Friday, February 26, 2010

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, February 26, 2010:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Feb. 26, 2010
* NYNY1002.26

- Birds mentioned

WESTERN GREBE+
MEW GULL+
IVORY GULL+ (northern New York near Plattsburg)
NORTHERN HAWK OWL+ (northern New York near Plattsburg)
YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
Tufted Duck
HARLEQUIN DUCK
BARROW'S GOLDENEYE
Red-necked Grebe
Great Egret
Black Vulture
Purple Sandpiper
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Razorbill
Red-headed Woodpecker
Orange-crowned 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 nysarc3 AT nybirds.org.

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

Jeanne Skelly - Secretary
NYS Avian Records Committee (NYSARC)
420 Chili-Scottsville Rd.
Churchville, NY 14428

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 except Sunday)
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, February 26th 2010 at 9pm. The highlights of today's tape are MEW GULL, WESTERN GREBE, YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD, BLACK-HEADED GULL, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, BARROW'S GOLDENEYE and HARLEQUIN DUCK.

Firstly, for those considering traveling for New York rarities this weekend, a trio of exceptional birds is currently in northern New York near Plattsburg. An adult IVORY GULL a NORTHERN HAWK OWL and a drake TUFTED DUCK. Check the Internet for specifics.

The Brooklyn MEW GULL was seen again last Sunday afternoon south of the pedestrian bridge over the Belt Parkway near the parking turn-off reached from the eastbound Belt Parkway. One can park in this turn-off or along the streets near Bay 16th Street which puts you near the pedestrian bridge in the area often frequented by the MEW GULL.

The WESTERN GREBE was also seen again last Saturday off Coney Island near the fishing pier but it was searched for subsequently and has not been relocated.

A lingering RED-NECKED GREBE was at Marine Park in Brooklyn Saturday.

The drake BARROW'S GOLDENEYE was still present at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Saturday seen with Common Goldeneye in the bay west of the West Pond.

Moving east 5 HARLEQUIN DUCKS continued along the Shinnecock Inlet jetties at least to last Sunday joining a few hundred Common Eider in that area.

A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was present Saturday with Canada Geese at Hook Pond in Easthampton.

Two unexpected birds in the Montauk area last Saturday were a BLACK VULTURE over the town of Montauk and a GREAT EGRET at Napeague.

An adult BLACK-HEADED GULL was still present with a number of Bonaparte's Gulls a little west of Ditch Plains off Shadmoor State Park. Three RAZORBILLS and 12 PURPLE SANDPIPERS were also noted at Ditch Plains last Sunday.

Also on Sunday 3 ICELAND GULLS were present around the Montauk Harbor inlet and single LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS remained on the western side of Fort Pond Bay in Montauk and at Lazy Point in Napeague.

In Westchester after not being seen for awhile the male YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD reappeared Thursday afternoon at the Pruyn Audubon Sanctuary at Chappaqua. The sanctuary is on Route 133 at 275 Millwood Road.

At Croton Point Park last weekend the immature RED-HEADED WOODPECKER remained by the parking lot next to the model airplane field and the ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was still in the pines near the first campground.

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

Prospect Park, from the Esdale Bridge looking towards the Ambergill.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Another Duck for Prospect Park

The other morning I pedaled down to Prospect Lake to check on the waterfowl. With the opening in the ice expanding, a greater diversity of migrating ducks tend to stop off there at this time of year.

Every morning, Peter passes along the edge of Prospect Lake on his way to work. On Tuesday, as I was getting ready for my morning bike ride, he texted to alert all the Brooklyn birders that there was a Common Merganser on the lake. These large, mostly white ducks are usually found on fresh water lakes and ponds. Typically, we'll see one or two on Prospect Lake in the late-winter and they usually don't stay around for very long. I made it down to the lake in about 5 minutes.

Fog and drizzle made for terrible cycling conditions. It was also a real challenge taking an identifiable photo of the merganser, let alone a "good" photograph. I guess this one falls under the category "bad photos of good birds". The bird is still present as of this morning.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a very informative waterfowl guide entitled "Ducks at a Distance: A Waterfowl Identification Guide". It is available online or as a download from this link.
...Read more

Monday, February 22, 2010

Springtime for Red-tails

The breeding season has begun for the city's Red-tailed Hawks with at least one of our Brooklyn pairs caught in the "act". This is from Peter's weekend report:

"February 21st, Prospect + [Brooklyn Botanic Garden]"

"[...] two Red-tailed Hawks seen copulating adjacent to the Battle Pass, before the male flew off to a tree holding last year's nest."

This would be the pair that I refer to as Nelly and Max.

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, February 19, 2010:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Feb 19, 2010
* NYNY1002.19

- Birds Mentioned:

MEW GULL+ (European subspecies "Common Gull")
WESTERN GREBE+
Yellow-headed Blackbird+ (not reported this week)
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

TUNDRA SWAN
EURASIAN WIGEON
KING EIDER
Harlequin Duck
Northern Gannet
American Bittern
Purple Sandpiper
Wilson's Snipe
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Black-legged Kittiwake
DOVEKIE
Razorbill
Red-headed Woodpecker
Saltmarsh Sparrow
Lapland Longspur

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 nysarc1 AT nybirds.org .

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

Jeanne Skelly - Secretary
NYS Avian Records Committee (NYSARC)
420 Chili-Scottsville Rd.
Churchville, NY 14428

~ Transcript ~

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

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

Compilers: Tom Burke, Tony Lauro
Coverage: New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
Transcriber: Karen Fung

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, February 19th, at 7:00 pm. The highlights of today's tape are MEW GULL, WESTERN GREBE, DOVEKIE, BLACK-HEADED GULL, TUNDRA SWANS, EURASIAN WIGEON and KING EIDER.

The MEW GULL in Brooklyn was still present last Saturday along the promenade between the Belt Parkway and Gravesend Bay, this time being seen just north of the pedestrian bridge over the Belt Parkway, occurring first offshore and then along the rocks on the shoreline. It is likely that the gull continues in this vicinity. Parking is usually available around Bay 16th Street, providing a quick access to the pedestrian bridge.

