Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Aggressive Sparrow

I haven't posted much lately because I was out of town visiting relatives for Thanksgiving. During the five days I was gone I did very little birding. On Sunday, however, Robin and I stopped in at a Brooklyn coffee bar for a caffeine fix where I was promptly harassed by a bird that refused to be ignored.

Cocoa Bar in Park Slope is a nice coffee/sweets shop with comfy chairs, some small tables in a back room, a backyard garden and a small butcher block counter. We were seated at the counter, nibbling on a chocolate chip cookie, while we waited for our mugs of coffee. The weather outside was a balmy 70 degrees, so the manager had opened the window next to the counter. I had just broken off a small piece from the cookie when I noticed a House Sparrow fly to the opened window. Perched on the top edge of the window, he chirped when the barista arrived with our coffee. As we sipped our java the bold little sparrow flew from the window and onto the counter in front of me. I waved my hand hoping to dissuade him from my cookie. I love birds, but not when they are trying to steal my sweets. He flew back to the window and I thought that would be it. It wasn't ...

About ten seconds later he was back. I blocked his path to my plate, so he bit my finger. I made a little wall out of my two hands and he tried to jump over them. I picked him up (he didn't like that) and aimed him towards the window. He flew to the window, but came back a moment later. Pointing at the sparrow and explaining that I wouldn't be sharing my crumbs only succeeded in having him bite my index finger. Two women seated to our right seemed to really be enjoying the show and snapped photos with their smartphones. When we finished our cookie and the plate was cleared, the belligerent little bird became slightly less pushy. Several other birds called from a privet in the backyard and he eventually took off with his gang of feathered hoodlums. I suspect that they flew down the avenue to mug customers at Starbucks.
...Read more

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Treehugger Tuesday

The Perennial Plate Episode 81: Farming State of Mind (NYC)

Rooftop Farms, Upstate Farms and Community Gardens All Help to Feed New York

Monday, November 28, 2011

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips within NYC's five boroughs for the weekend of December 3rd - December 4th, 2011:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, December 3, 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.

Sunday, December 4, 2011, 10 a.m.
Early Morning Bird Walk: Twelve Birds of Winter
Meet the amazing birds of Prospect Park on this expert-guided walk.
Free

Discover Tour
Every 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, December 3, 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, December 4, 2011
"Waterfowl on the Terminal Moraine"
Trip Leader: Peter Dorosh
Focus: Salt and Freshwater Waterfowl, in various locales in Brooklyn, Queens, & possibly Nassau County west.
Car pool fee: $15.00
Registrar: Peter Dorosh, Email: Prosbird [AT] aol.com or TEXT Message 347-622-3559
Registration period: Nov 22nd - Dec 1st

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, December 3, 2011
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, December 3, 2011, 9am – 3pm
Pelham Bay Park: Ducks and Raptors
Guide: Gabriel Willow Come explore the lovely coves and rocky outcroppings of Pelham Bay Park, looking for the wintering ducks that find shelter there, as well as migrating raptors and other winter visitors. Bring lunch, water, and binoculars. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $75 Click here to register!

Sunday, December 4, 2011, 9am – 12pm
Free Member Trip to Fort Tilden and Floyd Bennett Field
Guide: Gabriel Willow Free to Members at the Family and Supporter Levels Take a trip to Fort Tilden and Floyd Bennett Field to search for wintering raptors, ducks, and other waterfowl. Transport by passenger van is offered toa limited number of guests and will leave Manhattan at 8am, returning by 1pm. Please call 212-691-7483 to register. Van limited to 11 people; walk limited to 20. Free to members only at the Family and Supporter levels.

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, December 3, 2011, 10 a.m. to 12 noon
Old Mill Road
We’ll follow the multi-use trail overlooking Fresh Kills, pass the famous Hessian Spring as it crosses the path and view Fresh Kills estuary and work our way to the remains of Ketchum’s Mill. Along the way we’ll observe traces of the past, examine the present woodland ecosystems and search for evidence of present inhabitants especially deer and other mammals. Park at the start of Old Mill Road alongside the church.
For more information phone Clay Wollney at 718-869-6327.

Sunday, December 4, 2011, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Wolfe’s Pond Park
Hurricane Irene has changed Wolfe’s Pond into a tidal creek, a new habitat attracting an assortment of new wildlife. Late migrating shorebirds and sparrows, as well as wintering waterfowl, will busy themselves feeding among this diverse ecosystem. Meet in the main parking lot beside the restrooms.
For more information call Howie Fischer at 718-981-4002.

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
All walks start at 9:30 A.M.
There is no walk if it rains or snows or temperature is below 25°F.
Any questions please Call Steve at (516) 987-8103.
For directions to our bird-watching locations, click here.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, December 3, 2011

Light Orienteering Hike
11:00 a.m.
Hiking is the ultimate way to enjoy the outdoors and reduce stress. Regardless of the...
Location: Alley Pond Park Adventure Center (in Alley Pond Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Astronomy
5:00 p.m.
The wonders of the universe are ready to be discovered and New York City parks are the...
Location: Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Birding: Winter Waterfowl
11:00 a.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. From falcons and salamanders, to...
Location: Fort Totten Visitor's Center (in Fort Totten Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Birding
11:00 a.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. From falcons and salamanders, to...
Location: Bloomingdale Park Playground (in Bloomingdale Park), Staten Island
Cost: Free
...Read more

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday's Foto

The Great Black-backed Gull is one of four common gull species found around New York City (laughing, ring-billed and herring being the other three). The largest gull in the world, their wingspan can reach nearly six feet. These opportunists feed on everything from small fish to refuse. I've also seen one kill and eat a Laughing Gull.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Coney Island Birding

Last weekend I spent time at Coney Island doing my typical winter route - walking from West 8th Street, west, to the pier, over to the jetty at the edge of Seagate, then north to Coney Island Creek Park and along the creek's edge to Mark Twain High School. I was hoping to find some arriving winter seabirds.

