croton Point in Westchester an immature found yesterday at Greenwood-Union Cemetery in Rye was still present today.

Perhaps most unusual among the recent Spring arrivals was the VIRGINIA RAIL apparently released Thursday at the north end of Central Park. The rail could not be relocated today.

Both Central Park and Prospect Park have shared in a smattering of new arrivals the warblers including a LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH or two and both PALM and PINE WARBLERS plus some YELLOW-RUMPS. Other passerines showing up have featured NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED and BARN SWALLOWS, WINTER WREN, BROWN CREEPER, many GOLDEN-CROWNED and one or two RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS, EASTERN BLUEBIRD, HERMIT THRUSH and CHIPPING and SWAMP SPARROWS.

A PECTORAL SANDPIPER around the median at Jones Beach West End from Saturday to Tuesday this being followed by a growing number at Sunken Meadow State Park starting with 7 there on Wednesday and these increasing to 21 today these seen on flats just west of the bridge on the entrance road into the park.

Other arrivals have included a LITTLE BLUE HERON reported Wednesday from Oceanside Marine Nature Study Area, YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, WILLET and LESSER YELLOWLEGS the latter greatly outnumbered now by GREATER YELLOWLEGS. A PURPLE FINCH was noted Monday on Shelter Island and some should begin moving back through the area.

If you haven't already don't forget to sign the petition to restore Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge's West Pond. The petition can be found on the Internet at http://tinyurl.com/west-pond-petition. Thank you for doing so.

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

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Friday's Foto

Another bird species that seemed to have been affected by this past winter's "Polar Vortex" was Redhead. One of my favorite ducks, this handsome bird is not seen very often around Brooklyn. This past winter, however, saw several around the area presumably because a lack of open water north and east of the city forced them into the area. Like cowbirds, Redheads are parasitic brooders, laying their eggs in other bird's nests. Common Goldeneyes will also lay their eggs in other waterfowl nests.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Red-tailed Hawk Release

"Pip" has been given another lease on his short life. In May of 2012 this small male Red-tailed Hawk fell out of his nest in Prospect Park. He wasn't flighted yet and wildlife rehabbers Bobby and Cathy Horvath took care of him until he was healthy enough to be returned to his nest. Unfortunately, by that time his parents had left the nest area. As an alternative Bobby brought the young raptor to Big Mama and Junior's nest in Green-Wood Cemetery knowing that the adults would easily adopt this youngster as one of their own. They already had two nestlings and, almost immediately, began feeding him along with their biological offspring. Pip eventually fledged along with his foster siblings and continued to be seen around Green-Wood Cemetery and Prospect Park (he has a band on his left leg). Then on February 28th of this year Bobby received a call from Animal Care and Control. They responded to a call about an injured Red-tailed Hawk at Ocean and Church Avenues in Brooklyn. He had band number 1967-05898 on his left leg. It was Pip. From Bobby:

"He has blood in his throat and head trauma indicating a collision with something but nobody saw anything. He's in decent flesh and good feather meaning it was a recent incident and was probably doing fine before this."

Bobby called me on Wednesday to let me know that Pip was given a clean bill of health and was ready to go home. We arranged to meet Thursday late in the afternoon at Green-Wood Cemetery. Here is a short video of the release:

March Birds

Just as it does every year, March's thirty-one day creep towards the spring migration started slowly with few noticeable changes in the animals and plants. By the last week of the month, however, it became obvious that spring had arrived. I added 16 year birds during the month of March. All but two of those species are regular migrants that I normally see each year. In addition to the arrival of some birds, March saw the emergence of spring crocuses and snowdrops and the blooming of witch-hazel shrubs and Red Maples trees.

Waterfowl migration accelerated early in the month and by mid-month there were a few interesting ducks spotted around Brooklyn. A few Ring-necked Ducks settled on Prospect Lake as a thaw finally created a large opening in the nearly completely covered body of water. A couple more dropped in at Green-Wood Cemetery as its ponds also defrosted. I spotted Northern Pintails on both Coney Island and Gerrittsen Creeks. Also of note was a Black Scoter seen from the fishing pier at Coney Island. This was my third species of scoter for the year completing the trio of large seaducks of the genus melanitta seen in North America.

Mid-month saw the arrival of our first Eastern Phoebes of the season, as well as, lots of American Woodcocks. Woodcocks are one of my favorite odd birds who are easily overlooked due to their amazingly camouflaged plumage. Once you know what to look for and where you'll realize that those brown humps beneath the pine trees aren't actually pine cones, but birds.