Last Sunday morning a WESTERN GREBE was present for a short while off Riis Park, ultimately disappearing from sight under some difficult viewing conditions. The grebe was seen well off the fishermen's parking lot at the western end of Riis Park.

Two TUNDRA SWANS remain at Massapequa Preserve, staying on the pond east of the eastern end of Pittsburgh Avenue.

At Jones Beach West End, the number of LAPLAND LONGSPURS feeding on the lawn just east of the Coast Guard Station parking lot has increased to three by Thursday, these still there today.

The drake EURASIAN WIGEON on Santapogue Creek in Lindenhurst was still present Sunday, this time a little upstream from the mouth of the river, seen from local streets on the west side of the creek, north of Venetian Shores Park.

An ICELAND GULL was on Argyle Pond in Babylon on Sunday.

Farther east, five HARLEQUIN DUCKS remained along the jetties at Shinnecock Inlet at least to Monday, and an AMERICAN BITTERN was present in the marsh of the inlet on Monday, with a SALTMARSH SPARROW off Dune Road last Saturday.

Six TUNDRA SWANS were among the Mutes on Sag Pond in Bridgehampton Monday, and a WILSON'S SNIPE was on the Route 25A pond in Eastport Saturday.

A very interesting seabird flight took place off Amagansett last Saturday afternoon. An hour count produced a total of 700+ large alcids, those that could be identified to species all being RAZORBILLS, and one group of RAZORBILLS was accompanied by three DOVEKIES. Also noted there were 49 BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES and 18 NORTHERN GANNETS. About 80 RAZORBILLS had been noted off Montauk Point earlier on Saturday.

Adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS continue in Fort Pond Bay in Montauk and at Lazy Point in Napeague.

On Sunday an adult BLACK-HEADED GULL was seen off the beach at Ditch Plains in Montauk, perhaps the same bird present up to the 7th around Shinnecock Inlet. Also at Ditch Plains Sunday were a female KING EIDER, 22 BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES and some PURPLE SANDPIPERS. A small number of RAZORBILLS was also seen Sunday from Montauk Point to Amagansett.

An immature RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was still at Croton Point Park Monday, around the parking lot by the model airplane field.

There have, to our knowledge, been no recent sightings of the YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD in Chappaqua.

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 TAPE~]

~ End Transcript ~
...Read more

Upcoming Trips

Below is a list of upcoming, local trips for the weekend of February 27th-28th, 2010:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Introduction to Birdwatching
Every Saturday, 12 - 1:30 p.m.
Explore the Park's natural areas and learn how to look for amazing birds.

Discover Tours
Every Saturday & Sunday, 3 p.m.
Discover the Prospect Park you never knew! Meet birds and other wildlife on this walk, guided by a naturalist.

Sunday, February 28, 2010
Discover Tours
Every Saturday & Sunday, 3 p.m.
Discover the Prospect Park you never knew! Meet birds and other wildlife on this walk, guided by a naturalist.


New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, February 27th, 2010
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.


Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday February 27, 12 noon to 2 p.m.
Old Mill Road
Park at the end of Old Mill Road, behind the church. We'll stroll along Old Mill Road , a newly designed multi-use trail, next to Fresh Kills, below the hills of Latourette Golf Course and return along the Blue Trail. This area has not been accessible for many years and is now open. We are surrounded by beautiful, old woodlands as well as newly grown stands of cottonwoods and other pioneer plants. We’ll see the flow of the famous Hessian Spring as it crosses the road and view Fresh Kills estuary.
For more information phone Clay Wollney at (718)869-6327.

Sunday, February 28, 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Full Snow or Hunger Moon: Sunset-Moon Rise Walk at Mt. Moses
Sunset is at 5:47 p.m. and moon rise is 6:09 p.m. However it takes the moon another 20 minutes to rise above the hills of High Rock. Meet at intersection of Rockland and Meisner Avenues. Flashlight is required for each person in your group. You may bring a light refreshment to share with others. The walk is barely twenty minutes each way. As we walk past the Rockland Avenue intersection, you will see hundreds of trees and shrubs. NYCDEP planted them to landscape the newly designed dam flood control system. Children have always enjoyed this brief walk for an astronomy event and the sharing of some refreshments at the top. The walk leader is Sandra Mechanic.
For more information contact Sandra at 718-967-1037.

Sunday, February 28, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Owl Prowl at Blue Heron Park
Meet owl enthusiast Cliff Hagen at the Blue Heron Park Nature Center for a night hike through the woodlands of South-East Annadale. The park is located between Hylan Blvd. and Amboy Road on Poillon Avenue.
For directions or more information call Cliff Hagen at (718)313-8591.


Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, February 27, 2010

Early Morning Birding
8:00 a.m.
Join the Rangers for early morning birding.
Location: Marine Park, Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Winter Waterfowl
10:00 a.m.
A great variety of ducks and other birds spend the winter at the Van Cortlandt Lake. Learn…
Location: Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx
Cost: Free

Eagle Watch
10:00 a.m.
Join us on a walk to the Hudson River as we look for bald eagles, which visit the city this…
Location: Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
Cost: Free

Duck, Duck, Goose
10:00 a.m.
As the weather gets cold, the birding gets hot. Join us as we look for ducks and geese that…
Location: Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens
Cost: Free

Loons, Grebes, and Buffleheads…Oh My!
10:00 a.m.
Come walk along the waters of the Little Neck Bay to discover the diverse winter birding in…
Location: Fort Totten Park, Queens
Cost: Free

Making Tracks
11:00 a.m.
Learn how to identify and locate animal tracks found in and around woodland areas, then…
Location: Blue Heron Park Preserve, Staten Island
Cost: Free

Owl Prowl
6:00 p.m.
Learn all about the owls of Blue Heron Park from what they eat to what they sound like.…
Location: Blue Heron Park Preserve, Staten Island
Cost: Free

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Leaping Lizards and Other Critters!
11:00 a.m.
Even though it’s not a leap year, we still like animals that rely on jumping to…
Location: Blue Heron Park Preserve, Staten Island
Cost: Free

Raptors: Masters of the Sky
12:00 p.m.
Explore the natural history, biology and ecology of raptors with a lecture and hawk…
Location: Central Park, Manhattan
Cost: Free

Nature Knowledge
1:00 p.m.
Test your knowledge of nature as you learn about the amazing plants and animals that call…
Location: Baisley Pond Park, Queens
Cost: Free

Winter Tree ID
2:00 p.m.
Test your tree knowledge as we learn to identify trees without their leaves.
Location: Crotona Park, Bronx
Cost: Free
...Read more

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Birding Brooklyn's Coast

Back on January 18th Shane spotted a rare Western Grebe in the water off Coney Island. Despite two tries later that week, I never managed to find it. Then he did it again. He texted me last Sunday to let me know he was looking at a Western Grebe off the shore at Riis Park. I was determined to find that bird.