A strong southwest wind was kicking up the surf making finding birds bobbing in the water challenging, at best. There looked to be lots of gull activity at the inlet adjacent to Breezy Point, but nothing really identifiable at that distance. I did spot a few Bonaparte's Gulls near the jetty at the western end of Coney, as well as, a small number of Northern Gannets offshore. Two Purple Sandpipers were also seen clinging to the rocks at the end of the jetty.

My real hope was to locate at least one White-winged Scoter for the year, but as you can see from this photo, the water was pretty rough. I could make out some flocks of dark waterfowl way off in the distance, which were likely scoters, but again, nothing I could clearly identify, so I headed over to the north side of the peninsula where there would be less wind.

Gravesend Bay and Coney Island Creek were glass calm compared to the south side of the peninsula. Unfortunately, there wasn't much in the way of wildlife there either. There were the usual mixed flocks of Canada Geese, Mallards, black ducks and Mute Swans, plus a few Buffleheads. As I headed towards the soccer fields at Leon Kaiser Park I noticed one bird a little out of place on the creek. It was a Red-throated Loon. These birds are currently migrating through the area and I guess this bird decided to get out of the wind and rest. He actually had his eyes closed most of the time that I was watching him.

...Read more

Treehugger Tuesday

LEED Green Credits for Bird Friendly Buildings

According to an article on the New York Times website, United States Green Building Council‘s LEED certification program is trying to motivate builders and designers to create more bird-friendly buildings. From the article:

"Expanses of glass strategically placed to make the most of the sun’s light and heat are invisible to birds. Rain gardens and trees planted around green buildings attract birds and make collisions more likely. As many as one billion birds die in building collisions in the United States each year."

**********

A Reward for Bird-Friendly Buildings

By Joanna M. Foster

Green buildings usually conjure images of super-efficient, high-tech constructions, not stunned or dead birds. Unfortunately, some of the buildings that rate highest in energy efficiency and other green factors are also among the biggest bird killers.

Expanses of glass strategically placed to make the most of the sun’s light and heat are invisible to birds. Rain gardens and trees planted around green buildings attract birds and make collisions more likely. As many as one billion birds die in building collisions in the United States each year.

While cities like San Francisco and Chicago have developed guidelines for creating safer cities for birds, bird-friendly attributes are also now getting attention from the United States Green Building Council‘s LEED certification program, the nation’s standard setter for green construction.

Thanks to a campaign by the American Bird Conservancy and the Bird-Safe Glass Foundation, builders and designers will soon be able to earn credit toward LEED certification by featuring design elements that mitigate feathered fatalities.

The credit is being tested by the program’s Pilot Credit Library to make sure that it is effective.before it becomes part of the permanent LEED guidelines.

To earn the credit, buildings must comply with one facade requirement, one interior light requirement and one exterior light requirement and develop a monitoring program.

The facade requirement focuses on the creation of “visual noise” to help birds distinguish inviting sky from unwelcoming wall by the making glass less reflective and more textured and/or opaque.

The lighting requirements can be met through actions as simple as turning off all the interior lights in a building at night or making sure that exterior lights are not angled up into the sky.

About 42,000 commercial buildings are already participating in the LEED program, according to Christine Shepherd, the American Bird Conservancy’s bird collisions program director. “We’re hoping that this credit will bring international attention to, and action on, this issue,” she said.
...Read more

Monday, November 21, 2011

Wild NYC Presentation

The "Wild NYC" panel at New York University last week went very well. After my presentation, Wildlife Rehabilitators Bobby and Cathy Horvath wrapped up the evening with a selection from their rescued animal menagerie. Diurnal raptors included American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Red-tailed Hawk and Rough-legged Hawk. Nocturnal raptors on display were Barn Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, Barred Owl and Eurasian Eagle Owl. Another bird was a one eyed Common Raven. Bobby also explained to the audience the background of several other rescues in their charge - a Striped Skull, a blind Opossum, a Kinkajou and a young Fennec Fox.

Francois Portmann has some really great photos of the birds on his website here.

Upcoming Nature Trips

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

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, November 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.

