Monday, February 29, 2016

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, March 5, 2016 to Sunday, March 6, 2016:

Audubon Nature Center in Prospect Park
Sunday, March 6, 2016, 8am – 9am
Early Morning Bird Walk: Gulls Galore
Think all gulls are the same? Join the Prospect Park Alliance and take another look by exploring the Park’s nature trails and discover all the different species of gulls in the Park. Please note this tour leaves promptly at 8 am. Led by the Brooklyn Bird Club.

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Brooklyn Bird Club
Sunday, March 6, 2016
Croton Point Park, Croton on Harmon, Upstate NY
Leader: Paul Keim
Focus: Sparrows, raptors, likely eagles, waterfowl/ducks, returning winter species
Registrar: Paul Keim (718) 875-1151
Registration Period: February 27th – March 3rd
Note: This is a NY Metro North train trip leaving from Grand Central Station. Leader/Registrar will provide meeting and trip details during the registration period.

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Eastern Long Island Audubon Society
Saturday, March 5, 2016 at 8:30am
Morton National Wildlife Refuge
(meet in the Parking Lot of the Refuge, off Rte 38/Noyack Road) North Sea
Trip Leader: Eileen Schwinn
Whose heart doesn’t melt when a tiny little bird lands on your fingertips to grab a bit of bird seed?? Even the most hard-core birder will smile—and maybe even giggle! Join us at a true national treasure, for a re-run of last year’s trip to Morton NWR. Generations of birds have become tame enough to eat out of your hand along the mile to mile-and-a-half hike, where we will see over-wintering birds, including woodpeckers, nuthatches, and perhaps Pine Siskins. Dress warmly and appropriately for snow-covered trails. Contact Eileen Schwinn at beachmed@optonline.net for any questions, or call the day of the trip, 516-662-7751. Birdseed will be provided!

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Great South Bay Audubon Society
Saturday March 5, 2016, 8:30am
Bob Laskowski Memorial Duck Walk
Leaders: Bob Grover (516-318-8536)
Meet at Brookwood Hall, Islip Town Park in East Islip on Irish Lane between Montauk Hwy and Union Blvd.

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Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Saturday, March 5, 2016 - 9:00am
Montauk and the South Fork
All day trip.
Late wintering waterfowl should be viewed including scoters, eiders, loons, gannets, and numerous pond ducks.
Registration: 516-433-5590.
Directions: LIE to exit 70, Manorville. Go south on Route 111 to Route 27. Take Route 27 east all the way to Montauk Point Lighthouse. There may be a parking fee. Meet by the restaurant opposite the parking lot.

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Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, March 5, 2016
Brooklyn Coastal Birding
Leader: Peter Dorosh
Registrar: Ellen Hoffman — ellenh33@icloud.com or 917-903-3486
Registration opens: Monday February 22
Ride: $15

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Littoral Society
Saturday, March 05, 2016, 11:00am - 01:00pm
Winter Seal and Waterfowl Walk
Bring your binoculars and join us on a trek throughout Sandy Hook to observe the seals and waterfowl that overwinter in New Jersey.
We will be car caravanning to multiple locations on Sandy Hook. Afterwards, warm up at Littoral Society Headquarters with snacks and toasty beverages. Meet at building 18, 11:00 am. 1 mile walk.
Cost: $5 per person
Contact: 732-291-0055 for more information and to reserve

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, March 5, 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

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, March 5, 2016, 8:30-10:30am
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

Saturday, March 5, 2016, 9am-4pm
Winter Birds of Barnegat, NJ
Guide: Joe Giunta, Happy Warblers LLC
Explore Barnegat Inlet’s expansive beach to view the winter birds that gather where land, bay, and sea meet. Search for harlequin ducks, horned larks, Lapland longspurs, snow buntings, and snowy and short-eared owls. Bring lunch, water, and binoculars. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $115 (80)
Click here to register

Saturday, March 5, 2016, 10am-1pm
Central Park Winter Walk
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Meet at the entrance to Central Park at Central Park West and 72nd Street. Some of the best sightings await hardy nature-lovers willing to venture out in winter! Several species of owls can be seen in Central Park for example, but generally only in the colder months. "Winter finches" such as Pine Siskins, Redpolls, and Crossbills have also been found at the feeders or in conifers in the park. Observing the adaptations for cold-weather survival among Blue Jays, Titmice, and other resident species is fascinating as well. Warm up after the walk with a hot chocolate by the fireplace at the Loeb Boathouse. Limited to 15. $36 (25)
Click here to register

Sunday, March 6, 2016, 12pm – 2pm
Winter Seals and Waterbirds of NY Harbor
Guide: NYC Audubon guide
Meet at South Street Seaport’s Pier 16 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/audubon-winter. $35 for adults; $25 for children under 12; $105 for family pack for 2 adults and 2 children

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Sunday, March 6, 2016 @ 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Crooke’s Point
Cost: Free
Contact: Paul Lederer 718-987-1576
Maritime spits such as Crooke’s Point are dynamic typographical features which are formed and sculpted by water and wind action. Join naturalist Paul T. Lederer in a talk and walk where he will discuss the geology and human history of the site as well as the plants and animals that call this place home. Participants will meet at the Beach Center Parking Lot in Great Kills Park near the dirt road leading out to Crooke’s Point. To get to the Beach Center Parking Lot, follow Buffalo Street to just before it turns into the dirt permit road.
For more information or directions contact Paul Lederer at (718) 987-1576

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, March 6, 2016
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

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.

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, March 5, 2016
Birding: Winter Birds at Park Drive and Clove Road (in Clove Lakes Park), Staten Island
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. This program will focus on the different species of birds which have overwintered in NYC Parks.
Free!

Sunday, March 6, 2016
Early Morning Bird Walk: Gulls Galore at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.
Think all gulls are the same? Join the Prospect Park Alliance and take another look by exploring the Park’s nature trails and discover all the different species of gulls in the park.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, February 27, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, February 26, 2016:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Feb. 26, 2016
* NYNY1602.26

- Birds mentioned
THICK-BILLED MURRE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
TUNDRA SWAN
Wood Duck
EURASIAN WIGEON
GREEN-WINGED TEAL (Eurasian form "Common Teal")
TUFTED DUCK
KING EIDER
HARLEQUIN DUCK
BARROW'S GOLDENEYE
Killdeer
American Woodcock
Razorbill
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Laughing Gull
ICELAND GULL
GLAUCOUS GULL
American Pipit
Cedar Waxwing
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, February 26th 2016 at 7pm. The highlights of today's tape are THICK-BILLED MURRE, TUFTED DUCK, BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, KING EIDER, HARLEQUIN DUCK, EURASIAN WIGEON, Eurasian form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, TUNDRA SWAN, BLACK-HEADED GULL, GLAUCOUS GULL, ICELAND GULL and LARK SPARROW.

