Friday, October 30, 2015

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, October 30, 2015:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Oct. 30, 2015
* NYNY1510.30

- Birds Mentioned

BLACK-CAPPED PETREL+
LONG-TAILED JAEGER+
ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Cackling Goose
EURASIAN WIGEON
Redhead
Common Eider
HARLEQUIN DUCK
NORTHERN FULMAR
Cory’s Shearwater
Great Shearwater
Manx Shearwater
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel
Leach’s Storm-Petrel
Northern Gannet
Northern Goshawk
Golden Eagle
Sora
American Golden-Plover
Pectoral Sandpiper
Long-billed Dowitcher
Pomarine Jaeger
Parasitic Jaeger
Bonaparte’s Gull
Black-legged Kittiwake
Laughing Gull
Common Tern
Forster’s Tern
Royal Tern
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
WESTERN KINGBIRD
American Pipit
Lapland Longspur
Snow Bunting
Blue-winged Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Palm Warbler
American Tree Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
LARK SPARROW
“Ipswich” Savannah Sparrow
Nelson’s Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Purple Finch
Red Crossbill
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 30, 2015 at 6:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are pelagic trip results, including BLACK-CAPPED PETREL and NORTHERN FULMAR, an onshore LONG-TAILED JAEGER, ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER and WESTERN KINGBIRD, HARLEQUIN DUCK and EURASIAN WIGEON, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, and LARK SPARROW.

Last Friday the Brooklyn VI left Sheepshead Bay on a See Life Paulagics pelagic trip and by dawn was 110 miles out at the southern end of Hudson Canyon. With the water temperature still over 70 degrees, the resulting highlight was some nice views of an estimated 8 BLACK-CAPPED PETRELS, continuing the extraordinary season this species has provided off the northeastern states. Also encountered out there were 7 NORTHERN FULMARS as well as 92 GREAT, 7 CORY’S and 2 MANX SHEARWATERS, a single LEACH’S and 21 WILSON’S STORM-PETRELS, 2 POMARINE JAEGERS and, closer inshore, 2 PARASITIC JAEGERS, 2 BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES, and 45 NORTHERN GANNETS, as well as single MOURNING DOVE and PALM WARBLER, both in a precarious situation so far offshore. Four BONAPARTE’S GULLS and 2 ROYAL TERNS were also noted on the return to Brooklyn.

Back onshore Sunday morning, with strong southwest winds roiling the south shore of Long Island, a nice JAEGER flight was observed off Robert Moses State Park early on; an estimated total of 13 PARASITIC JAEGERS was enjoyed as they constantly harassed a feeding group of LAUGHING GULLS and COMMON and mostly FORSTER’S TERNS. Also identified as it passed by heading west was an immature LONG-TAILED JAEGER. The count of over 300 NORTHERN GANNETS indicates they are now moving south in large numbers, and a distant CORY’S SHEARWATER was also seen. Another PARASITIC JAEGER was spotted off Riis Park Wednesday afternoon.

Last Saturday morning an ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER was seen briefly at Dreier-Offerman Park, and this was followed Sunday by a WESTERN KINGBIRD by Dead Horse Bay, just west of Floyd Bennett Field, 2 nice Flycatchers for Brooklyn.

Joining the list of arriving waterfowl was a female HARLEQUIN DUCK by the Jones Beach West End jetty Tuesday, a COMMON EIDER also there. Also at West End Tuesday were an immature PARASITIC JAEGER and 15 SNOW BUNTINGS. The LARK SPARROW continuing along the edge of the western most turnaround going into Field 2 was still being reported Thursday.

The drake EURASIAN WIGEON and 2 REDHEAD were still on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge last weekend.

A LAPLAND LONGSPUR was at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn Monday, this also a good site to see NELSON’S SPARROW, and a VESPER SPARROW was at Jones Beach West End to Tuesday, while 6 VESPERS were counted at Croton Point Park in Westchester Monday.

Lingering RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS included 1 in Central Park to Tuesday, 1 at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn through today, and 2 at Jones Beach West End last Saturday. And the injured SORA has continued at the Loch at Central Park’s north end through today.

Two CACKLING GEESE were reported from Pelham Bay Park Saturday, and later Shorebirds included the AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER still at Great Kills Park on Staten Island Sunday and a LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER and 2 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS at the Captree Island marsh, also on Sunday.

Local inland hawk watches have been visited by a small number of GOLDEN EAGLES and very occasional NORTHERN GOSHAWKS lately, and the Chestnut Ridge Hawk Watch in Bedford reported a single RED CROSSBILL flying by there on Thursday. Small numbers of PINE SISKINS and PURPLE FINCHES also continue to move through the area.

Other notable migrants seen recently have featured 2 YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOOS in Brooklyn last Saturday and some AMERICAN PIPITS, plus such arriving SPARROWS as AMERICAN TREE, FOX, and the “IPSWICH” form of SAVANNAH, the latter along the outer beaches. A few ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS were noted during the week, and late was a BLUE-WINGED WARBLER reported in Central Park Monday.

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


Fall foliage may have already peaked in Upstate New York, but in the parks around NYC they still look great. Here's a small selection from around Green-Wood Cemetery. If you've ever wondered why leaves change color, check out this page here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Treehugger Tuesday

A Swim in the Lavendar Lake

New York City has done a lot over the past several decades to clean up their waterways. Then there's the Gowanus Canal. This piece appeared in the New York Times last week:

A Fetid Protest: Swimming the Gowanus Canal
By Eleanor Randolph October 20, 2015 10:44 am

New York City’s Gowanus Canal is one of the foulest, most polluted stretches of water in the country. It was a dumping ground for a variety of industries and assorted criminal types for over 100 years. Raw sewage flows into the canal routinely when it rains. And the Environmental Protection Agency has issued this simple and direct warning: “Never swim in the canal.”

Yet last Saturday Christopher Swain did just that. He swam through disgusting waste and garbage, through a toxic foam that smelled like gas and hydraulic fluid, through multi-colored swirls of oily water. Before the swim, he took time out to explain his reasons for doing what was widely viewed as rash, dumb or simply insane.

“Call me crazy, but I have hope,” Mr. Swain noted shortly before the swim. “I dream of the day when the Gowanus Canal — and all the impaired waterways of New York City — are hailed as urban jewels.” More specifically, he said he swam the canal to remind people that the Clean Water Act of 1972 promised that humans could “use and enjoy” the nation’s waterways for swimming, fishing and boating. By indulging in this perilous dip, he wanted to prod officials to clean up this very ripe toxic waste site very quickly.

