Monday, February 28, 2011

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips within NYC's five boroughs for the weekend of March 5th - 6th, 2011:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Introduction to Birdwatching
Every Saturday, 12 - 1:30 p.m.
Explore the Park's natural and learn how to look for amazing birds.

Sunday, March 6, 2011
Morning Bird Walk: Gulls Galore
Sunday, March 6, 10 a.m.
Meet the amazing birds of Prospect Park on this expert-guided walk. Start your Sunday morning surrounded by nature!


New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, March 5, 2011
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, March 5th, 2011
Prospect Park
Meet 8 am at Grand Army Plaza entrance (Stranahan Statue)
Focus: late winter species, sparrows, raptors, ducks, returning migrants
Trip Leader: Eddie Davis


Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Brooklyn/Queens Gull Workshop [New]
Leader: Shane Blodgett
Registrar: Lenore Swenson (212-533-9567)
Registration opens Monday 2/21. Ride: $15.


New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, March 5, 2011, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Park
Guide: Andrew Baksh or Urban Park Rangers. With the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, and Urban Park Rangers. Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 718-548-0912. No registration necessary. No limit. Free.


Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, March 5, 12 noon to 2:00 p.m.
Page Avenue Beach and Woods
After an examination of the beach geology and the flotsam and jetsam accumulated at the high tide line we will move inland to explore the woodlands above the beach. Besides the wildlife we’ll be looking for old foundations and evidence of human occupation from the past few centuries. Dress sturdily including water-proof footwear and warm clothes.
For more information call Clay Wollney at (718) 869-6327


Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, March 5, 2011

Van Cortlandt Birding Walks: Eagle Eyes
8:00 a.m.
Human eyesight pales in comparison to that of birds. Before we go for our walk, we'll...
Location: Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Early Birding at Marine Park
8:00 a.m.
Join the Urban Park Rangers for early morning birding at Marine Park.
Location: Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Geology of Manhattan
12:00 p.m.
Inwood Hill Park is a fantastic location to study the geology and natural history of...
Location: Inwood Hill Nature Center (in Inwood Hill Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

Orienteering at Forest Park
12:00 p.m.
Learn navigation with a map and compass. You'll never get lost in the woods!...
Location: Forest Park Visitor Center (in Forest Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Animal Tracking
10:00 a.m.
Animals leave behind different signs of their whereabouts, from scats to tracks. ...
Location: Albert H. Mauro Playground (in Flushing Meadows Corona Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Marine Mammal Watch
11:00 a.m.
The beach may be empty of all its human swimmers, but don't forget about the seals, whales,...
Location: Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk, Brooklyn
Cost: Free
...Read more

Sunday, February 27, 2011

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, February 25, 2011:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* February 25, 2011
* NYNY1102.25

- Birds Mentioned:
BARNACLE GOOSE+
VARIED THRUSH+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

ROSS'S GOOSE
Cackling Goose
King Eider
BARROW'S GOLDENEYE
Rough-legged Hawk
Red Knot
Purple Sandpiper
American Woodcock
BLACK-HEADED GULL
ICELAND GULL
Lesser Black-backed Gull
GLAUCOUS GULL
Razorbill
NORTHERN SHRIKE
Common Raven
COMMON REDPOLL

- Not Reported This Week:
WESTERN TANAGER+


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
Tony Lauro (631) 734-4126

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

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, February 25th, at 7:00pm. The highlights of today's tape are VARIED THRUSH, ROSS'S GOOSE, BARNACLE GOOSE, BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, BLACK-HEADED GULL, GLAUCOUS GULL, ICELAND GULL, NORTHERN SHRIKE, and a REDPOLL influx.

The drake BARROW'S GOLDENEYE has returned to Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. With the West Pond thawing out, the Barrow's appeared Wednesday on the pond, and on Thursday was spotted out in the bay, west of the West Pond. Its pattern the past couple of years has been to roost on the West Pond and feed in the bay, in the company of Common Goldeneye. An AMERICAN WOODCOCK displaying at Jamaica Bay Refuge Thursday indicates that they should be present now in most suitable locations.

The Central Park VARIED THRUSH continues to move about, but the best shot at finding it continues to be on the slope east of the Ramble shed on the south side of the 79th Street Transverse.

A late winter influx of COMMON REDPOLLS has been occurring lately -- a flashback to years when a second push of winter finches late in the season into our area was a more regular phenomenon. Redpolls have been found in good numbers all along the south shore of Long Island since last Sunday, and in lesser numbers inland. Some larger counts have included about 120 at Hither Hills State Park and others in the Montauk area Sunday, and on Wednesday about 20 at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, 130 at Robert Moses State Park, and 340 at Jones Beach West End, with about 100 Thursday afternoon at Smith Point County Park in Shirley. They've also been seen at numerous other locations.

A couple of RAZORBILLS were noted off Fort Tilden Wednesday, when at least two RED KNOT were roosting with Black-bellied Plovers at the Roosevelt Nature Center at Jones Beach West End.

The BARNACLE GOOSE was seen again Tuesday on the Glen Cove Golf Course off Lattingtown Road, and COMMON RAVENS are back around their nesting site in Roslyn.

Continuing east, on Sunday a GLAUCOUS GULL was on the McDonald's Pond [aka Orowoc Lake in Islip] on the north side of Route 27A, just east of Bay Shore. A couple of ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS continue at the former Grumman Airport grasslands in Calverton, and an ICELAND GULL appeared yesterday at Iron Pier in Northville.

The drake BARROW'S GOLDENEYE was still on Noyack Bay on Sunday. Look for it in the southwestern corner of the bay. A good vantage point is the Long Beach parking area that is adjacent to Long Beach Road, Route 60, just east of Noyack.

