Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Queens Coastline

One of my favorite NYC locations at this time of year is the western edge of the Rockaway Peninsula. It's a little over a 12 mile bike ride from my apartment to the boardwalk at Jacob Riis Park. With summer here, I try to make the ride a few times a week. This past Saturday I rode down to the shore, not just to enjoy the beach, but also to look for butterflies and coastal breeding birds. Some hatchling birds that I was hoping to find were Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, Common Tern, Black Skimmer, Roseate Tern and Least Tern.

Beginning at Jacob Riis Park then traveling west, there are pristine ocean beaches along Fort Tilden and Breezy Point. There are also a few access points for the bay on the north side of the barrier island. Varied habitats within the interior of Fort Tilden and Breezy Point are also are good for wildflower, butterfly and other wildlife discoveries at this time of year.

After spending a couple of hours looking for butterflies within Fort Tilden, we went down to the edge of the water to walk the beach in search of birds. Actually, finding birds along the ocean at this time of year isn't difficult as they are all over the place. The dominant species (and most noisy) is Common Tern, but there are also lower numbers of the diminutive Least Tern towards the eastern end of Breezy Point. Least Terns are "Threatened" in New York State.

Approaching the beach community of the Breezy Point Cooperative I could see large flocks of Common Terns gathered along the intertidal zone. Beachgoers were walking or sitting only a short distance from the birds. Occasionally they would flush, but mostly they would just waddle out of the way. These birds also nest very close to the walkways from the neighborhoods down to the beach. With nests to protect they frequently dive-bomb humans that walk passed. The terns rarely actually hit anyone, but it doesn't stop people from running, arms flailing in an attempt to escape these "deadly" 4 ounce birds.

Another common species found along this stretch of beach is the Black Skimmer. These birds feed by flying inches above the ocean then dipping their long lower mandible into the water. If they make contact with a fish, the bill automatically snaps shut. Plum Beach and Breezy Point are the only spots that I am aware of where these birds breed within New York City. When skimmer chicks hatch their two mandibles are the same length. It's not until they fledge that the lower mandible is noticeably longer. I counted approximately 200 individuals on Saturday, but have recorded many more in the past. They seem to have a good relationship with Common Terns as the two species frequently roost together in large mixed flocks.

At Breezy, American Oystercatchers were seen in much lower abundance that along the wider beaches of Riis Park. We did spot three young oystercatchers cooling off in the shade of a trash can. Here's a short video: video

My favorite bird found along the coast is the Piping Plover. The precocious chicks are independent from the moment they hatch and are merely monitored by the adults as they forage near the water. They are listed as "Endangered" in New York State and "Threatened" federally. Heydi spotted and photographed this banded individual. Further research determined that it was banded in the Bahamas:

"In an effort to determine where Piping Plovers wintering in The Bahamas are staging during migration, and breeding, 57 birds were uniquely color-marked this winter in The Bahamas for Environment Canada by Sidney Maddock and Peter Doherty, with help from The Bahamas National Trust."

"Each bird has a black flag (band with a tab sticking out slightly) on the upper left leg, nothing on the upper right, a single color band on one lower leg, and two color bands (which can be the same color on top of each other) on the other lower leg. Colors used included: red, orange, yellow, white, light green, dark green, dark blue, and black."

"Carefully note the color and location of each band on the bird, location and behaviour of the bird (on nest or brood, foraging at migratory stop-over, etc.), and the sex of the bird if possible. For additional tips on resighting banded birds, go here."

"Please report all sightings to the following emails: Cheri Gratto-Trevor (cheri.gratto-trevor@ec.gc.ca) and piping.plover@usace.army.mil."

I'd been told by rangers and a couple of other people involved with the Piping Plover sites around NYC that this has been a very bad year for the birds. Their success rate has been very low due to predation by feral cats, raccoons and, surprisingly, Laughing Gulls. This cute individual was one of a trio spotted a short distance from the jetty at the end of Breezy Point.

I was convinced that, with such a large number of terns present, there just HAD to be something "different". It is about 4 1/2 miles from the Silver Gull Beach Club at the edge of Fort Tilden to the Breezy Point jetty and back. Over that distance I must have scanned several thousand seabirds, the vast majority of which were Common Gulls. It wasn't until I was nearly back to Fort Tilden that I finally located a different bird - a Roseate Tern. These small seabirds are listed as "Endangered" both in New York State and Federally. This individual is in non-breeding plumage. So I screwed up my identification. It was just a first year Common Tern.

Here are a few pics from Fort Tilden:
...Read more

Monday, June 28, 2010

Upcoming Trips

Below is a list of upcoming, local trips for the weekend of July 3 - 4, 2010:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, July 3, 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, July 4, 2010, 8 a.m.
Early Bird Walk: Taking Wing
Meet the amazing local birds raising families in Prospect Park on this expert-guided walk. Start your Sunday morning surrounded by nature!

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, July 3, 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.


Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, July 3, 2010

Van Cortlandt Bird Club: Silhouette Spotting
9:00 a.m.
With the sun from behind, just a bird’s outline gives clues to its identity. For...
Location: Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Ethnobotany
10:00 a.m.
Learn the differences between helpful and harmful plants. It just might save your...
Location: Forest Park Visitor Center (in Forest Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Ponderous Ponds
11:00 a.m.
Observe the diversity of pond life and find out how all living organisms depend on each other.
Location: Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Tree-mendous Hike
1:00 p.m.
Discover the green giants who live here.
Location: Kissena Playground (in Kissena Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Into the Depths
2:00 p.m.
Pull on some waders and use seining nets to find out who’s living below the surface...
Location: Orchard Beach Nature Center (in Orchard Beach), Bronx
Cost: Free

