Monday, June 30, 2014

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of July 4, 2014 to July 6, 2014:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Friday, July 4, 2014
Blooming Naturalists
Thursdays and Fridays , 1 – 2 p.m.
Free
The Park is a nature wonderland. Come discover all its joys.

Nature on the Go!
Thursdays and Fridays, 2 – 3 p.m.
Free
Come have fun in nature!

Animal Encounter
Thursdays and Fridays, 3 – 4 p.m.
Join one our trained staff in learning more about the animals in the Audubon Center’s collection.

Saturday, July 5, 2014
Pop-Up Audubon
Saturdays and Sundays, April 5 – October 19, 12 – 5 p.m. / November – December, 12 – 4 p.m.
Free The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

Sunday, July 6, 2014
Morning Bird Walk: Taking Wing
Sunday, July 6, 8 a.m.
Free
Meet the amazing local birds raising families in Prospect Park on this expert-guided walk. Start your Sunday morning surrounded by nature!

Pop-Up Audubon
Saturdays and Sundays, April 5 – October 19, 12 – 5 p.m. / November – December, 12 – 4 p.m.
Free
The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, July 5, 2014
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, July 5, 2014, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walk (spring)
Guide: NYC Audubon, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy With the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy 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 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free.

Sunday, July 6, 2014, 6pm – 9pm
Sunset EcoCruise to the Harbor Heron Islands: Jamaica Bay
Guide: Gabriel Willow With New York Water Taxi Meet at South Street Seaport's Pier 16. We're excited about this summer's ecocruises; we’ve expanded our explorations of the City's island rookeries to three different locations! 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.
To learn about specific cruise dates and register, visit New York Water Taxi online or by phone at 212-742-1969. Limited to 140. Pricing varies by destination.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, July 5, 2014
Bird Walk at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.
NYC Audubon experts lead the way as we marvel at quirky but logical bird behavior and delicate feathers in exquisite patterns. Bring binoculars if you have them and wear sturdy…
Free!

Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Join the Alliance to learn about the 250 species of birds that call Prospect Park home.
Free!

Sunday, July 6, 2014
Plover Day! at Beach 59th St & Boardwalk (in Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk), Queens
11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Discover one of New York City's endangered species: The Piping Plover!
Free!

Birding: Shore Birds at Orchard Beach Nature Center (in Pelham Bay Park), Bronx
11:00 a.m.
Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in New York City.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, June 28, 2014

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, June 27, 2014:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jun. 27, 2014
* NYNY1406.27

- Birds mentioned

BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK+
AUDUBON'S SHEARWATER+
LEACH'S STORM-PETREL+
SANDWICH TERN+
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Cory's Shearwater
Great Shearwater
Wilson's Storm-Petrel
Red Knot
Short-billed Dowitcher
Roseate Tern
ARCTIC TERN
Forster's Tern
Black Skimmer
CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW
Eastern Whip-poor-will
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER

- 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 nysarc44(at)nybirds{dot}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, June 27th 2014 at 7pm. The highlights of today's tape are BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK, ARCTIC and SANDWICH TERNS, CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW, LEACH'S STORM-PETREL, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER and a pelagic trip announcement.

A recent incursion of BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCKS into the northeast brought 6 on Tuesday to Morningside Park up in northern Sullivan County. The birds were not seen on Wednesday but this is a species to be mindful of this Summer.

A first summer ARCTIC TERN appeared on the flats north of the Cupsogue County Park parking lot in West Hampton Dunes last Saturday morning and stayed through much of the low and incoming tides. ROSEATE and FORSTER'S TERNS, 2 BLACK SKIMMERS and very few shorebirds were also out there.

Also Saturday morning two birders nearing the termination of an unproductive seawatch at Cupsogue heard a parrot like call overhead and looked up to see a decent sized, very white looking tern with a long dark bill and no tail streamers passing directly overhead. The tern was watched as it headed well out to sea eventually disappearing into a large feeding frenzy of gulls and terns. Thinking SANDWICH TERN the Sandwich call was brought up on a smart phone and it matched perfectly. Though hopefully anticipated this tern did not appear later on the Cupsogue flats and neither it nor the ARCTIC TERN were found there Sunday. A seawatch later in the afternoon Saturday at Shinnecock Inlet did produce a GREAT and a few CORY'S and unidentified shearwaters mostly way off shore. On Tuesday at Cupsogue what may have been an influx of new shorebirds did include a few more SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS and a RED KNOT.

The YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER at Connetquot River State Park was still singing there today near the administration buildings. Two birds may be present and breeding evidence would be much desired.

Both CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW and EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILL continue to sing just before dark at Napeague west of Montauk the birds can be heard from Lazy Point Road or Napeague Meadow Road.

A possible EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE reported Sunday from Pier 63 in Manhattan between West 24th and 26th Streets should be checked out. Inexplicably this species has so far really avoided the northeast while exploding over most of the rest of the country.

A boat trip Sunday well south of Montauk noted 4 CORY'S and 6 GREAT SHEARWATERS plus a black and white shearwater possible AUDUBON'S and 35 WILSON'S and 8 LEACH'S STORM-PETRELS.

With onshore pelagics so far this year generally sporadic and under whelming perhaps you've been thinking you should try to get farther offshore where many more possibilities exist. Providing that possibility an overnight pelagic trip has been scheduled by See Life Paulagics from Freeport Long Island departing at 8pm on Monday, August 11th and returning the following evening at 6pm. The trip is aboard the Star Stream VIII of the Captain Lou Fleet and costs $255 per participant. The objective is to be out at the continental shelf at dawn, set up a sizable chum slick and then work backwards back slowly, hopefully encountering an exciting selection of seabirds and mammals. For information and reservations call See Life Paulagics at (215) 234-6805 or visit their website at http://www.paulagics.com/site/.

