Monday, September 30, 2013

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of October 5, 2013 to October 6, 2013:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Introduction to Birdwatching
Free
Explore the Park's natural areas and learn how to look for amazing birds.

Sunday, October 6, 2013
Early Morning Bird Walk: Fall Migration
Free
Meet the amazing birds of Prospect Park on this expert-guided walk. Start your Sunday morning surrounded by nature!

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, October 5, 2013
"Leader's Choice"
Trip Leader: Sandy Paci
Focus: Locations will be determined by the leader based on the latest birding reports
Car Fee: to be determined
Registrar: Sandy Paci preferred email sandypaci@earthlink.net ; cell number 347-834-5881
Registration period: Sept 24th - Oct 3rd

**********

Gowanus Dredgers
Saturday, October 5, 2013, 1pm – 5pm
Canoe Gowanus Canal
Bring a friend for a self-guided Canoe trip sponsored by the Gowanus Dredgers to raise awareness of Harbor Issues www.gowanuscana​l.org

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday October 5, 2013
Mount Loretto and Conference House Park
Leader: Richard ZainEldeen
Registrar: Sandra Maury – sandramaury39@gmail.com or 212-874-4881
Registration opens: Monday September 23
Ride: $20

**********

Littoral Society
Sunday, October 6, 2013, 10:00am - 01:00pm
NYC Audubon Hawk Watch
See sharp-shinned and Cooper's hawks, kestrels, peregrines, osprey and many other bird species as they head south along the coast.
Leader; Don Riepe
Contact : Call (718) 474-0896, or e-mail: donriepe@gmail.com for information and reservations.
Meet at Bldg. 1, Fort Tilden for a hike to the hawk watch platform during peak migration time.

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, October 5, 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, October 5, 2013, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walk
Guides: NYC Audubon Naturalists 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, October 5, 2013, 9:00am – 4:30pm
Birding by Canoe in Constitution Marsh
Guides: Gabriel Willow, Constitution Marsh Guide Saturday, October 5, 8am-3:30pm With Constitution Marsh Audubon Center & Sanctuary Join two expert naturalists, our own Gabriel Willow and a Constitution Marsh guide, to explore Constitution Marsh Audubon Sanctuary--a spectacular 271-acre tidal marsh just outside of Cold Spring, NY. Observe marsh birds up close as you paddle through this pristine fresh water habitat by canoe--possible sightings include Virginia rails, spotted sandpipers, and Louisiana waterthrushes, as well as bald eagles. Then look for warblers and other fall migrants on the sanctuary's trails. We'll also enjoy a picnic lunch while learning more about the marsh's ecology, including its feathered residents. Bring binoculars, water, lunch (plus clothes and shoes you don't mind getting wet).
Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $90
Click here to read more about the beautiful Constitution Marsh Audubon Center & Sanctuary.
Click here to register!

Sunday, October 6, 2013, 10am – 1pm
Hawk Watch at Fort Tilden
Guide: Don Riepe With American Littoral Society Meet at 10am at Bldg. 1 in Fort Tilden for a hike to the hawk watch platform to view falcons, hawks, ospreys and other migrating raptors. We'll also hike along the beach and dunes to look for song- and shorebirds.
For more information, contact Don Riepe at 917-371-8577 or donriepe@gmail.com. No limit. Free

Sunday, October 6, 2013, 10am – 11am
Birding for Families
Dana Discovery Center, Central Park, New York, NY
Sundays, September 1 - November 24, 10-11am 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 to register

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Saturday, October 5, 2013, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Page Avenue Beach
Participants will begin with an investigation of the area’s unique, local geology before moving on to examine the flotsam and jetsam accumulated at the high tide lines. This is a sure way to discover what nature’s debris has to tell us. As the water recedes with the tide the group will move into the intertidal zone to find out what sorts of living things survive in this challenging environment. It’s going to be muddy so dress appropriately. Meet at the parking lot at the bottom of Page Avenue, below Hylan Boulevard.
For more information call Clay Wollney at 718-869-6327.

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Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, October 5, 2013, 7:30am – 8:30am
Kissena Park Minitrip
Leader: Eric Miller 917-279-7530

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, October 5, 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!

Sunday, October 6, 2013
Birding at Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
9:00 a.m.
We offer birding programs throughout the year and our Exploration series focuses on unique wildlife viewing opportunities during particular seasons. Birding programs are…
Free!

Birding for Families at Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (in Central Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Take the kids on a walk through one of New York City’s richest bird habitats — the North Woods. Learn how to spot and identify our feathered neighbors in their natural surroundings...
Free!
...Read more

Friday, September 27, 2013

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, September 27, 2013:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Sep. 27, 2013
* NYNY1309.27

- Birds mentioned

CORY'S SHEARWATER
GREAT SHEARWATER
Northern Gannet
Bald Eagle
Red-shouldered Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
American Golden-Plover
Whimbrel
BLACK-HEADED GULL
CASPIAN TERN
Black Skimmer
PARASITIC JAEGER
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Eastern Whip-poor-will
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Olive-sided Flycatcher
PHILADELPHIA VIREO
Winter Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Tennessee Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Worm-eating Warbler
CONNECTICUT WARBLER
Mourning Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
LARK SPARROW
NELSON'S SPARROW
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
DICKCISSEL
Purple Finch

- Transcript

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

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to nysarc3 AT nybirds.org.

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

Gary Chapin - Secretary
NYS Avian Records Committee (NYSARC)
125 Pine Springs Drive
Ticonderoga, NY 12883

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, September 27th 2013 at 7pm. The highlights of today's tape are BLACK-HEADED GULL, CORY'S SHEARWATER, GREAT SHEARWATER, PARASITIC JAEGER, CASPIAN TERN, PHILADELPHIA VIREO, CONNECTICUT WARBLER, LARK SPARROW, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, NELSON'S SPARROW, DICKCISSEL and RED-HEADED WOODPECKER.