I spoke with Heydi during the week and we decided to go out to Coney Island early on Saturday morning to scour the coast where Shane had initially seen the grebe in January. Land birds will follow a feeding route, so I guessed that seabirds did the same and maybe the grebe was working the coastline. With a little luck, we'd find him back in Brooklyn. Shane called me on Thursday and suggested that we do a more comprehensive morning of birding all along coastal Brooklyn. Nearly all my birding is done by bicycle or mass transit, so getting around by car would be a treat I couldn't turn down, plus Shane seems to have amazing birding karma. We would start the morning at the Marine Park Saltmarsh after picking up Heydi, followed by Spring Creek, Hendrix Creek, Fresh Creek Park, the Canarsie Pier, Floyd Bennett Field, then finish off at Coney Island.

The sun was just coming up over the parkway when we parked the car at the end of Gerritsen Avenue. Heydi had been seeing a Red-necked Grebe in this area over the last week and we were hoping that it was still hanging around. We had only been scanning the water for a few minutes when we spotted the bird near the opposite shore. There was also a Red-throated Loon nearby, giving a nice comparison of the two similar species.

Spring Creek was nearly devoid of birds, but there was a nice mix of waterfowl at the adjacent Hendrix Creek. When we began to walk back to the car at Hendrix Creek, an Orange-crowned Warbler flew across the path in front of us. It came down to a small opening at the edge of the ice in a small marshy area. For several minutes it drank, bathed and preened. Heydi has some more photos of it here.

Fresh Creek Park, the Canarsie Pier and Floyd Bennett Field were all pretty quiet so we spent very little time at each spot before heading over to Coney Island. Once at the beach, we stood in the windbreak of the New York Aquarium and scanned the water from the boardwalk. Despite the beautiful weather, there were few birds on the water. I was expecting to see Long-tailed Ducks and scoters offshore, but there wasn't a single bird. Common and Red-throated Loons were also scarce, but there were several Horned Grebes fairly close to shore. At around 11am I spotted a bird sleeping on the water with its head tucked back. It had a very odd appearance because the bump of the head seemed to be directly over the center of the body (as opposed to near the front of the body). I wasn't sure what it was and asked Heydi and Shane to check it out. Shane thought that it might be a sleeping Horned Grebe, but couldn't be sure. It was a distant 300 yards from the shoreline, but compelling enough that we decided to stay on the bird until it woke up. It eventually popped its head up. It was mostly gray and white with a long thin neck, black cap and large yellowish bill. I yelled, "THAT'S IT! THAT'S THE WESTERN GREBE!" Shane ran back to his car to get his camera, Heydi hopped over the boardwalk's railing, running down to the edge of the water to try and get a photo and I started calling people to get the word out.

The grebe slowly paddled in a westerly direction, eventually settling down in the water approximately 100-150 yards due east of the end of the Coney Island Pier. We watched the bird until around 12:45pm. Rob Bate, Bob O'Neill and one other birder had arrived and got to see the bird. I made a point of calling Rob and Bob first, since we had all spent a very long day looking for this bird back in January.

Here's a short video that I shot of the bird from the pier:


Here's a video that I found online that shows the incredible courtship dance of the Western Grebe:
...Read more

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday's Foto

The Red-tailed Hawk was my "spark" bird. I'd never even paid much attention to birds until I spotted my first Brooklyn hawk, nearly 20 years ago.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Face Off in the Bronx

Debbie Becker describes an amazing experience in the Bronx. While leading a birding trip she witnessed an interaction between two Red-tailed Hawks and a Great Horned Owl. Read about the near fatal face off between these raptors here.

Prospect Park in Winter

I spent three hours in Prospect Park on Valentine's Day morning. Most of the expected winter birds were seen, as well as, one unusual visitor.

The winter birdlife in Prospect Park is, in general, fairly predictable and uneventful. If one spends a few hours meandering through the park's meadows, woodlands and waterways, a couple of dozen resident species of birds will be observed, along with 12 to 15 regular winter visitors. Winter is sometimes the best time to study bird behavior as most of the species are concentration in just a few locations. This season's unusual number of snow storms and cold weather has covered the ground in most of the park and frozen a majority of the waterways. I've found myself skipping over much of the park's usual birdy areas in favor of the bird feeders on Breeze Hill and the small open section of Prospect Lake near West Lake Drive.

The lake has been pretty much the same, lately. Mostly Ring-billed Gulls on the ice and the common waterfowl crowded into a small opening in the ice.

In the woods between the Lullwater and Breeze Hill, Peter has been maintaining several seed and suet feeders.Working the feeders are Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Finch and American Goldfinch. On the ground below the feeders you can find Mourning Dove, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco and, of course, squirrels.

The south slope of Breeze Hill has been a busy location for birds this winter. It's wooded hillside is protected from the wind and warmed by the sun. Attracting the birds here are fruiting shrubs dotting the rise and an exposed leaf litter. In addition, the edge of the Lullwater beneath the hill has had tiny openings in the ice allowing the birds to drink and bathe. I've noticed that large flocks of European Starlings and American Robins have been blanketing the park's Pagoda Trees to feed on the trees green seed pods. A pair of these trees are also at the edge of the water in this location. As Heydi and I slowly made our way along the lower path, we heard a chickadee make a high-pitched alarm call, then all the birds scattered. An adult Sharp-shinned Hawk landed in a tree at the edge of the Lullwater. She briefly scanned the area, then took off flying towards the Peninsula Woods.

