Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday's Foto

As relatively late breeders, flocks of Cedar Waxwings have just begun appearing in our city parks. Listen for their high-pitched, whistling call and look for them feeding within Black Cherry trees and other fruiting trees and shrubs.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

One More Red-tailed Hawk

A quick run to the red-tailed nests in Prospect Park revealed a pleasant surprise.

At Nelly's Lawn, Max & Nelly were keeping a close eye on their triplets from a favorite perch in Elizabeth's Tuliptree. The three young hawks in the pine tree nest have grown amazing fast. When Nelly flew into the nest to check up on them, they seemed to be nearly as tall as their mother. In another week they will be clambering about on the branches around the nest. By the second week of June, they should be taking their maiden flight.








Here is Nelly, checking in on her offspring. She only stayed for a couple of minutes, then rejoined her mate at the tuliptree.


video
This video was shot yesterday afternoon.

At my new viewing spot in the Ravine I was able to see a second chick in Alice & Ralph's nest. They are much younger than their neighbors in the northern end of the park. On a couple of occasions, I thought I saw another pair of wings flopping around at the far end of the nest, so it is possible that there are three. I watched the nest for 45 minutes, hoping to see one of the parents return to the nest. A dark shadow circled the woods a few times, drawing the attention of the small, fluffy chicks, but neither parent landed on the nest while I was present.

...Read more

Monday, May 24, 2010

Upcoming Trips

Below is a list of upcoming, local trips for the weekend of May 29th-30th, 2010:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, May 29, 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 and Sunday, 3 p.m.
Discover the Prospect Park you never knew! Meet birds and other wildlife on this walk, guided by a naturalist.

Sunday, May 30, 2010
Discover Tours
Every Saturday and 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, May 29, 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.


Littoral Society
May 29, 2010 2:00PM -– 5:00PM
Jamaica Bay Ecology Cruise
Join us a for a 3-hour narrated cruise along the backwater marshes of Jamaica Bay aboard the 2-deck boat the Golden Sunshine out of Pier 2, Sheepshead Bay.
Cost: $45 includes guides, wine & cheese, fruit, drink, snacks.
Leaders: Mickey Cohen, Don Riepe.
To reserve send check to American Littoral Society, 28 West 9th Road, Broad Channel, NY 11693.
For more information, call (718) 318-9344. E-mail: driepe [AT] nyc.rr.com

May 30, 2010
Red Knots & Horseshoe Crabs at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Meet 10am at the refuge visitor center then drive ( car pool) to the North Channel Bridge to view the horseshoe crabs and shorebirds.
Leaders: Andrew Baksh, Don Riepe. Bring lunch, binoculars.
Call (718) 318-9344; E-mail: driepe [AT] nyc.rr.com
Cost: FREE


Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, May 29, 2010

Early Morning Birding
8:00 a.m.
A weekly Ranger-led birding walk of the Salt Marsh Nature Trail.
Location: Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
Cost: FREE

Van Cortlandt Bird Club: Nest Building
9:00 a.m.
If that's not spaghetti hanging from that bird's beak, what is it?! For weekday bird walks...
Location: Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Cost: FREE

Invasive Investigation
11:00 a.m.
Learn the important of native plants and animals and the cost we pay for having the...
Location: Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
Cost: FREE

Red-tailed Hawk Nest Watch
12:00 p.m.
Take a glimpse into the magnificent nest of the resident red-tailed hawks of Inwood Hill...
Location: Inwood Hill Nature Center (in Inwood Hill Park), Manhattan
Cost: FREE

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Early Birding
10:00 a.m.
Along with the temperatures, migration season is heating up! Join us as we welcome...
Location: Fort Totten Visitor's Center (in Fort Totten Park), Queens
Cost: FREE

Spring Tide Lovers
10:00 a.m.
On moonlit nights horseshoe crabs return to the shores of Twin Island to mate. Marvel...
Location: Orchard Beach Nature Center (in Pelham Bay Park), Bronx
Cost: FREE

Advanced Highbridge Hiking
11:00 a.m.
Traverse the hidden trails of Highbridge. Take in fabulous views of Morris Jumel...
Location: Highbridge Park, Manhattan
Cost: FREE

Flower Power
11:00 a.m.
Why are wildflowers beautiful? Why do they smell so great? Bring a magnifying...
Location: Wolfe's Pond Park, Staten Island
Cost: FREE

Orienteering
11:00 a.m.
You'll never get lost in the woods! Learn navigation with a map and compass...
Location: Parking Lot (in Cunningham Park), Queens
Cost: FREE
...Read more

Saturday, May 22, 2010

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending May 21, 2010:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* May. 21, 2010
* NYNY1005.21

- Birds mentioned

WHITE-FACED IBIS+
WILSON'S PLOVER+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Broad-winged Hawk
Virginia Rail
Solitary Sandpiper
WILSON'S PHALAROPE
Roseate Tern
Parasitic Jaeger
Black-billed Cuckoo
Chuck-will's-widow
Whip-poor-will
Red-headed Woodpecker
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Acadian Flycatcher
Alder Flycatcher
Purple Martin
Cliff Swallow
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Tennessee Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Kentucky Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Canada Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
SUMMER TANAGER
Clay-colored Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow
Fox Sparrow ("Sooty" subspecies - not seen)
Lincoln's Sparrow
BLUE GROSBEAK
Bobolink

- 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, May 21st 2010 at 9pm. The highlights of today's tape are WILSON'S PLOVER, WHITE-FACED IBIS, WILSON'S PHALAROPE, SUMMER TANAGER, BLUE GROSBEAK and lots of migrants.

A female type WILSON'S PLOVER found at Jones Beach West End on May 8th but not seen during the intervening week was relocated late Saturday afternoon again in the swale between the concession building and the ocean at the west end parking lot #2. The swale was much drier than the previous week but the plover did come in at high tide along with other shorebirds mostly Semipalmated Plovers. There again have been no reports during the week. A VIRGINIA RAIL was calling just west of the swale Saturday evening.

At Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge what was presumably the same WHITE-FACED IBIS was seen last Saturday morning at about 8:30a and then reappeared again at 9:15a in the northeast corner of the West Pond. The ibis was seen again on Sunday morning and again today with sightings both at the northeast corner and in the south marsh near bench #1. Also today a WILSON'S PHALAROPE appeared at the north end of the West Pond and a SUMMER TANAGER was also seen near bench #12.