An adult BLACK-HEADED GULL was spotted with a few Bonapartes last Saturday afternoon off Main Beach in East Hampton, and on Sunday an immature BLACK-HEADED was with a larger number of Bonapartes off Hither Hills State Park in Montauk.

The ROSS'S GOOSE was spotted again Saturday in the field west of Scuttle Hole Road north of Water Mill. The goose was seen in a Canada flock off Cook's Lane, but disappeared in a dip in the rolling fields and could require patience to find.

A CACKLING GOOSE was still in East Hampton, and a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was on Sag Pond in Bridgehampton Saturday, with another LESSER BLACK-BACKED continuing at Lazy Point in Napeague.

Last Friday the Napeague NORTHERN SHRIKE put in another appearance, this along Route 27 near the Clam Shack east of Napeague Meadow Road.

26 PURPLE SANDPIPERS were still off Ditch Plains Sunday, and an ICELAND GULL continues along the beach west of the Montauk Harbor Inlet.

Off the Camp Hero Overlook at Montauk Point Sunday, the number of KING EIDER had grown to eight, with two immature males and six females.

We have no recent word on the male WESTERN TANAGER at Montauk, which could be looked for at the house on the right at the intersection of Big Reed Path and Deer Way, north of Route 27. Please stay on the roadways there.

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

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

[~END TAPE~]

~ End Transcript ~
...Read more

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday's Foto

Unlike most birds, Great Horned Owls begin nesting during the winter. Our Brooklyn pair are now incubating eggs. This is their third try in as many years. The last two attempts ended in failure. Hopefully, three times a charm.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rare Brooklyn Bird

Last Saturday the city was buffeted by brutal north-west winds. Meteorologists reported 50mph gusts. I foolishly decided to bird along the coast. At times I felt like if I jumped up in the air the wind would carry me away. On Sunday I stayed away from the coast and looked for birds in Prospect Park. The decision paid off as Heydi and I found a rare winter visitor.

On Friday afternoon there had been a pair of male Ring-necked Ducks at the tiny opening in the ice on Prospect Lake, so Heydi and I met there at around 9am. A scan of the rush hour-like crush of waterfowl revealed only the expected species; Canada Goose, Mute Swan, American Black Duck, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Ruddy Duck and American Coot. No Ring-necked Duck. Disappointed, we stood at the edge of the lake contemplating the next location. Then we heard an uncommon flight call of a bird passing overhead. My first thought was that it sounded like an American Pipit, but more trilly and chattery. After a moment, it dawned on me - it was the chittering flight call of a Common Redpoll. Heydi played the sounds off of her iPhone to confirm and it clearly was a redpoll. We really would have liked to have seen the bird, so decided to walk around the park checking likely locations to see if there were any more of these tiny finches with the red cap. Perhaps the previous day's powerful north-west winds had carried some flocks into the five boroughs.

The Common Redpoll is an irruptive species usually only found in the far northern parts of the state. The last time I saw one in Prospect Park was on December 6, 2007. That was the same winter that a juvenile Northern Goshawk was hanging around the park.

Sweetgums and River Birches are good spots to look for these birds. An acrobatic species, they can be found hanging upside down extracting seeds from sweetgum balls or the small cones on the birches. We scanned these trees as we walked along Wellhouse Drive towards the bird feeders on Breeze Hill.

The bird feeders were busy, but only with the expected winter visitors and resident birds; Downy Woodpecker, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Finch, Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch and House Sparrow. After about 30 minutes I suggested that we continue our search along the Lullwater. There is a path on the opposite side of the road from the feeders that descends the ridge towards the skating rink then meanders along the edge of the slow moving Lullwater. This winter someone has been putting mixed bird seed along this pathway, which has attracted a nice mix of species.

There were several small flocks of birds feeding along the walkway and we had only gone a few yards when Heydi exclaimed, "There's a redpoll on the ground in front of us!" Sure enough, feeding at one of the little piles of seeds along with Black-capped Chickadee, White-throated Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, House Finch, American Goldfinch and House Sparrow was a single Common Redpoll. I texted Peter, to get the word out, then called Doug, Shane and Rob. Rob lives close to that end of the park and arrived with his wife, Tracy, very quickly. Doug texted me a little bit later to let me know that there was also a redpoll on the bird feeder at his parent's house. They live about 1 mile directly south of the lake in Prospect Park. I wondered out loud if that could have been the bird we heard flying out of the park at 9am.

Throughout the week others began reporting Common Redpoll sightings at Montgomery, New Rochelle, Westchester; on Long Island at Jones Beach, Teddy Roosevelt Nature Center, Hither Hills SP and Montauk; in Brooklyn at Floyd Bennett Field and Plum Beach and at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens. So I guess it has become an irruptive year.

After we looped through the Lullwater, we ran into photographer Peter Boc at the feeders. I told him about the redpoll and he captured some great photos of this tiny bird.


I'm assuming that Merlins are particularly fond of redpolls because we had another interesting sighting in Prospect Park on Sunday. As we were walking across the Nethermead Meadow towards Center Drive I mentioned the "Merlin" perch near the end of the Fallkill Falls path to Heydi. As I've pointed out in past postings, a maple tree at this location is a favorite perch for overwintering Merlins. On Sunday there were actually three of these small falcons perched at that spot, and surprisingly close to each other. I suppose when there is a glut of prey available that these normally aggressive raptors are more tolerant of each other. ...Read more

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Brooklyn Winter Blooms

A modest thaw late last week gave me the opportunity to search for some early blooming plants around Brooklyn over the weekend.

I spent a couple of hours at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden where I found a couple of the expected species flowering.

Much of the snow cover has melted and I found several hellebore emerging from the now soft ground at the Rock Garden. These early blooming flowers are members of the family ranunculaceae (buttercups).