Perhaps one of the nicest surprises of the month was seeing a young Bald Eagle at Floyd Bennett Field. When I say "young", I mean that the bird hadn't attained its characteristic white head feathers, which occurs typically in their 5th year. It looked to me to be a second year bird. Anyway, I spotted it flying above Mill Creek heading east towards Ruffle Bar. This winter's "Polar Vortex" had frozen much of the rivers and lakes north of New York City were many Bald Eagles overwinter, forcing them closer to the metropolitan area.

During a trip I led for the Brooklyn Bird Club to Floyd Bennett Field last weekend I added three more birds. The highlight of the trip was standing at the edge of the grassland and listening to the dawn serenade of an Eastern Meadowlark. Over the years I've seen many meadowlarks around New York City, but I'm certain that this was the first time that I ever heard one singing. It was a great way to start the day.

Listen to the Eastern Meadowlark:



April should be full of new arrivals and I hope to add between 35 and 40 year birds by the end of the month.

**********

NYS Total: 125
Kings Total: 123

108) Short-eared Owl (Floyd Bennett Field, 03/01/14)
109) Black Scoter (Coney Island Pier, 03/02/14)
110) Northern Pintail (Dreier-Offerman Park, 03/02/14)
111) Turkey Vulture (Floyd Bennett Field, 03/08/14)
112) Carolina Wren (Floyd Bennett Field, 03/08/14)
113) Boat-tailed Grackle (Salt Marsh Nature Center at Marine Park--Southwest, 03/08/14)
114) Ring-necked Duck (Prospect Park, 03/11/14)
115) American Woodcock (Green-Wood Cemetery, 03/12/14)
116) Eastern Phoebe (Green-Wood Cemetery, 03/12/14)
117) American Oystercatcher (Salt Marsh Nature Center at Marine Park, 03/22/14)
118) Ring-necked Pheasant (Floyd Bennett Field, 03/22/14)
119) Bald Eagle (Floyd Bennett Field, 03/22/14)
120) Tree Swallow (Floyd Bennett Field, 03/22/14)
121) Osprey (Floyd Bennett Field, 03/29/14)
122) Greater Yellowlegs (Floyd Bennett Field, 03/29/14)
123) Eastern Meadowlark (Floyd Bennett Field, 03/29/14)
...Read more

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Treehugger Tuesday

From National Geographic:

How Wolves Change Rivers

Monday, March 31, 2014

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of April 5, 2014 to April 6, 2014:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, April 5, 2014
Introduction to Birdwatching
Saturdays, March 1 – 29, 12 – 1 p.m.
Free
Explore the Park's natural areas and learn how to look for amazing birds.

Sunday, April 6, 2014
Morning Bird Walk: Changing Seasons, Changing Birds
Free
See the birds that call the Park home all winter. Start your Sunday morning surrounded by nature!

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Flushing Meadows Park, Queens
Leader: Peter Dorosh
Focus: sparrows, open field species, waterbirds, shorebirds, raptors
Car Fee: $12.00
Registrar: Peter Dorosh, email (preferred) prosbird@aol.com or text message to 1-347-622-3559
Registration Period: March 25th - April 3rd
Note: this is the first BBC visit to this location in decades; there will be extensive walking

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday April 5, 2014
Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn
Leader: Rob Jett aka "The City Birder" – information only 917-887-4118
No registration – public transportation (R train to 25th Street)
Meet at Main Gate (25th Street and 5th Avenue, Brooklyn) at 8:00 am

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, April 5, 2014
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, April 5, 2014, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Park Nature Center
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 718-548-0912.
No registration necessary. No limit. Free.

Saturday, April 5, 2014, 9:30am – 2:15pm
Spring Hike in the Greenbelt, Staten Island
Guide: Gabriel Willow With the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation and the Greenbelt Conservancy Meet at the Manhattan terminal of the S.I. ferry and begin your tour on water. Explore trails within the 3,000-acre Staten Island Greenbelt and learn about the efforts to preserve Pouch Camp property: as of December 2013, 95 of the 143 total acres of unspoiled woods and wetlands will be protected; the remaining land however is still under threat of development. Look for early spring migrants and learn about the Greenbelt’s ecology. Includes a brief stop at the Greenbelt Nature Center and transportation on Staten Island.
Limited to 20. $39 (27) Click here to register