Sunday, November 27, 2011, 10 a.m.
Discover Tour
Every 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, November 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
Saturday November 26, 2011
"A Thanksgiving Friends walk", Prospect Park
Meet 8:00 am at Grand Army Plaza entrance (Stranahan Statue)
Trip Leader: There is no designated leader for this walk; birders can meet at the time designated and walk as a group this holiday weekend.
Walk suggestions: http://www.brooklynbirdclub.org/prospark.htm
Focus: Arriving winter passerines, freshwater waterfowl, raptors

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, November 26, 2011
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.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Vigorous Fitness Hike
10:00 a.m.
Hiking is the ultimate way to enjoy the outdoors and reduce stress. Regardless of the...
Location: Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Sunday, November 27, 2011
Light Nature Exploration Hike
11:00 a.m.
Hiking is the ultimate way to enjoy the outdoors and reduce stress. Regardless of the...
Location: Dana Discovery Center (in Central Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

Wilderness Survival
11:00 a.m.
What would you do if you found yourself lost in the woods? Do you know how to build your...
Location: Pelham Bay Ranger Station (in Pelham Bay Park), Bronx
Cost: Free
...Read more

Saturday, November 19, 2011

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, November 19, 2011:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Nov. 18, 2011
* NYNY1111.18

- Birds mentioned

RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
Snow Goose
EURASIAN WIGEON
Common Eider
Red-necked Grebe
EARED GREBE
BROWN PELICAN
Cattle Egret
Bald Eagle
Virginia Rail
SANDHILL CRANE
MARBLED GODWIT
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Razorbill
NORTHERN SHRIKE
Eastern Bluebird
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Orange-crowned Warbler
Lapland Longspur
DICKCISSEL
Red-winged Blackbird
Rusty Blackbird
Purple Finch
Pine Siskin

- 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, November 18th 2011 at 10pm. The highlights of today's tape are RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD, BROWN PELICAN, SANDHILL CRANE, EARED GREBE, BLACK-HEADED GULL, NORTHERN SHRIKE, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, EURASIAN WIGEON, MARBLED GODWIT and DICKCISSEL.

It was a good week again and we should now be on the lookout for the PINK-FOOTED GOOSE found Tuesday in Montgomery, Orange County, but not seen lately and for SNOWY OWLS already appearing in Connecticut and New Jersey.

The immature female RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD was still visiting the feeders at Lenoir Preserve recently. To reach this site in Yonkers, Westchester County, from the Sawmill River Parkway take Exit 9, Executive Boulevard, to its end at North Broadway and go right on North Broadway a short distance to Dudley Street on the left. The Lenoir parking lot is on the left off Dudley Street. The hummingbird has been in the butterfly garden and please make sure that the gate to the garden remains securely closed.

BROWN PELICANS also continue in the region. A surprise 2 hour visit was made by one at the Reade Sanctuary / Playland Park in Rye, Westchester County, last Sunday morning and 2 were seen together around Montauk Harbor Inlet and a little farther west at Fort Pond Bay last weekend. Another Westchester rarity involved 4 SANDHILL CRANES moving north over the Chestnut Ridge Hawkwatch at the Butler Sanctuary in Bedford Thursday afternoon.

The EARED GREBE at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge was in Jamaica Bay south of the West Pond trail at least through Tuesday where it has been staying with a dozen or so Horned Grebes.

An adult BLACK-HEADED GULL visited the Mill Pond in Setauket from Saturday through Monday and one presumably continues in the vicinity of the Owl's Head waste water treatment plant in Brooklyn though it has also been missed there.

An immature NORTHERN SHRIKE found Saturday at Smith Point County Park in Shirley was present around the picnic area west of the entrance road up through Monday but has not been reported since.

Two drake EURASIAN WIGEON were uncovered last weekend. One was present Saturday and Sunday on Cooper's Neck Pond in Southampton and the other spotted Sunday on Patchogue Lake in Patchogue was still there Wednesday and both likely continue.

A few GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE remain regionally. One at Van Cortlandt Park in The Bronx present last weekend should be looked for on the Parade Grounds or on the lake. Two White-fronteds have been feeding on the Further Lane field in East Hampton, another continues on the south pasture at the Deep Hollow Ranch east of Montauk and one was seen again on Marratooka Lake off New Suffolk Avenue in Mattituck last Saturday morning.

At Jones Beach West End the shorebirds that gather at high tide on the bar off the Coast Guard Station still featured 2 MARBLED GODWITS at least to Tuesday and the DICKCISSEL found Sunday with House Sparrows around the Coast Guard Station hedgerow was still present today. Twenty-five or so COMMON EIDER have been around Jones Inlet recently.

Birds at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge besides the Eared Grebe include a RED-NECKED GREBE in the bay last Saturday, 240 SNOW GEESE with a Blue Goose at the East Pond last Sunday evening and a growing number of other waterfowl. Also of note at the Hess Station on Cross Bay Boulevard north of the Belt Parkway a VIRGINIA RAIL was running around the gas pumps last Sunday evening probably having spent the day there.

The seasons first RAZORBILL was spotted off Montauk Point Saturday and a RED-NECKED GREBE was on Fort Pond today. A CATTLE EGRET was using the back fields at the Stillwell Woods Preserve east of Syosset for a few days up to Tuesday.

An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was at Prospect Park Thursday and a WOOD THRUSH appeared at a small mid-Manhattan park between 45th and 46th Street on Tuesday.

A decent flight today along the outer beach at Robert Moses State Park featured numbers of AMERICAN ROBINS and RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS, 21 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS, 46 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS, 10 PURPLE FINCH and singles of PINE SISKIN, LAPLAND LONGSPUR and BALD EAGLE.