As a note, the "Sooty" FOX SPARROW was last seen in Central Park last Friday.

A migratory movement last Friday night that was interrupted by a wind shift to the northwest still dropped a good number of migrants into the city parks for Saturday as well as producing an interesting reorientation flight along the ocean coast as birds struggled in off the water while fighting the contrary winds. Thousands of migrants were moving west along the barrier beaches presumably glad to have made it ashore.

A count Saturday morning at Robert Moses State Park among 20 species of warblers tallied 110 MAGNOLIA WARBLERS, 70 BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLERS and 33 CANADA WARBLERS among the identifiable birds. Also seen were 5 SOLITARY SANDPIPERS, BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, ALDER FLYCATCHER, PURPLE MARTIN and 9 CLIFF SWALLOWS. A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER also ended up at Jones Beach West End.

Some of this flight was also noted in Prospect Park, sightings including 9 SOLITARY SANDPIPERS, OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER and CLIFF SWALLOW. Overall highlights from Prospect Park last weekend featured 2 OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHERS, ACADIAN FLYCATCHER and YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER on Sunday ... and at least 22 species of warblers with TENNESSEE WARBLER, CAPE MAY WARBLER, and 3 MOURNING WARBLERS on Sunday.

Forest Park too over the weekend featured 2 plus YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHERS, ACADIAN FLYCATCHER, SUMMER TANAGER at the waterhole and an immature male BLUE GROSBEAK nearby on Saturday and over 20 species of warblers including multiple MOURNING WARBLERS both days and a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT Saturday.

Another SUMMER TANAGER and GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH and a good variety of warblers were found at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx on Saturday.

Central Park also produced SUMMER TANAGER Thursday at Strawberry Fields and warblers reported during the week included KENTUCKY WARBLER Monday and MOURNING WARBLER on several days and other birds included OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER Saturday, an uncommon species noted in most other parks too such as GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH and LINCOLN'S SPARROW.

A most unexpected sparrow was found Sunday at Calvert Vaux Park in Brooklyn this a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW that was also joined there by a male BLUE GROSBEAK and 7 BOBOLINKS.

Among other sites noting MOURNING WARBLERS included Riverside Park in northern Manhattan on Monday and Quogue Wildlife Refuge last Saturday this species is actually a regular later migration species but its tendency to stay under cover makes knowing its song and distinctive chip note quite useful.

A seawatch Wednesday off Robert Moses State Park produced an adult PARASITIC JAEGER as well as a few ROSEATE TERNS and a BLUE GROSBEAK was still around the Moses parking field 2.

Out east birds having arrived by last Saturday included CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW and WHIP-POOR-WILL, ROSEATE TERNS and GRASSHOPPER SPARROW. On Sunday at Camp Hero in Montauk a young male BLUE GROSBEAK was present and a BLACK VULTURE joined 9 TURKEY VULTURES and 9 BROAD-WINGED HAWKS as they soared over Montauk.

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, May 21, 2010

Red-tailed Hawk Update

This week I surveyed the three known Brooklyn Red-tailed Hawk nests to see how the hatchlings were progressing.

The easiest nest for viewing is the pine tree at the edge of Nelly's Lawn. For a second year in a row, the parents are raising three offspring. When I visited the nest yesterday afternoon, Nelly was busy feeding her brood. They all seem healthy and have started to grow adult body feathers. Their wing feathers are also growing in rapidly. Notice in this video how one youngster is already attempting to flap-hop to the opposite side of the nest.



I found a new and fairly decent viewing spot for Alice and Ralph's Ravine nest. Over two days I monitored their nest for an hour each time and was only able to confirm a single hatchling. Although, the nest is very deep and the viewing angle quite steep, so there could be another chick. The chick that I watched is well behind the ones at Nelly's Lawn and likely most of the city's Red-tailed Hawk chicks. It is still mostly covered with down with maybe an inch of adult feathers seen emerging from its tail and wings.

At approximately 75 feet up in a Linden tree, the Green-Wood Cemetery nest is the highest and most difficult to get a chick count. My friend Marge and I watched the nest for a long time this week and only got fleeting glimpses of an erratic, white wing flipping up above the edge of the nest. Big Mama was sitting at the nest watching her offspring the entire time we were present. Perhaps in another week the chick(s) will be large enough to view clearly. I will keep you posted.
...Read more

Friday's Foto

The American Bullfrog is a "true" frog native to North American. As of this week, they have begun their breeding cycle and can be heard making their deep, roaring call from ponds & lakes around the city .

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Weekend Roundup

I've gotten a little behind on my postings. Well, it is the height of Spring migration, so can you blame me if I end up burning the candle at both ends?

On Monday, May 10th, Doug, Heydi, Shane and I did our annual Spring Big Day. Like last year, most of our observations took place in Brooklyn, with an end of day visit to Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Our first bird was tallied at around 3:30am, the last at around 8pm. More about that in my next post. In the meantime...

We had a marathon weekend of birding in Prospect Park. Beginning at 6am on Saturday, Michael Brams, Paige Linden, Heydi Lopes and I spent most of the day in the park. On Sunday, minus Michael, we spent about 11 hours scouring the park. It was, without question, the most birdy two days Prospect Park has experienced this Spring. Our total for the two days was 93 species, which included 22 species of warbler.

North winds finally shifted to the south overnight on Friday. Coupled with milder temperatures, it made for an excellent flight night for northbound migrants. But by early Saturday, the winds began coming in from the north-northwest and had picked up in intensity. Our strategy was to start our day at first light at the north end of Prospect Park. We would head to the Vale of Cashmere, which is in a natural depression, out of the wind and surrounded by trees. When Heydi and I arrived at the "Vale" the sun was just beginning to strike the tops of the trees on the eastern slope. Birds were beginning to move and there was song everywhere.

