Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website Electrek:

Cheapest electricity on the planet is Mexican solar power at 1.77¢/kWh – record 1¢/kWh coming in 2019, sooner
John Fitzgerald Weaver
Nov. 16th 2017

Per a press release from the Centro Nacional de Control de Energía (Cenace) of Mexico, the department received bids for 3TWh of solar electricity, with the lowest bids being 1.77¢/kWh coming from Italian multinational ENEL Green Power.

This record low price of electricity on earth, just beats out the 1.79¢/kWh from Saudi Arabia, and is part of a pattern marching toward 1¢/kWh bids that are coming in 2019 (or sooner).

Mexico’s Department of Energy along with Cenace announced the results of the country’s ‘Third Long Term Auction.’ Fifteen bids were accepted from eight wind and solar power companies. ENGIE bid as Solar and Wind companies, Mitsui alongside Trina, ENEL and Canadian Solar were some of the better known names.

ENEL won bids on four projects total with tariffs of 1.77¢, 1.77¢, 1.94¢ and 1.80¢/kWh. The projects were sized 167MW, 122MW, 277MW and 116MW, respectively – totaling 682MW total. These four bids are the two lowest, and 4th/5th lowest bids ever for solar power projects.

Read the entire article here

Monday, November 20, 2017

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, November 25, 2017 to Sunday, November 26, 2017:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, November 25, 2017, 12 pm – 1 pm
Introduction to Bird Watching
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a birdwatching walk and learn about Prospect Park’s magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!

**********

Gateway National Parks
Sunday, November 26, 2017
Salt Marsh Detectives
Time: 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Investigate what makes a salt marsh and who lives there.
View Details

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturdays -- 11:00 a.m.
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
Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Included in All-Garden Pass
Get Tickets

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturdays, September 2–November 25, 2017, 8-9:30am
Van Cortlandt Park Bird Walks
Guides: NYC Audubon with the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy
Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

**********

Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, November 25, 2017
Grande Jones Beach
Leader: Mike Zito (516) 507-9419
Where: US Coast Guard, 1 West End Boat Basin, Freeport, NY 11520 (map)

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, November 26, 2017
Point Lookout Town Park and Lido Preserve

From the Southern State Parkway, exit onto the Meadowbrook State Parkway south. Exit from the Meadowbrook at Loop Parkway (just before the Jones Beach toll booths) toward Point Lookout. The Loop Parkway ends west of Point Lookout at Lido Boulevard. Continue straight across Lido Boulevard into Point Lookout Park. Travel past the ticket booths and curve left into the very large parking lot on the south side of the park. Park in the southeast corner, closest to the private homes of the village of Point Lookout and the beach. We will walk east along the beach toward Jones Inlet. After returning to the parking lot, we will drive west on Lido Boulevard to Lido Beach Passive Nature Preserve on the north side of Lido Boulevard to walk through the bay marsh.

Directions to Point Lookout Park via Google Maps | Directions to Lido Beach Passive Nature Preserve via Google Maps

Bird walks led by a member of SSAS are conducted nearly every Sunday morning from late August through early June. Walks are open to the public and are free of charge. We especially encourage youngsters to attend.
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.


**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, November 25, 2017
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Join NYC Audubon on birding walks through Van Cortlandt Park to discover wildlife happenings in the park.
Free!

Discovery Walks for Families: Beginning Birders - The North Woods at Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (in Central Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Why do birds flock to Central Park every spring and fall? We’ll find out as we explore Central Park’s woodlands, and learn the basics of bird identification along the…
Free!

Sunday, November 26, 2017
Discovery Walks for Families: Beginning Birders - Hallett Nature Sanctuary and The Pond at Chess and Checkers House (in Central Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Why do birds flock to Central Park every spring and fall? We’ll find out as we explore Central Park’s woodlands, and learn the basics of bird identification along the…
Free!

**********

Wild Bird Fund
Saturday, November 25, 2017, 9:00am - 12:00pm
Take a Walk on the Wild Side – Thanksgiving Edition
Please join WBF member and artist/naturalist Alan Messer for a Thanksgiving-season bird walk on November 25 (Rain Date, November 26) into Central Park for early winter birds. We'll check the southern part of the Reservoir for gulls and waterfowl including mergansers, coots, among our over-wintering duck species. Late migration hawks can be seen while we head to the Ramble for hermit thrushes, sparrows, finches, kinglets, and woodpeckers. We'll be…
Find out more »
...Read more

Friday, November 17, 2017

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, November 17, 2017

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Nov. 17, 2017
* NYNY1711.17

- Birds Mentioned

BARNACLE GOOSE+
PACIFIC LOON+
WESTERN TANAGER+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
Snow Goose
Cackling Goose
Tundra Swan
Eurasian Wigeon
Common Gallinule
HUDSONIAN GODWIT
Parasitic Jaeger
Razorbill
Black-legged Kittiwake
Bonaparte’s Gull
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Iceland Gull
Royal Tern
NORTHERN FULMAR
Great Shearwater
Northern Gannet
AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN
Rough-legged Hawk
GOLDEN EAGLE
SNOWY OWL
Red-headed Woodpecker
Lapland Longspur
Orange-crowned Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
Vesper 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

Compilers: Tom Burke and 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, November 17, 2017 at 7:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are WESTERN TANAGER, PACIFIC LOON, AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN, GOLDEN EAGLE, NORTHERN FULMAR, such waterfowl as BARNACLE and GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, SNOWY OWL, BLACK-HEADED GULL, HUDSONIAN GODWIT, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW and more.

But firstly, we sadly note the loss of Eric Salzman, a long-time Brooklyn and East Quogue resident, who pass away suddenly last weekend. Eric was quite active in many birding societies and gladly shared his extensive knowledge with others. Our condolences to his family and friends – he certainly will be missed.

In a week with some very good finds, quite notable was the spotting of a female-plumaged WESTERN TANAGER at the Alley Pond Environmental Center last Sunday. This elusive bird was seen again for a few minutes mid-morning on Monday but has not been relocated since. The very productive area it was in, which also featured at least three ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS, is located on the east side of the creek, along trails to the south of Northern Boulevard, where numerous fruiting trees have been attracting a good variety of birds.

Three very interesting fly-by reports last weekend featured an immature GOLDEN EAGLE over Shrubland Road in South Hampton last Saturday morning, an AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN over Jones Beach West End also on Saturday, and a PACIFIC LOON moving east past Montauk Point Sunday morning. Montauk Point also produced two GREAT SHEARWATERS Saturday, one Sunday, and two RAZORBILLS Sunday.