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, November 18, 2011

Friday's Foto

Listed as "Threated" by the New York State Department of Environmental Protection, the Pied-billed Grebe is a regular winter visitor to the city's freshwater lakes and marshes. A pair are now spending time Brooklyn's Prospect Lake and should remain through the winter provided the waterways don't completely freeze.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Treehugger Tuesday

Here's a really nice piece from the New York Times about Marielle Anzelone, one of our local conservationists:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Upcoming Event

I've been invited to participate in a really great event at New York University on Wednesday. I'll be doing a brief presentation prior to the panel discussion. Here's a link to the NYU events page (try to overlook the misspelling of my name on the website).

Upcoming Nature trips

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

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, November 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.

Sunday, November 20, 2011, 10 a.m.
Discover Tour
Every 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, November 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, November 19, 2011
Beginning Birding (Field Trip)
Instructor: Starr Saphir Even if you've never picked up a pair of binoculars, you’ll soon be identifying warblers, sparrows, waterfowl, and more. Classes adaptive to the needs and interests of students, and field trips to Jamaica Bay and Central Park. Limited to 13. $85 for package of 2 classes and 2 field trips Click here to register!

Saturday, November 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.

Saturday, November 19, 2011, 9am – 2pm
Van Trip to the Winter Waterfowl Workshop
Register for our van trip to the Winter Waterfowl Workshop, and get to Jamaica Bay the easy way! Transport by passenger van. Limited to 12. $20 Click here to register!

Saturday, November 19, 2011, 9am – 12pm
Ornithology 101 Field Trip
Instructors: Susan Elbin, Ph.D. and John Rowden, Ph.D Join Director of Conservation Susan Elbin and Associate Director of Citizen Science John Rowden for this great opportunity to study the flying marvels we call birds, in depth and in a small-class setting. Adapted from a recent university course, Ornithology 101 will provide a fascinating survey of bird evolution, biology and behavior. Included are two field trips: The first to Central Park during fall passerine migration, and the second providing free transport to the Winter Waterfowl Workshop at Jamaica Bay NWR. Don't miss this chance to enrich your understanding of the wonderful world of birds. Limited to 12. $150 for course of 5 classes and 2 field trips. Click here to register!

Saturday, November 19, 2011, 10am – 1pm
Winter Waterfowl Workshop
Guide: Don Riepe Meet at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center for a slide ID program and walk to look for wintering waterfowl. Learn about their behavior and biology, and how to identify them in the field. To register, contact Don Riepe at 718-318-9344 or donriepe [AT] gmail.com. Limited to 25. Free.

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, November 19, 2011, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Forest Restoration Workshop, LaTourette Blue Trail
Meet at the bike path entrance on the Old Mill Road next to St. Andrews Church (the old one). We will walk to the T-junction of the bike path where we will turn up the Blue Trail and cut invasive vines that strangle saplings along the trail. If you don’t have your own, Protectors will supply gloves and pruners (& refreshments). After a two hour work session (our 185th 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.

**********

Queens County Bird Club
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Minitrip Pelham Bay Park
Leader: Eric Miller 917-279-7530
Meet: 7:45am walk starts 8am
See map http://tinyurl.com/yhlsq7k
Birding Site Maps page https://sites.google.com/site/qcbirdclub/birding-site-maps

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, November 19, 2011

Light Nature Exploration Hike
11:00 a.m.
Hiking is the ultimate way to enjoy the outdoors and reduce stress. Regardless of the...
Location: Belvedere Castle (in Central Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

Moderate Nature Exploration Hike
11:00 a.m.
Hiking is the ultimate way to enjoy the outdoors and reduce stress. Regardless of the...
Location: Raoul Wallenberg Forest at 232 Street (in Riverdale Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nature Drawing
11:00 a.m.
It has been said that art takes nature as its model. The beauty of nature has inspired many...
Location: River Run Playground (in Riverside Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

Nature Photography
1:00 p.m.
It has been said that art takes nature as its model. The beauty of nature has inspired many...
Location: Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

The Night Sky
9:00 p.m.
The wonders of the universe are ready to be discovered and New York City parks are the...
Location: Inwood Hill Nature Center (in Inwood Hill Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free
...Read more

Saturday, November 12, 2011

New York City Rare Bird Alert

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

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Nov. 11, 2011
* NYNY1111.11

- Birds mentioned

RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
Redhead
Common Loon
EARED GREBE
BROWN PELICAN
American Bittern
Purple Sandpiper
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Black-legged Kittiwake
Royal Tern
WESTERN KINGBIRD
Eastern Bluebird
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Orange-crowned Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
American Tree Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Lapland Longspur
Eastern Meadowlark
Rusty Blackbird
Purple Finch

- 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, Eleven Eleven Eleven at 7pm. The highlights of today's tape are EARED GREBE, RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD, BROWN PELICAN, BLACK-HEADED GULL, WESTERN KINGBIRD and several GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE.

A good week for unusual birds starting it off with an EARED GREBE identified last Friday and confirmed Saturday at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Still present at least through Tuesday the EARED GREBE has been staying with a dozen or more Horned Grebes in the bay south of the West Pond as viewed from the trail along the south side of the West Pond. As the tide drops the grebe flock can move pretty far offshore towards the islands in the bay but tends to move closer on the rising tide. A telescope is strongly recommended.

Also at the bay an AMERICAN BITTERN has been frequenting the West Pond since Sunday and a growing number of ducks now include 2 REDHEADS on the West Pond.

