Friday, October 31, 2014

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, October 31, 2014:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Oct. 31, 2014
* NYNY1410.31

- Birds Mentioned

Northern Gannet
MARBLED GODWIT
American Woodcock
Bonaparte’s Gull
ICELAND GULL
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Royal Tern
PARASITIC JAEGER
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Short-eared Owl
WESTERN KINGBIRD
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
American Pipit
Orange-crowned Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
VESPER SPARROW
LARK SPARROW
Lincoln’s Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
LAPLAND LONGSPUR
DICKCISSEL
Rusty Blackbird
Purple Finch
Pine Siskin
Evening Grosbeak

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, October 31st at 6:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are WESTERN KINGBIRD, PARASITIC JAEGER, ICELAND GULL, MARBLED GODWIT, CLAY-COLORED, LARK and VESPER SPARROWS, DICKCISSEL, LAPLAND LONGSPUR and major migration.

Many, many thousands of birds, especially sparrows, arrived in our area last Saturday morning on the strong northwest winds following last week’s nor’easter, and this impressive flight continued through Tuesday. Along the south shore of Long Island on Saturday, flocks of hundreds of birds, predominantly DARK-EYED JUNCOS and WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS plus the omnipresent YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, lined the roadways and made it quite a challenge to find something unusual. Also a major part of this flight were RUBY-CROWNED and, to a lesser degree, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS and HERMIT THRUSHES, while high numbers of PINE SISKINS and PURPLE FINCHES continued their recent strong push through our region, but rarities were there to be found.

Robert Moses State Park Saturday produced ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER and CLAY-COLORED SPARROW plus a SHORT-EARED OWL, while a LARK SPARROW spotted Sunday, was still present Tuesday by the Golf Course.

At Jones Beach West End, a VESPER SPARROW Saturday was joined by another Sunday along with an obliging CLAY-COLORED SPARROW and a LINCOLN’S SPARROW, the Vespers increasing to three Monday to Wednesday.

The weekend’s rarest bird should have been on last week’s tape, as a WESTERN KINGBIRD visited Stehli Beach in Bayville from Monday the 20th through Saturday, but word of its presence was not spread until Saturday evening—come on, folks.

Saturday also provided a second report of a WESTERN KINGBIRD, an apparently very brief sighting at Fort Tilden, and other birds also cited from there included CLAY-COLORED and VESPER SPARROWS and ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER. Other Saturday VESPER SPARROWS were at Floyd Bennett Field and the Edgemere Landfill, and YELLOW-BREASTED CHATS that day were spotted at Fort Tilden and Gilgo.

And just to put these into perspective with the number of migrants around last weekend, some rather rough estimates of birds moving by Robert Moses State Park Saturday morning included 20,000 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, 6,000 DARK-EYED JUNCOS, 3,600 PINE SISKINS, 2,000 WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS and 800 RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS.

To complete last weekend, a MARBLED GODWIT continued to visit the bar off the Coast Guard Station at Jones Beach West End and was still coming in through Wednesday, and at least 24 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were in the West End 2 Parking Lot on Saturday. At Robert Moses State Park Sunday morning, 4 PARASITIC JAEGERS were spotted off shore, and the weekend marked the beginning of some arriving BONAPARTE’S GULLS and many more NORTHERN GANNETS, the latter streaming by Robert Moses Park by the hundreds on Monday morning.

A Monday highlight was certainly the appearance of a LAPLAND LONGSPUR on the ballfields at Prospect Park; also in the park that day were AMERICAN WOODCOCK and VESPER SPARROW, with three Vespers at the ballfields to Wednesday.

Central Park Tuesday highlights included CAPE MAY and three ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, and VESPER SPARROW.

Single DICKCISSELS Thursday were at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn and Big Egg Marsh on the south side of Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS have enjoyed a decent run this week; besides those already mentioned have been singles at Big Egg Marsh, Cedar Beach, Rocky Point, Hoyt Farm Park in Commack and Southold, among others.

An ICELAND GULL was spotted Tuesday around the dredging operation in Montauk harbor, while some ROYAL TERNS continue along the coast. A late YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO was at Robert Moses State Park Thursday, and EASTERN BLUEBIRDS, AMERICAN PIPITS and RUSTY BLACKBIRDS are among other species now moving through. And a calling but unseen bird moving over Marshlands Conservancy in Rye Monday morning was presumably an EVENING GROSBEAK, so be alert.

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 thousands of migrating songbirds passing through Brooklyn inevitably bring the raptors that feed on them. This juvenile Cooper's Hawk at the edge of the Butterfly Meadow in Brooklyn's Prospect Park was attracted by a flock of sparrows and goldfinches feeding among the wildflowers. A true woodland hawk, they are designed to quickly and easily maneuver around trees in pursuit of their prey. If you maintain birdfeeders in the winter months, you could expect to see a "coop" lurking around in search of easy pickins'. The Cooper's Hawk and smaller Sharp-shinned Hawk are sometimes very difficult to differentiate. Click here for identification tips.

A New Species for Prospect Park

On Monday, at around 1pm, I was in Prospect Park and had biked to the baseball field in the far south-east corner of the Long Meadow to check out a large flock of sparrows. There were so many birds flying in and out of the chain-link backstop that I could see them from the footpath 300 yards to the north.