Right now, the EPA has estimated that it will take $506 million and another five years, at least, to dredge out the substance that covers the bottom of the canal. Often called “black mayonnaise,” it is a deadly mix that includes PCBs, asbestos chips, arsenic, copper, lead and mercury, as well as trash such as pieces of toilets and illegal guns. Viruses and bacteria thrive in this foul soup, an extra warning to anybody who imagines following in Mr. Swain’s unhealthy wake.

The 47-year-old environmental activist acknowledged that he worked hard to protect himself from the canal’s poisonous stew. He wore a puncture-resistant suit with gloves and fins that kept him dry up to his neck. Then, however, there was his head. He wore a cap and ear plugs and smeared his skin with protective jelly. And he did the breaststroke, trying to keep his head above water. When it did not work and he got water in his mouth, a team member following in a nearby kayak gave him hydrogen peroxide to zap the germs. Friendly doctors have been watching him closely since the swim, he said, to make certain he has not been overly contaminated.

Almost anybody who visits the Gowanus Canal imagines a little Venice someday in the heart of Brooklyn. Mr. Swain has taken a drastic route to make his case, but maybe he will help push the government to make the Gowanus a place people can “use and enjoy” and, of course, survive.
...Read more

Monday, October 26, 2015

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, October 31, 2015 to Sunday, November 1, 2015:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, October 31, 2015, 12–1 pm
Introduction to Bird Watching
Look! Up in the sky, it’s a bird! But what kind of bird is it? Join the Prospect Park Alliance to learn about the magnificent array of birds that call Prospect Park home. Led by the Brooklyn Bird Club

Sunday, November 1, 2015, 10 am – 11 am
Early Morning Birdwalk: Feather Friends
Observe Park regulars like chickadees, early winter residents like Northern Shovelers, and the returning ducks that spend the winter in the Lake. Led by the Brooklyn Bird Club, this tour leaves promptly at 10 am.

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, October 31, 2015
Floyd Bennett Field Preserve
Leaders: Tom Stephenson and Heydi Lopes
Focus: sparrows, raptors, early winter species
Car Fee: $10.00
Registrar: Bobbi Manian roberta.manian@gmail.com
Registration Period: October 24th - October 29th

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, October 31, 2015
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

**********

Newtown Historical Society
Sunday, November 1, 2015, 9:00am
Ridgewood Reservoir

On Sunday, November 1st, Newtown Historical Society will be offering a special nature and history tour of the Ridgewood Reservoir starting at 9am in the main parking lot on Vermont Place at Highland Park. We will view the historic structures in the recently renovated park, observe the natural world and discuss its future.

You can take public transportation to Highland Park. The B13 bus stops along Cypress Hills Street and the Q56 stops along Jamaica Avenue. The Cleveland Street stop on the J train is 3 blocks from the park. Or, you can drive or bike.

This tour will be led by special guest Rob Jett, author of The City Birder.

This tour is 100% FREE and will be a great experience for children and adults alike. For more info or to RSVP, write to NewtownHistory@gmail.com or call 718-366-3715.

You may wish to bring binoculars and cameras.

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, October 31, 2015, 8am – 11am
Beginning Birding (trip - Central Park)
Classes: Thursdays, October 22, October 29, and November 5, 6:30-8:30pm
Trips: Saturdays, October 31, 8-11am, and November 7, 9am-3pm
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. $172 (120)
Click here to register

Saturday, October 31, 2015, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks, The Bronx
Guides: NYC Audubon 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, October 31, 2015, 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. $40 (28)
Click here to register

**********

North Shore Audubon Society
Saturday, October 31, 2015
Jamaica Bay NWR
Leader: Lenore Figueroa 718-343-1391

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

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
October 31, 2015, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Fall 10 mile Greenbelt Hike
Where: Petrides Complex
Free
Contact: Dominick Durso 917-478-7607

Our Fall 10 mile Greenbelt Hike will be on October 31st. Colors should be in peak with contrasting greens. Wear comfortable boots and long pants. Ten moderate miles in all weather. Park at the end of Staten Island Blvd a Block off Ocean Terrace just above Petrides Campus. Bring lunch and adequate beverage. The walk starts on Staten Island Boulevard, behind the Petrides complex at 9:15AM.
For more information call Dominick Durso at 917-478-7607

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
November 1, 2015
Mill Pond Park

Notes:
All walks start at 9:00 A.M.
There is no walk if it rains or snows or temperature is below 25°F.
For more information or in case of questionable weather conditions, please phone Joe at 516 467-9498
For directions to our bird-watching locations, click here.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, October 31, 2015
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Park at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds.
Free!

Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Look! Up in the sky, it’s a bird! But what kind of bird is it? Join the Prospect Park Alliance to learn about the magnificent array of birds that call Prospect Park home.
Free!

Sunday, November 1, 2015
Early Morning Birdwalk: Feather Friends at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Observe Park regulars like chickadees, early winter residents like Northern Shovelers, and the returning ducks that spend the winter in the Lake.
Free!

Moses Mountain Hike at Greenbelt Nature Center (in Blood Root Valley), Staten Island
1:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
Join us for a jaunt to Moses Mountain to experience the forest in its full fall glory and enjoy the 360-degree panoramic view and look for birds of prey.
Free!
...Read more

Friday, October 23, 2015

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, October 23, 2015:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Oct. 23, 2015
* NYNY1510.23

- Birds Mentioned

WHITE IBIS+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

TUNDRA SWAN
EURASIAN WIGEON
Horned Grebe
Bald Eagle
Sora
American Golden-Plover
Caspian Tern
Royal Tern
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
WESTERN KINGBIRD
Eastern Bluebird
American Pipit
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Chipping Sparrow
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
Vesper Sparrow
LARK SPARROW
Grasshopper Sparrow
Nelson’s Sparrow
Lincoln’s Sparrow
White-Crowned Sparrow
BLUE GROSBEAK
DICKCISSEL
Eastern Meadowlark
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 23, 2015 at 6:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are WHITE IBIS, TUNDRA SWAN, WESTERN KINGBIRD, EURASIAN WIGEON, LARK and CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS, BLUE GROSBEAK, DICKCISSEL, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER and more.

A WHITE IBIS, perhaps the adult photographed in Brooklyn back on the 11th and 12th, was spotted Sunday off River Road in northwestern Staten Island, the bird eventually seen flying off to the southeast and not subsequently relocated.

