Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Treehugger Tuesday

Can Mushrooms Replace Styrofoam?

The New Yorker recently published a piece about the discovery of a Styrofoam alternative made from fungi.

Form and Fungus
Can mushrooms help us get rid of Styrofoam?
by Ian Frazier May 20, 2013

May 20, 2013 Issue

Gavin McIntyre, the co-inventor of a process that grows all-natural substitutes for plastic from the tissue of mushrooms, holds a pen or pencil in an unusual way. Gripping it between two fingers of his right hand, he moves his arm across the paper so that his wrist grazes the inscribed line; because of this, he uses pens with ink that doesn’t smear. When he draws an explanatory diagram of the chitin molecule—chitin is the principal component of mycelium, the white, rootlike vegetative structure of fungi—he bends over his work, then looks up earnestly to see if his hearer has understood. The gesture makes him appear younger than his age, which is twenty-eight. He wears glasses and has straight black hair, dark eyes, and several piercings, with studs in his lip and ears.

The other co-inventor, Eben Bayer, won’t be twenty-eight until June. Bayer is almost six-five, and often assumes the benign expression of a large and friendly older brother. His hair is brown, short, and spiky, his face is long, and his self-effacing manner hides the grand ambitions that people who come from small towns (Bayer grew up in South Royalton, in central Vermont) sometimes have. When he says, of the company that he and McIntyre founded, “We want to be the Dow or DuPont of this century,” he is serious. He is their company’s C.E.O., McIntyre its Chief Scientist. People with money and influence have bet that they will succeed.

Not long ago, McIntyre and Bayer and I sat and talked in the conference room of their thirty-two-thousand-square-foot factory, in Green Island, New York. They have been friends ever since they met in a design class at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in nearby Troy, during the fall semester of their sophomore year, almost nine years ago. During our conversation, they leaned back and forth and sideways in the room’s flexible ergonomic chairs, meanwhile tapping their iPhones to send and receive texts and e-mails to and from many people, perhaps including each other. McIntyre was wearing running shoes, jeans, a plaid shirt, and a forest-green pullover, and Bayer approximately the same. As they talked about their invention, they mentioned Burt Swersey, the teacher at R.P.I. who became their mentor and adviser. . . .

Subscribers can read the full version of this story by logging into our digital archive. You can also subscribe now or find out about other ways to read The New Yorker digitally.

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/05/20/130520fa_fact_frazier?printable=true&currentPage=all#ixzz2Tw99lUOh
...Read more

Monday, May 27, 2013

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips within NYC's five boroughs for the weekend of June 1, 2013 - June 2, 2013:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturdays, April 6 – June 29, 12 p.m.
Introduction to Birdwatching
Free
Explore the Park's natural areas and learn how to look for amazing birds.

Sunday, June 2, 2013, 8 a.m.
Morning Bird Walk: Marvelous Migrants
Free
Meet the amazing birds who use the Park as a migratory layover on this expert-guided walk. Start your Sunday morning surrounded by nature!

**********

Gowanus Dredgers
Saturday, June 1, 2013, 1pm – 5pm
Canoe Gowanus Canal
Where: 164 2nd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Bring a friend for a self-guided Canoe trip sponsored by the Gowanus Dredgers to raise awareness of Harbor Issues
http://www.gowanuscana​l.org

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, June 1, 2013
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, June 1, 2013, 8am – 9:30pm
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks
Guide: Andrew Baksh or Urban Park Rangers (first Saturday of the month) With the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy and NYC Department of Parks & Recreation
Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center, Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank learned their craft on Van Cortlandt Park's ecologically diverse grounds, and these walks celebrate the tradition set by them. Participants will look for resident and migrant species and discuss a wide range of avian topics.
For more information, please call 718-548-0912. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

Saturday, June 1, 2013, 11:00am – 12:30pm
Hawk Watch in Astoria Park
Guide: Urban Park Rangers With NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, Urban Park Rangers Meet at the parking lot at Hoyt Avenue and 19th Street in Astoria. A pair of red-tailed hawks has been nesting in Astoria Park on the RFK Bridge for years. Observe these residents and learn about their nesting and foraging habits. No registration required.
For more information call 718-846-2731. No limit. Free

Sunday, June 2, 2013
Sunset EcoCruise to the Harbor Heron Islands
Sundays, June 2 through August 11 South Street Seaport, Pier 17 7–8:30pm (Brother Islands; Hoffman and Swinburne Islands) 6-9pm (Jamaica Bay) Guide: Gabriel Willow With New York Water Taxi Meet at South Street Seaport's Pier 17. This summer we will once again be exploring the City's island rookeries with three different itineraries! Depending on which weekend you choose, cruises may visit the fascinating Brother Islands, the large egret and cormorant colonies on Hoffman and Swinburne Islands, or the great expanses of Jamaica Bay. Whichever your destination, you'll experience the wonders of New York's famous harbor at sunset and see some of the three thousand herons, egrets, and ibis nesting on these urban island treasures. Specific cruise dates and registration will be available soon. Limited to 90.
Pricing varies by destination.

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, June 1, 1:00 P.M. to 3: P.M.
The Sounds of Cicadas
This year the Seventeen Year Periodic Cicadas will emerge en masse across Staten Island. Self-taught entomologist, Paul Lederer, a research associate with the Staten Island Museum, will share everything cicada during a discussion at the Greenbelt Nature Center. After an hour-long discussion, with an opportunity for questions and answers, Paul will lead a walk to investigate these intriguing insects. Meet at the Greenbelt Nature Center.
For more information call Paul 718-987-1576.
Note: In the event of rain, the discussion will still be presented at the Center.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, June 1, 2013
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Bird Walks focus on wildlife happenings in the park and are led by NYC Audubon experts or the Urban Park Rangers.
Free!

Bird Walks at The New York Botanical Garden at Watson Building, Room 302 (in Bronx Park), Bronx
11:00 a.m.
The diverse habitats of the Botanical Garden offer visitors a chance to see dozens of species of birds throughout the year. Bring your binoculars and walk the Garden grounds with an expert.

Birding: Hawk Watch at Parking Lot (in Astoria Park), Queens
11:00 a.m.
Birding programs are appropriate for all skill levels and beginners are welcome.
Free!