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Early Birding
10:00 a.m.
Join the Rangers as we go out in search of birds at Alley Pond Park.
Location: Alley Pond Park Adventure Center (in Alley Pond Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Canoe the Lullwater
11:00 a.m.
Enjoy a day of canoeing on the beautiful Lullwater to The Lake and back. Enjoy...
Location: Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free
...Read more

Friday, June 25, 2010

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, June 25, 2010:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jun. 25, 2010
* NYNY1006.25

- Birds mentioned

MISSISSIPPI KITE+ (Montgomery County, NY)
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Greater Scaup
Northern Gannet
CATTLE EGRET
Greater Yellowlegs
Red Knot
White-rumped Sandpiper
Dunlin
Short-billed Dowitcher
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL
GULL-BILLED TERN
Black Tern
Roseate Tern
Forster's Tern
Royal Tern
COMMON RAVEN
Blackpoll 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)
Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126 (Long Island)

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

Transcriber: Ben Cacace

BEGIN TAPE

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, June 25th 2010 at 7pm. The highlights of today's tape are LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, CATTLE EGRET, GULL-BILLED TERN, COMMON RAVEN and extralimital MISSISSIPPI KITE.

A surprisingly slow week, the past 7 days have been very unfruitful for those looking offshore for shearwaters and storm-petrels with little of interest seen on the ocean other than a steady stream of NORTHERN GANNETS. Hopefully conditions will change to produce the expected variety of pelagics.

A watch last Sunday at Robert Moses State Park off field 2 did uncover 3 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS sitting on the beach there.

At Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge last Sunday a CATTLE EGRET was seen flying over the West Pond around 9:30am perhaps a regular routine for a species possibly nesting in small numbers in egret colonies around Jamaica Bay. Also on Sunday 2 GULL-BILLED TERNS were seen around the south end of the West Pond and off Terrapin Trail. Ducks recently at the bay have featured some WOOD DUCKS and a few BLUE-WINGED TEAL and a lingering GREATER SCAUP and various herons remain in evidence there.

In Roslyn Tuesday 6 COMMON RAVENS were seen in a traditional sight around the tower by the Nassau County Art Museum. Several of the birds were immatures and it was felt that perhaps more than one family group was involved. The pair of ravens in Kew Gardens Queens has apparently successfully fledged their young.

A BLACKPOLL WARBLER, first noted singing in Bryant Park last Friday during a search for the Mourning Warbler, was still singing there on Monday. In addition a female was seen there on Saturday. [Transcribers note: the singing Blackpoll Warbler was heard there again this morning.]

Out east last Saturday an adult ROYAL TERN was at Pike's Beach in Westhampton Dunes and birds on the flats at adjacent Cupsogue County Park featured FORSTER'S TERN and 2 ROSEATE TERNS and among some lingering shorebirds about 10 RED KNOT and an interesting smallish DUNLIN in breeding plumage, one of 5 or so Dunlin present. On Thursday at Cupsogue 2 different ROYAL TERNS were present and today featured single ROYAL and BLACK TERNS, BLUE-WINGED TEAL and some southbound GREATER YELLOWLEGS and SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS along with 4 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS.

A pair of MISSISSIPPI KITES continues in the Town of Root, Montgomery County, where patience usually is rewarded with good views in the vicinity of Mapletown and Donato Roads intersection. Hopefully confirmation of nesting activity will be forthcoming.

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

Raptor Fledglings

Bobby Horvath, Animal Care & Control and the Park Rangers have been busy with all the fledgling raptors around the city. Here's a recent email from Bobby:

**********

From: Bobby
Date: June 22, 2010
Subject: Rescued Hawk?

The rescued hawk from 60th and 5th that was delivered to the Animal Medical Center was actually a male kestrel. I picked up 3 others from there Sunday including 2 from Grand Army Plaza not flighted enough yet and picked up by Park Rangers.

**********

Hopefully I'll be around when the young kestrels are released near Grand Army Plaza so I can take some photos of the event.

If you ever find a sick or injured hawk call the city's 311 line and they will contact the proper authorities. You can also contact Bobby or Cathy at Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation (WINORR).

In past posts I mentioned WINORR's ongoing need for support. Bobby and his volunteers are licensed wildlife rehabilitators, but receive no funds from the state, county, or federal governments. They rely completely on donations and grants. If you can help with the supplies for their day-to-day operations, here is a simple wish list:

paper towels
towels
baby blankets
bleach
baby wipes
cages (crates, bird cages, etc.)
animal carriers.

If you would like to donate any items, you can contact them at (516) 293-0587. If you’d like to make a monetary donation, checks can be made out to “Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation” and sent to:

WINORR, Inc.
202 N. Wyoming Avenue
North Massapequa, NY 11578

Friday's Foto

It's mulberry season and I love nothing more than staining my fingers purple while munching on these delicate morsels of concentrated sweetness. The bad news is that you won't find them in the produce section of the grocery store or the local green market. The good news is that you can find them for free in just about every city park and along the streets. "Wildman" Steve Brill has a good page on mulberries here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Flowers, Butterflies & Hawks

The sultry weather over the past weekend became a siren calling me to the beach, but I resisted ... for a little while, anyway.

I planned on visiting Green-Wood Cemetery early Saturday morning to look for butterflies. Last summer was the first time I explored the plantings around Green-Wood in search of pollinators. The best wildflower sections I've found (so far) are at the main entrance, the chapel, DeWitt Clinton's monument, the Soldiers Monument at Battle Hill, the catacombs and the butterfly garden near the Ft. Hamilton Parkway entrance. I'm sure there are other spots and I'll post them here as I find them. Of course, I also had to pay a visit to the fledgling red-tails near the Hill of Graves.

