Saturday, March 31, 2012

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending March 30, 2012:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* March 30, 2012
* NYNY1203.30

- Birds Mentioned:

Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Glossy Ibis
Osprey
Piping Plover
Greater Yellowlegs
Purple Sandpiper
Iceland Gull
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Eastern Phoebe
Brown Creeper
Winter Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Hermit Thrush
Orange-crowned Warbler
Pine Warbler
Palm Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Yellow-breasted Chat
Dickcissel
Rusty Blackbird


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

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to nysarc1 AT nybirds.org .

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

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

~ Transcript ~

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

To report sightings call:
Tom Burke (212) 372-1483 (during the day except Sunday)
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, March 30th at 8:00pm. The highlights of today's tape are an influx of early spring migrants.

Ahhh, another short tape as we wait for spring migration to pick up steam. Most winter rarities have departed, and it will be interesting to see if true neotropical migrants start showing up on an earlier than usual schedule.

In Central Park, a good selection of early migrants has been present lately. These have included OSPREY, YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, EASTERN PHOEBE, HERMIT THRUSH, WINTER WREN, BROWN CREEPER, some GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS and fewer RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS, decent numbers of PINE WARBLERS and a few PALM WARBLERS, and RUSTY BLACKBIRD. The ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was reported again at the north end as recently as Wednesday.

Prospect Park produced a LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH at the Lullwater Thursday, as well as many of the previously mentioned species.

A BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER was noted at Coney Island Creek in Brooklyn Wednesday, but more surprising was a DICKCISSEL photographed at a private residence in Queens at their feeders last Sunday.

Among the waterfowl besides good numbers of WOOD DUCKS, some BLUE-WINGED TEAL are also showing up, including two at Sunken Meadow State Park on Monday and one in Brooklyn Wednesday.

Joining some GREAT EGRETS and SNOWY EGRETS and BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS was a LITTLE BLUE HERON at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge last Sunday, while farther east on Long Island, 16 GLOSSY IBIS plus GREATER YELLOWLEGS were at the Wertheim Estate in Shirley today.

At Hempstead Lake State Park, usually a good early migration site, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT was still around McDonald Pond today, and good numbers of PINE WARBLERS were also noted.

PIPING PLOVERS can be found now along the ocean beaches, including at Jones Beach West End, where a flock of PURPLE SANDPIPERS continues around the Jones Inlet jetties.

An ICELAND GULL was still at Iron Pier Beach at the end of Pier Avenue in Northville on Tuesday.

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

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

[~END TAPE~]

~ End Transcript ~
...Read more

Friday, March 30, 2012

New Migrants and Hawk Updates

I haven't posted much lately about the Spring migration or nesting hawk updates, primarily, because there hasn't been a lot of news to report. Here's a week wrap up of the local migration thus far, as well as, a Red-tailed Hawk update. UPDATED

There has been some bad news out of Manhattan concerning the borough's breeding Red-tailed Hawks. Three of their adult hawks have been found dead. I believe the cause in all cases has been rodenticide, that is, the hawks ate rats that had been poisoned. New York City Audubon Society has begun working with city agencies to address the problem. In Prospect Park, Nelly & Max have been incubating eggs for about 2 weeks now. I'm concerned about their annual use of the now dead Pine tree on Nelly's Lawn. Over successive breeding seasons their nest continues to grow and I'm afraid that the branch will eventually break from the weight. A living tree wouldn't be so brittle.

Prospect Park's second red-tailed pair, Alice & Ralph, have vanished. I've been searching for a possible new nest location, but have been unsuccessful. In Green-Wood Cemetery, Big Mama & Junior are typically the last pair to begin incubating eggs. It is getting very late in the season and there's no sign of Big Mama on the nest. Marge and I have only seen Junior in the vicinity of the nest, so I'm afraid that something may have happened to her.

UPDATE Marge called me last night with good news. She had been staking out Junior's perch on the Bishop Ford High School radio tower for about 45 minutes. When he finally took off, she spotted him flying into a cedar tree on the "Hill of Graves". This is the tree where the pair had nested back in 2007, and only about 100 yards from their nest tree of the subsequent 4 years. Anyway, as Marge scanned the cedar tree she found Big Mama quietly sitting on eggs in a new nest.

While searching for Alice & Ralph I came across this Bloodroot wildflower in Prospect Park's woodlands. I'd never noticed them before and perhaps Prospect Park's Landscape Management Office has just begun planting them. Coincidentally, that day I received in the mail "A Native Plants Reader" from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. On the cover was a photograph of Bloodroot flowers. According to the book, populations of Bloodroot have become rare around NYC. I am not sure if it was due to a sudden drop in temperature, or just the ephemeral nature of this lovely wildflower, but within a week this white exclamation point dotting Prospect Park's forest had all but vanished. Sometimes it is just a matter of luck, being in the right place at the right time. Who knows, maybe they've been blooming in the woods every year and I've just missed them.

Between Prospect Park and Green-Wood Cemetery, over the last week I've seen a marked increase in the number of Eastern Phoebes. Pine Warblers continue to be seen (and heard) although not in any great numbers. Last Saturday Heydi and I spotted our first Palm Warbler of the season. It was foraging for insects in the grass below Battle Hill in Green-Wood Cemetery. Another nice seasonal sighting at the cemetery was of a Great Egret. These large wading birds have been reported throughout the city over the past week. One usually ends up sticking around Green-Wood until the Fall migration. There are, apparently, plenty of koi in the ponds for a large egret to feast on. I watched one on Wednesday slowly circling Crescent Water, stopping every few minutes to snatch a finger-sized fish from the water. Probably the only bird powerful enough to take the oversized, grandparents of those fries would be an Osprey, which, by the way, have also now appeared all around Brooklyn.