As I got close, I noticed the white tail feathers flashing from dozens of juncos as they moved from the grass outside the ballfield, to a large puddle in the dug out area. Then I realized that most of the activity I saw from the distance was merely a large flock of House Sparrows. They were mostly perched in the diamond-shaped openings at the back of home plate, but a single bird perched at the very top of the backstop caught my eye. It was large, like the House Sparrows, but had a unique dark outlined auricular patch, rusty coverts and distinctive rusty edges to some of its flight feathers. My immediate impression was that the bird was a Lapland Longspur, but it seemed so unlikely that I tried turning it into something else. I'd seen longspurs many times in the past, but always at Floyd Bennett Field in the dead of winter and usually within flocks of Horned Larks. It just seemed like the wrong place to find one. When the bird flew to the ground and I got closer looks, I was certain it was a longspur so took out my phone to get the word out quickly.

My friend Sean texted me a few minutes later and asked if I could keep an eye on the bird for 15 minutes while he biked over. I wrote back that a Red-tailed Hawk had thoughtlessly flown across the field and flushed all the birds. I would try and relocate it and let him know. It only took a few minutes for the birds to settle down. The longspur returned to the infield to refuel on seeds after a long flight from its breeding grounds in the arctic tundra. Sean arrived about 10 minutes later and got great looks and several really nice photos.

This is the first record for this species in Prospect Park. Several other people were able rush into the park to see it before it disappeared.

Here's a photo that Sean took of the bird nibbling on grass seed in the infield, just short of home plate, although I'd call it a home run:

...Read more

Sparrow Time

I've been seriously neglecting my blog over the past couple of weeks. That's not to say I haven't been birding or posting the regular, weekly features, I just haven't been writing any details about my latest observations. That said...

On Sunday, October 19th I led a trip for the Linnaean Society of New York to Floyd Bennett Field. The following weekend (last Saturday) I went back to lead a trip for the Brooklyn Bird Club. Warbler migration is over, for the most part, with only Yellow-rumped Warblers moving through in large numbers. We'll still see some lingering Palm Warblers for a bit, as well as, half-hardy species like Orange-crowned Warbler and Yellow-breasted Chat, but now is really the time for sparrows.

The trip on the 19th followed an evening of north-west winds that were still gusting when the group met in front of Aviator Sports. It was so strong that I opted to forgo walking the edges of the open grassland and instead look for birds in windbreaks. It ended up being one of the birdiest days at this location that I can remember in a very, very long time. During the early morning there were hundreds of birds (mainly yellow-rumps and robins) passing overhead or dropping into the community gardens or North 40. On the larger end of the spectrum, we probably observed a couple of thousand Brant passing overhead throughout the day. In addition, there seemed to be a near constant stream of raptors with Sharp-shinned Hawks and Cooper's Hawks topping the list for abundance.

Overnight Yellow-rumped Warblers had suddenly become ubiquitous, with my best "guesstimate" being easily a couple of thousand seen. Their distinctive "chek" call was heard all day, no matter where we were at Floyd Bennett. Sparrow abundance and diversity were way up from the previous weekend. White-throated Sparrows were seen in fairly large flocks around the community gardens and the North 40 trails. Our sparrow highlights were a Vesper Sparrow and Clay-colored Sparrow, both along the weedy berm at the east side of the field opposite Aviator Sports and the soccer fields. The Clay-colored Sparrow was a cooperative individual that allowed good looks for everyone in the group.

It was an exciting day, but somewhat frustrating in that we didn't know where to look as there were so many birds moving around. One of the trip participants was visiting the United States from Denmark. It was his first trip to North America and was very lucky to have arrived just after a cold front carried such a tremendous amount of birds into the area. I believe that he said every bird we encountered, except for Rock Pigeon, European Starling and House Sparrow, were life birds! The fact the they all put on such a great show was even more exciting.

Last weekend's trip to Floyd Bennett Field was no less successful. The large number of White-throated Sparrows from the previous weekend subsided a bit but were replaced with a tremendous abundance of Dark-eyed Juncos. We also encountered a fair number of chipping, savannah, song and Swamp Sparrows.

That morning I arrived an hour before the scheduled meeting time so I could scout for birds. At the cricket field Heydi, Peter and I flushed an Eastern Meadowlark that had been at the edge of the grass. I also incorrectly identified three "American Pipits" that were hunkered down at the center of the field. When Heydi checked her photos later that day, they turned out to be a trio of Vesper Sparrows! In my defense, the light wasn't great, both species are brown, streaky birds with white eye-rings, plus it is a location that I would normally expect to see pipits. Up to that point I'd never seen more than one Vesper Sparrow at a time in Brooklyn. In fact, the thought of a "flock" of Vespers in Brooklyn is pretty ridiculous.

We ended up seeing a pretty diverse mix of sparrows by the end of the trip, but the highlight was a bird over 100 times the size of the largest sparrow.

I was leading the group back to the North 40 trail head when Heydi called me from the community gardens. She just spotted an adult Bald Eagle heading north, just west of us. I ran in the direction of Flatbush Avenue, hoping to find it for everyone. After scanning the sky for a few minutes and coming up empty, I started to lead the group back the other way. Within a few seconds, my friend Kevin says, "Is that an eagle sitting at the top of that tree?" Yes, Kevin, that would be a Bald Eagle. Apparently, as we were running west, he flew right behind us. Here's a really nice photo of the eagle taken by Peter Colen:



Many people don't realize there is much beauty and diversity among the sparrow family. To the uninitiated, the word "sparrow" conjures images of a little, brown bird eating crumbs of garbage from the sidewalk on a busy city street. That bird would most likely be a House Sparrow and even they may have some redeeming qualities. However, fall migration around Brooklyn and New York City brings a wide range of "little brown jobs" with an occasional, unexpected rarity, so I recommend taking the time to slow down and check out these seedeaters.