I met Heydi near the main entrance where we scanned an assortment of blooming yarrows, mints, fennel and other wildflowers. She has more experience identifying butterfly, not to mention, much better close vision, so I was very happy to have her along. There were lots of bees and other pollinators, but we were a little disappointed at the lack of butterflies in this apparent abundance of nectar. A low planting of flowers around the back of the administrative offices yielded our first butterfly of the morning - a Summer Azure.

We continued walking to the small garden in front of the chapel. Again, we encountered lots of bees and other insects, but virtually no butterflies. A single Cabbage White was flitting around, then we flushed a Clouded Sulfur, which cooperatively landed on the ground a few feet away from us. Circling the garden a few times, we kept hoping we'd spot at least one more butterfly. Eventually, an American Lady obliged and landed on an Upright Verbena stalk near the center of the plantings.

On the uphill walk to Battle Hill we spotted a few Eastern Tiger Swallowtails flying passed, but nothing else of note. Mints, spearmints, Goatsbeard, verbena and several other unidentified wildflowers ring the base of the Civil War Soldiers Monument. Coneflowers are coming up, but haven't yet bloomed, as are the sedums. Both will attract a nice mix of butterflies when they open. We noticed only one butterfly at this location - a very ragged Black Swallowtail. Another pollinator that caught my attention here was an orange and black beetle. There were actually a few of them foraging within the white flowers of a Goatsbeard shrub. I checked my field guides at home and learned that they were Pennsylvania Leatherwings (Chauliognathus pensylvanicus), also known as the Goldenrod Soldier Beetle.

The tiny, circular planting in front of the catacombs was fairly productive when I discovered it last year. It was later in the summer, however, so I wasn't sure what to expect in late-June. On Saturday there were lots of bees and a few wasps, but only a single butterfly. A Silver-spotted Skipper kept landing very briefly on the immature tops of the Purple Coneflowers, flying off, circling the area, then returning to the coneflowers. These wildflowers have barely begun blooming, so perhaps he thought if he left, they would be ready when he returned. It was sort of like the butterfly equivalent to the impatient "watched pot" adage. I also noticed several Pyralis Fireflies were resting on the undersides of the leaves of an adjacent cherry tree. It must have been much cooler there, because if I turned the leaves to face the sun, the fireflies would crawl to the shady side.

I was hopeful that the "Butterfly Garden" near the Fort Hamilton Parkway entrance to the cemetery would reveal more butterflies than we had been seeing. There are buddleia shrubs and butterfly weed at this location, which usually attract a nice selection of butterflies. Unfortunately, it was still a little early in the season and the buddleia was just beginning to show some flowers. The butterfly weed was also just starting to open. We circled the plantings once and did finally see a different species of butterfly. It was a tiny Tawny-edged Skipper. Some of the skippers are very difficult to identify due to their size and similarities, so I was thankful that Heydi was there to help me decode this brown and orange insect's subtle patterns.

It didn't take very long to find the juvenile Red-tailed Hawks. First we heard the alert calls of some Blue Jays and robins a short distance from where I found them last time. Then we noticed the whistling squeal of a hungry, begging hawk. One of the young hawks was perched within the dense cover of a cedar tree. I had to walk around the tree a couple of times before I found him on a low branch. The second one was somewhere close, but I was having trouble figuring out the direction of his intermittent high-pitched cries. We decided to walk back toward the large conifer that had been their preferred home base. Along the way I finally spotted the youngster perched right out in the open in a mature maple tree.

We had been standing in front of the tree for a few minutes taking photos when something nearby caught my eye. On the ground, at the base of the tree was his father, Junior. The adult Red-tailed Hawk was dining on a freshly killed squirrel, while his offspring patiently waited his turn. Well, maybe not so patiently, because he was squealing occasionally, to remind dad that he was also hungry. Heydi and I had actually walked right passed this spot not 10 minutes earlier and never noticed the large raptor standing in the grass. I guess he was eventually unnerved by the audience and took his meal across the road. Both young red-tailed squealed as they followed close behind him.

video

Here's a list of the butterflies seen in Green-Wood Cemetery last Saturday:

SWALLOWTAILS
Black Swallowtail
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

WHITES, SULPHURS
Cabbage White
Clouded Sulfur

GOSSAMER WINGS
Summer Azure

BRUSH-FOOTS
American Lady

SKIPPERS
Silver-spotted Skipper
Tawny-edged Skipper

Here's a slideshow of some of the weekend's flowers:

...Read more

Monday, June 21, 2010

Upcoming Trips

Below is a list of upcoming, local trips for the weekend of June 26th - 27th, 2010:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, June 26, 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, June 27, 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, June 26, 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
June 27, 2010 5:00PM -– 8:00PM
Jamaica Bay Sunset 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@nyc.rr.com


New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, June 26, 10am-1pm
The Parrots of Green-Wood Cemetery
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Meet at the cemetery entrance at 5th Ave and 25th St., Park Slope, Brooklyn.
While a cemetery might seem to be an odd place to go birding, Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery is a beautiful locale, rich in both history and wildlife. It is also the highest point in Brooklyn, affording marvelous views. We will explore its environs in search of Spring migrants and its most unique avian residents: the huge flocks of brilliant green Monk Parakeets that nest around its entrance. Native to South America, these charming immigrants are surprisingly hardy and flourish even in Brooklyn's harsh winters. Limited to 15.
Cost: Free


Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, June 26, 8:15 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.
Rose or Strawberry Full Moon: Sunset- Moonrise Walk at Mt Moses
Sunset is at 8:32 p.m. and Moonrise occurs at 8:27 p.m., five minutes before the sunset. It takes the moon another 20 minutes to rise above the High Rock Hill, so we should observe the moon rise at about 8:47 p.m., about 15 minutes after the sun sets. But if we have a beautiful, prolonged sunset, we won't mind the wait at all. Meet at 8:15 p.m. at the intersection of Rockland and Meisner Avenues. Flashlight is required for each person in your group. The walk is only 20 minutes each way. On our way up, observe the one thousand daffodils planted as bulbs in fall 2008 that bloomed April 2009 for the first time and last April for the second time in memory of those lost at 9/11 at the World Trade Center. Observe how each bulb planted is now beginning to multiply and where there was one in a few years each one will be as many as a dozen offspring. Children have always enjoyed Protectors Sunset/Moonrise walks and the refreshments people share with them up top of Mt Moses. Wear waterproof footgear for possibly muddy trail.
Registration is required. Phone Sandra Mechanic at (718) 967-1037.

