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.

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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

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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

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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

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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!
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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

Monday, June 30, 2014

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of July 4, 2014 to July 6, 2014:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Friday, July 4, 2014
Blooming Naturalists
Thursdays and Fridays , 1 – 2 p.m.
Free
The Park is a nature wonderland. Come discover all its joys.

Nature on the Go!
Thursdays and Fridays, 2 – 3 p.m.
Free
Come have fun in nature!

Animal Encounter
Thursdays and Fridays, 3 – 4 p.m.
Join one our trained staff in learning more about the animals in the Audubon Center’s collection.

Saturday, July 5, 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 6, 2014
Morning Bird Walk: Taking Wing
Sunday, July 6, 8 a.m.
Free
Meet the amazing local birds raising families in 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, July 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

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, July 5, 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 6, 2014, 6pm – 9pm
Sunset EcoCruise to the Harbor Heron Islands: Jamaica Bay
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.

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, July 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!

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 6, 2014
Plover Day! at Beach 59th St & Boardwalk (in Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk), Queens
11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Discover one of New York City's endangered species: The Piping Plover!
Free!

Birding: Shore Birds at Orchard Beach Nature Center (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

Saturday, June 28, 2014

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, June 27, 2014:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jun. 27, 2014
* NYNY1406.27

- Birds mentioned

BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK+
AUDUBON'S SHEARWATER+
LEACH'S STORM-PETREL+
SANDWICH TERN+
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Cory's Shearwater
Great Shearwater
Wilson's Storm-Petrel
Red Knot
Short-billed Dowitcher
Roseate Tern
ARCTIC TERN
Forster's Tern
Black Skimmer
CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW
Eastern Whip-poor-will
YELLOW-THROATED 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, June 27th 2014 at 7pm. The highlights of today's tape are BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK, ARCTIC and SANDWICH TERNS, CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW, LEACH'S STORM-PETREL, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER and a pelagic trip announcement.

A recent incursion of BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCKS into the northeast brought 6 on Tuesday to Morningside Park up in northern Sullivan County. The birds were not seen on Wednesday but this is a species to be mindful of this Summer.

A first summer ARCTIC TERN appeared on the flats north of the Cupsogue County Park parking lot in West Hampton Dunes last Saturday morning and stayed through much of the low and incoming tides. ROSEATE and FORSTER'S TERNS, 2 BLACK SKIMMERS and very few shorebirds were also out there.

Also Saturday morning two birders nearing the termination of an unproductive seawatch at Cupsogue heard a parrot like call overhead and looked up to see a decent sized, very white looking tern with a long dark bill and no tail streamers passing directly overhead. The tern was watched as it headed well out to sea eventually disappearing into a large feeding frenzy of gulls and terns. Thinking SANDWICH TERN the Sandwich call was brought up on a smart phone and it matched perfectly. Though hopefully anticipated this tern did not appear later on the Cupsogue flats and neither it nor the ARCTIC TERN were found there Sunday. A seawatch later in the afternoon Saturday at Shinnecock Inlet did produce a GREAT and a few CORY'S and unidentified shearwaters mostly way off shore. On Tuesday at Cupsogue what may have been an influx of new shorebirds did include a few more SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS and a RED KNOT.

The YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER at Connetquot River State Park was still singing there today near the administration buildings. Two birds may be present and breeding evidence would be much desired.

Both CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW and EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILL continue to sing just before dark at Napeague west of Montauk the birds can be heard from Lazy Point Road or Napeague Meadow Road.

A possible EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE reported Sunday from Pier 63 in Manhattan between West 24th and 26th Streets should be checked out. Inexplicably this species has so far really avoided the northeast while exploding over most of the rest of the country.

A boat trip Sunday well south of Montauk noted 4 CORY'S and 6 GREAT SHEARWATERS plus a black and white shearwater possible AUDUBON'S and 35 WILSON'S and 8 LEACH'S STORM-PETRELS.