Below is a short slideshow of many of the sparrows seen throughout the year in Brooklyn. Most are not locally breeding birds, but are seen during migration or overwintering. That list is:

Eastern Towhee
American Tree Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Nelson's Sparrow
Saltmarsh Sparrow
Seaside Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco



Here's the combined species list for the two Floyd Bennett Field trips:

**********

Dates: 10/19/2014 and 10/25/2014
Location: Floyd Bennett Field
Species: 73

Brant
Ring-necked Pheasant
Great Cormorant
Osprey
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Bald Eagle
Red-shouldered Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Killdeer
American Woodcock
Laughing Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Northern Flicker
American Kestrel
Merlin
Peregrine Falcon
Eastern Phoebe
Tree Swallow
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Winter Wren
Carolina Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
Gray Catbird
American Pipit
Cedar Waxwing
Common Yellowthroat
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Palm Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
Field Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Rusty Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
Purple Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch

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

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Treehugger Tuesday

Just published in The Guardian:

Conservation Project Hopes to Bring back New York's Oysters

Bronx River oyster restoration project aims to reintroduce the molluscs that purify waters and help provide storm defenses - but pollution levels will still make them hazardous to eat

Peter Mellgard
theguardian.com, Tuesday 28 October 2014 10.41 EDT

The woman sat in the muck beside the Bronx River in the northern part of New York City, measured the oyster between a pair of calipers, and called out to her partner. “31 ... no, 32 millimeters. Um, dead. No, alive! Wait.” She paused, noticing the two halves of the oyster shell had separated and filled with mud. “Dead,” she said sadly.

Live oysters were what this small group of volunteers, scientists and activists fervently hoped to find in this distant corner of New York City, called Soundview, on that crystal clear morning in May.

The volunteers wore borrowed waders over old sneakers. They ventured out into the dark water, using walking sticks to avoid stumbling in the deep mud that coated the bottom of the river. Reaching down into water, about 20 yards offshore, they pulled out baskets of oysters and carried them carefully back to the riverbank to check for winter survivors.

This was phase two of something known as the Oyster Restoration Research Project, run by the New York/New Jersey Baykeeper program, the Hudson River Foundation, the Army Corps of Engineers, and other partners, to restore oysters to an ecosystem they once dominated.

In the first phase, the other test restoration locations – off Governors Island, in the Bay Ridge flats, Jamaica Bay – all failed, the oysters washed away by rough waves or smothered to death in mud. The reefs at Soundview are now the only active oyster restoration effort in New York City waters.

“Soundview was the only one that didn’t blow away and where we saw at least a little bit of growth on the oysters,” said Dr Allison Fitzgerald of NY/NJ Baykeeper. “They can survive. The question is how long they are surviving. There’s a big difference between surviving and thriving.”

Attempting to restore oysters to New York City’s harbor and rivers and inlets has almost no downsides. They are natural and efficient water purifiers – studies have shown each one can filter 50 gallons of water each day. “They actually pull the sediment and particles out of the water and deposit them on the ground,” Fitzgerald said. “They clean the water column as they’re eating.”

By building reefs, oysters also make it easier for other organisms such as fish, shellfish, crabs, grasses, and birds, eventually to make a comeback in areas where human development has destroyed their habitat. And oyster reefs, like salt marshes – both of which New York City used to have in abundance – provide a barrier to storm surges, like the one that devastated downtown Manhattan and parts of Staten Island and Brooklyn during Hurricane Sandy.

But don’t eat them. Not yet, at least. They might contain the types of chemicals and pathogens sometimes found in New York’s infamously polluted waterways. In the past, contaminated oysters harvested illegally have killed and blinded people.

“The idea isn’t to get an oyster industry going,” Dr Fitzgerald said. (For that, see the Chesapeake Bay restoration programme) “You want to create oysters for people to eat, you can do that in a hatchery.” This program has led to a diverse group of volunteers out and into the water, she says, and connecting New Yorkers to their natural environment is important.

There are still problems with poachers who disregard the danger. “I find people fishing and crabbing at some of our sites all the time,” said Dr Fitzgerald. “They would say, ‘Oh that’s dinner.’ They would not look twice at it.”

She added: “We also have people who are like, ‘I’ve been living in Jamaica Bay for my whole life, and my daddy before me and his daddy before him! And I eat oysters every day no problem!’ And yeah you probably glow in the dark also.”

Going forward, poachers are one of a handful of problems facing the restoration effort. There are predators – oyster drills, oyster toadfish, crabs.

The biggest obstacle is a confusing and inefficient array of bureaucracies that stand in the way of oyster reefing. Baykeeper had a proposal to bring oysters back to Freshkills Park, a 2,200-acre reserve on Staten Island that will be two-and-a-half times as large as Central Park, recently turned down by the city.

The slight still smarts. “There are a lot of benefits to having an oyster reef that far outweigh the risks,” said Dr. Fitzgerald, “but the risks to human health are hard for the regulators to get around.”

At Soundview back in May, the first field date for the oyster restoration project after the winter snows had melted, the volunteers and scientists found that the oysters’ survival rate was about average. It was a good sign.

Just across the river was the new Fulton Fish Market, the second largest in the world, where thousands of pounds of prime oysters are bought every day. New York City oysters haven’t been welcome there in decades.