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, June 27, 2014

Friday's Foto

Since much of June is a bit of a birding doldrums locally, I decided to take a look at some of the flowering botanics in Prospect Park. The slideshow includes plants that are native to North America, non-native/invasives and cultivars. They are: Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta ‘Cordoba’), Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense), Common Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), Common Nightshade (Solanum americanum), Dandelion (Taraxacum sp.), Eastern Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus), Field Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis), Goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria), Holly (Ilex sp.), Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis), Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana), Privet (Ligustrum sp.), Purple-flowering Raspberry (Rubus odoratus), Red Clover (Trifolium pratense), Tawny Daylily (Hemerocallis fulva), White Clover (Trifolium repens), Wild Garlic (Allium vineale). Sadly, a good number of the most beautiful plants around our parks were introduced from Europe and Asia and caused unintended, detrimental effects on the environment.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Treehugger Tuesday

President Obama Increases Marine Habitats Protection

The White House just announced a new initiative to help protect important marine habitats. Here is an article from the LA Times about that plan:

Obama to order major expansion of ocean sanctuary in Pacific
by Neela Banerjee

• Obama plans to order a doubling in size of a major marine sanctuary in the Pacific
• New measures would close a large swath of the central Pacific to fishing and energy development
• Republicans denounce Obama's ocean-protection moves as signs of an 'imperial presidency'


Scientists are concerned that coral reefs, such as this one at the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, northwest of the main Hawaiian islands, are in danger as the ocean absorbs more carbon dioxide, making water more acidic. (Louiz Rocha / Associated Press)

President Obama announced a series of measures Tuesday to protect parts of the world’s oceans, including the creation of a marine sanctuary that would close a large swath of the central Pacific to fishing and energy development.

The plan would require federal agencies to take multiple initiatives to address pollution, overfishing and acidification of ocean water, which is driven by climate change.

“Rising levels of carbon dioxide are causing our oceans to acidify. Pollution endangers marine life. Overfishing threatens whole species,” Obama said in televised statement to an international conference on ocean policy hosted by the State Department in Washington.

“If we ignore these problems, if we drain our oceans of their resources, we won't just be squandering one of humanity's greatest treasures. We'll be cutting off one of the world's major sources of food and economic growth, including for the United States.”

The announcement provides further evidence of Obama’s willingness to use his executive authority to advance priorities in the face of congressional stalemate, and it quickly drew criticism from congressional Republicans, who contend the administration over-regulates natural resources industries and that the president has over-reached his constitutional powers.

“This is yet another example of how an imperial president is intent on taking unilateral action, behind closed doors, to impose new regulations and layers of restrictive red-tape,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.). “Oceans, like our federal lands, are intended to be multiple-use and open for a wide range of economic activities that includes fishing, recreation, conservation, and energy production.”

Among the ocean plan’s most ambitious and controversial steps would be expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument southwest of Hawaii. In January 2009, President George W. Bush gave monument status to nearly 87,000 square miles around Howland, Baker, and Jarvis Islands; Johnston, Wake, and Palmyra Atolls; and Kingman Reef. The islands are uninhabited, and the area is one the few pristine stretches of marine environment in the world and home to thousands of migratory birds, fish and mammals.

The Obama plan envisions extending monument protection from the current limit of 50 nautical miles around the islands to 200 miles, thereby limiting fishing and energy development over a far larger expanse of ocean. The proposal could more than double the area of ocean protected by the United States, environmental groups said.

The expanded protections, which under federal law the president can order without congressional approval, could go into effect this year after a public comment period.

Joshua S. Reichert, executive vice president of the Pew Charitable Trusts, said he expected considerable resistance to the expansion plan from the domestic tuna industry. But he said Pew estimates that about 1% to 3% of the U.S. annual tuna catch would be affected by the plan if it went forward.

“The importance of these uninhabited islands is far greater than the value of the fish there,” Reichert said. The proposed protection zone holds some of the world’s “richest marine life and least disturbed areas," he said. "It’s immensely valuable to science and home to vast numbers of ocean species. The importance of keeping these places intact far transcends the short-term value of what can be extracted for commercial gain.”

The president also established a task force of at least a dozen federal agencies, including the Pentagon and Justice Department, that must develop recommendations to better combat seafood fraud and illegal fishing within the next six months.

Illegal seafood accounts for one-fifth to one-third of wild-caught seafood imported to the U.S. in 2011, according to a recent study in the journal, Marine Policy. Further, about one-third of seafood is mislabeled, according to a study last year by the environmental group Oceana, which analyzed more than 1,200 seafood samples bought in 21 states. The study found that fish sold as snapper was misidentified 87% of the time and tuna, mislabeled 59% of time.

“Because our seafood travels through an increasingly long, complex and non-transparent supply chain, there are numerous opportunities for seafood fraud to occur and illegally caught fish to enter the U.S. market,” said Beth Lowell, director of Oceana’s Stop Seafood Fraud campaign. “By tracing our seafood from boat to plate, consumers will have more information about the fish they purchase.”

The White House plan would also improve monitoring of ocean acidification, fueled by the ever-greater amounts of carbon dioxide the oceans absorb. Atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased by about 40% since the preindustrial era, thanks to the combustion of fossil fuels, according to a report issued Tuesday by the White House Office of Science and Technology.

Oceans absorb about 25% of the carbon dioxide that human activity generates, and when the gas dissolves in seawater, some of it forms carbonic acid. Greater ocean acidity poses a threat to a range of marine life, including coral reefs and shellfish beds, like oyster hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest. Under the plan, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would get $9 million over three years to better monitor the local effect of ocean acidification, which, in turn, could help individual coastal communities.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
...Read more

Monday, June 23, 2014

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of June 28, 2014 to June 29, 2014:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, June 28, 2014, 10 a.m.
Pop-Up Audubon
Saturdays and Sundays, April 5 – October 19, 12 – 5 p.m. / November – December, 12 – 4 p.m.
Free
The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, which invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

Sunday, June 29, 2014
Pop-Up Audubon
Saturdays and Sundays, April 5 – October 19, 12 – 5 p.m. / November – December, 12 – 4 p.m.
Free
The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, which invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, June 28, 2014; rain date June 29
Sterling Forest for Butterflies and Birds
Leader: Rick Cech
Registrar: Sandra Maury – sandramaury39@gmail.com or 212-874-4881
Registration opens: Monday June 16
Ride: $35

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, June 28, 2014
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 28, 2014, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walk (spring)
Guide: NYC Audubon, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy With the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy 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 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free.