The Lenoir Preserve in Yonkers, Westchester County, has attracted another selasphorous hummingbird this appearing to be an immature female RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD. The hummingbird has been frequenting the feeders and Pineapple Sage in the butterfly garden between the Nature Center and the hawkwatch site. The hummingbird seems to be sensitive to disturbance and may not come in if there is a good amount of activity so choose your observation point with that in mind. If entering the butterfly garden please be sure the entrance gate is firmly closed.

To reach Lenoir: from the Sawmill River Parkway take Exit 9, Executive Boulevard, to its end at North Broadway, go right on North Broadway a short distance to Dudley Street on the left. The Lenoir parking lot is on the left off Dudley Street.

An adult BLACK-HEADED GULL has returned as of Sunday to the Owl's Head waste water treatment plant in Bay Ridge Brooklyn near the Verrazzano Bridge. It can take patience to see the gull flying about the plant while viewing from outside the facility and finding higher ground helps. It might also be worth checking any gulls roosting on the nearby Veteran's Memorial Pier.

Also in the New York City area a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT was still frequenting Bryant Park to Wednesday when it was seen in the northwest corner of the park and a thrush believed to be a GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH was also there.

Birds Sunday at Calvert Vaux Park in Brooklyn featured ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, EASTERN MEADOWLARK and EASTERN BLUEBIRD. It was a good weekend for bluebirds locally as they were present at many locations.

In the Bronx a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was on the lake at Van Cortlandt Park Thursday and today. This white-front joins at least 4 others scattered around eastern Long Island and these include 1 seen on the athletic field at East Northport High School on Monday, 1 continuing to visit Marratooka Lake off New Suffolk Avenue in Mattituck and 2 lingering on the South Fork, 1 off Further Lane in East Hampton and the other at the Deep Hollow Ranch on the south side of Route 27 east of Montauk.

Also in Montauk an immature BROWN PELICAN continues to be seen along the north shoreline usually around the Montauk Harbor jetties but on Monday it was also spotted in Fort Pond Bay to the west of the Montauk Harbor entrance.

On Thursday a WESTERN KINGBIRD was seen in Oldfield north of Setauket on the north shore of Suffolk County. The bird was around the Oldfield lighthouse around noon.

At Montauk Point Saturday birds featured 2 adult BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES but few terns were remaining while 285 COMMON LOONS were counted in Gardiner's Bay. Fourteen ROYAL TERNS were still at Georgica Pond on Sunday.

Other notable gatherings of birds last Saturday included YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, 5 BLACKPOLL WARBLERS, AMERICAN TREE SPARROW, FOX SPARROW, 5 PURPLE FINCHES and 5 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS at Caumsett State Park and at Democrat Point at the western tip of Fire Island singles of PURPLE SANDPIPER, immature LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL and LAPLAND LONGSPUR.

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

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

- End transcript
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Ants, Bats, Birds and More

Here's a brief roundup of some interesting observation over the past week:

November is typically the month when unusual species show up around New York. Over the weekend Heydi and I spent a lot of time exploring Green-Wood Cemetery, Coney Island, Floyd Bennett Field, Dead Horse Bay, Spring Creek and Marine Park hoping to find something rare. We also took a ride over to Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge to chase a rare Eared Grebe.

With ornamental cherry trees and hawthorns still holding lots of fruit, it was no surprise to find plenty of Eastern Bluebirds and Hermit Thrushes sticking around. Bluebirds have been seen in good numbers around NYC this season from Central Park to Floyd Bennett Field. This particular bird was feeding on the invasive porcelain berry vine. Another highly invasive species that robins and other birds seem to really enjoy is Asiatic Bittersweet. So many birds feed on the fruit of these two vines I can't imagine that conservationists could ever eradicate it from the landscape. On a positive note, I did notice that landscape designers have planted the native American Bittersweet along Highline Park in Manhattan.

In addition to robins, bluebirds and Hermit Thrushes feeding on cherries in Green-Wood Cemetery, there has been a sudden influx of Cedar Waxwings. These hardy birds always seem to find an abundance of fruit to hold them through even the most harsh winters. There is a stand of ornamental cherry trees at the end of my block where they can usually be found feasting in mid-Winter.

Heydi and I spent about 90 minutes scanning the bay surrounding Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge's West Pond for a reported Eared Grebe. We eventually located it within a flock of the more common Horned Grebe. The bird was very far off shore and, while identifiable, I would have preferred much closer looks. On the way back to the parking lot I stumbled on this Woolly Bear caterpillar. Legend has it that the width of the orange band is a predictor of the coming winter's severity. The wider the center band, the milder the winter. Conversely, the narrower the band the more severe the winter. If this fuzzy fellow is correct, then we should be in for a very mild winter. If only...

The bay off of Coney Island was pretty quiet. I had expected that overwintering seaducks, such as Long-tailed Ducks, scoters and eiders would have arrived, but it's still early, I guess. There were still a few dozen Laughing Gulls present on the beach among the Ring-billed Gulls, Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls. Most should be gone by the time the Christmas Bird Count rolls around. One nice surprise was to see a small flock of Black Skimmers still hanging around the beach. Many of them were juvenile birds, presumably from the large breeding colony across the bay at Breezy Point. Like the Laughing Gulls, they should be gone by mid-December.

