Saturday, July 30, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

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

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* July 29, 2016
* NYNY1607.29

- Birds Mentioned

BRIDLED TERN+
SANDWICH TERN+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Cory’s Shearwater
Great Shearwater
AUDUBON’S SHEARWATER
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel
LEACH’S STORM-PETREL
BROWN PELICAN
Whimbrel
MARBLED GODWIT
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Caspian Tern
Roseate Tern
Royal Tern
Acadian Flycatcher
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT
BLUE GROSBEAK

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

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to nysarc44nybirdsorg

If electronic submission is not possible, hardcopy reports and photos or sketches are welcome. Hardcopy documentation should be mailed to:

Gary Chapin - Secretary
NYS Avian Records Committee (NYSARC)
125 Pine Springs Drive
Ticonderoga, NY 12883

Hotline: New York City Area Rare Bird Alert
Number: (212) 979-3070

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

Transcriber: Gail Benson

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

Greetings! This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, July 29, 2016 at 7:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are BRIDLED and SANDWICH TERNS, BROWN PELICAN, AUDUBON’S SHEARWATER and LEACH’S STORM-PETREL, MARBLED GODWIT and other shorebirds, BLUE GROSBEAK, and YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT.

A fisherman working the eastern edge of the Ambrose Channel last Saturday was surprised to see a SANDWICH TERN not far off Breezy Point, Queens.

Another fishing boat much farther out south of Shinnecock Inlet Sunday encountered an AUDUBON’S SHEARWATER and an immature BRIDLED TERN as well as a few GREAT and CORY’S SHEARWATERS, over 100 WILSON’S and 2 LEACH’S STORM-PETRELS.

Last Monday afternoon 2 BROWN PELICANS were spotted in Shinnecock Bay east of the Ponquogue Bridge but could not be relocated on subsequent days.

The previous Saturday a MARBLED GODWIT was seen flying west by the Ponquogue Bridge and was later seen again that day off Dune Road in the vicinity of Tiana Beach but has not been reported since.

Shore birding at Cupsogue County Park at the western end of Dune Road in Westhampton Dunes produced single WHIMBREL and WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER plus a few ROYAL and ROSEATE TERNS last Sunday along with the more expected assortment of birds.

Jones Beach West End has recently contributed PECTORAL and WESTERN SANDPIPERS, and another PECTORAL was at Heckscher State Park today. Also note that there are a number of long-billed SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS present in the area now.

At Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge recent rains have added water to the East Pond, and a moderate number of shorebirds there have included some STILT SANDPIPERS. An ACADIAN FLYCATCHER was still singing there south of Big John’s Pond last Saturday.

In Westchester County on Monday 2 CASPIAN TERNS and a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL were on the flats next to the Croton train station adjacent to Croton Point Park.

A BLUE GROSBEAK was briefly seen at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn Wednesday, and BLUE GROSBEAKS have also apparently bred successfully out in Calverton in the fields by the former Grumman Airport near the intersection of Grumman Blvd and Line Road.

A YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT was heard singing Tuesday morning near the Goethals Bridge Pond on Staten Island.

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, July 29, 2016

Friday's Foto

At about the size of an American Crow, the Green Heron is North America's second smallest wading bird after the Least Bittern. This short, stocky, mostly dark heron's most obvious traits are its chestnut breast and neck, as well as, its bluish-gray upper plumage. The "green" in the common name comes from the iridescent green sheen seen in good lighting in the crown, wings and tail.

This solitary species forages primarily by standing motionless at the edge of the water waiting for prey. They are one of the few bird species known to use tools in the form of food, insects or other small objects dropped onto the water surface to attract fish. Their diet consists of small fish, aquatic arthropods and frogs. Other prey includes any invertebrate or vertebrate they can catch, including small rodents.

Around New York City they typically build their nests in tree branches overhanging water. Fortunately, young Green Herons are reportedly capable of swimming well.

The Green Heron breeds in most of the eastern United States from the Canadian border south to the Gulf of Mexico and west to the Great Plains, western Texas and southwestern New Mexico. On the Pacific coast, it breeds from British Columbia south to California and Arizona. After the breeding season the more northerly populations migrate to overwintering grounds in the southern United States to northern Colombia, northern Venezuela and eastern Ecuador.

Their scientific name, Butorides virescens, means - resembling the bittern and greenish.

This species is not on the State of North America's Birds 2016 "Watch List". The conservation status of the Green Heron has not yet been assessed for the IUCN Red List. Their populations appear to be stable and they may be expanding their range northward in parts of the northwest.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

From Sci-Tech Today:

Curing Florida's Algae Crisis Will Take Time, Money, Science
By Terry Spencer
July 18, 2016

The enormous algae outbreak that has coated swaths of Florida's St. Lucie River with guacamole-like sludge is a man-made affliction, arising from political and economic decisions made over the past 140 years.