An immature TUNDRA SWAN, unexpectedly appearing at Brooklyn Bridge Park on Monday morning, was noted later that day in the East River off the South Street Seaport but not thereafter.

A WESTERN KINGBIRD was still present last Saturday at the west end of Robert Moses State Park.

Among the few drake EURASIAN WIGEONS arriving recently, besides the one continuing on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, were two on the Patchogue Mill Pond Monday and singles on the upper pond at Frank Melville Park in Setauket Monday and on the Centerport Pond off Route 25A on Tuesday.

Two CASPIAN and up to nine ROYAL TERNS were present at Zach’s Bay at Jones Beach Tuesday, and an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was also uncovered Tuesday.

An AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER was still at Great Kills Park on Staten Island Monday.

With northwest winds finally occurring in the area starting late last week, activity along the coast thankfully has reached more desirable levels - Sparrows are now quite numerous and widespread, but Warbler variety has expectedly decreased, though YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER is the most numerous species now present.

At Jones Beach West End last weekend, where a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT at times very obligingly sunned itself in the hedgerow by the Coast Guard Station, there were also two LARK SPARROWS, a bright one at the hedgerow and a dull immature at the outer turnaround. A VESPER SPARROW was also present at the hedgerow, and a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was reported there too - with the presence of many sometimes very similar immature CHIPPING SPARROWS, be sure to check the lores. The CHAT and one LARK SPARROW were also reported Tuesday, and an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was noted there Saturday and Tuesday.

Among the other birds at West End were a striking adult RED-HEADED WOODPECKER and various other SPARROWS including LINCOLN’S and WHITE-CROWNED. An immature RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was also at Robert Moses State Park over the weekend, with others at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn Thursday and at Fort Tilden today.

Other notable Sparrows featured another LARK SPARROW at Six Diamonds Park in Brooklyn Monday, joined by an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, two GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS at Kissena Park in Queens Sunday, and a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW at Oakland Lake in Queens Tuesday and Wednesday, while Prospect Park provided a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW last weekend and a LARK SPARROW Saturday to Monday. Another VESPER SPARROW was in Manhattan’s Inwood Hill Park Sunday, and NELSON’S SPARROWS remain common in various salt marshes.

A DICKCISSEL flew by Robert Moses State Park Saturday, when a BLUE GROSBEAK was still at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

An adult SORA, with an apparently injured left wing, has been at the Loch at the northern end of Central Park since Monday, with a VESPER SPARROW also up there to Tuesday.

Two BALD EAGLES were together at Leeds Pond Preserve in Manhasset today.

Duck variety continues to increase, and HORNED GREBE has been noted recently, while among the landbirds, recent migrants moving on the more favorable winds have included AMERICAN PIPIT, EASTERN BLUEBIRD, EASTERN MEADOWLARK, RUSTY BLACKBIRD, PURPLE FINCH and PINE SISKIN.

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

Attack of the Yellow-rumped Warblers

Last Saturday I spent several hours birding at Floyd Bennett Field. The recent cold front brought a lot of birds into the area, but one stood out due to its sudden omnipresence - Yellow-rumped Warblers.

The North-40 section of Floyd Bennett Field is a series of grassy foot paths bordered by a scattering of trees, small shrubs, invasive vines and, in some places, walls of phragmites. The name comes from the fact that it is approximately 40 acres of undeveloped habitat at the northern-most border of this historic airfield. It is easy to get turned around and disoriented here, but thankfully one would only have to wander for a mile or two before eventually stumbling out onto one of the defunct runways. It was in this area on Saturday that I began musing about a frightening scenario.

As I mentioned, there were suddenly Yellow-rumped Warblers literally everywhere. When walking along the trails I was dumbstruck by the shear number of these 12 gram, hyperactive songbirds. They were feeding in the grass. They were chasing insects low, along the sides of the paths. They were hawking for bugs at the tops of the trees. They darted passed my face in pursuit of a flying meal. I even spotted several flocks flying passed high above the North-40. When I counted a few dozen directly in front of me I also wondered how many there were in the dense tangle of green between all the paths. What was the likelihood that there were over 10,000 of these recent southbound migrants in just this 40 acre patch? Judging by the constant presence of their distinctive "pip" call throughout Floyd Bennett Field, I'd say it was very likely.

Heydi and I slowly walked east along the trails, stopping periodically to scan the yellow-rumps for something different. As we continued walking all the birds would leapfrog ahead, always keeping a safe amount of space between us and them. Then I realized something that I was hoping that they didn't. There were so many of them, that if they all decided to turn around and attack, they could probably kill us. In Alfred Hitchcock's classic "The Birds", Tipi Hedren is nearly taken out by a roomful of crows and Herring Gulls. Consider this, it would take about 90 yellow-rumps to equal the mass of one Herring Gull. I weigh around 175 pounds and am pretty sure I can take one a few gulls. Six might be my limit. So if 500 plus yellow-rumps came at me it could be a slow, painful end for The City Birder. All those pointy beaks and sharp, tiny claws coming at me from all sides.
Running would be futile as these suckers are fast. Nightmares are made of this. I might be able to hold my own against less than 500. Imagine coming upon other birders after escaping this near death mobbing. You're covered in scratches and tiny peck holes. Feathers stuck in your hair. Black eye:

"Oh my God, Rob, what happened!"

"It was the yellow-rumps..."
...Read more

Friday's Foto

"F" is for Fall and also for fungi. Over the past week I've been noticing lots of inky caps, puffballs, shelf fungus, stinkhorns and other mushrooms springing up around Brooklyn. By far one of my favorites is the Chicken-of-the-Woods. This is mostly because they taste good and can't be mistaken for anything poisonous. According to mushroomexpert.com, this fungi is "parasitic and saprobic on living and dead oaks (also sometimes on the wood of other hardwoods); causing a reddish brown cubical heart rot". The mushroom-collecting website advises that they "are good sautéed, deep fried, baked, and may be used in soups. They can have a lemony, chicken-like taste and texture or at least go well with chicken or chicken stock". If you do decide to collect them in our city's parks I recommend selecting ones that are located well above the tallest dog's hind quarters.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Treehugger Tuesday

Oil Drilling to end in Arctic Habitats

The following article was published in the Washington Post:

In a major setback for Arctic drilling, the Obama administration cancels two oil lease sales

By Chris Mooney
October 16

This story has been updated.