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, June 28, 2014, 11:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.
Bricktown Centre
We will walk the hillside above the present shopping center to take a last look at what will be gone forever when construction of Fairview Park and expansion of the mall begins. Meet in the parking lot on the north side of the Bricktown Centre Target store at 11:00am. Expect to climb some small hills and follow rough horsetrails. Rain cancels. The meeting place is accessible by S74 and S78 busses.
For more information e-mail: DonRecklies@earthlink.net

Sunday, June 29, 2014, 11 A.M. to 1 P.M.
LaTourette Park to Fort Hill
Join Hillel on a walk on the level multi-use trail along Richmond Hill Road, south and east over to Richmondtown. We will climb the Blue Trail to the top of the steep embankment overlooking Richmond Creek, Main Creek and Fresh Kills and walk the Blue Trail. Meet at the Greenbelt Nature Center at Rockland Avenue and Brielle Avenue. If it’s raining at the time of the walk, the event is postponed to Sunday, July 6.
For more information, e-mail Hillel Lofaso at hillel5757@gmail.com or call 718-477-0545.

**********

Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Catskill Mountains for Bicknell's Thrush
Allday trip
Leader: Jeff Ritter (917) 658-7302

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Bird Walk at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.
NYC Audubon experts lead the way as we marvel at quirky but logical bird behavior and delicate feathers in exquisite patterns. Bring binoculars if you have them and wear sturdy…
Free!

Pop-Up Audubon: Incredible Invertebrates at Entrance to the Ravine, downhill from the Picnic House (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, which invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.
Free!

Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Join the Alliance to learn about the 250 species of birds that call Prospect Park home.
Free!

White Island Birding by Canoe at Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.
Few experiences compare with being on the open water in New York City. Let the Urban Park Rangers guide you through Gerritsen Creek in Jamaica Bay on this bird watching adventure by water.…
Free!

Sunday, June 29, 2014
Birding at High Rock Ranger Station (in High Rock Park), Staten Island
11:00 a.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in New York City. We offer birding programs…
Free!

Pop-Up Audubon: Incredible Invertebrates at Entrance to the Ravine, downhill from the Picnic House (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, which invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.
Free!
...Read more

Friday, June 20, 2014

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, June 20, 2014:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
*June 20, 2014
* NYNY1406.20

- Birds Mentioned

WHITE-FACED IBIS+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

CORY’S SHEARWATER
GREAT SHEARWATER
Glossy Ibis
Greater Yellowlegs
White-rumped Sandpiper
GLAUCOUS GULL
Black-billed Cuckoo
Acadian Flycatcher
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER

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 nysarc44nybirdsorg

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

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

Transcriber: Gail Benson

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]
Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, June 20 at 5:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are WHITE-FACED IBIS, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, GLAUCOUS GULL, GREAT and CORY’S SHEARWATERS and a pelagic trip announcement.

In a rather slow week for rarities, we can report that the WHITE-FACED IBIS was still visiting the marsh north of Captree Island just west of the Robert Moses Causeway last Saturday. It and two dozen GLOSSY IBIS plus 2 GREATER YELLOWLEGS were feeding in the marsh just north of the Captree Island information sign and small parking turnout on a rising tide. If there, please make every effort to not inconvenience the local residents.

Also on Saturday, a morning seawatch off Robert Moses State Park Field 2 produced 8 large SHEARWATERS, with 1 GREAT and all the rest appearing to be CORY’S, though distance in some cases precluded positive identification. Late Saturday afternoon, 4 GREAT SHEARWATERS spent some time feeding off Shinnecock Inlet, twice following trawlers and their gull entourage into the inlet mouth. Shorebirds from Cupsogue County Park and Pike’s Beach in Westhampton Dunes and east of there along Dune Road on Saturday were much reduced in numbers, but there was a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER at Tiana Beach.

Last Friday at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge an ACADIAN FLYCATCHER and a BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO were found in the gardens, and a GLAUCOUS GULL was spotted at Terrapin Point, perhaps the same bird previously lingering around the Brooklyn waterfront. Terrapin Point now requires a long walk around the former West Pond, so when you are there, please express your displeasure over the condition of the West Pond, and demand that they stop stalling and restore it to a productive status by repairing the breach, the crucial first step.

You still can sign the petition, which is available on the internet at http://tinyurl.com/west-pond-petition Your involvement will help Jamaica Bay regain its well-deserved international recognition.

As this is now breeding season, please remember to keep even passive disturbance to a minimum, especially when visiting habitats for uncommon or threatened species—this period is very critical for their survival. With that in mind, 2 male YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS do continue on territory around the entrance at Connetquot River State Park.

An overnight pelagic trip has been scheduled by See Life Paulagics from Freeport, Long Island, departing 8 PM on Monday, August 11th and returning the following evening at 6 PM. The trip is aboard the Star Stream VIII of the Captain Lou Fleet and costs $255 per participant. The objective is to be out at the continental shelf at dawn, set up a sizeable chum slick, and then work back slowly, hopefully encountering an exciting selection of seabirds and mammals. For information and reservations call See Life Paulagics at 215-234-6805 or visit their website at www.paulagics.com

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

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Friday's Foto

With about 2 weeks left until the earliest southbound migrants begin appearing in our area, many birders turn their binoculars towards another group of winged animals - butterflies. Over the past week I've noticed a marked increase in the number of Tiger Swallowtail butterflies around Brooklyn. Ranging throughout all of North America, their preferred food plant is the black cherry and the tulip tree. This individual was feeding on a Long-stemmed Verbena. Here is a list of butterflies found in New York State.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Red-tailed Hawk Nest Update

Yesterday I checked in on the one remaining Red-tailed Hawk nest in Prospect Park. For several years there were two pairs of red-tails nesting relatively close to each other in the park. Nelly and Max had a nest in a spindly Japanese Black Pine at the edge of Nelly's Lawn. That tree eventually died and the pair moved their annual family rearing operations directly across Flatbush Avenue into the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. This year they have two nestlings. The pair I named Alice and Ralph rebuilt their nest every year for 9 years at the top of a tall conifer in the park's Ravine, approximately 1/4 mile south of Nelly's Lawn. Unfortunately, in 2012 they were forced out of that prime location by a pair of Great Horned Owls. The owls left the park by the end of the year, but Alice and Ralph never returned to the Ravine nest tree.