A sea watch Thursday morning from Robert Moses State Park Field 2, in stormy conditions, recorded an unusual land-based record of NORTHERN FULMAR plus up to twelve RAZORBILLS, three PARASITIC JAEGERS, four BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES and two ROYAL TERNS, as well as a nice flight of NORTHERN GANNETS, sea ducks and BONAPARTE’S GULLS.

A SNOWY OWL flushed by fishermen from Bush Terminal Piers Park in Brooklyn Sunday signals that a few have already appeared in the area.

The adult BLACK-HEADED GULL was seen again Sunday and Monday around the Orchard Beach parking lot at Pelham Bay Park, and at nearby City Island an ICELAND GULL was spotted off Belden Point Saturday.

At least one HUDSONIAN GODWIT was still at Heckscher State Park today, this in the grassy area between Fields 6 and 7.

Among the arriving waterfowl, a BARNACLE GOOSE showed up on Old Town Pond Wednesday, this pond on the west side of Old Town Road in Southampton.

There were at least five reports of GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE this week, with one still off Oakleigh Avenue in Calverton at least to Monday along with up to eight CACKLING GEESE and a few SNOW GEESE, while other WHITE-FRONTEDS were one on Tung Ting Pond in Centerport Wednesday, one at Belmont Lake State Park Thursday, and singles at Northport High School in Northport and on Marratooka Lake off New Suffolk Avenue in Mattituck today. Other CACKLING GEESE included two at Hendrickson Park in Valley Stream Saturday.

A couple of apparent TUNDRA SWANS were noted flying over Moriches Bay in Center Moriches Sunday.

Single EURASIAN WIGEONS were on Eastport Lake north of Montauk Highway in Eastport Sunday and on Fresh Pond in Fort Salonga east of Fort Salonga Road Wednesday.

Other interesting reports featured a BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE off Fort Tilden Saturday, a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK flying by the Fire Island hawk watch Saturday, a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER still in Brooklyn’s Greenwood Cemetery on Wednesday, and a COMMON GALLINULE on Prospect Park Lake through today.

Besides the several ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS noted locally this week, other late WARBLERS included a WILSON’S in Inwood Hill Park Wednesday and single HOODEDS in Prospect Park to Thursday and at Alley Pond Park today.

A LAPLAND LONGSPUR was at the swale at Jones Beach West End Thursday, a VESPER SPARROW was in Prospect Park last weekend, and a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW visited Zach’s Bay at Jones Beach Tuesday.

To phone in reports, on Long Island call Tony Lauro at (631) 734 4126 or call Tom Burke at (914) 967-4922 and leave a message.

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

Normally I only post North American species for my “Friday’s Foto” series. Today I’ve decided to post about a Eurasian species that has only been recorded around a dozen times in the New World since 1900. The occasion being that one recently appeared in New York on one of Long Island's barrier beaches. I had the good fortune to see it.

The Corncrake, also known as the Corn Crake or Landrail, is a medium-sized rail related to moorhens and coots. Unlike most rails, which prefer wet or marshy habitats, this species makes its living on dry land. Described in most guides as “secretive”, they spend most of their time in tall grasses. Their diet is primarily made up of invertebrates such as earthworms and insects. They also consume plant material such as seeds of grasses and sedges.

This long-distance migrant breeds in Europe and central Asia, as far east as western China, wintering in Zaire, Tanzania and eastern South Africa. The vast majority of their global population is across Russia.

The conservation status of the Corncrake via the IUCN Red List is “Least Concern”.

Their scientific name, Crex crex, is supposedly derived from the sound that they make, which some describe as “two cheese-graters rubbed together”. In addition, the Greek word “krex” means "noisy braggart". Judge for yourselves:



Addendum - From Sean Sime's Facebook posting from that fateful day:

"When you accept the probability of a complete failure yet try anyway sometimes a miracle happens. Minutes before Rob and I arrived to the Corn Crake location we were told State Troopers were aggressively removing cars and people from the median and we should not attempt to park or walk near the bird. We took this unwanted yet predictable lump in stride and figured we would just see the bird and forget about photos. Knowing how eBird moderators are I still wanted to make an attempt to get a documentation shot. Rob drove 4 loops from turnaround to turnaround while I leaned out the window and, as we say in the business, "sprayed and prayed." 55 frames, 3 in focus, one happened to be this. Quite possibly the greatest bird I never got out of the car for!"

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website “Earther”:

Scientists Slam Republican Plan to Drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Maddie Stone
Friday 8:45am

When Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski re-ignited a decades-old push to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, she tried to make the case that science was on her side. Thanks to technological improvements, the Republican senator argued, drilling on ANWR’s oil-rich coastal plain will have a much smaller footprint in 2017 than it would’ve 30 years ago.

This week, dozens of Alaskan scientists called bullshit on this.

In a letter addressed to Murkowski and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the chair and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, thirty seven top Alaskan wildlife biologists explained why drilling on ANWR’s coastal plain could spell disaster for Arctic wildlife.

The signatories, including retired former officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game, and the U.S. Geological Survey, explain that while the coastal plain is small—encompassing just 1.5 million acres of the 19 million acre refuge— it’s vital to the biodiversity of the region.

“Within the narrow coastal plain, there is a unique compression of habitats which concentrates a wide array of wildlife native to the Arctic,” including polar bears, grizzly bears, wolves, caribou, and more, the letter reads.

Drilling proponents say the industry’s footprint would be limited to just 2,000 acres. But these scientists argue that framing is misleading. In reality, those 2,000 acres could be spread across most of the coastal plain, causing it to become criss-crossed with roads and well pads.

In effect, the result could be that even a small amount of industrial activity impacts virtually the entire region.

“Since the effects of industrial activities, starting with seismic surveys, are not limited to the footprint of a structure or to its immediate vicinity, it is highly likely that such activities would result in significant impacts on a variety of wildlife in the refuge’s narrow coastal plain,” the letter reads.

The scientists specifically call out polar bears, which are “highly vulnerable to disturbance due to oil and gas activities” and which have already been affected by drilling elsewhere on the North Slope. Three quarters of the coastal plain is designated critical habitat for these iconic Arctic predators.