Chasing dollars, Florida land developers and their government allies broke up nature's flow that used rivers, Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades to move water south from central Florida to the Florida Bay at the peninsula's tip. That spurred Florida's economic growth, but it came with a price: Rivers and lagoons have periodically become so toxic with green and brown slime that fish die off, residents are sickened and tourists stay away.

The algae-laden runoff flowing down rivers and estuaries after this year's heavy winter rains has hit especially hard along the St. Lucie River nearing the heavily populated Atlantic beaches.

It's an oft-recurring problem. Yet joint federal and state projects agreed upon in 2000 by former Democratic President Bill Clinton and then-Republican Gov. Jeb Bush have been slow to materialize amid tight budgets and political opposition.

What Causes Severe Algae Outbreaks?

It's complicated, but the simple answer is humans. From the late 1800s well into the 1900s, business interests with government cooperation sought to drain the Everglades so land could be developed. Water that naturally flowed south from Lake Okeechobee through the Everglades to Florida Bay was diverted east and west into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers and out to sea.

Around the lake, farms, ranches and homes sprang up, producing human and animal waste and fertilizer, all laden with phosphorus and nitrogen that fast-reproducing algae feast upon. Florida's heavy seasonal rains wash the pollutants into the lake and slow-moving rivers, prompting massive blooms almost annually in Florida's summer heat.

What Are the Outbreaks' Consequences?

Environmental, health and economic. Outbreaks kill fish and other plants by sucking oxygen from the water and releasing toxins. Toxins in the food chain can kill birds, reptiles and mammals. Humans fall sick by touching or breathing toxins. Boaters, fishermen and beachgoers stay away as waters look and smell rancid.

What Are the Short-Term Solutions?

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District, which control much of the flow through levees and gates, are holding more water north of Lake Okeechobee and sending less water into the rivers. That has alleviated the immediate outbreak, at least in the river. An algae bloom in the lake covers 200 square miles.

What About Long-Term Solutions?

Gov. Rick Scott wants to spend unspecified millions to get homeowners off septic tanks and onto sewer lines, reducing nutrient runoff.

Scott also wants federal authorities to expedite an $880 million project strengthening a dike which surrounds Lake Okeechobee, controlling its water flow. The 18-year project is scheduled for completion in 2025; Scott wants it done faster. Democrats and Republicans are at odds over who's to blame for not allocating extra money.

Eric Draper, Audubon Florida's executive director, said strengthening the Herbert Hoover Dike "won't do anything" to alleviate algae because the Army Corps of Engineers will never significantly raise Lake Okeechobee's water level.

John Campbell, a Corps spokesman, said even with expedited funding, it's unclear how much faster the project could be completed -- given there are only so many qualified contractors to do the work.

What Are Environmental Groups Proposing?

Some environmentalists say nature has the best solution: Let the water flow south into the Everglades as it did before man intervened. That's what was proposed in the then-$7.8 billion pact Clinton and Bush negotiated 16 years ago.

To achieve that end, retention reservoirs covering 90 square miles would be built south of Lake Okeechobee. Supporters say the water could be cleaned of phosphorus, nitrogen and other pollutants before releasing it into the Everglades. They say that also would improve the health of Florida Bay, which lost seagrass when dwindling freshwater turned the bay water too salty.

Does Everyone Agree?

No. Brian LaPointe, an algae researcher at Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, said scrubbing the water of so much nitrogen would be nearly impossible. Besides, nitrogen-laden water would be a disaster for the Florida Bay, its seagrass and its coral, he said. Instead, he recommends reducing the amount of nutrients that farmers, ranchers and residents near the lake leech into the water.

Could the Reservoir Plan Be Enacted?

That's doubtful in the current political climate. The plan would require buying land owned by powerful cane growers U.S. Sugar Corp. and Florida Crystals. U.S. Sugar struck a deal in 2008 to sell 300 square miles of land to the state for $1.7 billion, but Florida's economy tanked, the state ran low on money, legislators balked and the company changed its mind. Only 42 square miles were purchased for $197 million.

© 2016 Associated Press under contract with NewsEdge. All rights reserved.
...Read more

Monday, July 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, July 30, 2016 to Sunday, July 31, 2016 (update 7/28/16):

Gateway National Recreation Area
Every Sunday Weekly and Every Saturday Weekly from 06/04/2016 to 09/03/2016 11:00AM to 12:00PM
Birding for Beginners
Join us for an introduction to this fun hobby. Learn the basics of birding. Bring binoculars and a field guide or borrow them from wildlife refuge!
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fee Information: Free

Every Sunday Weekly and Every Saturday Weekly from 05/28/2016 to 08/28/2016 9:30AM to 11:30AM
Camp Gateway Walk-up and Paddle
Try kayaking! Open to the public, ages 6 and up with an adult. No reservation required. Bring a snack, water and sunscreen.
Bus: Q35
Location: Floyd Bennett Field – Brooklyn, Seaplane Ramp
Fee Information: FREE
Contact Name: Ryan Visitor Center
Contact Phone Number: 718-338-3799

