Saturday, January 30, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, January 29, 2016:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jan. 29, 2016
* NYNY1601.29

- Birds mentioned

BARNACLE GOOSE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
ROSS'S GOOSE
HARLEQUIN DUCK
BARROW'S GOLDENEYE
Red-necked Grebe
American Bittern
Clapper Rail
Razorbill
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Iceland Gull
GLAUCOUS GULL
SNOWY OWL
Short-eared Owl
Red-headed Woodpecker
Pine Warbler
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
LARK SPARROW

- 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, January 29th 2016 at 6pm. The highlights of today's tape are BARNACLE GOOSE, ROSS'S GOOSE, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, HARLEQUIN DUCK, BLACK-HEADED GULL, GLAUCOUS GULL, SNOWY OWL, LARK SPARROW and CLAY-COLORED SPARROW.

With last weekend's birding activities pretty much stymied by the storm this week's highlights are mostly holdovers.

BARNACLE GOOSE continues to frequent Tung Ting Pond in Centerport. This small pond on the west side of the Chalet Motel Inn parking lot and the Centerport Mill Pond on the north side of Route 25A. Another BARNACLE GOOSE has reappeared on Marratooka Lake off New Suffolk Avenue in Mattituck being seen there with Canadas on Sunday and Thursday. A ROSS'S GOOSE presumably one of the two floating around the Nassau / Suffolk County line was spotted Thursday morning at the Cedar Beach Golf Course on Ocean Parkway. The flock it was with ultimately flying off to the north. A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE noted Wednesday across from the Pine Lawn train station, directions were sketchy, was likely one of the two that had been roosting overnight at Belmont Lake State Park a little southeast of there.

A drake BARROW'S GOLDENEYE has returned to Sands Point spotted Monday in a Common Goldeneye flock at Half Moon Bay on the west side of the Sands Point peninsula. In prior winters it has moved around the peninsula with the tides sometimes being seen off or just west of the Sands Point Preserve. Two HARLEQUIN DUCKS seen in Jones Inlet Wednesday usually frequent the jetties at Point Lookout or Jones Beach West End.

An adult BLACK-HEADED GULL in Westchester County was seen Tuesday around Five Islands Park in New Rochelle this likely the same bird that visited this area in late November to mid December in 2014. The entrance to Five Islands Park is on Lefevres Lane off Route 1 just west of Salesian High School. The entrance road passes on the right, a water treatment facility, and the BLACK-HEADED often frequents the visible filtration tanks along with some Ring-billed Gulls it can also roost on the off-shore islands in the small harbor. An immature GLAUCOUS GULL was spotted today at the Brooklyn Army Terminal Pier 4 off the end of 58th Street in Brooklyn and local ICELAND GULLS have featured one visiting Central Park reservoir at least to Tuesday, one apparently roosting overnight on the piers by Brooklyn Bridge Park and two seen together at the south end of Randall's Island last Sunday.

A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens was seen again today with at least one PINE WARBLER [...] and at least two LARK SPARROWS continue in the region, one at Jones Beach West End around the outer turnaround and the other at Croton Point Park in Westchester near the large parking lot.

Somewhat scarce so far this winter a RED-NECKED GREBE was present off Coney Island Pier in Brooklyn today and a RAZORBILL was spotted off Jones Beach West End, an immature RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was spotted at Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island Wednesday and birds of note along Dune Road west of Shinnecock Inlet recently have included AMERICAN BITTERN, CLAPPER RAIL and SNOWY OWL. Two SHORT-EARED OWLS have been appearing regularly in the evening along the grasslands at the former Grumman airport in Calverton. They can be seen from the roadways through the property but do not enter the runways which are off limits.

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, January 29, 2016

Friday's Foto

Winter is a good time to scan the coastal waterways of Brooklyn for a scarce "white-winged gull". Iceland and Glaucous Gulls are rare, but regular cold weather visitors to the borough of Kings. For today's photo I decided to mix it up a bit with a very oddly plumed gull that we found at Jamaica Bay back in 2004. While it would be easy to mistake this individual as one of the aforementioned, it actually turned out to be a leucistic Laughing Gull. Once nearly eliminated from New York, Laughing Gulls are now common breeding birds around the state. A chance meeting with Kenn Kaufman in the parking lot at JBWR shortly after spotting this bird helped clinch the identification.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

The following article is from the website Gizmodo:

Madrid Bans Cars, Plans Plants
Alissa Walker
Yesterday 2:24pm

Cities have been kicking out cars to curb pollution and boost the well-being of their residents. But Madrid has proposed something even smarter. It’s not only banning cars from its downtown, it’s adding more green space. This is an important part of the equation that many cities don’t get right.

In 2014, Madrid announced a progressive plan to ban all cars from many central neighborhoods as well as a more comprehensive ban of diesel-powered vehicles (which is becoming standard in many large European cities). Now there’s the makeover the city needs to prepare for that future: The Madrid + Natural plan, announced this weekend by engineering firm Arup. In order to prepare the city for inevitable effects of climate change—hotter summers with less rainfall—Arup plans to counteract the root of those problems by cleaning, greening, and cooling the city on a very grand scale.

That’s why a key part of the proposal is simply to plant more trees. Lots more trees, and pretty much everywhere possible. Green roofs, green walls, green infrastructure. These will not only give people more enjoyable places for residents, but in some cases, swapping hot asphalt with more permeable surfaces can help to cool the city at street-level.

It also means capturing and storing water when it does rain in the form of gardens and fields—not storm drains that flush the water away. Most of all, I love the idea of “greenery districts” which are essentially heavily vegetated streets that can provide an oasis for wildlife in the city and also give humans a respite from the heat.

Especially after the Paris climate talks, cities are trying to reduce their carbon footprints, but reducing or removing cars only solves half of the problem. You not only have to beef up transit options and build better infrastructure for walking and biking, you also have to re-green the city to reclaim that automobile real estate for people and nature. We’ve seen the same half-approaches in Milan, Delhi, and Beijing over the last few months when some or all of the cars have been removed from streets for a predetermined period—pollution is reduced, at least for the moment, but it always comes back.

This is exactly why temporary car bans don’t work. The city doesn’t propose enough bigger changes that will affect the long-term health of its residents. Madrid is taking a huge and very important step in that direction.
...Read more

Monday, January 25, 2016

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, January 30, 2016 to Sunday, January 31, 2016:

Bedford Audubon Society
Saturday, January 30, 2016, 3-6pm
Shawangunk Grassland National Wildlife Refuge
Leader: Tait Johansson
Discover Rough-legged Hawks, Northern Harriers and Short-eared Owls! Depart Bylane at 1:30pm. Dress warm. Easy
Registrer with Jeanne Pollock at jpollock@bedfordaudubon.org or 914.519.7801

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Sunday, January 31, 2016
Brooklyn's southwest coast
Leader: Dan Frazer cell # 347-355-1330, danielericfrazer@gmail.com (info)
Focus: Coastal species, waterbirds, sea ducks, raptors
No registration necessary. Meet: 8:30 am at TD Bank below the Bay Parkway train stop "D" line: http://www.usbanklocations.com/td-bank-bensonhurst-branch.html
Note: the primary birding locations are Caesar's Bay locale and nearby BJ's retailer coast views, Calvert Vaux/Drier Offerman park area. A bus runs towards Caesar's Bay from the train stop.