On Wednesday, Murkowski unveiled the first draft of a bill that would open ANWR’s coastal plain to drilling, which Republicans are hoping to attach to a larger 2018 tax reform package. The bill would require the Department of the Interior to conduct two lease sales for at least 400,000 acres of land apiece over a ten year budget window.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday that the plan would bring about 1.1 billion into federal coffers. But drilling opponents have argued that the math is fuzzier. When the left-leaning Center for American Progress crunched the numbers, it found that the federal government is more likely to see a return of just 37.5 million.

Contrasting this potential revenue is the intrinsic value of the refuge itself. At least according to these scientists—and many Alaskan Natives, and even some nuns—that’s something you can’t put a price tag on.
...Read more

Monday, November 13, 2017

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, November 18, 2017 to Sunday, November 19, 2017:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, November 18, 2017, 12 pm – 1 pm
Introduction to Bird Watching
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a birdwatching walk and learn about Prospect Park’s magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!

**********

Bedford Audubon Society
August 25, 2017-November 22, 2017 @ Arthur Butler Sanctuary on Chestnut Ridge Road, Bedford Hills
Experience the Miracle of Migration at the Chestnut Ridge Hawkwatch
The HawkWatch starts August 25! Join us at the Chestnut Ridge HawkWatch at the Arthur Butler Sanctuary on Chestnut Ridge Road in Bedford Hills every day from 9am to 5pm, weather permitting, to experience the miracle of raptor migration. Our data is combined with other sites across North America to create powerful population and migration analyses that help us better protect raptors and their habitat.
See more details

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Jones Beach State Park region
Leader: Mike Yuan
Focus: Coastal waterfowl, dune relevant species, raptors
Car fee: $22.00
Registrar: Bob Washburn nyc_bob@earthlink.net
Registration Period: Nov 11th - Nov 16th
Please review our general trip information and guidelines on this page.

**********

Gateway National Parks
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Have a Hoot with a Ranger
Junior Rangers are invited to an owl adventure.
Time: 10:00am to 11:30am
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
View Details

Saturday, November 18, 2017
Winter Waterfowl Workshop
Join naturalist Don Riepe for a digital slide program on the many species of waterfowl in NYC during winter.
Time: 10:00am to 1:00pm
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
View Details

**********

Great South Bay Audubon Society
Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 8:00am
Wertheim NWR
Leader(s): John Gluth (631-827-0120) Vera Capogna (516-639-5430)
From the intersection of Montauk and William Floyd Highways in Shirley, proceed West on Montauk Highway 7/10 of a mile to traffic light (Smith Road) turn left, go over the railroad tracks and proceed to a right into Wertheim visitor Center. There are signs both on Montauk Highway and on Smith Road at the turnoff into Wertheim.

Sunday, November 19, 2017 - 9:00am
Morton NWR
Leader(s): Bob Grover (516-318-8536) Ken Thompson (631-612-8028)
Sunrise Highway east past Shinnecock Canal. Look for a North Sea Road Noyack sign and bear left on CR52. Stay on CR52 and then turn left at light onto CR38. After 1.4 miles on CR38, turn right onto Noyack Road after 5 miles turn left onto refuge.

(Nature walks will be cancelled if it is raining or snowing.)

**********

Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, November 19, 2017
Birding in Peace

Before our gates open to the general public, birding expert Rob Jett leads these peaceful Sunday morning walking tours to discover the many birds that call Green-Wood home. By September, all our nesting birds’ offspring will be on their own. Returning warblers will be in their less flamboyant fall plumage. Large numbers of blackbirds, flycatchers, sparrows, vireos, and swallows will also be passing through. By October, waterfowl are returning, and we’ll look for raptors heading south. November will bring back our overwintering denizen from the north.

Grab a copy of our Bird Checklist before you begin. Comfortable footwear is recommended.
$10 for members of Green‑Wood and BHS/$15 for non-members.
Click here for our inclement weather policy.

**********

Hudson River Audubon Society
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Jones Beach – Late Fall Migrants
Meet at 8am at the Coast Guard Station in West End II
This is a good time for a rarity or a western stray to show up. A variety of bird should be seen from seabirds, ducks, hawks, shorebirds and late land migrants.
http://hras.org/wtobird/jonesbeach.html

**********

Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Sunday, November 19, 2017 - 9:00am
Jones Beach State Park
By late November, many of the winter species have returned. We may see a variety of seaducks, raptors, and Snow Buntings. Lost birds from all over the country can end up at barrier beaches this season, so we may see something surprising!
Registration: 516-782-0293
Directions: Meadowbrook Parkway south, take first right into West End after drawbridge. Continue past tollbooth (no fee), Police Station, and stop sign, and make a right after the sign for the West End Boat Basin and Coast Guard. Meet by the little concession building facing the boat basin.

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Leader: Joe DiCostanzo
Registrar: Pearl Broder — pbroder3@nyc.rr.com or 212-924-0030
Registration opens: Monday, November 6
Ride: $15 or public transportation

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturdays -- 11:00 a.m.
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
Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Included in All-Garden Pass
Get Tickets

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturdays, September 2–November 25, 2017, 8-9:30am
Van Cortlandt Park Bird Walks
Guides: NYC Audubon with the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy
Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

Saturday, November 18, 2017, 9am – 3pm
Van Trip to the Winter Waterfowl Workshop at Jamaica Bay
Register for our van trip to the Winter Waterfowl Workshop (see description below) and get to Jamaica bay the easy way - by passenger van! Bring lunch and water. Limited to 12. $53 (37)
Click here to register

Saturday, November 18, 2017, 9:30am – 12:00pm
"Duck Walk" starting at Macy's Manhasset
Walk starts in Macy's Manhasset parking lot, southwest corner, near Whitney Pond. Walk will proceed to other locations afterwards.
Wear water-resistant footwear, bring binoculars and drinking water. Wear long pants and socks so you do not touch poison ivy.
Leader: Jennifer - (516) 767-3454

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, November 19, 2017
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

From the Southern State Parkway, travel west to the Belt Parkway. Exit at Cross Bay Boulevard (Exit 17) south. Continue south on Cross Bay Blvd. through Howard Beach and over the North Channel Bridge (also known as the Congressman Joseph P. Addabbo Bridge). The entrance to the refuge parking lot is on the right side of the road, at a traffic light approximately one and a half miles past the bridge.
Directions via Google Maps

Bird walks led by a member of SSAS are conducted nearly every Sunday morning from late August through early June. Walks are open to the public and are free of charge. We especially encourage youngsters to attend.
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.


**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Join NYC Audubon on birding walks through Van Cortlandt Park to discover wildlife happenings in the park.
Free!