Citing Shell’s decision to indefinitely cancel plans to explore for oil in the Chukchi Sea after drilling an initial, unsuccessful test well, the Interior Department late Friday announced it was canceling two Arctic ocean oil lease sales scheduled for 2016 and 2017. The agency also cited a lack industry nominations of specific areas of exploration interest as a reason for not going forward.

The sales canceled involved one lease in the Chukchi Sea and another in the Beaufort Sea, to the northwest and north of Alaska, respectively.

“In light of Shell’s announcement, the amount of acreage already under lease and current market conditions, it does not make sense to prepare for lease sales in the Arctic in the next year and a half,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell in a statement. The move represented a second major setback to Arctic oil drilling plans that as recently as a month ago had seemed to be moving forward smoothly.

Environmental organizations, which had widely protested Shell’s plans and lambasted the Obama administration for approving them, quickly applauded the news Friday.

“Following Shell’s recent decision to halt its Arctic Ocean drilling for the foreseeable future, the Department of the Interior made an entirely reasonable decision today to not hold new lease sales in 2016 and 2017 in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, respectively. Because of Shell’s failure to find significant oil in the Chukchi Sea, new Arctic Ocean lease sales—which require extensive government preparation and costs—would likely be unsuccessful,” said Lois Epstein, Arctic program director at the Wilderness Society, in a statement.

The cancellation marked a reversal for those who had hoped oil companies would be able to discover large oil reserves that would help make the country less dependent on imported crude oil. Last year, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which conducts the lease sales, quadrupled its assessment of how much oil might be available for exploitation from a 2008 lease sale in the Chukchi Sea, from 1 billion to 4.3 billion barrels of oil, or its natural gas equivalent.

One factor that has dampened interest in Arctic ocean drilling of late is the current, relatively low price of oil, which makes pricey remote exploration less attractive.

“This is part and parcel of what we’ve seen across the spectrum of the oil and gas industry, which is, companies are cutting back on investment,” says Pavel Molchanov, an oil analyst with Raymond James. “And when companies are cutting back on investment, with the degree of austerity that’s been taking place, the reality is, everything gets cut.”

But ultimately, Arctic ocean drilling may be a very long game, and one that companies could reconsider in the future. “Because Shell did not find an economical resource base, that doesn’t mean that we shut the door on it,” adds Fadel Gheit, an oil and gas analyst with Oppenheimer & Co. “Maybe we revisit it after a while. After all, we knew that there was shale oil 50 years ago but it was not economically viable to pursue.”
...Read more

Monday, October 19, 2015

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, October 24, 2015 to Sunday, October 25, 2015:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, October 24, 2015, 12–1 pm
Introduction to Bird Watching
Look! Up in the sky, it’s a bird! But what kind of bird is it? Join the Prospect Park Alliance to learn about the magnificent array of birds that call Prospect Park home. Led by the Brooklyn Bird Club

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
October 23rd - 25th
Weekends: Autumn in New Jersey's northern Highlands
(Members only, limit 12)
Leader: Peter Dorosh
Focus: Fall migrants various locations, including two hawk watches; primarily hawks and sparrows, open space species.
Car fee: $120 .00
Registrar: Peter Dorosh Prosbird@aol.com (preferred) or 347-622-3559 text
Registration Period: June 1st - Oct 11th

**********

Freshkills Park (Staten Island)
Saturday, October 24, 2015 1:00pm
Nature Hike
Enjoy a guided hike through Freshkills Park and learn about habitats, wildlife, and research projects at the site.
This 1-2 mile trek includes moderate to steep elevations. Water, bug spray, and comfortable shoes recommended.
Space is limited, ages 10+. Free.
Meet shuttle into the park at Schmul Park (Wild Ave & Melvin Ave)
Presented in association with Archtober, Architecture and Design Month New York City, October 2015.
Sign Up at EventBrite

**********

Gateway National Parks
Sunday, October 25, 2015
An Autumn Hike at Breezy Point
Location: Fort Tilden, Building 1 - Queens (Carpool to Breezy Point) Time: 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM
Fee Information: FREE
Contact Name: Ryan Visitor Center Contact Phone Number: 718-338-3799
Carpool in a caravan led by Mickey Maxwell Cohen of American Littoral Society to the little known western tip of the Rockaway Peninsula. Highlights will include dune foliage, shorebirds and a surprising assortment of rocks and minerals used in the construction of the Breezy Point Jetty. Insect repellent, sun protection, binoculars, and a magnifying glass will be helpful.
This is an American Littoral Society and Gateway NRA Partnership Program. (2 miles)

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Sunday, October 25, 2015
Floyd Bennett Field
Leader: Rob Jett (aka "The City Birder)
Registrar: Pearl Broder — pbroder3@nyc.rr.com or 212-924-0030
Registration opens: Monday October 5
Ride: $15 or public transportation

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, October 24, 2015
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 24, 2015, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks, The Bronx
Guides: NYC Audubon 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, October 24, 2015, 9:15am – 4:00pm
Fall Foliage Hike in the Greenbelt, Staten Island
Guide: Gabriel Willow with NYC Parks and the Greenbelt Conservancy
Meet at the Manhattan terminal of the S.I. Ferry and join us as we journey to Moses Mountain, which provides a panoramic view of Staten Island and points beyond. We'll look for migrating hawks, warblers, and other songbirds—with crimson sumac and other autumn foliage as a backdrop. Bring lunch and water. Transportation on Staten Island provided. Limited to 18. $42 (29)
Click here to register

Sunday, October 25, 2015, 10am – 11am
Birding Basics For Families, Central Park
Guides: NYC Audubon, Conservancy Discovery Guides
Offered by The Central Park Conservancy
Meet at the Dana Discovery Center (inside the Park at 110th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues). Experience Central Park’s precious bird habitat and migration hot spot with Conservancy Discovery Guides and NYC Audubon. Witness firsthand how the Conservancy’s work has made the Park a sanctuary for birds. Binoculars can be borrowed from the Visitor Center. Limited to 20. Age 5 and up. Free, pre-registration recommended. For weather cancellation updates and pre-registration information, call 212-772-0288.

**********

Paulagics
Friday/Saturday, October 23-24, 2015
Brooklyn Overnight Pelagic Trip
Cost: $220
Departs: 10:30PM
Returns: 4:30 PM (approximately)
Boat: Brooklyn VI
Marina: 2200 Emmons Ave.
Pier 6 Sheepshead Bay
Brooklyn, New York 11235
Cost: $ 220
Notes: NEED 9 PEOPLE TO SAIL!!
Target Birds: Cory’s, Great, and Manx Shearwaters, Red Phalarope, Kittiwake, Pomarine and Parasitic Jaegers. Hoping to find Rarities! Exploration of this seas at this time is mostly to find rare species.