The birds slowly returned to the trees and shrubs along the hillside. Down the path, near the Terrace Bridge, a mixed flock of birds fed on some cracked corn placed in the center of the path. There were Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow and Dark-eyed Junco. A cardinal joined the flock, chasing most of the smaller birds away. A Blue Jay landed in the center of the corn and scared all the birds except for one brave Rusty Blackbird, who timidly jabbed at the corn with her long, sharp bill. It's rare to see these beautiful, pale-eyed blackbirds in Prospect Park. These birds are rapidly decline throughout North America. I wish there was something I could do to help other than just posting my sightings.

A juvenile Cooper's Hawk buzzed the area and all the birds headed for cover. Unlike the previous Sharp-shinned Hawk, this raptor stuck around for a few minutes. Perhaps she was hoping to snatch an unwary sparrow, but there wasn't a bird in sight as this large accipiter sat perched in full view. Heydi and I walked back down the path to try and take some photos of the young bird. She was very cooperative and we ended up walking away while she was still sitting in the tree.

Winter in New York City must be a difficult time for all wildlife. The small songbirds need to be vigilant at all times or risk becoming a meal for one of the park's many raptors. Consider this; during one three hour walk in Prospect Park I observed 3 Red-tailed Hawks, 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk, 1 Cooper's Hawk and 1 Merlin. That's a lot of predators in a very small piece of real estate.

Location: Prospect Park
Observation date: 2/14/10
Number of species: 44

Wood Duck
Northern Shoveler
Ruddy Duck
Great Blue Heron
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Merlin
American Coot
Ring-billed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Hairy Woodpecker
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Hermit Thrush
Northern Mockingbird
Fox Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Rusty Blackbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch

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

Monday, February 15, 2010

Upcoming Trips

Below is a list of upcoming, local trips for the weekend of February 20-21, 2010:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, February 20

Introduction to Birdwatching
Every Saturday, 12 - 1:30 p.m.
Explore the Park's natural areas and learn how to look for amazing birds.

Discover Tours
Every Saturday & Sunday, 3 p.m.
Discover the Prospect Park you never knew! Meet birds and other wildlife on this walk, guided by a naturalist.

Sunday, February 21

Discover Tours
Every Saturday & Sunday, 3 p.m.
Discover the Prospect Park you never knew! Meet birds and other wildlife on this walk, guided by a naturalist.


Brooklyn Bird Club
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Prospect Park
Meet 9:00 am at Grand Army Plaza park entrance (Stranahan Statue)
Leader: Gabriel Willow


Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Saturday, February 20, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Forest Restoration Workshop at LaTourette Bike Path, North
Meet in the parking lot of the Greenbelt Nature Center at the junction of Rockland Avenue and Manor Road. We will walk to the bike path entrance at the junction of Rockland Avenue and Forest Hill Road where we will spend two hours removing invasive plants. If you don’t have your own, Protectors will supply gloves and pruners (& refreshments). After a two hour work session (our 164th consecutive monthly workshop), we will take a short walk over nearby trails.
For more information call Don Recklies at (718)768-9036 or Chuck Perry at (718)667-1393.

Saturday, February 20, 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Clay Pit Ponds State Park/Preserve: Trees and Wildlife in a mini Pine Barren
Find out why Protectors urged the preservation of this parkland and how we got our name in 1975. It has two rare pine species, two rare southern oak species, fence swift lizards, and a few rather unusual wildflowers, nothing like our Greenbelt forest. It’s one of the few parks on S.I. that have American Chestnut trees, one healthy, tall and 8-10 inches in diameter and just recently found, a second, though younger, large tree. The third is a spindly, sick, multi-trunk and diseased tree with the chestnut blight but it always seems to flower and set fruit. This is the only park known to have many deer with footprints galore and nibbled native wildflowers and shrubs. Wear waterproof shoes. We have a permit to enter the restricted natural area on the other side of Clay Pit Road. Meet at the park office at the end of Carlin Avenue, off Sharrott’s Road in Rossville.
Contact Sandra Mechanic at (718) 967-1037.

Sunday, February 21, 12 noon to 2 p.m.
High Rock Park
Take a walk around Loosestrife Swamp and the nearby uplands. Search for remnants of plants and their fruits. Look at the leaf scars and bark of the trees for identification. Bring water and dress for the weather.
For more information call Cathy at 1-917-596-4198.


Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, February 20, 2010

Early Morning Birding
8:00 a.m.
Join the Rangers for an early morining birding.
Location: Marine Park, Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Eagle Watch
8:00 a.m.
Join us on a walk to the Hudson River as we look for bald eagles, which visit the city this…
Location: Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
Cost: Free

Winter Weeds
11:00 a.m.
Join us for an exploration of the shapes and textures of wildflowers in the winter.
Location: Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx
Cost: Free

The Giving Trees
1:00 p.m.
You will be suprised by how many different species of trees are located within the…
Location: Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Making Tracks
1:00 p.m.
Learn how to identify and locate animal tracks found in and around woodland areas. You will…
Location: Fort Totten Park, Queens
Cost: Free

Dabbling Ducks
2:00 p.m.
Do you know the difference between those dynamic ducks and other feathered friends? Come…
Location: Clove Lakes Park, Staten Island
Cost: Free

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Early Birding
8:30 a.m.
The early bird gets the worm! Be sure to set your alarm clock and join us for this morning…
Location: Forest Park, Queens
Cost: Free

Wacky Winter Waterfowl
10:00 a.m.
Join us the third Sunday of every month. Bring your own binoculars if you have them.
Location: Pelham Bay Park, Bronx
Cost: Free

Who, Who, Who Did I Eat?
1:00 p.m.
Find out what owls love to eat by dissecting owl pellets at the Salt Marsh Nature Center.
Location: Marine Park, Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Woodpecker Walk
2:00 p.m.
With its reinforced skull and a chiseled bill the woodpecker is a true New Yorker. Join us…
Location: Wolfes Pond Park, Staten Island
Cost: Free

Astronomy Club
6:00 p.m.
Gaze at the heavens through our high-powered telescope, as we identify constellations,…
Location: Blue Heron Park Preserve, Staten Island
Cost: Free
...Read more

Saturday, February 13, 2010

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, February 12, 2010:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Feb 12, 2010
* NYNY1002.12

-Birds Mentioned:

MEW GULL+
YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Cackling Goose
Trumpeter Swan
EURASIAN WIGEON
King Eider
COMMON EIDER
HARLEQUIN DUCK
Black Vulture
Bald Eagle
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Black-legged Kittiwake
Razorbill
Orange-crowned Warbler
Savannah Sparrow ('Ipswich' subspecies)
Lapland Longspur
Rusty Blackbird

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 nysarc1 AT nybirds.org .