The riverbed itself was mud – no grass, no marsh, very little wildlife. During intense storms, sewage treatment facilities are frequently overwhelmed and the overflow is dumped directly in rivers like the Bronx. The oysters, of course, slurp it all in.
...Read more

Monday, October 27, 2014

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of November 1, 2014 to November 2, 2014:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, November 1, 2014
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, invites families to directly engage with nature through outdoor learning in locations around the Park.

Sunday, November 2, 2014
Early Morning Bird Walk: Feathered Friends
Sunday, November 2, 8 a.m.
Free Meet the amazing birds of 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.

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, November 1, 2014
Birding on Brooklyn's Terminal Moraine ridge: Sunset Park hawk watch and Greenwood Cemetery
Meet 8 am at Greenwood Cemetery entrance at 4th Avenue
Leader: Peter Dorosh, 1-347-622-3559 (text message only) in case of wet weather
Focus: Hawk watching in this first ever BBC visit to Sunset Park at approximately11:00 after Greenwood Cemetery early birding; migrants will be early winter species Note: bring a small chair.
Nearest train: "R" ,"D",or "N" line to 36th St, walk east www.hopstop.com

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, November 1, 2014
Jamaica Bay
Leader: Joe DiCostanzo
Registrar: Dale Dancis – ddancis@gmail.com or 212-724-3269
Registration opens: Monday, October 20
Ride: $15 or public transportation

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, November 1, 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, November 1, 2014, 8am – 11am
Beginning Birding Central Park Trip
Classes: Thursdays, October 23, October 30, and November 6, 6:30-8:30pm Trips: Saturdays, November 1 and 8, time TBA Instructor: Tod Winston Learn the keys to identifying the spectacular variety of birds that migrate southwards through New York City every fall. Even if you've never picked up a pair of binoculars, you’ll soon be identifying warblers, thrushes, waterbirds, and more—both by sight and by ear. Three fun and educational in-class sessions and two field trips to Central Park and Jamaica bay (transport to Jamaica bay included).
Limited to 12. $160 (112.50) Click here to register

Saturday, November 1, 2014, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Park Bird Walks, The Bronx
Guides: 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, November 2, 2014, 9am – 3pm
Ducks, Raptors, and More at Pelham Bay Park, The Bronx
Guide: Gabriel Willow Come explore the lovely coves and rocky outcroppings of Pelham Bay Park, looking for wintering ducks, migrating raptors, and more. Pelham Bay Park's combination of open water, salt marsh, rocky shore, both young and old growth forest, rare coastal tall grass meadows, and patches of dry and wet oak savanna are not just unique within the City, but also on this continent! Bring lunch and water. Transport by passenger van included.
Limited to 12. $90 (63) NOTE: THIS DATE IS THE END OF DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME - REMEMBER TO TURN YOUR CLOCKS BACK. Click here to register

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North Shore Audubon Society
Saturday, November 1, 2014
Jamaica Bay NWR
Leader: Lenore Figueroa (718-343-1391)

Walks are for beginners and experienced birders alike.
Weather permitting, walks start at 9:30 AM unless indicated otherwise.
If in doubt, please call the trip leader.
Please note: all phone numbers are area code 516 unless otherwise indicated.
In most cases, the contacts are also leaders for the respective walks.
Go to our website at www.northshoreaudubon.org/for directions.
We would like to encourage carpooling, where possible.

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, November 1, 2014, 9:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
Protectors’ Annual Fall 10-Mile Greenbelt Walk
Colors should be at peak with some contrasting greens. Wear comfortable boots and long pants. Ten moderate miles in all weather. Park and meet at the end of Staten Island Boulevard, a block off Ocean Terrace, just above the Petrides Campus. Bring lunch and adequate beverage.
For more information, call Dominick Durso at 917-478-7607 or Don Recklies at 718-768-9036

Saturday, November 1, 2014, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Autumn Colors in Long Pond Park
The changing colors of autumn leaves should be close to their best this week. The variety of colorful trees, including Sweet Gum, Maple and Tupelo–the trees around Long Pond and in the surrounding park–should provide a vibrant backdrop for this hike. Besides observing the variety of colors and trees identified with particular hues, we will search for evidence of the local wildlife, migrating birds and Monarch butterflies. Meet by PS 6, on Page Avenue and Academy Avenue about three blocks NW of Hylan Boulevard.
For more information, call Clay Wollney at 718-869-6327

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South Shore Audubon Society
November 2, 2014
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 Joe at (516) 467-9498.
For directions to our bird-watching locations, click here.

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, November 1, 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!
...Read more

Friday, October 24, 2014

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, October 24, 2014:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Oct. 24, 2014
* NYNY1410.24

- Birds mentioned

SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

GOLDEN EAGLE
Black-bellied Plover
American Golden-Plover
American Oystercatcher
MARBLED GODWIT
Red Knot
Short-billed Dowitcher
Wilson's Snipe
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Forster's Tern
Royal Tern
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
Eastern Phoebe
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
American Robin
American Pipit
ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Worm-eating Warbler
CONNECTICUT WARBLER
Wilson's Warbler
Canada Warbler
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
Vesper Sparrow
LARK SPARROW
GRASSHOPPER SPARROW
Nelson's Sparrow
Snow Bunting
BLUE GROSBEAK
DICKCISSEL
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Rusty Blackbird
Purple Finch
Pine Siskin

- Transcript

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

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to 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, October 24th 2014 at 6pm. The highlights of today's tape are SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER, MARBLED GODWIT, GOLDEN EAGLE, CONNECTICUT WARBLER, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, GRASSHOPPER SPARROW, LARK SPARROW, BLUE GROSBEAK, DICKCISSEL and RED-HEADED WOODPECKER.