One very interesting observation was of an Eastern Red Bat in Green-Wood Cemetery. This tiny mammal was flying back and forth above a short stretch of roadway near the catacombs. It was darting and diving at some kind of insect, but they were too small for me to tell what they were. I recently learned that red bats migrate at around this time of year. Marge went back to the spot the following day but the bat was gone.

Here is a really unusual November sightings for me. While walking through Green-Wood Cemetery I noticed a fairly large patch of grass shimmering. Walking over I realized that it was a 4' by 6' swarm of insects. They looked like termites and I assumed that they were alates emerging to mate. It wasn't until I got home and looked closely at the photographs that I realized they were actually ants, possibly red ants. Like termites, ants have a reproductive caste that briefly fly, mate, then loose their wings. This is known as the nuptial flight. When I returned to the spot about an hour later, they had all dispersed and/or died. Maybe this is what the bat was eating. Here's a short video of the ant "orgy":

...Read more

Friday's Foto

While migrating shorebirds have, for the most part, departed NYC there were four Long-billed Dowitchers still hanging around Brooklyn over the weekend. These individuals were probing for food in a low-tide exposed mudflat at Spring Creek. There were also several yellowlegs present. Here's a good article on separating Short-billed and Long-billed Dowitchers.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Treehugger Tuesday

This past Sunday a Long Island village banned the use of a certain type of plastic bag. From NBC-NY:

Southampton Plastic Bag Ban Takes Effect Sunday

The ban was passed by the village board in April
Saturday, Nov 5, 2011

Plastic bags will soon be a rare sight in Southampton Village stores.

The ban on plastic bags passed last April takes effect Sunday, prohibiting the thin plastic bags often seen in groceries and drugstores.

Plastic bags of a heavier weight, as well as those used for produce, are exempt from the ban, reports Newsday. Stores may still offer paper bags, though officials prefer that reusable bags are used.

Fines for violating the law can be up to $1,000.

Most residents and environmental advocates approved the ban, reports Newsday.

Southampton Town's sustainability coordinator, Liz Plouff, told Patch.com in June the ultimate goal is to have consumers bringing their own bags to shop.

Some other local municipalities, like East Hampton Village and Southampton Town, have started to consider the same ban on plastic bags, says Newsday.

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I think the ban should include ALL plastic bags, but this is a start. San Francisco and Los Angeles county have already enacted similar laws.
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Monday, November 07, 2011

Upcoming Nature Trips

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

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, November 12, 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.

Sunday, November 13, 2011, 10 a.m.
Discover Tour
Every Sunday, 3 p.m.
Discover the Prospect Park you never knew! Meet birds and other wildlife on this walk, guided by a naturalist.

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, November 12, 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

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Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens
Trip Leader: Gabriel Willow
Focus: Waterfowl, arriving winter species, possible rarity
Car pool fee: $ 10.00
Registrar: James Cooke, email james [AT] jamescooke.net or before 9 PM 516-739-0647
Registration period: Nov 1st - Nov 10th

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North Shore Audubon Society
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Leader: Lenore Figueroa (718-343-1391)
Walks are for beginners and experienced birders alike.
Trips start at 9 a.m. unless otherwise indicated.
Please note: all phone numbers are area code 516 unless otherwise indicated. In most cases, the contacts are also leaders for the respective walks.
Click Site Finder for directions.
We would like to encourage carpooling, where possible.

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, November 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, November 12, 2011
Beginning Birding (Field Trip)
Instructor: Starr Saphir Even if you've never picked up a pair of binoculars, you’ll soon be identifying warblers, sparrows, waterfowl, and more. Classes adaptive to the needs and interests of students, and field trips to Jamaica Bay and Central Park. Limited to 13. $85 for package of 2 classes and 2 field trips
Click here to register!

Sunday, November 13, 2011, 9:30am – 11:30am
Fall Birding at Wave Hill
Guide: Gabriel Willow With Wave Hill Meet at the Perkins Visitor Center. Naturalist Gabriel Willow contributes his extensive knowledge of bird species and their behaviors on these captivating walks. Wave Hill’s garden setting overlooking the Hudson River flyway provides the perfect habitat for resident and migrating birds. Ages 10 and up welcome with an adult. Reservations recommended, online at www.wavehill.org, by calling 718-549-3200 x245 or at the Perkins Visitor Center. Severe weather cancels; for weather-related updates call 718-549-3200 x245 by 8am the day of the walk. $10 for Wave Hill or NYC Audubon members/$18 non-members

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, November 12, 2011, 10 a.m. to 12 noon
Reeds 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, November 13, 2011, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Geologic Tour of Graniteville Quarry Park with Dr. Alan Benimoff
He discovered a rare sequence of 200 million year old rocks here back in 1977. He will also show you evidence that a glacier flowed over this area about 22,000 years ago. Meet on the South side of Forest Ave between Van Name and Simonson Ave.
For more information contact Dr. Benimoff at 718-477-1974 or e-mail alan.benimoff [AT] csi.cuny.edu

Sunday, November 13, 2011, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Owl Prowl at High Rock Park
Explore the dark corners of High Rock Park and search for owls with Cliff Hagen. Walk the trails at night and seek out the quiet areas that owls prefer to hunt. A bright moon will light the way, but flashlights are acceptable. Meet in the main parking lot atop Nevada Avenue.
For more information call Cliff Hagen at 718-313-8591.