Alice and Ralph eventually found a another conifer to their liking near the south end of Prospect Park. It is in a narrow stretch of trees bordered by West Drive to the south and the baseball fields to the north. It seems like an odd location given the availability of more densely wooded areas on Lookout Hill, in the Ravine and in Midwood, but never having been a Red-tailed Hawk it's hard for me to judge what they consider ideal conditions for raising a family.

I spent about an hour watching the nest. During that time Alice vigilantly watched her single offspring from the east edge of the nest. I don't remember her being so nervous in the past, especially since the nestling is pretty well developed and moving around a lot. It could be the presence of large earth moving equipment and numerous workers renovating one of the ball fields right below her nest. That would probably make any mother a little jumpy.

Perhaps one of the draws to this area for the hawks is an abundance of fat squirrels, including this unusual leucistic individual. Apparently someone has been feeding them as evidenced by a huge pile of roasted peanuts at the base of one of the trees. I don't suppose these Eastern Gray Squirrel's benefactors realize that they are merely fattening them up for the weekly lunch special. The white individual seems much more wary than the other squirrels in the shadow of the hawk nest. Maybe he has learned that he is a much more visible target than his tree mates. I was amused to see him climbing up the trunk of the nest tree and recalled images of "Squirrely Knievel", a character I encountered while watching Big Mama and Split-tail's nest in 2002.

I highly recommend checking out the nest soon as the nestling is quickly approaching fledge time.
...Read more

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Treehugger Tueday

Can we PLEASE Stop Dumping Plastic into the Environment?

The following piece was just published on the website "Gizmodo". I think I may have posted about it here in the past.

Why Those Little Plastic Microbeads in Your Soap Are So Bad
by Sarah Zhang



This week, Illinois became the first state in the country to ban exfoliating plastic beads. Good for Illinois. Plastic microbeads have been running off by the billions into the Great Lakes and the oceans, causing huge amounts of environmental damage. Yet most consumers didn't even realize they existed.

Marine biologists have warned for a while now that dumping tiny pieces of polyethylene plastic down the drain into the ocean will not end well. But since a study by the nonprofit 5 Gyres Institute found rampant pollution in the Great Lakes in 2013, a campaign to ban the beads has been gaining traction in the U.S. (proving once again we care about the issues geographically closest to us.) In addition to Illinois's ban, New York and California legislatures are considering similar legislation.

So what's so bad about beads?

Plastic is like a tiny sponge for toxins

The density of plastic pieces in the Great Lakes surprised the researchers. "In fact, I found more in the Great Lakes than in any sample anywhere in the world's oceans," Marcus Eriksen, 5 Gyres Institute's research director told CBC at the time. Downstream of cities, they found nearly 500,000 pieces of plastic in a square kilometer of the lake, which is only unremarkable if you consider there are 330,000 plastic beads in a single bottle on Clean & Clear facial scrub. The beads are also common in toothpastes and body washes.

The microbeads are, as their name promises, small—as small as 0.355 millimeters across in some cases. The fear is that these plastic beads are just the right size for fish and other aquatic creatures to mistake them for food. The beads could physically clog up their stomachs and prevent them from getting adequate nutrition.

Another worry is that plastic is very good at absorbing other toxic pollutants in the water, like PCBs, pesticides, and motor oil. Then as smaller creatures are eaten by bigger creatures, the toxins get concentrated up the food chain. A study of lugworms in the Atlantic suggests that toxins from plastic do indeed make it into the bodies of creatures who mistakenly eat them.

Can't we just filter out the little plastic pieces?



Every so often, a designer will have a bright idea to build a water vacuum to suck up little floating pieces of plastic. Let's just say these ideas are much easier to render than to implement. A key challenge is that plastic isn't the only tiny thing in the water. How do you guarantee that you scoop up plastic but not zooplankton, the tiny creatures that are the foundation of aquatic food chains?

The size of these plastic beads also makes them a challenge for sewer treatment plants, which are of course supposed to clean effluent before it's discharged into the waterways. But many plants filter out solids using gravity, which doesn't remove the floating plastic beads. It's much easier to stop dumping plastic down our drains than to remove them from the water system.

But microbeads aren't the only plastic pieces we have to worry about.

With a name like the Great Pacific garbage patch, you'd expect a great mat of plastic bottles, wrappers, and debris floating around in the ocean. Nope. While ocean currents do indeed concentrate floating plastic in gyres around the world, you wouldn't be able to see any garbage looking off the side of a boat.

The ocean is a rough place, you see, and any plastic that makes it to the middle of the Pacific has been broken down into little tiny pieces—in the end, not so different from the microbeads we're worrying about. When it come to plastic ocean pollution, at least, this means that banning microbeads are really only a small step.

But microbeads in soap are especially low-hanging fruit for this type of pollution. Large manufacturers like Unilever, L'Oréal, and Johnson and Johnson have made various voluntary commitments to phase out the plastic beads, too.

In retrospect, it's easy to ask why the hell we ever thought it was a good idea pour little plastic pieces down the drain the first place. In reality, we just never thought about it. [CEN, CBC, Chicago Tribune]

**********

Here's a link to a smartphone app that with let you know if your beauty product uses plastic microbeads.
...Read more

Monday, June 16, 2014

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of June 21, 2014 to June 22, 2014:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, June 21, 2014, 10 a.m.
Introduction to Birdwatching
Saturdays, 12 – 1 p.m.
Free
Explore the Park's natural areas and learn how to look for amazing birds.

Pop-Up Audubon
Saturdays and Sundays, April 5 – October 19, 12 – 5 p.m. / November – December, 12 – 4 p.m.
Free
The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, which invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

Sunday, June 22, 2014
Pop-Up Audubon
Saturdays and Sundays, April 5 – October 19, 12 – 5 p.m. / November – December, 12 – 4 p.m.
Free
The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, which invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Birds and Butterflies of Sparta Mountain WMA and Canal Road
Leader: Peter Dorosh
Focus: breeding birds and butterflies
Car fee: $25.00
Registrar: Peter Dorosh, email (preferred) prosbird@aol.com or text message to 1-347-622-3559
Registration period: June 10th - June 19th
Note: This is the first visit to Sparta Mountain WMA by the BBC; Canal Road is a renown butterfly site south of the Wawayanda Plateau

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, June 21, 2014
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 21, 2014, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walk (spring)
Guide: NYC Audubon, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy With the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy 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 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free.