In a week of moderate migration and a decent number of sought after birds perhaps the most unexpected was an adult BLACK-HEADED GULL photographed Monday along the Fire Island beach front between Davis Park and Water Island this bird apparently present since the 14th.

A weather disturbance late last week brought a moderate sea flight to Montauk Point last Saturday morning with 5 or so PARASITIC JAEGERS plus good numbers of CORY'S SHEARWATER and a few GREAT SHEARWATERS seen between the point and Camp Hero. Some NORTHERN GANNETS were also noted and a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was at Camp Hero on Monday.

Four CASPIAN TERNS were at Smith Point County Park in Shirley last Saturday with another at Tobay Sunday.

Many of the interesting birds along the beach this week were seen at Robert Moses State Park. A LARK SPARROW was found Monday along the path from the hawkwatch to the lighthouse and was seen daily to Thursday when 2 were present. A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was also at Moses on Thursday and other species there featured GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH, CAPE MAY WARBLER, TENNESSEE WARBLER and other warblers, [...] LINCOLN'S SPARROWS and 2 BALD EAGLES on Monday.

Central Park certainly has exemplified the variety that can now be found regionally. An unusual Fall EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILL appeared in the park today and the week has produced YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO, OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH, such warblers as TENNESSEE, CAPE MAY, BAY-BREASTED, WORM-EATING, CONNECTICUT, HOODED and WILSON'S and such sparrows as LINCOLN'S and WHITE-CROWNED.

Prospect Park has also produced CONNECTICUT WARBLER as well as MOURNING, HOODED and the like and featured a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER in mid week. Other reports of CONNECTICUT WARBLERS have come from Bryant and Riverside Parks, Randall's Island and from Powell's Cove Park in Queens where CONNECTICUT and MOURNING were both seen on Tuesday.

Floyd Bennett Field chipped in with a DICKCISSEL last Saturday and AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER and a PHILADELPHIA VIREO on Sunday.

Other notable sightings in and around the city limits included OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER in Kissena Park Wednesday, LARK SPARROW at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx on Saturday and NELSON'S SPARROW at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn on Monday.

A WHIMBREL was at Heckscher State Park Monday and 58 BLACK SKIMMERS were counted at Jones Beach West End last Saturday.

The migration has mostly shifted to its later stages as now appearing are such migrants as YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER, WINTER WREN, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET and PURPLE FINCH among others.

Local hawkwatches are still going strong though most of the BROAD-WINGEDS have moved through variety is increasing. A brief two hour watch last Sunday at Playland Park in Rye did produce 9 BALD EAGLES and RED-SHOULDERED HAWK as well as a few BROAD-WINGEDS and 7 other species.

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's Foto

The Dickcissel gets its name from the male's Spring song - "dick dick ciss ciss ciss". This neotropic migrant breeds primarily in central U.S. grasslands. Formerly breeding in many Atlantic states, they were extirpated by 1900. In recent years they have begun to reestablish themselves in small pockets in the East. Rare individuals are seen every Fall around Brooklyn and NYC, usually within flocks of House Sparrows.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Science Friday - Bird Migration

The NPR program "Science Friday" just did a timely piece about Fall migration. I recommend giving it a listen.

From their website:

September is peak season for the fall bird migration. Hummingbirds have already made the trip south while songbirds have been slow to move this year. Naturalist and author Kenn Kaufman shares tips on spotting different species and making your yard bird-friendly.

Produced by Alexa Lim, Associate Producer

Green-Wood Cemetery Hawkwatch

The highest point in Brooklyn is generally accepted as being Battle Hill, in Green-Wood Cemetery. In fact, by studying some of the old maps of the cemetery (and simple observation), I've figured out that the highest point is actually the hill where the old reservoir was located, about 150 yards to the North of the Civil War monument on Battle Hill. A few years ago I decided that it would be a good spot for a Fall hawk watch given its wide view of the open sky and location along the terminal moraine. During a day in late-Fall last year I counted 83 Red-tailed Hawks passing over the cemetery. Last week's North-West winds inspired me to spend Sunday on the hill hoping for a nice selection of passing raptors.

In addition to a steady, not too strong North-West wind, a mix of puffy, fair weather clouds are the most desirable conditions for a Fall hawkwatch. Picking out soaring raptors against a perfect, cloudless blue sky is extremely difficult. Scattered cumulus clouds add contrast to the background so one can spot a distant hawk passing from white to blue. During most of the morning on Sunday, it was a cloudless sky. In addition, at times the wind was so strong that songbirds heading South (and there were quite a few) appeared as nothing more than high-speed blurs. At one point, while scanning the horizon, I picked up a Ruby-throated Hummingbird heading my way. With the strong tailwind, he seemed to pass by my perch on the hill in mere seconds.

The first raptors of the day were a pair of American Kestrels. The two birds flew in very low and tried to grab a meal on the hillside a few yards to my right. I'm not sure if they were headed for a small flock of House Sparrows or the abundant dragonflies that were patrolling the grass. Either way, they were unsuccessful and ended up just fighting with each other as they made wide circles over Reservoir Hill and Battle Hill. Throughout the day I spotted several more kestrels heading South. I even saw one while I was walking up 9th Street late in the afternoon. He seemed to be following 6th Avenue towards the cemetery.

By about three o'clock in the afternoon the winds began to die down a bit and some cumulus clouds broke up the robin's-egg-blue background. That's when we began to see some Broad-winged Hawks. Most were relatively close as they passed directly overhead and seemed to be coming from the direction of the Bishop Ford High School antenna tower. One bird was being harassed by a seemingly cloud-sized flock of starlings over Ocean Hill. These hawks can sometimes be seen in huge flocks as they migrate South. Sunday was not one of those days and we counted a paltry 7 individuals.