**********

Hudson River Audubon Society
Saturday, January 30, 2016
Owl Prowl at Pelham Bay Park
Meet at Pelham Bay Park at 8 AM; far left corner of the Orchard Beach parking lot.
Pelham Bay Park is known for its wintering owls. Northern Saw-whet, Great Horned, Long-eared and maybe a Barn or Barred owl might be found on this trip. We will also search the woods and water for winter birds. American Wigeon, Bufflehead, Red-breasted Merganser should be in the bays.
http://www.hras.org/wtobird/pelhambay.html

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, January 30, 2016
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, January 30, 2016, 9am – 4pm
Winter Eagles on The Hudson
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Join NYC Audubon for one of the most incredible avian spectacles in NY: a search for Bald Eagles wintering along the Hudson River. They gather to feed and rest on the frozen river by the dozens or even hundreds. We will travel in comfort, taking Metro North to Croton Point Park, where we will look for eagles near the train station before hiking up to Croton Point Park, which can also host wintering Short-eared Owls, Snowy Owls, Snow Buntings, Horned Larks, and other cold-weather specialties. The walk is about two miles over easy terrain. Dress for cold weather. Limited to 20. Meet at the clock in Grand Central Station at 8:45 for a 9:20 departure. Round-trip Metro North fare ($20.50) not included in trip price. $53 (37)
Click here to register

Sunday, January 31, 2016, 12pm – 2pm
Winter Seals and Waterbirds of NY Harbor
Guide: NYC Audubon guide
Meet at South Street Seaport’s Pier 17 and come aboard NY Water Taxi’s eco-friendly vessel for a winter adventure in New York Harbor! Look for harbor seals on the rocky shores of Governor’s Island and the more remote Hoffman and Swinburne Islands. Learn about the surprisingly diverse winter birds of New York City, including ducks, geese, loons, and sandpipers, many of which migrate south from the Arctic. See the Statue of Liberty and pass under the Verrazano Bridge. Dress warmly! Limited to 90. To register, contact New York Water Taxi at 212-742-1969 or www.nywatertaxi.com. $35 for adults; $25 for children under 12; $105 for family pack for 2 adults and 2 children

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, January 30, 2016 @ 9:15am – 4:00pm
Winter 10-Mile Greenbelt Walk
Cost: Free
Contact: Dominick Durso 917-478-7607 / Don Recklies 718-768-9036
Save the date for this iconic winter encounter with Staten Island’s woodlands, ponds, hills and vistas. Dress warmly and bring lunch and beverage. We’ll meet at the the Greenbelt Nature Center at the corner of Rockland and Brielle Avenues.

Sunday, January 31, 2016 @ 8:00am – 10:00am
North Mount Loretto State Forest
Cost: Free
Contact: Anthony Cianimino
Join birder Anthony Ciancimino for a guided bird walk through North Mount Loretto State Forest. This area is great for birding year round, and the diversity of species can be good even in the dead of winter. Pileated Woodpeckers are possible as well as various wintering species. If the wetlands in the state forest are open we can identify a nice variety of waterfowl as well. Participants will meet in the state forest parking lot along Amboy Road, between Georgia Court and Richmond Valley Road. For more information contact Anthony Ciancimino at sibirdwatcher@yahoo.com.

Sunday, January 31, 2016 @ 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Conference House Park Beach and Woods
Cost: Free
Contact: Clay Wollney 718-869-6327
The past and present blend in Conference House Park where history stretches back thousands of years with the seasonal occupation of the Lenape and hundreds of years with the habitation of the Dutch and English. We will observe evidence of the human occupation of the area, observe local geology and discover what the natural and unnatural debris at the high tide line has to reveal. Meet at the parking lot at the end of Hylan Boulevard on the left.

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, January 31, 2016
Point Lookout Town 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, January 30, 2016
Birding: Eagles at Payson Center (in Inwood Hill Park), Manhattan
9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle.
Free!
...Read more

Friday, January 22, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, January 22, 2016:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jan. 22, 2016
* NYNY1601.22

- Birds Mentioned

PINK-FOOTED GOOSE+
BARNACLE GOOSE+
CALIFORNIA GULL+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Greater White-fronted Goose
ROSS’S GOOSE
Cackling Goose
Canada Goose
Tundra Swan
Eurasian Wigeon
Harlequin Duck
Red-necked Grebe
AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN
Long-billed Dowitcher
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Iceland Gull
Glaucous Gull
SNOWY OWL
Red-headed Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe
House Wren
Orange-crowned Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
LARK SPARROW
Dickcissel

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, January 22, 2016 at 6:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are a possible CALIFORNIA GULL, BARNACLE, ROSS’S and PINK-FOOTED GEESE, AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN, SNOWY OWL, BLACK-HEADED GULL, LARK and CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS and more.

A bird looking likely for an advanced first winter CALIFORNIA GULL was spotted in Brooklyn Tuesday along Gravesend Bay, seen by the middle parking lot between the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and the Kohl’s shopping center, these lots only accessible from the Belt Parkway going East. Birders searching for the Gull Wednesday and Thursday were not able to relocate it, but if refound, more photos including spread wing and leg shots would be desirable to assist in confirmation of the identification.

The good variety of Geese locally does continue, though they do continue to move around. Belmont Lake State Park in the early morning has with some consistency been producing one of the ROSS’S GEESE, 2 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE and a CACKLING GOOSE among the variety of waterfowl roosting there overnight.

A BARNACLE GOOSE has recently been lingering in Centerport, often seen on small Tung Ting Pond, especially in the evening; this pond is off Route 25A just west of the Chalet Motel and the Centerport Mill Pond, where a EURASIAN WIGEON has been hanging out. This BARNACLE was also seen Sunday at the Elementary School on Pulaski Road.

A PINK-FOOTED GOOSE was spotted north of Riverhead last Sunday, located on the south side of Reeves Avenue between Roanoke Avenue and Doctor’s Path.

Another GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE has been visiting Playland Lake in Rye in the mornings recently, and CACKLING GEESE can occasionally be found carefully scanning the Canada flocks, but there are a lot of small CANADA GEESE out there too.

Two TUNDRA SWANS were still on Hook Pond in East Hampton yesterday, and recently EURASIAN WIGEON have been seen Wednesday at the Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center and Tuesday off Floyd Bennett Field, both in Brooklyn, and on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Monday.

A drake HARLEQUIN DUCK was at the Point Lookout jetties Sunday, and a female was found off Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island Monday.

Interesting were 2 AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS reported flying west over the ocean off Jones Beach West End Saturday morning.

During the week SNOWY OWLS were seen at Jones Beach and Shinnecock – if lucky enough to encounter one, please refrain from pushing it around.

The immature BLACK-HEADED GULL was still being seen on Prospect Park Lake Tuesday, and another was in New York Harbor Sunday.

A GLAUCOUS GULL was at Gravesend Bay in Brooklyn Thursday, another has been visiting Center Island Town Park east of Bayville, this one best on a lower tide, and one was still being seen recently around the inlet to Lake Montauk; an ICELAND GULL or two also continue there, and an ICELAND visited Central Park Reservoir Saturday to Monday, with another at Brooklyn Bridge Park Wednesday and Thursday.

Two RED-NECKED GREBES were off Floyd Bennett Field Saturday.

In Flushing Meadows Park the CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was still present Sunday along with the LARK SPARROW, and single LARK SPARROWS were also by the outer turnaround at Jones Beach West End to Thursday and at Croton Point Park in Westchester to Thursday.

A DICKCISSEL continues at Southard’s Pond in Babylon by the parking lot at the south end off Park Avenue.

At least 6 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS were still at Santapogue Creek in Lindenhurst Tuesday.

RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS remain at Willowbrook Park on Staten Island and at Blydenburgh County Park in Smithtown.