Sunday, April 6, 2014, 9am – 3pm
Spring Migration in Pelham Bay Park
Guide: Gabriel Willow Pelham Bay Park's combination of open water, salt marsh, rocky shore, old growth forest, young forest, shrub-land, rare coastal tall grass meadows, and patches of dry and wet oak savanna are not just unique within new York City, but also on this continent. With such richly diverse habitat it is no wonderthat this urban gem is a great home for wildlife. We’ll look for migrating songbirds, raptors, and more. bring lunch. Transport by passenger van included.
Limited to 12. $90 (63) Click here to register

Sunday, April 6, 2014, 10am – 11am
Birding for Families
Sundays, March 2 - May 25, 10-11am Guides: NYC Audubon Offered by the Central Park Conservancy Meet at the Dana Discovery Center (inside the Park at 110th Street between Lenox and Fifth Avenues). Bring the kids and visit one of New York City’s richest bird habitats. Learn as a family how to spot and identify our feathered neighbors in their natural surroundings. Binoculars can be borrowed from the Visitor Center. For weather cancellation information, call 212-860-1370. Limited to 20. Age 5 and up.
Free. Click here to learn more and to register

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, April 5, 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!
...Read more

Friday, March 28, 2014

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, March 28, 2014:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
*Mar. 28, 2014
* NYNY1403.28


- Birds mentioned

EURASIAN WIGEON
Blue-winged Teal
HARLEQUIN DUCK
RED-NECKED GREBE
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Osprey
Bald Eagle
Piping Plover
Pectoral Sandpiper
ICELAND GULL
Lesser Black-backed Gull
SNOWY OWL
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
Eastern Phoebe
NORTHERN SHRIKE
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Pine Warbler
Scarlet Tanager
Rusty Blackbird
Baltimore Oriole

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.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

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, March 28 at 6:00 pm. The highlights of today's tape are NORTHERN SHRIKE, HARLEQUIN DUCK, EURASIAN WIGEON, SNOWY OWL, ICELAND GULL, RED-NECKED GREBE, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, and spring migrants.

But first, last Friday New York lost one of its birding champions with the passing of Manny Levine. Along with his decades of service to the New York State Ornithological Association and Linnaean Society of New York, his editorship of *The Kingbird* for many years and the update of *Bull's Birds of New York*, and his many other contributions to birding, especially in the New York City and Long Island region, Manny will best be remembered as a leader, a tutor, and a great friend. Our deepest condolences to Mickey and family.

Probably appropriately, we find ourselves now in the March doldrums, when expectations far exceed reality.

Some decent winter birds do linger, including the NORTHERN SHRIKE at Jones Beach West End, seen on Tuesday a little south of the fisherman's parking lot, west of the Coast Guard Station. Five HARLEQUIN DUCKS were around the west end jetty that day, with a RED-NECKED GREBE also still in Jones Inlet, while the count of PIPING PLOVERS on the Coast Guard bar reached 14.

Single EURASIAN WIGEONS featured one on Fresh Pond in Fort Salonga Wednesday and one by the Brooklyn Army Terminal Pier 4 on Thursday.

An immature ICELAND GULL was an unexpected visitor to Prospect Park Lake on Tuesday, with another in Shoreham today, and a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was at Plum Beach in Brooklyn today.

SNOWY OWLS were still present from Great Kills Park on Staten Island and Floyd Bennett Field all the way out east to Hicks Island, as seen from the end of Lazy Point Road in Napeague.

Though decreasing in numbers, some RED-NECKED GREBES continue in the area, including one lingering on Central Park Reservoir and another at Hempstead Lake State Park Thursday. Other birds Thursday at Hempstead Lake, one of our best early spring migration sites, included lingering BALD EAGLES, GREAT EGRET, OSPREY and three EASTERN PHOEBES.

In Central Park, the PINE WARBLER and two BALTIMORE ORIOLES continue around the Ramble and a few RUSTY BLACKBIRDS have been scattered around the park as well as at other suitable sites in our region.

RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were noted continuing at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, Kissena Park in Queens, Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, Muttontown Preserve and at Croton Point, and COMMON RAVENS have been moving around the area recently.

Among the recent spring arrivals have been a small number of BLUE-WINGED TEAL, a SNOWY EGRET Saturday, a PECTORAL SANDPIPER at Goethels Bridge Pond on Staten Island last Saturday, a NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW with TREE SWALLOWS over Lower Lake in Yaphank Sunday, and a male SCARLET TANAGER seen singing in Queens last Saturday.

If you haven't already, don't forget to sign the petition to restore Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge's West Pond at http://tinyurl.com/west-pond-petition. Thanks.

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

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

- End transcript
...Read more

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