Thursday, June 29, 2017

Sunday in the Cemetery

Sunday's walk didn't reveal anything out of the ordinary, but we did spot one unexpected lingering songbird.

I began the walk by heading straight over to the Red-tailed Hawk nest in "The Flats". Young red-tails grow at an incredible rate and I was curious to see how much more of their adult plumage had come it. From the open field below the nest tree we could see one of the youngsters standing upright at the edge of the nest. The head of its sibling could be barely seen as it sat down at the back of the nest. I scanned the surrounding trees for the parents, but couldn't find them. I guess the kids are large enough now that they can be left alone in the nest while they both hunt. One did make a brief appearance as we were leaving, circling over Cypress Avenue while making reassuring calls.

As we walked down Dale Avenue towards the Crescent Water I heard a familiar, and surprising, song coming from the top of one of the crabapple trees edging the pond. It was the rising trill of a Northern Parula. These colorful neotropic songbirds pass through the area is fairly good numbers during the spring migration on their way to their northern breeding grounds. They are uncommon nesters in New York State and, to my knowledge, do not nest in New York City. My best guess would be this summering individual is a procrastinator with no chance of finding a mate this year.

Another lonely bird that I keep coming across is an Eastern Phoebe in the vicinity of Oak and Landscape Avenues. I've been seeing and hearing him along a stretch of Copper Beeches for at least three weeks. Eastern Phoebes do occasionally nest in Green-Wood Cemetery and the adjacent Prospect Park, but in this guy's case, he would first need to find a partner. During my walks over the past month I've only managed to come across this single individual. Kind of sad hearing his pleading call every time I'm in the area.

**********

Location: Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn
Date: Sunday, June 25, 2017 6:00am - 8:30am
Species: 33

Canada Goose
Great Blue Heron (3.)
Great Egret (1.)
Green Heron (1.)
Red-tailed Hawk (3. One adult flying near nest. Two nestlings in nest.)
Laughing Gull
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Monk Parakeet
Eastern Phoebe (1. Singing in Copper Beech next to William Poole.)
Great Crested Flycatcher (1.)
Eastern Kingbird
Warbling Vireo
Blue Jay
Common Raven (Heard only “croaking” in Flats near Vine Avenue.)
House Wren
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Northern Parula (1. Heard singing next to Crescent Water, then seen perched at top of small crabapple tree.)
Chipping Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
House Sparrow
...Read more

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Treehugger Tuesday

From Mother Nature Network:

Portugal's threatened rural landscape earns protective designation
June 24, 2017
Jaymi Heimbuch


The great bustard bird is a steppe species
Photo: Peter Gyure/Shutterstock

An area in the Baixo Alentejo region of southern Portugal has been deemed so unique that it must be preserved, thanks to UNESCO. Biosphere reserves are selected for their ability to balance the needs of people and nature.

The newly minted Castro Verde Biosphere Reserve is home to some 200 species of bird, including the great bustard or Otis tarda, (shown above) a charismatic steppe species with around 60 percent of its global population found in Portugal and Spain. The area is also home to the Iberian imperial eagle, a raptor species vulnerable to extinction.

But it isn't just birds that make this place special; it's also the people.

According to UNESCO, the reserve "encompasses the most important cereal steppe area in Portugal, one of the most threatened rural landscapes in the Mediterranean region. The population of about 7,200 habitants lives from the extensive production of cereals and livestock rearing."

The combination of being a special place for flora and fauna as well as an important agricultural region helped provide the area with the distinction of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

"Francisco Duarte, mayor of Castro Verde, explained that it is 'an important step by the image it conveys to the outside of the territory, but above all is a commitment by the responsibility we assume addition to present this application to help build a more sustainable planet, fairer and more balanced. We did not stop and we will continue to work for a better land ... with even more will and determination than yesterday'," Lidador Noticias reports.

UNESCO's latest addition of 23 reserves brings the number of biosphere reserves to 669, located across 120 countries, including 20 transboundary sites. The goal is to "harmonize conservation of biological and cultural diversity, and economic and social development, through partnerships between people and nature."

Unfortunately, along with the good news of the new additions around the world, the United States requested 17 of its Biosphere Reserves be removed from the list.
...Read more

Monday, June 26, 2017

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, July 1, 2017 to Tuesday, July 4, 2017:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Sunday, July 2, 2017, 8am – 9am
Early Morning Bird Walk: Taking Wing
This is the time of year when young birds outnumber adult birds. Join the Prospect Park Alliance in search of fledglings as they test their wings! Tour leaves promptly at 8am. Led by the Brooklyn Bird Club.

**********

Gateway National Recreation Area
Sunday, July 2, 2017
Every Sunday Weekly from 06/25/2017 to 07/30/2017
Osprey Watch Guided Walk
Time: 10:00am to 11:30am
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fees: Free
Ranger guided walk on the Osprey.

**********

Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Tuesday, July 4, 2017, 9:00am
Oceanside Marine Nature Study Area on the 4th of July!
The Marine Nature Study Area is a 52-acre preserve devoted to environmental education and natural history. It is divided into eight instruction sites, each of which deals with a different aspect of the marine or estuarine environment.
Come celebrate Independence Day with HOBAS as we search for terns, shorebirds, and other saltmarsh denizens.
Registration: 585-880-0915.
Directions: The Marine Nature Study Area is located at 500 Slice Dr. in Oceanside.