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

Jeanne Skelly - Secretary
NYS Avian Records Committee (NYSARC)
420 Chili-Scottsville Rd.
Churchville, NY 14428

~ Transcript ~

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

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

Compilers: Tom Burke, Tony Lauro
Coverage: New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
Transcriber: Karen Fung

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, February 12th, at 7:00 pm. The highlights of today's tape are MEW GULL, BLACK-HEADED GULL, YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD, EURASIAN WIGEON, HARLEQUIN DUCK, and KING EIDER.

The MEW GULL along the Brooklyn waterfront at Gravesend Bay was seen again last Sunday and presumably continues in that area, though it is not commanding the attention it had earlier. The gull is generally seen along the promenade between the pedestrian bridge over the Belt Parkway adjacent to Bay 16th Street, south to the parking area off the eastbound Belt Parkway near the Kohl shopping center. Parking is usually available around Bay 16th Street, making it a quick walk over the pedestrian bridge to the area along the promenade that the gull favors. An ICELAND GULL was also present in this area last Sunday.

A BLACK VULTURE was spotted high over Prospect Park on Sunday, the same day one was seen again from the Staten Island end of the Verrazano Bridge at Fort Wadsworth where we have been reminded this species did nest last year.

LAPLAND LONGSPUR continues to appear on the lawn at the Jones Beach West End Coast Guard Station, but with the snow cover, watch the cleared grassy areas along the roadway that the snow plows have exposed.

Some RUSTY BLACKBIRDS continue at Shu Swamp in Mill Neck, and a CACKLING GOOSE was on the lake at Belmont Lake State Park on Tuesday.

The drake EURASIAN WIGEON was still present Monday in Lindenhurst at the mouth of Santapogue Creek. The wigeon, scaup and other waterfowl gathered there can be scanned from Venetian Shores Park on the west side of the creek as it enters Great South Bay. The wigeon had in December also been seen farther up Santapogue Creek towards Montauk Highway.

The adult BLACK-HEADED GULL was still around Shinnecock Inlet Saturday and Sunday afternoons and again today. On Sunday it stayed east of the east jetty most of the time before flying into the inlet for a while, and subsequently moving west along the beach. Four HARLEQUIN DUCKS were also along the inlet jetty Sunday with five there Thursday and today, and a few hundred COMMON EIDER remain in that area. Watch for 'Ipswich' SAVANNAH SPARROWS in the sandy areas around the inlet parking lots.

The two TRUMPETER SWANS, non-countable in New York, were still on Upper Lake in Yaphank today.

In the Montauk area two drake KING EIDER continue off the Point, but the only RAZORBILLS noted, 20+, were farther west off Ditch Plains, where another drake KING EIDER also continues. An ICELAND GULL was at the Point Saturday, with the LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL still around Fort Pond Bay, and a few BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES were noted.

Two GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were with the Canadas on Further Lane in East Hampton Saturday.

In Westchester County the male YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was present for much of Saturday afternoon and again on Wednesday afternoon at the Pryn Audubon Sanctuary in Chappaqua. The sanctuary's address is 275 Millwood Road (Rte 133) in Chappaqua.

BALD EAGLE numbers on the Hudson River remain high, though the numbers visible depend on the ice accumulation on the river. Sites from Croton Point through Georges Island Park in Montrose and up to the Bear Mountain Bridge are usually productive, as is a visit to the Croton Reservoir Dam, where eagles often gather on the reservoir ice.

An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was still at Croton Point Park Sunday, often with a kinglet flock in the pines around the first camp ground.

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 ~
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Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday's Foto

Probably my all time favorite duck, this Wood Duck seems to have taken up residence in front of the boathouse in Prospect Park.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Prospect Park in the Snow

Peter texted me that there was a Common Merganser on Prospect Lake. I pulled on my snow boots and trudged down to the lake.

Unfortunately, the duck had taken off by the time I made it into Prospect Park. As a consolation, I did take some nice photos of the snow storm.


...Read more

Monday, February 08, 2010

Upcoming Trips

Below is a list of upcoming, local trips for the weekend of February 13th-14th, 2010:


Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, February 13
Introduction to Birdwatching
Every Saturday, 12 - 1:30 p.m.
Free
Explore the Park's natural areas and learn how to look for amazing birds.

Discover Tours
Every Saturday & Sunday, 3 p.m.
Free
Discover the Prospect Park you never knew! Meet birds and other wildlife on this walk, guided by a naturalist.

Sunday, February 14
Discover Tours
Every Saturday & Sunday, 3 p.m.
Free
Discover the Prospect Park you never knew! Meet birds and other wildlife on this walk, guided by a naturalist.


Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, February 13, 12 noon to 2 p.m.
Conference House Park and Beach
Past and present blend in the Conference House park where history stretches back thousands of years with the seasonal occupation of the Lenape and hundreds of years with the habitation of the Dutch and English. In addition to the local history we’ll observe the geology of the area and look for what the debris at the high tide line has to reveal. As the tide goes out we'll move into the intertidal zone to find out what sorts of living things survive in this challenging environment in the winter. Meet at the parking lot at the end of Hylan Blvd. on the left.
For more information phone Clay Wollney at (718)869-6327.


Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, February 13, 2010

Early Morning Birding
8:00 a.m.
Learn everything you need to know about birds with the Rangers.
Location: Marine Park, Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Eagle Watch
8:00 a.m.
Join us on a walk to the Hudson River as we look for bald eagles, which visit the city this…
Location: Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
Cost: Free

Duck, Duck, Goose
11:00 a.m.
As the weather gets cold, the birding gets hot. Join us as we look for ducks, and…
Location: Highland Park, Queens
Cost: Free

Wild Romance
1:00 p.m.
Celebrate Valentine's Day by learning about how animals court each other. Bring your…
Location: Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Winter Waterfowl
10:00 a.m.
Take a stroll around the Prospect Park Lake while we look for some winter visitors in…
Location: Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Valentine's Day Poetry Hike
11:00 a.m.
Express your love of nature as we hike to the most romantic spots around Central…
Location: Central Park, Manhattan
Cost: Free

The Four Elements of Survival: Part IV
1:00 p.m.
In this four-part series, you will learn about four basic elements of wilderness…
Location: Forest Park, Queens
Cost: Free

"Whooo Said That?"
1:00 p.m.
Winter is the best time to see wild owls in New York City. Don't miss this opportunity!
Location: Pelham Bay Park, Bronx
Cost: Free

Four Elements of Survival: Food
1:00 p.m.
In this four part series, you will learn abou the four basic elements of wilderness…
Location: Forest Park, Queens
Cost: Free

Winter Tree I.D.
2:00 p.m.
How do you identify a tree when there are no leaves, flowers, or fruit? Come with us and…
Location: Clove Lakes Park, Staten Island
Cost: Free
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Saturday, February 06, 2010

Central Park Coyote

Bruce Yolton has some nice photos and a brief report on the Central Park coyote here.

Rare Gull in Prospect Park

Around NYC the winter months are primarily a time to look for gulls and waterfowl. To the uninitiated, there is only one type of gull - the "Seagull". Occasionally, I'll point out to beginner birders that there is no such bird. There are Laughing Gulls, Ring-billed Gulls, Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls (to name a few), but no seagulls. Over the last month I've been checking Prospect Lake's large winter roost of gulls, hoping to find something different. I was finally successful.

When the lake in Prospect Park freezes, assorted gulls, which spend most of their time foraging along the coast, fly into the park for a brief respite within the relative safety of the lake. They rest on the barren stretch of ice and drink or bathe at the small openings created by the constant movement of the resident waterfowl. The vast majority of the gulls are tiny Ring-billed Gulls,which can sometimes number as many as 3,000 individuals. The larger Herring Gulls can be seen by the dozens. Great Black-backed Gulls, the world's largest gull, are usually only represented by a handful of birds.

I had about an hour yesterday to cycle down to the lake, do a little birding, then head back. When I got to the edge of the lake, I leaned my bicycle up against a tree, looked across a narrow stretch of open water and immediately saw a Lesser Black-backed Gull in front of me. It was amusing itself by tossing a bone around on the ice and retrieving it. Before even looking through my binoculars (which seemed moot, because the bird was so close), I texted Peter, who then sent the word out. I then called Heydi, Doug and Shane. Doug and Shane would swing by, but Heydi was stuck in Long Island City (I knew that, but thought it would be fun to torture her).

While I waited for Doug and Shane, I took a bunch of photos of the bird as it walked around the edge of the ice. The bird was so close, it was the best looks I've ever had of this rare NYC visitor. I think it was the fourth one that I've seen in Prospect Park in 20 years. This bird looks similar to the Great Black-backed Gull, but the dark gray wings and mantle are a bit lighter than the great. In addition, it is a much smaller bird; smaller than a Herring Gull and nearly the size of a Ring-billed Gull.

Eventually, the gull flew into the water where it spent several minutes bathing and drinking. Peter pulled up in one of the park's work trucks and walked over to me. I think he expected the bird to be way out on the ice in the middle of the lake. When he asked where it was, I pointed to a spot in the water about 10 feet away from us. He didn't need binoculars, but I handed him mine, anyway. Doug was the next person to arrive, and the gull had flown from the open water and into the main flock of gulls, several yards back from the edge of the ice. When I left, Shane, Doug and Rob Bate were still watching the gull.

video

In this video I shot of the Lesser Black-backed Gull in the water, you can get a good sense of how small it is in relation to the adjacent Ring-billed Gulls.
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New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending February 5, 2010:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Feb. 5, 2010
* NYNY1002.05

- Birds mentioned

MEW GULL+ (European subspecies "Common Gull")
YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD+

Snow Goose
Trumpeter Swan
Tundra Swan
EURASIAN WIGEON
Canvasback
Redhead
Ring-necked Duck
HARLEQUIN DUCK
Barrow's Goldeneye
Common Merganser
Black Vulture
Bald Eagle
Lesser Black-backed Gull
GLAUCOUS GULL
DOVEKIE
Razorbill
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
SUMMER TANAGER
Lapland Longspur

- 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 nysarc3 AT nybirds.org.

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

Jeanne Skelly - Secretary
NYS Avian Records Committee (NYSARC)
420 Chili-Scottsville Rd.
Churchville, NY 14428

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, February 5th 2010 at 7pm. The highlights of today's tape are MEW GULL, DOVEKIE, SUMMER TANAGER, YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD, GLAUCOUS GULL, EURASIAN WIGEON, HARLEQUIN DUCK and RED-HEADED WOODPECKER.

The Brooklyn MEW GULL was seen again today appearing on the rocks a little south of the pedestrian bridge over the Belt Parkway. The pedestrian bridge is adjacent to Bay 16th Street where street side parking is usually available.

It was an unfortunate ending for birders visiting Timber Point Golf Course in Great River Sunday hoping to see the DOVEKIE that from Tuesday through Saturday had been providing great views as it attempted to survive at the West Marina where it was aided by bubblers keeping that part of the marina ice-free. The bird, showing signs that it was definitely under duress, disappeared during the bitter cold of Saturday night.

The golf course pond also froze over forcing a TUNDRA SWAN, living there through Saturday, to relocate elsewhere.

A few miles to the west from there on Saturday a drake EURASIAN WIGEON was refound in Lindenhurst. It was spotted with American Wigeon attending a mixed scaup flock at the mouth of Santapogue Creek. This area can't be viewed from the west side of the creek at Phoenician Shores Park.

The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge BARROW'S GOLDENEYE was still present Monday in the bay west of the West Pond.