A recent small incursion of THICK-BILLED MURRES found one off Coney Island last Sunday much to the enjoyment of local birders especially as one or two RAZORBILLS were also present in the same vicinity. Only one of the RAZORBILLS was noted the next day. Out at Montauk a much more accommodating THICK-BILLED spotted last Friday has continued around the entrance to Montauk Harbor at least through Thursday. The MURRE has often been seen in the inlet between the jetties occasionally it has been on the east side of the east jetty generally at low tide or sometimes farther into the harbor at higher tide and it has been a few times targeted by Great Black-backed Gulls but had so far evaded capture. Adult and subadult ICELAND GULLS have also been around the inlet. Out at Montauk Point itself there were a few dozen RAZORBILLS last Saturday amongst the large mass of sea ducks and a drake KING EIDER remains there as well usually on the south side of the point best viewed from the eastern end of the Camp Hero Overlook though it can be difficult to locate at times. A third THICK-BILLED MURRE was seen Sunday flying east off Ditch Plains in Montauk.

Further fuel to the how many immature male TUFTED DUCKS are there in the region was provided by one found Sunday on Patchogue Lake north of Holbrook Avenue in Patchogue. One was also seen again last Saturday on Santapogue Creek off Venetian Boulevard in Lindenhurst. Hopefully photos can be carefully analyzed to determine if there are actually three different individuals involved.

The drake BARROW'S GOLDENEYE remains at Sands Point generally seen around Half Moon Bay on the west side of the peninsula but beware of the no parking issues there.

Four HARLEQUIN DUCKS were still at Orient Point Monday along with a female KING EIDER and 2 more HARLEQUINS were spotted Thursday on Eaton's Neck north of Northport at the intersection of Asharoken Avenue and Bevin Road.

A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was seen again last Sunday at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park to the relief of a few Queens birders and two TUNDRA SWANS were still on Hook Pond in East Hampton yesterday.

Among the EURASIAN WIGEON noted this week were one Saturday at the Salt Marsh Nature Center at Marine Park in Brooklyn, two Monday on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, one Saturday on Fresh Pond north of Route 25A in Northport and one on the Mill Pond north of Old Field Road in Setauket where the Eurasian form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL was also still present last Sunday.

The immature BLACK-HEADED GULL was still visiting Prospect Park Lake yesterday. An immature GLAUCOUS GULL was noted again around Brooklyn Army Terminal Pier 4 at Bush Terminal Piers Park last Sunday and an immature ICELAND GULL visiting Central Park reservoir has been seen through Thursday. A LARK SPARROW was still at Croton Point Park in Westchester last Sunday and one continues around the outer turnaround at Jones Beach West End through today.

Among recent presumed migrants have been WOOD DUCK, a LAUGHING GULL Saturday at Long Beach, KILLDEER, a few AMERICAN WOODCOCK some of which should be displaying now, AMERICAN PIPIT and CEDAR WAXWING.

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, February 26, 2016

Late Winter Blooms

Here are a few late-winter (early spring?) blooms from around Brooklyn's Prospect Park this morning:


Spring Crocus near the Vale of Cashmere.



Winter Aconite in the Ravine near the Boulder Bridge.



Snowdrops in The Midwood.



American Witchhazel next to the Picnic House.

Friday's Foto

One of my favorite locally overwintering waterfowl is the Hooded Merganser. Breeding in forested wetlands throughout the eastern half of North America and the Pacific Northwest, their entire range is restricted to North America. Of the three species of merganser found in North America the hooded is the smallest. All three have slender serrated bills perfectly adapted for capturing the slippery fish that make up most of their diet. Their diet also includes crayfish, frogs, mud crabs, clams, aquatic insects and insect larvae. Sexually dimorphic, the female Hooded Merganser has a gray-brown head and neck with a reddish-brown crest. Breeding males vocalizations include a humorous, frog-like "craaa-crrrooooo" sound. Click here to listen to some sound clips.

The IUCN Red List lists their conservation status as "Least Concern" due to extremely large range and increasing population trend. They've been helped by artificial nest boxes, including those intended for Wood Ducks.

Their scientific name (Lophodytes cucullatus) means - Lophodytes Gr. lophos crest; dutes diver (duo to plunge). Late L. cucullatus hooded (L. cucullus hood).

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

Below is an article from Mother Nature Network on the unintended consequences of rodenticide use:

How Rat Poison Affects Animals High Up on the Food Chain
February 24, 2016
Jaymi Heimbuch

When we set out poisons aimed at one animal, sometimes it's many other animals that suffer the consequences. One infamous example is DDT, an insecticide that sent the populations of many bird species plummeting in the mid-1900s. Today, the same is happening with rodenticides.

Aimed at killing mice, rats and other rodent pests, the poison can work its way up the food chain, causing the grisly deaths of hawks, owls, eagles, bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes, pet dogs and cats, and even predators far, far away from cities, such as fishers. The predators consume the poison when they consume the rodents that ingested poisoned baits.

Audubon writes, "Both first- and second-generation rodenticides prevent blood from clotting by inhibiting vitamin K, though the second-generation products build to higher concentrations in rodents and are therefore more lethal to anything that eats them."

The Environmental Protection Agency explains further that, "Second-generation anticoagulants also are more likely than first-generation anticoagulants to be able to kill after a single night's feeding. These compounds kill over a similar course of time but tend to remain in animal tissues longer than do first-generation ones. These properties mean that second-generation products pose greater risks to nontarget species that might feed on bait only once or that might feed upon animals that have eaten the bait."

In 2014, California banned direct-to-consumer sale of some types of rat poisons over concerns for wildlife. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, "Harm to wildlife from rodenticides is widespread: Poisonings have been documented in at least 25 wild species in California, including mountain lions, hawks and endangered San Joaquin kit foxes and northern spotted owls." That is only one state, however, and even in California the worst of the poisons are still available for commercial use.