Another new winged Spring arrival this week was my first Black Swallowtail. I spotted this tattered butterfly on Wednesday as it fed on dandelion nectar.



Finally, here's a short slideshow of Callery Pear, cherry, Flowering Quince, forsythia, magnolia and squill from over the past week:



**********

Date: Mar 21, 2012 - Mar 30, 2012
Locations: Green-Wood Cemetery, Prospect Park
Species: 48

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Mallard
GREAT EGRET
Osprey
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Monk Parakeet
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
EASTERN PHOEBE
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Brown Creeper
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Winter Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
PALM WARBLER
PINE WARBLER
Chipping Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow
...Read more

Friday's Foto

During the Spring migration Palm Warblers are usually the second wood-warbler species to arrive around NYC after Pine Warbler. Last Saturday I spotted my first one of the year in Green-Wood Cemetery.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Wildlife Fundraiser

Bobby and Cathy Horvath of "Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation" are having a fundraiser to benefit their rescue operations. It will be this Saturday, March 31, 2012 in East Meadow, Long Island (click the flyer to enlarge).

Treehugger Tuesday

World Water Day

Last Thursday was World Water Day 2012. Watch the video below to understand the link between food security and water. Check out the Frequently Asked Questions page, as well.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Green-Wood Birding

Come look for early Spring migrants, Monk Parakeets, nesting Red-tailed Hawks, early Spring blooms and more at Green-Wood Cemetery on Wednesday morning, March 28. See my tours page for more information.

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips within NYC's five boroughs for the weekend of March 31, 2012 - April 1, 2012:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, March 31, 2012
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, April 1, 2011, 8 a.m.
Morning Bird Walk: Changing Seasons, Changing Birds
Free See the birds that call the Park home all winter. Start your Sunday morning surrounded by nature!

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.

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Sunday, April 1st, 2012
Birding the North Bronx border

http://www.hras.org/wtobird/twinlakes.html

http://tinyurl.com/PelhamBayPk

Trip Leader: Peter Dorosh
Focus: early spring passerines, raptors, sparrows, late waterfowl, herons and egrets
Car Fee: $25.00
Registrar: Peter Dorosh, Email Prosbird [AT] aol.com or TEXT Message 347-622-3559
Registration period: March 20th - March 29th
Note: likely locations will be Twin lakes/Nature Study Preserve and Pelham Bay Park

**********

Littoral Society
March 31, 2012 (10am-1pm)
Early Spring Bird Migration Hike at Jamaica Bay Refuge
Many birds return to the refuge early. We'll look for great egret, laughing gull, American oystercatcher, phoebe, osprey and more.
Leader: Don Riepe. Free (With NYC Audubon). Call (718) 318-9344; e-mail: donriepe [AT] gmail.com

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, March 31, 2012
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, March 31, 2012, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walk
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 residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 718-548-0912. No registration necessary. No limit. Free.

Saturday, March 31, 2012, 10am – 1pm
Early Spring Migrants at Jamaica Bay
Guides: Don Riepe With Gateway National Recreation Area Meet at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. Hike around the East and West Ponds and gardens to look for osprey, as well as returning ibis, egrets, oystercatchers, phoebes, and other migrants. To register, contact Don Riepe at 718-318-9344 or donriepe [AT] gmail.com. Limited to 25. Free

**********

North Shore Audubon Society
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Alley Pond Park, 76th Avenue
Leader: Lenore Figueroa 718-343-1391
Walks are for beginners and experienced birders alike.
Trips start at 9:30 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.

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Sunday, April 1, 2012, noon to 3 p.m.
Protectors Semi-Annual Spring Meeting
Get to know more about Protectors and the projects we're working on. Then, dust off your binoculars and dig out your field guides as we brush up on field identification skills at this kick-off to spring workshop. Learn about the trails of the Greenbelt and how we can fit you up with a family outing next weekend at a natural area near you. Free admission and refreshments. Located at the Greenbelt Nature Center, 700 Rockland Avenue at Brielle. For more information call 718-751-6629.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bird Walks
8:00 a.m.
Focus on wildlife happenings in the park with NYC Audubon experts and the Urban Park...
Location: Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Free!

Introduction to Birdwatching
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Look, up in the sky, it’s a bird! But what kind? Take a tour and learn about the...
Location: Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
Free!

Exploring Clouds
1:00 p.m.
Is our unusual weather part of a natural pattern, or are we experiencing a global change?...
Location: Fort Totten Visitor's Center (in Fort Totten Park), Queens
Free!

Insect Exploration
1:00 p.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. From falcons and salamanders, to...
Location: Belvedere Castle (in Central Park), Manhattan
Free!