With onshore pelagics so far this year generally sporadic and under whelming perhaps you've been thinking you should try to get farther offshore where many more possibilities exist. Providing that possibility an overnight pelagic trip has been scheduled by See Life Paulagics from Freeport Long Island departing at 8pm on Monday, August 11th and returning the following evening at 6pm. The trip is aboard the Star Stream VIII of the Captain Lou Fleet and costs $255 per participant. The objective is to be out at the continental shelf at dawn, set up a sizable chum slick and then work backwards back slowly, hopefully encountering an exciting selection of seabirds and mammals. For information and reservations call See Life Paulagics at (215) 234-6805 or visit their website at http://www.paulagics.com/site/.

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

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday's Foto

Since much of June is a bit of a birding doldrums locally, I decided to take a look at some of the flowering botanics in Prospect Park. The slideshow includes plants that are native to North America, non-native/invasives and cultivars. They are: Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cordoba’), Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense), Common Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), Common Nightshade (Solanum americanum), Dandelion (Taraxacum sp.), Eastern Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus), Field Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis), Goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria), Holly (Ilex sp.), Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis), Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana), Privet (Ligustrum sp.), Purple-flowering Raspberry (Rubus odoratus), Red Clover (Trifolium pratense), Tawny Daylily (Hemerocallis fulva), White Clover (Trifolium repens), Wild Garlic (Allium vineale). Sadly, a good number of the most beautiful plants around our parks were introduced from Europe and Asia and caused unintended, detrimental effects on the environment.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Treehugger Tuesday

President Obama Increases Marine Habitats Protection

The White House just announced a new initiative to help protect important marine habitats. Here is an article from the LA Times about that plan:

Obama to order major expansion of ocean sanctuary in Pacific
by Neela Banerjee

• Obama plans to order a doubling in size of a major marine sanctuary in the Pacific
• New measures would close a large swath of the central Pacific to fishing and energy development
• Republicans denounce Obama's ocean-protection moves as signs of an 'imperial presidency'


Scientists are concerned that coral reefs, such as this one at the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, northwest of the main Hawaiian islands, are in danger as the ocean absorbs more carbon dioxide, making water more acidic. (Louiz Rocha / Associated Press)

President Obama announced a series of measures Tuesday to protect parts of the world’s oceans, including the creation of a marine sanctuary that would close a large swath of the central Pacific to fishing and energy development.

The plan would require federal agencies to take multiple initiatives to address pollution, overfishing and acidification of ocean water, which is driven by climate change.

“Rising levels of carbon dioxide are causing our oceans to acidify. Pollution endangers marine life. Overfishing threatens whole species,” Obama said in televised statement to an international conference on ocean policy hosted by the State Department in Washington.

“If we ignore these problems, if we drain our oceans of their resources, we won't just be squandering one of humanity's greatest treasures. We'll be cutting off one of the world's major sources of food and economic growth, including for the United States.”

The announcement provides further evidence of Obama’s willingness to use his executive authority to advance priorities in the face of congressional stalemate, and it quickly drew criticism from congressional Republicans, who contend the administration over-regulates natural resources industries and that the president has over-reached his constitutional powers.

“This is yet another example of how an imperial president is intent on taking unilateral action, behind closed doors, to impose new regulations and layers of restrictive red-tape,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.). “Oceans, like our federal lands, are intended to be multiple-use and open for a wide range of economic activities that includes fishing, recreation, conservation, and energy production.”

Among the ocean plan’s most ambitious and controversial steps would be expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument southwest of Hawaii. In January 2009, President George W. Bush gave monument status to nearly 87,000 square miles around Howland, Baker, and Jarvis Islands; Johnston, Wake, and Palmyra Atolls; and Kingman Reef. The islands are uninhabited, and the area is one the few pristine stretches of marine environment in the world and home to thousands of migratory birds, fish and mammals.

The Obama plan envisions extending monument protection from the current limit of 50 nautical miles around the islands to 200 miles, thereby limiting fishing and energy development over a far larger expanse of ocean. The proposal could more than double the area of ocean protected by the United States, environmental groups said.

The expanded protections, which under federal law the president can order without congressional approval, could go into effect this year after a public comment period.

Joshua S. Reichert, executive vice president of the Pew Charitable Trusts, said he expected considerable resistance to the expansion plan from the domestic tuna industry. But he said Pew estimates that about 1% to 3% of the U.S. annual tuna catch would be affected by the plan if it went forward.