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, October 24, 2015, 8:56 pm – 9:56 pm
Mount Loretto Unique Area
Leader: Anthony Ciancimino
Join birder Anthony Ciancimino for a guided nature walk through the fields at Mountt Loretto Unique Area. The focus on this walk will be migrating sparrows, including Lincoln’s, White crowned, and Field Sparrows. Other possibilties include Eastern Bluebird and Eastern Meadowlark. Arriving migrant waterfowl could also be present on the ponds which dot the property. Participants will meet in the parking lot off of Hylan Boulevard, across from the CYO Center. For more information email Anthony Ciancimino at sibirdwatcher@yahoo.com.
Free

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Queens County Bird Club
Sunday, October 25, 2015
Caumsett State Park
Leader: Rich Kelly 516-509-1094
Meet at park at 7:30am

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, October 25, 2015
Alley Pond Park

Notes:
All walks start at 9:00 A.M.
There is no walk if it rains or snows or temperature is below 25°F.
For more information or in case of questionable weather conditions, please phone Joe at 516 467-9498
For directions to our bird-watching locations, click here.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, October 24, 2015
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Park at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds.
Free!

Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Look! Up in the sky, it’s a bird! But what kind of bird is it? Join the Prospect Park Alliance to learn about the magnificent array of birds that call Prospect Park home.
Free!

Sunday, October 25, 2015
Birding Basics for Families at Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (in Central Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Experience Central Park as a precious bird habitat and migration hot spot! Bring your family on a guided walk led by Central Park Conservancy staff and the NYC Audubon Society.
Free!

Highbridge Hawk Watch at Tower Plaza (in Highbridge Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Learn about the hawks in your community and observe some of their interesting behaviors.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, October 17, 2015

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, October 16, 2015:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Oct. 16, 2015
* NYNY1510.16

- Birds mentioned

WHITE IBIS+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

EURASIAN WIGEON
Tricolored Heron
Sora
SANDHILL CRANE
Western Sandpiper
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Caspian Tern
Royal Tern
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Black-billed Cuckoo
Common Nighthawk
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
WESTERN KINGBIRD
Philadelphia Vireo
Worm-eating Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
Vesper Sparrow
LARK SPARROW
Nelson's Sparrow
BLUE GROSBEAK
DICKCISSEL
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 16th 2015 at 7pm. The highlights of today's tape are WHITE IBIS, SANDHILL CRANE, WESTERN KINGBIRD, LARK SPARROW, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, BLUE GROSBEAK, DICKCISSEL, EURASIAN WIGEON, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER and other migrants.

A decent week with two good but only briefly encountered rarities and a nice assortment of Fall specialties but first a quick note that there is still plenty of room on the See Life Paulagics boat trip departing from Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn next Friday, October 23rd at 10:30pm spending Saturday well offshore before returning Saturday evening. If interested please call (215) 234-6805 < http://www.paulagics.com/site/ >.

Last Sunday evening an adult WHITE IBIS was photographed as it passed over Brooklyn's Prospect Park. Monday morning it was spotted again on a pond at Green-wood Cemetery and documented nicely before it took off apparently for good.

Also reported from Sunday morning was a SANDHILL CRANE seen at distance off Lemon Creek Pier on Staten Island as it headed south towards New Jersey.

A WESTERN KINGBIRD first noted last Sunday was still being seen Thursday at Robert Moses State Park. The KINGBIRD traveling actively around the western end of field 2 on the adjacent golf course and even over to the volleyball courts at the lot's east end yesterday. A second WESTERN KINGBIRD visited Jones Beach West End Wednesday.

A nice variety of sparrows now moving through featured 4 LARK SPARROWS this week all along the south coast of Long Island with one at Gilgo Sunday, 2 at Jones Beach West End lot 2 Wednesday with one there continuing to Friday at the turnaround and one at Fort Tilden on Thursday. A few CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS recently included singles reported from Fort Tilden Saturday, Drier-Offerman Park in Brooklyn Monday, Robert Moses State Park Wednesday and Jones Beach West End Thursday and one today at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The native grassland area at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden has been attracting a nice selection of birds recently including a BLUE GROSBEAK from Tuesday through today and a DICKCISSEL Wednesday that was joined by a second DICKCISSEL Thursday. Other BLUE GROSBEAKS featured one at Lenoir Preserve in Yonkers Sunday and 2 together at Marshlands Conservancy in Rye on Saturday while additional DICKCISSELS were identified at Fort Tilden and Pelham Bay Park last Saturday and at Canarsie Beach Park Sunday and Wednesday with 3 moving by Robert Moses State Park Thursday. Also Thursday VESPER SPARROWS were noted at Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Drier-Offerman Park and NELSON'S SPARROWS continue in decent numbers in local saltmarshes.

A few RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS recently have included an immature at Jones Beach West End Sunday with an adult there today. Others Sunday in Central Park and on Staten Island plus at Robert Moses State Park where another passed by on Wednesday and an immature in Prospect Park yesterday.

A PHILADELPHIA VIREO was spotted at Sunken Meadow State Park Saturday and among the warblers a couple of ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS reported from Prospect Park during the week, Central Park Wednesday and Six Diamonds Park in Brooklyn Thursday. A MOURNING WARBLER was in Rye Wednesday and other species lately many now getting rather scarce have featured WORM-EATING, CAPE MAY, BAY-BREASTED, HOODED and WILSON'S. YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT was found at Drier-Offerman Park Monday.

The lingering drake EURASIAN WIGEON was still on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Monday. Also there were 2 WESTERN SANDPIPERS and a TRICOLORED HERON. A SORA was quite unusual at Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 1 Saturday.

Other seasonal birds this week, some getting late, included LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, CASPIAN and ROYAL TERNS, both cuckoos Thursday and COMMON NIGHTHAWK while a few scattered PINE SISKINS have occurred in the area recently and a PURPLE FINCH or two have been noted as well.