Audubon points out that there are safer alternatives, "including single- and multiple-entrance snap traps, electrocuting traps, glue traps (provided you use them only indoors and frequently dispatch stuck rodents), and even first-generation baits with these active ingredients: chlorophacinone, diphacinone, diphacinone sodium salt, war-farin, and warfarin sodium salt."

Mammals, raptors and other animals are necessary for rodent control. Taking them out along with the rodents will present a much bigger problem in the long run than anything rodents may currently be posing. Keeping them around requires coming up with smarter, safer solutions to handle rodent infestations.

You can help by encouraging local and state legislators to look into the issue and ban rodenticide, as well as to look into safe rodent control options for your home or business that avoid these harmful and long term impacts.
...Read more

Monday, February 22, 2016

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, February 27, 2016 to Sunday, February 28, 2016:

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, February 27,2016
Winter Waterfowl Wildcard
Leader: Peter Dorosh
Focus: Waterfowl and geese
Car fee: TBD
Registrar: Peter Dorosh Prosbird@aol.com or text only cell 347-622-3559
Registration Period: February 20th – February 25th
Note: this trip depends on the current week’s reports in the metropolitan NYC area with locations chosen at the behest of the leader. The trip may venture outside city limits in pursuit of good waterfowl species. Do expect an all day birding adventure.

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Gateway National Parks
Saturday, February 27, 2016
Winter Thaw Bird Walk
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Time: 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Fee Information: FREE
Contact Name: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Contact Phone Number: (718) 318 – 4340
Meet at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge for a hike around the ponds and gardens to look for very early signs of spring as well as late winter birds.
Leader: Don Riepe.
For reservations call: 718-474-0896
With American Littoral Society and NYC Audubon.
Approx 2 miles.

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Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday–Sunday February 27–28, 2016
Montauk Weekend
Leader: Joe DiCostanzo
Registrar: Dale Dancis — ddancis@gmail.com or 212-724-3269
Registration opens: Monday February 1
Ride: $80 lodging not included

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, February 27, 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

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, February 27, 9am – Sunday, February 28, 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

Sunday, February 28, 2016, 12pm – 2pm
Winter Seals and Waterbirds of NY Harbor
Guide: NYC Audubon guide
Meet at South Street Seaport’s Pier 16 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/audubon-winter. $35 for adults; $25 for children under 12; $105 for family pack for 2 adults and 2 children

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Sunday, February 28, 2016 @ 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Crooke’s Point
Cost: Free
Contact: Paul Lederer 718-987-1576
Maritime spits such as Crooke’s Point are dynamic typographical features which are formed and sculpted by water and wind action. Join naturalist Paul T. Lederer in a talk and walk where he will discuss the geology and human history of the site as well as the plants and animals that call this place home. Participants will meet at the Beach Center Parking Lot in Great Kills Park near the dirt road leading out to Crooke’s Point. To get to the Beach Center Parking Lot, follow Buffalo Street to just before it turns into the dirt permit road.
For more information or directions contact Paul Lederer at (718) 987-1576

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Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, February 27, 2016, 8am – 6pm
Barnegat Light, NJ
Leader: Ian Resnick 917-626-9562

Trip Etiquette
Please register for trips

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

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, February 28, 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.

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Urban Park Rangers
Sunday, February 28, 2016
Birding: Owls at Alley Pond Park Adventure Center (in Alley Pond Park), Queens
3:00 p.m.–4:30 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. We offer birding programs…
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, February 20, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, February 19, 2016:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Feb 19, 2016
* NYNY1602.19

- Birds Mentioned

BARNACLE GOOSE+
THICK-BILLED MURRE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
Cackling Goose
Canada Goose
Tundra Swan
TUFTED DUCK
KING EIDER
HARLEQUIN DUCK
Common Goldeneye
BARROW’S GOLDENEYE
Red-necked Grebe
Razorbill
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
SNOWY OWL
LARK SPARROW

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, February 19, 2016 at 6:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are THICK-BILLED MURRE, TUFTED DUCK, BARROW’S GOLDENEYE, KING EIDER, HARLEQUIN DUCK, BARNACLE and GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, BLACK-HEADED GULL, SNOWY OWL, and LARK SPARROW.

Thursday afternoon an apparent THICK-BILLED MURRE was spotted near the east jetty at the Montauk Harbor Inlet, and the sighting followed another THICK-BILLED that was found dead along the beach in Southhold on Monday, something to watch for as alcids begin their trek back north. A dead alcid being devoured by GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS off Battery Park Tuesday was identified as a RAZORBILL but was not retrieved for closer scrutiny.

About 50 RAZORBILLS were estimated off Montauk Point last Friday, with fewer noted Saturday, and among the large assemblage of waterfowl there were single drake KING EIDER Friday and HARLEQUIN DUCK Saturday off the Point.

It appears that 2 separate TUFTED DUCKS are present on Long Island, both seemingly young males. The bird initially on Lake Capri in West Islip was spotted again on Santapogue Creek last Sunday, this off Venetian Blvd. in Lindenhurst. And last Friday afternoon a different TUFTED was picked out in a large Scaup flock further east in Blue Point, where it was still present Saturday off the southern end of Blue Point Avenue, this area shortly thereafter frozen over, pushing the Scaup flock farther offshore into Patchogue Bay.

The drake BARROW’S GOLDENEYE continues with COMMON GOLDENEYE at Sands Point, usually on the western side of the peninsula; the only really permitted parking in that area is at the Sands Point Preserve, which charges a fee and would require a long walk west along the beach.

The presumed family group of 3 BARNACLE GEESE was present again yesterday with CANADAS north of Riverhead on the east side of Roanoke Avenue just south of Reeves Avenue.

A single BARNACLE GOOSE continues to roost overnight, presumably regularly, at Belmont Lake State Park, the congregating Geese there also featuring 2 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE and a CACKLING GOOSE. The WHITE-FRONTEDS were also noted at St. Charles Cemetery Wednesday afternoon, one of the various feeding sites for the Belmont Geese. The Cemetery is west of Belmont Lake between Wellwood Avenue and New Highway, just east of Republic Airport. Two other WHITE-FRONTEDS continue to be seen on or near Hook Pond in East Hampton, where 2 TUNDRA SWANS also remain, despite the pond freezing over at one point. The Swans were also off David’s Lane northeast of Hook Wednesday.