Certainly this week's top rarity was an adult SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER seen only briefly last Sunday morning at a private section of Sands Point near East Creek on Long Island's north shore. Otherwise the highlight was really an active migratory push through our area last weekend into Monday with storm systems pretty much shutting things down after that.

Sunday morning found many thousands of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS along the Atlantic shore. The birds reorienting themselves inland after having been blown out over the ocean by the very strong overnight winds. Almost 8,000 Yellow-rumps were estimated at Fort Tilden and a stationary count at Robert Moses State Park exceeded 10,000. Other species were actually not terribly well represented in this flight including such expected diurnal migrants as AMERICAN ROBIN and RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD. At Fort Tilden some migrants tallied Sunday included an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER going by with some BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS, 21 ROYAL TERNS moving south and 123 PINE SISKINS, 31 PURPLE FINCHES, 22 AMERICAN PIPITS and a DICKCISSEL. The Siskin totals improved on Monday with 610 counted out at Coney Island Creek Park along with good numbers of EASTERN PHOEBES, RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS and the like.

Another surprise on Sunday was an immature GOLDEN EAGLE spotted over the Edgemere Landfill in Far Rockaway. Also there Sunday were 3 WILSON'S SNIPE, these certainly on the move as two more were noted at Jones Beach West End Sunday along with singles at Randall's Island and Robert Moses State Park and elsewhere. GOLDEN EAGLES have also now begun to appear at inland hawkwatches but be aware that good numbers of Bald Eagles also continue to move through.

A decent variety at Floyd Bennett Field Sunday featured single CLAY-COLORED and VESPER SPARROWS and other good landbirds within city limits included a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER at Randall's Island last Friday and Sunday the latter day also producing VESPER SPARROW and NELSON'S SPARROWS and a BLUE GROSBEAK there. Another BLUE GROSBEAK in Central Park Saturday, WORM-EATING WARBLER and GRASSHOPPER SPARROW in Prospect Park Monday and a LARK SPARROW at Marine Park in Brooklyn today.

At Jones Beach West End the number of LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS gathering at high tide in the West End 2 parking lot reached 46 late Saturday afternoon with at least 30 there on Sunday. Also at high tide a MARBLED GODWIT has been visiting the bar off the Coast Guard Station with 2 there Sunday along with over 400 AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS and other shorebirds including 10 RED KNOTS and a couple of SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS. Large numbers of FORSTER'S TERNS continue around Jones Inlet with some ROYAL TERNS also lingering there.

Out a Robert Moses State Park notable landbirds included DICKCISSELS Saturday through Monday a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW Saturday and Sunday, an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER Sunday and a SNOW BUNTING moving by today.

A late CONNECTICUT WARBLER was found at the Chandler Estate in Mount Sinai last Saturday. Other warblers spotted during the week included MAGNOLIA, BLACK-THROATED BLUES and GREEN, PRAIRIE, CANADA and WILSON'S. Also noted recently have been a few RUSTY BLACKBIRDS and EASTERN MEADOWLARKS.

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

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Treehugger Tuesday

More Motivation to Get Outside

The following is from the website "Treehugger":

More reasons why you should turn off the TV and take your kids outside
Katherine Martinko (@feistyredhair)
Living / Culture
October 20, 2014

Whether you want to avoid setting your kids up for a fatter, less healthy adulthood, or wish to inspire them to careers that embrace nature, there are many reasons why turning off indoor distractions is a good idea.

A child is only small for a few short years, but those early years are extremely important. The way in which parents guide and direct their children at the beginning of their lives has a long-lasting effect and can influence what kind of adults those children become.

There is mounting evidence that unplugging from technology is one of the greatest favours a parent can do for their child. Contrary to what big tech companies would have you believe, putting a small child in front of the TV or giving them an iPad for hours on end can have more of a detrimental effect than a positive one.

An interesting study was recently published in Britain, spanning 32 years. Researchers used data from the 1970 British Cohort Study, which followed the lives of 17,248 people born in England and Wales in a single week in 1970. When the kids were 10 years old, their parents provided information about their TV-watching habits, whether they played sports, and what their heights and weights were. Decades later, when the subjects were all 42, the subjects self-reported their TV-watching habits, their health status, and their involvement in sports.

The researchers found that subjects who watched more TV as children were most likely to watch more TV in middle age. Those who watched more than 3 hours of TV at age 42 also had watched a lot of TV at age 10. It was also found that a person’s BMI increased according to the amount of TV watched.

“Watching TV for 3+ hours per day was associated with reporting fair or poor health, in comparison to those reporting excellent health. Those participating in vigorous sports at least once a week were less likely to watch 3+ hours of TV per day; watching 3+ hours of TV per day was associated with self-reported overweight/obese.”

There is another compelling reason why turning off the TV is worthwhile. Getting kids outside gets them interested in nature, teaches them to appreciate it, and can lead to wonderful career opportunities, as shown in this short video clip from the World Wildlife Fund. In it, expert scientists cite childhood exposure to nature as being a primary motivating factor in leading them to pursue careers in nature conservation.