Sunday, June 2, 2013
Early Morning Bird Walk: Marvelous Migrants at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.
See some of the dazzling birds that visit the Park before flying to northern breeding grounds. Led by the Brooklyn Bird Club.
Free!
...Read more

Friday, May 24, 2013

Official State Birds

The website "The Birdist" has a great piece on the 50 official state birds and what they think would be more appropriate. It's a funny piece that I recommend you check out: State Birds: What They SHOULD Be

Friday's Foto

For the second time in 2 years, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird is nesting in Prospect Park. I spotted this individual purely by accident when she flew into a tree to my right. I caught a glimpse of her in my peripheral vision and watched as she used spider webs to glue nest material together. Wintering in Central America, it's hard to believe that these 2-6 gram birds flew non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico. Even harder to believe that some are heading to New York City to raise a family.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Past Weekend's Birding

Prospect Park was going to be a madhouse of activity on Saturday. In addition to "The Great Googa Mooga" food and music festival, the starting line for the Brooklyn Half-Marathon was in the park. Visions of multiple street closings and this landmarked greenspace crawling with thousands of participants and organizers made me cringe just at the thought of Spring birding in this normally relatively tranquil park. Bob, Allie, Heydi and I made plans to avoid the insanity and head down to Brooklyn's coastal habitat instead.

Plumb Beach would be our first stop. We wanted to be there a few minutes before sunrise to listen for rails. I haven't been to this area since prior to Hurricane Sandy and was surprised by the amount of damage. Much of the dunes on the bay side of this narrow peninsula had been destroyed and the Army Corp of Engineers appear to be trying to replace sand along the shore. They also have plans to create an offshore stone jetty parallel to the beach to attenuate storm surges. A small marsh on the North side of the peninsula is where one would find migrating rails, as well as, marsh sparrows. It appears that the storm had also affected the marsh vegetation in this area with large sections now devoid of marsh grass. The only rail we located was one Clapper Rail, which briefly chattered a greeting.



The marsh here was not very productive, although we did see several species of shorebirds feasting on horseshoe crab eggs along the bay's edge. One of the shorebirds was a banded American Oystercatcher. The number on his leg was "C6". Heydi first noticed this individual a few years ago and he keeps returning to this spot. Must be something in the water. While the day was still young, we decided to take a run North-West to Dreier-Offerman Park (a.k.a. Calvert Vaux Park).

The large expanse of grass at the Western end of Dreier-Offerman didn't have any interesting birds, mostly just robins. A singing Orchard Oriole seemed to be following us as we walked the perimeter of the peninsula. On the North side of the park proper we spotted a single Bobolink. A Willow Flycatcher made his sneezy, "fitz-bew" call from somewhere just to the East of the Bobolink. The cool, early morning temperatures had a Black Swallowtail butterfly in a lethargic state, allowing me to pick it up to pose for photos on my fingertip. I've been accumulating these "butterfly on my finger" photos and some day will post them all here.

After about an hour and a half of birding at Dreier-Offerman we headed North through Brooklyn to Green-Wood Cemetery. Green-Wood would be as close as we'd get to the mayhem of Prospect Park. Even then, we ended up stuck in traffic on MacDonald Avenue as cars were all being re-routed from Ocean Parkway.

The bird activity at the cemetery was less that one would expect for mid-May. We did manage to tally 16 species of warbler, but at this time of year low 20s wouldn't be unusual. One nice sighting was of an immature Broad-winged Hawk that Bob spotting soaring over Battle Hill. As we walked along Cypress Avenue scanning the oaks that line the road, we heard a low cooing sound that both Bob and I thought was a cuckoo. Surprisingly, it turned out to be one of the Common Ravens that has been hanging around Brooklyn. A few minutes later it was joined by a second one. I assume that these ravens have attempted to nest in Brooklyn this year. We haven't located a nest yet, and at this time of year they would likely have offspring on the nest. It will take a chance encounter by a birder to find their huge nest.

We ended the day with a respectable 92 species of birds, only one of which was a target species for the weekend - Bobolink. I've noticed that over the past few days many more female warblers have begun moving through the area. This is a sure sign that the migration is winding down.

***********

Date: 5/18/13
Locations: Dreier-Offerman Park, Green-Wood Cemetery and Plumb Beach
Species: 92

Brant
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Clapper Rail

Black-bellied Plover
Semipalmated Plover
American Oystercatcher
Spotted Sandpiper
Ruddy Turnstone
Sanderling
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher

Laughing Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Least Tern
Common Tern
Black Skimmer
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Monk Parakeet
Willow Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Common Raven
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Veery
Swainson's Thrush
Wood Thrush
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird

Ovenbird
Black-and-white Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Northern Parula
Magnolia Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Canada Warbler
Wilson's Warbler

Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Scarlet Tanager
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Bobolink
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch

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

Treehugger Tuesday

The New York Times just published an article about the problems of plastic bags in New York City and how the Big Apple lags behind much of the country in efforts to eliminate them.

May 18, 2013

Is It Time to Bag the Plastic?
By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL

In my New York City apartment, the kitchen drawers, the coat closet, even the wine rack are overflowing with a type of waste that is rapidly disappearing elsewhere -- the used plastic shopping bag.

Many countries and a handful of American cities have more or less done away with this supposed convenience item, by discouraging its use through plastic-bag taxes at checkout counters or outright bans. Walk down the streets of Dublin or Seattle or San Francisco and there is barely a bag in sight. Life continues.

"It didn't take people very long to accommodate at all," said Dick Lilly, manager for waste prevention in Seattle, where a plastic-bag ban took effect last summer. "Basically overnight those grocery and drugstore bags were gone."

But in much of America we seem more addicted than ever. On a recent shopping trip to Target in Chicago for some dorm supplies while visiting my son, I emerged with what seemed to be more bags than socks or rolls of toilet paper (only a slight exaggeration). At my local supermarket, plastic bags are applied layer upon layer around purchases, like Russian nesting dolls.

"Plastic shopping bags are an enormous problem for New York City," said Ron Gonen, the deputy commissioner of sanitation for recycling and waste reduction, noting that the city pays $10 million annually to send 100,000 tons of plastic bags that are tossed in the general trash to landfills in South Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. That, he points out, "is amazing to think of, because a plastic bag doesn't weigh much at all."

All across the country, plastic bags are the bane of recycling programs. When carelessly placed into recycling bins for general plastic -- which they often are -- the bags jam and damage expensive sorting machines, which cost huge amounts to repair.

"We have to get people to start carrying reusable bags," Mr. Gonen said. "We're going to do what we can to start moving the needle."

"The question," he continued, "is do we use a carrot or a stick to change behavior?"

So far New York has used carrots, to little effect. (More about that later.) Unfortunately, most experts believe it will take a stiff stick to break a habit as ingrained as this one is in the United States. (In many European countries, like France and Italy, the plastic bag thing never fully caught on.)