Providing a very interesting winter record is a SUMMER TANAGER seen again Sunday and Tuesday at Clove Lakes Park on northern Staten Island. The tanager frequents the area around the west side of a white bridge the 2nd bridge over the creek north of Martling Avenue and calls frequently. An immature RED-HEADED WOODPECKER also is staying along the hillside between the tanager site and Martling Avenue and a BLACK VULTURE was spotted Sunday by a birder while crossing the Verrazzano Bridge.

An immature GLAUCOUS GULL was spotted among the gulls gathered at Breezy Point Sunday and a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was on Prospect Park Lake today.

At Jones Beach West End a RAZORBILL was reported from Jones Inlet Sunday, at least 1 HARLEQUIN DUCK continues along the Point Lookout ocean jetties and a LAPLAND LONGSPUR was still visiting the lawn east of the Coast Guard Station parking lot as of Wednesday.

An immature RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was spotted Thursday at Caumsett State Park west of the pond that is north of the mansion there.

Farther east 4 TUNDRA SWANS were seen along Horse Mill Lane on the north side of Mecox Bay Saturday and 17 SNOW GEESE were on Short's Pond in Watermill Sunday. The 2 TRUMPETER SWANS were still on Upper Lake in Yaphank as of Sunday.

BALD EAGLES are present along the Hudson River in very good numbers now. A single scan along the Hudson River from the edge of the main parking lot at Croton Point Park on Sunday produced 47 BALD EAGLES including many adults and it should be noted that the Hudson River Eaglefest will be taking place at Croton Point Park this Saturday the 6th.

A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER has also been visiting Croton Point Park at the
westernmost camp ground and ducks around the park have included some REDHEAD, CANVASBACK and RING-NECKED DUCKS and many COMMON MERGANSERS.

The male YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD at the Pruyn Audubon Center in Chappaqua was reported today at 4:20p after not having been seen since last Saturday. The sanctuary address is 275 Millwood Road which is Route 133 in Chappaqua.

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.

- End transcript
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Friday, February 05, 2010

Friday's Foto

It may still be winter, but some plants are beginning to flower, like this Hellebore at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Prospect After the Snow

Brooklyn received a dusting of snow overnight. I had about an hour free at noon, so I ran into Prospect Park to see if any new gulls or waterfowl showed up on Prospect Lake.

I ran into Alex Wilson at the "duck feeding spot" at the edge of the lake near Wellhouse Drive and West Lake Drive. Some guy was feeding bread to the waterfowl and gulls a few yards to our right. Both Alex and I were primarily interested in any possible vagrant gulls and scanned a large flock of Ring-billed Gulls as they stood around on the mostly frozen lake. There were several Herring Gulls and a few Great Black-backed Gulls, but nothing unusual. In addition to a handful of bathing gulls, in a tiny opening in the ice directly in front of us was a raucous collection of Canada Goose, Mute Swan, American Black Duck, Mallard, Ruddy Duck and American Coot. There was also a male and female
Hooded Merganser nervously hiding under the branches of an overhanging willow tree.

We had been standing at the edge of the lake for a few minutes when Alex finally realized that there was a Green-winged Teal on the shoreline a few feet to our left. We rarely see these tiny ducks in Prospect Lake, and it's even more unusual to see one so close up. The tiny bird walked up onto the ice a few feet away from the shore and tried to blend in with a flock of sleeping Northern Shovelers. The smallest of our North American waterfowl he would occasionally disappear from view whenever he walked behind one of the shovelers or Mallards.

On my way across the Long Meadow I stopped near the baseball fields to look for an American Pipit which has been hanging around the park for over a month. It only took me a minute or two to locate the bird as it fed behind a stretch of snow fencing. It is in an area of the park where our overwintering Merlins can usually be seen scanning the grass for prey. So it didn't surprise me to see that the pipit was frequently tipping its head sideways, watching the sky for predators.

video

In this video I shot of the pipit, notice its unusual tail-pumping behavior. I don't know what the evolutionary purpose is for this action. Perhaps it flushes insects from the grass.
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Monday, February 01, 2010

January Birds

I wanted to try and locate at least 100 species in Brooklyn before the end of January. It seems like a lot, especially considering that I saw 220 in all of last year.

I came into the home stretch only needing to see 3 more species. In the dead of winter my best bets were to focus on waterfowl and gulls. There were a few songbirds missing from my list, most notably Cedar Waxwings, but I decided to play the odds and focus on coastal habitats.

During the week, Heydi and I found a lone Purple Finch in Prospect Park. That left me with only two to go. I decided to go out to Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge on Saturday to try and locate a Barrow's Goldeneye that had been recently reported. This is a rare bird in NYC, so it would be worth trudging around in near frostbite weather. While most of the refuge is in the borough of Queens, the Brooklyn border runs along the western edge of the West Pond and up through Pumpkin Patch Marsh. Any birds seen on the west side of the pond and beyond were fair game.

I took the "A" train to the Broadchannel station, where I met my friend. The refuge is just a short walk from the train. Most of the West Pond was frozen, but a small section remained open at the Brooklyn edge. As we walked towards the pond, a large flock of Snow Geese took flight and headed out over the bay. A flock of black ducks were still in the narrow stretch of open water in the pond. Among the common waterfowl were 19 Northern Pintails. That brought me up to 99 species. We spent a long time scanning the bay and marsh in search of the Barrow's Goldeneye, but never found it. Next stop would be Dead Horse Bay.

We took Q53 bus from in front of the refuge. That took us into Rockaway, where we transferred to the Q35, which stops in front of Floyd Bennett Field, and across from the Dead Horse Bay trailhead. The scaup flock at Dead Horse, unbelievably, seemed to have grown even larger than the 20,000 birds from my last visit. Most were in the water, but some of the flock was sleeping high up on the shoreline while others walked back to the water's edge. I'd never seen a scaup walking before and, with legs set fairly far back on their body, they seemed awkward. Frigid northwest winds were blowing directly into our faces as we scanned the huge flock. Numb faces and fingers finally forced us to pack up our scopes before we could do a really thorough search for any unusual birds in the flock.

Once across Flatbush Avenue, we walked the pathway along the edge of Floyd Bennett Field, towards Aviator Sports. At one point, Heydi stopped to point out a flock of sparrows in the vegetation at the edge of the fence. It was a flock of American Tree Sparrows - or species number 100!