Sunday, June 27, 11:00 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Mt. Loretto Rare Orchid Walk
Join Sandra Mechanic, naturalist and photographer, in a search for rare orchids at Mt. Loretto Unique Area. In July 2005, the Ragged - fringed Orchid was rediscovered during a Protectors’ hike. We will revisit to see if the orchids are blooming and propagating again this sixth year. We can also check the success of the DEPS’ native tree plantings near the bluff. Meet at the Mt. Loretto Unique Area in the fenced-in parking lot on Hylan Blvd. opposite the CYO Center. Bring cameras and a wildflower guide.
Registration is required. Phone Sandra Mechanic at (718) 967-1037.


Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, June 26, 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: Plumage
9:00 a.m.
Fearthers are an engineering feat that serve a multitude of purposes from temperature...
Location: Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Birding along the Hudson
1:00 p.m.
Riverdale Park has the perfect blend of waterfront and greenery, which looks appealing to a...
Location: 232 Street and Henry Hudson Service Road Southbound (in Riverdale Park), Bronx
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

Astronomy: Moon Lighting
8:00 p.m.
There is always something in the sky no matter what time of day. Come get a glimpse...
Location: Fort Totten Visitor's Center (in Fort Totten Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Sunday, June 27, 2010

In-Seining!
10:00 a.m.
Use a seining net to learn about the sea creatures of Gerritsen Creek. Please wear...
Location: Burnett Street and Avenue U (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Bug and Insect Hunt
11:00 a.m.
Ants, beetle, butterflies and more. Look under rocks, logs and trees to learn about...
Location: Fort Totten Visitor's Center (in Fort Totten Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Island Hopping
11:00 a.m.
Orchard Beach is surrounded by islands--some big, some small, and some only show at...
Location: Orchard Beach Nature Center (in Orchard Beach), Bronx
Cost: Free

Senses Alive
1:00 p.m.
There's more to perseption than eyesight--but how much of the other four senses do you...
Location: Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Beautiful Buzzing Bees
2:00 p.m.
Learn about the importance of bees in the natural environment and how they help humans.
Location: Blue Heron Nature Center (in Blue Heron Park Preserve), Staten Island
Cost: Free
...Read more

Saturday, June 19, 2010

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, June 18, 2010:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jun. 18, 2010
* NYNY1006.18

- Birds mentioned

MISSISSIPPI KITE+ (Montgomery County, NY)
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Snow Goose
Ring-necked Duck
Greater Scaup
Lesser Scaup
King Eider
Common Eider
Long-tailed Duck
Red-breasted Merganser
Common Loon
CORY'S SHEARWATER
MANX SHEARWATER
Wilson's Storm-Petrel
Northern Gannet
Bald Eagle
Black-bellied Plover
American Oystercatcher
Willet
Red Knot
Semipalmated Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Wilson's Phalarope
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL
GLAUCOUS GULL
Royal Tern
PARASITIC JAEGER
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Barred Owl
Acadian Flycatcher
Blue-headed Vireo
Common Raven
Cliff Swallow
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Hermit Thrush
Nashville Warbler
Northern Waterthrush
Mourning Warbler
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, June 18th 2010 at 9pm. The highlights of today's tape are MANX SHEARWATER, CORY'S SHEARWATER, PARASITIC JAEGER, GLAUCOUS GULL, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL and Summer count results.

Sea watching continues to produce some interesting birds numbers have not been high but should be on the increase for shearwaters and Wilson's Storm-petrels at least.

At Robert Moses State Park 17 WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS and a ROYAL TERN appeared Monday morning following 4 Wilson's off Tobay the day before. Two immature LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS have also been at Democrat Point on the western tip of Fire Island last Friday afternoon.

Moving east at Cupsogue County Park in West Hampton Dunes a PARASITIC JAEGER appeared offshore last Saturday followed by a MANX SHEARWATER on Sunday. The weekend produced 5 WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS there Saturday and 12 on Sunday. Twelve WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS were on the Cupsogue flats on Sunday while at adjacent Pike's Beach the gulls gathered there on Sunday featured an adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL along with 2 immatures. The Sunday morning watch off Amagansett produced 6 CORY'S SHEARWATERS along with 8 WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS, 4 COMMON LOONS, 53 NORTHERN GANNETS and another ROYAL TERN. That day a BALD EAGLE was also seen at Napeague. On Saturday another LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was at Montauk Harbor inlet and 9 WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS were feeding in Gardiner's Bay. Four WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS were also noted Monday by a passenger on the Orient to New London Ferry and on the previous Saturday an immature GLAUCOUS GULL was present around the Orient Ferry terminal.

Last Sunday a WILSON'S PHALAROPE was seen again at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge the bird feeding around matted algae on the East Pond just below the Raunt as viewed from the west side pond overlook at the end of the trail past Big John's Pond. The continuing presence of WILSON'S PHALAROPE at the bay raises interesting suspicions of possible nesting.

Although one might feel land bird migration is over this is a good time to find not only late migrants but also regional floaters and lost vagrants. Falling probably into the late migrant category this week were a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO at Riverside Park in northern Manhattan Tuesday and a female MOURNING WARBLER found Wednesday in Bryant Park in mid-Manhattan and still present there this morning.