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Queens County Bird Club
Sunday, November 13, 2011
minitrip Floyd Bennett Field
Leader: Eric Miller 917-279-7530
Meet: 7:45am walk starts 8am
See map http://tinyurl.com/yhqsa6x
Birding Site Maps page

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Staten Island Museum
November 13, 2011 (9:00am - 11:00am)
Ecology Walk: Great Kills Park (FREE)
Join the annual Bill Flamm Walk out to Crooke's Point in search of migrant bird-life that section of Natural History member Bill Flamm so enjoyed. Meet in last parking area before Crooke's Point.
Call Seth Wollney for more information at 718.483.7105

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Fitness Hike
11:00 a.m.; 1:00 p.m.
This is a two-hour trek over hills and fairly rugged terrain with less talking and more...
Location: Mosholu Avenue & Broadway (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Fitness Hike
11:00 a.m.
Hiking is the ultimate way to enjoy the outdoors and reduce stress. Regardless of the...
Location: Mosholu Avenue & Broadway (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Cost: Free

Fall Foliage Hike (Light)
11:00 a.m.
Hiking is the ultimate way to enjoy the outdoors and reduce stress. Regardless of the...
Location: Rose and Oak Avenues (in Kissena Park), Queens
Cost: Free

Nature Hike
11:00 a.m.
Hiking is the ultimate way to enjoy the outdoors and reduce stress. Regardless of the...
Location: Blue Heron Nature Center (in Blue Heron Park), Staten Island
Cost: Free

Woodland Walk
1:00 p.m.
We connect children with nature to encourage active exploration of the natural world....
Location: Belvedere Castle (in Central Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

Astronomy
5:00 p.m.
The wonders of the universe are ready to be discovered and New York City parks are the...
Location: Fort Greene Park Visitor Center (in Fort Greene Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Night Hike
7:00 p.m.
Hiking is the ultimate way to enjoy the outdoors and reduce stress. Regardless of the...
Location: Inwood Hill Nature Center (in Inwood Hill Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nature Exploration
11:00 a.m.
Hiking is the ultimate way to enjoy the outdoors and reduce stress. Regardless of the...
Location: Dana Discovery Center (in Central Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

Moderate Orienteering
11:00 a.m.
Hiking is the ultimate way to enjoy the outdoors and reduce stress. Regardless of the...
Location: Clove Lakes Park Playground (in Clove Lakes Park), Staten Island
Cost: Free

Wilderness Survival
12:00 p.m.
What would you do if you found yourself lost in the woods? Do you know how to build your...
Location: Inwood Hill Nature Center (in Inwood Hill Park), Manhattan
Cost: Free

Birding: Winter Waterfowl
1:00 p.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. From falcons and salamanders, to...
Location: Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free

Moderate Fall Foliage Hike
3:00 p.m.
Hiking is the ultimate way to enjoy the outdoors and reduce stress. Regardless of the...
Location: Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
Cost: Free
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Saturday, November 05, 2011

New York City Rare Bird Alert

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

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Nov 4, 2011
* NYNY1111.04

- Birds Mentioned:

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
Wood Duck
EURASIAN WIGEON
Redhead
Red-throated Loon
GREAT SHEARWATER
Northern Gannet
Bald Eagle
Northern Goshawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
American Golden-Plover
Solitary Sandpiper
MARBLED GODWIT
Red Knot
Stilt Sandpiper
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Black-legged Kittiwake
Short-eared Owl
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Red-headed Woodpecker
WESTERN KINGBIRD
American Pipit
Orange-crowned Warbler
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT
Vesper Sparrow
Lapland Longspur
Pine Siskin


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, November 4th, at 11:00pm. The highlights of today's tape are GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, EURASIAN WIGEON, MARBLED GODWIT, GREAT SHEARWATER, WESTERN KINGBIRD, PROTHONOTARY WARBLER, and YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT.

Thanks to the bizarre October snowstorm, a changeover in seasonal birds has quickly taken place.

In the New York City area, the most unusual report was probably the WESTERN KINGBIRD, only seen briefly at Riis Park last Sunday morning. It was searched for extensively thereafter but could not be relocated.

Two or three VESPER SPARROWS were present at the Fort Tilden Community Garden Sunday, and a hawk watch on a good hawk flight day at Fort Tilden featured NORTHERN GOSHAWK, RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, and BALD EAGLE, while a SHORT-EARED OWL was seen coming in off the ocean.

At Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, a drake EURASIAN WIGEON was spotted today on the East Pond, north of the Big John's Pond overlook, and also at the bay were a REDHEAD on the West Pond and a flyover PINE SISKIN.

In other city parks, a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT lingered for a few days, at least to Wednesday, in Bryant Park, in the front and back of the New York Public Library off Fifth Avenue.

An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER and at least two VESPER SPARROWS visited Central Park on Tuesday, and the continuing immature RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was also seen that day.

A SHORT-EARED OWL was spotted migrating over Manhattan on Monday morning.

Fort Tilden had VESPER and LINCOLN SPARROWS last Monday.

A PROTHONOTARY WARBLER was reported Monday at Sunken Meadow State Park, this sighting perhaps involving the same bird seen back on October 22nd.