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Weekly on Saturdays, until Jul 29, 2017
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

Friday, June 30, 8am – Mon, July 3, 8pm
Boreal Birding in the Adirondacks
Guide: Gabriel Willow
NYC Audubon is for the first time offering a trip to the Adirondack region, NY State's wildest country. The Adirondack Park's 6 million acres constitutes 1/3 of the land area in NY State - the Park is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States, greater in size than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier, and Grand Canyon National Park combined! Within its boundaries are vast forests (ranging from deciduous to boreal) and rolling farmlands, towns and villages, mountains and valleys, and lakes, ponds and rivers. This diversity of habitat leads to an incredible diversity of plant and bird species, including several boreal specialties of the mountain spruce and fir forests that cannot be found in NYC such as gray jays and boreal chickadees. Join NYC Audubon guide Gabriel Willow on a four-day tour of this wild region, featuring a day with local Adirondack resident, guide and President of the NYS Ornithological Association, Joan Collins. We will stay in the town of Saranac Lake at Amanda's Village Motel, a charming motel overlooking the Lake, spend our days exploring the mountains and valleys in the region, and dine at restaurants in Saranac Lake and nearby Lake Placid, NY. Transport by passenger van included. $720 ($220 single supplement)
Click here to register

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Saturday, July 1, 2017, 8:30am – 5:30pm
Staten Island Annual 4th of July Butterfly Count @ Snug Harbor Cultural Center
Participants will gather at the visitor’s parking lot of Snug Harbor before strolling the various gardens on the property while counting each individual butterfly we encounter. After collecting data on the butterflies of Snug Harbor we will move onto Northern Seaview, the Amundsen Trail, Blue Heron Park, Mount Loretto, Conference House Park and Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve. Throughout the day participants can expect to identify more than 400 butterflies from about 30 species. For more information call Cliff Hagen at (718) 313-8591 or email him at chagen72@gmail.com.

**********

Sullivan County Audubon Society
Sunday, July 2, 2017
The 15th annual Halls Mills Butterfly Count
The center of this circle is the Hall’s Mills covered bridge just south of Claryville. Participants can join a team or be a garden watcher if it is in the circle. Call leader Stu Alexander at (845) 796-6721 to sign up or for more information.
Participants will receive a free new butterfly ID book that they can keep.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, July 1, 2017
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Head to the park to join bird walks led by experts from the NYC Audubon! Bird walks focus on wildlife happenings in the park.
Free!

Plover Day at Beach 86th Street and Shorefront Parkway (in Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk), Queens
11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Join NYC Parks' to celebrate nesting shorebirds! Discover one of New York City's endangered species, the Piping Plover, and ways you can help protect it by sharing the beach.
Free!

Sunday, July 2, 2017
Early Morning Bird Walk at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.
This is the time of year when young birds outnumber adult birds. Join the Prospect Park Alliance in search of fledglings as they test their wings!
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, June 24, 2017

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, June 23, 2017:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jun. 23, 2017
* NYNY1706.23

- Birds mentioned
PACIFIC LOON+
BROWN BOOBY+
FRANKLIN'S GULL+
ARCTIC TERN+
WHITE-WINGED DOVE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

CORY'S SHEARWATER
GREAT SHEARWATER
SOOTY SHEARWATER
MANX SHEARWATER
Wilson's Storm-Petrel
Least Bittern
Tricolored Heron
Marbled Godwit
Parasitic Jaeger
Iceland Gull
Gull-billed Tern
Caspian Tern
Black Tern
Royal Tern
Acadian Flycatcher
American Pipit
Henslow's Sparrow
DICKCISSEL

- Transcript

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

You can also send reports and digital image files via email to nysarc44(at)nybirds{dot}org.

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

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

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

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

Transcriber: Ben Cacace

BEGIN TAPE

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, June 23rd 2017 at 8pm. The highlights of today's tape are BROWN BOOBY, FRANKLIN'S GULL, WHITE-WINGED DOVE, PACIFIC LOON, ARCTIC TERN, DICKCISSEL and the shearwater enigma.

A very exciting and yet somewhat distressing week began last Saturday with the discovery of a female BROWN BOOBY ashore by the tern colony at Nickerson Beach and Lido Beach, Nassau County. Not looking very well the booby perched on top of a Piping Plover enclosure for the overnight and was sound deceased at that spot early Sunday morning. The body was recovered for museum use. As the fog slowly rose at Nickerson early Sunday morning it became evident that there was a fairly strong continuation of the seabird flight first noted last Friday with mostly GREAT SHEARWATERS moving by, many fairly close to shore. This flight seemed to be mainly concentrated off western Long Island from around the Nickerson area east to Robert Moses State Park with sites farther east producing significantly fewer birds contrary to general Long Island flight expectations. A composite count for the day Sunday from Robert Moses State Park conducted at field 2 provided the most significant totals with 669 GREAT, 48 CORY'S, 9 SOOTY and 8 MANX SHEARWATERS, 6 WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS and 1 PARASITIC JAEGER. Jones Beach West End totals were about a quarter of that but still quite impressive with fewer still off Nickerson but at all sites GREAT SHEARWATER was easily the predominant species. The unfortunate aftermath of this was the stranding and mortality of many GREAT SHEARWATERS appearing to be suffering mainly from exhaustion. The reasons for such a high amount of mortality may never be fully known but a combination of a long flight with less than suitable feeding opportunities and prolonged difficult conditions at sea may have been contributing factors.