Every Saturday Weekly from 05/28/2016 to 08/27/2016 1:00PM to 3:30PM
Canarsie Walk-up and Paddle
Kayak tryouts for those who have never done it before. Open to the public, ages 6 and up with an adult. No reservations required.
Location: Canarsie Pier, Brooklyn
Fee Information: FREE
Contact Name: Ryan Visitor Center
Contact Phone Number: (718)338-3799

Every Sunday Weekly from 06/05/2016 to 09/04/2016 11:00AM to 12:00PM
Fort Tilden Bunkers Walking Tour
Join a Park Ranger for an exploration of Fort Tilden's gun batteries, and find out about the fort's role in the defense of New York Harbor.
1 mile.
Location: Fort Tilden-Building 1
Fee Information: Free

**********

Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Sunday, July 31, 2016 - 10:00am
Butterfly Adventure at Caumsett State Park
Today we will look for butterfly species and insects at this beautiful state park. Bring insect repellent and water-it may be hot!
Directions: From Main Street (Route 25A) in the village of Huntington, turn onto West Neck Road and follow north until you see the park on your left. There is a parking fee for those that do not have an Empire Pass.
Registration: 585-880-0915

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, July 31, 2016
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11am to 12:30pm beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturdays, May 7-July 30, 8-9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks, The Bronx
Guides: NYC Audubon, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy with the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy
Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

Saturday, July 30, 2016, 8:20am-3pm
Croton Point Park
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Travel in comfort aboard Metro North to visit Croton Point Park, a beautiful 500-acre park on a peninsula on the Hudson River, about one hour north of the city. The park is rich in natural and human history - it has the oldest native american oyster shell middens in the northeast, revealing that it was inhabited as long as 7,000 years ago; today, the park has a wonderful mix of forest, wetlands, and grassland. The grasslands are atop a hill formed by a former landfill, and are home to hard-to-find breeding bird species such as indigo bunting, grasshopper sparrow, bobolink, and eastern meadowlark. The woodlands nearby are home to breeding great horned owl, willow flycatcher, and orchard oriole, as well as the more expected common breeders. Bring lunch for a picnic in one of the river-side pavilions. Limited to 20. Round-trip Metro North fare ($20.50) not included in trip price. $53 (37)
Click here to register

**********

NYC H2O
Sunday, July 31, 2016 at 10:00am
Ridgewood Reservoir Community Tour
NYC H2O is offering free tours of the Ridgewood Reservoir to community members and the public.

The Ridgewood Reservoir in Highland Park is a 50+ acre natural oasis that straddles the border of Brooklyn and Queens. Built in 1859 to supply the once independent City of Brooklyn with high quality water, it became obsolete with the addition of new reservoirs in the Catskills in the 1950’s and was decommissioned in the 1980’s. Since then, nature took its course in a perfect case study of ecological succession. A lush and dense forest has grown in its two outside basins while a freshwater pond with waterfowl sits in the middle basin.

Join us to explore this incredible natural resource in the heart of NYC. Please make a reservation.

We will meet in the parking lot at 1 Vermont Place. Click here to register

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, July 30, 2016
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Our bird walks focus on wildlife happenings in the park and are led by NYC Audubon experts.
Free!

Birding at Bush Terminal Piers Park (in Bush Terminal Park), Brooklyn
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Go birding with the Urban Park Rangers at Bush Terminal Park, a waterfront park that recently opened in Brooklyn!
Free!

Ranger's Choice: Idlewild Birding by Canoe Excursion (advanced) at Idlewild Park, Queens
3:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
Enjoy a paddle in the wetlands of Jamaica Bay and view incredible birds. Pre-registration required.
Free!

Arts, Culture and Fun: Dark Nights, Bright Lights at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m.
NYC Parks’ Urban Park Rangers will be your guides to the solar system, discussing the science, history and folkloreof the universe. Join us to explore the evening sky at Pelham Bay P…
Free!
...Read more

Sunday, July 24, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

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

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jul. 23, 2016
* NYNY1607.23

- Birds mentioned
KING EIDER
American Bittern
Cattle Egret
Bald Eagle
Willet (subspecies "Western Willet")
Whimbrel
Red Knot
Stilt Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Louisiana Waterthrush

- 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

(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Saturday, July 23rd 2016 at 2am. The highlights of today's tape are KING EIDER and shorebird migration.

The previously reported subadult male KING EIDER was relocated on Monday at Caumsett State Park at the Long Island Sound at the end of the fishing road.