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, October 16, 2015

Friday's Foto

The Golden-crowned Kinglet breeds in boreal and montane forests in North America's far north and west. They usually begin their southbound migration relatively late in the season during the month of October. Despite being only slightly larger than a hummingbird, this hardy species can survive -40 degree nights. They are regularly recorded around NYC during the annual Christmas Bird Count. Golden-crowned Kinglets can be found in a variety of habitats during migration from orchards to tree-lined streams, as well as, urban parks. They prefer conifers. Primarily insectivores, they eat tiny insects, spiders and insect eggs. Occasionally they will seeds, sap, and fruit. I usually hear their high, jingling, "tsii tsii tsii" call well before I see this hyperactive bird. The IUCN Red List conservation status is "Least Concern". Their scientific name is Regulus satrapa; regulus meaning royal or regal. Satrapa refers to a Persian viceroy. Perhaps they wore a golden feather crowns.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Best Public Transportation Birds

I mentioned in my last posting that I was thinking about great birds I've seen without the use of a car. Unlike most of the United States, New York City is unique in that there are subways and buses that can get you nearly anywhere at any time. They've also expanded their bike lanes and rental bike program making, in many cases, a car unnecessary. As a city birder, I've seen a good number of rare birds via mass transit. Below is a list of some of my best rare bird chases / sightings using only public transportation or bicycle. I invite you to add your best mass transit bird stories in the comments section.

**********

King Eider, August 29, 2014
Plum Beach, Brooklyn

I have my friend Shane to thank for finding this seaduck and getting the word out quickly. In this case I thought it would be faster to bike down to the beach than wait for a train and bus. I posted about it here.


Red-necked Phalarope, August 15, 2011
Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn

No so much rare, as rarely seen around NYC. This was another great find by Shane that I was able to pedal down to the coast and see. I posted about it here.


Glaucous Gull, December 22, 2013
Coney Island Creek Park, Brooklyn

Probably my most ridiculous, circuitous afternoon of subway and bus rides ever as I attempted to track down a Glaucous Gull in Coney Island. It took 2 buses, a subway and a long walk in the freezing rain to be successful. I covered the marathon chase here.


Couch's Kingbird, December 26, 2014
West Village, Manhattan

The first New York State record of a Couch's Kingbird was at the unlikely location of Washington Street in Manhattan's West Village. Much of the mainstream media picked up on the story. Here's one piece from CBS News. For this chase all I had to do was take the F train to the A train and walk a few blocks.


Gray-hooded Gull, July 30, 2011
Coney Island, Brooklyn

Without question, this bird wins the grand prize as it had never been recorded in New York State and only one other time in North America. It was also likely the easiest mega-rarity in New York City for people see. The bird was hanging around on the beach about 350 yards from a major transit hub for 4 different train lines and several buses. This bird also caught the attention of the mainstream media. Here's an article from the New York Times. You can read my posting about it here.

**********

No matter what city you call home, I'd love to hear about your best train, bus or bicycle birds. Put your stories in the comments section below.
...Read more

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I See You Saw a Sora

Floyd Bennett Field was pretty birdy early Saturday morning. Lots of sparrows were moving south and by late morning Heydi, Keir and I had tallied 10 species, including a Vesper Sparrow. Our day's highlight, however, was seen in a tiny, crowded urban park about 10 miles to the north of this historic airport.

It was around 10am when a tweet from Heather Wolf came in about a Sora hanging out at Brooklyn Bridge Park's pier 1. The three of us decided not to chase after it, but rather continue a much more low key amble around Floyd Bennett. Josh, who ran into us a few minutes earlier (and appears to be doing a big Brooklyn year), immediately headed north towards the bridge.

Brooklyn Bridge Park seems like an unlikely place to find a secretive marsh bird like a Sora. Besides the fact that it is a new, crowded tourist destination, there is still construction going on in many places and the only thing that passes for a wetland habitat is a tiny patch at the edge next to the pedestrian/bicycle path. Nevertheless, Heather Wolf clearly shows on her website that this patch of green on the East River is a magnet for a diversity of migrating birds that follow the city's rivers.

When I learned about the Sora sighting I had just assumed that it was seen at the edge of the water in a small landscaped wetland on the east side of pier 1. I was wrong. As you can see in Heather's photo here the young bird was actually walking around at the edge of a small lawn, occasionally disappearing into the underbrush at the south end of the lawn. I guess it was exhausted and hungry, dropping into the closest big green spot at the edge of the river. Most birders I know can tell similar stories of uncharacteristically "cooperative" birds that they've encountered. The reality is that these birds are desperate to rest and refuel, making running away from humans a low priority...sometimes with fatal results.

By around noon the birds around Floyd Bennett Field were starting to dwindle. In addition, the din of an NYPD helicopter practicing low above the grasslands was getting on our nerves. After one final low pass Heydi turned to me and said, "Wanna go find the Sora?" You don't have to ask me twice. We decided to hop on the F train at Kings Highway and take it to the York Street station, which is about 1/2 mile from the park.

Two birders, Jean and Mike, were already at the meadow when we arrived. Jean had seen the Sora disappear into the underbrush about 10 minutes before we got there and it hadn't been seen since. A few minutes later Allie joined us in the search. From the top of the ridge I thought I got a glimpse of the bird's distinctive brown and white streaked back as it walked through the vegetation heading more or less east. After about 15 minutes of staking out this spot another birder came by and asked what we were looking at. I explained about the Sora, to which he replied, "I just saw it about 10 minutes ago at the small pond."

I never caught his name, but he kindly walked us the 100 yards back to where he last saw it. As you can see by this photo, the young Sora was right where he left it. We must have watched it for 30 minutes as it foraged along the water's edge, periodically taking breaks to preen.

On the subway ride back Heydi lamented that she had to take the F all the way back to Kings Highway. I facetiously remarked that it is such a drag that one must take public transportation to see a Sora. Which got me thinking about something. As a city birder, I've gotten to see a lot of amazing birds by bicycle, subway or bus. Look for my next posting about best mass transit birds.
...Read more

Treehugger Tuesday

From Hunter to Ecological Researcher

From from Natural History Museum Denmark:

"Ruben is an ex-hunter who works as an assistant researcher in the Udzungwa National Park in Tanzania. His large knowledge of the jungle led a group of scientists to collect new data on the poorly described Mountain dwarf galago (Galagoides orinus), and more importantly to the discovery of a new species of mammals – the Grey Faced Sengi (Rhynchocyon udzungwensis)."

Monday, October 12, 2015

Brooklyn White Ibis

Yesterday's directionally challenged White Ibis spotted over Prospect Park by Klemens Gasser was relocated this morning by wildlife photographer Ryan Morrissey in Green-Wood Cemetery. This Brooklyn first stuck around long enough for some great photos at the edge of the Valley Water, but not long enough for the legions of birders who headed into the cemetery for this NY rarity. Ryan just sent me this note and some wonderful photos:

Hey Rob,

Good to see you again today, hopefully someone was able to relocate the Ibis. Here are a few pics from when it was being more sociable. I can see now that it was eating earthworms and grubs.