We stood near the center of the decorative ponds and faced up into the sunlit treetops. A weeping cherry tree that drapes over the pond attracted a steady stream of warblers and Scarlet Tanagers. We listened to the machine-gun-like song of a Tennessee Warbler running non-stop up and to our right . A Common Yellowthroat making its "chit" call foraged within a short stand of phragmites that have taken hold inside the ponds. The high-pitched songs of both Blackburnian Warbler and Bay-breasted Warbler rang out from a pair of Black Cherry trees across the water from us. As the early morning progressed and the sun warmed more of the trees that ring the Vale of Cashmere, we found an increasing variety of songbirds alternating between a feeding frenzy and the most intense avian concert of the year. The "Vale" is just a tiny part of Prospect Park's over 500 acres, yet after only about 90 minutes we walked away having seen 18 species of warbler: Tennessee Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Northern Parula, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, Wilson's Warbler and Canada Warbler. The day was still young.

With the wind blowing across the park from the northwest, I decided it would be best to just stick to the leeward side of the hills and ridges. After leaving the Vale, we visited my favorite puddle - a muddy section of the bridle path between Rick's Place and Payne Hill. I think one of the reasons that birds like to drink and bathe in this spot is that there is a lot of vegetation on either side of the path, plus low hanging branches above. This provides the birds with a safe spot to escape to or preen in after a dip in the water. I've also found that if I drag a large branch over the the puddle's edge, birds immediately use it as a perch to check the safety of the water before descending to it's edge.

The puddle was also pretty active and we spent a little time there before heading down into the Midwood. New arrivals in the park included several, intensely blue Indigo Buntings. Compared to the previous weekend, there were a lot more Magnolia Warblers and Canada Warblers mixed in with the other migrating songbirds. Canada's are relatively easy to find as the tend to forage in the understory. They also have a unique song that consists of an opening "chip" followed by a loose jumble of notes . Our route continued from the Midwood along the Lullwater, then up to the south slope of Lookout Hill. I had to leave by midday, but Michael, Paige and Heydi continued birding for a few more hours. I received a text message later that day. The trio ended up back at the Vale of Cashmere where they found a Mourning Warbler. These skulking ground feeders are not so much rare as rarely seen. It's always a treat to find one of these beautiful birds.

We encountered so many birds on Saturday's route that we decided to repeat it on Sunday. It was overcast in the morning, but at 6am in the Vale of Cashmere, there was still a very good showing of birds. The highlight there was finding the Mourning Warbler from the previous day. We would go on to find two more before the day was over. The second was found a few hours later in the Lullwater. We had stopped at a small, wooden overlook above a cove when I thought I heard a very brief segment of the mourning's song. Scanning the underbrush, we eventually spotted the bird when it hopped up into the lower branches of a viburnum shrub. The third individual was seen at around 2:30pm when it flew across the path in front of Heydi and I. We were several yards north of Rick's Place.

When approaching the stream behind the Music Pagoda we discoved a catbird behaving very oddly. It was slowly hopping back and forth on the trunk of a recently fallen tree. With its head down and puffed out feathers we at first thought it was in distress. As we watched the bird we finally realized that there was a female catbird watching from above and that this male was trying to impress her with his courtship dance:


Another interesting early morning discovery at the Vale was that of a calling Olive-sided Flycatcher. These relatively large, mostly gray flycatchers are fairly drab, but I love their song. It is usually described "Quick, three beers". Judge for yourselves . In addition to Olive-sided Flycatcher, in the afternoon, Heydi and I heard both an Acadian Flycatcher and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher calling at the Vale.

We also had a very good sparrow list for Sunday, adding towhee, savannah and white-crowned to the previous day's tally.

While we still may have a couple of weeks of migration left, I don't think that we'll see the abundance and diversity of species that we experienced over the past weekend.

Here's is a brief slideshow of some of the weekend's birds. Most of the photos were taken by Heydi:


Date Range: May 15, 2010 - May 16, 2010
Locations: Prospect Park
Total Number of Species: 93
Total Number of Checklists: 2

Species Name               15-May     16-May

Canada Goose X X
Mute Swan X X
Wood Duck 2 --
Mallard X X
Common Loon -- 1
Great Egret 1 --
Green Heron 1 1
Red-tailed Hawk 4 2
Spotted Sandpiper 2 2
Laughing Gull X --
Herring Gull X X
Rock Pigeon X X
Mourning Dove X X
BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO -- 1
Chimney Swift X X
Ruby-throated Hummingbird -- 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker X X
Downy Woodpecker X X
Hairy Woodpecker 1 --
Northern Flicker X X
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER -- 2
Eastern Wood-Pewee 2 1
YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER -- 1
ACADIAN FLYCATCHER -- 1
Least Flycatcher 1 --
Empidonax sp. 2 --
Eastern Phoebe -- 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 1 2
Eastern Kingbird 2 2
White-eyed Vireo 1 --
Blue-headed Vireo 1 --
Warbling Vireo 6 6
Red-eyed Vireo 4 4
Blue Jay 2 X
American Crow 1 X
Barn Swallow 8 X
Black-capped Chickadee 2 --
Tufted Titmouse X 2
White-breasted Nuthatch -- 1
Carolina Wren 2 1
House Wren 4 4
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1 --
Veery 3 5
Gray-cheeked Thrush 2 3
BICKNELL'S THRUSH -- 1
Swainson's Thrush 10 8
Wood Thrush 2 2
American Robin X X
Gray Catbird 15 20
Northern Mockingbird 1 --
European Starling X X
Cedar Waxwing 2 5
Tennessee Warbler 2 3
Nashville Warbler 3 2
Northern Parula 8 10
Yellow Warbler 1 2
Chestnut-sided Warbler 4 5
Magnolia Warbler 12 25
Cape May Warbler -- 2
Black-throated Blue Warbler8 8
Yellow-rumped Warbler 3 4
Black-throated Green Warbler 3 2
Blackburnian Warbler 6 4
Prairie Warbler 1 --
Bay-breasted Warbler 4 5
Blackpoll Warbler 12 12
Black-and-white Warbler 8 10
American Redstart 15 15
Ovenbird 8 12
Northern Waterthrush 6 6
MOURNING WARBLER -- 3
Common Yellowthroat 8 10
Wilson's Warbler 3 4
Canada Warbler 10 12
Scarlet Tanager 5 10
Eastern Towhee -- 1
Chipping Sparrow X 1
Savannah Sparrow -- 2
Song Sparrow 1 1
Lincoln's Sparrow 3 3
Swamp Sparrow 1 1
White-throated Sparrow X 5
White-crowned Sparrow -- 1
Northern Cardinal X X
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 3 5
Indigo Bunting 2 9
Red-winged Blackbird X X
Common Grackle X X
Brown-headed Cowbird X X
Orchard Oriole 1 1
Baltimore Oriole 12 8
American Goldfinch X X
House Sparrow X X
...Read more

Monday, May 17, 2010

Upcoming Trips

Below is a list of upcoming, local trips for the weekend of May 22nd - 23rd, 2010:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, May 22, 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 and Sunday, 3 p.m.
Discover the Prospect Park you never knew! Meet birds and other wildlife on this walk, guided by a naturalist.