The Greenwich-Stanford summer bird count encompassing much of eastern Westchester was held last weekend and recorded about 133 species though all results are not in. An interesting variety of waterfowl included 2 SNOW GEESE, RING-NECKED DUCK, drake GREATER SCAUP & LESSER SCAUP and a female COMMON EIDER the latter 3 all on Playland Lake in Rye. An immature male KING EIDER off Playland that stayed onto last Friday, LONG-TAILED DUCK and RED-BREASTED MERGANSER. Shorebirds featured BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, many AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS, 2 WILLETS, 18 RED KNOT during the count period and 1 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER and 4 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS. An immature GLAUCOUS GULL in Greenwich was new to the count. Fourteen BARRED OWLS were tallied. Featured land birds included ACADIAN FLYCATCHER, BLUE-HEADED VIREO, 4 COMMON RAVENS, some CLIFF SWALLOWS, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, BROWN CREEPERS, a HERMIT THRUSH at the Mianus River Gorge, a NASHVILLE WARBLER in Armonk, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH and BOBOLINK.

The MISSISSIPPI KITES continue to put in their regular appearances in the Town of Root, Montgomery County.

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

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday's Foto

Coreopsis or tickseeds are now blooming. This species of wildflower is a food source for a variety of caterpillars. I took this photo at the wildflower planting behind the Boathouse in Prospect Park.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

More Fledgling Hawks

Yesterday I met up with Marge at the end of the day and we took a drive over to Green-Wood Cemetery to see if Big Mama and Junior's two offspring had fledged.

We parked on Linden Avenue beneath the towering Little Leaf Linden tree that holds the red-tail nest. Over the last few days I've noticed that the air swirling around Prospect Park, Green-Wood Cemetery and the surrounding neighborhoods has been heavily perfumed with the honeyed scent of these huge trees. We did a quick scan of the nest, but the young red-tails were gone. I walked around to the south side of the tree to see if they had hopped out on the limbs adjacent to the nest. They weren't there either. Then we noticed the sounds of robins and jays calling from a spot just behind us, so we began scanning the trees as we walked towards the alarmed songbirds. Within a few yards we spotted one of the fledglings flying low across the field and out of view behind a ginkgo tree. I looked in the direction where he had flown from and found a second fledgling perched atop a large, sandstone monument. A minute later this small red-tailed took off flying east then perched in one of the numerous cedars that dot this area of the cemetery.

For the next several minutes we tracked the squealing calls of the two young hawks as they flew around within about a 100 yard radius of their nest tree. At one point, the smaller of the two flew into a large spruce tree next to the monument where he had started. Big Mama was perched higher up in the tree. A few minutes later, the second fledgling joined them. All we needed for the complete family portrait was for Junior to come by. We would learn later on, that he had been perched nearby all along.

One of the fledglings seems much smaller in comparison to his nest mate, so I'm guessing it is a male. When the second youngster flew into the tree, she perched next to Big Mama. She was nearly as large as her mother and, in all likelihood, a female.

There were three people nearby who looked to be doing some historical research. I think they were taking photos of Clarence MacKenzie's drummer boy monument, which is directly below the hawk nest. When they found out about the raptor family right under their noses, they dropped what they were doing to join Marge and I. The smaller of the fledglings was fairly low in the tree and, maybe I'm projecting, but he seemed curious about these five humans who were watching him.

Things got more interesting when Junior suddenly appeared out of nowhere. He flew over our heads, passing close to his family perched in the spruce, then continued through the trees and out of sight. What none of us noticed at the time, was that he dropped off some food for the youngsters ... literally. He didn't bother landing in the conifer and handing it off, but rather let go of it in front of the fledglings. The meat that dropped to the ground near the base of the tree appeared to be the hind section of a pigeon (drumsticks). The small red-tailed fledgling immediately flew to the ground in front of us to retrieve it. Here's a short video:

video

It took the inexperienced hawk a few minutes to figure out how to fly to a low perch with the food. His short flight across the road looked labored. Legs dangling, he struggled to keep a firm grip on his meal and stay aloft. A few Blue Jays noticed the predator and, despite a lot of squawking, the hawk seemed unperturbed and quickly gobbled down the meal.

Now the fun begins.
...Read more

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Red-tailed Update

I had an hour yesterday to do a quick survey of the Nelly's Lawn fledgling Red-tailed Hawks. Also wanted to see how the Ravine pair was doing

As I was crossing the Long Meadow I heard the familiar "keeerr" call of the adult Red-tails . It took only a second to find the source. Nelly and Max were circling high over the northern end of the meadow. Calls were followed by close, soaring contact with lowered legs. They looked like they were having fun and relaxing a bit, now that the kids have left the nest. I watched them for several minutes until the both went into a steep dive, heading directly towards Elizabeth's Tuliptree. Instead of their usual perch on the dead branch low in the tree, I found them perched high up, near the tree's apex.

Several yards below the adult pair and on the favorite perch, was one of the fledglings. The young bird looked very strange as it reclined in a horizontal position. Cooling off in the shady spot she rested her chin against the bare wood of the dead branch. This odd, reposed posture reminded me more of a nightjar than a raptor. Some Blue Jays were making a racket closer to the Vale of Cashmere so I went to investigate, assuming I'd find the other two fledglings.

It only took me a few seconds to find another one of the juvenile hawks. Unlike his sibling in the tuliptree, this individual was standing tall, despite periodic pelting to his back by a Blue Jay and a Baltimore Oriole. The young red-tail was also much more curious. Unaware of the watchful eyes of his parents, he moved from tree to tree in the area overshadowed by the hulking tuliptree. At one point, he returned to the tuliptree, seemingly to show off to his sibling, flapping his wings for a few seconds, then taking off to the smaller trees closer to the Vale. I searched for the third fledgling in the nest tree, in the trees along the rise at the Aralia Grove, even across the road near Sullivan Hill. I listened for his cries and the alert calls of other birds, but never located him. It is possible that he was just hidden from view in the dense foliage of Elizabeth's Tuliptree. I gave up and headed into the Ravine.