Among the few CACKLING GEESE reported this week has been 1 on Central Park Reservoir that has initiated much discussion regarding the variation among the various forms of CACKLING, especially the *hutchinsii* race expected in our area, and the small forms of CANADA GOOSE. The issue of hybrids has also been raised, all this pointing to the need for a comprehensive article on the subject, copiously supplemented with many photographs of the various races, including variation within each. Good luck on that.

The immature BLACK-HEADED GULL was spotted on Prospect Park Lake last Monday, and an ICELAND GULL regularly visiting Central Park Reservoir was seen there today, while anther ICELAND stopped by Prospect Park Lake Wednesday. A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was reported from Belmont Lake State Park on Wednesday.

A SNOWY OWL was seen again off Lazy Point in Napeague last Saturday, and 1 was reported from the West Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Tuesday, but no details were provided.

A RED-NECKED GREBE was in the Hudson River off the 20’s in Manhattan on Monday.

A LARK SPARROW was still present around the outer turnaround at Jones Beach West End Wednesday, with another still at Croton Point Park last 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, February 19, 2016

Friday's Foto

Despite their common name Iceland Gulls can be found in a variety of locations outside of Iceland. From Birdlife International:

"The Iceland Gull breeds in the Arctic regions of Canada and Greenland (to Denmark), and outside the breeding season can be found wintering in the northernmost states of the eastern USA as far inland as the great lakes, on Iceland, Ireland, the United Kingdom, the north coast of Norway, the southern tip of Scandinavia and the northern tip of Germany."

A couple can usually seen every winter along coastal Brooklyn.

The IUCN Red list classifies them as "Least Concern" due in part to their extremely large range and stable population. Their diet consists mostly of small fish, but also mollusks, crustaceans, carrion, berries and seeds. There are two subspecies. The "Kumlien's Gull" is the western form. Breeding in Canada it shows variable amounts of dark in the wingtips. The Greenland breeding subspecies winters from Greenland to Europe and has very little or no dark in its wingtips. The scientific name, Larus glaucoides, means "larus - rapacious seabird", "glaucoides From syn. specific name Larus glaucus Brünnich, 1764 (= Larus hyperboreus, Glaucous Gull); Gr. -oide's resembling (eidos likeness) (Larus)."

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

From Mother Nature Network:

Should Cities Ban Disposable Cups and Plates?
This isn't a tempest in a disposable teacup, but it is a big problem.
Lloyd Alter
February 10, 2016, 3:45 p.m.

Fifty years ago, litter wasn’t much of a problem. Cities didn’t even have litter bins; people would go to restaurants or diners, sit down and drink out of mugs and eat off china plates.

Now, cities everywhere are overrun with the detritus of the fast-food industry, from food packaging to coffee and drink cups. According to Clean Water Action, quoted in Fast Company, 49 percent of San Francisco’s litter is from fast-food restaurants. It all ends up in the streets or in the city's litter bins, which get emptied at taxpayers’ expense. This is not paper that can be recycled. Many of these coffee cups are what Bill McDonough of "Cradle to Cradle" fame calls "monstrous hybrids" — paper cups lined with plastic to prevent leaks, but that also cannot be recycled. So these items have to be separated and landfilled.

In Vancouver, the city is considering a number of options, including deposits, take-back programs and even a ban on disposable coffee cups. From the report:

This report recommends that staff review options to target the distribution, use, and recycling of these items, including exploring options to restrict or ban their use, and report back to Council. Staff will also investigate potential options requiring producers, distributors, and retailers to take responsibility for the recovery of these materials, including possible take-back programs.

Click here to read the entire article.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, February 20, 2016 to Sunday, February 21, 2016:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, February 20, 2016, 11 am – 12:30 pm
Winter Tree Identification
Urban Park Ranger hiking guides will introduce you to the hidden gems of New York City. This hike will strengthen your winter tree ID skills as you learn about different characteristics and traits to look for, in order to identify trees without their leaves.

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Sunday, February 21, 2016
Brooklyn's southwest coast RESCHEDULED FROM JANUARY 31
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.

**********

City Island Bird Walks (Bronx)
Sunday, February 21, 2016, 8:30am
Owl Prowl
Meet at Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum
All Walks are Free!
Basic Information:

Our walks are free, informal, friendly and fun. The walks usually last about 4 hours, depending on many variables, which include weather, birds, and fatigue. If you want to leave early, there are no hard feelings.

Please come prepared! Bring binoculars and a field guide if you have one. I will bring a spotting scope but feel free to bring your own if you have one.

Beginners especially welcome!

No dogs!

Driving to Bartow-Pell is the easiest way to travel here. Public transportation is possible but arduous. Be sure to leave extra time on weekends.
Here’s directions by car and bus:

We will search the area for Great Horned, Long-eared, Saw-whet and Barred Owls, which are all a possibility in this location, at this time of the year. We’ll also check for waterfowl and passerines as long as we’re out. Dress for the weather, waterproof sturdy shoes are recommended.

**********

Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Sunday, February 21, 2016 - 9:00am
Makamah Preserve Winter Ecology Walk
Makamah Preserve is a 160 acre park in the village of Fort Salonga. It is made up of rolling hills and valleys, with upland forest, wooded wetland, and saltmarsh habitats. In the wetland areas we may find rusty blackbirds, among other wintering songbirds, as we explore winter ecology and learn about how climate change may affect these birds.
Registration: 585-880-0915
Directions: Take Rte. 25A (Fort Salonga Rd.) east into the village of Fort Salonga and look for the sign and parking area for the park.

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, February 20, 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, February 20, 2016, 10am – 1pm
Winter Waterfowl ID Workshop (trip)
Guide: Gabriel Willow
If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck... but is it a dabbling duck or a diving duck? Or could it be a grebe? This class will help you distinguish between ducks, geese, loons, grebes, and more. Learn how their shapes reflect their behavior and ecology, and how subtle differences in form and pattern will allow you to identify waterfowl with a newfound confidence. Winter is the best season for waterfowl-watching in NYC, and the class will be followed by a field trip to put our newfound skills to work. We will seek out the diverse mix of dabbling ducks, bay ducks, sea ducks, grebes, loons, and cormorants to be found in NY Harbor from Battery Park. Limited to 15. $68 (47)
Click here to register

Sunday, February 21, 2016, 12pm – 2pm
Winter Seals and Waterbirds of NY Harbor
Guide: NYC Audubon guide
Meet at South Street Seaport’s Pier 16 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/audubon-winter. $35 for adults; $25 for children under 12; $105 for family pack for 2 adults and 2 children