A seawatch Sunday at Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes produced low total of seabirds but did include a breeding plumaged PACIFIC LOON moving west in the morning and on Monday 7 PARASITIC JAEGERS were noted off Tiana Beach west of Shinnecock Inlet.

Last Sunday evening an adult FRANKLIN'S GULL was seen with Laughing Gulls at Crab Meadow Beach in Northport and was relocated there again early this morning on the east side of the outflow. There is a fee charge at this site if the booths are open.

On Wednesday a WHITE-WINGED DOVE was spotted along a path adjacent to the south garden at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and remained in that area though rather elusive into the evening but could not be relocated Thursday.

ARCTIC TERNS during the week included one at Cupsogue County Park Wednesday and one at Democrat Point at Robert Moses State Park Tuesday. There were also one or two earlier reports from Nickerson Beach for this species that does require some diligent identification as they mingle amongst the Common Terns.

Joining into what is an impressive incursion of DICKCISSELS recently in the New York and northeast region was one spotted Saturday and still present Wednesday at Caumsett State Park. One also continues on the Shawangunk Grasslands in Ulster County along with a HENSLOW'S SPARROW.

One or two LEAST BITTERNS have been present since Sunday at Prospect Park near the lake.

A MARBLED GODWIT was reported today west of Smith Point County Park where an ICELAND GULL continues and a CASPIAN TERN was noted Monday and Tuesday.

A couple of BLACK TERNS were present along the south shore this week along with a few more ROYAL TERNS, a GULL-BILLED TERN and a TRICOLORED HERON were noted at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Thursday.

Interesting landbirds Wednesday featured ACADIAN FLYCATCHER singing at Hempstead Lake State Park and an AMERICAN PIPIT reported from Nickerson Beach.

To phone in reports call Tom Burke at (914) 967-4922.

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, June 23, 2017

Friday's Foto

The Least Bittern is North America's smallest member of the heron family. This teeny, secretive bird weighs a mere 3 ounces or the equivalent of 6 tablespoons of water. What it lacks in size, though, it makes up for in appearence: the dominate color is a buffy-orange found on its face, neck and sides, as well as, a large patch on its wings. It has chestnut and buff-stripes on a white throat. The crown and back are black or dark brownish. The bill, legs and feet are yellow as are its eyes. A species of freshwater marshes and reedy ponds its diet consists mainly of small fish, frogs, crustaceans and insects (such as dragonflies and beetles). Like its larger relative, the American Bittern, when alarmed it will point its bill up, freeze in place and slowly sways to resemble wind-blown cattails or reeds.

Breeding in wetland areas throughout the Eastern and Central United States, they overwinter from our southern states, south through Central America to Colombia. There are some resident populations in central Mexico and the West Indies.

Their conservation status according to the IUCN Red List is "Least Concern". While not on the 2016 State of North America's Birds Watch List, the North American Waterbird Conservation Plan rates it a Species of High Concern. In addition, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation list it as "Threatened" in this state.

The Least Bittern's scientific name, Ixobrychus exilis, means reed-like; little or slender.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Green-Wood Cemetery Hawks

Our Green-Wood Cemetery Red-tailed Hawk nestlings are doing well and seemingly growing as fast as kudzu vines in Florida. Here's a photo my friend Heidi took a couple of days ago:



I don't monitor our local Red-tailed Hawk nests as closely as I have in the past, but can tell by this youngster's developing flight feathers that it won't be too long until they fledge. In another week I expect to see the pair flap-hopping at the edge of the nest. The next step would be climbing out on some of the adjacent branches ("branching") and flap-hopping from those locations. I would expect to see one or both taking their maiden flight sometime around July 4th.

If you'd like to pay a visit to the cemetery and check out the nest, here is a map with the location:



The best vantage point is from the near the middle of the lot closer to Vine Avenue.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Treehugger Tuesday

From "Mongabay" online:

Elusive seabird breeding grounds discovered in Chilean desert
16 June 2017 / Kim Smuga-Otto
After decades of speculation, the first ringed storm-petrel breeding grounds have been discovered in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

• A Chilean expedition into the Atacama Desert has located the first known breeding grounds of the ringed storm-petrel, a seabird of unknown population size that is endemic to the western coast of South America.

• The nests, located in natural cavities in the desert’s rocks and salt pans, were found 70 miles from the Pacific coast, where the birds feed and spend most of their time.

• Chilean scientists see the discovery as critical to estimating the stability and size of the ringed storm-petrel population and determining the threat posed by mining and proposed wind farms in the region.

In a search to locate the nesting grounds of the ringed storm-petrel (Oceanodroma hornbyi) a team of Chilean biologists didn’t rely on high-tech tracking devices or aerial mapping tools. Instead they followed their noses.