Sunday, May 23, 2010
Discover Tours
Every Saturday and Sunday, 3 p.m.
Discover the Prospect Park you never knew! Meet birds and other wildlife on this walk, guided by a naturalist.

Morning Bird Walk: Marvelous Migrants
Sunday, May 23, 8 a.m.
Meet the amazing birds who use the Park as a migratory layover on this expert-guided walk. Start your Sunday morning surrounded by nature!


New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, May 22, 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.


Linnaean Society of New York
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Inwood Hill Park
Leader: Joe DiCostanzo
Registrar: Lenore Swenson
Registration opens Monday 5/10. Public transportation


Littoral Society
May 23, 2010
Glory at the Beach Plum Blossoms at Plum Beach
The shifting dunes, classic saltmarsh and extensive mudflats at Plum Beach are dynamic, ever-changing maritime habitats for myriad seashore species. During May, hundreds of native beach plums are in full blossom and put forth a spectacular display of pink and white. Explore this fascinating area with naturalist Mickey Maxwell Cohen.
Binoculars, insect protection and a magnifying glass will be helpful.
Meet at 9 AM at the Plum Beach Round House.
Reservations required: call Gateway NRA at (718) 338-3799


New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, May 22, 10am – 1pm
Birds & Plants: New York Botanical garden in Springtime
Guide: Gabriel Willow, NYBG Docent With New York Botanic Garden
Enter in the Moshula gate and meet at the Reflecting Pool near the Visitor Center.
The NY Botanical Garden was founded in 1891 and now a National Historic Landmark; it is distinguished by the beauty of its diverse landscape and extensive collections and gardens. It is also home to the largest remaining tract of East Coast old-growth forest in NYC. The beautiful gardens and their great diversity of ecosystems attract many species of birds. We will visit during the peak of Spring migration season, when the forests and gardens come alive with songbirds returning from their wintering grounds. Additionally, a NYBG docent will give the group an exclusive tour of the impressive forest. Limited to 15.
Cost: $20


Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Saturday May 22, 9 a.m. to 11 a.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. Meet at the parking lot at the end of Hylan Blvd. on the left.
For more information phone Clay Wollney at (718)869-6327.

Saturday, May 22, 9:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Spring Ten Mile Walk of the Greenbelt to Save Pouch Camp!
This is our annual spring Greenbelt walk, but with an emphasis on our efforts to secure preservation for Pouch Camp. Join us for a rally at the kickoff at 10 a.m. Those not joining the walk may choose to meet up with us at noon for lunch at Berlin Lodge overlooking beautiful Orbach Lake in Pouch Camp. We ask that you bring your own lunch and beverage. Speakers will be on-hand to talk about how vital it is to preserve all of Pouch Camp. The Protectors walk then continues at 1 p.m. Our walk covers ten miles at a comfortable pace. See wonderful vistas, beautiful woodlands and the blooming of the Pinxter Azalea, Highbush Blueberry and Canada Mayflower throughout our Greenbelt. Meet at our new meeting place where the parking is easier: the beginning of the Blue Line Trail, at the end of Staten Island Blvd. (at the end of the road right above Petrides School which intersects Ocean Terrace). Bring lunch, beverage and sturdy walking shoes as well as camera, binoculars and field guides. We go in all weather but walk is shortened if high pollution levels occur.
For more information call Dominick Durso at (718) 967-0379 or Chuck Perry at (718) 667-1393.

Saturday, May 22, 1 p.m. to 4:30 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 has American chestnut trees, one unhealthy, tall and 8-10 inches in diameter and just recently found, and a second, though younger large tree. The third is a spindly, sick, multi-trunk diseased tree with the chestnut blight but which 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 footwear. We have a permit to enter the restricted natural area with Clay Pit Pond 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.
Registration is required. Contact Sandra Mechanic at (718) 967-1037.


Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, May 22, 2010

Early Morning Birding
8:00 a.m.
A weekly Ranger-led birding walk of the Salt Marsh Nature Trail.
Location: Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Van Cortlandt Bird Club: Waterfowl
9:00 a.m.
Duckweed eats and webbed feet aren't the only tell tale signs of water-loving birds. ...
Location: Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Wild for Wildflowers
11:00 a.m.
Explore each blossom along the trail at the Salt Marsh Nature Center.
Location: Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Ethno Botany and Edible Plants
12:00 p.m.
The forest of Inwood Hill Park provided the Lenape tribe with the many natural resources...
Location: Inwood Hill Nature Center (in Inwood Hill Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

Spring Bird Migration
1:00 p.m.
Explore Rattlesnake Creek and the surrounding hardwood forest and wetlands to look for...
Location: East 233 Street and Baychester Avenue (in Seton Falls Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Riverside Redtail Reunion
11:00 a.m.
Reconnect with the adored pair of red-tailed hawks that continue to raise their young in...
Location: River Run Playground (in Riverside Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

Insect Insanity
11:00 a.m.
You supply the curiosity and we'll supply the nets!
Location: Picnic House (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Hawk Watch
11:00 a.m.
Team up with the Rangers and NYC Audubon to observe the red-tailed hawks that have been...
Location: Parking Lot on Hoyt Avenue and 19 Street (in Astoria Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Biodiversity Hike
12:00 p.m.
Explore the diverse ecology, habitats, plants and animals of Inwood Hill Park's Salt Marsh,...
Location: Inwood Hill Nature Center (in Inwood Hill Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

Seashore Safari
2:00 p.m.
Crabs, seaweed, and seastars are among the treasures you will find as you explore the...
Location: Orchard Beach Nature Center (in Pelham Bay Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Animal Tracks
2:00 p.m.
Animals leave all types of signs that they've been around. Use your investigating...
Location: Comfort Station (in Bloomingdale Park), Staten Island
Cost: Free
...Read more

Free Upcoming Event

The Queens County Bird Club will hold its monthly meeting on Wednesday May 19, 2010 at 8:00 PM at the Alley Pond Environmental Center

Dave Burg of “Wild Metro” will speak about birds and their habitat and Habitat Management.