At the Ravine nest both juveniles were resting within the nest. It is unclear whether they had fledged and returned to the nest or not. At around 12:30pm "Ralph" flew into the nest with some food. The two youngsters began squealing and fighting over the delivery. The older sibling won out as they father made no attempt to feed the two.
...Read more

Monday, June 14, 2010

Upcoming Trips

Below is a list of upcoming, local trips for the weekend of June 19th - 20th, 2010:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, June 19, 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, June 20, 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, June 19, 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, June 19, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Forest Restoration at Egbertville Ravine
Meet at the side of Meisner Road (toward the Eger Nursing Home) close to the intersection of Meisner and Rockland. We will follow the White Trail south beyond Nevada Avenue and uproot or prune the invasive vines that strangle the trees and shade out our native plants. We will concentrate on the Oriental Bittersweet that has grown into the tops of the trees there. If you don't have your own, Protectors will supply gloves, loppers and pruners (& refreshments). After a two hour work session, we will take a short walk over nearby trails.
Call Don Recklies at (718) 768-9036 or Chuck Perry at (718) 667-1393 for more information.

Saturday, June 19, 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Blue Trail to Latourette Woods
Join naturalist Sandra Mechanic on a stroll through the Latourette Woods. Admire the famous Frank Lloyd Wright house along the way and see a pair of very tall 100 year old American Larch or Tamarack trees, a conifer with needles and cones but not evergreen since it annually sheds its needles. The trail passes through a large forest of mixed age Tuliptrees and numerous other tree species we can easily identify, as it winds down to Meisner Pond. Park and meet near the end of Old Mill Road, near St. Andrews Church, off Arthur Kill Road.
Registration is required. Phone Sandra Mechanic at (718) 967-1037.


Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, June 19, 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: The Flying Eyeball
9:00 a.m.
Birds' eyesight is many times keener than human. No wonder, their eyeballs take up…
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

Dragons and Damsels
11:00 a.m.
No, we are not talking about knights in shinning armor, but dragonflies and damselfies,…
Location: Crotona Nature Center (in Crotona Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Bug Watching
11:00 a.m.
You've heard of bird watching, but come try the unique art of bug watching!
Location: Picnic House (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Cass Gallagher Hike
12:00 p.m.
The cool hardwood forest in the northwest section of Van Cortlandt Park is a wonderful…
Location: Broadway and Mosholu avenues (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Forever Wild! Explore Twin Island
1:00 p.m.
Comb the beaches, scour the salt marshes, and hike the woodlands of these former Islands…
Location: Orchard Beach Nature Center (in Orchard Beach), Bronx
Cost: Free

Flowers in Bloom Series Park III: Secret Garden Tour
1:00 p.m.
Spend some moments among springtime's finest flowers on this stroll through Central Parks…
Location: Conservatory Garden (in Central Park), Manhattan
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

Family Camping
6:00 p.m.
Spend part of your weekend enjoying a night under the stars. The evening will be…
Location: Inwood Hill Nature Center (in Inwood Hill Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Birds and the Bees
10:00 a.m.
Learn about the intricate role that birds and bees play in flower pollination, seed…
Location: Albert H. Mauro Playground (in Flushing Meadows Corona Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Inwood Fledgling Watch
10:00 a.m.
Red-tailed Hawks are dedicated parents that protect and nurture their young. This…
Location: Inwood Hill Nature Center (in Inwood Hill Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

Seining the Shores
11:00 a.m.
There's more than one way to catch a fish! For this slightly diffrent take on…
Location: Orchard Beach Nature Center (in Orchard Beach), Bronx
Cost: Free

Canoe the Creek
11:00 a.m.
Enjoy a day out on the waters of beautiful Gerritsen Creek. Bring water and…
Location: Burnett Street and Avenue U (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Explore the Shore
1:00 p.m.
It's easy for New Yorker to forget just how close they live ot the seashore. Explore…
Location: Fort Totten Visitor's Center (in Fort Totten Park), Queens
Cost: Free
...Read more

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Horseshoe Crabs & Shorebirds

Over the past two Saturdays I've pedaled down to Plum Beach in search of Horseshoe Crabs and shorebirds.

The spawning season for Atlantic Horseshoe Crabs and northbound migrating shorebirds have been inextricably linked for tens of thousands of years. Most shorebird species are long distant migrants and horseshoe crab eggs are an important food source during stopovers when heading to their arctic breeding grounds. During the crab's spring breeding cycle large numbers of shorebirds and seabirds can be found feasting on the eggs along NYC beaches. Plum Beach is one of these locations. If you look closely in this photograph, you can see lines of pale green eggs running parallel to the high-tide mark. These are eggs that have been exposed by the tide, making them available to hungry birds.

Last Saturday I met Heydi there at 6am and it appeared that we timed our visit perfectly. Horseshoe Crabs were found all up and down the beach and shorebird numbers were very high compared to the day before. When I spoke with Shane he said he found only 50 Semipalmated Sandpipers on Friday. On Saturday I estimated there were around 1200 shorebirds. The flocks were primarily composed of Semipalmated Sandpipers, but our final morning list contained Black-bellied Plover, Semipalmated Plover, American Oystercatcher, Willet, Sanderling, Western Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, Dunlin and Short-billed Dowitcher. In addition, there were large numbers of Laughing Gulls feasting on the eggs. Least and Common Terns dove for fish just offshore. Here's a short video of one mixed flock of shorebirds on the low-tide mudflat.

video

Unfortunately, all is not rosy with this avian-"crab" relationship. Due to over harvesting and habitat destruction, horseshoe crab numbers have plummeted. PBS produced an excellent documentary about this issue which can be seen online here. In an effort to understand Horseshoe Crab movements the US Fish & Wildlife Service and US Geologic Survey have been tagging individuals from various locations. This past Saturday Heydi and I located one of the tagged crabs at Plum Beach. I submitted the tag and location data and will let you know when I find out where this individual was originally captured.