Take care,
Ryan

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, October 17, 2015 to Sunday, October 18, 2015:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, October 17, 2015, 12–1 pm
Introduction to Bird Watching
Look! Up in the sky, it’s a bird! But what kind of bird is it? Join the Prospect Park Alliance to learn about the magnificent array of birds that call Prospect Park home. Led by the Brooklyn Bird Club

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Sunday, October 18, 2015
Marine Park Sparrows
Leader: Sean Zimmer
Focus: Fall migrants peak of sparrows. Raptors, late season warblers, marsh and water birds.
Car fee: $10.00 (or public transportation)
Registrar: Kathy Toomey email kathleentoomey@gmail.com
Registration Period: Oct 6th - Oct 15th

**********

Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Sunday, October 18, 2015 - 11:00 AM
Dwarf Pine Plains, Westhampton
Dwarf Pine Plain communities are rare ecosystems that exist in only a few locations in the entire world. The New Jersey Dwarf Pine Plains, the Shawangunk Mountains Dwarf Pine Plains, and the Long Island Dwarf Pine Plains are the three existing communities. The Dwarf Pine Plains earned its name from the height of the vegetation that exists in the community. Dominated by pitch pines and scrub oak, these trees will rarely exceed 3 to 6 feet in height. Today we will be exploring the Dwarf Pine Plains to to enjoy its beauty and look for migrating birds and the beautiful Buck Moth which can be seen during their mating flight.

Directions: Take route 27 to County Road 31 south toward West Hampton. The trail head is located about 1/10 of a mile off of the exit on the east side of County Road 31, turn left into the SCWA complex.
Registration: 585-880-0915

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Sunday, October 18, 2015
Randall’s Island
Leader: Alan Drogin
Registrar: Miriam Rakowski — miriamrakowski@hotmail.com or 212-749-7376
Registration opens: Monday October 5
Ride: $10 or public transportation

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, October 17, 2015
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 17, 2015, 8:00am – 9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks, The Bronx
Guides: NYC Audubon 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, October 17, 2015, 8am – 8pm
NYC Audubon Day at Hawk Mountain, PA
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 van included. Limited to 12. $139 (97)
Click here to register

Sunday, October 18, 2015, 10am – 11am
Birding Basics For Families, Central Park
Guides: NYC Audubon, Conservancy Discovery Guides
Offered by The Central Park Conservancy
Meet at the Dana Discovery Center (inside the Park at 110th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues). Experience Central Park’s precious bird habitat and migration hot spot with Conservancy Discovery Guides and NYC Audubon. Witness firsthand how the Conservancy’s work has made the Park a sanctuary for birds. Binoculars can be borrowed from the Visitor Center. Limited to 20. Age 5 and up. Free, pre-registration recommended. For weather cancellation updates and pre-registration information, call 212-772-0288.

**********

North Shore Audubon Society
Saturday, October 17, 2015
Alley Pond Park
Leader: Trudy Horowitz 718-224-8432

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

**********

Queens County Bird Club
Sunday, October 18, 2015
Prospect Park
Leader: Arie Gilbert - 917-693-7178
Meeting: 7:30am near Prospect Park Zoo on Flatbush Avenue

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, October 18, 2015
Hempstead Lake State Park

Notes:
All walks start at 9:00 A.M.
There is no walk if it rains or snows or temperature is below 25°F.
For more information or in case of questionable weather conditions, please phone Joe at 516 467-9498
For directions to our bird-watching locations, click here.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, October 17, 2015
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Park at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds.
Free!

Birding: Fall Migration at Cunningham Park Parking Lot (in Cunningham Park), Queens
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Our Urban Park Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle. Birding programs are appropriate for all skill levels and beginners are welcome
Free!

Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Look! Up in the sky, it’s a bird! But what kind of bird is it? Join the Prospect Park Alliance to learn about the magnificent array of birds that call Prospect Park home.
Free!

Nocturnal Wildlife at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
6:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle.
Free!

Sunday, October 18, 2015
Birding Basics for Families at Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (in Central Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Experience Central Park as a precious bird habitat and migration hot spot! Bring your family on a guided walk led by Central Park Conservancy staff and the NYC Audubon Society.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, October 10, 2015

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, October 9, 2015:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Oct. 9, 2015
* NYNY1510.09

- Birds mentioned

SANDWICH TERN+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

American Bittern
Semipalmated Plover
Whimbrel
HUDSONIAN GODWIT
Red Knot
White-rumped Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Wilson's Snipe
RED PHALAROPE
POMARINE JAEGER
Parasitic Jaeger
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Caspian Tern
Black Tern
Royal Tern
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
WESTERN KINGBIRD
Tennessee Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Kentucky Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Vesper Sparrow
LARK SPARROW
GRASSHOPPER SPARROW
Nelson's Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
DICKCISSEL

- Transcript

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

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to 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 9th 2015 at 7pm. The highlights of today's tape are a seaflight reporting SANDWICH TERN, RED PHALAROPE, POMARINE JAEGER, WESTERN KINGBIRD, HUDSONIAN GODWIT, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, LARK SPARROW, GRASSHOPPER SPARROW and DICKCISSEL.

A surprisingly productive seawatch early last Saturday morning from the eastern end of Riis Park reported a SANDWICH TERN and 2 RED PHALAROPES as well as a POMARINE and a few PARASITIC JAEGERS among the good volume of birds moving east past that site these also including as many as 200 ROYAL TERNS a high number for the date. Unfortunately this flight was not duplicated anywhere else along Long Island's south shore and wouldn't really be expected given the strong northeast winds accompanying the nor'easter that day. Perhaps a product of the storm though may've been the 7 HUDSONIAN GODWITS noted flying east along the north shore of Great South Bay off Venetian Shores Park in Lindenhurst on Saturday.

Another nice find Saturday was a WESTERN KINGBIRD at the Edgemere Landfill now a part of Rockaway Town Park. The KINGBIRD was also present Sunday morning but not noted after that.