A small team of scientists and volunteers from the Chilean Network of Ornithologists (Red de Observadores de Aves y Vida Silvestre de Chile — ROC) had ventured into the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, one of the driest places on earth, looking for evidence of this elusive seabird. They were in a region 70 kilometers (44 miles) from the Pacific coast when they caught a whiff of the birds’ distinctive musty odor.


Ringed storm-petrel in flight. Photo by Rodrigo Moraga.

“It’s not unlike old socks with a bit of fish thrown in,” Josh Adams, a biologist specializing in storm-petrels at the United States Geological Survey who was not a part of the ROC team, told Mongabay.

Spreading out over the rocky, salt encrusted landscape, the scientists and volunteers poked around in holes and crevices. They discovered feathers from an unidentified species of storm-petrel, confirming that the birds were using the small, naturally-formed cavities as nests, Heraldo Norambuena Ramirez, one of the ROC biologists, told Mongabay by email.

And then, in one of the nests, they found the small gray and black bird they’d been searching for. By the end of the day, they had identified 25 active nests, but no other birds or eggs. ROC announced the discovery in a press release late last month.

Birders often spy ringed storm-petrels flitting across open waters off the Chilean coast, but the location of their breeding grounds has confounded ornithologists for decades. Mummified remains of the birds, also known as Hornby’s storm-petrels, had been found in the Atacama Desert, where ROC expeditions recently revealed nesting colonies of a related species, Markham’s storm-petrel (Oceanodroma markhami).

The discovery is critical to understanding the ringed storm-petrel’s biology, estimating its population size, and determining whether mining activity and proposed wind farms in the Atacama Desert pose a danger to its continued existence.

“That’s the first step of conservation,” said Adams, “knowing where these unique animals are living, and how to preserve their habitat.”

The Humboldt Current, which flows along the west coast of South America, sustains numerous species of storm-petrel. The birds only venture onto land to breed and nest, and that is also when they are most vulnerable. To avoid rodents, snakes, and other predators, they often choose isolated, difficult-to-access spots like cliff faces, rocky islands, and barren deserts like the Atacama. The almost complete lack of precipitation renders the Atacama nearly uninhabitable, making it safe for Markham’s storm-petrels, and apparently ringed storm-petrels, to leave their chicks behind while they commute to the sea to feed.

From the five known Markham’s storm-petrel breeding colonies, Ramirez and his colleagues have obtained a clearer picture of the birds’ breeding behaviors and their numbers. They believe that they can replicate that approach with the ringed storm-petrel. They plan to search for additional colonies in the likeliest 400-square-kilometer (150-square-mile) region of desert. If they manage to find some, they will be able come up with a better estimate of the ringed storm-petrel population. Current estimates range widely, from 700 to 60,000 adults.

That information is important because the Atacama Desert is quickly becoming less desolate, as a result of both traditional and emerging industries. Lights from mining facilities attract and disorient storm-petrels, especially the juveniles on their first flight to the sea.

And with the Chilean government’s ambitious goal of obtaining 70 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050, the Atacama Desert is seen as a good location to build solar and wind farms. A 56-turbine farm was recently built on the coast of Huasco province, significantly to the south of the ringed storm-petrels’ nests.

Wind turbine blades rotate too quickly for even a fast bird like the storm-petrel to avoid, said Michael Hutchins, a behavioral ecologist who directs the Bird-Smart Wind Energy campaign for the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), which supports ROC’s storm-petrel work. The problem is compounded by the storm-petrels’ preference for flying at night, when the turbines are most active.

“A big part is proper placement of the turbines, away from high concentrations of birds,” said Hutchins, speaking of ABC’s campaign. If wind farms are built in the flight paths that storm-petrels take to get to their nests, the effects could be devastating.

Currently none of the storm-petrel colonies are protected in Chile. “In general [most Chileans’] idea is that in the desert is nothing,” said Ramirez.

He hopes that news of the ringed storm-petrel nest discovery will raise awareness of the bird’s plight and prompt the government and businesses to mitigate the any harm caused by mines and wind turbines.
...Read more

Monday, June 19, 2017

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, June 24, 2017 to Sunday, June 25, 2017:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, June 24, 2017, 12pm – 1pm
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
Saturday, June 24, 2017, 8:00am - 11:30am
FDR State Park with Naturalist Tait Johansson and the Friends of FDR
Join us for a bird walk in the forests and by the wetlands of this gem of a park. Bring binoculars or call Tait at 914.232.1999 to borrow a pair. Cost: Free. Level of difficulty: Easy-Moderate. Park at the (former) French Hill School, 2051 Baldwin Road in Yorktown Heights. Register with Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914.302.9713.

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 8:00am
Breeding Birds of Prospect Park
Leader: Sean Zimmer
Focus: A casual walk recording breeding species
Meet: 8am at the Bartel Pritchard Square park entrance
Please review our general trip information and guidelines on this page.

**********

Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, June 25, 2017
"Birding in Peace" - Summer Birding Sundays
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. Locally nesting birds will be incubating eggs or actively raising their first broods.

June and July from 6-7:30am (except July 2nd), Sundays August 6th and 20th from 6:30-8am
In July we should see the offspring of our resident red-tailed hawk bravely preparing to leave the nest. Warbler songs will be replaced by chirring Cicadas and the tweets of fledgling birds. Butterflies and dragonflies are abundant. By late-July, expect the arrival of the first southbound migrants.