So turn off those indoor distractions. Take your kids outside for a walk, a bike ride, or a lengthy play in the backyard. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, just something that can be sustained daily. Start with just a few minutes a day, if you need to, and your children will grow to love it. There's nothing like a curious child to show us forgetful adults how wondrous nature truly is.
...Read more

Monday, October 20, 2014

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of October 25, 2014 to October 26, 2014:

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Floyd Bennett Field
Leader: Rob Jett, aka, The City Birder
Focus: migration peak sparrows, raptors and grassland species
Car fee: $10.00
Registrar: Sandy Paci, email sandypaci@earthlink.net
Registration period: Oct 14th - Oct 23rd

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Caumsett State Park for Sparrows and Late Migrants
Leader and registrar: Lenore Swenson – lenoreswenson@gmail.com or 212-533-9567
Registration opens: Monday October 13
Ride: $30

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, October 25, 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, October 25, 2014, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Park Bird Walks, The Bronx
Guides: 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, October 26, 2014, 9am – 1pm
Fall Migration on Randall's Island
Guides: Gabriel Willow, Christopher Girgenti of Randall's Island With Randall's Island Park Alliance, Inc. Meet on the N.W. corner of 102nd Street and FDR Drive. We'll walk across the foot bridge to Randall's Island, an under-explored location in the East River that hosts restored freshwater wetlands and salt marsh. We'll look for fall migrants as we explore the results of recent restoration efforts. Two miles of walking and some modest climbs.
Limited to 20. $35.00 (24) Click here to register

Sunday, October 26, 2014, 10am – 11am
Birding for Families in Central Park
Guide: 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. As a family, learn how to spot and identify our feathered neighbors in their natural surroundings. Binoculars can be borrowed from the Dana Center.
For weather cancellation information, call 212-860-1370.
Limited to 20. Age 5 and up.
Free

**********

Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Hook Mountain (or RBA chase)
Leader: Bob Dieterich 732-583-5843
Bob will lead a Trip to this hawk watch location, unless winds are unfavorable, in which case we may substitute an RBA chase Those who want to carpool on their own can meet at Alley Pond – lower Winchester lot at 6:30 am. If Hook Mountain is the ultimate destination, Bob Dieterich will meet the whole group at 7:45 AM at the high point along Route 9W (north of Nyack, NY) SEE MAP

MINI TRIPS: Break after lunch +/-
ALL DAY TRIPS: BYO lunch, dinner out. {optl}
WEEKEND TRIPS: Two + days / Overnight

Trip Etiquette
Please register for trips

1 - Register. Let leaders know you're coming!
2 - Car pooling or skipping requires planning
3 - Be advised if there are last minute changes or cancellations. These cannot be communicated to unknown persons.
4 - Be on time! Most trips begin birding by 8am!
5 - Please arrive before the starting time so we do not waste precious early morning bird activity.
6 - Plan your travel time.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, October 25, 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!

Falconry Presentation: Skyhunters in Flight at Wave Hill, Bronx
1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.
Watch hawks, falcons and owls sharpen their hunting skills during an exciting outdoor flight demonstration with master falconer Brian Bradley of New Paltz, New York. Hear about the…
Free!

Sunday, October 26, 2014
Birds of the Ridgewood Reservoir at Ridgewood Reservoir, Queens
9:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Join the Brooklyn Bird Club on a fall bird migration walk. Have fun looking for winter sparrows, waterfowl, and raptors such as hawks,falcons and the bald eagle!
Free!

Birding for Families at Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (in Central Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Experience the coming of fall in Central Park when it becomes a precious bird habitat and migration hot spot!
Free!
...Read more

Friday, October 17, 2014

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, October 17, 2014:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Oct. 17, 2014
* NYNY1410.17

- Birds mentioned

Wood Duck
EURASIAN WIGEON
American Wigeon
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Red-necked Grebe
American Bittern
Common Gallinule
American Golden-Plover
MARBLED GODWIT
Pectoral Sandpiper
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Forster's Tern
Royal Tern
Black-billed Cuckoo
Common Nighthawk
Red-bellied Woodpecker
WESTERN KINGBIRD
PHILADELPHIA VIREO
Tennessee Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
American Tree Sparrow
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
Vesper Sparrow
LARK SPARROW
Nelson's Sparrow
Saltmarsh Sparrow
Seaside Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
BLUE GROSBEAK
DICKCISSEL
Rusty Blackbird
Purple Finch
Pine Siskin

- Transcript

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

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to 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, October 17th 2014 at 7pm. The highlights of today's tape are EURASIAN WIGEON, WESTERN KINGBIRD, MARBLED GODWIT, PHILADELPHIA VIREO, LARK SPARROW, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, BLUE GROSBEAK and DICKCISSEL.

Following the drake on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge two more EURASIAN WIGEONS were uncovered this week. One a male molting into good plumage was spotted on Patchogue Lake on Monday. This lake currently is hosting a COMMON GALLINULE that is often seen from vantage points at the end of East 2nd or East 3rd Streets on the western side of the lake. The other drake EURASIAN WIGEON was on Stump Pond in Blydenburgh County Park in Smithtown on Tuesday joining a congregation of waterfowl that included 12 WOOD DUCKS, 70 AMERICAN WIGEON, 6 GREEN-WINGED TEAL and 12 RING-NECKED DUCKS.

Some decent migratory movement took place during the week. Last Sunday produced well over one thousand PINE SISKINS moving west past Robert Moses State Park accompanied by a lot of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, some PURPLE FINCHES, a dozen RUSTY BLACKBIRDS, some RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS and other seasonal migrants.