A few lingering ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS are not as unusual as the WILSON’S WARBLER still surviving at the Bronx Zoo Wednesday. An EASTERN PHOEBE was still at Jones Beach West End Monday, a HOUSE WREN at Massapequa Preserve today.

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

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

Governor Cuomo Makes Huge Green Investment in New York State

The following article appeared last week on the Nature Conservancy website:

The Nature Conservancy in New York Celebrates Historic Environmental Funding Announced by Governor Cuomo in State of State and Budget Address

$300 Million for Environmental Protection Fund, $250 Million for Water Infrastructure, Capital Funding for State Parks and the Department of Environmental Conservation Will Create Jobs, Benefit Future Generations
Albany, NY | January 13, 2016

Today Governor Andrew Cuomo, in his State of the State and 2016-17 Budget address, further detailed his proposals to make historic investments in New York’s environment. The Governor has included $300 million for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) in the executive budget.

“The Nature Conservancy congratulates and thanks Governor Cuomo for proposing an unprecedented level of funding for the EPF,” said Stuart F. Gruskin, Chief Conservation and External Affairs Officer with The Nature Conservancy in New York. “This investment will benefit our economy, quality of life, and health of our communities today and for future generations by protecting our clean water, working farms and forests, parks, waterfronts and waterways. By conserving our natural resources we reduce risks to communities from climate change, create jobs and sustain New York as a special place to live and work for many years to come,” Gruskin continued.

Noteworthy EPF investments in this year’s proposal include a new focus on climate resiliency, continuing to restore funding land conservation, and increased funding for the Water Quality Improvement Program, State Land Stewardship Program and Invasive Species Program.

“Ensuring that New York is resilient in the face of a changing climate is one of Governor Cuomo’s great achievements, and with this allocation he continues that leadership,” said Gruskin. “The Governor has also provided New Yorkers with amazing recreational opportunities through his commitment to open space conservation, and The Nature Conservancy has been proud to partner with his administration to conserve important lands for future generations.”

In addition to his landmark EPF proposal, the Governor included in his budget a $100 million increase in grant money for waste water and drinking water infrastructure projects, growing the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2015 program to a total of $300 million. This 3-year program was created in the last state budget and originally funded with $200 million. This $100 million increase will allow the program to meet more of the significant demand that exists for such funding. The first $50 million of grants from this program was released in December 2015 and leveraged more than $400 million in total project investments in communities throughout the state.

“The Nature Conservancy supported the creation of the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2015, and we fully support Governor Cuomo’s forward-looking proposal to increase that fund by $100 million,” said Gruskin. “This program provides communities critical grant funding to ensure clean water and effective wastewater disposal – necessary services for public health, safety and sustainable growth.”

In his speech, Governor Cuomo proposed landmark initiatives to mitigate climate change, further asserting New York as a national leader and transforming the state to a clean energy economy. In addition to a new program within the EPF to fund work to mitigate climate change and increase resilience of communities, Governor Cuomo set a goal of transitioning New York off of coal energy by 2020. This goal will help the state reach its ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions 40 percent by 2030.

Governor Cuomo also continued his support for reducing nitrogen pollution on Long Island. The Nature Conservancy has identified nitrogen pollution of Long Island’s groundwater, beaches and bays as a top threat to the environment, public health and the economy of that region. The Governor’s budget proposal continues to allocate resources to address this issue, including the creation of a Island-wide nitrogen reduction plan and funding to transition properties currently reliant on septic systems to community sewage treatment systems.

“The Nature Conservancy congratulates and thanks Governor Cuomo for making historic commitments to New York’s clean water and natural resources in his Executive Budget Proposal, and looks forward to working with the Governor and Legislature to ensure that these proposals are enacted in the final state budget,” said Gruskin.
...Read more

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, January 23, 2016 to Sunday, January 24, 2016:

Brooklyn Bird Club
Sunday, January 24, 2015
Jones Beach, Long Island
Leader: Mike Yuan
Focus: coastal species, waterbirds, sea ducks, raptors, dune passerines
Car Fee: $22.00
Registrar: Mike Yuan mjyuan@gmail.com
Registration Period: January 16th - January 21st

**********

Gateway National Parks
Sunday, January 24, 2016
Hike the Trails of the North Forty Natural Area
Location: Floyd Bennett Field
Time: 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Fee Information: Free
Join American Littoral Society naturalist Mickey Maxwell Cohen to discover the enigmas of the winter woods. Participants will carpool from the Ryan Visitor Center to the North Forty trailhead. A magnifying glass will be helpful.
This is an American Littoral Society/ Gateway NRA partnership program.
Approx. 2 miles.

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, January 23, 2016
Pelham Bay Park

Leader: Rob Jett
Registrar: Louise Fraza — louisefraza@yahoo.com or 212-534-6182
Registration opens: Monday January 11
Ride: $15

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, January 23, 2016
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, January 23, 9am – Sun, January 24, 7pm
Winter Waterfowl Weekend at Montauk
Guide: Gabriel Willow
The gatherings of sea ducks around Montauk Point are the largest winter concentrations in New York State; the Christmas bird count on Montauk Point consistently tallies from 125 to 135 species, one of the best totals in the Northeast. Species that come to feed on the Point’s rich kelp and mussel beds include common and red-throated loon, common eider, all three scoter species, bufflehead, common goldeneye, great cormorant, and red-breasted merganser. Harlequin duck and king eider also occur here regularly during the winter. Accommodations at Daunt's Albatross in Montauk. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $300 ($50 single supplement)
Click here to register

Saturday, January 23, 2016, 8:30am – 10:30am
Eagle Watch and Bird Walk at Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
Guide: Annie Barry
Meet at the western end of Dyckman Street in front of La Marina restaurant and join Annie Barry for a winter hike through the various landscapes and habitats of Inwood Hill Park. Located at the northern tip of Manhattan where the Harlem River meets the Hudson, Inwood Hill Park offers shoreline vistas, a relict forest and the last natural saltmarsh in Manhattan. We will begin with an eagle watch on the Hudson shore, then move into the forest to search for wintering and year-round birds, and finally to the saltmarsh to look for wintering ducks. Some hilly walking required. $36 (25)
Click here to register

Sunday, January 24, 2016, 12pm – 2pm
Winter Seals and Waterbirds of NY Harbor
Guide: NYC Audubon guide
Meet at South Street Seaport’s Pier 17 and come aboard NY Water Taxi’s eco-friendly vessel for a winter adventure in New York Harbor! Look for harbor seals on the rocky shores of Governor’s Island and the more remote Hoffman and Swinburne Islands. Learn about the surprisingly diverse winter birds of New York City, including ducks, geese, loons, and sandpipers, many of which migrate south from the Arctic. See the Statue of Liberty and pass under the Verrazano Bridge. Dress warmly! Limited to 90. To register, contact New York Water Taxi at 212-742-1969 or www.nywatertaxi.com. $35 for adults; $25 for children under 12; $105 for family pack for 2 adults and 2 children

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, January 24, 2016
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, January 23, 2016
Birding: Super Winter Bird Walk at Grand Army Plaza Arch (in Grand Army Plaza), Brooklyn
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Our 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!