All members and guests are welcome to attend this free event.

Alley Pond Environmental Center
228-06 Northern Blvd
Douglaston, NY 11362-1906

Saturday, May 15, 2010

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, May 14, 2010:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* May 14, 2010
* NYNY1005.14

- Birds Mentioned:

WHITE-FACED IBIS+
WILSON'S PLOVER+
BICKNELL'S THRUSH+
FOX SPARROW+ (Western race, probable "Sooty" form)
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Bald Eagle
White-rumped Sandpiper
LITTLE GULL
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Glaucous Gull
Gull-billed Tern
Black Tern
Roseate Tern
Black Skimmer
Jaeger species
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Philadelphia Vireo
Cliff Swallow
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Tennessee Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Worm-eating Warbler
Kentucky Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Summer Tanager
Lincoln's Sparrow
Blue Grosbeak

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

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to 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, May 14th, at 9:00 pm. The highlights of today's tape are WILSON'S PLOVER, WHITE-FACED IBIS, "SOOTY" FOX SPARROW, LITTLE GULL, and many Spring migrants.

Last Saturday a female type WILSON'S PLOVER was found on the bar off the Jones Beach West End Coast Guard Station and then, after it flew, skillfully relocated by the discoverer in the rather flooded swale in front of the West End 2 concession building. Despite the horrendous winds, a number of birders enjoyed the bird before nightfall, but it could not be relocated on subsequent days.

Unfortunately not making last week's tape was the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge WHITE-FACED IBIS, spotted last Friday at the north end of the West Pond, but fortunately it was seen again Thursday morning in the marsh south of the West Pond, where it had also previously occurred in late April.

Perhaps the most interesting of this week's rarities is a FOX SPARROW found Thursday at Strawberry Fields in Central Park. Appearing to be a "Sooty" form of Fox Sparrow, which may be elevated to full species status in the near future, the sparrow was still present today, and spends its time foraging in leaf litter under bushes on the eastern downslope of Strawberry Fields, located a short distance straight into the park from the West 72nd Street entrance off Central Park West. This bird is definitely worth seeing.

Otherwise it was a great week for seasonal migrants, common and uncommon, especially today as the incoming front brought with it a wide variety of birds in decent numbers.

In Central Park, as our local migration barometer, today produced good numbers of warblers including several TENNESSEE WARBLERS, BAY-BREASTED WARBLERS, and CAPE MAY WARBLERS along with a couple of MOURNING WARBLERS, plus WORM-EATING WARBLER, HOODED WARBLER, and YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT. A singing PHILADELPHIA VIREO and a male SUMMER TANAGER added to the excitement, and also present were GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH and LINCOLN'S SPARROW. Many birds were seen around a termite hatch-out, an often very productive phenomenon. A KENTUCKY WARBLER was in the Ramble Thursday, and another at the north end last Saturday. An OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER and YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER were among the flycatchers seen this week, with a male BLUE GROSBEAK in the Ramble Tuesday. Four CLIFF SWALLOWS were seen over the Lake early in the week.

Prospect Park also had a good week, with a BICKNELL'S THRUSH identified Tuesday, and birds today included BALD EAGLE, OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER and MOURNING WARBLER.

Riverside Park in northern Manhattan has entertained an immature male BLUE GROSBEAK Thursday and today, and also featured YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO Friday and TENNESSEE WARBLER Thursday.

In Forest Park an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was still around the water hole yesterday, the park also hosting OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER and YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO last Saturday and lots of warblers since.

A female SUMMER TANAGER was in Alley Pond Park Monday, preceded by a male in Tobay Sanctuary's Pine Grove Sunday and followed by one at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge near Big John's Pond on Thursday.

A KENTUCKY WARBLER was found at Valley Stream State Park on Monday. Alley Pond Park also featured KENTUCKY and MOURNING WARBLERS last Saturday, the MOURNING lingering to Sunday.

A BLUE GROSBEAK has stayed in the vicinity of the entrance booth at Robert Moses State Park field 2 from Wednesday through today. BLUE GROSBEAK was also noted at Hoyt Farm Park in Commack Thursday, and reports from the Quogue Wildlife Refuge mentioned a YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER Thursday and MOURNING WARBLER Friday.

An immature LITTLE GULL, a GLAUCOUS GULL, three GULL-BILLED TERNS and five BLACK TERNS were among the birds reported Thursday at Breezy Point where a JAEGER had been noted Monday along with three ROSEATE TERNS, and two LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were seen Wednesday. Other ROSEATE TERNS have been scattered along the coast recently, and two BLACK SKIMMERS were at Riis Park Thursday.

An ICELAND GULL appeared Saturday at Jones Beach West End and then at field 10 Jones Beach, and two LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were in the Jones Beach West End swale on Wednesday where two GULL-BILLED TERNS visited Saturday. Ten WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS were among the good collection of seasonal shorebirds at Jones Beach West End Tuesday.

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

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday's Foto

The Eastern Kingbird is a migrant flycatcher. They are just beginning their breeding cycle within our city parks. Watch for these very vocal, aggressive and fearless "tyrants" as they chase birds even as large as Red-tailed Hawks.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Free Upcoming Event

New York City Audubon Society
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Lecture: Say Good-Bye to the Cuckoo
Michael McCarthy

Location: The Arsenal, Central Park, 64th Street at 5th Avenue

For millennia, migrant birds such as the nightingale, the turtledove, the swallow and the cuckoo have annually flown out of Africa to bring the spring to Europe, and in so doing, become a key part of Western culture. Now many of these birds are crashing in numbers, in what threatens to be not just a wildlife tragedy, but a cultural one.
For more information: (212) 691-7483

Cost: Free

Upcoming Trips

Below is a list of upcoming, local trips for the weekend of May 15th - 16th, 2010:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, May 15, 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 and Sunday, 3 p.m.
Discover the Prospect Park you never knew! Meet birds and other wildlife on this walk, guided by a naturalist.

Sunday, May 16, 2010
Discover Tours
Every Saturday and Sunday, 3 p.m.
Discover the Prospect Park you never knew! Meet birds and other wildlife on this walk, guided by a naturalist.