Plodding along on dry land, Horseshoe Crabs appear ungainly and clumsy. I frequently find them turned over on their backs where they struggle helplessly to right themselves. If left on their backs, they will eventually die. I'm not sure how they end up that way and if it is ignorant people who flip them over, but Heydi and I rescued a couple of dozen over two Saturdays. If you ever spot one on its back, just pick it up by the shell (http://www.horseshoecrab.org/act/flipem.html), carry it down to the water and place it right-side up. In contrast to this uncoordinated image, I watched a large number of them swimming on the incoming tide within Plum Beach's tidal marsh. The speed and agility of these living dinosaurs was remarkable:

video

Finally, here's a short slideshow of some images I shot at Plum Beach and Floyd Bennett Field:
...Read more

Friday, June 11, 2010

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, June 11, 2010:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* June 11, 2010
* NYNY1006.11

- Birds Mentioned:

MISSISSIPPI KITE+ (Montgomery County, NY)
ARCTIC TERN+
SANDWICH TERN+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

KING EIDER
Common Eider
CORY'S SHEARWATER
GREATER SHEARWATER
Sooty Shearwater
MANX SHEARWATER
Wilson's Storm-Petrel
Northern Gannet
White-rumped Sandpiper
Gull-billed Tern
Caspian Tern
Roseate Tern
Black Skimmer
Parasitic Jaeger
Chuck-will's-widow
Common Raven
Vesper Sparrow
Grasshopper 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 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

~ 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, June 11th, at 9:00 pm. The highlights of today's tape are MISSISSIPPI KITE, SANDWICH TERN, ARCTIC TERN, MANX SHEARWATER, GREATER SHEARWATER, CORY'S SHEARWATER, KING EIDER, and locally breeding birds.

Late last Sunday afternoon, an adult MISSISSIPPI KITE was seen moving west, over the end of Michigan Road at the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in northern Westchester County. Though sightings of this kite continue to increase in the northeast, we should be aware that other nesting sites than the few currently known could exist, and be on the lookout for supporting evidence. The adult MISSISSIPPI KITE has been seen a few times lately at year's site in Root, Montgomery County, and an immature was reported from central New York recently, so some are certainly moving around through the area.

A nice variety of terns occurred at Cupsogue County Park in West Hampton Dunes last weekend, the highlights being an adult SANDWICH TERN and two ARCTIC TERNS, one a First Summer 'portlandica' and the other a Second Summer, these on Sunday. On Saturday the flats north of the Cupsogue parking lot contained an adult CASPIAN TERN, plus three ROSEATE TERNS and six BLACK SKIMMERS. The reduced number of shorebirds in that area did include two WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS at nearby Pike's Beach on Sunday.

Sea watching from Cupsogue and at Shinnecock Inlet was also rewarding. Saturday afternoon at Shinnecock produced one MANX SHEARWATER, one or two GREATER SHEARWATERS, and two SOOTY SHEARWATERS and a WILSON'S STORM-PETREL. The constant flow of NORTHERN GANNETS all day Saturday was measured at about 150/hour, all moving west. On Sunday single GREATER and CORY'S SHEARWATERS were spotted off Cupsogue, with SOOTY SHEARWATER at Shinnecock.

The best times for sea watches along the coast seem to be early morning up to 9am and later afternoon, starting around 4pm. Many sites along the south shore of Long Island offer good vantage points for pelagics. Some of the more productive ones include Robert Moses parking field 2, Cupsogue County Park, Shinnecock Inlet, Amagansett, and Montauk Point. Robert Moses State Park did produce a PARASITIC JAEGER last Saturday morning and two or three CORY'S SHEARWATERS on Thursday. Five SOOTY SHEARWATERS were noted off Shinnecock Thursday. A couple of COMMON EIDER also continue at Shinnecock.

At Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Sunday two GULL-BILLED TERNS were seen at the south end of the West Pond, and another on the East Pond. Shorebirds gathered at high tide at the south end of the West Pond included eight or more WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS.

A CASPIAN TERN was reported from the Staten Island Ferry as it headed towards NYC last Saturday.

A fledgling COMMON RAVEN was noted Sunday in Roslyn, where ravens have been frequenting the tower by the Nassau County Art Museum for a while now. The Queens pair in Kew Gardens has also produced a couple of young.

With nesting season now in full swing, please remember that such rare and restricted breeders in our region as the BLUE GROSBEAKS in Calverton and Eastport, and VESPER SPARROWS, GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS, and CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOWS on eastern Long Island should be enjoyed, but not at all disturbed, as this is a very crucial time for them as well as for all locally breeding species.

An unexpected possible bonus for the Greenwich Stamford Summer Bird Count to be held this weekend, the count also including a good portion of eastern Westchester County, is a young male KING EIDER spotted Tuesday off Read Sanctuary in Playland Park in Rye, and present there daily since. The KING is usually near the off shore rocks which are submerged at high tide, or near the red and green buoys just south of there. And if that weren't enough, today a female COMMON EIDER was found on Playland Lake in the back of the lake with single drake Greater and Lesser Scaup.

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

Brooklyn Fledge

My first stop in Prospect Park on my Friday hawk fledgling inspection was in the Ravine.

I'm always amazed at how quickly Red-tailed Hawk nestlings grow. From the only opening in the canopy where I can still see that nest, it appeared that I was looking at one juvenile and one adult. Then the "adult" turned around and I realized it was the second juvenile.