Sunday, January 24, 2016
Birding: Winter Waterfowl at Forest Avenue and Silver Lake Park Road (in Silver Lake Park), Staten Island
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Our 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!
...Read more

Saturday, January 16, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, January 15, 2016:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jan. 15, 2016
* NYNY1601.15

- Birds Mentioned

ROSS’S GOOSE+
PINK-FOOTED GOOSE+
BARNACLE GOOSE+
WESTERN GREBE+
COMMON MURRE+
THICK-BILLED MURRE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Greater White-fronted Goose
Cackling Goose
Canada Goose
Tundra Swan
Eurasian Wigeon
KING EIDER
Harlequin Duck
BARROW’S GOLDENEYE
RED-NECKED GREBE
NORTHERN FULMAR
Manx Shearwater
Northern Gannet
Razorbill
BLACK GUILLEMOT
Black-legged Kittiwake
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Iceland Gull
Glaucous Gull
SNOWY OWL
Red-headed Woodpecker
American Pipit
Yellow Warbler
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
LARK SPARROW
Dark-eyed Junco
DICKCISSEL

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, January 15,
2016 at 6:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are pelagic trip results, including NORTHERN FULMAR and COMMON MURRE, plus WESTERN GREBE, BLACK GUILLEMOT, THICK-BILLED MURRE, ROSS’S, BARNACLE and PINK-FOOTED GEESE, KING EIDER and BARROW’S GOLDENEYE, BLACK-HEADED GULL, SNOWY OWL, DICKCISSEL and LARK and CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS.

An inshore pelagic trip last Saturday aboard the Brooklyn VI from Sheepshead Bay, sponsored by See Life Paulagics, went out about 20 miles and encountered 13 NORTHERN FULMARS, a COMMON MURRE and 4 RAZORBILLS, 50 NORTHERN GANNETS, and 15 BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES. See Life Paulagics is also running an offshore pelagic January 23 on the same boat. For information call them at 215-234-6805.

The eastern Nassau – western Suffolk County area has recently been hosting a good variety of geese, but they have been moving about somewhat. A PINK-FOOTED GOOSE was roosting on Miller’s Pond in Smithtown and feeding on adjacent ballfields last weekend, but with the pond getting rather frozen it has apparently relocated elsewhere.

Two separate ROSS’S GEESE have also been present – one using Avon Lake and the adjoining creek and yards in Amityville last weekend was present at the same time that one was found Saturday in Massapequa at the Berner Middle School. The second bird was later seen on Unqua Lake and Elda Lake and by Wednesday was visiting the Sweet Hollow Middle School in Melville. Thursday found one in the early morning on Belmont Lake State Park and later off Pinelawn Road south of Route 495.

A BARNACLE GOOSE was similarly nomadic, first being noted on the North Babylon High School fields Sunday and then Monday seen at Elda Lake as viewed from Phelps Lane Park south of the high school. Today one was the Tung Ting Pond in Centerport before flying off.

At a couple of the above mentioned sites 1 or 2 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were also present, including 2 Thursday and today at Belmont Lake State Park, two off Pinelawn Road Thursday, and 1 at Babylon High School Sunday.

Further east a BARNACLE GOOSE was present Saturday with CANADAS along the south side of Oregon Road east of Alvah’s Lane in Cutchogue, and close to 200 AMERICAN PIPITS were in the same field.

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE included one on Lake Ronkonkoma Saturday and one or more continuing in East Hampton either along Further Lane or at Hook Pond, the latter site still also hosting 2 TUNDRA SWANS.

Some CACKLING GEESE have also been noted, including the 2 remaining at Flushing Meadow Park well into this week.

Featured Ducks included the drake KING EIDER still along the south side of Montauk Point, where 1 or 2 HARLEQUIN DUCKS have also been, and the female BARROW’S GOLDENEYE seen again Saturday off northeastern Staten Island.

A EURASIAN WIGEON was still on the east pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Tuesday, another at the Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center Thursday.

Alcids at Montauk last Saturday, besides a decent number of RAZORBILLS, included a fly-by BLACK GUILLEMOT at the Point and a fly-by THICK-BILLED MURRE at Culloden Point along the north shore west of the point. Some RED-NECKED GREBES are also in that area.

The WESTERN GREBE off Piermont Pier was enjoyed by many up to last Saturday but not thereafter.

A recent SNOWY OWL influx has included sightings in Brooklyn at Floyd Bennett Field today and Plumb Beach yesterday, Shinnecock Wednesday and Napeague Tuesday. Please give these Owls plenty of room while they roost during the day - do not push them around.

A sea watch off Robert Moses State Park Sunday reported a MANX and an unidentified large SHEARWATER plus 4 RAZORBILLS and 5 BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES.

The BLACK-HEADED GULL was still visiting Prospect Park Lake to Wednesday, and both ICELAND and GLAUCOUS GULLS have been present at the mouth of Montauk Harbor, with other ICELANDS especially elsewhere.

The LARK and CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS remain with the DARK-EYED JUNCO flock at Flushing Meadow Park, and the DICKCISSEL continues at the south end of Southards Pond in Babylon by the Park Avenue parking lot.

An immature RED-HEADED WOODPECKER remains at the Blydenburgh County Park parking lot off New Mill Road in Smithtown.

A YELLOW WARBLER continues at Floyd Bennett Field, and a LARK SPARROW continues at Croton Point Park, with another at Jones Beach West End Saturday.

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

Common Eider photo by Sean Sime

Common Eiders are the largest waterfowl in the Northern Hemisphere. This circumpolar species is typically found along northern seacoasts and nest primarily in the coastal high arctic regions of Canada and Siberia. A diving duck it feeds mainly on aquatic invertebrates, such as crustaceans, mollusks and sea urchins found in shallow waters around submerged ledges and reefs off rocky coastlines. Eider down is famous for its extreme insulating qualities and is used in large amounts in their nest lining. In some places, such as Iceland, the down is harvested commercially at coastal "eider farms," where the wild birds are encouraged to nest in sheltered nooks built for them.

The IUCN Red List recently uplisted their conservation status as "Near Threatened". Historically, by the end of the 19th century market hunting reduced southern population in the Atlantic to near extinction. That population currently is healthy. Arctic populations are declining. Some declines are thought to be the result of overharvesting of aquatic resources, pollution, disturbance and hunting. They are also vulnerable to oil spills.

Their scientific name Somateria mollissima means - Somateria Gr. som# a, somatos body; erion wool. mollissima / mollissimus L. mollissimus very soft (super. from mollis soft).

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

The following is from the "Science Daily" website:

Biologists Examine Big Alaska Seabird Die-Off
January 12, 2016
AP / Powered by NewsLook.com

An estimated 8,000 common murres, a type of seabird, have been found dead on the shores of Alaska's Prince William Sound this winter. Biologists don't know why the birds are dying, but unusually warm ocean waters could be to blame. (Jan. 12) Video provided by AP

Monday, January 11, 2016

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, January 16, 2016 to Sunday, January 17, 2016:

Brooklyn Bird Club
Sunday, January 17, 2016
Prospect Park Winter Walk
Leader: Ed Crowne
Focus: winter songbird species, ducks, raptors
No registration necessary. Meet at 8:30 am at park entrance Bartel Pritchard Square http://binged.it/1Uif5vl. Nearest train is "F" line to Prospect Park stop

**********

Gateway National Parks
Sunday, January 17, 2016
How Birds Survive Winter
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge | Map
Time: 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Fee Information: Free
Contact Phone Number: 718-987-6790
Cold weather got you down? Imagine you are a bird overwintering outdoors in Jamaica Bay! Food is scarce, the winds are harsh and there is definitely no hot cocoa to warm you up. Come to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge for a presentation and a brief walk as we explore winter survival in the animal kingdom!

**********

Great South Bay Audubon Society
Saturday January 16, 2016, 8:00am
Connetquot River SPP, Birding and Breakfast
Leaders: Bob and Edith Wilson, Ken Thompson Helga Merryman
Continental breakfast hosted by Friends of Connetquot.
Reservations required - call Connetquot River State Park Preserve at 581-1072 to register.
Registration fee $4. plus $8 parking fee per car - unless you have yearly Empire pass.