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, February 20, 2016 @ 10:00am – 2:00pm
Forest Restoration Workshop
Cost: Free
For our 233rd monthly restoration we will meet in the parking lot of the Greenbelt Nature Center at the junction of Rockland Avenue and Breille Avenue. We will walk the Nature Trail west from the Center and remove alien Devil’s Walkingstick from areas left of the trail. If you don’t have your own, Protectors will supply gloves and tools (& refreshments). After a two hour work session, we will take a short walk over nearby trails. For more information contact Don Recklies at (718) 768-9036 or Chuck Perry at (718) 667-1393

Sunday, February 21, 2016 @ 8:00am – 10:00am
Great Kills Park
Cost: Free
Join birder Anthony Ciancimino for a guided bird walk at Great Kills Park. The park has a nice selection of habitats, and bird diversity should be good. We will first walk around the nature center for wintering songbirds, and possibly Ring necked Pheasant. We will then check the tidal mudflats for wintering waterfowl and shorebirds. Horned Lark and Snow Bunting should also be present in the fields by the playground. Meet in the second parking lot along Buffalo Street (the lot adjacent to the salt storing area). For more information contact Anthony Ciancimino at sibirdwatcher@yahoo.com.

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Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, February 20, 2016, 8am – 5pm
Black Dirt Region
Leader: Arie Gilbert - 917-693-7178

Trip Etiquette
Please register for trips

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

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, February 21, 2016
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, February 20, 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 wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle. We offer birding programs…
Free!

Sunday, February 21, 2016
Owl Prowl at Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum (in Pelham Bay Park), Bronx
8:30 a.m.–10:00 a.m.
Join Jack Rothman of City Island Birds to search the grounds for owls and other winter species, including winter woodland birds and waterfowl.
Free!
...Read more

Friday, February 12, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, February 12, 2016:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Feb 12, 2016
* NYNY1602.12

- Birds Mentioned

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

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
Cackling Goose
Canada Goose
TUNDRA SWAN
EURASIAN WIGEON
GREEN-WINGED TEAL (EURASIAN FORM)
TUFTED DUCK
KING EIDER
HARLEQUIN DUCK
Common Goldeneye
BARROW’S GOLDENEYE
Red-necked Grebe
Purple Sandpiper
Razorbill
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Glaucous Gull
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
Yellow-breasted Chat
Lark Sparrow

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, February 12, 2016 at 7:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are BARNACLE, PINK-FOOTED, and GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, TUNDRA SWAN, TUFTED DUCK, BARROW’S GOLDENEYE, HARLEQUIN DUCK, KING EIDER, EURASIAN WIGEON and Eurasian form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL, BLACK-HEADED GULL, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT and LARK SPARROW.

Again this week, not much change in the composition of our locally unusual birds, which are mostly waterfowl, though one interesting nuance was provided by the presence of 3 BARNACLE GEESE, apparently a family group with 1 immature bird, on Sunday north of Riverhead. These were together in a large flock of CANADA GEESE on fields off Roanoke Avenue just south of Reeves Avenue.

Also noteworthy there was a PINK-FOOTED GOOSE reported flying out in one of the Canada flocks as birds were departing from these fields in small groups.

A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was spotted Wednesday with Canadas at Flushing Meadows Park in Queens.

Also in the Riverhead area were 5 CACKLING GEESE identified Sunday on a field on the west side of Oakleigh Avenue, which is north of Sound Avenue and just east of Twomey Avenue.

What is presumably the young male TUFTED DUCK that had been on Lake Capri in West Islip was photographed a little west of there Wednesday in a Scaup flock along Santapogue Creek off Venetian Blvd. south of Route 27A in Lindenhurst.

The drake BARROW’S GOLDENEYE should be looked for with COMMON GOLDENEYE off the Sands Point peninsula; there are, unfortunately, parking issues if the bird continues along the western side of the peninsula.

Out east a drake KING EIDER remains in the large congregation of birds off Montauk Point, usually seen on the south side from the Camp Hero overlook, and 2 TUNDRA SWANS remain on Hook Pond in East Hampton.

Four HARLEQUIN DUCKS were off the Jones Beach West End jetty last Sunday, these birds continuing around Jones Inlet, and also noted Sunday were a RAZORBILL and a dozen PURPLE SANDPIPERS.

Besides the 2 drake EURASIAN WIGEONS continuing on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, single drakes were also seen this week on Fresh Pond north of Route 25A east of Northport, on the Setauket Mill Pond on the north side of Old Field Road, and on Deep Hole Creek off New Suffolk Avenue in Mattituck. The Setauket Mill Pond also featured a drake Eurasian form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL Sunday.

The presence of 2 BLACK-HEADED GULLS in Brooklyn was pieced out recently, with an immature still at Brooklyn Bridge Park last Saturday and perhaps the same bird still visiting Prospect Park Lake at least to Wednesday, while the Bush Terminal Piers Park bird, not reported this week, had been an adult. Another adult BLACK-HEADED GULL was feeding on Premium Mill Pond in Larchmont last Saturday.

The Bush Terminal Piers Park GLAUCOUS GULL was still around last weekend and a sub-adult ICELAND GULL was at Fort Tilden Saturday, with another at Moriches Inlet along with a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL Saturday.

Single RAZORBILLS in Brooklyn were off Coney Island Pier Saturday and Gravesend Bay Monday, with a few others along Long Island’s south shore out to Montauk. A small number of RED-NECKED GREBES also continue in Brooklyn waters.

A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER continues at Blydenburgh County Park in Smithtown.

The only notable passerines were a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT spotted Saturday morning around the parking lot at Montauk Point, and single LARK SPARROWS continuing at the turnaround at Jones Beach West End and 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's Foto

Canvasbacks are diving ducks that breed in the Prairie Pothole Region of North America, as well as, sub-arctic river deltas in Saskatchewan and the interior of Alaska. They feed by digging through bottom sediments in search of aquatic plant stems and roots, submerged insects, crustaceans, and clams. Around the size of a Mallard they are the largest species in the Aythya genus. The scientific name of the Canvasback is Aythya valisineria. Aythya Gr. aithuia unidentified seabird mentioned by Aristotle. "Valisineria" refers to Vallisneria americana, or wild celery, the buds and rhizomes of which are its preferred food during the Canvasback's nonbreeding season.