Nearby was a border of brilliant yellow blooming Witch-hazel. They are one of my favorite cold weather flowering shrubs.

The Midwood forest of Prospect Park is usually the best place to look for Snowdrops, but I found a nice section of these white flowers on the hillside above Nelly's Lawn. I was actually looking for some Siberian Squill, another early bloomer, which can usually be found in that area in late-February.

I was surprised to find these early crocuses emerging among the Snowdrops. It seems a little premature for these Spring wildflowers and I wonder if they will survive the next snowfall.

Another member of the buttercup family, these Winter Aconites are pushing up on a steep, wooded hillside in the Ravine. I've never seen them in other parts of Prospect Park.
...Read more

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Treehugger Tuesday

International World Water Day 2011 is March 22nd. The event "is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources." One small act we in the developed world can do to help combat dwindling resources and mounting waste is to skip our bottled water habit for a day, week or forever:



Check out The Water Project's website for more information.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips within NYC's five boroughs for the weekend of February 26th - 27th, 2011:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, February 26, 2011

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 Tour
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, February 26, 2011
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
Sunday, February 27th, 2011
Winter Pines of our Local Area
A tour of Prospect Park, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Greenwood Cemetery and Floyd Bennett Field (if time permits.)
Trip Leader: Peter Dorosh
Focus: Winter species usually seen near or within pine habitats.
Car Fee: $10.00
Registrar: Peter Dorosh, Email Prosbird [AT] aol.com or TEXT Message 347-622-3559
Registration period: Feb 15th- Feb 24th


New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, February 26, 2011, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks
Guide: Andrew Baksh or Urban Park Rangers. With the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, and Urban Park Rangers. Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 718-548-0912. No registration necessary. No limit. Free.

Saturday, February 26, 2011, 11am-1pm
Winter Seals and Waterbirds of NY Harbor
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Meet at South Street Seaport’s Pier 17 and come aboard NY Water Taxi’s eco-friendly vessel for a winter adventure in New York Harbor! Look for harbor seals on the rocky shores of Governor’s Island and the more remote Hoffman and Swinburne Islands. Learn about the surprisingly diverse winter birds of New York City, including ducks, geese, loons, and sandpipers, many of which migrate south from the Arctic. See the Statue of Liberty and pass under the Verrazano Bridge. Dress warmly and bring your binoculars. Limited to 90. $35 for adults; $25 for children under 12 (no member discount).
To register, contact New York Water Taxi at 212-742-1969 or click here to register online.


Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, February 26, 2011, 12 noon to 2:00 p.m.
Reed’s Basket Willow
Discover this hidden natural park in Dongan Hills. We’ll visit the three bodies of water in the park and hike through the woodlands. Although none of the willows grown by the Reed family still exist, the woodlands and stream are still home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Meet at the Spring Street entrance in Dongan Hills.
For more information call Clay Wollney at 718-869-6327.

Sunday, February 27, 2011, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Winter Birding at Mount Loretto
Search the Raritan Bay from atop the bluffs and along the beach for wintering waterfowl and shorebirds. Grebes, loons, ducks and geese call the icy waters off Staten Island their southern home for the winter. The birds from northern fields also fly south to Staten Island to spend a chilly winter in the fields of Mount Loretto. Search the grassland for sparrows and hawks. Meet in the parking lot on Hylan Blvd. across from the CYO facility on the grounds of Mount Loretto.
For more information call Howie Fischer at (718) 981-4002.


Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, February 26, 2011

Van Cortlandt Birding Walks: Bugs Under Bark
8:00 a.m.
As the winter days set in, the search for protein gets harder for birds. If you would like...
Location: Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Early Birding at Marine Park
8:00 a.m.
Join the Urban Park Rangers for early morning birding at Marine Park.
Location: Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Evolution of the Field Guide
12:00 p.m.
Take a tour through time as we take a look at how field guides have changed over the...
Location: Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

The Four Elements of Survival: Part IV
1:00 p.m.
In this four part series, you'll learn about the four basic elements of wilderness...
Location: Forest Park Visitor Center (in Forest Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Tree-mendous Trees
2:00 p.m.
Some trees are small; some are tall. Learn how to identify them and see the largest tulip...
Location: Martling Pond (in Clove Lakes Park), Staten Island
Cost: Free

Owl Watch
4:00 p.m.
Winter is a great time of year to observe and enjoy raptors in NYC. Bring your own...
Location: Belvedere Castle (in Central Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

What's in the Park After Dark?
6:00 p.m.
Have you ever wondered what wildlife comes out to play when the people are away? Take a...
Location: Fort Totten Front Gate (in Fort Totten Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Duck, Duck, Goose
11:00 a.m.
As the weather gets cold, the birding gets hot. Let's see which birds think NYC in...
Location: Parking lot on Baisley Boulevard and 155 Street (in Baisley Pond Park), Queens
Cost: Free
...Read more

Saturday, February 19, 2011

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, February 18, 2011:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Feb. 18, 2011
* NYNY1102.18

- Birds mentioned

BARNACLE GOOSE+
VARIED THRUSH+
WESTERN TANAGER+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
Ross's Goose
TUNDRA SWAN
King Eider
Harlequin Duck
BARROW'S GOLDENEYE
Red-necked Grebe
Northern Gannet
Osprey
Bald Eagle
Rough-legged Hawk
Purple Sandpiper
American Woodcock
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Glaucous Gull
Razorbill
Short-eared Owl
Red-headed Woodpecker
NORTHERN SHRIKE
Common Raven
Eastern Bluebird
Orange-crowned Warbler
Common Redpoll

- Transcript

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

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to nysarc3 AT nybirds.org.
If electronic submission is not possible, hardcopy reports and photos or sketches are welcome. Hardcopy documentation should be mailed to:

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

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

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

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

Transcriber: Ben Cacace

BEGIN TAPE

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, February 18th 2011 at 7pm. The highlights of today's tape are WESTERN TANAGER, VARIED THRUSH, BARNACLE GOOSE, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, TUNDRA SWAN, BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, NORTHERN SHRIKE and more.