One species that we had hoped to see on Sunday was Bald Eagle. They seemed to be getting reported around Brooklyn a lot this year, so it seemed reasonable that we'd catch one passing over the cemetery on migration. Ironically, at around 5pm we received a text from Keir, who was on his way to meet us. Coming into the cemetery from the opposite side of Ocean Hill, where we can't see, he spotted a juvenile Bald Eagle heading South. Cue trumpet with wah-wah mute.

If the winds are right, I may try again this weekend. So far the forecasts call for North winds Friday night, switching to the South on Saturday.

Click here to see Hook Mountain's hawk watch tallies for this season.

**********

Date: Sunday, September 22, 2013
Location: Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn

Turkey Vulture (2.)
Osprey (1.)
Sharp-shinned Hawk (8.)
Cooper's Hawk (1.)
Broad-winged Hawk (7.)
Red-tailed Hawk (2.)
American Kestrel (8.)
...Read more

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Treehugger Tuesday

Climate Week NYC 2013

Climate Week NYC aims to mobilize climate action through a week-long agenda packed with diverse public-facing events and high-level meetings. Now in its fourth year, it yet again takes place at the key moment when hundreds of government, business and thought leaders converge on New York City for the United Nations General Assembly meeting, forming the perfect audience for us to showcase how Clean Revolution leadership is already changing the world. Click here to see a complete calendar of events.

Learn about The Climate Group.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of September 28, 2013 to September 29, 2013:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Introduction to Birdwatching
Free
Explore the Park's natural areas and learn how to look for amazing birds.

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Northern Meadowlands Watershed Nature Centers
Trip Leader: Peter Dorosh
Focus: autumn migrating songbirds, raptors
Car Fee: $24.00
Registrar: Peter Dorosh, Email Prosbird@aol.com or TEXT Message 347-622-3559
Registration period: Sept 17th-Sept 26th
http://demarestnaturecenter.org/
http://www.closternaturecenter.org/
Note: Depending on winds, there may be a visit to the Palisades Stateline Overlook for raptors (http://www.njpalisades.org/overlooks.htm#State)

**********

Gowanus Dredgers
Saturday, September 28, 2013, 1pm – 5pm
Canoe Gowanus Canal
Bring a friend for a self-guided Canoe trip sponsored by the Gowanus Dredgers to raise awareness of Harbor Issues www.gowanuscana​l.org

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday September 28, 2013
Clove Lakes Park and Other Staten Island Sites
Leader: Howard Fischer
Registrar: Lenore Swenson – lenoreswenson@gmail.com or 212-533-9567
Registration opens: Monday September 16
Ride: $20

**********

Littoral Society
Saturday, September 28, 2013, 03:30pm - 06:30pm
Ecology Cruise in Jamaica Bay
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. Meet one half-hour early at Pier 4 in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.
With American Littoral Society and NYC Audubon.
Price includes narrated tour, as well as fruit, cheese, wine, and other snacks and refreshments. For more information, contact donriepe@gmail.com or buy tickets at http://cruiseseptember28th.eventbrite.com/.
Location : Pier 4, Sheepshead Bay (Emmons Ave and Bedford Ave) Brooklyn , NY
Price: $55

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, September 28, 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, September 28, 2013, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walk
Guides: NYC Audubon Naturalists 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, September 28, 2013, 8:30am – 3:30pm
Explore the Birding Gems of Staten Island
Guides: Cliff Hagen, Tod Winston Come visit some of the beautiful, bird-rich spots on Staten Island--which can be hard for car-less New Yorkers to get to. We'll start in the pristine marsh and beach habitat of Great Kills Park, looking for shorebirds and wading birds, and then move on to Mount Loretto Unique Area to look for migrant flycatchers, warblers, and more. Bring lunch, water, and binoculars.
Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12.
$65 Click here to register!

Saturday, September 28, 2013, 11am – 3pm
Little Neck Bay Festival
With NYC Audubon, Bayside Historical Society, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, Queens Botanical Garden Meet at Alley Pond Environmental Center, 228-06 Northern Boulevard, Douglaston, NY. Come celebrate National Estuaries Day at Little Neck Bay. Festival activities will include canoeing, boat rides, NYC Audubon-led nature walks, games, music, and more. For more information, please call 718-229-4000. No limit. Free

Saturday, September 28, 2013, 3:30pm – 6:30pm
Jamaica Bay Sunset Cruise
Guides: Don Riepe, Mickey Cohen With American Littoral Society Meet at Pier 2 in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. Enjoy a 3-hour cruise aboard the 100-foot boat "Golden Sunshine." Visit backwater marshes near JFK Airport and learn about the history and wildlife of the bay. See nesting peregrine falcons, osprey, egrets, shorebirds, and more. Includes refreshments.
To register, contact Don Riepe at 917-371-8577 or donriepe@gmail.com. Limited to 140. $55

Sunday, September 29, 2013, 10am – 11am
Birding for Families
Dana Discovery Center, Central Park, New York, NY
Sundays, September 1 - November 24, 10-11am 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 to register

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Saturday, September 28, 2013, noon to 2:00 p.m.
Reed’s Basket Willow Swamp
Discover this hidden natural park in Dongan Hills. We’ll visit the three bodies of water in the park and hike through the woodlands. Although none of the willows grown by the Reed family still exist, the woodlands and stream are still home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Meet at the Spring Street entrance in Dongan Hills.
For more information call Clay Wollney at 718-869-6327.

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Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Welwyn Preserve MiniTrip
Leader: Mary Normandia 516-965-2282

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Alley Pond Park
All walks start at 9:30 A.M.
There is no walk if it rains or snows or temperature is below 25°F.
Any questions please Call Steve at (516) 987-8103.
For directions to our bird-watching locations, click here.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, September 28, 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!