Shorebird migration at the East Pond Jamaica Bay was good last Saturday with 1,000 birds reported highlighted by 600 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, 1 PECTORAL SANDPIPER and 1 STILT SANDPIPER. The bird numbers at the East Pond declined during the week but 9 STILT SANDPIPERS and one PECTORAL SANDPIPER were found on Thursday. The shorebirding at Cupsogue County Park was slow in numbers during the week with 3 WHIMBREL, 1 "Western" WILLET, 2 WESTERN SANDPIPERS and a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER reported last weekend. Last Sunday 14 species of shorebirds were found at the water pools at Jones Beach West End including 15 "Western" WILLETS, 4 RED KNOTS, 2 STILT SANDPIPERS and 1 PECTORAL SANDPIPER. A WHIMBREL was found at Cedar Beach [...] on Wednesday. Other reports for the period were an adult BALD EAGLE along the Carmen River last Saturday, 7 CATTLE EGRETS flying over the Hudson River at 125th Street Manhattan on Tuesday, 2 AMERICAN BITTERN were found last Monday on a marsh island off the mouth of Freeport Harbor, a LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH was found Thursday at Sunken Meadow State Park.

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, July 22, 2016

Friday's Foto

With the "Fall" shorebird migration upon us, I thought I'd make my next few Friday's Foto postings a species of shorebird.

During migration the Stilt Sandpiper is an uncommon visitor to Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. This medium-sized, long-legged wader is often described as looking like a yellowlegs but feeding like a dowitcher, often plunging their head underwater. In breeding plumage it is heavily barred brown-and-white with a white eye-line that separates a rufous cap and cheek. In basic plumage it is pale gray, with a light, unstreaked belly and white eye-line. They breed in the Arctic tundra above the tree line in sedge meadows near water. After the nesting season they migrate South primarily through the Great Plains, wintering in South America with small numbers casually north to Florida and southern California. An interactive range map can be seen here.

Its scientific name, Calidris himantopus, is from Greek and means grey-colored waterside bird; wading bird, (from himas, himantos strap, thong; pous foot).

The Stilt Sandpiper in not on the 2016 State of the Birds Watch List and their conservation status on the IUCN Red List is "Least Concern" due to their large range and apparently increasing population.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

From the award winning film "NaturePlay":

NaturePlay is a stunning 4K, Cinematic portrait of Childhood defining education and play. Upon the start of their own child's education, the Danish/American filmmakers discover that in the USA rampant school testing has become a virus, turning the system into an infected beast. In their search for a cure, they go on an inspiring Nordic journey to uncover how children naturally learn and a way to take childhood back. A secret defense is also unveiled to rescue these children. One that can drive social change.

In a High Stakes education - What’s truly at stake?

Our Children.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

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

Eastern Long Island Audubon Society
Saturday, July 23, 2016 – 7:30am
Dune Road Drive
Meet at the Shinnecock Inlet, near the communication tower. Join us in our annual Stop and Look along Dune Road, from Hampton Bays (Shinnecock Inlet) to the Post Ave. Bridge (Quogue), with stops along the way. We will hopefully see some lingering and nesting shorebirds, as well as some early migrants heading south. Rain or shine – only a lightning storm will cause cancellation! Bring bug spray, and sun screen – Temporary Town of Southampton Parking Permits for the trip will be available to non-Southampton Town Residents for the trip. Binoculars are necessary, and scopes are helpful.
For info, please contact Eileen Schwinn, the Trip Leader, by email: beachmed@optonline.net or call 516-662-7751 the day of the trip.

**********

Gateway National Recreation Area
Every Sunday Weekly and Every Saturday Weekly from 06/04/2016 to 09/03/2016 11:00AM to 12:00PM
Birding for Beginners
Join us for an introduction to this fun hobby. Learn the basics of birding. Bring binoculars and a field guide or borrow them from wildlife refuge!
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fee Information: Free

Every Sunday Weekly and Every Saturday Weekly from 05/28/2016 to 08/28/2016 9:30AM to 11:30AM
Camp Gateway Walk-up and Paddle
Try kayaking! Open to the public, ages 6 and up with an adult. No reservation required. Bring a snack, water and sunscreen.
Bus: Q35
Location: Floyd Bennett Field – Brooklyn, Seaplane Ramp
Fee Information: FREE
Contact Name: Ryan Visitor Center
Contact Phone Number: 718-338-3799

Every Saturday Weekly from 05/28/2016 to 08/27/2016 1:00PM to 3:30PM
Canarsie Walk-up and Paddle
Kayak tryouts for those who have never done it before. Open to the public, ages 6 and up with an adult. No reservations required.
Location: Canarsie Pier, Brooklyn
Fee Information: FREE
Contact Name: Ryan Visitor Center
Contact Phone Number: (718)338-3799

Every Sunday Weekly from 06/05/2016 to 09/04/2016 11:00AM to 12:00PM
Fort Tilden Bunkers Walking Tour
Join a Park Ranger for an exploration of Fort Tilden's gun batteries, and find out about the fort's role in the defense of New York Harbor.
1 mile.
Location: Fort Tilden-Building 1
Fee Information: Free