I watched the Ravine nest for about an hour. The one seated in the nest barely moved the entire time. Eventually, the one I had mistaken for an adult ventured way out on a limb at the south side of the nest. Out of view, I decided to climb down the ridge and check from the opposite side of Rocky Pass. My annual viewing spot from that side is now completely grown over and blocked from view. I heard a lot of squealing from one of the young hawks, but couldn't be certain if it was coming from the nest tree or if it had flown and was somewhere nearby. I tried a few other vantage points, but had no luck and headed over to Nelly's Lawn to check the trio at that nest.

When I was approaching Nelly's Lawn I noticed a woman standing near the tuliptree at the northwest edge of the meadow. She was staring up at "Nelly" on her favorite perch in "Elizabeth's Tuliptree". Her name was Devi and she is one of the Riverside Park hawk-watchers. She decided to come to Prospect Park to check out the family at Nelly's Lawn. At first, we spoke very briefly and continued watching Nelly. It was only after I had been looking for a few moments that I noticed one of the juveniles on the branch to mom's right! One of the trio had fledged, making the approximately 100 yard flight across the field from the nest tree. The other two young hawks were still climbing around on the branches beneath their nest.

Here is the young fledgling excitedly flapping away from its landing strip in Elizabeth's Tuliptree ("Look what I can do!"):
video

We had walked back across the grass to a spot below the nest to watch the other two for a while. At around noon, the eyass that had fledged suddenly flew back across the lawn and into the nest tree. She looked strong and confident, as if she had done it a few times before. The three then seemed content to spend the rest of their time preening and resting. When we left at around 1pm, they were still in the nest tree. If the other two haven't already made some short flights, they no doubt will be flying tomorrow.

Also, Marge reported to me today that the Green-Wood Cemetery pair look ready to leave the nest. I hope to get over to the cemetery tomorrow afternoon.
...Read more

Friday's Foto

Native to New York State, the Eastern Box Turtle used to be a resident of Prospect Park's woodlands. Prior to my encounter with this individual last week, I hadn't encountered one in Brooklyn in nearly a dozen years. It's possible that this was just someone's released pet.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Upcoming Trips

Below is a list of upcoming, local trips for the weekend of June 12th - 13th, 2010:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, June 12, 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, June 13, 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, June 12, 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
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Central Park Nature Walk
Leader: Sarah Elliott
No Registration.
Meet at Boathouse at 9:30 a.m.


Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, June 12, 12 noon to 2 p.m.
Old Mill Road
Park at the end of Old Mill Road, behind the church. We'll stroll along the multi-use trail overlooking the marshes and return along the Blue Trail. 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, June 13, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Blooms and Boughs; Where the Butterfly Grows
Join Cliff Hagen as he identifies the many butterflies that inhabit Blue Heron Park through the summer. Blue Heron Park, her gardens, woodlands and wetlands, hosts dozens of species of skippers, brushfoots and anglewings. Migrating butterflies like the Red Admiral and American Lady mingle with local breeders like Tiger Swallowtails and Zabulons. To experience the fanfare meet in the Poillon Ave. parking lot of Blue Heron Park.
For directions or information contact Cliff Hagen at 718-313-8591.

Sunday, June 13, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Mt. Loretto and Beyond
This is a great new purchase by New York State DEC. Explore these beautiful woodlands’ extensive American Beech, Oak and Sweet Gum forest with naturalist and photographer Sandra Mechanic. Meet at the corner of Bartow and Richard Avenues off Hylan Blvd. across from Mt. Loretto Unique Area. Bring beverage, camera and binoculars. Ask a friend to come with you to explore more beautiful vistas within S.I.
Registration is required.
Phone Sandra Mechanic at (718) 967-1037.


Staten Island Museum
Sunday, June 13, 11:00am- 3:00pm
NatureFest 2010 - Great Kills Park
Celebrate the UN’s Year of BioDiversity with this FREE celebration of Staten Island’s natural history for nature lovers of all ages, sizes, and plumages. Activities and crafts on topics including recycling and composting, Fresh Kills Park, migratory birds, geology, Lenape Indians, dragonflies, pond life, reptiles, and guided nature walks!
For more information call Seth at (718) 483-7105

Sunday, June 13, 8:00-10:00am
Great Kills Salt Flats
Meet in Parking Lot A along Buffalo St.
Weekend Ecology Walks offered by the Nature Section
FREE monthly walks! Enjoy the beauty & ecology of Staten Island. Wear comfortable shoes, and bring binoculars if possible.
To register and confirm meeting places call Seth Wollney at (718) 483-7105


Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, June 12, 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: Camouflage
9:00 a.m.
Camo, or cryptic coloration as it's called in ornithology, makes it harder for predator or...
Location: Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Ancient Remedies
11:00 a.m.
Through the time many different cultures have relied on herbal medicine. Learn about...
Location: Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Marsh Ecology
11:00 a.m.
Walk through the Salt Marsh to learn about our special salt marsh grasses.
Location: Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Birding for KidsTree's Company
1:00 p.m.
Investigate the importance of trees in our neighborhood. Learn about the different...
Location: Crotona Nature Center (in Crotona Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Incredible Insects
2:00 p.m.
What vital role do insect play in the natural world? Hike with us through the woods...
Location: Blue Heron Nature Center (in Blue Heron Park Preserve), Staten Island
Cost: Free

Prehistoric Romance
8:00 p.m.
Join the Urban Park Rangers and the National Park Rangers as we observe...
Location: Plumb Beach Comfort Station, Manhattan
Cost: Free

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Where the Wild Things Are
11:00 a.m.
Learn what creatures live in our very own backyard.
Location: Fort Greene Park Visitor Center (in Fort Greene Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free
...Read more

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