Last Sunday's pelagic trip canceled due to sea conditions many birders instead visited the Montauk area where the most unexpected find was a ROSS'S GOOSE found along Scuttlehole Road between Watermill and Bridgehampton. The Ross's was with Canada Geese in a field on the west side of Scuttlehole Road a short distance south of frozen Short's Pond. It was also there Monday.

The WESTERN TANAGER was still present yesterday in Montauk. To reach this site from Montauk Highway Route 27 east of the town of Montauk take East Lake Drive north to Big Reed Path take Big Reed Path to its end at a "T" intersection with a very short road called Deer Way and park along the roadway. Look especially at the feeders on the back side of the house on the right side of the "T" intersection. This requires looking over a shrubby area along the roadside and a telescope is helpful.

At Montauk Point 4 KING EIDER, an immature male and 3 females, continue to be seen off the Camp Hero Overlook and another female appeared off the restaurant Sunday. Several dozen RAZORBILLS were cruising about among the very numerous scoters and Common Eider but few NORTHERN GANNETS were present. An Montauk Harbor Inlet 2 immature ICELAND GULLS continue along the beach in Small Rocky Point to the west of the west jetty. About 30 PURPLE SANDPIPERS were on rocks off Ditch Plains and at the end of Lazy Point Road in Napeague, where an adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL continues, a RED-NECKED GREBE was lounging off the boat ramp Sunday.

A TUNDRA SWAN was first spotted Sunday on Sagg Pond in Bridgehampton where an adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was present. But the swan flew west to a corn field used by Canada Geese along Horse Mill Lane on the north side of Mecox Bay. An adult ICELAND GULL was also there and the TUNDRA SWAN was seen back on Sagg Pond again on Wednesday.

On Sunday and Monday the drake BARROW'S GOLDENEYE was back on unfrozen Noyak Bay just east of Noyak. The Barrow's is usually with Common Goldeneye in the southwest corner of the bay and this area well viewed from the west end of the Long Beach parking lot that parallels Long Beach Road Route 60.

Single immature GLAUCOUS GULL and ICELAND GULLS were on Lake Agawam in Southampton today and a small number of SHORT-EARED OWLS have been along Dune Road west of Shinnecock Inlet lately.

In Central Park the VARIED THRUSH was still present today but is moving about a bit. The most reliable spot still seems to be in the maintenance area just south of the 79th Street park transverse where it is often foraging on the ground on the east side of the Rambles shed building. The immature RED-HEADED WOODPECKER also continues to the south of the Sheep Meadow but may be visiting trees on either the north or south side of the 66th Street transverse.

A BARNACLE GOOSE was present Tuesday and Thursday with Canada Geese on Glen Cove Golf Course off Lattingtown Road.

Four GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, probably roosting overnight on Belmont Lake State Park, were seen last Monday in Farmingdale at St. Charles Cemetery just west of Wellwood Avenue and the day before at nearby Pine Lawn Cemetery a little north of St. Charles.

A NORTHERN SHRIKE was spotted Thursday in northern Nassau County at the Christy Estate South on the south side of Muttontown Road. The address for this park is 1864 Muttontown Road in Syosset.

At Jones Beach West End Thursday and today about 50 COMMON REDPOLL were feeding near the end of the trail to the dunes at the southwestern corner of parking lot 2. Also Thursday 9 RAZORBILLS were seen moving by off the jetty and across Jones Inlet at Point Lookout where an immature ICELAND GULL, an adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL and 5 HARLEQUIN DUCKS [were].

The ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was seen again last Sunday at the Roosevelt Nature Center.

At the Grumman grasslands in Calverton birds during the past week have included ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, BALD EAGLE, COMMON RAVEN and EASTERN BLUEBIRD.

An ICELAND GULL was at Iron Pier in Northville Wednesday.

An AMERICAN WOODCOCK was at Rockefeller Center Manhattan Wednesday evening and an OSPREY was back in Cutchogue last Saturday.

For information on the rescheduled pelagic trip from Freeport now on March 27th visit the Sea Life Paulagics website: http://paulagics.com

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, February 18, 2011

Friday's Foto

The year round range of the Red-shouldered Hawk is primarily south of New York State. Their breeding range includes New York and these birds are being seen overwintering around NYC with increasing frequency. This juvenile bird is one of at least 3 individuals that has been spotted around Brooklyn this winter.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

New Shirt Designs

I've just added three new designs to my CafePress store. You can see them in "My Products" tab here or go directly to my CafePress store here. They are simple "brooklyn" logos with a Red-tailed Hawk, Peregrine Falcon or American Kestrel illustration. Let me know if you'd like to see them added to specific products.

Click image to view detail:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Brooklyn Hawk Release

Late yesterday afternoon Marge and I met wildlife rehabilitators Bobby and Cathy Horvath at Green-Wood Cemetery. They had just come from Manhattan where they released two mended Red-tailed Hawks. In the back of their car they had two more patients who were ready to be discharged. In fact, the two raptors seemed more than ready. They were restless to the point of hostility towards their temporary keepers.

With winds gusting to 40mph yesterday, I decided that the natural windbreak behind the "Hill of Graves" would be a good release site. Bobby had a small male juvenile Red-tailed Hawk, as well as, a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk for release. For reasons that are unclear, the vast majority of the raptors he and Cathy receive over the winter are young males. Cathy theorizes that "boys" tend to get into more trouble without the oversight of their mothers. It sounds feasible (and funny), but there could also be a simpler explanation - there is a higher percentage of male hawks being hatched.