Unusual migrants uncovered on Sunday included BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, a PHILADELPHIA VIREO at Fort Tilden, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER at Fort Tilden and Lido Beach and elsewhere, a LARK SPARROW east of field 7 at Heckscher State Park and a DICKCISSEL in East Hampton. In addition several CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS have been reported recently from various locations including Jones Beach West End, Prospect Park, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, Pelham Bay Park and the Shirley Marina. Certainly a good time of year to find this species but be aware of the very similar fall immature Chipping Sparrows and make sure the lores are a clear pale buffy to confirm a CLAY-COLORED. The VESPER SPARROW has been hanging out in Prospect Park since Sunday still there today around the ballfields and a BLUE GROSBEAK was reported in the park Tuesday. Another BLUE GROSBEAK was found Wednesday in the field 2 dump at Sunken Meadow State Park and just in a WESTERN KINGBIRD was spotted at that location today.

Other interesting birds in the city parks recently have featured one or two late COMMON NIGHTHAWKS to at least Wednesday, up to 6 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS at Marine Park in Brooklyn Sunday and an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER at Floyd Bennett Field last Saturday while Plumb Beach in Brooklyn added an AMERICAN BITTERN Monday.

Later warblers reported this week include TENNESSEE, BAY-BREASTED and WILSON'S WARBLER and sparrows have included some LINCOLN'S with NELSON'S now occurring with lingering SALTMARSH and SEASIDE SPARROWS in various coastal marshes.

At Jones Beach West End a MARBLED GODWIT has been appearing on the Coast Guard Station bar among the several hundred American Oystercatchers and other shorebirds. Up to 7 ROYAL TERNS have also visited there and a large number of FORSTER'S TERNS continues around Jones Inlet with over 200 seen sitting on the pilings with shorebirds at the Point Lookout Marina by the waterworks last Sunday. Also at the parking field at West End 2 continues to attract LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS at high tide especially with 10 there last Sunday and 13 on Monday. Last Saturday an arriving AMERICAN TREE SPARROW was in East Hampton and the lingering RED-NECKED GREBE was still at Mecox.

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 Royal Tern is North America's second largest tern species, the Caspian being the largest. Breeding along coastal habitats from Maryland to Texas, they can frequently be found wandering farther north during summer months. Over the past few weeks at least three individuals have been spotted along the beaches of Brooklyn. After a storm hit the east coast in 2011, I had an unusual encounter with one particularly friendly one. I posted about it here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Treehugger Tuesday

New Documentary about Saving Species

A new documentary from director Louie Psihoyos and the Oceanic Preservation Society is slated for a wide release later this year. The film is called “Racing Extinction,” and has big ambitions for preventing mass species loss.



Saving Species: The Grasshopper Sparrow from Oceanic Preservation Society on Vimeo.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Upcoming Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of October 18, 2014 to October 19, 2014:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, October 18, 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.

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Green-Wood Cemetery
Meet: 8 AM at main entrance 25th St. & 5th Ave.
Leader: Tom Preston
Note: nearest train line is "R" to 25th Street stop.

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Floyd Bennett Field
Leader: Rob Jett aka "The City Birder"
Registrar: Sherry Felix – info@linnaeannewyork.org or 212-255-0138
Registration opens: Monday, October 6
Ride: $15 or public transportation

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, October 18, 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, October 18, 2014, 8am – 8pm
NYC Audubon Day at Hawk Mountain
Guides: Hawk Mountain Education Specialist, Gabriel Willow. Mid-October is the perfect time to visit Hawk Mountain, one of the premier hawk-watching spots in the East. Gabriel Willow and a Hawk Mountain education specialist will introduce us to the variety of raptors that may be seen, including golden eagles, buteos, and falcons The path to the hawk watch site is a 3/4 mile hike through mountainous woodland.
Bring lunch. Group program, trail admission, and transportation by coach or van included. Participants may also arrange their own transportation.
Transportation option limited to 30. $122 (85)
Click here to register

Saturday, October 18, 2014, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Park Bird Walks, The Bronx
Guides: 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, October 19, 2014, 9:30am – 11:30am
Fall Birding at Wave Hill, The Bronx
Guide: Gabriel Willow With Wave Hill Meet at the Perkins Visitor Center. Naturalist Gabriel Willow contributes his extensive knowledge of bird species and their behaviors on these captivating walks. Wave Hill’s garden setting overlooking the Hudson River flyway provides the perfect habitat for resident and migrating birds.
Ages 10 and up welcome with an adult. Reservations recommended, online at www.wavehill.org, by calling 718-549-3200 x305 or at the Perkins Visitor Center. Severe weather cancels; for updates call 718-549-3200 x245 by 8am the day of the walk. NYC Audubon members enjoy two-for-one admission

Sunday, October 19, 2014, 10am – 11am
Birding for Families in Central Park
Guide: 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. As a family, learn how to spot and identify our feathered neighbors in their natural surroundings. Binoculars can be borrowed from the Dana Center.
For weather cancellation information, call 212-860-1370.
Limited to 20. Age 5 and up.
Free

**********

North Shore Audubon Society
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Alley Pond Park
Meet: 233 St./67th Ave. (E. End of school playground)
Leader: Trudy Horowitz (718-224-8432)

Walks are for beginners and experienced birders alike.
Weather permitting, walks start at 9:30 AM unless indicated otherwise.
If in doubt, please call the trip leader.
Please note: all phone numbers are area code 516 unless otherwise indicated.
In most cases, the contacts are also leaders for the respective walks.
Go to our website at www.northshoreaudubon.org/for directions.
We would like to encourage carpooling, where possible.