Birding: Raptor Migrants at Gateway Drive and Erskine Street (in Spring Creek Park), Brooklyn
11:00 a.m.
Birding programs are appropriate for all skill levels and beginners are welcome. To enhance your experience we encourage you to bring binoculars and field guides, or ask a…
Free!

Sunday, September 29, 2013
Birding for Families at Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (in Central Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Take the kids on a walk through one of New York City’s richest bird habitats — the North Woods. Learn how to spot and identify our feathered neighbors in their natural surroundings...
Free!

Sneak Peak at Freshkills Park at Freshkills Park Parking Lot, Staten Island
11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
The Sneak Peak festival in Freshkills Park on Staten Island is back for 2013 and better than ever.
Free!

Jamaica Bay By Land, Sea and Air: A Family Fun day Presented by NYC Parks and the National Park Service at Ryan Visitor Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
Come learn how to explore Jamaica Bay by land, sea and air! Activities and demonstrations include camping, kayaking, fishing, live birds of prey, viewing historic aircraft,…
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, September 21, 2013

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, September 20, 2013:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Sep. 20, 2013
* NYNY1309.20

- Birds mentioned

SAY'S PHOEBE+
BELL'S VIREO+
YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

MARBLED GODWIT
BAIRD'S SANDPIPER
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Black-billed Cuckoo
Red-headed Woodpecker
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
WESTERN KINGBIRD
Philadelphia Vireo
American Pipit
Golden-winged Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Worm-eating Warbler
Connecticut Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Clay-colored Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Blue Grosbeak
Dickcissel

- 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)
125 Pine Springs Drive
Ticonderoga, NY 12883

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, September 20th 2013 at 8pm. The highlights of today's tape are BELL'S VIREO, SAY'S PHOEBE, YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD, WESTERN KINGBIRD, MARBLED GODWIT, BAIRD'S SANDPIPER and more.

Some excellent landbirds appeared this week but none stayed around very long. These were certainly topped by the "Eastern" BELL'S VIREO found and nicely photographed late in the day last Monday at Kissena Park in Queens. So a number of birders gathered there early Tuesday morning only one reported a brief sighting and the bird was not otherwise encountered then or on subsequent days.

Another highlight was the SAY'S PHOEBE seen Wednesday morning near the hawkwatch site at Robert Moses State Park this bird quickly disappearing to the west. The hawkwatch is located at the eastern end of the Moses Parkway with parking available on field 5. A female type YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was also photographed near the hawkwatch at Robert Moses on Monday morning but did not linger however a birder looking for it found a second similarly plumaged YELLOW-HEADED at nearby Captree State Park this bird stayed a little longer into late Monday afternoon and analysis of photos seems to indicate these were two separate birds. Last Saturday produced two WESTERN KINGBIRDS at about the same time in the morning one at Robert Moses State Park field 2 and the other at Smith Point County Park in Shirley neither one was relocated after it continued moving to the west.

Reviewing the other unusual though expected landbirds were some coastal DICKCISSELS included one at Riis Park Saturday when two were noted at Robert Moses State Park with one there Monday plus one at Jones Beach West End Sunday and another at Staten Island's Mount Loretto Park on Tuesday. Single BLUE GROSBEAKS were at Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn Saturday, East Hampton on Sunday and visiting Prospect Park Wednesday and Thursday.

A nice push of RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS last weekend included singles at Inwood Hill Park in northern Manhattan, Van Cortlandt Park in The Bronx and Connetquot River State Park all on Saturday while Sunday provided one at Jones Beach West End and another at Owl's Head Park in Brooklyn. Over a dozen PHILADELPHIA VIREOS were seen with multiples at Sands Point on Saturday and in Prospect Park Sunday. Other locations with a PHILADELPHIA from Saturday to Wednesday included well visited areas like Central Park, Alley Pond Park in Queens, Jones Beach West End and Floyd Bennett Field as well as Rocky Point, Fort Totten and two Staten Island sites. A single CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was at Jones Beach West End field 2 on Sunday.

Among the warblers a GOLDEN-WINGED was at Strack Pond in Forest Park Queens Thursday and a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT was spotted in Central Park Sunday and Thursday. Three reports of CONNECTICUT WARBLER included Central Park and Bryant Park Saturday and Rocky Point Preserve Monday while MOURNING WARBLER sites included Prospect Park and Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. Other warblers that were more widespread included TENNESSEE, decent numbers of CAPE MAYS, BAY-BREASTED, WORM-EATING, WILSON'S and even a few HOODED.

Both cuckoos (YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO and BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO) were seen in small numbers and OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was at Sands Point Saturday and other sightings featured YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER, AMERICAN PIPIT and LINCOLN'S SPARROW.

The East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge featured MARBLED GODWIT and BAIRD'S SANDPIPER Wednesday and after. Four MARBLED GODWITS were still at Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes Saturday with another at Shinnecock yesterday.

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

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

- End transcript
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Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday's Foto

When one thinks of flocks of migrating birds, the image of numerous, small songbirds usually comes to mind. Most of us wouldn't imagine thousands of raptors traveling together, yet that is exactly what Broad-winged Hawks do every Autumn around this time. There are 51 broad-wings in this photo, but I've seen as many as 1,000 individuals in a single "kettle". This species has a wide breeding range, but beginning in late-Summer birds from across Canada and New England converge in large flocks as they head towards their wintering grounds in Central and South America. Check out the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary raptor migration map here.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Warblers in Brooklyn

If you were following some of the Tweets and other sources of bird reports coming out of Brooklyn over the weekend, you learned that Friday's cold front brought in lots and lots of great birds. Unfortunately for me, I was reading those eyewitness reports from about 1,700 miles away, in "Bat City". That's not to say I wasn't enjoying myself doing other things, but as a birder, you usually want to be where the action is. I tried to make up for it by scouring Prospect Park for a few hours yesterday.