After a hot chocolate break we continued birding Floyd Bennett. We spent time at the Cricket Field, the main grassland, Ecology Village and Archery Road, before heading back to Flatbush Avenue and the Q35 bus. I didn't add any other species to my month list, but Heydi was able to add an Eastern Meadowlark to hers.

Here is a breakdown of my January species list with the location and date of the first sighting. The links for each location will bring you to a Google Earth map of that spot.

Locations: Breezy Point; Brighton Beach; Coney Island Creek Park; Coney Island Pier; Dead Horse Bay; Dreier-Offerman Park; Floyd Bennett Field; Gravesend Bay; Green-Wood Cemetery; Hendrix Creek; Jamaica Bay West--Brooklyn; Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge; Plum Beach; Prospect Park; Sheepshead Bay; Spring Creek Park--North Channel Marsh

1) Snow Goose - 01/16/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)
2) Brant - 01/06/10 (Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn)
3) Canada Goose - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
4) Mute Swan - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
5) Wood Duck - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
6) Gadwall - 01/06/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
7) American Wigeon - 01/16/10 (Plum Beach, Brooklyn)
8) American Black Duck - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
9) Mallard - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
10) Northern Shoveler - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
11) Northern Pintail - 01/30/10 (Jamaica Bay West, Brooklyn)
12) Green-winged Teal - 01/16/10 (Hendrix Creek, Brooklyn)
13) Canvasback - 01/21/10 (Hendrix Creek, Brooklyn)
14) Greater Scaup - 01/06/10 (Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn)
15) Lesser Scaup - 01/21/10 (Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn)
16) Surf Scoter - 01/24/10 (Coney Island Pier, Brooklyn)
17) White-winged Scoter - 01/13/10 (Coney Island Pier, Brooklyn)
18) Black Scoter - 01/24/10 (Coney Island Pier, Brooklyn)
19) Long-tailed Duck - 01/13/10 (Coney Island Pier, Brooklyn)
20) Bufflehead - 01/06/10 (Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn)
21) Common Goldeneye - 01/06/10 (Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn)
22) Hooded Merganser - 01/16/10 (Hendrix Creek, Brooklyn)
23) Red-breasted Merganser - 01/06/10 (Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn)
24) Ruddy Duck - 01/09/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

25) Red-throated Loon - 01/13/10 (Coney Island Pier, Brooklyn)
26) Common Loon - 01/06/10 (Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn)

27) Pied-billed Grebe - 01/21/10 (Hendrix Creek, Brooklyn)
28) Horned Grebe - 01/07/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)
29) Red-necked Grebe - 01/13/10 (Coney Island Pier, Brooklyn)

30) Northern Gannet - 01/13/10 (Coney Island Pier, Brooklyn)

31) Double-crested Cormorant - 01/13/10 (Coney Island Pier, Brooklyn)
32) Great Cormorant - 01/07/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)

33) Great Blue Heron - 01/13/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
34) Black-crowned Night-Heron - 01/21/10 (Hendrix Creek, Brooklyn)

35) Northern Harrier - 01/16/10 (Plum Beach, Brooklyn)
36) Sharp-shinned Hawk - 01/30/10 (Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens)
37) Cooper's Hawk - 01/07/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)
38) Red-tailed Hawk - 01/06/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
39) American Kestrel - 01/15/10 (Spring Creek Park--North Channel Marsh, Brooklyn)
40) Merlin - 01/06/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
41) Peregrine Falcon - 01/13/10 (Dreier-Offerman Park, Brooklyn)

42) American Coot - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

43) Black-bellied Plover - 01/07/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)
44) Killdeer - 01/21/10 (Hendrix Creek, Brooklyn)
45) Sanderling - 01/16/10 (Plum Beach, Brooklyn)
46) Purple Sandpiper - 01/06/10 (Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn)
47) American Woodcock - 01/15/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

48) Bonaparte's Gull - 01/06/10 (Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn)
49) Mew Gull - 01/06/10 (Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn)
50) Ring-billed Gull - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
51) Herring Gull - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
52) Great Black-backed Gull - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

53) Thick-billed Murre - 01/19/10 (Brighton Beach, Brooklyn)

54) Rock Pigeon - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
55) Mourning Dove - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

56) Monk Parakeet - 01/09/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

57) Great Horned Owl - 01/10/10 (Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn)
58) Snowy Owl - 01/19/10 (Breezy Point, Queens)
59) Northern Saw-whet Owl - 01/06/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

60) Belted Kingfisher - 01/16/10 (Hendrix Creek, Brooklyn)

61) Red-bellied Woodpecker - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
62) Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
63) Downy Woodpecker - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
64) Hairy Woodpecker - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
65) Northern Flicker - 01/16/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)

66) Blue Jay - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
67) American Crow - 01/07/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)

68) Horned Lark - 01/07/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)

69) Black-capped Chickadee - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
70) Tufted Titmouse - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

71) Red-breasted Nuthatch - 01/06/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
72) White-breasted Nuthatch - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

73) Brown Creeper - 01/10/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

74) Carolina Wren - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
75) Winter Wren - 01/15/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

76) Golden-crowned Kinglet - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
77) Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

78) Hermit Thrush - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
79) American Robin - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

80) Northern Mockingbird - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

81) European Starling - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

82) American Pipit - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

83) Yellow-rumped Warbler - 01/16/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)

84) Eastern Towhee - 01/06/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
85) American Tree Sparrow - 01/30/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)
86) Chipping Sparrow - 01/10/10 (Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn)
87) Savannah Sparrow - 01/16/10 (Plum Beach, Brooklyn)
88) Fox Sparrow - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
89) Song Sparrow - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
90) White-throated Sparrow - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
91) White-crowned Sparrow - 01/16/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)
92) Dark-eyed Junco - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
93) Lapland Longspur - 01/07/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)

94) Northern Cardinal - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

95) Red-winged Blackbird - 01/06/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
96) Eastern Meadowlark - 01/26/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)
97) Rusty Blackbird - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
98) Common Grackle - 01/06/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

99) Purple Finch - 01/28/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
100) House Finch - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
101) American Goldfinch - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

102) House Sparrow - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
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