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 to Sign Up
Click here for our inclement weather policy.

**********

Littoral Society
Sunday, June 25, 2017, 1:30pm - 4:00pm
Dead Horse Bay, New York’s Best Kept Natural Secret
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. Explore the nature and fascinating history of this little known area. It’s an amazing adventure into the world of Urban Archaeology. Sturdy footwear is essential. This is an American Littoral Society / G.N.R.A. Partnership Program.

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturdays -- 9/3/2016 - 6/24/2017: 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

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Weekly on Saturdays, until Jul 29, 2017
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, June 25, 2017, 10am – 1pm
The Parakeets of Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn
Guide: Gabriel Willow with Green-Wood Cemetery
Meet at the cemetery entrance at 5th Avenue and 25th Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn. Green-Wood Cemetery is rich in both history and wildlife. It is also the highest point in Brooklyn, affording marvelous views. We will explore its environs in search of spring migrants and its most unique avian residents: the huge flocks of brilliant green monk parakeets that nest there. Native to South America, these charming immigrants are surprisingly hardy and flourish even in our harsh winters. Limited to 15. $46 (32)
Click here to register

**********

NYC H2O
Saturday, June 24, 2017 at 11am
Neversink Reservoir Paddle, ​Cramer's Cove

Come paddle on the Neversink Reservoir. The Neversink Reservoir is the highest in elevation in NYC's water system with it's spillway at 1,440 feet in elevation. Put in service in 1955, it helps supply NYC with roughly half of its daily water intake along with its 3 sister Delaware system reservoirs.

In 2012, the DEP opened the reservoir for the first time to recreational use by permit only for canoes and kayaks. NYC H2O is excited to share the experience of paddling on the beautiful and pristine Neversink Reservoir. We endorse the DEP's forward thinking use of the reservoir and will join in promoting vigilance and good stewardship of the reservoir by paddlers.

We have 1 and 2 person kayaks and canoes as well.
Van transportation is available from midtown departing at 8am
Rain date: This is the raindate. If it we have to postpone again refunds will be issued.
Everyone must register for free DEP Watershed Access Permits here.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, June 24, 2017
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Head to the park to join bird walks led by experts from the NYC Audubon! Bird walks focus on wildlife happenings in the park.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, June 17, 2017

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, June 16, 2017:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jun. 16, 2017
* NYNY1706.16

- Birds mentioned
MISSISSIPPI KITE+
BLACK-NECKED STILT+
WILSON'S PLOVER+
ARCTIC TERN+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Cory's Shearwater
Great Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
Manx Shearwater
Wilson's Storm-Petrel
Northern Gannet
Cattle Egret
Sora
Red Knot
White-rumped Sandpiper
LITTLE GULL
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Gull-billed Tern
Black Tern
Roseate Tern
Royal Tern
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Acadian Flycatcher
Worm-eating Warbler
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Prairie Warbler
Canada Warbler
Boat-tailed Grackle

- 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

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

Transcriber: Ben Cacace

BEGIN TAPE

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, June 16th 2017 at 11pm. The highlights of today's tape are MISSISSIPPI KITE, BLACK-NECKED STILT, ARCTIC TERN, LITTLE GULL, WILSON'S PLOVER, PROTHONOTARY WARBLER and YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER.

First, we are very saddened to note that Irving Cantor passed away recently at the splendid age of 97. An active member of the New York birding scene going back to the days of the Bronx County Bird Club. Irv's energy, spirit and friendship will long be remembered.

Last Monday morning in Bedford, Westchester County an immature MISSISSIPPI KITE was photographed as it passed over Bylane Farm heading southwest. Not reported since this is a species to watch for while traveling about.

A pair of BLACK-NECKED STILTS seen in the swale off the Jones Beach West End parking field 2 back on May 29th and 30th reappeared there last Monday and continued visiting that site to Wednesday but not since. Where were they in the interim? Other birds seen in the swale included a GULL-BILLED TERN Monday and a few WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS and also on Monday came a noteworthy report of a WILSON'S PLOVER. Unfortunately this was just observed in flight and had passed by the observers before the bill, the ultimate field mark for this species, could be seen. This is certainly a bird to look for along the ocean beaches and adjacent mudflats.

Nickerson Beach and Lido Beach has recently been providing a nice variety of birds around the tern and skimmer colony highlighted by an immature ARCTIC TERN Thursday plus BLACK, ROSEATE and one or two ROYAL TERNS during the week, a pair of GULL-BILLED TERNS in the colony and an immature LITTLE GULL seen again last Sunday along with some lingering LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS the latter a feature of many gull flocks gathering along Long Island's south shore but at Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes the location, where ARCTIC TERN is most frequently found locally, one was seen on the flats last Sunday. Other terns there on Wednesday featured 4 ROSEATE, 3 ROYAL, 2 GULL-BILLED and 1 BLACK while lingering shorebirds that day included 23 RED KNOT and 4 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS. For those especially who enjoy south shore seawatching, today finally produced a good offshore of tubenoses. The morning watch from Robert Moses State Park field 2 produced 180 CORY'S, 46 GREAT and 7 SOOTY SHEARWATERS, 17 WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS and 7 NORTHERN GANNETS. An afternoon watch from the beach building at Tiana Beach off Dune Road also produced small numbers of the above shearwaters and storm-petrels and added MANX SHEARWATER to the list. A watch closer to the city off Fort Tilden included 4 CORY'S, 1 GREAT and 2 SOOTY SHEARWATERS. But as a rule seawatching is often more productive the farther east you get along the south shore.