Sunday, November 19, 2017
Waterfowl Watch at the South Beach Fishing Pier at Ocean Breeze Pier, Seaview Avenue and Father Capodanno Boulevard (in Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk and Beach), Staten Island
9:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
'Tis the season for the return of sea ducks, gulls, and grebes to the lower New York Harbor. We will stand at the end of the fishing pier to observe the wildlife in…
Free!

Birding: Owls at Pelham Bay Park, Bronx
1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
Our Urban Park Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle. Registration for this program is required.
Free!
...Read more

Sunday, November 12, 2017

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending November 10, 2017:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Nov. 10, 2017
* NYNY1711.10

- Birds Mentioned

CORN CRAKE+
BROWN BOOBY+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Greater White-fronted Goose
Cackling Goose
Tundra Swan
Eurasian Wigeon
SANDHILL CRANE
American Golden-Plover
HUDSONIAN GODWIT
Long-billed Dowitcher
Parasitic Jaeger
Black-legged Kittiwake
BLACK-HEADED GULL
NORTHERN FULMAR
Great Shearwater
American Bittern
SAY’S PHOEBE
Red-headed Woodpecker
NORTHERN SHRIKE
Lapland Longspur
Orange-crowned Warbler
Clay-colored Sparrow
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

Compilers: Tom Burke and 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, November 10, 2017 at 8:00 pm. [Note: Posted late due to technical difficulties.]

The highlights of today’s tape are CORN CRAKE, BROWN BOOBY, SAY’S PHOEBE, BLACK-HEADED GULL, SANDHILL CRANE, NORTHERN FULMAR, NORTHERN SHRIKE, HUDSONIAN GODWIT, BLUE GROSBEAK and much more.

But firstly, our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Holly Wilson, who passed away this week much too early in life. Holly was a spirited young lady and exuberant new birder, and we will certainly miss seeing her in the field.

Quite spectacular this week was the discovery of a young CORN CRAKE feeding along Ocean Parkway at Cedar Beach Tuesday morning. The bird fed along a stretch of grass next to the brushline continually disappearing into the bordering brush throughout the day. The Crake remained there all day Wednesday but was venturing out further into the grass, much closer to the roadway, and this may have been its undoing, as it was found dead Thursday morning, having been struck by a car. The retrieved specimen was transported to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where quick analysis determined it was a somewhat underweight male in otherwise decent condition. Most unusual in this case was that many birders got to enjoy this individual before it died, as most U.S. records of this very rare vagrant involve Crakes dispatched by hunters.

The adult BROWN BOOBY was still present on Lake Montauk last Sunday, our only report this week.

A nice find was a SAY’S PHOEBE seen briefly near Field 8 at Heckscher State Park Wednesday morning but not seen again thereafter, despite searching. During the week Heckscher has hosted some nice shorebirds, including 4 different HUDSONIAN GODWITS, an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER and a LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER, these mostly at a puddle in Field 7.

Three SANDHILL CRANES flying over the Greenwich Audubon hawk watch Tuesday may have been the same three reported over northern Staten Island on Wednesday.

An adult BLACK-HEADED GULL was seen mostly in the Orchard Beach parking lot at Pelham Bay Park, visiting there at least to Tuesday, and also there on Sunday were an immature BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE photographed before it flew off and a LAPLAND LONGSPUR feeding in the parking lot most of the day.

A NORTHERN SHRIKE was photographed Thursday morning at Jones Beach West End Field 2, and a BLUE GROSEAK was found at the West End turnaround last Sunday, while 21 TUNDRA SWANS were reported flying over the West End mid-day Thursday.

A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was with CANADAS off Oakleigh Avenue north of Sound Avenue in Calverton today, a couple of CACKLING GEESE have been reported this week, and last Saturday EURASIAN WIGEON were seen on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and on Eastport Pond. An HUDSONIAN GODWIT was also on the East Pond Saturday.

Pelagic birds from the south shore of Long Island featured 2 GREAT SHEARWATERS off Robert Moses State Park Sunday, a PARASITIC JAEGER off Fort Tilden Wednesday, with 2 Thursday, and 2 BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES off Camp Hero at Montauk Point Sunday, while a boat 6 miles south of Amagansett Monday reported a NORTHERN FULMAR and a GREAT SHEARWATER.

A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was in Greenwood Cemetery Brooklyn all week, and a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was seen at the Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center Saturday. A LAPLAND LONGSPUR flew over Robert Moses State Park Thursday. Other species of note this week have included some AMERICAN BITTERNS and ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS and numerous lingering late migrants.

To phone in reports, on Long Island call Tony Lauro at (631) 734 4126 or call Tom Burke at (914) 967-4922 and leave a message.

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Treehugger Tuesday

From Fast Company:

The Largest Ever Tropical Reforestation Is Planting 73 Million Trees
The project in the Brazilian Amazon is using a new technique for planting trees that results in more, stronger plants–and hopes to cover 70,000 acres in new forests.
By John Converse Townsend
10.31.17

There are more habitable planets in our galaxy than humans living on planet Earth. But the nearest one is about 70 trillion miles away, which means that, for now, and for the foreseeable future, Earth is the only life-supporting rock hurtling through infinite space we’ll ever know. It’s really not the best idea to let it burn up–and key to keeping it cool are the massive rainforests of the Amazon. Sadly, we’ve had a hard time not cutting them down.

A new project should help prevent–or at least slow down–that hot future. If all goes to plan over the next six years, a project led by Conservation International will become the largest tropical reforestation project in history. Seventy-three million trees will sprout up across what’s known as the “arc of deforestation,” in the Brazilian states of Amazonas, Acre, Pará, Rondônia, and throughout the Xingu watershed. The short-term plan is to restore 70,000 acres (the area of 30,000 soccer fields) that have been cleared for pastureland to their former forested glory.

“If the world is to hit the 1.2°C or 2°C [degrees of warming] target that we all agreed to in Paris, then protecting tropical forests in particular has to be a big part of that,” M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International, tells Fast Company. “It’s not just the trees that matter, but what kind of trees. If you’re really thinking about getting carbon dioxide out of atmosphere, then tropical forests are the ones that end up mattering the most.”

Read the entire article here

Monday, November 06, 2017

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, November 11, 2017 to Sunday, November 12, 2017:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, November 11, 2017, 12 pm – 1 pm
Introduction to Bird Watching
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a birdwatching walk and learn about Prospect Park’s magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!