As it turned out, the Brooklyn park was still loaded with birds fueling up before continuing their Southbound migration. I was pleasantly surprised that the abundance of warbler species was really high and ended up tallying 19 species! Most of the activity I observed was on Lookout Hill and the Peninsula woods, but there were lesser numbers in the Lullwater, Midwood and Ravine. The most common wood-warbler was easily the Black-and-White Warbler with a total of 21 seen. Common Yellowthroats and Magnolia Warblers ran a close second. My warbler highlight of the morning was a male Hooded Warbler seen foraging for insects close to the ground in the wooded section of the Peninsula. In all, I observed 84 individual warblers, but that is a conservative number.

A couple of non-warbler highlights were - a single Yellow-throated Vireo foraging high in the trees at the park's Ravine, and a year high 8 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. I did a quick scan of my records and this is the highest number of hummingbirds that I've ever recorded in Prospect Park. Another noteworthy sighting was my first Pied-billed Grebe of the season in the water just below the Terrace Bridge. I suppose we'll now be seeing this tiny grebe species around the park's waterways until they depart next Spring.

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Location: Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Date: Sept. 16, 2013
Species: 61 species (+1 other taxa)

Pied-billed Grebe (1, below Terrace Bridge.)
Double-crested Cormorant (2.)
Green Heron (2.)
Red-tailed Hawk (1.)
Spotted Sandpiper (2.)

Chimney Swift (abundant, especially over the baseball fields.)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (8. 1 Lookout Hill; 3 back of Lily Pond; 4 North end of Midwood.)
Belted Kingfisher (1.)
Eastern Wood-Pewee (2.)
Empidonax sp. (2.)
Eastern Kingbird (1.)
Yellow-throated Vireo (1, within mixed flock of warblers in Ravine.)
Warbling Vireo (1.)
Red-eyed Vireo (7.)
House Wren (2.)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (1.)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (2.)
Veery (1.)
Gray Catbird

Ovenbird (5.)
Northern Waterthrush (3.)
Black-and-white Warbler (21.)
Tennessee Warbler (1.)
Nashville Warbler (1.)
Common Yellowthroat (15.)
Hooded Warbler (1. Nice adult male. Feeding a couple of feet off the ground in Peninsula woods.)
American Redstart (10.)
Northern Parula (1.)
Magnolia Warbler (14.)
Blackburnian Warbler (1.)
Yellow Warbler (2.)
Chestnut-sided Warbler (1.)
Blackpoll Warbler (1.)
Black-throated Blue Warbler (3.)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (1.)
Black-throated Green Warbler (1.)
Canada Warbler (1.)
Wilson's Warbler (1.)

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (2.)
Indigo Bunting (1.)
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole (2.)
American Goldfinch

Other common species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose Mute Swan American Black Duck Mallard, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Blue Jay, Tufted Titmouse (2.), Carolina Wren (3.), American Robin, European Starling, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Sparrow
...Read more

Treehugger Tuesday

Hawaiian Molasses Spill an Ecological Disaster

When over 200,000 gallons of molasses poured into Honolulu Harbor, it created an environmental hazard not much different than an oil spill. Russell McLendon of Mother Nather Network reported on why this disaster is much worse than one might assume:

Why is Hawaii's molasses spill so terrible?
by Russell McLendon
A 233,000-gallon molasses spill has killed thousands of marine creatures off the coast of Honolulu. But how can an edible substance be so deadly to wildlife?
Fri, Sep 13 2013 at 1:42 PM

A thick orange slime is choking Honolulu Harbor, littering the seabed with dead animals as it coats everything in its path. About 233,000 gallons of the sludge leaked from a pipeline this week, forming a sticky plume that killed thousands of fish in just a few days.

The scene is reminiscent of an oil spill, but this isn't oil. Hawaii's busiest harbor is being suffocated by something with a much less sinister reputation: molasses.

"This is the worst environmental damage to sea life that I have come across," Gary Gill of the state health department tells KHNL-TV. "It's fair to say this is a biggie, if not the biggest that we've had to confront in the state of Hawaii."

"Everything is dead," adds diver Roger White, who filmed an underwater video of the devastation. "We have to start from zero because there's nothing alive."

The spill came to light Monday, when molasses was found escaping from a pipeline that links onshore storage tanks to ships in the harbor. Pipeline operator Matson Navigation says it fixed the leak Tuesday, but can't do anything now to clean up its mess. "Matson truly regrets what has happened," senior vice president Vic Angoco said in a press conference Thursday. "We take pride in being good stewards of the land, of the ocean. In this case, we didn't live up to our standards. We are truly, truly sorry for that."

But why is molasses so destructive? It's a byproduct from the process of refining sugar, and while it may not be the most nutritious food source, it's widely eaten by humans. In fact, Americans ate more molasses than granulated sugar until about 100 years ago.

A sticky situation
Unlike oil, molasses isn't toxic. But when this much of it surges into the sea, it can boost algae populations that rob the water of oxygen, similar to how nitrogen creates "dead zones" in places like the Gulf of Mexico and Chesapeake Bay. And although oil tends to float on water — allowing some to be scooped up or burned away — Matson's molasses sank to the bottom of Honolulu Harbor, blanketing the ecosystem in a way that defies conventional cleanup while also directly smothering an array of plants and animals.

Molasses may mimic an oil spill's carnage, but raw sewage is a better analogy, says Paul Kemp of Hawaii's Center for Microbial Oceanography. "It's relatively fresh material, it's organic-rich, it's heavy," he tells NBC News. "All of those things would be somewhat comparable." The sugary goo will eventually leave the harbor naturally, but that could take years. Algae will keep depleting oxygen as they digest the molasses, and the harbor's lack of strong ocean currents means the sludge won't be churned out to sea quickly.