The CATTLE EGRET was still at Cow Meadow Park in Freeport last Saturday.

Unusual and potentially breeding rare local warblers included a PROTHONOTARY at the William Floyd Estate in Mastic Beach Sunday and a YELLOW-THROATED at Connetquot River State Park Thursday while late migrant warblers this week included PRAIRIE, MAGNOLIA, BLACK-THROATED BLUE, CANADA and WORM-EATING.

The Greenwich-Stamford Summer Bird Count last weekend tallied 131 species including in Westchester County SORA, NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL, ACADIAN FLYCATCHER and BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE the latter new for the count.

To phone in reports 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, June 16, 2017

Friday's Foto

A relative of the widespread Northern Cardinal, the strikingly plumed Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a common breeding songbird of wooded habitats across midwestern and eastern North America. In the Great Plains, where their range overlaps with that of the Black-headed Grosbeak, these similar species sometimes hybridize. Nesting across most of Canada and the northeastern United States their preferred habitat is open deciduous woods. Rose-breasted Grosbeaks winter from central-southern Mexico through Central America and the Caribbean to Peru and Venezuela.

In breeding plumage the male has a black head, wings, back and tail, and a bright rose-red patch on its breast. Their wings have two white patches and rose-red linings. Females have brown streaked upperparts, buffy streaked underparts and yellow wing linings. It takes more than a year for them to acquire their adult plumage.

Their diet consists mainly of insects, seeds, and berries. In the late-summer and fall they feed heavily on berries and small fruits.

According to the IUCN Red list, the conservation status of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak is “Least Concern”, although their populations experienced a slow decline from 1966 to 2015. This songbird is not on the 2016 State of North America's Birds' Watch List. Because they look and sound pretty, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are commonly trapped for sale as caged birds in their wintering range, and this has an unknown impact on their population.

Their scientific name, Pheucticus ludovicianus, means (from Ancient Greek) pheuktiko, " shy", from pheugo , "to flee, and ludovicianus refers to Louisiana.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website “Treehugger”:

98-year-old secret millionaire gives fortune to Audubon for wildlife refuge
Melissa Breyer (@MelissaBreyer)
Science / Conservation
June 7, 2017

Russ Gremel spent $1,000 on Walgreens stock 70 years ago, now he’s giving $2 million dollars to Mother Nature.

In a culture dedicated to the acquisition, display, and both coveting and squandering of money, it's always wildly refreshing to come across people who defy the norm. And even better when they defy the norm in ways bursting with beautiful, altruistic generosity. Case in point: A 98-year-old Chicago man by the name of Russ Gremel.

Seventy years ago Russ Gremel plunked down $1,000 to buy stock in a Chicago-based pharmacy chain, inspired by his brother's observation that people would always need medicine and women would always buy makeup.

The pharmacy chain was Walgreen's, and Gremel's $1,000 turned into $2 million. He never cashed out, he never moved out of the humble brick bungalow where he has lived since he was 4 years old. He was, quite simply, never seduced by the lure of things money could buy.

As the Chicago Tribune reports, Gremel opts for oats and stew over "fancy foods." His last car was an ancient Dodge Omni. "I'm a very simple man," Gremel told the Tribune. "I never let anybody know I had that kind of money."

But now the cat's out of the bag: The now-not-so-secret millionaire is making headlines with his extraordinary donation of the stock to the Illinois Audubon Society, which is using it to help establish a 395-acre wildlife refuge in Lee County. The society had been yearning to purchase the property, and were able to buy it last year for $2.1 million using money from Gremel's shares along with a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, as well as cash from its own land acquisition fund.

Which means the society hasn't liquidated all of the Walgreens shares, says Jim Herkert, its executive director, potentially signalling the opportunity for further growth of the funds.

"It's incredibly generous," Herkert says of the donation. "It's allowing us to protect a really valuable and important piece of property and fulfill one of Russ' wishes that we could find a place where people could come out and experience and enjoy nature the way he did as a kid."

And how lovely that Gremel is able to enjoy the fruits of his generosity by giving the gift while he is still alive.

"Why not give it to them now," he says, "when I have the pleasure and enjoyment of seeing it."

The sanctuary was dedicated last week, the refuge is called the Gremel Wildlife Sanctuary, a Legacy Project of the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. It will remain a safe haven for over 170 species of birds as well as relatively rare turtles, and many other creatures. It's a chance for people to see what parts of Illinois looked like before most of the people arrived, Herkert says. Which is a good thing, and Gremel agrees.

"You have to do some good in this world," Gremel said. "That's what money is for."

The Chicago Tribune was a wonderful video of Gremel discussing his life and the sanctuary, which you can see here.
...Read more

Monday, June 12, 2017

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, June 17, 2017 to Sunday, June 18, 2017:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, June 10, 2017, 12pm – 1pm
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!