Morning Bird Walk: Marvelous Migrants
Sunday, May 16, 8 a.m.
Meet the amazing birds who use the Park as a migratory layover on this expert-guided walk. Start your Sunday morning surrounded by nature!


New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, May 15, 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.


Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday May 15, 2010
Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Mt. Prospect
Meet 9:20 am at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Eastern Parkway entrance.
Leader: Rusty Harold
Note: This walk celebrates the Garden's centennial. There is an admission fee unless you are a BBG member.

Sunday, May 16, 2010
Prospect Park Members' Walk
Meet 8am at Grand Army Plaza entrance (Stranahan Statue)
Note: This walk brings together members who will assume leadership as a group.


Littoral Society
May 15, 2010
Red Knots & Horseshoe Crabs at Plum Beach, Jamaica Bay
Meet 9am at parking lot in Plum Beach to look for mating horseshoe crabs and shorebirds.
Leaders: Andrew Baksh, Don Riepe.
Bring lunch, binoculars.
Call (718) 318-9344; E-mail: driepe@nyc.rr.com.
Cost: FREE.


Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, May 15, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
It's My Park Day
For our 167th monthly Forest Restoration workshop, meet at the Administration Building at High Rock Park (follow the road into the park from the top of Nevada Avenue) to join with other volunteers taking part in It's My Park Day. New York City parks depend heavily on volunteers to keep their many acres planted and clean. As the “Borough of Parks” we have more to take care of than the others, and are proud of it! If you don't have your own, NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation will provide gloves and equipment. NYC Parks would like you to RSVP to (718) 667-2165, but come along even if you don't call before.
For more information call Don Recklies at (718) 768-9036.

Saturday, May 15, 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight
The Rail’s Tales
The tidal wetlands near the northwest corner of Staten Island are a refuge for a collection of nocturnal birds that migrate through and nest on Staten Island. The rails and herons, bitterns and moorhens of River Road squawk, cackle and coo through the night. A quiet walk along River Road will offer a chance to discern the sounds of the wetlands. Join Cliff Hagen as he alerts participants to the songs and calls of the moonlit marsh. The group will meet at the corner of Chelsea Road and River Road.
For directions or information contact Cliff Hagen at 718-313-8591.


Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, May 15, 2010 - All-day Special
Big Day
Compiler and Alley leader: Ian Resnick
Contact Area Leader: (718-631-9643, avian [AT] nyc.rr.com)


Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, May 15, 2010

Brooklyn Queens Birding Big Day Out
8:00 a.m.
Come on an all-day birding tour. Bring binoculars and a bag lunch. …
Location: Wollman Rink; Flower Garden (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Van Cortlandt Bird Club: Bird Calls
9:00 a.m.
Caws, whistles and pee wees make up the chorus in the woods and helped give birds their…
Location: Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Fresh Kills Tours
10:00 a.m.
Witness the dramatic transformation, as well as the turkey vultures, red-tailed hawks, and…
Location: Freshkills Park/William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge, Staten Island
Cost: Free

Insect Insanity
11:00 a.m.
Bug out! Learn what kinds of insects live in the park, check out our pet bugs, make…
Location: Fort Greene Park Visitor Center (in Fort Greene Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

A-Z Nature Hike
11:00 a.m.
Test your knowledge to see if you can find something to cover every letter fo the alphabet…
Location: Blue Heron Nature Center (in 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 birds of prey with a lecture and hawk…
Location: Inwood Hill Nature Center (in Inwood Hill Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

On a Wing Family Festival
12:00 p.m.; 3:00 p.m.
Bring the entire family and enjoy a magical afternoon learning more about our feathered friends.
Location: Belvedere Castle (in Central Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

Canoe the Lagoon
1:00 p.m.
Paddle through the sparkling blue waters and green marsh grasses of the Lagoon. First…
Location: Orchard Beach Parking Lot (in Pelham Bay Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Nature Scavenger Hunt
1:00 p.m.
Kids put their wildlife investigation skills to the test as we use clues to find natures…
Location: Fort Totten Visitor's Center (in Fort Totten Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Shrub Pruning Workshop
1:00 p.m.
Learn the finer points of prunning and tools of the trade.
Location: Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Fresh Kills Tours
1:00 p.m.
Witness the dramatic transformation, as well as the turkey vultures, red-tailed hawks, and…
Location: Freshkills Park/William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge, Staten Island
Cost: Free

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Spring Migration
10:00 a.m.
Along with the temperatures, migration season is heating up! Welcome back our fine,…
Location: Albert H. Mauro Playground (in Flushing Meadows Corona Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Climb the Peaks of Central Park!
11:00 a.m.< href="http://www.nycgovparks.org/events/2010/05/16/heather-garden-walk">Heather Garden Walk
12:00 p.m.
Stroll through the Heather Garden to find out what is in bloom and enjoy the beautiful…
Location: Heather Garden (in Fort Tryon Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

Wild about Wildflowers
1:00 p.m.
Hidden beneath Fort totten's history is a wondrous world of wildflowers. Come…
Location: Fort Totten Visitor's Center (in Fort Totten Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Pond Ecology
2:00 p.m.
What animals can you find living in Spring Pond? Fish, frogs, turtles, oh my! …
Location: Blue Heron Nature Center (in Blue Heron Park Preserve), Staten Island
Cost: Free
...Read more

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Life and Death for the Red Tails

The following Red-tailed Hawk story appeared in the New York Times. Jeff is a friend and fellow hawk-watcher from Queens:

May 2, 2010
The City Life
Life and Death for the Red Tails
By Francis X. Clines

Athena, a red-tailed hawk that reigned atop the towers of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, has died, apparently from dining on a poisoned rat snatched from below. Chief among the mourners was Jeffrey Kollbrunner, one of the city’s more dedicated trackers of raptors. He’s the sort who stops traffic on Queens Boulevard to retrieve a bewildered fledgling whose flying lesson suddenly turned pedestrian.

In the current red-tail nesting season, Mr. Kollbrunner is tracking 25 pairs in Queens County as an urban naturalist and consultant for the Audubon Society. “The first-born baby scared me the other day, teetering unattended at the edge of the nest,” he says. He watched it all on the Hawk-cam, a 24/7 Web camera he has pointed on the nest of Momma and Poppa, red tails he has monitored like family for 12 years.