In my case, I know I should bring a cloth bag along for shopping trips. And I do -- when I remember. But experience shows that even environmentally conscious people need prodding and incentives to change their behavior permanently.

Where they exist, bans and charges or taxes (when set high enough) have been extremely successful and often raise revenue for other environmental projects. Unfortunately, these tactics are deeply unpopular in most of the nation.

After Austin, Tex., passed a bag ban earlier this year and with Dallas considering one, State Representative Drew Springer, a Republican, introduced the Shopping Bag Freedom Act in the Legislature. That act essentially bans bag bans, protecting the right of merchants to provide bags of any material to customers.

Businesses often fight hard against plastic-bag laws. When in 2007, Seattle first tried to impose a fee of 20 cents for each plastic bag, the American Chemistry Council financed a popular referendum that voted down the "bag tax," before it even took effect, Mr. Lilly said.
It took several more years for the city to regroup and impose its current ban. Plastic shopping bags are forbidden in stores, and though paper bags may be used, each one costs the shopper 5 cents. (There are exemptions, however: restaurants managed to secure one for takeout food, for example.)

A number of states are considering some form of statewide bans or taxes. And last month, Representative James P. Moran, Democrat of Virginia, introduced a bill to create a national 5-cent tax on all disposable plastic or paper bags provided by stores to customers. Some of the revenue would be used to create a Disposable Carryout Bag Trust Fund and to maintain national parks.

Actually, the idea of a bag tax may not seem so foreign to federal lawmakers: for the past three years, Washington has had its own 5-cent tax. Although bag use there dropped sharply, many experts feel that the charge should be even higher. In Ireland, for example, the bag tax is about 30 cents per bag.

By any measure, New Yorkers are laggards on the issue. In 2008, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg tried unsuccessfully to pass a bag tax of 6 cents. More recently, New York State has preferred to attack the problem with soft diplomacy. Since 2009, large stores throughout the state providing plastic bags have been required to take them back for recycling. But there is not much enforcement, Mr. Gonen said, and the program "hasn't put a dent" in the numbers.

While the chain pharmacies and supermarkets in my neighborhood initially put out recycling bins for the bags, they have largely disappeared. Some stores will begrudgingly take back plastic at the sales counter -- though I've seen the bags subsequently tossed in the trash. (Though plastic bags can be recycled, they must be separated from other forms of plastic.) The Bloomberg administration is also considering partnering with supermarkets to create incentive programs with shopping points awarded to those who bring reusable bags.

Frank Convery, an economist at University College, Dublin, who has studied the effects of Ireland's 10-year-old bag tax -- the first in the world -- is skeptical: "As regards the plastic bag issue, whatever is done has to be mandatory," he said. "The New York model is designed to fail."

Mr. Gonen said cities got a lot of complaints about plastic bags. So why wouldn't that inspire more of them to take action? It is another paradox of environmental politics -- just as when New Yorkers show strong support for a bike-sharing plan but protest when bike-sharing racks appear on their sidewalk.

In a city where dog owners are forced to pick up their pets' waste and are precluded from smoking in parks, why is it so hard to get people to employ reusable bags for shopping?

Elisabeth Rosenthal is a reporter on the environment and health for The New York Times.
...Read more

Monday, May 20, 2013

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips within NYC's five boroughs for the weekend of May 25, 2013 - May 27, 2013:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturdays, April 6 – June 29, 12 p.m.
Introduction to Birdwatching
Free
Explore the Park's natural areas and learn how to look for amazing birds.

**********

Gowanus Dredgers
Saturday, May 25, 2013, 1pm – 5pm
Canoe Gowanus Canal
Where: 164 2nd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Bring a friend for a self-guided Canoe trip sponsored by the Gowanus Dredgers to raise awareness of Harbor Issues
http://www.gowanuscana​l.org

**********

Littoral Society
Saturday, May 25, 2013, 05:00pm - 08:00pm
Jamaica Bay Sunset Ecology Cruise
Enjoy a three-hour narrated cruise aboard the 100-foot boat “Golden Sunshine.” Visit backwater marshes near JFK Airport, and learn about the 13,000-acre Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. See nesting peregrine falcons, ospreys, egrets, shorebirds, and waterfowl. Includes refreshments. Meet at Pier 4 in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.
With American Littoral Society and NYC Audubon
To reserve tickets by credit card, go to:
http://springcruise-eorg.eventbrite.com/#
Contact : To register, contact Don Riepe at 917-371-8577 or donriepe [AT] gmail.com.
Limited to 140. Price: $55

Sunday, May 26, 2013, 09:00am - 12:00pm
Red Knots and Horseshoe Crabs
Meet at the the Jamaica Bay NWR Visitor Center to see the annual mating ritual of the prehistoric horseshoe crab, along with red knots, sanderlings, and ruddy turnstones. Hike along the beach and marshland edges to see fiddler crabs, egrets, and other wildlife.
Guide: Don Riepe
With Gateway National Recreation Area.
Contact : To register, contact Don Riepe at 917-371-8577 or donriepe [AT] gmail.com.
Bring lunch and binoculars. Limited to 25. Free

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, May 25, 2013
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, May 25, 2013, 8am – 9:30pm
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks
Guide: Andrew Baksh or Urban Park Rangers (first Saturday of the month) With the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy and NYC Department of Parks & Recreation
Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center, Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank learned their craft on Van Cortlandt Park's ecologically diverse grounds, and these walks celebrate the tradition set by them. Participants will look for resident and migrant species and discuss a wide range of avian topics.
For more information, please call 718-548-0912. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

Saturday, May 25, 2013, 5pm – 8pm
Jamaica Bay Sunset Cruise
Guides: Don Riepe, Mickey Cohen With American Littoral Society Meet at Pier 2 in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. Enjoy a three-hour narrated cruise aboard the 100-foot boat “Golden Sunshine.” Visit backwater marshes near JFK Airport, and learn about the 13,000-acre Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. See nesting peregrine falcons, ospreys, egrets, shorebirds, and waterfowl. Includes refreshments.
To register, contact Don Riepe at 917-371-8577 or donriepe [AT] gmail.com. Limited to 140. $55

Sunday, May 26, 2013, 9am – 12pm
Red Knots and Horseshoe Crabs at Jamaica Bay
Guide: Don Riepe With Gateway National Recreation Area Meet at the the Jamaica Bay NWR Visitor Center to see the annual mating ritual of the prehistoric horseshoe crab, along with red knots, sanderlings, and ruddy turnstones. Hike along the beach and marshland edges to see fiddler crabs, egrets, and other wildlife. Bring lunch and binoculars.
To register, contact Don Riepe at 917-371-8577 or donriepe [AT] gmail.com. Limited to 25. Free