Wilderness Survival
1:00 p.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
Free!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Garden and Conservatory Walk at Wave Hill
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Join us for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Photo credit: Wave Hill
Location: Perkins Visitors Center (in Wave Hill), Bronx

Discover Tours
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Talk a walk with one of our naturalists to watch for animals, and investigate little-known...
Location: Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
Free!
...Read more

Friday, March 23, 2012

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, March 23, 2012:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* March 23, 2012
* NYNY1203.23

- Birds Mentioned:

EURASIAN WIGEON
GREEN-WINGED TEAL (Eurasian form)
Common Eider
HARLEQUIN DUCK
Red-necked Grebe
Snowy Egret
Glossy Ibis
Osprey
Clapper Rail
Piping Plover
Purple Sandpiper
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Eastern Phoebe
Blue-headed Vireo
Tree Swallow
Marsh Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Orange-crowned Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Saltmarsh Sparrow


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 (during the day except Sunday)
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, March 23rd at 8:00pm. The highlights of today's tape are EURASIAN WIGEON, EURASIAN FORM OF GREEN-WINGED TEAL, HARLEQUIN DUCKS, and spring migrants.

Not unexpectedly given the prolonged bout of very warm March weather, some movement of migrants into the area has taken place this week. PINE WARBLERS have appeared in reasonable numbers throughout the area, as have EASTERN PHOEBES and TREE SWALLOWS. Perhaps the most unexpected, given the date, was a BLUE-HEADED VIREO seen Thursday at Marshlands Conservancy in Rye, with three SNOWY EGRETS there today. Other early arrivals have featured three GLOSSY IBIS last Saturday at Terrell River County Park in East Moriches, and such passerines as MARSH WREN, BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER, and SALTMARSH SPARROW. OSPREY and CLAPPER RAIL are among others moving in.

In Central Park an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER has been present at the Meer from Sunday through today, and another continues in Kissena Park in Queens.

The Union Square Park YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT was still present recently down off East 14th Street in Manhattan, often near the Gandhi statue, and another Chat was seen again Thursday near McDonald Pond at Hempstead Lake State Park.

Some RED-NECKED GREBES remain in Jamaica Bay off Floyd Bennett Field.

At Jones Beach, some PIPING PLOVERS were on the West End beach last weekend, with some PURPLE SANDPIPERS remaining around the West End jetty. Four HARLEQUIN DUCKS were still on the Point Lookout side of Jones Inlet Sunday, and a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was on the Point Lookout Town Park parking lot on Saturday.

At Tobay, a Eurasian form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL was seen on an excavated pond west of the main pond last Sunday.

Farther east, a EURASIAN WIGEON was still residing on Cooper's Neck Pond at Southampton Sunday. Also on Sunday, two LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were at Sagg Pond, and the overwintering bird at Napeague was still at the end of Lazy Point Road. RED-NECKED GREBE was off Mecox Sunday, and good numbers of COMMON EIDER continue around Shinnecock Inlet.

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

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

[~END TAPE~]

~ End Transcript ~
...Read more

Friday's Foto

According to "Bull's Birds of New York State", Greater Yellowlegs are one of only a few species of shorebirds that are uncommon but regular in winter along New York's coast. It is still a bit early in the season, so I assume that this pair overwintered in the area and are not premature migrants. Here's a good comparison of the Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

City Birder Tour Review

Mary Bakija of the "Ditmas Park Corner" website gave a very nice write up of one of my City Birder Tours in Prospect Park:

"This spring, a quiet weekday morning in Prospect Park is actually quite bustling. The warm winter has affected plant and animal life, including a slightly different bird migration pattern. And if you’re available on a Tuesday or Thursday morning, City Birder Rob Jett will take you on a tour through the park and tell you all about it."

You can read her entire review here.

Warbler Video

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology produced this great, short video on birding warblers. With warbler migration quickly approaching, I think it is a really good way to get us all in the mood. The video includes some fine close-up footage of Blue-winged Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Pine Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Mourning Warbler and Hooded Warbler. I highly recommend changing the video quality to 720p HD (or the 1080p HD, if your system can handle it) and viewing it full screen.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Birding in Pea Soup

Saturday morning Heydi and I waded through the early morning pea soup fog at Marine Park looking for new Spring migrants. We also spent a couple of hours at Floyd Bennett Field after the weather cleared. This is what it looked like when we arrived at the west side of Gerritsen Creek at 8am. Heydi thought our chances of finding any new birds were pretty slim, while I was completely amused by the conditions and thought it might make for some interesting photographs.

We could make out the dim silhouettes of birds close to the shore, mostly Canada Geese and Ring-billed Gulls, as well as, several oystercatchers calling non-stop as they flew back and forth across the creek. I joked that they had to constantly whistle otherwise they would crash into each other within the curtain of white that enveloped the area. These noisy birds were new for me for 2012 and the first oystercatchers of the year at the creek.

A Killdeer called from somewhere near the east side of the creek. Once the fog lifted, we spotted this outspoken plover with an orange rump flying across the water and onto White Island. Near the south end of the creek a Boat-tailed Grackle called from his perch in a spindly, bare tree. Marine Park is one of only a couple of places in Brooklyn where this large, iridescent blackbird can be reliably found during the Spring and Summer months. Boat-tailed Grackles make a very "interesting" range of vocalizations and, as much as I love listening to wildlife, I would never want to live next to a flock of these verbose birds.

The fog eventually lifted as we worked our way back towards Avenue U and the East side of the creek. Along the way we saw our first Tree Swallows of the season. While standing adjacent to the small cove in front of the nature center I noticed my first Osprey of the year. The large raptor was flying south above Flatbush Avenue. Last year the nature center erected a couple of Osprey nest platforms near the cove. A pair hung around the area for a while that year, but didn't nest. With a little luck, maybe this year Gerritsen Creek will see its first nesting Osprey in probably one hundred years.