Other notable shorebirds for the week featured a WHIMBREL at Jones Beach West End Monday, a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn from Monday on, one SEMIPALMATED and 3 WESTERN SANDPIPERS and 3 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS at Nickerson Beach last Saturday, 12 RED KNOTS roosting with other shorebirds on the pilings at the boat docks at the Point Lookout waterworks Saturday, up to 7 or more PECTORAL SANDPIPERS at Miller Field on Staten Island during the week and a WILSON'S SNIPE in Central Park yesterday.

Always nice to see, an immature RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was spotted Tuesday at Stuyvesant Square in lower Manhattan.

Various sparrows are now replacing the warblers as the predominant local migrants with WHITE-THROATED, SWAMP and SONG occurring in large numbers. Also appearing have been some WHITE-CROWNED and LINCOLN'S as well as a LARK SPARROW at the Cemetery of the Evergreens off Central Avenue in Brooklyn Monday, a GRASSHOPPER SPARROW at Hillview Reservoir in the Bronx Tuesday and a VESPER SPARROW in Central Park this week with 2 VESPERS at Croton Point in Westchester Tuesday. Some NELSON'S SPARROWS can also now be found in local saltmarshes. The one in Bryant Park yesterday more unexpected. Single DICKCISSELS were noted at the Oceanside Marine Nature Study Area Wednesday and at Heckscher State Park on Thursday.

As the season progresses it is becoming time for ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER and one was spotted Thursday at Coney Island Creek in Brooklyn. Other notable warblers this week featured a HOODED WARBLER in Prospect Park to Monday with another at Jones Beach West End today, a KENTUCKY reported without details from Central Park today and such species as TENNESSEE, CAPE MAY, BAY-BREASTED and others.

LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS continue to utilize certain locations in decent numbers the most productive continuing to be the parking lot #2 at Jones Beach West End at high tide the birds usually gathering on the eastern half of the lot with at least 27 there Saturday and 18 on Sunday. Another 11 were counted on the lot at Tobay Saturday. They have also been seen in lower numbers at a few other coastal locations.

Two CASPIAN TERNS were still at Mecox Sunday, one Tuesday and lingering ROYAL TERNS have included 5 at Jones Beach West End Wednesday and up to 11 at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn. A BLACK TERN was still at Jones Beach West End Sunday.

Single AMERICAN BITTERNS were noted at Croton Point Tuesday and Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes Wednesday and Thursday.

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

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

- End transcript
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Friday, October 09, 2015

Friday's Foto

The name Yellow-bellied Sapsucker has been the punchline for many jokes. In fact, I'm sure that there are some people who still think it is a lampoon name and not a real bird. They are named for their habit of drilling holes into trees allowing sap to drip down the trunk. Not only do they lap up the sap, but also eat insects that are attracted to it. Hummingbirds, bats and porcupines are also known to drink from the sap holes. They are eastern North America's only completely migratory woodpecker. Wintering as far south as Panama, a small number can always be found overwintering in NYC parks, cemeteries and backyards. The IUCN Red List lists the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker conservation status as "Least Concern". The scientific name, Sphyrapicus varius, means hammer (or mallet), diverse.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Wednesday's Green-Wood Cemetery Walk

Tuesday evening's winds weren't overly conducive to a big flight of birds, but there was still a lot of activity in Green-Wood Cemetery for my Wednesday morning walk. There were also some definite signs of a season in transition.

At the start of the walk I noticed that the grounds crews had, for whatever reason, decided that Wednesday was lawnmower day. In addition to this making the cemetery much louder than usual, I spotted lots and lots of unidentified songbird flocks zipping passed ahead of the mowers. I was only able to pick out some White-throated and Chipping Sparrows, but suffice to say there were a significant influx of birds in the area.

One sure sign of winter's approach was spotting my first Brown Creepers of the season. I love these tiny, bark-patterned birds. I usually hear their high, thin whistled calls before I spot them. Using the spiky ends of their tails to keep them from slipping backwards, they inch up trees, probing for spider eggs and other insects. They only move upwards, while nuthatches move downwards. I'm waiting for the day when I see these two species passing each other in opposite directions on a tree trunk. I hope they'll high-five, or at least give each other a wing-bump. Another species in the overwintering category that was in Green-Wood on Wednesday was Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. It was making its distinctive mewing call from a stand of pines overlooking the Sylvan Water. We never did manage to get him in our bins despite a full minute of his close proximity vocalizing. There was also a sudden uptick in the number of both Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets. These diminutive, hyperactive songbirds are half-hardy and small numbers can usually be found locally through the winter months. Amazingly, Golden-crowned Kinglets are not much larger than some hummingbirds. Several years ago I wrote about an up-close, personal experience with one of these adorable birds here.

Another new seasonal arrival for me yesterday was Winter Wren. Despite what their name might imply, most of these birds will just pass through Brooklyn in the fall / early-winter then continue to their overwintering grounds south of New York City. White-throated Sparrows seemed to have increased in abundance a bit since Sunday's walk. Pretty soon we'll be seeing them along weedy edges and wooded areas nearly everywhere. Listen for their melodic, "Oh-sweet-canada-canada" (or "Poor-Sam-Peabody-Peabody").

The cemetery's numerous fruiting dogwoods (Flowering Dogwood and Kousa Dogwood) and yew trees have attracted a near constant stream of hungry robins, Hermit Thrushes and Scarlet Tanagers. The berries in the latter are small enough and soft enough that some vireos and warblers were also feeding on them.

The next cold front should bring even more birds.

***********

Location: Green-Wood Cemetery
Date: Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Species: 53

Cooper's Hawk (1.)
Red-tailed Hawk (2.)
Laughing Gull
Belted Kingfisher (2.)
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (1.)
Northern Flicker
American Kestrel (1.)
Monk Parakeet
Eastern Wood-Pewee (1.)
Eastern Phoebe (25.)
Red-eyed Vireo (3.)
Black-capped Chickadee (1.)
White-breasted Nuthatch (1.)
Brown Creeper (2.)
House Wren (1.)
Winter Wren (1.)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (20.)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (10.)
Hermit Thrush (5.)
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwing (5.)

Ovenbird (1.)
Black-and-white Warbler (2.)
Common Yellowthroat (4.)
Magnolia Warbler (1.)
Blackpoll Warbler (6.)
Black-throated Blue Warbler  13
Palm Warbler (30.)
Pine Warbler (2.)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (15.)
Black-throated Green Warbler (1.)

Chipping Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow (20 - 30.)
Savannah Sparrow (3.)
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow (4.)
Eastern Towhee (3.)

Scarlet Tanager (6.)
Common Grackle
American Goldfinch

Other common species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Robin, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, House Sparrow
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