The IUCN Red List classifies the Canvasback as "Least Concern". During the 1980s large population decreases due to hunting pressure, lead poisoning from ingestion of lead shot, and the gradual loss of both suitable breeding and wintering habitats had them listed as "Special Concern". Fortunately they experienced a significant rebound in the 1990s.

Wild Canvasback was a popular table delicacy in fashionable society in the 19th century.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

"The Telegraph" just published an article about plans for a massive new wind energy farm:

World's biggest offshore wind farm to add £4.2 billion to energy bills

Hornsea Project One wind farm will see 174 turbines - each taller than the Gherkin - built 75 miles off the coast of Grimsby, spanning an area five times the size of Hull
By Emily Gosden, Energy Editor
12:57PM GMT 03 Feb 2016

The world's biggest offshore wind farm is to be built 75 miles off the coast of Grimsby, at an estimated cost to energy bill-payers of at least £4.2 billion.

The giant Hornsea Project One wind farm will consist of 174 turbines, each 623ft tall - higher than the Gherkin building in London - and will span an area more than five times the size of Hull.

Developer Dong Energy, which is majority-owned by the Danish state, said it had taken a final decision to proceed with the 1.2 gigawatt project that would be capable of powering one million homes and create 2,000 jobs during construction.

First electricity from the project is expected to be generated in 2019 and the wind farm should be fully operational by 2020.

The wind farm was handed a subsidy contract by former energy secretary Ed Davey in 2014 that will see it paid four times the current market price of power for every unit of electricity it generates for 15 years.

Read the entire story here.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, February 13, 2016 to Sunday, February 14, 2016:

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday February 13, 2016
Bush Terminal Park
Leader: Chris Laskowski cell #646-236-6167; celaskowski@yahoo.com
Focus: a morning tour that may also include at leader's discretion and afterwards Greenwood Cemetery or otherwise another coastal location for waterbirds, gulls, and winter passerines. Site profile http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/bush-terminal-park
No registration necessary. Meet: 9:00 am outside on the west corner above the R train stop "45th Street". (Brooklyn) http://web.mta.info/nyct/service/rline.htm

**********

Hudson River Audubon Society
Saturday, February 13, 2016
Eagle Viewing on the Hudson
Meet at Georges Island Park 7:00am
http://hras.org/wtobird/george.html

**********

Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Sunday, February 14, 2016 - 9:00am
Massapequa Preserve and South Shore Ponds Bird and Waterfowl Walk
We will bird the ponds at Massapequa Preserve, then head east in search of variety of wintering ducks and land birds. Bring a scope if you have one!
Registration: 631 885 1881 or aveblue@gmail.com
Directions: Meet at the Massapequa Preserve entrance at Pittsburgh Avenue and Parkside Blvd.

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, February 13, 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, February 13, 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

Saturday, February 13, 2016, 12pm – 7pm
Soaring Raptors: Eagles and Owls of the Hudson River Valley, NY
Guide: Joe Giunta, Happy Warblers LLC
You don’t have to travel to Alaska to see our country’s emblem, the American bald eagle. Thanks to one of the most successful reintroduction programs on record, many eagles now soar over the nearby Hudson Valley. Travel with us to see this spectacular raptor, as well as possibly spot the secretive short-eared owl. Part of the Hudson River EagleFest at Croton Point. Bring lunch, water, and binoculars. Transport by passenger van is included. Limited to 12. $102 (72)
Click here to register

Sunday, February 14, 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, February 14, 2016, 12pm – 2pm
Winter Seals and Waterbirds of NY Harbor
Guide: NYC Audubon guide
Meet at South Street Seaport’s Pier 16 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/audubon-winter. $35 for adults; $25 for children under 12; $105 for family pack for 2 adults and 2 children

**********

North Fork Audubon Society
Saturday, February 13, 2016, 10:00am
Orient Beach State Park
Love is for the Birds. Winter Bird Walk with Tom Damiani
Beginners welcome and binoculars available.

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, February 13, 2016, 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Acme Pond
Cost: Free
Contact: Clay Wollney 718-869-6327
The woodlands and ponds of this little known area will be explored during an approximately two mile hike. The Acme Pond area has developed into a nicely wooded forest over the past 150 years with sweetgum, white oaks and hickories as the dominant trees. The pond is reputed to be the home of large bass and provides a secluded location for many birds as well as birds and turtles. Meet at the corner of Hylan Boulevard and Holten Avenue. For more information contact Clay Wollney at (718) 869-6327.

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, February 14, 2016
Massapequa Preserve

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, February 13, 2016
Birding: Winter Birds at Ridgewood Reservoir, Queens
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. This program will focus on the different bird species which spend their winters in our NYC Parks.
Free!

Great Backyard Bird Count at Queens Botanical Garden, Queens
11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Join QBG for this 19th annual bird counting event and add your results to the world totals.
Free!

Sunday, February 14, 2016
Winter Birding at Wave Hill 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, February 06, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, February 5, 2016:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Feb. 5, 2016
* NYNY1602.05

- Birds mentioned

BARNACLE GOOSE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
ROSS'S GOOSE
Cackling Goose
TUNDRA SWAN
EURASIAN WIGEON
Canvasback
BARROW'S GOLDENEYE
Red-necked Grebe
American Bittern
Razorbill
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Iceland Gull
GLAUCOUS GULL
Short-eared Owl
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
LAPLAND LONGSPUR
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, February 5th 2016 at 4pm. The highlights of today's tape are BARNACLE GOOSE, ROSS'S GOOSE, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, TUNDRA SWAN, BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, EURASIAN WIGEON, BLACK-HEADED GULL, GLAUCOUS GULL, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, LAPLAND LONGSPUR and LARK SPARROW.

A new week but pretty much the same lingering birds. The BARNACLE GOOSE was still frequenting Tung Ting Pond in Centerport last weekend. This pond on the west side of the Chalet Motel and the Centerport Mill Pond off the north side of Route 25A. Lots of CANVASBACKS are also on the Mill Pond. A second BARNACLE GOOSE was seen Sunday and Monday in Mattituck on a field east of Locust Avenue this presumably the same individual noted several times this winter on nearby Marratooka Lake off New Suffolk Avenue. A ROSS'S GOOSE has been present for a few days at least to Wednesday at Bergen Point Golf Course in Great South Bay this off Bergen Avenue south of Route 27A. A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE flew into Belmont Lake State Park very late Saturday evening fortunately calling as it arrived. A few others presumably continue in the region as do a few CACKLING GEESE. Two TUNDRA SWANS were still on Hook Pond in East Hampton Wednesday.