Saturday, June 21, 2014, 10am – 1pm
The Parakeets of Green-Wood Cemetery
Guide: Gabriel Willow With Green-Wood Cemetery Meet at the cemetery entrance at 5th Ave and 25th Street, Greenwood Heights, Brooklyn. Green-Wood Cemetery is rich in both history and wildlife. It is also the highest point in Brooklyn, affording marvelous views. We will explore its environs in search of spring migrants and its most unique avian residents: the huge flocks of brilliant green monk parakeets that nest there. Native to South America, these charming immigrants are surprisingly hardy and flourish even in our harsh winters.
Limited to 15. $39 (27).
Click here to register.

Sunday, June 22, 2014, 12pm – 4pm
"It's Your Tern" Festival on Governors Island
Come celebrate Governors Island’s treasures: Common terns and oysters! Common terns have recently colonized several decommissioned piers on Governors Island’s waterfront; last summer we counted 181 nests and banded 100 chicks. Festival activities will include expert bird walks and talks, hands-on activities for the whole family as well as boat tours led by NYC Audubon naturalist Gabriel Willow.
Click here to learn more!

Sunday, June 22, 2014, 7pm – 9pm
Sunset EcoCruise to the Harbor Heron Islands: Brother Islands
Guide: Gabriel Willow With New York Water Taxi Meet at South Street Seaport's Pier 16. We're excited about this summer's ecocruises; we’ve expanded our explorations of the City's island rookeries to three different locations! 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. To learn about specific cruise dates and register, visit New York Water Taxi online or by phone at 212-742-1969. Limited to 140.
Pricing varies by destination.

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, June 21, 2014, 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M.
Forest Restoration Workshop along the Red Trail in LaTourette
Meet at the back of the LaTourette Golf Course parking lot on Richmond Hill Road (close to the Edinboro Road entrance). We will walk the Red trail removing invasive vines that strangle or pull down shrubs and saplings (our 214thown, Protectors will supply tools, gloves and refreshments. Given that the trail loop is lengthy, we carry our loppers and pruners with us as we complete a walk over nearby trails.
For more information call Don Recklies at 718-768-9036 or Chuck Perry at 718-667-1393.

Saturday, June 21, 2014, 1:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M.
Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve
Come stroll the trails of a combination of ecosystems, such as sand barrens, wetlands, and ponds, and a beautiful park to explore in any season. Meet at the parking lot for the Park at 83 Nielsen Avenue (http://goo.gl/maps/N5bcq ).
Please call John Paul Learn at 718-619-5051 or e-mail at
john.paul.learn@gmail.com  for more information.

Sunday, June 22, 2014, 2:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M.
Buck’s Hollow and Heyerdahl Hill
Located in the Greenbelt, Heyerdahl Hill is nestled in an impressive stretch of woodland, holding ruins of a stone home built in the 1800s and plants and trees rarely seen in urban woodlands. We’ll meet at the stone wall on Meisner Avenue, located by the intersection of Rockland Ave and Meisner Avenue (http://goo.gl/maps/YP1HI ).
Please call John Paul Learn at 718-619-5051 or e-mail at john.paul.learn@gmail.com for more information

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Birds of the Highland Park Ridgewood Reservoir at Ridgewood Reservoir
8:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.
Heidi Steiner, from the Brooklyn Bird Club, will lead this spring bird watching tour around the Ridgewood Reservoir. Binoculars recommended.
Free!

Bird Walk at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.
NYC Audubon experts lead the way as we marvel at quirky but logical bird behavior and delicate feathers in exquisite patterns. Bring binoculars if you have them and wear sturdy…
Free!

Pop-Up Audubon: Incredible Invertebrates at Entrance to the Ravine, downhill from the Picnic House (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, which invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.
Free!

Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Join the Alliance to learn about the 250 species of birds that call Prospect Park home.
Free!

Sunday, June 22, 2014
Pop-Up Audubon: Incredible Invertebrates at Entrance to the Ravine, downhill from the Picnic House (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
The Prospect Park Alliance presents Pop-Up Audubon, now in its second season, which invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.
Free!
...Read more

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Guitar Hero for Bird Songs

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has created a new tool to help bird-watchers learn bird songs in a visual, as well as auditory, way. It's an online game that they call Bird Song Hero, an homage to the popular game Guitar Hero, which popularized the visualization and gamification of learning music (though what you learn isn't exactly a real instrument... But here, you get to learn to recognize real bird songs).

Bird Song Hero can teach you to recognize 50 different bird songs, and once you've learned them, help you practice your skills so you don't lose them. What makes this way of learning so powerful is that you not only train your brain to recognize the sounds, but you also train the visual parts of your brain with the use of spectrogram visualization. This increases your chances of committing the sound patterns to memory. Very cool.

Here's the intro video that shows you how Bird Song Hero works and gives you some examples:



Check out the Bird Song Hero website here.
...Read more

Friday, June 13, 2014

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, June 13, 2014:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
*June 13, 2014
* NYNY1406.13

- Birds Mentioned

WHITE-FACED IBIS+
ARCTIC TERN+
WHITE-WINGED DOVE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Red-throated Loon
Common Loon
Horned Grebe
NORTHERN FULMAR
Cory’s Shearwater
Great Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
Glossy Ibis
Black Vulture
Bald Eagle
Red-shouldered Hawk
Peregrine Falcon
Semipalmated Plover
WHIMBREL
Dunlin
WILSON’S PHALAROPE
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Gull-billed Tern
Black Tern
Arctic Tern
Royal Tern
Black-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Barred Owl
CHUCK-WILL’S-WIDOW
Whip-poor-will
Acadian Flycatcher
Alder Flycatcher
Common Raven
Northern Parula
Magnolia Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Blackpoll Warbler
Kentucky Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat


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 nysarc44nybirdsorg

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

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

Transcriber: Gail Benson

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]
Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, June 13 at 6:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are WHITE-WINGED DOVE, WHITE-FACED IBIS, NORTHERN FULMAR, CHUCK-WILL’S-WIDOW, WILSON’S PHALAROPE, WHIMBREL, and YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, plus a pelagic trip announcement.