"This is in a bay, so there's not a lot of circulation," marine scientist David Field tells KHNL. "So in this area where the spill occurred, we're probably going to see the effects for a long time." And even when the molasses is flushed out, he adds, it could go on to threaten coral reefs farther from the harbor. "As water does leave this bay area and goes out into the neighboring ocean, we can expect the effects in the long term, in days, weeks, months and probably years, to spread out over some of the South Shore reefs."

Dead fish and coral are a nightmare for Hawaii's ocean-centric economy, and the specter of toxic algae blooms doesn't bode well for tourism at Waikiki beaches. State health officials are already warning swimmers and surfers to stay out of waters around Honolulu Harbor, fearing algae as well as sharks, which might be lured by all the dead fish.

Unsafe harbor
The cause of the leak remains unclear, Matson's Vic Angoco said Thursday, but KHNL reports "several investigations" are now underway. The state health department is reportedly mulling whether to take action against Matson, which says it has sealed the pipe, closed all valves and temporarily shut down its Honolulu operation. The company normally makes weekly molasses deliveries from Hawaii to the mainland.

"Matson accepts responsibility for the spill and is working directly with state and federal agencies to respond to this unprecedented event," Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Thursday, pledging to "do everything needed to restore harbor channel waters to the highest quality and take all appropriate action to ensure that such a spill will not reoccur."

While investigations continue and Hawaii waits for the sludge to wash away, it's worth noting there are some similarities between molasses and oil. As TreeHugger's Chris Tackett points out, the saccharine slime behaves a lot like tar sands oil, aka diluted bitumen:


"Because the tar sands are so thick, they are diluted with a cocktail of toxic chemicals, which allows them to flow through a pipeline. However, when a spill occurs, the diluents evaporate into the air, leaving behind the thick, heavy and very sticky bitumen, which sinks to the bottom and is not easily skimmed off the top of the water."


That's what made recent tar-sands spills in Michigan and Arkansas so destructive, requiring complex and expensive cleanups. But if the Hawaii molasses spill doesn't dissolve or wash away quickly enough, state officials may have some options for cleaning it up themselves. The U.S. Coast Guard has tested underwater vaccums, for example, to use when heavy crude oil sinks below the surface. "They're designed to vacuum up the oil, to remove it from the bottom," oil-spill expert Nancy Kinner tells NBC News. "Something like that could be deployed, but you'd need to get it out there and mobilize it."

Hawaii has had molasses spills before, but this week's is widely considered the state's largest and most destructive. And while the full toll may not be known for years, it at least seems unlikely to be the worst molasses spill in U.S. history. That distinction belongs to the 2 million-gallon Boston Molasses Flood of 1919, in which a 30-foot wall of molasses surged through the city at up to 35 mph, eventually killing 21 people.
...Read more

Monday, September 16, 2013

Restore Science to Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Brooklynite Chris Kreussling of the blog "Flatbush Gardener" has created the following, important petition at Change.org. Please take a few minutes to check it out and support this very pressing issue by signing the petition:

On Wednesday, August 21, 2013, Vice Presidents of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) notified four staff that they had been fired. The position of Director of Greenbridge, BBG’s community outreach program, was eliminated. Also eliminated were the last three research and science positions at BBG: Curator of the Herbarium, Herbarium Supervisor, and Manager of the New York Metropolitan Flora Project (NYMF). One Herbarium Technician and one part-time Herbarium Assistant, neither of which is a research position, were transferred to the Horticulture Department.

This latest round of layoffs eliminates the last vestige of support for research and science at BBG. Claims from BBG’s administration that this merely presages the “re-envisioning” of their science programs defy credibility. The current crisis is not a singular event. It's the just the most-recent expression of a pattern of decisions by which BBG has eroded its science staff, programs and activities to nothing, in violation of its mission.

The current administration was established in 2005. At every opportunity they have placed science and research last in priority. Science staff and the programs themselves have been demoted in BBG’s corporate hierarchy. No new science positions have been created. No one has been hired to fill science positions as they’ve been vacated.

Within its first two years, BBG's current administration transferred the Publications group from Science to Marketing. They demoted the Vice President of Science to Director of Science; even that diminished position no longer exists. In 2005, BBG had eight science Ph Ds on staff. Today it has none. The sole researcher BBG has claimed to have on staff is not paid by BBG, and no longer works there.

During the same period, BBG has created, expanded or maintained several senior and upper management positions in the areas of fundraising, development, communications, and marketing. BBG has completed three major infrastructure projects: the new Edibles Garden, the Visitor Center, and the Native Flora Garden expansion. A fourth project is already underway to overhaul the Children’s Garden area at the southern end of the Garden.

BBG has raised tens of millions of dollars of funding for these projects. But nothing for science.

Impacts

Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Herbarium (BKL) is an important resource to plant scientists worldwide. BKL contains many important historical plant collections, including the Whitney South Seas Expedition, the Mulford Expedition to the upper Amazon, the Camillo Schneider Cultivated Plants Collection, the Hall and Harbor Western US Expedition, and the Nicholas Pike Mauritian Ferns, among others.

Closer to home, BKL includes records of local flora dating back to the 1700s, a history of native and invasive plants critical to conservation efforts, plant identification, and understanding of the natural history – and future – of the region. Recent collections from the New York Metropolitan Flora Project, the New Jersey watersheds and preserves, the New Jersey Pine Barrens, the New Jersey Moss Flora as well as the Catskill Mountains have added over 50,000 specimens.