The drake BARROW'S GOLDENEYE was present off the west side of the Sands Point peninsula Saturday but the issue here is parking. Sands Point Preserve is on the east side of the peninsula and provides good views of that portion of the water and with hunting season now over perhaps the Goldeneye flocks will gather off there again. The west side is effectively all private and the police will harass cars that stop along the roads there so use your best judgement if you visit that area.

Two drake EURASIAN WIGEON were still on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge yesterday frequenting the west side north of the Big John's Pond overlook. Another EURASIAN WIGEON was on Fresh Pond in Northport Monday to Wednesday this off Fresh Pond Road north of Route 25A.

An adult BLACK-HEADED GULL was still present Monday at Five Islands Park in New Rochelle, Westchester County. Look for the gull around the tanks at the water treatment plant next to the park or on the islands in the harbor. If not there try Premium Millpond to the east in Larchmont. The immature BLACK-HEADED GULL frequenting Prospect Park Lake in Brooklyn was seen as recently as Tuesday. Another BLACK-HEADED GULL was spotted at Brooklyn Bridge Park on Tuesday and Thursday near Pier 4 and may be the same one seen at Bush Terminal Piers Park today. A GLAUCOUS GULL in Brooklyn has been seen recently between the Brooklyn Army Terminal Pier 4 and nearby Bush Terminal Piers Park where it was today. A few ICELAND GULLS include one visiting Central Park Reservoir recently.

RAZORBILL was noted off Fort Tilden Sunday but more unusual was one in Long Island Sound off Old Field Point in Setauket Wednesday. A [...] number of RED-NECKED GREBES includes singles recently off Coney Island, Floyd Bennett Field and Fort Tilden plus one in Three Mile Harbor in East Hampton Wednesday.

A LARK SPARROW was still along the outer turnaround at Jones Beach West End as of yesterday and a LAPLAND LONGSPUR visited Randall's Island in Manhattan from Sunday to Tuesday. Lingering immature RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were noted last weekend both at Willowbrook Park on Staten Island and at Blydenburgh County Park in Smithtown the latter around the parking lot at the north entrance off New Mill Road. Also continuing are AMERICAN BITTERNS along Dune Road west of Shinnecock Inlet and two SHORT-EARED OWLS at the Calverton Grasslands at the former Grumman airport.

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, February 05, 2016

Friday's Foto

Horned Larks, the only member of the lark family that is native to the new world, are a common winter visitor to coastal Brooklyn. They are named for their horn-like feather tufts, most visible on males. Their breeding range is Alaska and the Canadian Arctic, coastal regions of Canada, and south throughout most of the U.S. They winter from southern Canada southward throughout the U.S. and into northern and central Mexico. They are also found in Eurasia. Preferred habitats include plains, fields, airports, and beaches. The IUCN Red List lists their conservation status as "least concern", however, "The 2014 State of the Birds Report listed them as a Common Bird in Steep Decline, and they rate a 9 out of 20 on the Partners in Flight Continental Concern Score. Loss of agricultural fields to reforestation and development, and human encroachment on the birds’ habitat, are factors in their decline—but the overall trend is not fully understood." Their scientific name, Eremophila alpestris, means "desert loving", "of the high mountains". Look for them around NYC at Floyd Bennett Field, Calvert Vaux Park, Coney Island Creek Park, Riis Park, Ft. Tilden and Breezy Point.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

The following piece was just published in The Christian Science Monitor:

What our ancestors' hankering for big eggs meant for a 500-pound bird

Scientists examined burnt fragments of the massive eggshells to determine the link between humans and the bird's extinction.
By Christina Beck, Staff  - January 29, 2016

Ancient humans ate the eggs of gigantic, flightless birds, a recent study finds.

The study was conducted by a team of Australian and American scientists, who analyzed burn patterns on eggshell fragments.

The giant bird, which scientists have dubbed Genyornis newtoni, weighed roughly 500 pounds and stood about seven feet tall. Its eggs would have been the size of cantaloupes, and likely weighed 3.5 pounds. Genyornis was just one of many massive ancient animals, a group that scientists collectively call megafauna.

Other gargantuan examples of Australia’s frightening animal past include a 1,000 pound kangaroo and a wombat the size of a moderately sized car. Despite their impressive size, these megafauna were no match for humans; about 85 percent of these animals went extinct after people arrived on the scene.

The study, published Friday in the science journal Nature Communications, is the first to shine some light on the connection between humans and the extinction of Australia’s gigantic megafauna.

"We consider this the first and only secure evidence that humans were directly preying on now-extinct Australian megafauna," Gifford Miller, a geology professor at University of Colorado, Boulder.

The cause of Australia’s megafauna extinction has been much debated in scientific circles for over a hundred years.

One popular theory is that climate change catalyzed a mass extinction among the megafauna. However, the continental drying that occurred about 40,000-60,000 years ago (main suspect) was less severe than an earlier climate shift during the Pleistocene epoch.

Since the megafauna were able to survive through the Pleistocene’s climatic shift, it seems unlikely that later, less severe climate change would do them in.

"The lack of clear evidence regarding human predation on the Australia megafauna had, until now, been used to suggest no human-megafauna interactions occurred,” says Professor Miller, “despite evidence that most of the giant animals still roamed Australia when humans colonized the continent."

Scientists are not sure precisely when humans arrived in Australia. They do know that the continent’s earliest inhabitants landed on Australia’s northern coast after a several hundred mile raft journey from Indonesia, and that by about 47,000 years ago they had scattered across the continent.

To determine the link between humans and Genyornis, scientists first examined eggshells from the bird’s nesting sites in sand dunes. Using optically stimulated luminescence dating, an age determining technique that examines quartz grains in the eggshells to determine when they were last exposed to sunlight, scientists dated the shells to between 44,000 and 54,000 years old.

In about 200 of the 2,000 egg sites that scientists sampled, the eggshells were blackened and burned.

In order to rule out wildfire as the reason for the burned shells, scientists studied the amino acid decomposition of the eggshells. Instead of being uniformly burned all over, as eggs caught in wildfire would be, the amino acids in the shells exhibited a gradient of decomposition. They were more burnt on one end than the other, indicating cooking fires rather than wild fires.