Certainly enigmatic is WHITE-WINGED DOVE, a species appearing every year or two on Long Island, occasionally in the spring, but they hardly ever stay long and their source and destination remain a mystery. A sighting of one on Tuesday at Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes fits this m.o. This bird was photographed in the scrub pines along the dirt road west of the parking lot by birders heading out to the flats using the beach route, which is now preferred over the muddy crossing north of the parking lot. A WHIMBREL and two LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were also present at Cupsogue Tuesday; back on Saturday a BLACK TERN visited the flats there, but ARCTIC TERN has been less reliable than in recently past years, perhaps due to the more expansive flats that open up now out there.

The WHITE-FACED IBIS was seen again Tuesday and Wednesday in the marsh north of Captree Island on the west side of the Robert Moses Causeway. If visiting there, park in the turnout near the Captree Island information sign and scan the adjacent marsh for the GLOSSY IBIS flock.

The WILSON’S PHALAROPE that was at Shirley Marina County Park was last reported Sunday.

Seawatching along Long Island’s south shore has met with only moderate success lately. Last Saturday a CORY’S SHEARWATER was reported off the Rockaways and another CORY’S and 5 SOOTY SHEARWATERS were off Shinnecock Inlet Saturday evening.

A boat well south of Shinnecock Inlet on Wednesday did encounter 6 NORTHERN FULMARS along with 4 CORY’S, 16 GREAT and 4 SOOTY SHEARWATERS plus two WILSON’S STORM-PETRELS in the same area.

Out in the Napeague area on the south fork a small number of CHUCK-WILL’S-WIDOWS have been heard after dark along with some WHIP-POOR-WILLS in the pine woods around Napeague Bay, especially off Lazy Point Road and Napeague Meadow Road. Please do not harass these birds. Chuck numbers on Long Island continue to be sparse and irregular.

Such a request also pertains to the YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS on territory at Connetquot River State Park, as these may be the only Yellow-throateds presumably nesting in the NYC region.

A GULL-BILLED TERN was still at the Nickerson Beach tern colony west of Point Lookout last Sunday, and a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT was seen briefly the day before at Dreier-Offerman Park in Brooklyn,

The Greenwich Stamford Summer Bird Count covering eastern Westchester and western Fairfield Counties last weekend recorded 134 species, highlights including both RED-THROATED and COMMON LOONS, 2 HORNED GREBES, 4 BLACK VULTURES, nesting BALD EAGLES, 6 RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS, PEREGRINE FALCON, SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, DUNLIN, 2 ROYAL TERNS, BLACK-BILLED and YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOOS, 9 BARRED OWLS, ACADIAN and ALDER FLYCATCHERS, 2 COMMON RAVENS, SWAINSON’S THRUSH, NORTHERN PARULA, and MAGNOLIA, BLACKPOLLL, KENTUCKY, MOURNING and HOODED WARBLERS. The ROYAL TERNS were a Count first.

An overnight pelagic trip has been scheduled by See Life Paulagics from Freeport, Long Island, departing 8 PM on August 11th and returning the following evening at 6 PM. The objective is to be out at the continental shelf at dawn and work back. The trip is aboard the Star Stream VIII of the Captain Lou Fleet and costs $255 per person. For reservations call See Life Paulagics at 215-234-6805 or visit their website at www.paulagics.com

To phone in reports on Long Island, call Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126, or weekdays call Tom Burke at (212) 372-1483 <%28212%29%20372-1483>.

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

- End transcript
...Read more

In Memoriam

A champion of New York City conservation and environmental issues passed away this week. Jean Bourque, a driving force in protecting important habitats around the city died on Monday after a relatively short illness. She will be missed by many.

I met Jean and her husband Ron some time in the early 1990s on one of my first birding trips to Floyd Bennett Field. This inseparable dynamic duo was nearly always referred to as a single unit - "Ron and Jean". The pair had worked tirelessly to protect the grasslands at Floyd, as well as, the nearby Four Sparrow Marsh. I subsequently became part of their annual Christmas Bird Count team at Floyd Bennett, Dead Horse Bay and Four Sparrow Marsh. Below are just a few email messages I received after sending out word of Jean's passing.

From Dave Burg of WildMetro:

From: David
Subject: Re: Sad News
Date: June 10, 2014

When I first moved to New York City in 1985 I thought there would be no outlet for my interest in native grasslands. At a visit to Jamaica Bay Refuge HQ I picked up a copy of the NYC Audubon Newsletter. Cover story was about the Bourques and Floyd Bennett Field. I became involved and eventually Ron and I served on the board together, the GRAMP committee, and we are still on the conservation committee.

Jean was the sort of naturalist who went way beyond almost any other amateur I have met. Her interest in the grasslands led to an interest and expertise in grasses. To identify them she even obtained a dissecting microscope! I can't think of any other person who has done that.

Jean and Ron both were beacons of intelligence, passion for nature, and devotion to each other. If Ron needs our support now I hope we can be of some comfort to him.

Thinking fond memories of Jean and with sympathy to Ron,

David Burg


From the President of the New York City Audubon Society, Harry Maas:

Subject: Jean Bourque
From: Harry Maas
Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2014

On behalf of NYC Audubon, I sadly share with all of you the news that Jean Bourque, a long-time tireless and dedicated defender of wildlife and its habitat in New York City, has passed away. She was a leading advocate for conservation in the city and was particularly instrumental in the protection of the grasslands at Floyd Bennett Field, in forming the native plant garden at Marine Park/Gerritsen Creek and many other endeavors. Together with her husband Ron, with whom she constituted a formidable team, she is responsible for many of the efforts over the years designed to protect birds and other wildlife in New York City, particularly in Brooklyn.

A long-time supporter of NYC Audubon and our programs, we thank her and are so very appreciative for all the contributions she has made to our organization and, more importantly, to the natural history and the outdoors in New York City.

A person with her commitment, her dynamic nature and her unflagging willingness to go the extra mile on behalf of the birds and other wildlife of this city cannot be replaced. She will be missed.