Marge has never had the honor of releasing a rehabbed hawk. When Bobby removed the young red-tailed from the carrier and asked who wanted to take it, I suggested Marge. Some people get a little nervous once they see the raptor's talons closeup. Not Marge. Maybe it is her tough Brooklyn upbringing, but she acted more like someone was handing her a puppy, not an agitated predator with razor-sharp claws. Here is the video of her releasing her first Red-tailed Hawk:



The hawk headed towards a cedar tree and perched near the top. Within minutes Big Mama appeared and flew to a branch at the opposite side of the tree. The young bird took off with the huge, resident Red-tailed Hawk in hot pursuit. We spotted her mate, Junior, a short distance to the north. Their aggression towards the juvenile interloper in their territory seemed strictly symbolic as they never actually engaged in any physical attacks. After a few minutes they left the young red-tailed alone and flew off to the west.

The juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk seemed surprisingly small and delicate. Its bill and feet were noticeably smaller than that of a comparably sized Red-tailed Hawk. In fact, Bobby wasn't able to band this hawk because he didn't have a small enough ring. Injured somewhere in Coney Island, the hawk was picked up by a Russian gentleman. He had kept it locked in his bathroom for two days before a friend convinced him that keeping a wild hawk was not a smart decision. When Bobby received him, he was undernourished and showed signs of head trauma.

Bobby's friend, Peter, would be releasing the red-shouldered and was warned that the angry hawk was a "biter". By the looks of all the fresh wounds on Bobby's hands, he had found out the hard way. Despite his words of caution, Peter decided to hold onto the hawk sans gloves. To make Bobby even more nervous, he feigned kissing the hawk on the bill. Notice at around the 15 second mark in the following video how the hawk jerks forward as if he were trying to bite Peter's hand:



The Red-shouldered Hawk flew up over Ocean Hill where Peter watched him soaring in wide circles as he headed south, towards Coney Island. I just hope he stays safe and far away from Russians with dubious motives.
...Read more

Treehugger Tuesday

Beginning this week, I will be posting a single, weekly conservation/environmental news story. This week's posting concerns New York City's increased use of solar generated energy.

The following story was posted on CBS Interactive's "SmartPlanet" website:

New York City’s solar power generation doubled in 2010
By David Worthington, Feb 11, 2011

Solar power is beginning to take a bite out of the Big Apple’s energy demands. Installations of photovoltaics have more than doubled over the past year, says New York utility Con Edison.

ConEd customers in New York City and Westchester County, an affluent northern suburb of Manhattan, added 4.5 megawatts of renewable energy to the grid in 2010. 203 solar projects were added to the grid in 2010, up from 134 the previous year.

There is now a total of 8.5 megawatts of photovoltaic-generated electricity on ConEd’s system. The utility is partnering with the City University of New York (CUNY) on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar America City program, which was initiated in 2007 to advance the adoption of solar technologies.

Read the entire article here.
...Read more

Monday, February 14, 2011

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips within NYC's five boroughs for the weekend of February 19th - 20th, 2011:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, February 19, 2011

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 Tour
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, February 19, 2011
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center


New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, February 19, 2011, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks
Guide: Andrew Baksh or Urban Park Rangers. With the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, and Urban Park Rangers. Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 718-548-0912. No registration necessary. No limit. Free.


Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, February 19, 2011, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Hourglass Pond at High Rock
Meet in the Nevada Avenue parking lot at High Rock. If you come late, follow the Yellow Trail north (past Loosestrife Swamp away from the Nevada Entrance) to Hourglass Pond where we will be removing invasive trees and vines. If you don't have your own, Protectors will supply gloves and pruners (& refreshments). After a two hour work session (our 176th consecutive monthly workshop), we will take a short walk over nearby trails.
For more information call Don Recklies at (718) 768-9036 or Chuck Perry at (718) 667-1393.


Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, February 19, 2011

Van Cortlandt Birding Walks: "Peter-Peter"
8:00 a.m.
If you imitate this call of the tufted titmouse, he may think you're a rival in his...
Location: Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Early Birding at Marine Park
8:00 a.m.
Join the Urban Park Rangers for early morning birding at Marine Park.
Location: Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Winter Waterfowl
10:00 a.m.
Observe the hardy birds that spend their winter in Brooklyn.
Location: Wollman Rink and Flower Garden (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Winter Wildlife Walk
11:00 a.m.
Search for the diverse creatures that winter in the park on a brisk walk through the forest.
Location: Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

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

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Eagle Watch
8:00 a.m.
Majestic eagles soar above the tree tops and search for fish in the Hudson River. Bring...
Location: Inwood Hill Nature Center (in Inwood Hill Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

Early Birding at Forest Park
8:00 a.m.
Join the Urban Park Rangers for early morning birding at Forest Park.
Location: Forest Park Visitor Center (in Forest Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Making Tracks
11:00 a.m.
Learn how to identify and locate animal tracks found in and around woodland areas....
Location: Fort Totten Visitor's Center (in Fort Totten Park), Queens
Cost: Free
...Read more

Saturday, February 12, 2011

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, February 11, 2011:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Feb. 11, 2011
* NYNY1102.11

- Birds mentioned

VARIED THRUSH+
WESTERN TANAGER+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
CACKLING GOOSE
Ring-necked Duck
KING EIDER
Pied-billed Grebe
Wilson's Snipe
ICELAND GULL
GLAUCOUS GULL
Razorbill
Short-eared Owl
Common Raven
Orange-crowned Warbler
Saltmarsh Sparrow
Seaside Sparrow

Not reported this week:
- Snowy Owl
- Northern Shrike

- 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@nybirds.org.