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11am to 12:30pm beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturdays, May 7-July 30, 8-9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks, The Bronx
Guides: NYC Audubon, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy with the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy
Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

Sunday, July 24, 2016, 8am-3pm
Birding Gems of Staten Island: Freshkills Park
Guides: Cliff Hagen, Tod Winston
Meet at the Staten Island Ferry and start your trip with a journey across the Upper Bay! This is a special opportunity to see Freshkills Park in transition from what was once the world’s largest landfill into an expansive park. Currently closed to the general public, the Park is home to rolling grasslands, tidal marshes, successional woodlands and a freshwater pond system, which host an array of breeding birds, butterflies, mammals, frogs, and turtles. Grasshopper sparrows, osprey, yellow warblers, and blue grosbeaks nest alongside wrens, blackbirds, orioles and shorebirds. Wading birds feed on the mudflats at low tide while hawks and vultures soar above. On calm, sunny days, one can expect to find nearly two dozens species of butterflies as they nectar among the grasses and woodlands. Transport by passenger van on S.I. included. Limited to 12. $68 (47)
Click here to register

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NYC H2O
Wednesday July 20 at 6:30pm
Sunday July 24 at 10am

Ridgewood Reservoir Community Tour

Due to high demand, NYC H2O will be offering two additional free tours of the Ridgewood Reservoir to community members and the public on Wednesday July 20 at 6:30pm and Sunday July 24 at 10am.

The Ridgewood Reservoir in Highland Park is a 50+ acre natural oasis that straddles the border of Brooklyn and Queens. Built in 1859 to supply the once independent City of Brooklyn with high quality water, it became obsolete with the addition of new reservoirs in the Catskills in the 1950's and was decommissioned in the 1980's. Since then, nature took its course in a perfect case study of ecological succession. A lush and dense forest has grown in its two outside basins while a freshwater pond with waterfowl sits in the middle basin.

Join us to explore this incredible natural resource in the heart of NYC.

We will meet in the parking lot at 1 Vermont Place, Brooklyn NY 11207 across the street from the reservoir.

The tour is free but please RSVP here.

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Sunday, July 24, 2016 @ 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Discover Dragonflies with Paul Lederer
Cost: Free
Contact: Paul Lederer 718-354-9200
Dragonflies have been a part of the fauna of this planet long before dinosaurs roamed the earth. Learn about the identification, behavior and biology of these fascinating insects. Bring binoculars if you have them. Participants will meet at the Greenbelt’s Pouch Boy Scout Camp at 1465 Manor Road by the totem poles in the parking lot.
For more information contact Paul at his cell phone 718-354-9200.

**********

Staten Island Museum
Saturday, July 23, 8:30pm - 10:30pm
Moth Night: Snug as a Bug
Location: Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Building A
Cost: $10/ Children under 12 Free
All ages are welcome to bring cameras, flashlights, containers and field notebooks. Stay up late and celebrate National Moth Week with night walks and glowing observation attractors. Friends include: the Greenbelt Nature Center, Staten Island Academy, and an outdoor dance performance of Bad Woods, by the Wild Hive Collective. To learn more go to NationalMothWeek.org.
Register here
Walk-ins welcome.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Bird Walks focus on wildlife happenings in the park and are led by NYC Audubon experts.
Free!

Sunday, July 24, 2016
Orchard Beach Lagoon Birding Canoe Excursion (Intermediate) at Pelham Bay Park, Bronx
12:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.
Explore the Orchard Beach Lagoon, as we look for birds that live there. Prior canoe experience preferred.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, July 16, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

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

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jul. 16, 2016
* NYNY1607.16

- Birds mentioned
ARCTIC TERN+
WHITE-FACED IBIS+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

KING EIDER
Cory's Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
Wilson's Storm-Petrel
Northern Gannet
AMERICAN AVOCET
Lesser Yellowlegs
Whimbrel
Stilt Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Roseate Tern
Royal Tern
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Worm-eating Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow
Eastern Meadowlark

- 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 Saturday, July 16th 2016 at 1:30am. The highlights of today's tape are WHITE-FACED IBIS, KING EIDER, AMERICAN AVOCET, ARCTIC TERN.

A WHITE-FACED IBIS was found on Friday at the south end of the East Pond at Jamaica Bay. An immature male KING EIDER has been present for over a week and was last reported on Thursday at Caumsett State Park off the beach at the fisherman's parking lot.

Five AMERICAN AVOCETS were found on Friday at Red Creek Pond, Hampton Bays at the end of Creek Road.

Two ARCTIC TERNS were found at Cupsogue last Sunday along with 6 ROSEATE TERNS, 1 ROYAL TERN and a WESTERN SANDPIPER.