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, January 16, 2016
Croton Point Park
Leader: Paul Keim
Registrar: Anne Lazarus — amlazarus47@gmail.com or 212-673-9059
Registration opens: Monday January 4
Public transportation

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, January 16, 2016
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, January 16, 2016, 10:30am – 4:00pm
Snow Birds of Floyd Bennett Field and Fort Tilden, Queens
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Winter brings many rare birds to NYC that can’t be found here at any other time! Perhaps most exciting are the “snow birds”, such as snow buntings and snowy owls, of the Arctic tundra that can occasionally be found in tundra-like habitats further south, . We will travel to the abandoned runways of Floyd Bennett Field (America's first municipal airport) in search of these and other winter visitors (such as horned lark, American tree sparrow, and rough-legged hawk). We will then head to Fort Tilden and Breezy Point to look for wintering ducks, grebes, loons, and other seabirds along the beaches. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $86 (60)
Click here to register

Sunday, January 17, 2016, 12pm – 2pm
Winter Seals and Waterbirds of NY Harbor
Guide: NYC Audubon guide
Meet at South Street Seaport’s Pier 17 and come aboard NY Water Taxi’s eco-friendly vessel for a winter adventure in New York Harbor! Look for harbor seals on the rocky shores of Governor’s Island and the more remote Hoffman and Swinburne Islands. Learn about the surprisingly diverse winter birds of New York City, including ducks, geese, loons, and sandpipers, many of which migrate south from the Arctic. See the Statue of Liberty and pass under the Verrazano Bridge. Dress warmly! Limited to 90. To register, contact New York Water Taxi at 212-742-1969 or www.nywatertaxi.com. $35 for adults; $25 for children under 12; $105 for family pack for 2 adults and 2 children

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
January 16, 2016, 10:00am – 2:00pm
Forest Restoration Workshop in the Egbertville Ravine
Cost: Free
Contact: Don Recklies 718-768-9036 / Chuck Perry 718-667-1393

**********

Queens County Bird Club
Sunday, January 17, 2016, 7:30am – 6:00pm
Montauk Point
Leader: Ian Resnick 917-626-9562
CONTACT LEADER to confirm meeting time/location

**********

Young Birders Club
Sunday, January 17, 2016
Annual Kickoff Meeting - Alley Pond Environmental Center
Sponsored by Queens County Bird Club
~ OPEN TO NYSYBC MEMBERS ONLY ~

This is our annual club kickoff mini-conference. We will start the day with a bird walk. After that, we'll head inside and warm up with hot drinks and snacks. Thus fortified, we will begin our annual kickoff meeting!

As the club continues to grow, these meetings are a great way for us all to connect and plan our activities for the upcoming year. The kickoff meeting will be run by club President Joe Hernandez. Your ideas will be heard and really do matter. Think about what you would like to do and see this year. We can't promise that we can do them all, but many of our past trips have been based on club member ideas.

The meeting will feature group discussions as well as presentations. We'll have some fun with a "Books and Stuff" swap along with a bird ID photo quiz. We'll also talk about the highlights of 2015, some general birding topics, 2016 field trip schedule, NYSYBC Big Day and World Series of Birding, NYSYBC scholarship program, NYSOA annual meeting, and election of officers as well as volunteer leadership positions.

Youth Members are encouraged to attend. It's YOUR club, and this is your chance to have a say in how it is run and what activities it will offer.
A morning snack and beverages will be provided, along with lunch (or bring your own food if you prefer).

The meeting is open to 2016 NYSYBC Youth Members in good standing, their parents, and other specifically invited adults only.

Permission form due by 1/8/16
...Read more

Saturday, January 09, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, January 8, 2016:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jan. 8, 2016
* NYNY1601.08

- Birds mentioned

PINK-FOOTED GOOSE+
WESTERN GREBE+
AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN+
ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER+
PAINTED BUNTING+

(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Greater White-fronted Goose
ROSS'S GOOSE
Cackling Goose
TUNDRA SWAN
EURASIAN WIGEON
Blue-winged Teal
Green-winged Teal
TUFTED DUCK
KING EIDER
HARLEQUIN DUCK
BARROW'S GOLDENEYE
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Bald Eagle
Red-shouldered Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk
Long-billed Dowitcher
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Barn Owl
SNOWY OWL
Short-eared Owl
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Red-headed Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Marsh Wren
Orange-crowned Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
LARK SPARROW
Savannah Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
DICKCISSEL
Baltimore Oriole
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, January 8th 2016 at 5pm. The highlights of today's tape are WESTERN GREBE, PAINTED BUNTING, AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN, ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER, PINK-FOOTED GOOSE, ROSS'S GOOSE, TUNDRA SWAN, TUFTED DUCK, BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, KING EIDER, HARLEQUIN DUCK, EURASIAN WIGEON, BLACK-HEADED GULL, SNOWY OWL, DICKCISSEL, LARK SPARROW and CLAY-COLORED SPARROW.

On the final Christmas Count weekend the Southern Nassau Count last Saturday recorded 130 species highlights including 2 Eurasian form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL, 2 BLUE-WINGED TEALS, 6 HARLEQUIN DUCKS, 3 YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS, 2 OSPREY, a TURKEY VULTURE, 2 BALD EAGLES, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, 2 BARN, 1 SHORT-EARED and 1 NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL, EASTERN PHOEBE and 43 TREE SWALLOWS, MARSH WREN, 2 COMMON RAVENS, 4 ORANGE-CROWNED and 3 PINE WARBLERS, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT at Cow Meadow Preserve, LARK SPARROW at the Fireman's Park at Point Lookout, 4 "Ipswich" SAVANNAH SPARROWS, BALTIMORE ORIOLE and PINE SISKIN.

The Putnam Count Saturday netted 79 species including 19 BALD EAGLES, 13 RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS and 2 NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS.

The Orient Count Saturday, details unknown, did have at least 3 HARLEQUIN DUCKS and a count period SNOWY OWL at Orient Beach State Park starting Monday.

For rarity updates the exquisite male PAINTED BUNTING at Prospect Park has not been seen since Sunday the 3rd and the Montauk ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER was last reported January 1st though one did appear in a Brooklyn backyard for a couple of hours last Saturday perhaps the Montauk bird wisely heading south. And speaking of that the two AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS reappearing Wednesday on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge were likely the two seen Thursday soaring over Fort Tilden and then heading west. The BLACK-HEADED GULL was still on Prospect Park Lake Thursday.

A nice find yesterday was a WESTERN GREBE spotted off the north side of Piermont Pier in Piermont, Rockland County. This elegant bird present off the south side today. Piermont is reached from Route 9W and work your way to the pier.

A PINK-FOOTED GOOSE has been in Smithtown at least since Wednesday visiting Miller's Pond and the surrounding area including the ballfields at Robert A. Brady Park on the west side of Maple Avenue. The goose roosts on Miller's Pond south of Route 25A and can leave rather early. The same goes for a ROSS'S GOOSE roosting on Avon Lake in Amityville north of Merrick Road Route 27A which moves off the lake to nearby feeding areas. GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE have recently included 2 at Belmont Lake State Park, 2 on Hook Pond in East Hampton, 1 off Lakeville Road in Lake Success Wednesday and one on Playland Lake in Rye this morning. Several CACKLING GEESE include the 2 still at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, 2 TUNDRA SWANS recently on Hook Pond were seen flying out on Thursday. A young male TUFTED DUCK was still on Lake Capri off Route 27A in West Islip Wednesday this pond 0.7 of a mile west of the Robert Moses Causeway, a female BARROW'S GOLDENEYE was spotted today on Staten Island off of Fisherman's Pier at the end of Seaview Avenue near Dongan Hills. A drake KING EIDER continues at Montauk Point usually in the scoter gathering between the lighthouse and the Camp Hero overlook. HARLEQUIN DUCKS include 4 at the Point Lookout jetties Wednesday and 2 at Montauk Point Thursday. EURASIAN WIGEON include one or two at the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, 1 on Swan Lake in Patchogue to Wednesday, 1 on Mill Pond in Centerport on Sunday, 1 on Setauket Harbor Tuesday and 1 at Blydenburgh County Park to Tuesday.