Momma returned in time with tasty prey, sparing junior a 90-foot flop to the sidewalk.

Succulent pigeons can outrace red hawks in a straight line, so Momma and Poppa developed an ambush strategy. He sneaks up to roust rooftop flocks toward Momma as she flies out of the sun for a kill.

Mr. Kollbrunner, born in Queens, found his first hawk sighting so exotic that he became a wildlife photographer and a teacher of ways to track life along the skyline. For him, romance teems in the airy jungle of kestrels, peregrine falcons, coopers and sharp-shinned hawks, plus his red tails.

He cherishes Golden Boy, a prize offspring of Momma and Poppa, for a New York moment of unexpected compassion. After fully fledging the nest, Golden Boy still stayed behind to protect a weaker sibling. His first hunts were devoted to feeding the sibling. He nattered and nagged and refused to go his own way until the bird found the strength and the savvy to get up and take on the city.
...Read more

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, May 7, 2010:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* May 07, 2010
* NYNY1005.07

- Birds Mentioned:

WHITE-WINGED DOVE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Harlequin Duck
MANX SHEARWATER
Bald Eagle
SANDHILL CRANE
Upland Sandpiper
Whimbrel
Red Knot
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Least Tern
Gull-billed Tern
Common Tern
Razorbill
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Whip-poor-will
Red-headed Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Least Flycatcher
Purple Martin
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Swainson's Thrush
Golden-winged Warbler (Orange County)
Tennessee Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER
Worm-eating Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Kentucky Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Canada Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
SUMMER TANAGER
Scarlet Tanager
Nelson's Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
BLUE GROSBEAK
Indigo Bunting
Boat-tailed Grackle
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole

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

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to 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, May 7th, at 7:00 pm. Before commencing the tape, it is with great sorrow that we mention the sudden passing of Matt Bayer, an energetic birder and superb naturalist. Matt will be greatly missed by all of us who roam Long Island, and our deepest condolences go out to Matt's family.

The highlights of today's tape are WHITE-WINGED DOVE, SANDHILL CRANE, MANX SHEARWATER, PROTHONOTARY WARBLER, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, SUMMER TANAGER, BLUE GROSBEAK, and many Spring migrants.

On Sunday morning a WHITE-WINGED DOVE was spotted sitting in with rock pigeons near the rest rooms by the Coast Guard Station at Jones Beach West End. Once it flew off, the dove could not be relocated. Also at West End, up to four GULL-BILLED TERNS have been present, often on the bar off the Coast Guard Station. An increasing variety of shorebirds there recently included many RED KNOTS and SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS, and COMMON TERNS and LEAST TERNS are also showing up. A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was noted at West End field 2 Monday.

On Monday morning an adult SANDHILL CRANE visited the field at Marshlands Conservancy in Rye, and an immature male BLUE GROSBEAK appeared there this morning. A pair of BOAT-TAILED GRACKLES has also been frequenting the marsh at Marshlands recently.

The city parks have recently enjoyed a good diversity of migrants, though the early leaf out of the trees has not helped visibility. Almost all the warblers have appeared, some seemingly early, like BLACKPOLL WARBLER and CANADA WARBLER last Saturday, and BAY-BREASTED WARBLER, CAPE MAY WARBLER and WILSON'S WARBLER quickly thereafter. Decent numbers have been noted of many species, but they do seem to be moving through quickly with the weather pattern. Among the rarer warblers, a YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER was spotted yesterday morning at the north end of Central Park near the Pool, between 101st and 103rd Streets. Previously unreported PROTHONOTARY WARBLERS were found at Clove Lakes Park on Staten Island last Saturday, and noted briefly in Prospect Park Tuesday by a birder hustling in to see the WHIP-POOR-WILL near Boulder Bridge. Another WHIP-POOR-WILL was reported from the north end of Central Park on Monday. Also in Central Park, a KENTUCKY WARBLER appeared near Tanner's Spring on Monday, with another KENTUCKY today, along with a singing MOURNING WARBLER in Alley Pond Park. Other species noted in Central and Prospect Parks have included one or two TENNESSEE WARBLERS, some BLACKBURNIAN WARBLERS, a CERULEAN WARBLER at Cherry Hill in Central Park Sunday, WORM-EATING WARBLER, a lingering LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH or two, and HOODED WARBLER. YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT was also reported from Central Park Sunday, but most unusual this spring has been the number of ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS. Two were seen in the same tree last Saturday in Prospect Park, and in Forest Park one began singing last Saturday in shrubbery at the water hole and continued there at least to Tuesday. Clove Lakes Park also produced CERULEAN and HOODED WARBLERS Saturday, and as an indication that parts of the migration at least are bypassing the City, last Sunday, May 2nd, warblers on territory at Sterling Forest State Park in Orange County included good numbers of GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLERS, CERULEAN WARBLERS, HOODED WARBLERS and other breeders. SUMMER TANAGER reports from Sunday included Central and Prospect Park as well as Riverside Park in northern Manhattan, and good numbers of SCARLET TANAGERS, BALTIMORE ORIOLES, ORCHARD ORIOLES, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS, and INDIGO BUNTINGS have arrived this week. Also being seen are some YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOOS, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, LEAST FLYCATCHER, five species of Vireos, PURPLE MARTIN, CLIFF SWALLOW, BANK SWALLOW, SWAINSON'S THRUSH, GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH (the latter as of today in Central Park), and LINCOLN'S SPARROW. One or two adult RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS have also been spotted during the week in Central Park. Shorebirds have included an UPLAND SANDPIPER at Calvert Vaux Park last Saturday and WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER at Plumb Beach Thursday (these both in Brooklyn), and LEAST SANDPIPER and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge last Saturday.

Another RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was seen flying west at Robert Moses State Park Sunday during an interesting sustained westbound movement of migrants there.

Out East, a MANX SHEARWATER and three WHIMBREL were seen Sunday off Montauk Point, with three RAZORBILLS and an ICELAND GULL there Saturday, and three HARLEQUIN DUCKS at Turtle Cove both days. Napeague Sunday produced a BALD EAGLE and a NELSON'S SPARROW, while on Saturday an immature male BLUE GROSBEAK was found at Camp Hero in Montauk.