At Floyd Bennett Field we ran into Steve Nanz leading a group for the Brooklyn Bird Club. We all walked the runway near Field G hoping to relocate the overwintering Northern Shrike, but were unsuccessful. Perhaps it finally headed back north. A pair of Turkey Vultures circled the area and we spotted a few more Tree Swallows heading North. The Return-a-Gift Pond at the north end of Floyd Bennett Field has been devoid of waterfowl most of the winter, but on Saturday there was a small flock of Gadwall, Green-winged Teal and Hooded Merganser. Spring Peepers have emerged and were calling from around the pond. A walk through the "North 40" revealed a couple of phoebes and a pair of Great Blue Herons flying over Four Sparrow Marsh across the parkway to the North.

One other sighting of interest were three Greater Yellowlegs at a small pond adjacent to Mill Basin a short walk along the beach West of Raptor Point. It is an overlooked habitat that has the potential for some interesting shorebirds or waterfowl. If you go to Floyd Bennett Field, I created a Google map with relevant birding locations noted.

**********

Date: 03/17/12
Locations: Floyd Bennett Field, Marine Park--Southwest
Number of Species: 48

Brant
Gadwall (8.)
American Wigeon (2.)
Northern Shoveler (2.)
Green-winged Teal (12.)
Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye (3.)
Hooded Merganser (2.)
Red-breasted Merganser (1.)
Ruddy Duck (1.)
Ring-necked Pheasant (2.)
Pied-billed Grebe (4.)
Double-crested Cormorant (2.)
Great Blue Heron (2.)
Turkey Vulture (2.)
Osprey (1.)
Sharp-shinned Hawk (1.)
Red-tailed Hawk (1.)
American Kestrel (2.)
Merlin (1.)
American Coot (2.)
Killdeer (1.)
American Oystercatcher (5.)
Greater Yellowlegs (3.)
Ring-billed Gull
Eastern Phoebe (2.)
American Crow
Tree Swallow (5.)
Northern Mockingbird
Yellow-rumped Warbler (1.)
American Tree Sparrow (1.)
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco (1.)
Boat-tailed Grackle (4.)

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

Ear Birding Season

I usually wait until the first week of April before posting about ear-birding, but Spring migration appears to be running ahead of schedule.

Cherry blossoms aren't the only things arriving early this year. Here is Cornell's eBird BirdCast Migration Forecast for this week:

"Expect another week of record early arrivals and large numbers of migrants across much of the continent. Mild conditions will dominate away from the far west where unsettled weather will continue. A large high pressure system will once again become the dominant weather system through almost the entire forecast period with a prolonged period of southerly winds stretching from the Rockies to the East Coast. The Pacific Northwest will continue to see one low pressure system after another marching in off the ocean, with stormy conditions the general rule. Even the normally dry Southwest could see a low pressure system and precipitation early next week before returning to more tranquil weather. This low pressure system will move into the central U.S by the middle of the week with unsettled weather likely."

Read the entire report here.

I thought it would be a good idea to remind everyone of the importance of exercising one's ears in preparation for the Spring songbird chorus. For those of you who have participated in one of my walks, you know how important sound is for me in locating and identifying songbirds. That ability is available to anyone with decent hearing and the help of a great learning tool - Peterson's Birding By Ear series. This isn't a commercial for Peterson's (I don't make any money off of CD sales), I just believe it is the best tool available for learning and appreciating bird vocalizations. There are two sets of discs for eastern birds - "Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central" and "More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central." You'll need both to have all the relevant species. Below is a chart of the tracks that I think you will benefit most from by learning. It's not difficult. The tracks are divided into similar sounding songs with simple mnemonics given, as well as, repetition and comparisons. If you don't have iTunes on your computer, you can download it for free (you can certainly use other music software, but iTunes is easy). After it is installed, just import the suggested tracks below and create a playlist of the eight tracks. I find that it also helps to look at the birds in your field guide as you are listening, to associate the sound with the image. I promise that if you listen to these tracks every other day for the next two weeks, you will surprise yourself at how easily you'll identify some of these birds.

Track Name CD Title Disc # Track #
Sing-songers Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 1 4
Warbling Songsters Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 2 6
Wood Warblers and a Warbling Wren Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 3 1
Warblers: Buzzy More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 2 1
Warblers: Simple More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 2 2
Warblers: Two-Parted More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 2 3
Warblers: Complex More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 2 4
Empidonax Flycatchers More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 1 4

Botanic Garden Blooms

The unusually warm weather has pushed Cherry blossoms ahead of their normal schedule in the nation's capital. The National Park Service has even changed Washington DC's blossom peak twice this week, to nearly a month early. Robin and I walked over to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden on Sunday to see if NYC's blooms were also early. Okame cherry seemed to be the only cherry trees in bloom, however, magnolias appeared to be close to peak. I overhead one person say that a garden employee told them that the blooms were about 3 weeks ahead of schedule, so get over there before it's too late! Here's a link to the BBG's blossom status map.

Treehugger Tuesday

New frog discovered in New York City

According to a recent article in the New York Times, a previously unknown species of frog has been discovered in New York:

A New Species in New York Was Croaking in Plain Sight
By Lisa W. Foderaro

The croak gave it away.

On a foray into the wilds of Staten Island in 2009, Jeremy A. Feinberg, a doctoral candidate in ecology and evolution at Rutgers University, heard something strange as he listened for the distinctive mating call of the southern leopard frog — usually a repetitive chuckle. But this was a single cluck.

“I started hearing these calls, and I realized they were really distinct,” Mr. Feinberg said.