A dark ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was north of the toll booths on the Wantagh Parkway Tuesday. The LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS may have been frozen out of Santapogue Creek as of Wednesday. The immature RED-HEADED WOODPECKER continues at Blydenburgh County Park. A DICKCISSEL has been at the south end of Southards Pond Park in Babylon near the playground by the Park Avenue parking lot. Both the LARK and CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS remain at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park moving with 3 PINE WARBLERS and a DARK-EYED JUNCO flock in the vicinity of the meditation garden just north of Route
495. Another LARK SPARROW continues at Croton Point Park in Westchester.

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, January 08, 2016

Friday's Foto

The Common Raven, a member of the corvid family, is arguably one of the most intelligent birds in the North Hemisphere. Once common in the eastern US they disappeared by the 20th century, primarily due to forest clearing. In recent years they have begun returning to New York City and Long Island, with pairs nesting in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Often heard before they are seen, they have a distinctive, deep croaking call. Learn more about raven intelligence on this PBS website.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Early Brooklyn Hawk "Problem"

While perusing the "Brooklyn Daily Eagle" archives on the Brooklyn Public Library website I came across this little gem:

**********

Hawks Driving Birds Away

Correspondent Offers a Suggestion
(?) Anent Prospect Park

To the Editor of the Brooklyn Eagle:

While strolling through Prospect Park one morning last week I was astonished at the large number of sparrow hawks, which infested the park. Although I looked and listened carefully, I neither saw nor heard a single wren, catbird, goldfinch or woodpecker. All of these birds could be see in the park in large numbers a few years ago. The only birds to be seen now are a few (?) birds and robins and a number of hawks. In Central Park all sorts of birds can be seen. Something should be done by the Parks Department to thin out the hawks in Prospect Park, otherwise the small birds will be terminated and later in the season the insects and caterpillars will destroy and disfigure the trees and shrubbery. In Central Park the employes prowl around early in the morning with a gun and many of the hawks are shot and others go to safer quarters. Perhaps, if some of our game clubs were permitted to hunt the hawks they would be wiped out.

A Lover of Birds
Brooklyn, April 30, 1900

**********

I love the idea that park employees "prowled" the parks with firearms. Also, who would ever want to hurt such a beautiful animal?

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

A Major Gas Leak That Few People Are Talking About

Gizmodo reports on a major methane gas leak that will have global impact:

LA's Gas Leak Is a Global Disaster
Maddie Stone
Wednesday 7:50pm

One of the worst environmental disasters of the decade is currently underway in a quiet community 25 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Putrid, methane-rich natural gas has been spewing into the air at an estimated rate of nearly 1,300 metric tons per day for over two months. Experts are calling it the climate version of the BP oil spill, and the leak isn’t going to be contained anytime soon.

Natural gas is often touted as a cleaner energy source than oil or coal, because of the lower greenhouse gas emissions associated with burning it. But as this disaster highlights, there are insidious risk to natural gas production. Coupled with weak regulation, they can make this energy source as dirty as the fossil fuels it’s meant to replace.

“The science is crystal clear: if you allow the methane to leak, you can wipe out its climate benefits,” Tim O’Connor, director of the Environmental Defense Fund’s Oil and Gas Program in California told Gizmodo.

In fact, everything about the leak is eerily reminiscent of the oil spills that have blackened oceans and beaches for over a century. These parallels underscore a hard truth: we need to transition off carbon-based fuels entirely to fix our planet.

Like 7 Million Cars



On October 23rd, a natural gas leak erupted at a storage well beneath the community of Porter Ranch. The well stores gas carried by pipelines from extraction operations hundreds of miles away in Texas, the Midwest, and the Rocky Mountains.

The leak has taken a serious toll on Porter Ranch residents, who for weeks have reported headaches, nausea, dizziness, and other symptoms. Methane is odorless and non-toxic, but natural gas producers inject it with trace quantities of sulfurous chemicals called mercaptans so that leaks can be detected by scent. According to Cyrus Rangan, director of the Toxics Epidemiology Program at LA County’s Department of Public Health, the stench from the leak is so foul that residents are having a physiologic response to it.

“People are having very real responses, based on their own sensitivity,” Rangan told Gizmodo. “In terms of acute chemical exposures, this is a really, really big deal.” Rangan estimates that somewhere between four and five thousand families have filed for help, with 2,200 families temporarily relocated so far.



As of this week, the leak has sent over 73,000 metric tons of methane gas skyward, according to estimates published by the Environmental Defense Fund, which is providing real-time updates on the situation. And that’s a big problem for our climate. Although short-lived in the atmosphere, methane is a potent greenhouse gas, with up to 80 times the global warming potential of CO2 in the first twenty years of its lifespan. 73,000 metric tons of methane is the global warming equivalent of over six million metric tons of CO2. Put another way, the daily emissions from Porter Ranch are essentially equivalent to sticking seven million additional cars on the road.

Plugging the Hole and Fixing the Problem

The first order of business for California is getting this well plugged. After several failed attempts to stop the flow of gas using conventional methods, SoCalGas began drilling a secondary “relief well” on December 4th. This well will intersect the leaky one and plug it. “After we intercept the well at more than 8,500 feet of measured depth, we will pump heavy fluids and drilling mud into the bottom of the leaking well to stop the flow of gas up from its source, the reservoir,” a statement provided to Gizmodo by SoCalGas, which manages the well, reads. “Once the flow of gas has been stopped, we will pump cement into the well to permanently seal the leak.”

Here’s what the entire operation will look like:


Image via SoCalGas

At last check-in, the drilling operation had reached a depth of 3,850 feet, and—in an important milestone—workers have now identified the seven-inch wide leaky gas pipe using magnetic ranging technology.

Still, SoCalGas warns that plugging the leak and stopping the flow of methane could take until the end of March.

Estimates from California’s Air and Resources Board show that total statewide methane emissions rose 25% this fall, dramatically diminishing any climate benefit natural gas industry offers. “SoCalGas recognizes the impact this incident is having on the environment,” SoCalGas spokesperson Anne Silva told Gizmodo in an email. “While working to stop the gas leak and alleviate its impact on the community, we also have been evaluating options to mitigate the environmental impact.”

But whatever mitigation measures SoCalGas takes, the leak highlights the shortcomings of natural gas—and how it’s regulated.

Nobody’s sure exactly how the Porter Ranch leak started, but a report by the EDF paints a disturbing picture of the state of natural gas pipes around Los Angeles. Nearly 40 percent of the pipes in SoCalGas’ jurisdiction are over 50 years old, and they’re leaking everywhere. The EDF reports an average of one methane leak every four to five miles across Pasadena, Inglewood, and Chino, three geographically disparate neighborhoods. These leaks vary from less than 1,000 to over 60,000 liters of natural gas per day. That means tens of thousands more cars worth of carbon emissions thanks to crappy infrastructure.