**********

Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Hempstead Lake State Park
Leader: Arie Gilbert 917-693-7178
Meet at 7:30am

MINI TRIPS: Break after lunch +/-
ALL DAY TRIPS: BYO lunch, dinner out. {optl}
WEEKEND TRIPS: Two + days / Overnight

Trip Etiquette
Please register for trips

1 - Register. Let leaders know you're coming!
2 - Car pooling or skipping requires planning
3 - Be advised if there are last minute changes or cancellations. These cannot be communicated to unknown persons.
4 - Be on time! Most trips begin birding by 8am!
5 - Please arrive before the starting time so we do not waste precious early morning bird activity.
6 - Plan your travel time.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, October 18, 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!

Birding: Fall Migration at Oceania Street and 67th Street (in Cunningham Park), Queens
10:00 a.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. Today wildlife is recognized as one of the nation's fastest growing activities. Our Rangers will guide you to…
Free!

Birding at Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum at Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum (in Pelham Bay Park), Bronx
3:30 p.m.
The fall migration continues with warblers, sparrows, scarlet tanagers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, red-headed woodpeckers, and more visiting Pelham Bay Park. Naturalist and photographer…

Sunday, October 19, 2014
Birding for Families at Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (in Central Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Experience the coming of fall in Central Park when it becomes a precious bird habitat and migration hot spot!
Free!
...Read more

Friday, October 10, 2014

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, October 10, 2014:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Oct. 10, 2014
* NYNY1410.10

- Birds Mentioned

SAY’S PHOEBE+
NORTHERN WHEATEAR+
BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

EURASIAN WIGEON
Red-necked Grebe
Black-bellied Plover
American Golden-Plover
American Oystercatcher
Whimbrel
HUDSONIAN GODWIT
MARBLED GODWIT
BAIRD’S SANDPIPER
Caspian Tern
Royal Tern
Black Skimmer
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
PHILADELPHIA VIREO
Common Raven
American Pipit
CONNECTICUT WARBLER
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
GRASSHOPPER SPARROW
Lincoln’s Sparrow
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Rusty Blackbird
Purple Finch
Pine Siskin

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

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to 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, October 10th at
6:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are NORTHERN WHEATEAR, SAY’S PHOEBE, BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK, EURASIAN WIGEON, MARBLED and HUDSONIAN GODWITS, BAIRD’S SANDPIPER, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, PHILADELPHIA VIREO, CONNECTICUT WARBLER, and CLAY-COLORED and GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS.

Happily, the NORTHERN WHEATEAR found Wednesday October 1 at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn continued at that site through the weekend, but unfortunately it could be very difficult to locate at times as it ranged around the eastern tip of the park. It was actually easier to find Saturday in the driving wind and rain than on much improved Sunday, when seen only briefly. It posed nicely for photographs Tuesday, but just a single e-bird report from Wednesday might have marked its departure, though its reclusive habits at times give some hope it may still linger there.

Another very nice find was a SAY’S PHOEBE spotted Sunday at the Edgemere Landfill, now also known as Rockaway Community Park, in Far Rockaway. This capped landfill, covered with fairly dense low vegetation but providing numerous perches, many used by the Phoebe, is reached from the northern terminus of Beach 51st Street. A very narrow gravel road encircles and crosses over the landfill, so be careful if using it. The Phoebe was not seen after Sunday, when other birds present included numerous hunting hawks, including three species of falcons.

Perhaps the most intriguing report of the week was a BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK at Heckscher State Park on Wednesday morning. Subsequent searches for this bird had uncertain results, and the key would be to separate this bird from what can be an extremely similar plumage in 1st fall male Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. The Heckscher bird was initially heard calling, a slightly different note than that of Rose-breasted, and the darker upper mandible was noted, a field mark for Black-Headed but perhaps not as consistent among 1st fall birds. Unfortunately the color of the wing linings was not seen, this a more positive point of separation. Photographs of this bird would be much desired.

At Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge the drake EURASIAN WIGEON was still on the East Pond Wednesday, and a BAIRD’S SANDPIPER found on the pond Sunday was joined by a 2nd as of Wednesday. Other birds noted on Wednesday included CASPIAN TERN, COMMON RAVEN and AMERICAN PIPIT, and an HUDSONIAN GODWIT was spotted flying by the former West Pond last Saturday, that area apparently in too poor a condition to induce it to land.

Other shorebirds locally featured an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER at Floyd Bennett Field with BLACK-BELLIEDS on Saturday, 2 MARBLED GODWITS flying over Plumb Beach Saturday morning, and a WHIMBREL at Jones Beach West End Tuesday. Other birds at Jones Beach West End included the large gatherings of AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS, and BLACK SKIMMERS, and ROYAL TERN.

Two RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were noted Thursday at Robert Moses State Park, these among a decent coastal flight that also featured a good number of PINE SISKINS and PURPLE FINCHES, plus a few RUSTY BLACKBIRDS. A larger flight Friday morning along the coast featured many hundred PINE SISKINS and a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER again at Moses.

One or two PHILADELPHIA VIREOS and a decent variety of warblers continue to be seen, a CONNECTICUT WARBLER was reported at Hoyt Farm Park in Commack, today and a large influx of sparrows Thursday and today included a GRASSHOPPER at Jamaica Bay yesterday, a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW in Brookhaven today, and several LINCOLN’S.

The RED-NECKED GREBE was still at Mecox Saturday.

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

Exploring urban nature, birds, birdwatching, birding, hummingbirds, butterflies, dragonflies, bees, hawks, raptors, wildflowers, trees, mushrooms, environment, binoculars, spotting scope