Three years later, Mr. Feinberg and four other scientists who joined him in multiple field and laboratory studies, are finally comfortable making their declaration: a new species of leopard frog — as yet unnamed — has been identified in New York City and a number of surrounding counties.

The find is surprising on a number of fronts, not least of which is that the new frog was hiding in plain sight in one of the most populated centers in the world. (Most new species are found in remote areas.) And it illustrates the power of genetic testing in parsing more finely those animals that may be nearly identical in appearance, but are, in fact, of different species.

There are more than a dozen leopard frogs, ranging from Canada to Central America. Medium in size, with dark spots on a tan, olive or green background, they gravitate toward grassy meadows and breed in ponds or pools. The researchers say that the new frog species was confused for a long time with the southern leopard frog, which it closely resembles.

Its known range is limited, more or less, to commuting distance from Midtown Manhattan, stretching from around Trenton, N.J., in the south, to Putnam County, N.Y., to the north.

“Here is a brand-new species, and it’s not a species of bacteria or a barely visible insect,” said H. Bradley Shaffer, a professor in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California at Los Angeles. “It’s a big amphibian, and kids have probably been catching and playing with it for years,” he said. “Even in an urban center like New York, where herpetologists have tromped all over for a century or more, there can be new species out there. That shows the importance of urban areas in terms of conservation and biodiversity.”

The findings are to be published in an issue of the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, but are currently available online. Much of the genetic analysis was performed in Professor Shaffer’s laboratory at the University of California at Davis, where he worked until recently.

There, with his encouragement, Catherine E. Newman, an evolutionary biologist who had done her master’s thesis on the southern leopard frog, studied the frog’s DNA, taken from samples sent by Mr. Feinberg and others. She compared it with the DNA of southern and northern leopard frogs, which range widely north and south of New York City.

Local amphibian fans can be forgiven for not noticing the new frog’s unique nature. “I wouldn’t know which one I was holding because they all look so similar,” said Ms. Newman, who is now pursuing her Ph.D. at Louisiana State University. “But all of our results showed this one’s lineage is very clearly genetically distinct.”

So far, Mr. Feinberg has positively identified the new species on Staten Island, although he says it probably once inhabited Manhattan and the other boroughs. He has found specimens in the Meadowlands and the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey, and Putnam and Orange Counties in New York. Some frogs were also collected in central Connecticut.

“It’s a very small range and even if we went back 400 to 500 years, it probably would have been considered a rare animal,” he said.

The dead center of the known range, oddly, is near Yankee Stadium, even though the frog has not yet been found in the Bronx.

“I think that at this point it’s very important to do additional surveys,” Professor Shaffer said. The frog’s range “may be no wider than we have found or it may be wider.”

Over the years, a few other scientists almost identified the new species, but fell short. In 1936, one esteemed herpetologist wrote that he suspected there was a third frog species in the general New York City area. But he did not investigate further.

In the early 1970s, another scientist went on a listening tour of the various leopard frogs’ mating calls while driving from Florida to the Northeast. “She missed this entire area,” Mr. Feinberg said. “She might have been driving on I-95 and just skipped over the weird call area.”

As the lead author on a second paper that is to explore the physical characteristics and call of the new frog, Mr. Feinberg will have the honor of naming rights, choosing a scientific and common name. For now he’s not letting the frog out of the bag.

“I’ve given it lots of thought,” he said. “Part of me has always wanted to call these New York leopard frogs, but I think people in New Jersey and Connecticut will protest. I have to balance the politics with the naming.”
...Read more

Monday, March 19, 2012

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips within NYC's five boroughs for the weekend of March 24, 2012 - March 25, 2012:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, March 24, 2012
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, March 25, 2012, 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.

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Sunday, March 25th, 2012
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Trip Leader: Bob Washburn
Car Fee: $12.00 or via public transportation "A" train
Registrar: James Cooke, email james [AT] jamescooke.net or before 9 PM 516-739-0647
Registration period: March 13th- March 22nd
Focus: late winter species, departing ducks, returning marsh waterfowl, sparrows, raptors, early returning spring migrants

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, March 24, 2012
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, March 24, 2012, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walk
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 residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 718-548-0912. No registration necessary. No limit. Free.

Saturday, March 24, 2012, 8am – 11pm
Beginning Birding Field Trip: Central Park
Classes: Mondays, March 12 and March 19, 6:30-8:30pm Trips: Saturday, March 17, 10am-2pm (Jamaica Bay) and Saturday, March 24, 8-11am (Central Park) Instructor: Starr Saphir Learn to identify the birds that migrate northwards through New York City from Central and South America. Includes two classes and two trips—one to Central Park to see vireos, warblers, and tanagers, and one to Jamaica Bay to see herons, egrets, and shorebirds. Limited to 13. $85 for package of 2 trips and 2 classes. Click here to register

**********

North Shore Audubon Society
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Leader: Lenore Figueroa 718-343-1391
Walks are for beginners and experienced birders alike.
Trips start at 9:30 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.

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, March 24, 2012, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
High Rock Park and Pouch Camp
Early migrating birds begin to arrive with the first signs of spring. Kinglets and Phoebes should be present in the woods. Learn to identify migrating waterfowl in flight or on Orbach Lake and the surrounding kettle ponds. Meet in the Nevada Avenue parking lot and be prepared for muddy trails. Waterproof sneakers or boots are suggested.
For more information call Howie Fisher at 718-981-4002.