Many government agencies and scientific institutions depend on the data collected by BBG scientists, including the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP), the Greenbelt Native Plant Center (GNPC), the New York Flora Association (NYFA), the New York Natural Heritage Program (NYNHP), the Long Island Native Plant Initiative (LINPI), the New Jersey Natural Heritage Program (NJNHP), the New Jersey Department of Environmental Conservation (NJDEP), and others. BBG scientists, their collections, and their collaborations with all these agencies and organizations are the basis for ongoing and current understanding of the complex interactions of climate change, invasive species, habitat loss, widespread extirpation and extinction, and their impacts on the environment and ecology of the tri-state region.

Elimination of BBG’s science staff, program, and activities is a huge setback for all of these efforts.

We call upon the Board of Directors of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to:

Reinstate Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s field work, herbarium and library access, and the scientists needed to support these programs and services.

Restore science as a priority, as required by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s mission: “Engaging in research in plant sciences to expand human knowledge of plants, and disseminating the results to science professionals and the general public.”

Include Brooklyn, its neighborhoods, and scientific communities – the public for which Brooklyn Botanic Garden was founded, and is funded, to serve – in all decisions affecting its research and education programs and activities.
...Read more

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of September 21, 2013 to September 22, 2013:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Introduction to Birdwatching
Free
Explore the Park's natural areas and learn how to look for amazing birds.

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Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday September 21, 2013
Prospect Park
Meet 7:00 am at Bartel Square park entrance
Leader: Steve Nanz

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Gowanus Dredgers
Saturday, September 21, 2013, 1pm – 5pm
Canoe Gowanus Canal
Bring a friend for a self-guided Canoe trip sponsored by the Gowanus Dredgers to raise awareness of Harbor Issues www.gowanuscana​l.org

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Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday September 21, 2013
Hook Mountain Hawk Watch
Leader: Rob Jett a.k.a. The City Birder
Registrar: Sherry Felix – info@linnaeannewyork.org or 212-255-0138
Registration opens: Monday September 9
Ride: $25

CANCELED

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, September 21, 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

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, September 21, 2013, 8:00am – 9:30am
Fall Migrants of Woodlawn Cemetery
Guides: Tod Winston, Joseph McManus With Woodlawn Conservancy Meet at the Jerome Avenue Entrance of Woodlawn Cemetery. Join us for a morning birdwalk with NYC Audubon's Tod Winston and Woodlawn Conservancy's Joseph McManus. Attendees will learn about the birds of Woodlawn and look for fall migrants and year-round residents on the cemetery grounds -- which are home to one of the largest collection of trees in an urban setting in the U.S. Bring binoculars and water.
Limited to 15. $20
Click here to register!

Saturday, September 21, 2013, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walk
Guides: NYC Audubon Naturalists 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, September 21, 2013, 10am – 2pm
International Coastal Cleanup
Meet at 71 West 23rd Street, Suite 1523, New York, NY 10010
Come to Jamaica Bay and Join the International Coastal Cleanup! The International Coastal Cleanup is a multi-state effort to improve coastline habitat. we will be picking up debris at North Channel Bridge this fall, an area used by species like the American Oystercatcher. North Channel Bridge is close to the Harbor Heron Islands, the newly restored Elder Marsh, and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Help us clear the beach and raise awareness of the importance of coastal areas to birdlife! Equipment, refreshments, and transportation from Manhattan are provided. To see a report of last years International Coastal Cleanup, you can visit this page on the Ocean Conservancy website: http://www.oceanconservancy.org/who-we-are/newsroom/2013/international-coastal-cleanup.html Please RSVP to volunteer@nycaudubon.org or 212-691-8743.
We hope to see you there!

Sunday, September 22, 2013, 9am – 4pm
Hook Mt. Hawk Watch
Guide: Joe Giunta, Happy Warblers LLC Part of the Palisades Interstate Park system, Hook Mountain has commanding views of all the mountains ridges in the area and fantastic views of the Hudson River. From this inland hawk watch spot we expect to see many species of migrating raptors, including possible broad-winged and red-shouldered hawks, bald eagles, accipiters, and falcons. Note: this trip requires a 35-minute walk up and down the mountainside. Bring binoculars, lunch, and water. Transport by passenger van included.
Limited to 12. $70
Click here to register!

Sunday, September 22, 2013, 10am – 11am
Birding for Families
Dana Discovery Center, Central Park, New York, NY
Sundays, September 1 - November 24, 10-11am 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 to register

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Saturday, September 21, 2013, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Rockland Avenue Edge
Meet in the Nevada Avenue parking lot at High Rock. We will walk the former Yellow Trail spur to Rockland Avenue where we will remove invasive vines from shrubs and saplings close to the road. If you don’t have your own, Protectors will supply gloves and pruners (& refreshments). After a two hour work session (our 206th 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.

Saturday, September 21, 2013, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Great Kills Park
Meet at the first parking lot along the beach, about a quarter mile from Hylan Boulevard. From here, near where the bath house once stood, participants will explore the coastal mudflats for the many and varied forms of intertidal life. Low-tide is scheduled for 4:30 pm so our visit will be timed well for an extended investigation of fish, mollusks, and other living organisms found in this ecological niche.
For more information call Clay Wollney at 718-869-6327.

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, September 22, 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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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, September 21, 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!

Sunday, September 22, 2013
Birding for Families at Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (in Central Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Take the kids on a walk through one of New York City’s richest bird habitats — the North Woods. Learn how to spot and identify our feathered neighbors in their natural surroundings...
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Happy Naked Mole Rat

Now, something completely different...

In addition to Brooklyn/Bird themed t-shirts and other products, you can now find my "Happy Naked Mole Rat" designs at my CafePress store.

They're happy. They're hairless. They're Happy Naked Mole Rats!