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, June 17, 2017
“The search for the Silvery Checkerspot!” Van Cortland Park, Bronx
Leader: Peter Dorosh 347-622-3559 (Texts only)
Focus: A fun search for an endemic local rare butterfly species, while looking for and hearing bird species as well as other butterflies along the Checkerspot trails.
Meet: 8:30 am at the street level below the number ONE train last stop: Van Cortland Park -242nd Street station. Intersection West 242nd and Broadway. https://goo.gl/maps/xaQsz8x9iFo
Silvery Checkerspot Fact file: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Chlosyne-nycteis

**********

Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, June 18, 2017
"Birding in Peace" - Summer Birding Sundays
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. Locally nesting birds will be incubating eggs or actively raising their first broods.

June and July from 6-7:30am (except July 2nd), Sundays August 6th and 20th from 6:30-8am
In July we should see the offspring of our resident red-tailed hawk bravely preparing to leave the nest. Warbler songs will be replaced by chirring Cicadas and the tweets of fledgling birds. Butterflies and dragonflies are abundant. By late-July, expect the arrival of the first southbound migrants.

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 to Sign Up
Click here for our inclement weather policy.

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturdays -- 9/3/2016 - 6/24/2017: 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

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, June 17, 8am–Sunday, June 18, 6pm
Bashakill, Neversink, and Sterling Forest, NY
Guide: Joe Giunta, Happy Warblers LLC
Look for breeding American bitterns, cerulean, hooded, and golden-winged warblers, and more at these three great birding areas. An overnight stay will facilitate being in the right spot at the right time. Bring lunch for the first day, binoculars, and a spotting scope (if you have one). Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 10. $320 ($75 single supplement)
Click here to register

Saturday, June 17, 2017, 7:30am – 12:30pm
Explore the Meadowlands by Pontoon Boat, Secaucus, NJ
Guide: Tod Winston and NJ Meadowlands Docent with NJ Meadowlands Commission
Explore the Meadowlands on a relaxing pontoon boat ride in search of egrets, night-herons, belted kingfishers, and marsh wrens—along with nesting osprey and peregrine falcons. We'll travel along the Hackensack River to both manmade and restored wetland sites and learn about the area's environmental history. Bring lunch. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 11. $113 (79)
Click here to register

Saturday, June 17, 2017, 8am – 5pm
Breeding Birds of the Hudson Highlands
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Join Gabriel Willow on a day-long trip to some of the most exciting & beautiful birding locations in the Hudson Valley - Doodletown Rd., Constitution Marsh, and Indian Brook Farm (in Fahnestock State Park). We'll look for uncommon breeding warbler specialties at Doodletown, such as cerulean, hooded, blue-winged, golden-winged, and worm-eating warblers; We will then head to the Constitution Marsh Audubon Sanctuary to explore a brackish marsh along the Hudson River. They have a beautiful boardwalk and are home to breeding wood duck, bald eagle, least bittern, marsh wren, and more. After a picnic lunch by the banks of Indian Brook, we will drive to Indian Brook Farm, which has extensive grasslands and highbush blueberry stands. These habitats have breeding Field and savannah sparrows, bobolinks, and indigo buntings. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $129 (90)
Click here to register

Weekly on Saturdays, until Jul 29, 2017
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, June 17, 2017, 8:30am – 11:00am
The Summering Birds of Inwood Hill Park
Guide: Annie Barry
Meet at the entrance to Inwood Hill Park at the corner of Isham Street and Seaman Avenue. Join Annie Barry for a hike through a mature forest in search of Baltimore and orchard orioles, eastern towhees, wood thrushes, warbling vireos and other summer residents. We will then move to the shores of the Inwood Hill Park saltmarshes to search for herons and ducks. Some hilly walking required. Limited to 15. $36 (25)
Click here to register

Sunday, June 18, 2017, 8am – 11am
Prospect Park Bird Walk
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Meet under the arch in Grand Army Plaza. Join Gabriel Willow for a leisurely walk to see later-spring migrants and breeding bird residents of 'Brooklyn's Backyard', beautiful Prospect Park. Prospect Park has a wide variety of habitats that attracts a large number of migrants and breeding bird species - significantly more than Central Park in fact. We will explore the park's meadows, forests, and waterways in search of waterfowl, warblers, tanagers, and some of the other species that call the park home. Limited to 15. $36 (25)
Click here to register

**********

NYC H2O
Saturday, June 17, 2017 at 11am
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 has taken 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. Tickets are free but please RSVP.
Free Reservoir Tour Tickets

**********

Sullivan County Audubon Society
Sunday, June 18, 2017
Birds and Butterflies of Fir Brook
8:00am. Meet leaders Ruth McKeon and Renee Davis at the parking lot opposite the Citgo station in Parksville. (Exit 98 off Rte 17, then left at second stop sign. Parking lot is 1.3 miles on left.)
If weather is questionable please call Ruth at 434-4629 or Renee at 482-5044 before 7pm.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, June 17, 2017
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Head to the park to join bird walks led by experts from the NYC Audubon! Bird walks focus on wildlife happenings in the park.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, June 10, 2017