Seabird watching was sporadic last week with small numbers of CORY'S SHEARWATERS, WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS and a single SOOTY SHEARWATER and 7 NORTHERN GANNETS reported on Sunday.

The shorebirding at the Cupsogue flats was also slow last week with about 10-12 species highlighted by 140 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS on Sunday.

Also shorebirding was poor at Jamaica Bay with 10 species highlighted by 30 LESSER YELLOWLEGS and one STILT SANDPIPER on Friday.

A WHIMBREL was seen at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday.

Four species of warblers highlighted by WORM-EATING WARBLER were noted in Central Park at the reservoir last Sunday.

At the Calverton Grasslands four GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS, 6 EASTERN MEADOWLARKS, CHIPPING SPARROW, SAVANNAH SPARROW, BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER and a YELLOW WARBLER were seen last Saturday.

Tom Burke will be away next week. Please call your reports to Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126.

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

- End transcript
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Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday's Foto

Weighing in at less than half a deck of playing cards, the diminutive Piping Plover is listed as federally "Threatened" and "Endangered" in New York State, receiving protection under the Endangered Species Act in 1985. Three North American breeding populations nest along Great Lakes beaches, on lakes and river shorelines of the northern Great Plains and on the Atlantic coastline from North Carolina to Newfoundland. Within New York City small numbers can be found nesting along the shore of the Rockaway peninsula from the Rockaways to Breezy Point. Feeding along beaches and intertidal mud and sand flats, their principle diet is marine worms, insect larvae, beetles, crustaceans, mollusks and other small marine animals and their eggs. Like many other species of birds, Piping Plovers were nearly wiped out during the 19th century due to excessive hunting for the millinery trade. Today, unfortunately their critical nesting habitat tends to overlap with humans recreational areas. Conservation efforts are attempting to increase their populations. Their winter range is along the Gulf of Mexico, the southern Atlantic coast of North America and the Caribbean. It was recently discovered that large numbers overwinter in the Bahamas.

Piping Plover chicks are precocial, able to walk and feed themselves shortly after hatching. Able to fly within 28 days, they still face predation from American Kestrels, Great Blue Herons, crows, owls, skunks, Raccoons, Foxes, Coyotes, Cats and Dogs.

Their scientific name, Charadrius melodus, means frequenting the shore; melodious. Melodious derives from its call notes, plaintive whistles, often heard before these tiny, sand-colored birds are seen.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Treehugger Tuesday

From the Associated Press:

India State Aims to Plant a Record 50 Million Trees in a Day
By Biswajeet Banerjee, Associated Press

LUCKNOW, India — Jul 11, 2016, 5:41 AM ET

Hundreds of thousands of people in India's most populous state jostled for space Monday as they attempted to plant 50 million trees over 24 hours in hopes of shattering the world record.

Officials in Uttar Pradesh distributed millions of saplings to be planted across the state to help India's efforts to increase its forest cover, and to get into Guinness World Records for the most trees planted in a day. The current record is 847,275, set in Pakistan in 2013.

More than 800,000 people, including students, lawmakers, government officials, housewives and volunteers from nonprofit organizations, headed out Monday to plant the saplings at designated spots along country roads and highways, rail tracks and forest lands.

Uttar Pradesh's top elected official, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, said that planting 50 million trees would spread awareness and enthusiasm about afforestation and environmental conservation.

"The world has realized that serious efforts are needed to reduce carbon emissions to mitigate the effects of global climate change. Uttar Pradesh has made a beginning in this regard," Yadav told volunteers in the city of Kannauj, 250 kilometers (155 miles) southwest of the state capital, Lucknow.

India's government is encouraging all 29 states to start tree-planting drives to increase the country's forest cover as part of commitments made at last year's climate change summit in Paris. The government has designated more than $6.2 billion for tree-planting across the country, in keeping with its pledge to push India's forest cover to 95 million hectares (235 million acres) by 2030.

In Lucknow's Kukrail Reserve Forest, eighth-grader Shashwat Rai said he was planting a "peepal," using the local name for the fig species Ficus religiosa.

"I've read in a book that this tree releases maximum oxygen," Rai said. "There is so much pollution in the city, we need trees that produce oxygen."

Shashwat said he would be checking on the tree frequently. "I don't want this plant to die," he said.

The long-term survival of trees planted in such mass campaigns remains a concern, officials said.

Senior forest official Sanjeev Saran said the sites where the trees have been planted would be monitored through aerial photographs taken at regular intervals to check how many of the saplings were thriving.

Usually, only 60 percent of saplings survive, with the rest succumbing to disease or lack of water, officials said.

Meanwhile, auditors from Guinness World Records were moving around in the state to check on the numbers. "We are trying to maintain full transparency," Saran said.

"They are out in the field and are supervising the plantation drive," he said. "We do not know who they are or where they are at this point in time. They are working incognito, and this suits us."