**********

Bedford Audubon Society
August 25, 2017-November 22, 2017 @ Arthur Butler Sanctuary on Chestnut Ridge Road, Bedford Hills
Experience the Miracle of Migration at the Chestnut Ridge Hawkwatch
The HawkWatch starts August 25! Join us at the Chestnut Ridge HawkWatch at the Arthur Butler Sanctuary on Chestnut Ridge Road in Bedford Hills every day from 9am to 5pm, weather permitting, to experience the miracle of raptor migration. Our data is combined with other sites across North America to create powerful population and migration analyses that help us better protect raptors and their habitat.
See more details

November 12, 2017, 8:00am - 1:00pm
Edith Read Sanctuary/Marshlands Conservancy, Rye
A favorite trip among members! Targets include waterfowl, Great Horned Owls, and lingering songbirds
Depart Bylane at 7:15am or meet us at the boathouse on Playland Lake at 8am
Level of difficulty: Easy to moderate
Please let us know if you’d like to borrow binoculars
Register with Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914.302.9713
See more details

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, November 11, 2017
A New Jersey Tour: Lake Takanassee and Sandy Hook National Seashore
Leaders: Peter Dorosh and Ryan Goldberg
Focus: Late sparrows, raptors, upland wetland birds, ducks and seabirds, coastal waterfowl, open space birds, dune relevant species
Car fee: $25.00
Registrar: Peter Dorosh, Prosbird@aol.com or text only cell 347-622-3559
Registration Period: Nov 4th - Nov 9th
Note: due to Daylight Savings ending (Nov 5th) the leaders will try to leave by 6 […]
Please review our general trip information and guidelines on this page.

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, November 11, 2017
Prospect Park, Bartel Pritchard Park Entrance
Leader: Steve Nanz
Registrar: Kathleen Howley — kathleenhowley@gmail.com or 212-877-3170
Registration opens: Monday, October 30
F train to the 15th Street – Prospect Park station
Meet at the Bartel Pritchard entrance at 8:00 am

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturdays -- 11:00 a.m.
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
Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Included in All-Garden Pass
Get Tickets

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturdays, September 2–November 25, 2017, 8-9:30am
Van Cortlandt Park Bird Walks
Guides: NYC Audubon with the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy
Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

**********

North Shore Audubon Society
Saturday, November 11, 2017, 8am – 12pm
Nassau County Museum of Art
Where: One Museum Dr, Roslyn, NY 11576, USA (map)
NOTE EARLY START TIME

See "Walk locations" for directions.
Wear water-resistant footwear, bring binoculars and drinking water. Wear long pants and socks so you do not touch poison ivy.
Leader: Peggy (516) 883-2130

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NYC H2O
Saturday, November 11, 2017, 11:00am – 12:30pm
Ridgewood Reservoir Community Tour

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 Vermont Place.

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Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, November 11, 2017
South Shore Potpouri
Leader: Ian Resnick (917) 626-9562
Where: Lofts Pond, Baldwin, NY 11510, USA (map)

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, November 12, 2017
Jones Beach West End 2

From the Southern State Parkway, exit onto the Meadowbrook State Parkway south. After entering Jones Beach State Park, exit right (west) into the West End. Continue west to West End 2 parking lot; we meet in the northeast corner of the lot.

From the Wantagh State Parkway, travel south. Upon entering Jones Beach State Park, exit at Bay Drive and continue west to West End 2 parking lot; we meet in the northeast corner of the lot.

Directions via Google Maps

Bird walks led by a member of SSAS are conducted nearly every Sunday morning from late August through early June. Walks are open to the public and are free of charge. We especially encourage youngsters to attend.
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.


**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, November 11, 2017
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Join NYC Audubon on birding walks through Van Cortlandt Park to discover wildlife happenings in the park.
Free!

Birding: Winter Birding at Bush Terminal Park, Brooklyn
1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
Our Urban Park Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle.
Free!

Sunday, November 12, 2017
Fall Birding at Perkins Visitors Center (in Wave Hill), Bronx
9:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Naturalist Gabriel Willow contributes his knowledge of bird species and their behaviors on these captivating walks at Wave Hill, the perfect habitat for resident and migrating birds.

Birding at 110th Street and Morningside Drive (in Morningside Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Our Urban Park Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, November 04, 2017

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, November 3, 2017:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Nov. 3, 2017
* NYNY1711.03

- Birds mentioned
BROWN BOOBY+
LECONTE'S SPARROW+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
EURASIAN WIGEON
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Black Scoter
Cory's Shearwater
MANX SHEARWATER
American Bittern
American Golden-Plover
HUDSONIAN GODWIT
BAIRD'S SANDPIPER
White-rumped Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Long-billed Dowitcher
Wilson's Snipe
Parasitic Jaeger
RAZORBILL
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Orange-crowned Warbler
Hooded Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
Vesper Sparrow
Nelson's Sparrow
DICKCISSEL

Extralimital:
CAVE SWALLOW+ (seen in northern NY & along the Connecticut coast)

- 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

Compilers: Tom Burke and 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, November 3rd 2017 at 7pm. The highlights of today's tape are BROWN BOOBY, LECONTE'S SPARROW, BLACK-HEADED GULL, MANX SHEARWATER, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, EURASIAN WIGEON, HUDSONIAN GODWIT, BAIRD'S SANDPIPER, RAZORBILL, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW and DICKCISSEL.

The adult BROWN BOOBY still present on Lake Montauk last Sunday seen roosting on green buoy #11 as viewed by looking south from the Star Island entrance road off West Lake Drive. Its previously favored roosting sites, the tall masts of sailboats including the Maui, have apparently moved on and with again no reports since Sunday we wonder if the BOOBY has also moved on. Besides the Star Island causeway another observation point with a good vista of the lake is at the end of South Lake Drive. Please post updates.

A great find this week was the LECONTE'S SPARROW found Saturday morning at Turtle Cove in Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx. Word got out early enough that many birders were at least able to glimpse the LECONTE'S during the day. Like two LECONTE'S along the Connecticut coast the week before this bird was not seen after the initial day. Nevertheless, Pelham Bay did also produce a variety of nice birds this week including an adult BLACK-HEADED GULL roosting in the Orchard Beach parking lot Thursday and today. This possibly the same returning bird that has recently wintered around Five Islands Park in New Rochelle. Also seen Thursday at Pelham Bay were 2 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS, VESPER SPARROW and a DICKCISSEL and like in many saltmarshes regionally a few NELSON'S SPARROWS remain around Turtle [Cove].