Sunday, May 26, 2013, 10am – 11am
Birding for Families
Guides: NYC Audubon Offered by the Central Park Conservancy Meet at the Dana Discovery Center (inside the Park at 110th Street between Lenox and Fifth Avenues). Bring the kids and visit one of New York City’s richest bird habitats. Learn as a family how to spot and identify our feathered neighbors in their natural surroundings. Binoculars can be borrowed from the Visitor Center. For weather cancellation information, call 212-860-1370. Limited to 20. Age 5 and up. Free.
Click here to learn more and register

Sunday, May 26, 2013, 5pm – 8pm
Jamaica Bay Sunset Cruise
Guides: Don Riepe, Mickey Cohen With American Littoral Society Meet at Pier 2 in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. Enjoy a three-hour narrated cruise aboard the 100-foot boat “Golden Sunshine.” Visit backwater marshes near JFK Airport, and learn about the 13,000-acre Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. See nesting peregrine falcons, ospreys, egrets, shorebirds, and waterfowl. Includes refreshments.
To register, contact Don Riepe at 917-371-8577 or donriepe [AT] gmail.com. Limited to 140. $55

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Bird Walks focus on wildlife happenings in the park and are led by NYC Audubon experts or the Urban Park Rangers.
Free!

Woodland Discovery Kit in Central Park at Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (in Central Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Visit The Wild Garden: Discovering Central Park Woodlands exhibit and start exploring the North Woods on your own by borrowing a North Woods Discovery Kit stocked with binoculars, a hand lens, and…
Free!

Bird Walks at The New York Botanical Garden at Watson Building, Room 302 (in Bronx Park), Bronx
11:00 a.m.
The diverse habitats of the Botanical Garden offer visitors a chance to see dozens of species of birds throughout the year. Bring your binoculars and walk the Garden grounds with an expert.

Sunset Ecology Cruise at Pier 4 (in Sheepshead Bay Piers), Brooklyn
5:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Join us aboard the "Golden Sunshine" for our annual cruise along the backwaters of Jamaica Bay.

Sunday, May 26, 2013
Birding at High Rock Ranger Station (in High Rock Park), Staten Island
9:00 a.m.
We offer birding programs throughout the year and our Exploration series focuses on unique wildlife viewing opportunities during particular seasons.
Free!

Birding for Families at Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (in Central Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Experience Central Park as a precious bird habitat and learn how to spot our feathered neighbors on a walk with NYC Audubon.
Free!

Woodland Discovery Kit in Central Park at Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (in Central Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Visit The Wild Garden: Discovering Central Park Woodlands exhibit and start exploring the North Woods on your own by borrowing a North Woods Discovery Kit stocked with binoculars, a hand lens, and…
Free!

Freshkills Park May Birding Tour at Eltingville Transit Center (in Freshkills Park), Staten Island
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 meadows.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, May 18, 2013

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, May, 17, 2013:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* May 17, 2013
* NYNY1305.17

- Birds Mentioned:

EURASIAN WIGEON
American Bittern
Bald Eagle
Red Knot
Semipalmated Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Black Tern
Roseate Tern
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Black-billed Cuckoo
Common Nighthawk
CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Willow Flycatcher
Marsh Wren
Cape May Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Bay-breasted Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER
Worm-eating Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
SUMMER TANAGER
Grasshopper Sparrow
BLUE GROSBEAK
White-winged Crossbill (not reported this week)
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@nybirds.org .

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

Gary Chapin - Secretary
NYS Avian Records Committee (NYSARC)
486 High Street
Victor, NY 14564

~ Transcript ~

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

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

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

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, May 17th, at 6:00pm. The highlights of today's tape are CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW, PROTHONOTARY WARBLER, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, SUMMER TANAGER, BLUE GROSBEAK, EURASIAN WIGEON, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, and Spring Migrants.

This past week was not really up to mid-May expectations, with perhaps an average species diversity overall, but certainly not the hoped-for volume of birds we've enjoyed, even in recent years. It did, nonetheless, have some high points.

In Central Park, a nice find on Thursday was a CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW that perched at Tupelo Field for the day. Other highlights in Central featured a PROTHONOTARY WARBLER through Wednesday, an AMERICAN BITTERN at the north end last Friday, GRASSHOPPER SPARROW on Monday, and the first MOURNING WARBLER on Wednesday. Friday's reports included another MOURNING WARBLER, SUMMER TANAGER, and OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, though there was a decrease in numbers from the day before. Among the roughly 28 species of warblers in Central have been several CAPE MAY WARBLERS and BAY-BREASTED WARBLERS, both species also noted in fairly decent numbers in other local parks, along with less common species such as TENNESEE WARBLER, WORM-EATING WARBLER, HOODED WARBLER, and WILSON'S WARBLER.

[Transcriber's Note: Additional sightings in Central this week include both YELLOW-BILLED and BLACK-BILLED CUCKOOS, the latter most recently seen today; MARSH WREN on Monday and Tuesday, and a COMMON NIGHTHAWK that perched in the Ramble on Thursday morning.]

Prospect Park also a had a good day Thursday, with an immature BALD EAGLE and a COMMON NIGHTHAWK both perched, YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO, and a nice assortment of warblers, including a female CERULEAN WARBLER, with a BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO and an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER there the day before.

With the recent rains providing some water for the waterhole in Forest Park, Queens, that area has picked up in activity, though seemingly not to the consistency or extent of prior years. A SUMMER TANAGER in Forest Park last Sunday visited the waterhole Thursday, as did such warblers as MOURNING WARBLER and BAY-BREASTED WARBLER. Several CAPE MAY WARBLERS have also been in Forest, and two or three GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSHES there last weekend seemed early. An EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE had also arrived Sunday.

On Wednesday a SUMMER TANAGER visited Hempstead Lake State Park, with an adult RED-HEADED WOODPECKER near the entrance booth to parking lot #3 on Thursday. Another RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was seen again out at Jones Beach State Park on Tuesday.

A YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER was a surprising find at Floyd Bennett Field last Saturday, and a CERULEAN WARBLER was spotted at Clove Lakes Park on Staten Island Thursday.

A female BLUE GROSBEAK visited Marshlands Conservancy in Rye, Westchester County, today.

A BLACK TERN was reported Saturday from Big Egg Marsh, south of Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, where a good number of RED KNOT have also been present recently.

A drake EURASIAN WIGEON, continuing on the pond north of Clark Avenue at Massapequa Preserve, is staying much later than expected, perhaps raising issues as to its provenance.