Last year, Uttar Pradesh entered Guinness World Records for the largest distribution of saplings by donating more than 1 million trees that were planted at 10 locations in the state.
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Monday, July 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, July 16, 2016 to Sunday, July 17, 2016:

Freshkills Park (Staten Island)
Sunday, July 17, 2016, 9:30am
Classic Harbor Line Tour
Cruise on the vibrant waterways of the Kill Van Kull and the Arthur Kill and into the heart of Freshkills Park in Staten Island on one of Classic Harbor Line’s luxury yachts. The AIANY and Freshkills Park planners host this special Classic Harbor Line tour; the only public water tour into the Freshkills waterway.
Sign Up at EventBrite

Sunday, July 17, 2016 10:00am
Bus Tour
Learn about the past, present and future of Freshkills Park development during a guided bus ride through the park. Stops at the top of the park’s hills offer beautiful panoramic views of Staten Island. This tour departs from the Eltingville Transit Center.
Sign Up at EventBrite

Sunday, July 17, 2016 1:00pm
Bus Tour
Learn about the past, present and future of Freshkills Park development during a guided bus ride through the park. Stops at the top of the park’s hills offer beautiful panoramic views of Staten Island. This tour departs from the Eltingville Transit Center.
Sign Up at EventBrite

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Gateway National Recreation Area
Every Sunday Weekly and Every Saturday Weekly from 06/04/2016 to 09/03/2016 11:00AM to 12:00PM
Birding for Beginners
Join us for an introduction to this fun hobby. Learn the basics of birding. Bring binoculars and a field guide or borrow them from wildlife refuge!
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fee Information: Free

Every Sunday Weekly and Every Saturday Weekly from 05/28/2016 to 08/28/2016 9:30AM to 11:30AM
Camp Gateway Walk-up and Paddle
Try kayaking! Open to the public, ages 6 and up with an adult. No reservation required. Bring a snack, water and sunscreen.
Bus: Q35
Location: Floyd Bennett Field – Brooklyn, Seaplane Ramp
Fee Information: FREE
Contact Name: Ryan Visitor Center
Contact Phone Number: 718-338-3799

Every Saturday Weekly from 05/28/2016 to 08/27/2016 1:00PM to 3:30PM
Canarsie Walk-up and Paddle
Kayak tryouts for those who have never done it before. Open to the public, ages 6 and up with an adult. No reservations required.
Location: Canarsie Pier, Brooklyn
Fee Information: FREE
Contact Name: Ryan Visitor Center
Contact Phone Number: (718)338-3799

Every Sunday Weekly from 06/05/2016 to 09/04/2016 11:00AM to 12:00PM
Fort Tilden Bunkers Walking Tour
Join a Park Ranger for an exploration of Fort Tilden's gun batteries, and find out about the fort's role in the defense of New York Harbor.
1 mile.
Location: Fort Tilden-Building 1
Fee Information: Free

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New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturday, July 16, 2016
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11am to 12:30pm beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, July 16, 2016 10am – 4pm
It's Your Tern Festival
Come celebrate Governors Island’s treasures: Common terns and oysters! Common terns have recently colonized several decommissioned piers on the Governors Island waterfront; in 2013, researchers from NYC Audubon and Cornell University counted 181 nests and banded 100 chicks. The Tern Festival will be held 10am until 4pm as part of Waterfront Alliance’s City of Water Day, and will feature speakers, a bird tour of Governors Island, a botany and natural history tour of the Island, and a common tern viewing station.

Saturdays, May 7-July 30, 8-9:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks, The Bronx
Guides: NYC Audubon, Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy with the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy
Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

Saturday, July 16, 2016, 10am – 11:30am
City of Water Day EcoCruise
Join Gabriel Willow of NYC Audubon on board the Circle Line for a special eco-cruise to view Hoffman and Swinburne Islands! Explore the natural history of the area and learn about the crucial ecology of our harbor estuary!
This is a 75-minute, one-way tour from Pier 83, Hudson River to Yankee Pier at Governors Island. Once you get back to Governors Island, be sure to stop by and visit NYC Audubon's 'It's Your Tern Festival'!
To sign up, visit http://waterfrontalliance.org/what-we-do/city-of-water-day/activities/ and scroll down to 'Boat Tours'

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NYC H2O
Sunday, July 17, 2016, 11am
Flushing Creek Bike Tour with Sergey Kadinsky, author of "Hidden Waters of NYC"
Sergey Kadinsky, author of Hidden Waters of New York City, will lead this ride. Join Sergey, NYC H2O, the S.W.I.M Coalition, Guardians of Flushing Bay and the Empire Dragon Boat Team on a bike tour along this waterway that explores Flushing Creek from its source to its mouth.