Sunday, March 25, 2012, 3:30 p.m. 5:30 p.m.
Deer, Doves and Ducks
Walk the length of River Road, the southern boundary of the defunct NASCAR site. Discover the beauty of the area while we search out roaming deer, and an assortment of birds with a focus on migrating waterfowl. The fresh water, tidal creeks and salty Kill provide a variety of habitat for an array of birds. Meet at the corner of River Road and Chelsea Avenue.
For more information call Cliff Hagen at 718- 313-8591.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bird Walks
8:00 a.m.
Focus on wildlife happenings in the park with NYC Audubon experts and the Urban Park...
Location: Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Free!

Exploring the Water Cycle
11:00 a.m.
Is our unusual weather part of a natural pattern, or are we experiencing a global...
Location: Dana Discovery Center (in Central Park), Manhattan
Free!

Nature Photography: Winter Woods
11:00 a.m.
It has been said that art takes nature as its model. The beauty of nature has inspired many...
Location: High Rock Ranger Station (in High Rock Park), Staten Island
Free!

Introduction to Birdwatching
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Look, up in the sky, it’s a bird! But what kind? Take a tour and learn about the...
Location: Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
Free!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Freshkills Park March Birding Tour
10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Join us as we search for the birds of Freshkills Park along the site's wetlands, creeks and...
Location: Eltingville Transit Center (in Freshkills Park), Staten Island
Free!

Birding: Eagles
1:00 p.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. From falcons and salamanders, to...
Location: Raoul Wallenberg Forest at 232 Street (in Riverdale Park), Bronx
Free!

William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge Hike
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Join the Greenbelt Educators on a hike around the William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge. We'll...
Location: Native Plant Center, Staten Island
Free!

Exploring the Water
1:00 p.m.
Is our unusual weather part of a natural pattern, or are we experiencing a global...
Location: Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
Free!

Garden and Conservatory Walk at Wave Hill
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Join us for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free with admission to the...
Location: Perkins Visitors Center (in Wave Hill), Bronx

Discover Tours
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Talk a walk with one of our naturalists to watch for animals, and investigate little-known...
Location: Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, March 17, 2012

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, March 16, 2012:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Mar. 16, 2012
* NYNY1203.16

- Birds mentioned

Wood Duck
EURASIAN WIGEON
Blue-winged Teal
Red-necked Grebe
Osprey
Clapper Rail
Piping Plover
American Woodcock
Laughing Gull
ICELAND GULL
Lesser Black-backed Gull
SNOWY OWL
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Eastern Phoebe
NORTHERN SHRIKE
Common Raven
Eastern Bluebird
American Pipit
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT
Eastern Meadowlark

- 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

(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, March 16th 2012 at 7pm. The highlights of today's tape are SNOWY OWL, EURASIAN WIGEON, NORTHERN SHRIKE, ICELAND GULL, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT and some early Spring migrants.

With the March doldrums apparently upon us most of the rarities continue to be holdovers with many of these on eastern Long Island.

The SNOWY OWL at Napeague was still present Saturday viewed from the end of Lazy Point Road and the adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL continues in the same location. In Southampton a EURASIAN WIGEON was still on Cooper's Neck Pond up through Thursday. The NORTHERN SHRIKE in Calverton was seen again Saturday. This bird has wintered in fields along the power line on the east side of Hulse Landing Road north of its intersection with Route 25A.

Locally, in Brooklyn Sunday, a RED-NECKED GREBE was spotted off Coney Island and an ICELAND GULL was found in Coney Island Creek. In Queens a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was present last Saturday at Saint John's Cemetery off Metropolitan Avenue near Forest Park and in Manhattan the YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT at Union Square Park off East 14th Street was still near the Gandhi statue yesterday.

COMMON RAVENS continue to be seen including possibly the same bird in Amityville Thursday and then in Babylon today.

AMERICAN WOODCOCK, often in decent numbers, are now displaying at most suitable locations including Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

Among the recent arrivals have been some WOOD DUCKS, a BLUE-WINGED TEAL at Alley Pond Park Monday, OSPREY, CLAPPER RAIL, PIPING PLOVER, a LAUGHING GULL in Brooklyn Sunday, some YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS, EASTERN PHOEBES and AMERICAN PIPITS, EASTERN BLUEBIRD and EASTERN MEADOWLARK.

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, March 16, 2012

Friday's Foto

Within the past week, large numbers of migrating American Robins have descended on NYC's parks and backyards. This thrush's arrival in March is recognized by many as being the first sign of Spring. According to "The Birds of North America", it is the "most abundant, and most widespread North American thrush." Three states have designated the robin as their state bird:  Connecticut, Michigan and Wisconsin. Robins are probably the most common breeding bird in Brooklyn's Prospect Park.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Coney Island Birds & Boats

On Sunday I led a Linnaean Society group on what has become my usual winter walking loop of Coney Island, which includes the western end of the boardwalk to Coney Island Creek and back. When back at the boardwalk we also continued for a short distance, east, towards Brighton Beach. The whole walk is about 4 miles, but with good company and good birds, it seems a lot shorter distance. While perhaps not as productive as the last Linnaean trip (Eurasian Wigeon, Red-Necked Grebe, Northern Shrike and Lapland Longspur), we still managed a couple of nice highlights.