Although there have been no reports of WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS since very early May, a few PINE SISKINS and some PURPLE FINCHES have been among the recent city park visitors, with siskins lingering in both Central and Prospect Parks.

Among recent arrivals have been COMMON MOORHEN, SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER at Oceanside Marine Nature Study Area Saturday, ROSEATE TERNS on eastern Long Island, and WILLOW FLYCATCHER back at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge last Sunday. The remaining Empidonax flycatchers should show up shortly.

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

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

[~END TAPE~]

~ End Transcript ~
...Read more

Friday, May 17, 2013

Cicada Sing-Along

The latest edition of National Public Radio's "RadioLab" program was about composer David Rothenberg musically collaborating with insects, birds and whales. Listen to the podcast below and check out the complete story here.

Friday's Foto

Neither common nor a hawk, the Common Nighthawk is a member of a family of birds called nightjars. Listed as a species of "Special Concern" in New York State, it has experienced declines in much of its breeding range. Look for them hawking for insects in the sky over Prospect Park during Spring migration usually while making a nasal "peent" call. This individual was spotted roosting high up in a Yellow Buckeye near the North end of Prospect Park's "Vale of Cashmere".

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Some mid-May Blooms (and a fungi)

Friday Prospect Park Tour

Don't forget, tomorrow I have a tour of Prospect Park beginning at 7:30am. More info here.

Migration Update and Lots of Birds

The lingering high pressure system finally lifted and the Spring South winds accelerated the seasonal conveyor belt for North-bound birds. Bird activity throughout the area increased dramatically and birders were finally happy...or, at least, happier.

To put the change in perspective, my personal weekly birding summary beginning on May 4th totaled 96 species of birds. The next period from May 11th jumped to 130 species! The biggest change occurred on Saturday. Heydi and I had planned on doing a biking "Big Day" in Brooklyn, but thunderstorms and bicycles are a really bad combination. We opted, instead, to just cover Prospect Park, then take mass transit down to Floyd Bennett Field.

Prospect Park was the birdiest we'd experienced all season. By the time we left at 8am, our total species was 72, 17 of which were warblers. We probably could have stayed there all day, but high-tide and the possibility of shorebirds at Floyd Bennett Field was good motivation to head South. The precipitation had varied all morning from a light misting to a more steady rain, but we had managed to dodge any thunderstorms. Exiting the bus near Aviator Sports, we walked along the bike path towards the cricket field and Return-a-Gift Pond. Passing the cricket field, we looked up into the sky just in time to see a Little Blue Heron flying out of the park and across Flatbush Avenue. This is a very good wading bird to see in Brooklyn. We high-fived, of course. On the other hand, the view of the pond from the North blind was disappointing. There wasn't much there other than 11 Black-crowned Night-Herons.

When high-tide floods the mudflats and island edges in Jamaica Bay, some shorebirds seek refuge along the runways of Floyd Bennett Field. After a good soaking, large puddles form that tend to attract these birds. We were hoping to find something good there on Saturday.

As we were walking towards the main runways the thunderstorms finally moved in. I didn't feel too good about walking around open grassland with a metal tripod over my shoulder. We sought refuge under a temporary wooden "guard tower" that had been constructed near the North 40 runway when the city was burning refuse there after Hurricane Sandy. Until the downpour subsided, from that vantage point we scoped a large flock of shorebirds and gulls in the middle of the runway. The flock was dominated by Black-bellied Plovers, but there were also several Short-billed Dowitchers and a single Red Knot. The knot was an excellent find. A walk along the runway also revealed Semipalmated Plovers, Greater Yellowlegs and Willets. There was a steady stream of gulls in the mix, as well as, a few passing terns.

Unlike past Big Spring Days, I decided to end the day early, but Heydi continued her bird hunt until late in the day.

My weekly Wednesday tour of Green-Wood Cemetery was equally fruitful. The oak trees along Fern Avenue and near Warrior Path were loaded with warblers. During the first half hour of the tour we spotted Black-and-white Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Northern Parula, Magnolia Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Wilson's Warbler and Scarlet Tanager! At the narrow valley between Central Ridge and Chestnut Hill we marveled as bird after bird flew into a single Dawn Redwood, gleaning insects from its red, peeling bark and pale-green, feathery leaves. We added Blackpoll and Cape May Warblers to our quickly growing list of birds. We ended our morning tour with 64 species of birds, of which 16 were warblers.

Now that nearly everyone seems to have a smartphone and Twitter account, instant notifications of good birds have been flying back and forth across avian-cyberspace like crazy this past week. Sometimes I wish we could go back to a time when finding amazing birds was more about personal discoveries and less about chasing after what another person located. Spring songbird migration is sometimes like the Lottery. You put in your time, you study the field guides, watch the weather forecasts, then wait for the numbers to align. Only, in this case, when the winning number comes up, everybody wins.

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Dates: 05/11/13 - 05/16/13
Locations: Floyd Bennett Field; Green-Wood Cemetery; Prospect Park Species: 130

1) Brant
2) Canada Goose
3) Mute Swan
4) Wood Duck
5) Mallard

6) Ring-necked Pheasant

7) Common Loon

8) Double-crested Cormorant

9) Great Blue Heron
10) Great Egret
11) Snowy Egret
12) Little Blue Heron
13) Green Heron
14) Black-crowned Night-Heron
15) Glossy Ibis

16) Turkey Vulture

17) Osprey
18) Red-tailed Hawk

19) Black-bellied Plover
20) Semipalmated Plover
21) Killdeer
22) American Oystercatcher

23) Spotted Sandpiper
24) Solitary Sandpiper
25) Greater Yellowlegs
26) Willet
27) Red Knot
28) Semipalmated Sandpiper
29) Least Sandpiper
30) Short-billed Dowitcher

31) Laughing Gull
32) Ring-billed Gull
33) Herring Gull
34) Great Black-backed Gull
35) Least Tern
36) Common Tern

37) Rock Pigeon
38) Mourning Dove

39) Yellow-billed Cuckoo

40) Common Nighthawk

41) Chimney Swift

42) Ruby-throated Hummingbird

43) Belted Kingfisher

44) Red-bellied Woodpecker
45) Downy Woodpecker
46) Hairy Woodpecker
47) Northern Flicker

48) American Kestrel
49) Peregrine Falcon

50) Monk Parakeet

51) Eastern Wood-Pewee
52) Least Flycatcher
53) Eastern Phoebe
54) Great Crested Flycatcher
55) Eastern Kingbird

56) White-eyed Vireo
57) Yellow-throated Vireo
58) Blue-headed Vireo
59) Warbling Vireo
60) Red-eyed Vireo