At Jones Beach West End, a lingering MARBLED GODWIT was still present Thursday on the bar off the Coast Guard Station, and good numbers of RED KNOT are among the other shorebirds gathering there. Lots of NORTHERN GANNETS are now migrating offshore. An immature LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was noted at Jones Beach field 6 on Tuesday.

An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER visited Cedar Beach Marina on Monday, and that day the Fire Island hawk watch at the eastern end of Robert Moses State Park recorded a NORTHERN GOSHAWK.

A LAPLAND LONGSPUR was among the landbirds migrating along Robert Moses State Park last Sunday. Decent numbers of AMERICAN PIPITS were also noted, while a good movement of seabirds offshore featured lots of scoters, RED-THROATED LOONS, and even 11 WOOD DUCKS.

An AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER was with the Black-bellieds just east of Heckscher State Park, field #6, on Monday.

Out east, on the North Fork, a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was on Marratooka Lake along New Suffolk Avenue in Mattituck on Monday, along with a seasonal assortment of ducks.

Another GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was on the favored field on the north side of Further Lane in East Hampton Tuesday, where it has apparently been present for a little while.

At Montauk Point last Saturday before the storm intensified, a flow of 300 or more GREAT SHEARWATERS was witnessed leaving Block Island Sound and heading for the open ocean. Also noted were an adult BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE and good numbers of Forster's and Common Terns. An earlier sea watch off Amagansett produced over 13,000 scoters of three species, lots of NORTHERN GANNETS and Double-crested Cormorants, and 62 RED-THROATED LOONS.

Five LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were spotted between Montauk, Hook Pond, and Mecox. Shorebirds in Montauk included two AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS near Montauk Inlet and a STILT SANDPIPER off Route 27 on Saturday, and a SOLITARY SANDPIPER at Deep Hollow Ranch on Monday.

NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS have been appearing lately, and this is a good time to encounter a Golden Eagle or two at our regional inland hawk watches.

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 ~
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Friday, November 04, 2011

October Birds

October was a fairly productive month. With migrating sparrows being my primary focus, it should be no surprise that three of my six new species were emberizidae..

Early in the month there were still plenty of warblers moving through the area, however, with grasses and wildflowers going to seed, I expected to see a surge of sparrows. To that end I began spending more time birding around the fields of Green-Wood Cemetery, Prospect Park, Calvert Vaux Park and Floyd Bennett Field. My first new year bird of October was a Philadelphia Vireo seen in Green-Wood. Leading a trip for the Linnaean Society, I had just left a wooded hillside next to the Sylvan Water when Heydi called. She and Rich Fried were still at the hillside and spotted a Philadelphia Vireo. Rarely seen in during Spring migration, my group and I high-tailed it back to the area where the bird was cooperatively feeding in a locust tree.

October 6th was a weird day in that I spotted a new sparrow in a very unexpected location...for the second time in three years. The parks department has reseeded an area of the baseball fields in Prospect Park and protected the spot with a large expanse of snow fencing. Birds quickly learn that people and dogs won't disturb them behind the fence and it is a hotspot of passerine activity. As I slowly circled the perimeter of the fenced field I tallied the following birds feeding in the grass: Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Common Yellowthroat, Palm Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow and Dark-eyed Junco. On my final loop I flushed a sparrow from a patch of long grass at the edge of the fence. It was a large-billed sparrow with a bright orange face and breast. The flighty bird only flew a few yards and I was able to look over the fence at a beautiful Nelson's Sparrow. The Nelson's Sparrow is a bird of marshes and, typically, the only places to see them in Brooklyn is Plum Beach and Marine Park's saltmarsh. Oddly, this is the second time that I've seen one in Prospect Park. The first time was two years ago in a similarly fenced off area on the baseball fields. This fenced off area was also where I spotted my year Vesper Sparrow, a bird which, apparently, has enjoyed the accommodations so much, that he has stuck around for a couple of weeks.

Completing my October sparrow list was a Lark Sparrow, which I spotted at a smaller enclosed area in Prospect Park, near what local birders have aptly named "The Sparrow Bowl".

One non-sparrow I added in October was the Eastern Meadowlark. I usually only find this bird on the Christmas Bird Count at Floyd Bennett Field, but this brilliant yellow grassland species was spotted both at Calvert Vaux Park and Prospect Park.

Finally, Heydi and I located an Orange-crowned Warbler in a weedy plot at Floyd Bennett Field's community garden. Ironically (or prophetically) it was about 10 seconds after I said, "We could still find an Orange-crowned Warbler this weekend." That means that I have seen all but one of the expected species of Eastern warblers in New York this year - Kentucky Warbler being the only exception.

I ended October with 252 species in the state of New York, 242 of those in Brooklyn.

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NYS total: 252
Kings total: 242

247) Philadelphia Vireo (Green-Wood Cemetery, 10/01/11)
248) Lark Sparrow (Prospect Park, 10/05/11)
249) Nelson's Sparrow (Prospect Park, 10/06/11)
250) Vesper Sparrow (Prospect Park, 10/12/11)
251) Eastern Meadowlark (Dreier-Offerman Park, 10/22/11)
252) Orange-crowned Warbler (Floyd Bennett Field, 10/22/11)
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