Harry Maas
President, NYC Audubon


Finally, this touching note from naturalist and author Rick Cech:

From: Rick
Subject: RE: Sad News
Date: June 10, 2014

During the "low days" of Brooklyn birding (when the Brooklyn Bird Club went dormant for a time), shortly before I arrived as a newcomer in Cobble Hill [...], there were only a few guiding beacons illuminating the natural history landscape of the borough. There was the Yrizarrys, who held the Christmas Count compilation at their home off Flatbush Avenue, and there was the Bourques, an ubiquitous couple who embodied a remarkable, tireless devotion to Brooklyn natural history. Their resolve reminds me, still today, of Pete Seeger's environmental outreach on the Hudson River, with its calm, self-assured sense of purpose. But more than Seeger even, Ron and Jean brought a wealth of carefully curated natural history knowledge and insight to their activities. How many of us first saw Floyd Bennett Field through Ron and Jean's eyes? And who can forget, at count dinners, when Eastern Meadowlark was called, how often the Bourques cried out "Floyd Bennett!"? (Since 1981, Floyd Bennet has had a remarkable 20 count saves for that species.)

I speak of Ron and Jean as a unity because for most of the time I knew them I almost never saw them apart. They were a couple that reinforced each other in a fundamental and defining way.

I think it is fair to say that the feelings of the entire New York nature community is reaching out to Ron tonight. And that many of us will spend time reflecting in the days ahead of the times we spent together with he and Jean.

This a sad day for natural history in New York, but I'm happy to have had their acquaintance together for so many warm years.

With our warmest feelings,

Rick Cech and Emily Peyton
...Read more

Friday's Foto

Birds are not the only animals that migrate around Brooklyn. From late-May until early-July female Diamondback Terrapins are migrating to their nesting grounds around Jamaica Bay to lay eggs. One of only a few worldwide species (and only one in the New World) of turtle adapted to brackish marine habitats, they are found along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from Cape Cod, MA, to Corpus Christi, TX. Classified on the IUCN Red List as "near threatened", this animal's main threats are from habitat destruction and drowning in crab traps. Historically, they were also over-harvested for use as food ... apparently they make the best tasting turtle soup.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Brooklyn Birding in June

After the month of May's whirlwind of bird activity, June's slower pace is almost a welcomed breather. That's not to suggest that there aren't any birds left to enjoy, just don't expect to find too many local "year birds", especially around Brooklyn. There are always the nesting birds in New York City during this relatively slow period to track down. In Prospect Park and the immediate surrounding neighborhoods one can find, on average, 50 species of breeding birds during the month of June.



I was curious about just how productive birding is during this month so looked over my Brooklyn bird list from the past 5 years. The compiled "year birds" list for that period is depressingly short:

Brooklyn Year Birds for June

2009:
Acadian Flycatcher (Prospect Park, 6/12/09)

2010:
Semipalmated Plover (Plum Beach, 06/05/10)
Western Sandpiper (Plum Beach, 06/05/10)
White-rumped Sandpiper (Plum Beach, 06/05/10)
Short-billed Dowitcher (Plum Beach, 06/05/10)

2011:
Common Nighthawk (Prospect Park--Long Meadow, 06/10/11)

2012:
Acadian Flycatcher (Prospect Park, 06/07/12)
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Salt Marsh Nature Center, 06/10/12)
Willow Flycatcher (Salt Marsh Nature Center, 06/10/12)
Marsh Wren (Salt Marsh Nature Center, 06/10/12)

2013:
Cattle Egret (Gerritsen Creek, 06/04/13)
Marsh Wren (Gerritsen Creek, 06/29/13)

My 2010 shorebird list was unusually long due, in part, to good timing. Weather conditions and low-tides early in the morning had my birding buddy, Heydi, and I scanning a tremendous mixed flock of shorebirds at Plum Beach on June 5, 2010. I posted about it here. It would be great if we could always find large numbers of hungry shorebirds at that location every year in late-May/early-June.

Thankfully, birds aren't always predictable and in recent weeks some unexpected vagrants have appeared in some of the states close to New York City. Here are a few interesting birds seen so far this month. In New Jersey there were reports of an Anhinga, a Neotropic Cormorant and a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. In Pennsylvania a Wood Stork was reported. Rhode Island had their own Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. Also, in northwestern New York, near Lake Ontario, a Kirtland's Warbler spent some time. So maybe I shouldn't put my binoculars away and spend the rest of the month ignoring our avian friends. Never know what might decide to pay us a visit here in the Big Apple.

Below is the full list of 182 species recorded in Brooklyn during the month of June based on Cornell's eBird database.

Good birding this month!

**********

Kings County All Time June Species List (CAPS = very few records. In most cases less than 5.):

1) SNOW GOOSE
2) Brant
3) Canada Goose
4) Mute Swan
5) Wood Duck
6) Gadwall
7) American Black Duck
8) Mallard
9) NORTHERN SHOVELER
10) Redhead
11) Ring-necked Duck
12) Greater Scaup
13) SURF SCOTER
14) BLACK SCOTER
15) LONG-TAILED DUCK
16) HOODED MERGANSER
17) Red-breasted Merganser
18) Ruddy Duck

19) Ring-necked Pheasant

20) RED-THROATED LOON
21) Common Loon
22) HORNED GREBE

23) Double-crested Cormorant
24) GREAT CORMORANT

25) AMERICAN BITTERN
26) Great Blue Heron
27) Great Egret
28) Snowy Egret
29) Little Blue Heron
30) TRICOLORED HERON
31) CATTLE EGRET
32) Green Heron
33) Black-crowned Night-Heron
34) Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
35) Glossy Ibis

36) TURKEY VULTURE

37) Osprey
38) Northern Harrier
39) RED-SHOULDERED HAWK
40) Red-tailed Hawk

41) Clapper Rail
42) SORA
43) COMMON GALLINULE
44) American Coot

45) American Oystercatcher
46) BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER
47) Semipalmated Plover
48) Killdeer
49) Spotted Sandpiper
50) SOLITARY SANDPIPER
51) GREATER YELLOWLEGS
52) Willet
53) WHIMBREL
54) RUDDY TURNSTONE
55) RED KNOT
56) SANDERLING
57) DUNLIN
58) WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER
59) SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER
60) WESTERN SANDPIPER
61) SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER
62) AMERICAN WOODCOCK