61) Blue Jay
62) American Crow
63) Fish Crow
64) Common Raven

65) Northern Rough-winged Swallow
66) Tree Swallow
67) Barn Swallow

68) Black-capped Chickadee
69) Tufted Titmouse

70) Red-breasted Nuthatch
71) White-breasted Nuthatch

72) House Wren
73) Carolina Wren

74) Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
75) Ruby-crowned Kinglet

76) Veery
77) Gray-cheeked Thrush
78) Swainson's Thrush
79) Wood Thrush
80) American Robin

81) Gray Catbird
82) Northern Mockingbird
83) Brown Thrasher

84) European Starling

85) Cedar Waxwing

86) Ovenbird
87) Northern Waterthrush
88) Black-and-white Warbler
89) Tennessee Warbler
90) Nashville Warbler
91) Common Yellowthroat
92) Hooded Warbler
93) American Redstart
94) Cape May Warbler
95) Northern Parula
96) Magnolia Warbler
97) Bay-breasted Warbler
98) Blackburnian Warbler
99) Yellow Warbler
100) Chestnut-sided Warbler
101) Blackpoll Warbler
102) Black-throated Blue Warbler
103) Palm Warbler
104) Yellow-rumped Warbler
105) Yellow-throated Warbler
106) Prairie Warbler
107) Black-throated Green Warbler
108) Canada Warbler
109) Wilson's Warbler

110) Eastern Towhee
111) Chipping Sparrow
112) Field Sparrow
113) Savannah Sparrow
114) Song Sparrow
115) Lincoln's Sparrow
116) White-throated Sparrow
117) White-crowned Sparrow

118) Scarlet Tanager

119) Northern Cardinal
120) Rose-breasted Grosbeak
121) Indigo Bunting

122) Red-winged Blackbird
123) Common Grackle
124) Brown-headed Cowbird
125) Orchard Oriole
126) Baltimore Oriole

127) Purple Finch
128) House Finch
129) American Goldfinch

130) House Sparrow
...Read more

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Treehugger Tuesday

Pack Up Your Winter Wear

In case you missed it, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography just reported that carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere have reached 400.03 parts per million for the first time in three million years.

Reporter Justin Gillis covered the news for the New York Times:

May 10, 2013
Heat-Trapping Gas Passes Milestone, Raising Fears

By JUSTIN GILLIS

The level of the most important heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide, has passed a long-feared milestone, scientists reported Friday, reaching a concentration not seen on the earth for millions of years.

Scientific instruments showed that the gas had reached an average daily level above 400 parts per million — just an odometer moment in one sense, but also a sobering reminder that decades of efforts to bring human-produced emissions under control are faltering.

The best available evidence suggests the amount of the gas in the air has not been this high for at least three million years, before humans evolved, and scientists believe the rise portends large changes in the climate and the level of the sea.

“It symbolizes that so far we have failed miserably in tackling this problem,” said Pieter P. Tans, who runs the monitoring program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that reported the new reading.

Ralph Keeling, who runs another monitoring program at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, said a continuing rise could be catastrophic. “It means we are quickly losing the possibility of keeping the climate below what people thought were possibly tolerable thresholds,” he said.

Virtually every automobile ride, every plane trip and, in most places, every flip of a light switch adds carbon dioxide to the air, and relatively little money is being spent to find and deploy alternative technologies.

China is now the largest emitter, but Americans have been consuming fossil fuels extensively for far longer, and experts say the United States is more responsible than any other nation for the high level.

The new measurement came from analyzers atop Mauna Loa, the volcano on the big island of Hawaii that has long been ground zero for monitoring the worldwide trend on carbon dioxide, or CO2. Devices there sample clean, crisp air that has blown thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean, producing a record of rising carbon dioxide levels that has been closely tracked for half a century.

Carbon dioxide above 400 parts per million was first seen in the Arctic last year, and had also spiked above that level in hourly readings at Mauna Loa.

But the average reading for an entire day surpassed that level at Mauna Loa for the first time in the 24 hours that ended at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday. The two monitoring programs use slightly different protocols; NOAA reported an average for the period of 400.03 parts per million, while Scripps reported 400.08.

Carbon dioxide rises and falls on a seasonal cycle, and the level will dip below 400 this summer as leaf growth in the Northern Hemisphere pulls about 10 billion tons of carbon out of the air. But experts say that will be a brief reprieve — the moment is approaching when no measurement of the ambient air anywhere on earth, in any season, will produce a reading below 400.

“It feels like the inevitable march toward disaster,” said Maureen E. Raymo, a scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a unit of Columbia University.

From studying air bubbles trapped in Antarctic ice, scientists know that going back 800,000 years, the carbon dioxide level oscillated in a tight band, from about 180 parts per million in the depths of ice ages to about 280 during the warm periods between. The evidence shows that global temperatures and CO2 levels are tightly linked.

For the entire period of human civilization, roughly 8,000 years, the carbon dioxide level was relatively stable near that upper bound. But the burning of fossil fuels has caused a 41 percent increase in the heat-trapping gas since the Industrial Revolution, a mere geological instant, and scientists say the climate is beginning to react, though they expect far larger changes in the future.

Indirect measurements suggest that the last time the carbon dioxide level was this high was at least three million years ago, during an epoch called the Pliocene. Geological research shows that the climate then was far warmer than today, the world’s ice caps were smaller, and the sea level might have been as much as 60 or 80 feet higher.

Experts fear that humanity may be precipitating a return to such conditions — except this time, billions of people are in harm’s way.

“It takes a long time to melt ice, but we’re doing it,” Dr. Keeling said. “It’s scary.”

Dr. Keeling’s father, Charles David Keeling, began carbon dioxide measurements on Mauna Loa and at other locations in the late 1950s. The elder Dr. Keeling found a level in the air then of about 315 parts per million — meaning that if a person had filled a million quart jars with air, about 315 quart jars of carbon dioxide would have been mixed in.

His analysis revealed a relentless, long-term increase superimposed on the seasonal cycle, a trend that was dubbed the Keeling Curve.

Countries have adopted an official target to limit the damage from global warming, with 450 parts per million seen as the maximum level compatible with that goal. “Unless things slow down, we’ll probably get there in well under 25 years,” Ralph Keeling said.

Yet many countries, including China and the United States, have refused to adopt binding national targets. Scientists say that unless far greater efforts are made soon, the goal of limiting the warming will become impossible without severe economic disruption.

“If you start turning the Titanic long before you hit the iceberg, you can go clear without even spilling a drink of a passenger on deck,” said Richard B. Alley, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University. “If you wait until you’re really close, spilling a lot of drinks is the best you can hope for.”