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

Friday, May 07, 2010

Brooklyn Hawks Update

I had time this afternoon to check on the Brooklyn hawk nests, plus one reported new nest site.

Big Mama and Junior, the Green-Wood Cemetery pair, appear to have hatchlings, although it's difficult to tell how many. Marge and I watched Big Mama feeding at least one chick. The nest it extremely high up in a linden tree, so until the chick(s) get a bit bigger, they are very difficult to see. At one point, it did appear that Big Mama was alternating between two points within the nest, so it's possible that there are two hatchlings.

Nelly and Max, the Prospect Park pair in the pine tree at Nelly's Lawn, have three young. They appear to be between 1 and 2 weeks hatched. This is their second year with triplets.

Ralph and Alice, the Prospect Park Ravine pair have become impossible to view in their pine tree nest. I've seen them flying into and out of the nest, so I presume there are hatchlings, but the surrounding trees completely block the view. I'll wait a few weeks when any young might be climbing around and report back.

Marge and I also went to McCarren Park in Williamsburg to look for the reported nesting hawks. There were definite signs that nests were attempted in the lighting structures above both the baseball fields and across the road at the outdoor track. The track's lighting seemed a bit more substantial, but neither were complete enough for raising young. We spoke with a young couple who saw us checking out the incomplete nest on the baseball field. They said that they see "the falcon" around the park fairly regularly, but also suggested we check closer to the water. There are several large oak trees around the park, but nothing big enough to support a Red-tailed Hawk nest (or to overlook one, if they did build it). There are also several incomplete condos around the area that could have been selected as a nest site. I'll keep you posted.

Here's a video of Nelly feeding her brood:
video
...Read more

Brooklyn Wildlife

It was the end of the day and we had about an hour of light left to find some more birds. Paige and I were standing on the rustic, wooden bridge that spans the stream, scanning for birds coming down to bathe or drink at the water's edge.

Earlier we had seen a Blue-winged Warbler nervously approaching the water. Nearby were robins and Yellow-rumped Warblers. At one point, a Black-and-white Warbler, White-throated Sparrow and Black-throated Blue Warbler lined up side-by-side, dipping into the water then shaking off their plumes.

We returned to the bridge after looping around through the Ravine, Rick's Place and the Vale of Cashmere. There were less birds this time, but another animal was probing under the stream's boulders and rocks.

video

The young raccoon seemed oblivious to our presence and continued foraging for food. He found an acorn and carefully removed the shell before eating it. Several couples with children passed by and we pointed out the hungry mammal. Like an idyllic scene from a rural town somewhere in Upstate New York, this cropped image was narrow and deceptive. Prospect Park's 526 acres of maintained nature is a mere postage stamp within an urban setting of concrete, asphalt and throngs of humans. This individual raccoon will likely live out its entire life unaware of the complex gauntlet of barriers just a few hundred yards from his patch of forest.

video

...Read more

Friday's Foto

Eagle-eyed Matthew Wills spotted this Whip-poor-will sleeping in a tree in Prospect Park. Donna, Heydi, Joe, Matt, Paige and myself got into the park before sunset and watched the bird until it woke up, preened, then flew off for a night of catching insects. A few more images are here.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

April Birds

During the month of April I added 37 more species to my year, bringing the total to 162. All were found in the borough of Brooklyn.

As one would expect, April started off slowly. Within the first week, there were clear signs of the songbird migration, but I only managed to add 7 new species. Through the middle of the month, myself and other birders were beginning to become concerned as there hadn't been any real big northbound push. Through the second and third week of the month, there were no surprises and I extended my list by only 13 species. A singing Bobolink in Prospect Park was a great addition as these increasingly rare birds are seldom found in my local park.

The month ended with a change of temperature and a nice south wind. I was fortunate enough to get into Prospect Park early that morning and experienced a phenomenal fallout of birds. Over the course of just a couple of hours I added 16 species of birds; 10 of which were wood-warblers.

126) Pine Warbler (Prospect Park, 04/02/10)

127) Laughing Gull (Dreier-Offerman Park, 04/03/10)
128) Tree Swallow (Dreier-Offerman Park, 04/03/10)
129) Gray Catbird (Narrows Botanical Gardens, 04/03/10)

130) Great Egret (Plum Beach, 04/05/10)

131) Palm Warbler (Greenwood Cemetery, 04/06/10)

132) Glossy Ibis (Greenwood Cemetery, 04/07/10)

133) Green Heron (Prospect Park, 04/09/10)
134) Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Prospect Park, 04/09/10)

135) Louisiana Waterthrush (Prospect Park, 04/14/10)

136) Blue-headed Vireo (Prospect Park, 04/17/10)
137) Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Prospect Park, 04/17/10)
138) Barn Swallow (Prospect Park, 04/17/10)

139) House Wren (Prospect Park, 04/21/10)
140) Hooded Warbler (Prospect Park, 04/21/10)

141) Chimney Swift (Prospect Park, 04/24/10)
142) Brown Thrasher (Prospect Park, 04/24/10)
143) Black-throated Blue Warbler (Prospect Park, 04/24/10)
144) Black-and-white Warbler (Prospect Park, 04/24/10)
145) Northern Waterthrush (Prospect Park, 04/24/10)

146) Bobolink (Prospect Park, 04/27/10)

147) Broad-winged Hawk (Prospect Park, 04/30/10)
148) Eastern Kingbird (Prospect Park, 04/30/10)
149) Wood Thrush (Prospect Park, 04/30/10)
150) Blue-winged Warbler (Prospect Park, 04/30/10)
151) Nashville Warbler (Prospect Park, 04/30/10)
152) Northern Parula (Prospect Park, 04/30/10)
153) Yellow Warbler (Prospect Park, 04/30/10)
154) Black-throated Green Warbler (Prospect Park, 04/30/10)
155) Prairie Warbler (Prospect Park, 04/30/10)
156) American Redstart (Prospect Park, 04/30/10)
157) Worm-eating Warbler (Prospect Park, 04/30/10)
158) Ovenbird (Prospect Park, 04/30/10)
159) Common Yellowthroat (Prospect Park, 04/30/10)
160) Scarlet Tanager (Prospect Park, 04/30/10)
161) Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Prospect Park, 04/30/10)
162) Baltimore Oriole (Prospect Park, 04/30/10)
...Read more

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