63) Laughing Gull
64) Ring-billed Gull
65) Herring Gull
66) LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL
67) Great Black-backed Gull
68) Least Tern
69) GULL-BILLED TERN
70) CASPIAN TERN
71) Common Tern
72) Forster's Tern
73) Black Skimmer

74) Rock Pigeon
75) Mourning Dove

76) Yellow-billed Cuckoo
77) BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO

78) Great Horned Owl

79) COMMON NIGHTHAWK
80) EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILL

81) Chimney Swift

82) Ruby-throated Hummingbird

83) Belted Kingfisher

84) Red-bellied Woodpecker
85) Downy Woodpecker
86) Hairy Woodpecker
87) Northern Flicker

88) American Kestrel
89) Peregrine Falcon

90) Monk Parakeet

91) OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER
92) Eastern Wood-Pewee
93) YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER
94) Acadian Flycatcher
95) ALDER FLYCATCHER
96) Willow Flycatcher
97) LEAST FLYCATCHER
98) Eastern Phoebe
99) Great Crested Flycatcher
100) Eastern Kingbird

101) White-eyed Vireo
102) YELLOW-THROATED VIREO
103) Warbling Vireo
104) Red-eyed Vireo

105) Blue Jay
106) American Crow
107) Fish Crow
108) Common Raven

109) Northern Rough-winged Swallow
110) Tree Swallow
111) Bank Swallow
112) Barn Swallow

113) Black-capped Chickadee
114) Tufted Titmouse
115) RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH
116) White-breasted Nuthatch
117) House Wren
118) Marsh Wren
119) Carolina Wren

120) Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
121) RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET

122) GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH
123) SWAINSON'S THRUSH
124) Wood Thrush
125) American Robin

126) Gray Catbird
127) Brown Thrasher
128) Northern Mockingbird

129) European Starling

130) Cedar Waxwing

131) OVENBIRD
132) WORM-EATING WARBLER
133) NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH
134) BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER
135) PROTHONOTARY WARBLER
136) MOURNING WARBLER
137) KENTUCKY WARBLER
138) Common Yellowthroat
139) HOODED WARBLER
140) American Redstart
141) Northern Parula
142) Magnolia Warbler
143) BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER
144) Yellow Warbler
145) CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER
146) BLACKPOLL WARBLER
147) BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER
148) YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER
149) YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
150) PRAIRIE WARBLER
151) BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER
152) CANADA WARBLER
153) WILSON'S WARBLER

154) Eastern Towhee
155) Chipping Sparrow
156) Field Sparrow
157) LARK BUNTING (6/6/1959. Bob Gochfeld, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge--Terrapin Point (Brooklyn))
158) Savannah Sparrow
159) NELSON'S SPARROW
160) Saltmarsh Sparrow
161) Seaside Sparrow
162) Song Sparrow
163) LINCOLN'S SPARROW
164) SWAMP SPARROW
165) WHITE-THROATED SPARROW

166) SUMMER TANAGER
167) SCARLET TANAGER

168) Northern Cardinal
169) ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK
170) BLUE GROSBEAK
171) Indigo Bunting
172) DICKCISSEL
173) BOBOLINK
174) Red-winged Blackbird
175) Common Grackle
176) Boat-tailed Grackle
177) Brown-headed Cowbird
178) Orchard Oriole
179) Baltimore Oriole

180) House Finch
181) American Goldfinch

182) House Sparrow
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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Treehugger Tuesday

Extinction of World's Rarest Dolphin Imminent?

According to the World Wildlife Fund the Maui Dolphin has been reduced to just 55 individuals and if action isn't taken immediately, the face extinction. From the WWF website:

Maui’s dolphin faces extinction unless action is taken now

The world’s rarest marine dolphin faces imminent extinction unless urgent action is taken to protect them, says WWF.

WWF is urging the New Zealand government to heed the advice of the world’s leading scientists and ensure the survival of the critically endangered Maui’s dolphin through the full protection of the coastline they inhabit.

“We are down to the last 55 dolphins, so we are calling on our political leaders to let them know it’s time to take action to save these precious animals,” said New Zealand Executive Director Chris Howe. “At the rate we are going the only place future generations will be able to see Maui’s is in museums.”

Maui’s dolphins are only found in New Zealand. With time running out to save the species, both the survival of Maui’s dolphin and New Zealand’s international reputation are on the line.

“Right now the International Whaling Commission (IWC) scientific committee is considering papers that show that the limited protections announced last year by government don’t do enough and will not stop Maui’s from going extinct,” said Howe.

A WWF paper submitted to the committee, Addressing gaps in management approach and protection of the world’s rarest marine dolphin, highlights that the government has extended protection on the basis of some sightings but has left areas unprotected where there have been equally credible sightings. The paper is being considered at the committee’s 65th meeting which runs in Slovenia until May 24.

The Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission will prepare a report to be formally submitted to the IWC Commission at its next meeting in September.

The IWC Scientific Committee acknowledged in its 2013 report that the human-caused death of even one dolphin in such a small population would increase the extinction risk and that Maui’s need to be fully protected from gillnetting and trawling. This followed a similar call from the IWC in 2012.

The government announced interim protection measures in June 2012, but dangerous fishing activity is still allowed to continue in parts of the Maui’s environment off New Zealand’s west coast, and within its harbours.

WWF is calling for the New Zealand government to extend the ban on net and trawl fishing to cover the Maui’s entire territory and to work with fishing communities to save the Maui’s.

“Support should also be provided to fishers to help them transition to dolphin-friendly practices. Fishing communities should not have to bear the cost of saving this precious dolphin alone,” he says.

The last count by the New Zealand Department of Conservation in 2012 estimated there to be about 55 Maui’s adult dolphins in New Zealand waters and that we can only afford to lose one dolphin every 10 to 23 years without impacting the population’s ability to recover.

Scientists’ estimate that over 95% of unnatural Maui’s deaths are caused by entanglement and drowning in gillnet or trawl fishing.


WWF launched the Last 55 campaign this week in support of the species. The campaign is calling on all New Zealand’s political leaders to make a commitment to save the last 55 critically endangered Maui’s dolphins.

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Please take 5 minutes to support the Last 55 campaign here.
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