But this isn’t just an LA problem. Another report by the EDF estimated over 65 billion cubic feet, or approximately 1.3 million metric tones of natural gas leakage on federal and tribal lands in 2013 alone. “Globally, we know that more methane is leaked into the air from oil and gas infrastructure than the entire gas production of Norway—which is one of the world’s leading gas producers,” O’Connor said. “Methane is a significant problem, and in the US, it can erode the climate benefit of the gas industry.”

Nationwide, O’Connor estimates there are approximately 400 underground methane storage areas subject to little to no federal regulation—other Porter Ranch disasters waiting to happen. “These facilities are exempt from federal requirements for underground injections, and they fly under the radar until catastrophes strike,” he said.

And that’s not to mention leaks during drilling, transportation through pipelines, and distribution. If we’re going to see a net climate benefit from natural gas production over fossil fuels, experts say no more than 3 percent of gas can leak during the entire production process. In some parts of the country, we’re well beyond that figure. In other areas, the amount of leakage simply isn’t known.

For the first time this year, the EPA has introduced national standards that would directly regulate methane emissions from oil and gas facilities built in the future. But as the EDF points out, these rules say nothing about facilities already in operation. If the natural gas industry wants to sell an environmentally-friendly alternative to oil, all of its infrastructure needs to be air-tight.

“We need to think of natural gas as a bridge fuel, “ O’Connor said. “It’s an energy source that can have a benefit, but that benefit is only realized if you keep it in the pipes.”
...Read more

Monday, January 04, 2016

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, January 9, 2016 to Sunday, January 10, 2016:

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, January 9, 2016
Pelham Bay Park, Bronx
Leader: Jack Rothman
Focus: Woods birding, winter species, raptors, coastal birding for ducks and other waterfowl
Car Fee: $20.00
Registrar: Janet Schumacher janets33@optonline.net or 718-594-7480
Registration Period: January 2nd - January 7th

**********

Eastern Long Island Audubon Society
​Saturday, January 9, 2016 at 8:00am
Lakes Around Patchogue
Trip Leader: John McNeil
Join John for a half-day excursion to what he calls “God’s little oases for wintering waterfowl.” Hopefully there will be a surprise or two to peak your interest! Meet at Swan Lake Preserve on Montauk Highway in East Patchogue. Contact John at 631.281.2623 for details. On the day of the trip, John’s cell is 631.219.8947

**********

Gateway National Parks
Sunday, January 10, 2016
How birds Survive Winter
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge | Map
Time: 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Fee Information: Free
Contact Phone Number: 718-987-6790
Cold weather got you down? Imagine you are a bird overwintering outdoors in Jamaica Bay! Food is scarce, the winds are harsh and there is definitely no hot cocoa to warm you up. Come to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge for a presentation and a brief walk as we explore winter survival in the animal kingdom!

**********

Great South Bay Audubon Society
Saturday January 9, 2016, 9:00am
Montauk
Leaders: Bob Grover (516-318-8536), Ken Thompson (631-612-8028)
Meet at Lighthouse parking lot. Latecomers can still join in the vicinity of the restaurant overlook. Directions Route 27 to 27A to end.

**********

Hudson River Audubon Society
Saturday, January 9, 2016
Short-eared Owls of the Shawangunk Grasslands NWR
Meet us at Lenoir 2:30 PM for car pooling and directions or meet us at the refuge at 4:00 PM. Up to a dozen Short-eared Owls winter at this former airport. As dusk settles on the refuge the owls come out at start to roam the refuge for prey. Sunset is at 4:30 PM. Before dusk we’ll look for other wintering birds such as Northern Harrier (Marsh Hawk) and maybe even a Rough-legged Hawk. Dress warm. We will be returning after dark.
http://www.hras.org/wtobird/shawangunk.html

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday January 9, 2016
Jones Beach and Point Lookout
Leader: Richard ZainEldeen
Registrar: Ellen Hoffman — ellenh33@icloud.com or 917-903-3486
Registration opens: Monday December 28
Ride: $25

**********

Littoral Society
Friday, January 08, 2016
Montauk Winter Weekend
Join us for a weekend of seals, seabirds and hikes on the shorelines and woods of Montauk, Long Island, NY. Visit the Walking Dunes, historic Montauk lighthouse and bluffs, Camp Hero and Napeague forest. Hikes and nature walks will by led by American Littoral Society Northeast Chapter Director Don Riepe.
Price includes two nights at the luxurious Manor House, five meals, five guided hikes, two evening programs, and a star watch.
For more information or to make reservations call 718-474-0896 or email donriepe@gmail.com.
Contact : call 718-474-0896 or email donriepe@gmail.com

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, January 9, 2016
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
Friday, January 8, 12am – Mon, January 11, 12am
Montauk Winter Weekend
Guides: Mike Bottini, Mickey Cohen, Don Riepe with American Littoral Society
Spend a quiet weekend at Montauk during peak winter birding time. Visit the seal haul-out and see many species of of seabirds including loons, scoters, and goldeneye. Accommodations at the luxurious Manor House. For reservations, contact Don Riepe at 718-474-0896 or donriepe@gmail.com. $395

Saturday, January 9, 2016, 9am – 6pm
Winter Birding on the South Shore of Long Island: Jones Beach and Shinnecock Inlet
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Winter in NY brings the excitement of possibility: Will snowy owls appear in the dunes? Will harlequin ducks move westward from Cape Cod & Montauk, and appear in closer waters? Will irruptive northern finches and bohemian waxwings move south from Canada? All of these species and more are possible on Long Island in the winter, along with more expected species such as loons, grebes, scaup, eider, northern harriers, purple sandpiper, and more. Winter affords a unique and diverse set of species, so bundle up and brave the cold for some of the best birding our area has to offer! We will explore the dunes, pines, and coastal waterways of Jones Beach, Dune Road, and Shinnecock Inlet. Van transportation included.
Limited to 12. $93 (65)
Click here to register

Sunday, January 10, 2016, 9:30am – 11:30am
Winter Birding Along the Hudson: Wave Hill
Guide: Gabriel Willow with Wave Hill
Meet at the Perkins Visitor Center. The Hudson River valley hosts an impressive diversity of bird species, even during the winter months. Come explore the beautiful gardens and woodlands of Wave Hill and observe the hardy birds that spend the winter in this urban oasis. Advanced registration is recommended, either online, at the Perkins Visitor Center, or by calling 718-549-3200 x251. Walks run rain or shine; in case of severe weather call the number above for updates. Ages 10 and up welcome with an adult. NYC Audubon members enjoy two-for-one admission

Sunday, January 10, 2016, 10am – 5pm
Birding Gems of Staten Island: Winter at Freshkills Park
Guides: Cliff Hagen and Tod Winston
With NYC Department of Parks and Recreation
Meet at the Manhatttan terminal of the Staten Island Ferry. Winter at Freshkills Park is an exciting time for birding! The grass-covered slopes offer birds plenty of seed and shelter to manage the difficult cold. A number of sparrows including song, savannah, white-throated and white-crowned enjoy Freshkills throughout the winter, and on the flatter, wind-swept areas of the mounds, flocks of horned lark and snow bunting huddle close and stay low as they feed among barrens areas. Down below the mounds are a crisscross of tidal creeks filled with a variety of waterfowl. Grebes, geese and coots swim alongside over a dozen species of ducks. Of particular interest are the teal, mergansers and pintails which frequent Freshkills each winter. Transport by passenger van on S.I. included. Limited to 12. $68 (47)
Click here to register

Sunday, January 10, 2016, 12pm – 2pm
Winter Seals and Waterbirds of NY Harbor
Guide: NYC Audubon guide
Meet at South Street Seaport’s Pier 17 and come aboard NY Water Taxi’s eco-friendly vessel for a winter adventure in New York Harbor! Look for harbor seals on the rocky shores of Governor’s Island and the more remote Hoffman and Swinburne Islands. Learn about the surprisingly diverse winter birds of New York City, including ducks, geese, loons, and sandpipers, many of which migrate south from the Arctic. See the Statue of Liberty and pass under the Verrazano Bridge. Dress warmly! Limited to 90. To register, contact New York Water Taxi at 212-742-1969 or www.nywatertaxi.com. $35 for adults; $25 for children under 12; $105 for family pack for 2 adults and 2 children

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Saturday, January 9, 2016, 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Buck’s Hollow and/or Heyerdahl Hill
Cost: Free
Contact: John Paul Learn 718-619-5051
Located in the Greenbelt, Heyerdahl Hill is nestled in an impressive stretch of woodland, holding ruins of a stone home built in the 1800s and plants and trees rarely seen in urban woodlands. We will meet at the stone wall on Meisner Ave, located by the intersection of Rockland Avenue and Meisner Avenue (http://goo.gl/maps/YP1HI).