At Heckscher State Park on Long Island two parking lots containing large puddles have been attracting a nice variety of shorebirds especially lot 7. Thursday and today up to 3 HUDSONIAN GODWITS have been visiting the lot 7 puddles though all 3 including one with 2 unfortunate tumors and another with wing and leg injuries are not there all the time. However this puddle during the week has also produced up to 3 AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS, a LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER and PECTORAL, WHITE-RUMPED and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS with a WILSON'S SNIPE at the lot 6 puddle on Monday.

Another notable shorebird was a BAIRD'S SANDPIPER reported today with Dunlin in the swale at Jones Beach West End.

A seawatch off East Hampton in the storm Sunday produced 2 RAZORBILLS and a CORY'S SHEARWATER. Further west at Robert Moses State Park Sunday there was a large sea duck flight with 17 thousand scoters estimated, mostly BLACKS and the terns offshore attracted 3 PARASITIC JAEGERS while later in the afternoon a MANX SHEARWATER also went by.

One of the high counts of LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS included 26 Sunday at Moses Park field 5. The EURASIAN WIGEON was still on Swan Lake in Patchogue last weekend and a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was found today in Westchester County at the Stone Barns Center off Bedford Road north of Pocantico Hills.

An AMERICAN BITTERN was at the Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center last Saturday and 2 were seen Wednesday at Gilgo.

In Central Park a nice Fall record was the YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER found Saturday north of the Ramble and reported to Monday. A HOODED WARBLER was still in Central Saturday and a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW appeared at the north end at the Great Hill today. ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS, generally on the late side, are now popping up in various locations along with some tardy migrants and as a note CAVE SWALLOWS have recently been seen in northern New York and along the Connecticut coast.

To phone in reports on Long Island call Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126 or call Tom Burke at (914) 967-4922 and leave a message.

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, November 03, 2017

Friday's Foto

Scoters are a family of seaducks that are normally seen fairly far offshore. This Surf Scoter not only was hanging around on Jamaica Bay, but was also just a stone's throw from the shore.

Nicknamed by hunters "skunk-head coot", this large seaduck is one of three species of scoter that are native to North America. The other two being Black Scoter and White-winged Scoter (the surf being the only one with all black wings when seen in flight).

Breeding in northern freshwater lakes, their large range includes from western Alaska through Central Labrador in Canada. Overwintering offshore on both sides of this continent, their range extends as far south as Baja California on the west coast and down to South Carolina on the east coast.

Diving for prey on or near the bottom, the Surf Scoter's diet is mostly mollusks but they also feed on aquatic insects, crustaceans, echinoderms, small fish and marine worms.

Their conservation status via IUCN is "Least Concern". They may have gone through a serious decline early in the 20th century, but now is mostly stable or only slightly declining. Wintering concentrations are vulnerable to oil spills and other pollution.

The Surf Scoter's scientific name, Melanitta perspicillata, means black duck; spectacled.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Treehugger Tuesday

From "Treehugger" online:

Cost to enter National Parks will more than double, as land around them gets leased for oil and gas
Lloyd Alter (@lloydalter)
Living / Travel
October 27, 2017



An earlier Republican president, Teddy Roosevelt, understood what would happen if the robber barons kept digging up everything. He wrote:

“We have become great because of the lavish use of our resources. But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils have still further impoverished and washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the fields and obstructing navigation.”

To guard "the most glorious heritage a people ever received," he protected 230 million acres of land and created 23 new national park, and passed the Antiquities Act that let presidents "declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic and scientific interest... to be National Monuments."

The current Republican president and his Secretary of the Interior have a different view of things. They are cutting the budget of the National Park Service and significantly increasing the fees to get in.

“The infrastructure of our national parks is aging and in need of renovation and restoration,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Targeted fee increases at some of our most-visited parks will help ensure that they are protected and preserved in perpetuity and that visitors enjoy a world-class experience that mirrors the amazing destinations they are visiting."

But then according to AP,

"While the national parks counted 292 million visitors in 2014, those visitors tend to be older and whiter than the U.S. population overall." Sounds like people who voted for the president, and if you are over 62 it's free (albeit with a lifetime pass that just increased in price) so the boomer base is protected.

But wait, there's more; in accordance with the President's executive order “promoting energy independence and economic growth, "they have started leasing land around National Parks (they are not allowed to in the parks) to today's Robber Barons for oil and gas development. But as Emily Atkin notes in the New Republic, some of this land is right next to National Parks, and “What happens next to a park impacts a park.”

“So Zinke is not only trying to make national parks more expensive to access; he’s also threatening to degrade the quality of some of those parks—and of the visitors’ experience, the cost of which has more than doubled. Imagine dropping $70 to enter a public land, only to reach an overlook and see a magnificent valley of ... rigs and pumps. You hear the cacophony of industrial equipment. You take a deep breath: the whiff of oil.”

On MNN, Jen Savedge notes that "One could argue that at $70 per visit, the nation's parks are still a darned good deal." But she also notes that the park system has been struggling of late to find a new audience. North of the border, faced with a similar problem, Canada took a different approach: this year, they made it free. Horace Greeley purportedly wrote in 1851: "Go West, young man, go West. There is health in the country, and room away from our crowds of idlers and imbeciles." - perhaps now, you should go north.
...Read more

Monday, October 30, 2017

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, November 4, 2017 to Sunday, November 5, 2017:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, November 4, 2017, 12 pm – 1 pm
Introduction to Bird Watching
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a birdwatching walk and learn about Prospect Park’s magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!

Sunday, November 5, 2017, 8am – 9am
Early Morning Bird Walk: Feathered Friends
Join Prospect Park Alliance to observe Park regulars like chickadees, early winter residents like Northern Shovelers, and the returning ducks that spend the winter in the Lake. Led by the Brooklyn Bird Club, this tour leaves promptly at 8am.

**********

Bedford Audubon Society
August 25, 2017-November 22, 2017 @ Arthur Butler Sanctuary on Chestnut Ridge Road, Bedford Hills
Experience the Miracle of Migration at the Chestnut Ridge Hawkwatch
The HawkWatch starts August 25! Join us at the Chestnut Ridge HawkWatch at the Arthur Butler Sanctuary on Chestnut Ridge Road in Bedford Hills every day from 9am to 5pm, weather permitting, to experience the miracle of raptor migration. Our data is combined with other sites across North America to create powerful population and migration analyses that help us better protect raptors and their habitat.
See more details

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, November 4, 2017
Fort Tilden, Gateway NP, Queens
Leader: Steve Nanz
Focus: sea ducks, late sparrows, raptors, blackbird migration, possible rarity
Registrar: Heidi Steiner email heidi.steiner@verizon.net or call before 8 pm 718- 369-2116
Registration Period: Oct 28th - Nov 2nd Please review our general trip information and guidelines on this page.
Please review our general trip information and guidelines on this page.