Strong west-south-west winds in the early morning kicked up substantial whitecaps on the Lower Bay making spotting birds on the water challenging. A single Red-necked Grebe was seen on the west side of Steeplechase Pier, possibly the same one that has been in that general area all winter. Loons were nearly non-existent, we didn't see any scoters and merganser numbers were much lower than in previous weeks. At first I didn't think any Long-tailed Ducks were around until a fairly large flock, which was invisible in the chop right in front of us, took flight. The high-tide and gusting winds pushed the surf up over the western jetty forcing the Purple Sandpiper flock practically up against the chain-link fence that separates Seagate and Coney Island. It was possibly the only benefit to the tempestuous wind and water.

An unusually high-tide had Coney Island Creek's gull sand-spit reduced to just a narrow stretch of beach. The expected roost of several hundred birds was only a paltry few dozen individuals. All was not lost, however.

The allure of Coney Island Creek is not just in the variety of birds found here, but also in the unique landscape. Sections of the creek are littered with the remains of sunken barges and other ships, as well as, one small submarine. I've been curious about the history of these derelict scows and how they ended up here and finally found some answers. According to the book "The Fascinating Forgotten Wrecks of New York Harbor" by Gregory Peduto, "...Most of the creek's wrecks were construction barges from the Verrazano Narrows Bridge project, but many older locals recall a time when World War II vessels were stripped of parts and abandoned there". My friend Dave has told me stories about how when was very young he used to play on abandoned military landing crafts that littered the shores of Coney Island Creek and Floyd Bennetty Field. As for the submarine, the New York Times published an interesting article about it here.

The slowly rotting remains of these ships are like an artificial reef and offer a convenient roosting and foraging place for a variety wildlife. During the summer months Black-crowned Night-Herons can be found quietly resting within the exposed beams. Year round, waterfowl forage around the edges of the old ships. During the winter months, Ring-billed Gulls are the dominant species sleeping or preening on these wooden islands. On Sunday, while scanning a small flock of Ring-billed, Herring and Great Black-back Gulls roosting on one of the partially submerged barges, I located an unexpected rarity - an Iceland Gull. The cooperative bird remained resting in that spot for at least 45 minutes and was still present when we left. Here's another view of the bird:



Near the mouth of the creek a small flock of courting Red-breasted Mergansers comically stretched their necks out, pointed their bills skyward and danced along the water. A couple of males seemed confused by a juvenile male, whose plumage looks very similar to the female's.

When we returned to the boardwalk, I stopped to scan a flock of mostly Ring-billed Gulls on the sand near the aquarium. My first Laughing Gull of the year was tucked in among the nearly homogenous flock of ringed-bills. It seems a little early for this bird, however I think this season has been anything but typical.

**********

Date: 03/11/12
Locations: Coney Island and Coney Island Creek
Number of Species: 34

Brant
Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Gadwall
American Wigeon
American Black Duck
Mallard
Long-tailed Duck
Bufflehead
Red-breasted Merganser
Red-throated Loon
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe
Red-necked Grebe
Northern Gannet
Great Blue Heron
American Coot
Killdeer
Purple Sandpiper
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
ICELAND GULL
Great Black-backed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
American Crow
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
House Finch
House Sparrow
...Read more

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Green-Wood Birding

Come look for early Spring migrants, Monk Parakeets, nesting Red-tailed Hawks, early Spring blooms and more on Wednesday, March 21. See my tours page for more information.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Treehugger Tuesday

"Sea Shepard" Effective in Disrupting Japanese Whaling Fleet

BBC News
9 March 2012
Japan ends whaling season short of quota

Japan has ended its whaling season with less than a third of its annual target, said the country's Fisheries Agency.

The whaling ships headed home from the Antarctic Ocean this week with 266 minke whales and one fin whale, falling short of its quota of about 900.

The agency blamed "sabotage" by anti-whaling activists for the shortfall.

Japan conducts "legal research" on whales each year, but activists say it is a cover for commercial whaling banned under an international treaty.

"The catch was smaller than planned due to factors including weather conditions and sabotage acts by activists," an agency official was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.

"There were definitely sabotage campaigns behind the figure."

The US-based anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd follows the Japanese fleet south every year in a bid to disrupt its hunt.

"I think it's been a very successful campaign," said the group's president, Paul Watson. "I predicted they wouldn't take over 30% and they got 26% so we were right on that one."

There has been a ban on commercial whaling for 25 years, but Japan catches about 1,000 whales each year in what it says is a scientific research programme.
Legal action

The Australian government also welcomed Japan's decision to recall its whaling fleet.

"Japan's whaling activities are contrary to international law," the government said. "That is why Australia commenced and will continue legal action in the International Court of Justice."

Environmentalists have actively resisted Japan's whaling activities.

In January, three activists said they suffered cuts and bruises after clashing with a Japanese ship, the Yushin Maru No 2, about 300 miles (482km) north of Mawson Peninsula off the coast of Antarctica.

The Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR), which sponsors Japan's whaling activities, also said the activists were trying to ''sabotage'' the Yushin Maru, throwing ropes with hooks attached and hurling glass bottles of paint.

The vessel was one of the security ships escorting the whaling fleet.

The week before the incident, Japan handed three anti-whaling activists who had boarded a whaling support ship back to Australian authorities.
...Read more

Monday, March 12, 2012

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips within NYC's five boroughs for the weekend of March 17, 2012 - March 18, 2012:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Saturday, March 17, 2012
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, March 18, 2012, 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.