Sunday, January 10, 2016, 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Acme Pond
Cost: Free
Contact: John Paul Learn 718-619-5051
Acme Pond is a diverse ecosystem, located on the north side of Hylan Boulevard across from Wolfe’s Pond Park. This walk takes us through hiking trails in some of the most idyllic woodlands in all of NYC. The trail offers views of the freshwater pond and assortment of small swampy areas. Meet at the corner of Seguine Avenue and Herbert Street. Street parking is available on Herbert Street and in parking lots at the end of Herbert Street (http://goo.gl/maps/59dvC).

**********

Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, January 9, 2016, 7:30am – 12:00pm
Point Lookout
Leader: Arie Gilbert 917-693-7178
CONTACT LEADER to confirm meeting time/location

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, January 10, 2016
Pelham Bay Park

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, January 9, 2016
Birding: Eagles at Payson Center (in Inwood Hill Park), Manhattan
9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. Our Rangers will guide you to the best eagle-viewing spots at Inwood Hill Park. All skill levels welcome.
Free!

Sunday, January 10, 2016
Winter Birding at Perkins Visitors Center (in Wave Hill), Bronx
9:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
The Hudson River valley hosts an impressive diversity of bird species, even during the winter months. Explore Wave Hill’s tranquil gardens and woodlands with naturalist Gabriel…
...Read more

Saturday, January 02, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, January 1, 2016:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jan. 1, 2016
* NYNY1601.01

- Birds mentioned
SWAINSON'S HAWK+
COMMON MURRE+
ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER+
PAINTED BUNTING+

(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Snow Goose
Brant (subspecies "Black Brant")
TUNDRA SWAN
EURASIAN WIGEON
Green-winged Teal (Eurasian form "Common Teal")
TUFTED DUCK
KING EIDER
HARLEQUIN DUCK
Red-necked Grebe
Northern Gannet
Great Egret
Black Vulture
Clapper Rail
Virginia Rail
Long-billed Dowitcher
DOVEKIE
Razorbill
BLACK GUILLEMOT
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Laughing Gull
Iceland Gull
GLAUCOUS GULL
Barn Owl
SNOWY OWL
Barred Owl
Northern Saw-whet Owl
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
Common Raven
Marsh Wren
Black-and-white Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
LARK SPARROW
Dickcissel
Rusty Blackbird
Baltimore Oriole
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, January 1st 2016 at 8pm. The highlights of today's tape are PAINTED BUNTING, SWAINSON'S HAWK, ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER, BLACK GUILLEMOT, COMMON MURRE, DOVEKIE, TUFTED DUCK, KING EIDER, HARLEQUIN DUCK, BLACK-HEADED GULL, GLAUCOUS GULL, SNOWY OWL, TUNDRA SWAN, EURASIAN WIGEON, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, LARK SPARROW and CLAY-COLORED SPARROW.

The two Christmas Counts held last Sunday started out with heavy fog but at least it wasn't snow.

The Bronx-Westchester recorded 115 species including an interesting late movement of SNOW GEESE with several flocks producing a total of 377 plus 4 NORTHERN GANNETS, a GREAT EGRET, 2 BLACK VULTURES, 3 VIRGINIA RAILS, 15 LAUGHING GULLS, single SNOWY, BARRED and NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS, 8 COMMON RAVENS, MARSH WREN, a BLACK-AND-WHITE and 3 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS, 32 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS and a PINE SISKIN. Count period birds included RED-NECKED GREBE and another BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER the latter new for the count.

The Smithtown Count highlights included 45 SNOWY GEESE, EURASIAN WIGEON and Eurasian form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL on the Setauket Mill Pond, one CLAPPER and 2 VIRGINIA RAILS, 4 RAZORBILLS, 1 GLAUCOUS and 2 ICELAND GULLS, 2 BARN OWLS, a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER at Blydenburgh County Park near the north entrance off New Mill Road, one each of COMMON RAVEN, MARSH WREN, BALTIMORE ORIOLE, PURPLE FINCH and 6 PINE SISKINS,

Otherwise this week's rarities mostly featured lingering birds but the incoming cold weather might change that. There are also a few surprises today. The male PAINTED BUNTING at Prospect Park in Brooklyn continues around the green roof of the LeFrak Center and Skating Rink in the southeastern corner of the park and just to the west of there the immature BLACK-HEADED GULL can usually be found around the western portion of Prospect Lake. An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER has also continued in the park in the Wellhouse area.

On Staten Island the immature SWAINSON'S HAWK remains at Freshkills Park which unfortunately has very restricted access so birders generally must cope with scanning the landfill from the outside hoping the SWAINSON'S flies by. It has been seen a few times from near the Dick's Sporting Goods store off Richmond Avenue near Richmond Hill Road as this area is near the East Mound where the hawk appears to frequent.

The young male TUFTED DUCK was still on Lake Capri in West Islip today this lake on the north side of Route 27A 0.7 miles west of the Robert Moses Causeway. A little west of there at least 9 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS continue along Santapogue Creek off Venetian Boulevard in Lindenhurst and out in the Montauk area the ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER found on the count on the 19th was still foraging at Fort Hill Cemetery today located just west of the Montauk Manor. The cemetery can be reached from Essex Street. Look along the brush line especially on the north and east sides of the cemetery and at Montauk Point besides good numbers of RAZORBILLS other alcids reported today included a BLACK GUILLEMOT just off the rocks in front of the lighthouse, a COMMON MURRE off the point in the afternoon and a flyby DOVEKIE. Also there were the drake KING EIDER and HARLEQUIN DUCK and a GLAUCOUS GULL was reported last Sunday. Two TUNDRA SWANS continue on Hook Pond in East Hampton and EURASIAN WIGEON include two on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge today and one at Bush Terminal Piers Park in Brooklyn Thursday and one again on Deep Hole Creek off New Suffolk Avenue in Mattituck.

Four LARK SPARROWS in the area today with the one continuing along with the CLAY-COLORED SPARROW at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens near the meditation garden, one at Point Lookout just south of the Fireman's Park, one at Croton Point Park in Westchester and one at Deep Hollow Ranch in Montauk on the north side of Route 27.

Other notable species include ICELAND GULL on Prospect Park last Saturday and at Mount Loretto Unique Area on Staten Island Monday, a "Black" BRANT at Jones Beach West End Monday, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER still at Willowbrook Park on Staten Island, a DICKCISSEL at Southards' Pond Park in Babylon today and a few ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS with other lingering warblers also including NASHVILLE, BLACK-AND-WHITE and WIL SON'S WARBLER.

Happy New Year.

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

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