“The importance of these uninhabited islands is far greater than the value of the fish there,” Reichert said. The proposed protection zone holds some of the world’s “richest marine life and least disturbed areas," he said. "It’s immensely valuable to science and home to vast numbers of ocean species. The importance of keeping these places intact far transcends the short-term value of what can be extracted for commercial gain.”

The president also established a task force of at least a dozen federal agencies, including the Pentagon and Justice Department, that must develop recommendations to better combat seafood fraud and illegal fishing within the next six months.

Illegal seafood accounts for one-fifth to one-third of wild-caught seafood imported to the U.S. in 2011, according to a recent study in the journal, Marine Policy. Further, about one-third of seafood is mislabeled, according to a study last year by the environmental group Oceana, which analyzed more than 1,200 seafood samples bought in 21 states. The study found that fish sold as snapper was misidentified 87% of the time and tuna, mislabeled 59% of time.

“Because our seafood travels through an increasingly long, complex and non-transparent supply chain, there are numerous opportunities for seafood fraud to occur and illegally caught fish to enter the U.S. market,” said Beth Lowell, director of Oceana’s Stop Seafood Fraud campaign. “By tracing our seafood from boat to plate, consumers will have more information about the fish they purchase.”

The White House plan would also improve monitoring of ocean acidification, fueled by the ever-greater amounts of carbon dioxide the oceans absorb. Atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased by about 40% since the preindustrial era, thanks to the combustion of fossil fuels, according to a report issued Tuesday by the White House Office of Science and Technology.

Oceans absorb about 25% of the carbon dioxide that human activity generates, and when the gas dissolves in seawater, some of it forms carbonic acid. Greater ocean acidity poses a threat to a range of marine life, including coral reefs and shellfish beds, like oyster hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest. Under the plan, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would get $9 million over three years to better monitor the local effect of ocean acidification, which, in turn, could help individual coastal communities.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
...Read more

Monday, June 23, 2014

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of June 28, 2014 to June 29, 2014:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, June 28, 2014, 10 a.m.
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, which invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

Sunday, June 29, 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, which invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

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Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, June 28, 2014; rain date June 29
Sterling Forest for Butterflies and Birds
Leader: Rick Cech
Registrar: Sandra Maury – sandramaury39@gmail.com or 212-874-4881
Registration opens: Monday June 16
Ride: $35

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, June 28, 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, June 28, 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.

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, June 28, 2014, 11:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.
Bricktown Centre
We will walk the hillside above the present shopping center to take a last look at what will be gone forever when construction of Fairview Park and expansion of the mall begins. Meet in the parking lot on the north side of the Bricktown Centre Target store at 11:00am. Expect to climb some small hills and follow rough horsetrails. Rain cancels. The meeting place is accessible by S74 and S78 busses.
For more information e-mail: DonRecklies@earthlink.net

Sunday, June 29, 2014, 11 A.M. to 1 P.M.
LaTourette Park to Fort Hill
Join Hillel on a walk on the level multi-use trail along Richmond Hill Road, south and east over to Richmondtown. We will climb the Blue Trail to the top of the steep embankment overlooking Richmond Creek, Main Creek and Fresh Kills and walk the Blue Trail. Meet at the Greenbelt Nature Center at Rockland Avenue and Brielle Avenue. If it’s raining at the time of the walk, the event is postponed to Sunday, July 6.
For more information, e-mail Hillel Lofaso at hillel5757@gmail.com or call 718-477-0545.

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Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Catskill Mountains for Bicknell's Thrush
Allday trip
Leader: Jeff Ritter (917) 658-7302

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, June 28, 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!

Pop-Up Audubon: Incredible Invertebrates at Entrance to the Ravine, downhill from the Picnic House (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, which invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.
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!

White Island Birding by Canoe at Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.
Few experiences compare with being on the open water in New York City. Let the Urban Park Rangers guide you through Gerritsen Creek in Jamaica Bay on this bird watching adventure by water.…
Free!

Sunday, June 29, 2014
Birding at High Rock Ranger Station (in High Rock Park), Staten Island
11:00 a.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in New York City. We offer birding programs…
Free!

Pop-Up Audubon: Incredible Invertebrates at Entrance to the Ravine, downhill from the Picnic House (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, which invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.
Free!
...Read more

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