Flushing Creek is an urban waterway hidden in plain sight that runs between two highways through the heart of the largest park in Queens. The creek originates in the midst of a complex network of roads. It first expands into two lakes before being confined in an underground culvert. It then re-emerges in Willets Point from where it eventually empties into Flushing Bay. This is the stream that flowed past the Valley of Ashes in The Great Gatsby. Arguably, it is the centerpiece of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the site that hosted two World's Fairs.

Flushing Bay and Creek have the largest number of combined sewer overflow (CSO) outfalls in the city. Billions of gallons of untreated sewage and stormwater are discharged into these waterbodies every year. The future of Flushing Creek is the subject of controversy. Come learn about why it deserves our advocacy.

The ride is 3.5 miles long with several stops along the route.
Cost: $20
Have questions about Flushing Creek Bike Tour - July 17? Contact NYC H2O
Click here to register

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, July 16, 2016 @ 10:00am – 2:00pm
Forest Restoration Workshop – La Tourette Bike Path
Cost: Free
Contact: Don Recklies 718-768-9036, Chuck Perry 718-667-1393
Meet in the Field of Dreams ballfield parking lot on Alaska Place off of Forest Hill Road (opposite the Costco). We will walk the path removing alien saplings and cutting invasive vines that strangle native plants along the trail. If you don’t have your own, Protectors will supply gloves and pruners (and refreshments). After a two-hour work session (our 238th monthly workshop), 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.

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, July 16, 2016
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Bird Walks focus on wildlife happenings in the park and are led by NYC Audubon experts.
Free!

Sunday, July 17, 2016
Birding: Ridgewood Reservoir at Main entrance across from the Vermont Place Parking Lot
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Explore the Ridgewood Reservoir for interesting bird species with the Urban Park Rangers.
Free!
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Friday, July 08, 2016

New York City Rare Bird Alert

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

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* July 8, 2016
* NYNY1607.08

- Birds Mentioned

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

BROWN PELICAN
CATTLE EGRET
Black-bellied Plover
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
WHIMBREL
STILT SANDPIPER
Short-billed Dowitcher
GULL-BILLED TERN
Roseate Tern
Royal Tern
Acadian Flycatcher
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Worm-eating Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Northern Parula
Prairie Warbler
Grasshopper Sparrow
BLUE GROSBEAK
Bobolink

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, July 8, 2016 at 7:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are BROWN PELICAN, WHITE-FACED IBIS, ARCTIC and GULL-BILLED TERNS, CATTLE EGRET, WHIMBREL and STILT SANDPIPER, and BLUE GROSBEAK.

Two BROWN PELICANS spotted Thursday morning at Smith Point County Park in Shirley continued east and presumably were half of the four seen later at Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes; these four spent the day moving about the bay near Moriches Inlet before ending up on the large bar just inside the Inlet. However, we have no report that they continued in that area today.

Also at Cupsogue, out on the flats last Saturday afternoon an adult ARCTIC TERN joined single ROYAL and ROSEATE plus other expected TERNS plus an assemblage of shorebirds that featured a WHIMBREL, 95 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS and GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS among the migrants.

Neither the Ruff nor the White-faced Ibis were seen at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge this week, but a WHITE-FACED IBIS was reported Sunday afternoon from the marsh off Captree Island – was this the Jamaica Bay bird, which had been fading rapidly?

Jamaica Bay did have a productive week, with a CATTLE EGRET visiting the southern end of the East Pond briefly both Sunday and Monday. Among the shorebirds there, a STILT SANDPIPER appeared at the south end on Monday, while a WHIMBREL was reported flying over the former West Pond the day before. One or two GULL-BILLED TERNS were present during the week, usually around the south end of the former West Pond but also occasionally on the East Pond, where a ROYAL TERN was noted Tuesday. Migrant shorebirds at the Bay have so far been low but building, including some BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS, up to 200 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS yesterday, and both YELLOWLEGS, and conditions look good for more to arrive once the heat wave ends. An ACADIAN FLYCATCHER was still singing during the week in the woods south of Big John’s Pond.

A WHIMBREL continued to visit the bar off the Coast Guard Station at Jones Beach West End at least to Saturday.

Up to three BLUE GROSBEAKS, adult and sub-adult males plus a female, continue around the grasslands at the former Grumman Airport in Calverton, often noted near the intersection of Line Road and Grumman Boulevard. Lots of GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS and a nice variety of birds also continue there.

Among the seasonal floaters or early fall migrants noted recently have been BOBOLINK, BANK SWALLOW, and among the WARBLERS, NORTHERN PARULA, WORM-EATING, PRAIRIE, and BLACK-AND-WHITE. The CLIFF SWALLOWS recently at Pelham Bay and Van Cortland Parks in the Bronx may represent birds disrupted from other breeding colonies; as a note, it did appear Monday that some nests on the Cross River Reservoir Dam had been damaged, and many fewer CLIFF SWALLOWS were present than earlier.

For the next two weeks Tony Lauro will handle the RBA duties, so please call Tony with your reports at (631) 734-4126.

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

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