Climate-change contrarians, who have little scientific credibility but are politically influential in Washington, point out that carbon dioxide represents only a tiny fraction of the air — as of Thursday’s reading, exactly 0.04 percent. “The CO2 levels in the atmosphere are rather undramatic,” a Republican congressman from California, Dana Rohrabacher, said in a Congressional hearing several years ago.

But climate scientists reject that argument, saying it is like claiming that a tiny bit of arsenic or cobra venom cannot have much effect. Research shows that even at such low levels, carbon dioxide is potent at trapping heat near the surface of the earth.

“If you’re looking to stave off climate perturbations that I don’t believe our culture is ready to adapt to, then significant reductions in CO2 emissions have to occur right away,” said Mark Pagani, a Yale geochemist who studies climates of the past. “I feel like the time to do something was yesterday.”
...Read more

Monday, May 13, 2013

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips within NYC's five boroughs for the weekend of May 18, 2013 - May 19, 2013:

Gowanus Dredgers
Saturday, May 18, 2013, 1pm – 5pm
Canoe Gowanus Canal
Where: 164 2nd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Bring a friend for a self-guided Canoe trip sponsored by the Gowanus Dredgers to raise awareness of Harbor Issues
http://www.gowanuscana​l.org

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, May 18, 2013
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, May 18, 2013, 8am – 11am
Beginning Birding Field Trip: Central Park
Classes: Thursdays, May 9 and 16, 6:30-8:30pm Trips: Saturday, May 11, 9am-3pm (Jamaica Bay) and Saturday, May 18, 8-11am (Central Park)
Instructor: Tod Winston Learn to identify the spectacular variety of 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 warblers, tanagers, and vireos, 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

Saturday, May 18, 2013, 8am – 9:30pm
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks
Guide: Andrew Baksh or Urban Park Rangers (first Saturday of the month) With the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy and NYC Department of Parks & Recreation
Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center, Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank learned their craft on Van Cortlandt Park's ecologically diverse grounds, and these walks celebrate the tradition set by them. Participants will look for resident and migrant species and discuss a wide range of avian topics.
For more information, please call 718-548-0912. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

Saturday, May 18, 2013, 9am – 12pm
Spring Migration on Randall's Island
Guides: Gabriel Willow, Victoria O'Neill With Randall's Island Park Alliance, Inc. Meet on the N.W. corner of 102nd Street and the FDR Drive. We'll walk across the foot bridge to Randall's Island, an under-explored location in the East River that hosts restored freshwater wetlands and salt marsh. We'll look for spring migrants (both waterbirds and land birds) as we explore the results of recent restoration efforts. Two miles of walking and some modest climbs. Limited to 20. $25
Click here to read about the restoration of Randall's Island's salt marsh and freshwater wetlands.
Click here to register.

Sunday, May 19, 2013, 9am – 12pm
Nesting Peregrines and Red-Tails of the UPW
Guide: Gabriel Willow Meet in front of Riverside Church. Many New Yorkers are astonished to discover that their city of steel and glass is home to a large population of large birds of prey: The City boasts the world’s highest densities of the peregrine falcon, the world's fastest flyer, and a growing population of red-tailed hawks (several pairs of which have reached celebrity status). We’ll visit the nesting site of a pair of each of these fascinating species, and may glimpse parents feeding their chicks. Limited to 15. $30
Click here to register.

Sunday, May 19, 2013, 10am – 11am
Birding for Families
Guides: NYC Audubon Offered by the Central Park Conservancy Meet at the Dana Discovery Center (inside the Park at 110th Street between Lenox and Fifth Avenues). Bring the kids and visit one of New York City’s richest bird habitats. Learn as a family how to spot and identify our feathered neighbors in their natural surroundings. Binoculars can be borrowed from the Visitor Center. For weather cancellation information, call 212-860-1370. Limited to 20. Age 5 and up. Free.
Click here to learn more and register

Sunday, May 19, 2013, 1pm – 3pm
Explore the Bronx River by Rowboat
Guide: Chrissy Word With Rocking the Boat Meet at Rocking the Boat, at 812 Edgewater Road in the Bronx, and launch from the adjacent Hunts Point Riverside Park. Come explore the Bronx River aboard a hand-built wooden boat, led by experienced rowers. The Bronx River is the city’s only true river and hosts an abundance of wildlife, including herons and egrets, osprey, and belted kingfishers. Visit restoration sites and learn about the Bronx River eco-system, as well as its social and cultural history. Rowing optional! Limited to 20. $35 for adults, $25 for ages 18 and under.
Click here to register.

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NYC Wildflower Week
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Children's Events, MN: Interactive Nature Fair

Garden Tours, QU: Native Gardens of Queens Botanical Garden

Sunday, May 19, 2013
Botanical Walks, BK: Blooms and Bugs

Botanical Walks, MN: Spring Fungi Walk

Garden Tours, MN: Native Plant Habitat at LCBH Community Garden

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, May 18, 2013, 10:00 to 12 Noon
Exploring Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve
Join Gert Coleman to explore the trails and terrain of Protectors of Pine Oak Woods initial success story. The unique habitats of Clay Pit Pond Park host a varied collection of plants and animals not seen elsewhere on Staten Island. Wear sturdy shoes and a hat. Meet in the nature center parking lot along the service road.
For more information call Gert at 718-356-9235.

Saturday, May 18, 2013, 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M.
Forest Restoration Workshop in the Egbertville Ravine
Meet at the side of Meisner Road (toward the Eger Home) close to the intersection of Meisner and Rockland. We will follow the White Trail south to Nevada Avenue where we will uproot the Mutliflora Rose and Garlic Mustard that competes there with native plants. If you don’t have your own, Protectors has tools (& refreshments). After a two-hour work session (our 201st monthly workshop), we will take a short walk over nearby trails.
Call Don Recklies at 718-768-9036 or Chuck Perry at 718-667-1393 for more information.

Sunday, May 19, 2013, 1:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M.
Buck’s Hollow and surrounding Trails
Discover the woodlands and wetlands of this portion of the Greenbelt on an educational walk with Clay Wollney on the trails from Eger Nursing Home to Buck’s Hollow. Along the way enjoy the sounds of spring as nature comes alive beside Buttonbush Swamp and other specialized habitats of the Greenbelt.
For more information call Clay at 718-869-6327.

Sunday, May 19, 2013, 9:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M.
Night Sounds of the Marsh
Spend an evening afield with Cliff Hagen as he shares the songs and calls of a spring night in the marshes of Saw Mill Creek Park. Rails and sparrows, owls, warblers and woodcock sing aloud through the night. Learn to identify the many species of birds by ear. Meet at the corner of Chelsea Road and River Road.
For more details call Cliff at 718-313-8591, or email chagen72 [AT] gmail.com.