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

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

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

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

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

Transcriber: Ben Cacace

BEGIN TAPE

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, February 11th 2011 at 8pm. The highlights of today's tape are WESTERN TANAGER, VARIED THRUSH, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, CACKLING GOOSE, KING EIDER, GLAUCOUS GULL and ICELAND GULL.

Out east the male WESTERN TANAGER continues to visit feeders at a private residence near Big Reed Pond. It's important that birders looking for the tanager do not trespass onto private property but remain on the roadways. To reach this site from Montauk Highway Route 27 east of the town of Montauk take Eastlake Drive north to Big Reed Path, a dead end road before the entrance to Big Reed Pond. Take Big Reed Path to its end at a "T" intersection with a very short road called Deer Way. Park on the roadway so as not to block traffic but especially at the feeders on the back side of the house on the right side of the "T" intersection. This requires looking over a shrubby area along the roadside and a telescope is helpful. Also look in the brushy area along Deer Way bordering the house with the feeders, a favored roosting area of the tanager.

At Montauk Point Sunday only a handful of RAZORBILLS could be found among the hordes of scoters and Common Eider present. But from the Camp Hero Overlook 6 KING EIDERS were spotted, 2 immature males and 4 females. At the Montauk Harbor Inlet 1 or 2 ICELAND GULLS were still present Sunday along the beach west of the inlet usually near a rocky point jutting out from the beach.

At East Hampton Sunday a CACKLING GOOSE was with Canadas along Further Lane and an immature GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was spotted on Maidstone Golf Course adjacent to Hook Pond. Also on Sunday a GLAUCOUS GULL was on a tower along Route 27 in Southampton and 2 SHORT-EARED OWLS were along Dune Road west of Shinnecock Inlet where 1 SALTMARSH SPARROW and 3 SEASIDE SPARROWS were seen Saturday at high tide. There were no reports of the Napeague SNOWY OWL or NORTHERN SHRIKE. Other GLAUCOUS GULLS included the immature still around the ferry terminals at Orient Point on Saturday and 1 at West Meadow Beach in Stonybrook on Sunday.

In Central Park the VARIED THRUSH was seen as recently as Wednesday. The thrush is generally on the slope on the east side of a building called the Rambles Shed which contains restrooms and is part of the maintenance area just south of the 79th Street park transverse. The closest park entrance is at 5th Avenue and 79th Street.

A COMMON RAVEN was seen over Forest Park in Queens on Monday. At Alley Pond Park, at the restoration area that is east of Cross Island Parkway and south of the Long Island Expressway, on Sunday there were 6 WILSON'S SNIPE as well as PIED-BILLED GREBE and RING-NECKED DUCK.

Out at Jones Beach West End an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was spotted Monday along the boardwalk at the Roosevelt Nature Center.

Another COMMON RAVEN was over Rocky Point Preserve today.

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, February 11, 2011

Local Red-tailed Hawk Updates

The last week has seen an increase in pair-bonding activities between our local Red-tailed Hawks.

In Green-Wood Cemetery there were fresh pine boughs placed in the annual hawk nest. Marge also reporting seeing Big Mama inside the nest, tidying up. In addition, unlike their more solitary winter behavior, Big Mama and Junior have been spending more time soaring together. A juvenile Red-tailed Hawk observed near them and hanging around the cemetery is presumably their surviving offspring from last year. I spotted her near Samuel B. Morse's monument stalking, then attacking a piece of wood. She flew with it into a tree where she gnawed it for a moment, then dropped it to the snow covered ground. Odd behavior for a red-tailed that is 6 - 7 months old. They usually only engage in this type of practice play-hunting for the first month or two after fledging.

video

I spotted Nelly and Max at Grand Army Plaza as I was leaving the public library. They were flying together and perched on top of the triangular building at the corner of Plaza Street West. They seemed to have added more sticks recently to their nest at Nelly's Lawn.

Over the winter, much of Alice and Ralph's 8 year nest in the Ravine pine tree had succumb to the brutal weather. Just two weeks ago I noted that there was virtually nothing left of it. This week they were busy rebuilding it. I watched them soaring and talon-grappling in the air above Quaker Ridge. A single juvenile red-tail was following them, but Ralph eventually chased him off.

For several weeks a young Red-tailed Hawk has been hanging around Breeze Hill, near the bird feeders. I'm not sure if he is attempting to catch some of the small songbirds (not much of a chance) or surprising one of the squirrels gorging itself below the feeders. In either case, he needs to work on his stealth techniques. I've witnessed his bombing runs through the wooded area surrounding the bird feeders and he looks like the proverbial "bull in a china shop", giving the animals plenty of time to seek cover. The other day he was actually perched directly above the feeders. Despite these comical attempts he must be relatively good at hunting, otherwise he never would have survived this harsh winter.

video
...Read more

Friday's Foto

This winter I've seen more Harbor Seals around Brooklyn than ever before. Usually, it is just a distant glimpse of one poking its head up out of the water, but last Sunday I had the rare treat of seeing one hauled out on the ice. This adult was resting near the Marine Park Saltmarsh Nature Center, only a few blocks from the Kings Plaza Mall on Flatbush Avenue.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Is it Spring Yet?

I'm not complaining, but ... I'm beginning to feel like this bicycle near the end of my block. It has been buried since the first snowstorm hit on December 26, 2010. The only biking that I've done since December has been on a trainer in my living room. We had a brief thaw on Sunday, but we'll need a week of warm weather to melt the glaciers that have accumulated along the edges of the city's sidewalks and curbs.