The burnt eggshell fragments were also found in tight clusters, and exhibited signs of being cooked in fires up to 1,000 Fahrenheit, far hotter than a natural bush fire.

Try as they might, Miller and his team were unable to come up with a scenario in which the eggshell blackening occurred due to natural causes. Miller says, "We instead argue that the conditions are consistent with early humans harvesting Genyornis eggs, cooking them over fires, and then randomly discarding the eggshell fragments in and around their cooking fires."

Ancient emu eggshells in Australia have been found to exhibit the same characteristics of the burnt Genyornis eggshells, adding strength to the team’s argument.
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Monday, February 01, 2016

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for the weekend of Saturday, February 6, 2016 to Sunday, February 7, 2016:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Sunday, February 7, 2016, 10am – 11am
Early Morning Bird Walk: Backyard Birds
Join the Prospect Park Alliance and learn about the Great Backyard Bird Count and search for your favorite “backyard bird”. Find woodpeckers, chickadees, and nuthatches eating from feeders along Prospect Park’s nature trails. Please note this tour leaves promptly at 10 am. Led by the Brooklyn Bird Club.

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Bedford Audubon Society
Saturday, February 6, 2016, 9am - 3pm
Eaglefest!
Join us at the New Croton Dam for a day of viewing our Nation's symbol, the Bald Eagle. We'll also be monitoring the local waterfowl and other birds, too. Snow date Sunday, February 7. No registration necessary.

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Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, February 6, 2016 (RESCHEDULED FROM JANUARY 24)
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 30th - February 4th

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Eastern Long Island Audubon Society
Saturday, February 6, 2016 at 9:00am
Montauk Point and the Montauk Area
Trip Leader: Eileen Schwinn
​We will meet at the Concession Stand/Restaurant at The Point to look for ducks and alcids, as well as any other birds that might be wintering in the general Montauk area. We will travel to Fort Pond, Camp Hero, and various other “Hot Spots” along The Montauk Trail! Dress for cold, wind and generally nasty weather — it wouldn’t be Montauk any other way!! Contact Eileen Schwinn at beachmed@optonline.net for more information, or call the day of the trip if there are any questions: 516-662-7751

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Gateway National Recreation Area
Sunday, February 7, 2016
Experience the Winter Beach at Fort Tilden
Location: Building One at Fort Tilden
Time: 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Fee Information: Free
The sun, moon and earth will be in position on this day to create a notable low tide. Explore the intertidal zone and walk the sea floor with American Littoral Society naturalist Mickey Maxwell Cohen, author of "Adventures at the Beach", to observe the usually-hidden biological treasures from beyond the tides.
This is an American Littoral Society/ Gateway NRA partnership program.
Approx. 2 miles.

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Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Sunday, February 7, 2016 - 9:00am
Point Lookout Bird Walk
Look for loons, grebes, and Harlequin Ducks, a showy duck that is most easily observed at Point Lookout. Bring a scope if you have one!
Registration: 631-851-1881
Directions: Meadowbrook Pkwy to Loop Pkwy. At the end of Loop Pkwy, turn left. Go to the end of the road. Park anywhere near the entrance to the Park. Meet by the gate to the Park.

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Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, February 6, 2016
Coney Island Pier to Coney Island Creek
Leader: Rob Jett a.k.a. "The City Birder"
Registrar: Irene Warshauer — iwarshauer@aol.com or 212-249-6561
Registration opens: Monday January 25
Public transportation
Meet: McDonalds on corner of Stillwell Ave and Mermaid Ave at 8:00am

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, February 6, 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

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, February 6, 2016, 9am – 3pm
Winter Waterfowl of the Brooklyn Coast
Guide: Kellye Rosenheim
Join Kellye Rosenheim on a multi-stop tour of Brooklyn's most productive coastal winter waterfowl sites. We'll visit Bush Terminal Piers Park, Gravesend, and Calvert Vaux, where we'll look for interesting saltwater species such as common golden-eye, long-tailed duck, loons, and horned grebe in addition to our more common winter visitors. Bring lunch and dress warmly! Transportation by van included. Limited to 12. $86 (60)
Click here to register

Sunday, February 7, 2016, 10am – 1pm
Central Park Winter Walk: Superb Owl Sunday!
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Meet at the entrance to Central Park at Central Park West and 72nd Street. Some of the best sightings await hardy nature-lovers willing to venture out in winter! Several species of owls can be seen in Central Park for example, but generally only in the colder months. "Winter finches" such as Pine Siskins, Redpolls, and Crossbills have also been found at the feeders or in conifers in the park. Observing the adaptations for cold-weather survival among Blue Jays, Titmice, and other resident species is fascinating as well. Warm up after the walk with a hot chocolate by the fireplace at the Loeb Boathouse. Limited to 15. $36 (25)
Click here to register

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
February 7, 2016, 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Crooke’s Point
Cost: Free
Contact: Paul Lederer 718-987-1576
Maritime spits such as Crooke’s Point are dynamic typographical features which are formed and sculpted by water and wind action. Join naturalist Paul T. Lederer in a talk and walk where he will discuss the geology and human history of the site as well as the plants and animals that call this place home. Participants will meet at the Beach Center Parking Lot in Great Kills Park near the dirt road leading out to Crooke’s Point. To get to the Beach Center Parking Lot, follow Buffalo Street to just before it turns into the dirt permit road.
For more information or directions contact Paul Lederer at (718)-987-1576.

February 7, 2016, 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Mount Loretto North Woods
Cost: Free
Contact: Clay Wollney 718-869-6327
We will observe a variety of ecosystems as we search for evidence of animal life, the geologic history and human influence of this diverse area on the south shore. Meet at the parking lot for North Mount Loretto on Amboy Road in Richmond Valley.

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Queens County Bird Club
Sunday, February 7, 2016, 8am – 3pm
Croton Point
Leader: Ian Resnick 917-626-9562
CONTACT LEADER to confirm meeting time/location

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, February 7, 2016
Massapequa Lake

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.

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Urban Park Rangers
Sunday, February 7, 2016
Birding: Owls at Orchard Beach Nature Center (in Pelham Bay Park), Bronx
1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. Birding programs are appropriate for all skill levels.
Free!

Birding: Winter Waterfowl at Baisley Pond Park Parking Lot (in Baisley Pond Park), Queens
1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. This program will focus on the different species of waterfowl which overwinter in our Parks.
Free!
...Read more

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