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, March 17, 2012
"A Mystery Trip"
Trip Leader: Steve Nanz
Car Fee: between $20.00 -$25.00 depending on location(s) decided
Registrar: Heidi Nanz email heidi.steiner [AT] verizon.net or call before 8 PM (718) 369-2116
Registration period: March 6th- March 15th
Focus: Winter species passage, early spring migrants, waterfowl, whatever species determined by leader's selected locations
Note: This trip's location or additional sites will be determined by Steve during the week based on the latest internet Listserves and Rare Bird Alert reports.

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, March 17, 2012
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, March 17, 2012, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walk
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 residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 718-548-0912. No registration necessary. No limit. Free.

Saturday, March 17, 2012, 10am – 2pm
Beginning Birding Field Trip: Jamaica Bay
Classes: Mondays, March 12 and March 19, 6:30-8:30pm Trips: Saturday, March 17, 10am-2pm (Jamaica Bay) and Saturday, March 24, 8-11am (Central Park) Instructor: Starr Saphir Learn to identify the birds that migrate northwards through New York City from Central and South America. Includes two classes and two trips—one to Central Park to see vireos, warblers, and tanagers, and one to Jamaica Bay to see herons, egrets, and shorebirds. Limited to 13. $85 for package of 2 trips and 2 classes. Click here to register

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, March 17, 2012, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Forest Restoration Workshop between Moses Mountain and SeaView
Meet in the Nevada Avenue parking lot at High Rock Park. If you come late, walk to the first bend of the entry road, follow the Yellow Trail past Moses Mountain and take the unmarked trail to the right toward SeaView where we will be removing plants and cutting alien vines. If you don’t have your own, Protectors will supply tools, gloves and refreshments. After a two hour work session (our 189th 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, March 17, 2012

Bird Walks
8:00 a.m.
Focus on wildlife happenings in the park with NYC Audubon experts and the Urban Park...
Location: Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Free!

Nature Photography: Winter Landscapes
1:00 p.m.
It has been said that art takes nature as its model. The beauty of nature has inspired many...
Location: Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
Free!

Fitness Hike (Vigorous)
1:00 p.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
Free!

The Night Sky
7:00 p.m.
The wonders of the universe are ready to be discovered and New York City parks are the...
Location: Wolfe's Pond Park Comfort Station (in Wolfes Pond Park), Staten Island
Free!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Nature Exploration (Light)
11:00 a.m.
Hiking is the ultimate way to enjoy the outdoors and reduce stress. Regardless of the...
Location: Bloomingdale Park Playground (in Bloomingdale Park), Staten Island
Free!

Exploring Clouds
1:00 p.m.
Is our unusual weather part of a natural pattern, or are we experiencing a global change?...
Location: Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
Free!

Garden and Conservatory Walk at Wave Hill
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Join us for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free with admission to the...
Location: Perkins Visitors Center (in Wave Hill), Bronx
...Read more

Friday, March 09, 2012

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, March 9, 2012:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Mar. 9, 2012
* NYNY1203.09

- Birds mentioned

RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

EURASIAN WIGEON
KING EIDER
HARLEQUIN DUCK
Red-necked Grebe
Osprey
American Woodcock
ICELAND GULL
GLAUCOUS GULL
Razorbill
NORTHERN SHRIKE
Tree Swallow
Yellow-breasted Chat
Rusty Blackbird

Extralimital:
GRAY-CROWNED ROSY-FINCH+ (northern New York, Locust Grove)

- 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, March 9th 2012 at 7pm. The highlights of today's tape are an extralimital GRAY-CROWNED ROSY-FINCH, RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD, EURASIAN WIGEON, KING EIDER, HARLEQUIN DUCK, GLAUCOUS GULL, ICELAND GULL and NORTHERN SHRIKE.

Before we begin locally hopefully everyone is aware of the GRAY-CROWNED ROSY-FINCH that had this week been visiting feeders in northern New York in the town of Locust Grove. However this finch has unfortunately apparently moved on.

The RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD remains around the feeders adjacent to the entrance to the planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History on West 81st Street just west of Central Park West.

The NORTHERN SHRIKE at Floyd Bennett Field has seemingly been more visible recently often perching in trees along the runway that runs north parallel to Jamaica Bay past the entrance to the large parking lot by the boat launch. Look especially around the intersection with the next main runway to the north towards the model airplane flying area. Three RED-NECKED GREBES were with other waterfowl in the bay off the boat launch area last Sunday.

At Jones Beach West End 5 HARLEQUIN DUCKS were around the jetty Tuesday and other birds included RED-NECKED GREBE, RAZORBILL and TREE SWALLOW.

Last Sunday afternoon there were 2 GLAUCOUS GULLS in the parking lot at the Point Lookout Town Park including an impressive full adult.

A female KING EIDER was still on Long Island Sound off Glen Cove last Saturday near the point at East Island.

At Hempstead Lake State Park a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT was noted again Thursday near MacDonald's Pond beyond the south parking lot and some RUSTY BLACKBIRDS were also in that area recently.

A EURASIAN WIGEON was spotted Thursday at Massapequa Preserve in the reservoir just north of the railroad station on the north side of Sunrise Highway Route 27.

On the docks at the Bellport Bay Yacht Club at the end of Bellport Lane in Bellport last Saturday afternoon were single GLAUCOUS and ICELAND GULLS and another ICELAND GULL was on Iron Pier Beach at the end of Pier Avenue in Northville last Sunday.

An arriving OSPREY was noted Thursday and AMERICAN WOODCOCK have been displaying in numerous areas on the warmer evenings recently.

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