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, May 19, 2013
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.

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Staten Island Museum
Saturday, May 18, 2013, 10:00am - 2:00pm
Family Bird Day at Clove Lakes Park
Location: Clove Lakes Park
Free
Join Museum science and education staff as we teach birding basics and look for migratory birds. Many of these birds have traveled from South America all the way to Staten Island to nest and raise their young. Others are just vacationing here on their way farther north. Join walks, crafts, and games by the Martling Avenue Bridge. Bring your family to learn about these colorful bird families and be part of Environment for the America's International Migratory Bird Day celebration!
For more information call Claire Arthurs at 718.483.7104.

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Bird Walks focus on wildlife happenings in the park and are led by NYC Audubon experts or the Urban Park Rangers.
Free!

Woodland Discovery Kit in Central Park at Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (in Central Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Visit The Wild Garden: Discovering Central Park Woodlands exhibit and start exploring the North Woods on your own by borrowing a North Woods Discovery Kit stocked with binoculars, a hand lens, and…
Free!

Bird Walks at The New York Botanical Garden at Watson Building, Room 302 (in Bronx Park), Bronx
11:00 a.m.
The diverse habitats of the Botanical Garden offer visitors a chance to see dozens of species of birds throughout the year. Bring your binoculars and walk the Garden grounds with an expert.

Birding: Hawk Watch at Lafayette and Metcalf Avenues (in Soundview Park), Bronx
11:00 a.m.
Our Exploration series focuses on unique wildlife viewing opportunities during particular seasons.
Free!

On A Wing: Family Festival at Belvedere Castle (in Central Park), Manhattan
12:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
Get up close and personal with birds of prey as they fly under your arms in the Tunnel of Talons.
Free!

Sunday, May 19, 2013
Birding for Families at Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (in Central Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Experience Central Park as a precious bird habitat and learn how to spot our feathered neighbors on a walk with NYC Audubon.
Free!

Woodland Discovery Kit in Central Park at Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (in Central Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Visit The Wild Garden: Discovering Central Park Woodlands exhibit and start exploring the North Woods on your own by borrowing a North Woods Discovery Kit stocked with binoculars, a hand lens, and…
Free!
...Read more

Friday, May 10, 2013

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, May 10, 2013:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* May. 10, 2013
* NYNY1305.10

- Birds mentioned

SWALLOW-TAILED KITE+
RUFF+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

MANX SHEARWATER
Double-crested Cormorant
GOLDEN EAGLE
Willet
Bonaparte's Gull
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Least Tern
Caspian Tern
Common Tern
Black Skimmer
PARASITIC JAEGER
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
Least Flycatcher
Red-eyed Vireo
Veery
Golden-winged Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Cape May Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Bay-breasted Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER
Worm-eating Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Canada Warbler
Summer Tanager
Scarlet Tanager
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
RED CROSSBILL

- 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:

Gary Chapin - Secretary
NYS Avian Records Committee (NYSARC)
486 High Street
Victor, NY 14564

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

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

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

Transcriber: Ben Cacace

BEGIN TAPE

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, May 10th 2013 at 6pm. The highlights of today's tape are RUFF, SWALLOW-TAILED KITE, GOLDEN EAGLE, MANX SHEARWATER, PARASITIC JAEGER, PROTHONOTARY WARBLER, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER and fortunately many other arriving warblers, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER and RED CROSSBILL.

It was an old lesson relearned. After a prolonged period of poor to non-existent migration, such as we've had recently, some calling it the worst in several decades. If you wake up in the morning to heavy fog and intermittent rain coming from the south get yourself outside.

Parks only hosting breeding warblers through Wednesday on Thursday morning found 15 to 20 species of warblers and a nice variety of other migrants present. Many of these stayed over to Friday and lots more came in overnight. Finally!

During these pushes real rarities are seldom seen but one was reported this morning. A SWALLOW-TAILED KITE flying over Kissena Park in Queens though we have no details on this sighting.

In Central Park well over 20 species of warblers were present today including new arrivals TENNESSEE, BAY-BREASTED, CANADA and WILSON'S as well as CAPE MAY, HOODED and WORM-EATING and SUMMER TANAGER was also found among the good assortment of migrants that included a good number of SCARLET TANAGERS and ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS.

Other notable sightings in the city today included a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER at Owl's Head Park in Brooklyn and a GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER at Brooklyn's Green-wood Cemetery. In Prospect Park a YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, presumably lingering, was seen irregularly Sunday to Thursday last near the Lullwater and a PROTHONOTARY WARBLER was on the Peninsula last Sunday.

Clove Lakes Park on Staten Island last Saturday had a nice combination of PROTHONOTARY WARBLER, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER and WORM-EATING WARBLERS.

In one of the most interesting reports from the week involved an immature GOLDEN EAGLE passing over Central Park Monday morning.

Interestingly, despite the continued north and east winds, just slightly north of the city such regional specialties as GOLDEN-WINGED, CERULEAN, WORM-EATING and HOODED WARBLERS were already on territory last weekend.

The 2 RUFFS at Timber Point Golf Course were still present Tuesday afternoon. To look for them enter the golf club from Great River Road and follow the signs to the East Marina. Search the marsh from the boat dock next to the parking lot.

Ocean watching for pelagics should be productive in the upcoming month of June. Last Friday afternoon 3 MANX SHEARWATERS along with a few LEAST and COMMON TERNS were spotted off Amagansett and 3 PARASITIC JAEGERS appeared off the Rockaways on Wednesday. Unfortunately, one of the best observation sites at Robert Moses State Park parking field 2 is not available due to Sandy damage but many sites are available from Jones Beach field 6 east to Cupsogue County Park, Shinnecock Inlet, East Hampton's Main Beach and Montauk Point.

A couple of interesting gulls lately featured an ICELAND GULL Saturday off Amagansett and a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL at Floyd Bennett Field on Wednesday.

A watch off East Patchogue in Great South Bay Wednesday afternoon produced 2 CASPIAN TERNS as well as over 4,000 DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS, 35 WILLETS, 4 BONAPARTE'S GULLS and other interesting migrants.

Very interesting has been the continuing presence of RED CROSSBILLS in Maple Swamp off Pleasure Drive and Flanders. Thirty-three were counted last Sunday could easily include some breeding birds.

Other recent arrivals have included BLACK SKIMMER at Jones Beach West End Wednesday, LEAST FLYCATCHER, VEERY and RED-EYED VIREO.

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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