**********

Feminist Bird Club
Saturday, November 4, 2017
Prospect Park Walk
FBC 1 Year Anniversary at Jake's Handcrafted 6-8pm

**********

Gateway National Parks
Saturday, November 4, 2017, 11:00am to 12:30pm
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge - Habitat Bingo and Nature Walk
Hike the West Pond trail with a Ranger and identify birds, plants, insects, and various evidence animals have left behind while playing BINGO.
View Details

Saturday, November 4, 2017, 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge - Sunset Walk Beaver Moon
Join a National Park Ranger for a sunset hike around the West Pond Trail.
View Details

Sunday, November 5, 2017, 10:00am to 12:30pm
Floyd Bennett Field - Hike the Trails of Dead Horse Bay
Hike the trails and shoreline at Dead Horse Bay with Mickey Maxwell Cohen, American Littoral Society naturalist, author of "Discovering the Trails of Dead Horse Bay".
View Details

**********

Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, November 5, 2017
Birding in Peace

Before our gates open to the general public, birding expert Rob Jett leads these peaceful Sunday morning walking tours to discover the many birds that call Green-Wood home. By September, all our nesting birds’ offspring will be on their own. Returning warblers will be in their less flamboyant fall plumage. Large numbers of blackbirds, flycatchers, sparrows, vireos, and swallows will also be passing through. By October, waterfowl are returning, and we’ll look for raptors heading south. November will bring back our overwintering denizen from the north.

Grab a copy of our Bird Checklist before you begin. Comfortable footwear is recommended.
$10 for members of Green‑Wood and BHS/$15 for non-members.
Click here for our inclement weather policy.

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, November 4, 2017
South Shores of Jamaica Bay
Leader: Peter Dorosh
Registrar: Anne Lazarus — amlazarus47@gmail.com or 212-673-9059
Registration opens: Monday, October 23

Sunday, November 5, 2017
State Line Park, New Jersey
Leader: Pieter Prall
Registrar: Sandra Maury — sandramaury39@gmail.com or 212-874-4881
Registration opens: Monday, October 23
Ride: $20

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturdays -- 11:00 a.m.
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
Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Included in All-Garden Pass
Get Tickets

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturdays, September 2–November 25, 2017, 8-9:30am
Van Cortlandt Park Bird Walks
Guides: NYC Audubon with the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy
Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set forth by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, please call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

Saturday, November 4, 2017, 9am – 3pm
Beginning Birding Trip
Classes: Thursdays, October 19, October 26, and November 2, 6:30-8:30pm
Trips: Saturdays, October 28, 8-11am, and November 4, 9am-3pm
Instructor: Tod Winston
Learn the keys to identifying the spectacular variety of birds that migrate southwards through New York City every fall. Even if you've never picked up a pair of binoculars, you’ll soon be identifying warblers, thrushes, waterbirds, and more—both by sight and by ear. Two fun and educational in-class sessions and field trips to Central Park and Jamaica bay (transport to Jamaica Bay included). Limited to 12. $179 (125)
Click here to register

Saturday, November 4, 2017, 9am – 3pm
Ducks, Raptors, and More at Pelham Bay Park, The Bronx
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Come explore the lovely coves and rocky outcroppings of Pelham Bay Park, looking for wintering ducks, migrating raptors, and more. Pelham Bay Park's combination of open water, salt marsh, rocky shore, both young and old growth forest, rare coastal tall grass meadows, and patches of dry and wet oak savanna are not just unique within the city, but also on this continent! Bring lunch and water. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $102 (71)
Click here to register

**********

North Shore Audubon Society
Saturday, November 4, 2017, 8am – 12pm
Point Lookout
Where: Town Park at Point Lookout, 1300 Lido Blvd, Lido Beach, NY 11561, USA (map)
NOTE EARLY START TIME

Do NOT use directions in Walk Locations. Meet in the southeast corner of the parking lot of Town Park at Point Lookout.
Wear water-resistant footwear, bring binoculars and drinking water. Wear long pants and socks so you do not touch poison ivy.
Leader - Steve 516-987-8103

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Saturday, November 4, 2017, 12:00pm – 2:00pm
High Rock Park and Pouch Camp
Join Ray Matarazzo for a fall foliage hike to Stump Pond. Investigate this unique corner of the Greenbelt with one of Staten Island’s finest environmental educators. The walk will focus on the identification of trees, some of the most colorful species, Hickory, Maple, Sweetgum and Tupelo.
Participants will meet in the parking lot at 200 Nevada Avenue.
For more information call Ray Matarazzo at (718) 317-7666.

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, November 5, 2017
Massapequa Preserve

From Sunrise Highway, turn north onto Broadway, Massapequa. Travel under the Long Island Rail Road overpass, then make the first right onto Veterans Boulevard (headed east). Go past the Massapequa train station and into the parking lot at the east end of the station. The preserve is directly east of the parking lot.
Directions via Google Maps

Bird walks led by a member of SSAS are conducted nearly every Sunday morning from late August through early June. Walks are open to the public and are free of charge. We especially encourage youngsters to attend.
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.


**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, November 4, 2017
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Join NYC Audubon on birding walks through Van Cortlandt Park to discover wildlife happenings in the park.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, October 28, 2017

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, October 27, 2017:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Oct. 27, 2017
* NYNY1710.27

- Birds Mentioned

BROWN BOOBY+

(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

EURASIAN WIGEON
American Bittern
AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER
White-rumped Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Long-billed Dowitcher
Parasitic Jaeger
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL
Royal Tern
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
American Pipit
Orange-crowned Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
Vesper Sparrow
Nelson’s Sparrow
BLUE GROSBEAK
DICKCISSEL
Eastern Meadowlark
Rusty Blackbird

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

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

Transcriber: Gail Benson

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

Greetings! This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, October 27, 2017 at 8:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are BROWN BOOBY, EURASIAN WIGEON, AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL numbers, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, DICKCISSEL and BLUE GROSBEAK.