Bronx Birding

I know, it seems hard to believe, but sometimes I actually do go birdwatching outside of Brooklyn. The date for my Linnaean Society Pelham Bay Park trip was postponed due to weather, but a couple of weeks ago 7 hardy souls traveled up to the Bronx with me for some frigid adventure. It was, at times, exhausting although it paid off in the end.

In some ways, the conditions that Sunday were worse than on the original date scheduled for the trip. The New York City area was blessed with another round of snow, adding to the Big Apple's ever growing mountains of "snirt" and "snudge". The recipe for those two grayish brews is snow plus generous amounts of crystallized urban filth. They should not be confused with the lovely white stuff in Vermont or on greeting cards.

My winter-fatigue cynicism aside, it was actually starkly beautiful at Pelham Bay. The parking lot at Orchard Beach was nearly completely covered in fresh snow and plows had only cleared a narrow lane to the boardwalk where there was only room for a handful of cars. The main trail onto Hunter Island was buried under a foot of snow. In some places there were drifts that came up to my thigh. Only a narrow band of foot prints delineated a route into the forest. There weren't many birds along the path, but a lone Carolina Wren did come out to great us near the start of our hike. Pelham Bay Park is known by birdwatchers as a good spot for wintering owls - our target species that morning. As we trudged deeper into the woods, however, I knew it was going to be difficult to find songbirds, let alone owls.

Unlike most birds, owls are found through indirect observations. That is, by looking for white-wash or regurgitated pellets beneath their roost. The ground was covered with a fresh blanket of snow, so finding white-wash was not possible. Pellets might remain on the surface of the snow. Scanning branches in the conifers was equally frustrating as the dense snow had collected in clumps among the needles. I waded through deep drifts of the white stuff off of the trail hoping to fine any signs of owls. Most of the group remained in the single track of packed snow.

We took a break from owling when I blazed a trail to the edge of the bay between Hunter and Twin Islands. From there we scanned flocks of waterfowl. I also looked for seals on a cluster of rocky outcroppings in the sound north of Twin Island. There were lots of ducks and geese, but nothing unusual and no seals. I had a sinking feeling that it was going to be a short day.

During one of our final stops, however, we managed to locate a single owl. Having dragged ourselves through another stretch of unbroken (or barely broken) deep snow, Dan spotted a Long-eared Owl sleeping high in a pine tree. I tried to keep the group quiet as not to disturb the bird, but I'm sure his sensitive ears picked up the sound of our boots squeaking in the snow long before we got close. As I ushered the group away from the base of the tree and a safer distance, the owl opened his eyes and glared down at me as if to say, "What are you doing in my woods?!" Sorry, don't mind us, we're just leaving...

In all, it was a fun way to spend the morning, despite the sore muscles.


Pelham Bay Park, Bronx, NY
January 20, 2011

Brant
Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Gadwall
American Wigeon
American Black Duck
Mallard
Greater Scaup
Lesser Scaup
Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Horned Grebe
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Peregine Falcon
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Long-eared Owl
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
American Tree Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
House Sparrow ...Read more

Monday, February 07, 2011

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips within NYC's five boroughs for the weekend of February 12th - 13th, 2011:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, February 12

Great Backyard Bird Count
Saturday, February 12 and Sunday, February 13, 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.

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


Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Floyd Bennett Field and Dead Horse Bay
Leader: Rob Jett a.k.a The City Birder
Registrar: Ellen Hoffman (ehof33 AT gmail.com)
Registration opens Monday 1/31.
Ride: $15.


Littoral Society of New York
February 12, 2011. (10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon)
Explore the Mysterious Back Woods at Fort Tilden
Accompany naturalist Mickey Maxwell Cohen of the American Littoral Society as he enters Fort Tilden's long-hidden back woods to search for winter birds and botany and long hidden military fortifications of World War II.
Reservations required: (718) 318 - 4300.


New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center


New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, February 12, 2011, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks
Guide: Andrew Baksh or Urban Park Rangers. With the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, and Urban Park Rangers. Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 718-548-0912. No registration necessary. No limit. Free.

Saturday, February 12, 2011, 10am-1pm
Winter Wildlife Walk at Jamaica Bay
Guide: Don Riepe
With Gateway National Recreation Area
Meet at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center for a hike along the trails to look for signs of wildlife. Look for owls, ducks, geese, and other overwintering birds and learn how plants and animals adapt to winter. To register, contact Don Riepe at 718-318-9344 or donriepe AT gmail.com. Free

Sunday, February 13, 2011, 9:30am – 11:30am

Nature in the Garden Discovery Walk
Explore Wave Hill’s woodlands and gardens and discover the world of insects, flowers, trees, birds and their fascinating habitats on this naturalist-led walk, offered jointly by Wave Hill and NYC Audubon. Ideal for ages 5 and up and their curious adult companions. Rain or shine, so dress for the weather! Space is limited; advanced registration recommended, online at www.wavehill.org, at the Perkins Visitor Center when you next visit or by calling 718.549.3200 x305. Fee: Free for Wave Hill Members/Non-members $5. Free for NYC Audubon Members with 2-for-1 admission to the grounds.


Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, February 12, 2011, 12 noon to 2:00 p.m.
Conference House Park Beach and Woods
Past and present blend in 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. We’ll observe evidence of the human occupation of the area, observe local geology and discover what the natural and unnatural debris at the high tide line has to reveal.
Meet at the parking lot at the end of Hylan Blvd. on the left.
For more information call Clay Wollney at (718)869-6327.


Staten Island Museum
February 13, 2011 (9:00am - 11:00am)
Wolfe's Pond Park
Free. What wildlife remains active and how do they survive during the cold of winter?
Meet at the field station in the main parking lot at the end of Cornelia Street and find out.
For more information call Seth Wollney at (718) 483-7105.


Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, February 12, 2011

Early Birding at Marine Park
8:00 a.m.
Join the Urban Park Rangers for early morning birding at Marine Park.
Location: Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Van Cortlandt Birding Walks: Cardinal Couples
8:00 a.m.
Mated pairs of cardinals often winter together.  Find some happy couples on our walk...
Location: Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

The Four Elements of Survival: Part III
1:00 p.m.
In this four part series, you'll learn about the four basic elements of wilderness...
Location: Forest Park Visitor Center (in Forest Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Fort Greene Park Winter Tree Identification
1:00 p.m.
On this leisurely stroll around the park we'll identify many of the more than 40 species of...
Location: Fort Greene Park Visitor Center (in Fort Greene Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Winter Tree I.D.
2:00 p.m.
Test your identification skills and study the trees in their dormant state on a hike...
Location: Dana Discovery Center (in Central Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

Sunday, February 13, 2011

History of Blue Heron Park
11:00 a.m.
Blue Heron Park is a Forever Wildlife site and home to many fascinating animals, from...
Location: Blue Heron Nature Center, Staten Island
Cost: Free

Wildlife Valentines
11:00 a.m.
Wind, waves, colors, and calls...come with your sweetheart to learn about the...
Location: Forest Park Visitor Center (in Forest Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Whooo Said That?
1:00 p.m.
Winter is the best time to see wild owls in New York City so don't miss this...
Location: Pelham Bay Ranger Station (in Pelham Bay Park), Bronx
Cost: Free
...Read more

Saturday, February 05, 2011

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, February 4, 2011:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* February 4, 2011
* NYNY1102.04

- Birds Mentioned:
VARIED THRUSH+
WESTERN TANAGER+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

KING EIDER
Harlequin Duck
Red-necked Grebe
Northern Gannet
Great Cormorant
Bald Eagle
Rough-legged Hawk
Merlin
Clapper Rail
Purple Sandpiper
Wilson's Snipe
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE
Razorbill
SNOWY OWL
Short-eared Owl
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
NORTHERN SHRIKE
WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL
Common Redpoll

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
Tony Lauro (631) 734-4126

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

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, February 4, at 8:00pm. The highlights of today's tape are WESTERN TANAGER, VARIED THRUSH, SNOWY OWL, KING EIDERS, BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES, NORTHERN SHRIKE, WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL, and RED-HEADED WOODPECKER.

Despite the weather, or because of it, the Montauk area continues to produce exciting birds. Last weekend's highlight out there was a male WESTERN TANAGER first seen by birders on Saturday but perhaps present for three weeks or so, visiting feeders at private residences. It is important that birders visiting this site do not trespass onto these properties but remain on the roadways. To reach this site from Montauk Highway (Route 27), east of the town of Montauk, take East Lake Drive north to Big Reed Path, a dead-end road before the entrance to Big Reed Pond. Take Big Reed Path to its end at a T-intersection, with a very short road called Deer Way. Park on the roadway so as not to block traffic, and look at the feeders in the open at the house across from the T-intersection or, especially, at the feeders in the backyard of the house on the right of the intersection, these feeders visible from Deer Path by looking over a brushy area to the trees behind the house. Also keep your eye on the surrounding brush and trees for the tanager. A WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL paid a brief visit to this area Saturday afternoon, and a BALD EAGLE flew over Monday. Patience can be required to see the tanager.

At Montauk Point the sea duck spectacle continues, featuring many thousands of three species of scoter and Common Eider. One or two BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES and a couple of NORTHERN GANNETS finally reappeared Saturday after their recent absence, and two dozen or more RAZORBILLS continue within the mass of sea ducks. Also found Saturday were three KING EIDERS: a drake off the restaurant, and an immature male and a female off the Camp Hero overlook. On Sunday four females joined the young male off Camp Hero. Some COMMON REDPOLLS were around the Point on Sunday as well.

At the Montauk Harbor inlet one or two ICELAND GULLS have been present along the beach just west of the inlet, and a BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE was seen there Saturday with some GREAT CORMORANTS continuing on the jetty structure.

At Ditch Plains a RED-NECKED GREBE was offshore Sunday along with a BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE, and 25 PURPLE SANDPIPERS were along the rocks there.

The Napeague NORTHERN SHRIKE was seen today at the western end of Napeague Meadow Road, and the adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL does continue at Lazy Point.

On Monday a SNOWY OWL was spotted on Hicks Island [northwest side of Napeague Harbor], just across from the boat launch site at the end of Lazy Point Road.

Along Route 27 where Georgica Pond ends and a marshy section on the south side of the road, there were six or more WILSON'S SNIPE last Saturday.

Birds along Dune Road west of Shinnecock Inlet featured SHORT-EARED OWL, CLAPPER RAIL, and MERLIN this past week.

In Central Park the VARIED THRUSH was spotted today, and the RED-HEADED WOODPECKER has been seen recently. The thrush is generally on the slope on the east side of a building called the Ramble Shed containing restrooms which is part of the maintenance area which is just south of the 79th Street Transverse. The closest park entrance is at 5th Avenue and 79th Street. The immature RED-HEADED WOODPECKER is usually in trees along the south side of the Sheep Meadow, just north of the 66th Street Transverse.

A few ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS, both light and dark phases, have been along the Jones Beach strip lately.

A WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL was near the fish hatchery at Connetquot River State Park today, and HARLEQUIN DUCKS continue at the Point Lookout jetties.

Documenting that there are now many BALD EAGLES along the Hudson River, the Mearns Bird Club last Saturday counted 191 BALD EAGLES between the Croton Point Park and Bear Mountain Bridge, and at Croton Reservoir. Due to icy conditions though, the Eaglefest at Croton Point scheduled for this weekend has been cancelled. However, the eagles can be seen easily from several vantage points along the River.

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.

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