...Read more

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday's Foto

The Bobolink in basic plumage, while still a lovely bird, looks dramatically different from his breeding garb. Only a few weeks ago this bird's underside was completely black as was his bill. Feathering on his upper side showed white to pale gray shoulders, lower back, and rump. The rear part of his head and crown was set off with buffy, yellow colored plumage. While their populations have declined over the past several decades, this grassland species is still fairly common in the United States. The most likely place to find them in Brooklyn during migration is within the grassland habitats of Floyd Bennett Field. The Bobolink's song is my favorite of any North American bird:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Look Back

As I watched the various September 11th memorials on the news today, it made me reflect on my feelings after the horrific events. Looking back into my journal from that period, I came upon my brief writing on September 12th. Blogger was still a relatively new service and the creation of this blog was still a couple of years away. Cornell's "eBird" website was a year off. The birding forum NYSBird-l was just beginning and not known by most NYC birders. For sharing bird sightings and other relevant information, a group of us created an email group called "eBird-NYC". Below is my short note to the group following the 911 attacks:

SUBJECT: Prospect Park
DATE: Wednesday, 12 September 2001
OBSERVERS: Joe Canale, Rob Jett, Tâm Lê Mihn
REPORTER: Rob Jett

Unable to work and needing to get out of the house I thought cycling through the park and some birding would help mask the melancholy and feelings of helplessness. Sometimes it helped. Mindlessly, I watched a hummingbird perched on a twig at the edge of the Butterfly Meadow. It momentarily erased the events of a day ago. It felt wrong that I should be watching birds under a clear, blue sky. I used to marvel at the Herculean task that the diminutive Ruby-throated Hummingbird confronted twice a year. Today that task seems relatively easy compared to what New Yorkers now face. I pray that all of the family, friends and loved ones of the eBirds community are safe and sound.

Peace and good birding,

Rob

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Prospect Park, 9/12/2001
-
Double-crested Cormorant
Green Heron
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Ring-billed Gull
Common Nighthawk
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Northern Flicker
empidonax sp.
Blue-headed Vireo (Butterfly Meadow)
PHILADELPHIA VIREO (Locust Trees next to Butterfly Meadow)
Red-eyed Vireo
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Veery
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
Cedar Waxwing

Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Palm Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Ovenbird
Northern Waterthrush
CONNECTICUT WARBLER (Peninsula and Wellhouse path near Maryland Monument)
Common Yellowthroat
Wilson's Warbler
Canada Warbler
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT (Center Dr. in front of Quaker Cemetery)

Scarlet Tanager
WHITE-THROATED SPARROW (Butterfly Meadow)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch

Other resident species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, Mute Swan, American Black Duck, Mallard, Herring Gull, Rock Dove, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, American Robin, European Starling, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Sparrow
...Read more

Urban Nature Landscapes

Here are several urban nature landscapes I took over the past week:

Jacob Riis Park

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Floyd Bennett Field

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

August Birds

August is usually a good time to see shorebirds passing through Brooklyn and New York City's other boroughs as they head towards their Central and South American wintering grounds. For reasons yet to be determined, though, this season saw a much lower number of birds. The East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is the area's hotspot of shorebird activity. This year the abundance of several species was disappointing. The low-tide mudflats at Plum Beach, in Brooklyn, usually attracts hundreds of migrating birds. This past August only saw dozens.

The New York State endangered Piping Plover regularly stops off at Plum Beach during their South-bound migration. Despite the disruptions of ongoing hurricane remediation work by the Army Corps of Engineers, I did manage to spot two here on August 3rd. A total of three were seen here by other birders for about 10 days. This is average for Plum Beach, but the highest number observed here was nine, on July 30, 1980 by longtime Brooklyn birder Ron Bourque.

Another good bird seen at this location in August was Saltmarsh Sparrow. This species is becoming increasingly more difficult to observe around New York City as wetland habitats are lost to either development or destruction due to climate change and pollution from runoff. On August 8th we observed a juvenile bird that seemed unaffected by our presence and walked within a couple of yards of us, like an urban House Sparrow. The young bird's coloration and markings at first had us a little confused, but comparing Heydi's photographs to field guides later that day confirmed it's ID.

I rounded out my August bird list with a Golden-winged Warbler in Prospect Park on the 12th (which I wrote about here) and a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher on the 24th.

The Yellow-bellied Flycatcher is a member of the empidonax flycatcher genus and sometimes very difficult to separate in the East from the similar Acadian, Alder, Least and Willow Flycatchers. In the Spring, when birds are vocalizing, it is relatively easy to tell them apart by their songs and calls. In the Fall, when in new plumage, all of these species tend to have a yellowish wash on their undersides, so a yellow belly doesn't necessarily mean a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. The American Birding Association has a good document here for identifying these tough birds. The bird we spotted in Prospect Park was hawking for insects low in some shrubs and saplings. It moved around a lot, so it took Heydi, Keir, Sean and myself the better part of 30 minutes to get complete views and identifiable photographs. The key fieldmarks to look at in these obstructed view photos are (in the upper image) the bill size and yellow wash on throat; and (in the lower image) the length of the primary feathers. More simply, however, I've read that the yellow-bellied is the only one of our Eastern empidonax flycatcher with a yellow throat, which is very obvious in the upper photo.

In my summary below I've included the total amount of time spent birding during the month. At 23.1 hours, that means it took me an average of 5.75 hours to find each of last month's new species. On the face of it, that actually sounds pretty pathetic. Maybe I shouldn't look at that statistic so closely in the future...

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NYS Total: 229
Kings Total: 224
Added in August: 4
Effort: 23.1 birding hours, 3 locations

221) Piping Plover (Plumb Beach, 08/03/13)
222) Saltmarsh Sparrow (Plumb Beach, 08/10/13)
223) Golden-winged Warbler (Prospect Park, 08/12/13)
224) Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (Prospect Park--Lookout Hill, 08/24/13)
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Exploring urban nature, birds, birdwatching, birding, hummingbirds, butterflies, dragonflies, bees, hawks, raptors, wildflowers, trees, mushrooms, environment, binoculars, spotting scope