In a week characterized by a variety of decent later fall migrants, our one true rarity remained the BROWN BOOBY on Lake Montauk, but based on reports we are not aware that it remained beyond Tuesday, the last day it was noted at its usual location south of the Star Island entrance road off West Lake Drive. If out in that area, it might still be worth scanning from the above site or from South Lake Drive to see if the BOOBY might continue there.

A EURASIAN WIGEON was present on Swan Lake on the east side of Patchogue Sunday to Tuesday, and 2 were noted on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge this week.

Shorebirds were highlighted by an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER at Jones Beach West End off the Coast Guard Station through Wednesday, while LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER reports include 4 at Santapogue Creek off Venetian Boulevard in West Bayshore Monday and 2 at Heckscher State Park Thursday. One WHITE-RUMPED and 14 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS were at Jamaica Bay Sunday.

Two PARASITIC JAEGERS were present off Montauk Point Saturday, followed by 1 off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn Tuesday.

LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL numbers have been increasing lately, most notably exemplified by the 89 counted Wednesday on a coastal survey from Floyd Bennett Field east to Robert Moses State Park, with 47 of these at Jones Beach West End, especially in parking field 2.

Lingering ROYAL TERNS include Tuesday sightings of 8 at Coney Island Pier and 3 at Floyd Bennett Field.

An AMERICAN BITTERN was near Triton Lane north of Dune Road Sunday, with another at the Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center today.

Single RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were noted last Saturday on Governor’s Island and at Montauk Point.

Among the later WARBLERS, ORANGE-CROWNEDS were noted in Central Park during the week and in Kissena Park in Queens last Saturday, single HOODEDS appeared in Gardiner’s Park Thursday and Central Park Friday, and other species included CAPE MAY and MAGNOLIA. And a highlight was the YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT present in Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan last Friday to Sunday, with another at Croton Point Park in Westchester County Wednesday.

Increasing SPARROW numbers featured single CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS at Jones Beach West End Saturday and Sunday and at Robert Moses State Park last Saturday, while decent numbers of VESPER SPARROWS included a peak of 4 on Governor’s Island last Sunday, with fewer other days, and singles at Floyd Bennett Field from Saturday on, at Kissena Park and Bush Terminal Piers Park last Saturday, and also at other locations.

DICKCISSELS this week included individuals at Calvert Vaux Park in Brooklyn and Robert Moses State Park last Saturday and 1 at Jones Beach West End from Wednesday on.

A BLUE GROSBEAK was found in Scarsdale Wednesday.

Among the other notable seasonal migrants have been some AMERICAN PIPITS and EASTERN MEADOWLARKS, the first arriving RUSTY BLACKBIRDS, and a variety of races of NELSON’S SPARROWS in our coastal salt marshes.

Of extralimital note, a SAY’S PHOEBE was in Orange County last Saturday, and a COMMON GREENSHANK has been present recently to this morning at Brigantine, the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey.

To phone in reports, on Long Island call Tony Lauro at (631) 734 4126 or call Tom Burke at (914) 967-4922 and leave a message.

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

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website "Gizmodo":

Backyard Bird Feeders May Be Altering the Course of Evolution
George Dvorsky
Friday 11:05am

Evolution works very slowly—except when it doesn’t. New research shows that certain British birds appear to be changing quickly as result of bird feeders, evolving longer beaks to help them access the food inside.

Many years ago, the late evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould proposed a concept he called “punctuated equilibrium,” in which species undergo rapid bursts of evolution in reaction to a sudden environmental change. And to that point: Research published today in Science suggests that populations of great tits (Parus major) are in the midst of a punctuated equilibrium phase thanks to the relatively recent introduction of backyard feeders. Specifically, the birds are evolving longer beaks, which helps them access food, and in turn boosts their chances of reproducing and passing this fortuitous trait down to the next generation. It’s classic Darwinian natural selection in action—but at an accelerated pace.

The new research, led by the University of Oxford’s Department of Zoology, is part of a long term study of populations of great tits (Parus major) in the UK’s Wytham Woods and in Oosterhout and Veluwe, in the Netherlands. Oxford University has been studying the Wytham Woods great tit population for over 70 years.

For the study, the researchers scanned the DNA of more than 3,000 birds in an effort to find genetic differences between the British and Dutch populations. The analysis revealed altered gene sequences linked to facial features, leading the researchers to speculate that the beaks of great tits were adapting to the widespread use of bird feeders.

To see if this might be the case, the researchers took a gander at the rich historical record, and it showed that the British version of the great tit has a beak that appears to be getting longer over time. Further, they had access to data from electronic tags that were fitted to some of the Wytham Woods birds, allowing the researchers to track how often these birds were frequenting bird feeders. As expected, birds with genetic markers for longer beaks visited bird feeders more regularly than birds without the genetic variation.

“Between the 1970s and the present day, beak length has got longer among the British birds. That’s a really short time period in which to see this sort of difference emerging,’ said Jon Slate, a co-author of the new study and a professor at the University of Sheffield, in a statement. “We now know that this increase in beak length, and the difference in beak length between birds in Britain and mainland Europe, is down to genes that have evolved by natural selection.”

In the United Kingdom, Britons spend about twice as much on birdseed and bird feeders than the folks in mainland Europe—and they’ve been engaging in this backyard activity for quite some time.

“In fact, at the start of the 20th century, Punch magazine described bird feeding as a British national pastime,’ said study co-author Lewis Spurgin, of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia (UEA). “Although we can’t say definitively that bird feeders are responsible, it seems reasonable to suggest that the longer beaks amongst British great tits may have evolved as a response to this supplementary feeding.”

The researchers also discovered that birds with the long-beak genetic variants were better at reproducing than their short-beaked counterparts. From a “survival of the fittest” standpoint, this suggests that the newly acquired trait is a fortuitous one—one that’s leading these birds down a new evolutionary path. Given enough time, and assuming Britons don’t alter their bird feeding habits, this could eventually result in the emergence of an entirely new subspecies of great tit, an evolutionary process that biologists refer to as speciation.

The avenues for future research are obvious, and the researchers have already begun to look at the DNA of other great tit populations in Europe. Early results show that the emerging long-beak genetic variant is exclusive to the UK. Other researchers in other parts of the world should take note and embark on similar studies to see if similar things are happening to birds elsewhere.

As a final note, bird feeders may make it easier for birds to find food, but it also makes it easier for cats to find birds. If you’re a cat owner, you should probably keep them away from backyard feeders.

[Science]
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