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, June 9, 2017:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* June 9, 2017
* NYNY1706.09

- Birds Mentioned

BLACK-NECKED STILT+
ARCTIC TERN+
SANDWICH TERN+

(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Whimbrel
Red Knot
White-rumped Sandpiper
Bonaparte’s Gull
LITTLE GULL
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Glaucous Gull
Least Tern
GULL-BILLED TERN
Caspian Tern
Black Tern
Roseate Tern
Common Tern
Royal Tern
Black Skimmer
NORTHERN FULMAR
Cory’s Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
Great Shearwater
MANX SHEARWATER
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel
Least Bittern
Cattle Egret
Red-headed Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Acadian Flycatcher
Alder Flycatcher
Tennessee Warbler
Mourning Warbler
KENTUCKY WARBLER
Cape May Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Nelson’s Sparrow
SUMMER TANAGER
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
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, June 9, 2017 at 8:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are BLACK-NECKED STILT, SANDWICH, ARCTIC, GULL-BILLED and other TERNS, LITTLE GULL, NORTHERN FULMAR, and MANX SHEARWATER, YELLOW-THROATED and KENTUCKY WARBLERS, SUMMER TANAGER and BLUE GROSBEAK.

Diminishing bird activity in the city parks has been offset recently by nice concentrations of shorebirds and terns along the coast. Decent gatherings of shorebirds at sites such as Jones Beach West End and along the flats from Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes east to Shinnecock have provided good numbers and variety, including some RED KNOTS and WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS, but the shorebird highlights for the week have been a BLACK-NECKED STILT spotted in Mecox Bay near the cut last Sunday that was still present Wednesday and a WHIMBREL at Great Kills Park on Staten Island on Monday. Eleven species of TERNS and SKIMMERS featured 2 SANDWICH TERNS spotted near the eastern tern and skimmer colony at Nickerson Beach in Lido Beach on Tuesday. The nice variety at Nickerson, presumably attracted by the large volume of activity around the COMMON and LEAST TERN and BLACK SKIMMER colonies also produced an adult ARCTIC TERN Wednesday and Friday and a BLACK, 2 ROYAL and up to 9 ROSEATE TERNS Wednesday along with up to 17 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS and 2 BONAPARTE’S GULLS. An immature LITTLE GULL was reported there Tuesday, and a GULL-BILLED TERN or 2 also reside in the colony there. A stiff fee is charged at Nickerson when the booths are open.

A first summer ARCTIC TERN was on the Cupsogue flats back on the 2nd, and during the week Cupsogue also attracted ROSEATE TERN plus a BLACK on Thursday, with 2 ROYAL TERNS along Dune Road Tuesday. A CASPIAN TERN visited Mecox Monday and Tuesday, and 3 ROYAL TERNS stopped by Plumb Beach in Brooklyn Monday.

For the GULLS, a GLAUCOUS was still at Mecox Sunday, with an ICELAND at Smith Point County Park this week, while a number of LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS remain along the south shore.

Sea watching continues to be slow from shore, with 2 SOOTY SHEARWATERS off Robert Moses State Park Tuesday, but a boat trip to Block Canyon southeast of Montauk last Sunday noted a NORTHERN FULMAR, 24 CORY’S, 27 GREAT, 13 SOOTY and 2 MANX SHEARWATERS and 13 WILSON’S STORM-PETRELS.

A LEAST BITTERN has been heard recently near Big John’s Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, and a CATTLE EGRET was still visiting Cow Meadow Park in Freeport at least to Wednesday.

With nesting season now in full swing, presumably on territory has been a YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Great River, with another YELLOW-THROATED at Connetquot River State Park last Saturday also returning to a previous breeding site. Other species likely nesting and thus requiring absolute minimal disturbance include the SUMMER TANAGER again appearing this year at the Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay and scattered BLUE GROSBEAKS, including birds at the Calverton Grasslands, with other singles noted in Huntington Sunday and at Connetquot River State Park Thursday.

Single KENTUCKY and MOURNING WARBLERS were spotted in Central Park yesterday, and among the other dozen plus WARBLERS for the week have been TENNESSEE and CAPE MAY.

A continuing nice selection of FLYCATCHERS has included ACADIAN, ALDER and YELLOW-BELLIED.

NELSON’S SPARROW continues to be seen at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn.

RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were noted Sunday at Connetquot River State Park and Monday at Muscoot Farm in northern Westchester County.

To phone in reports, please 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, June 09, 2017

Friday's Foto

Last weekend I went with two friends to Shawangunk Grasslands NWR in Wallkill, New York to look for the increasingly rare Henslow’s Sparrow. One had been reported there a few days earlier.

This short-tailed, small songbird of grassland habitats is distinctive with its flat-headed profile, olive-colored head and facial plumage, buffy breast and sides with black streaks and rust-colored wings. Conspicuously singing from an exposed perch, their song is a thin, cricket-like "tsi-di-lick”.

The breeding range of the Henslow’s Sparrow is from South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario and Massachusetts south to Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina and locally in Texas. Populations in New York State are primarily in the central and western parts of the state, especially the Appalachian Plateau and Great Lakes Plain. In eastern New York, it may also be found in the Mohawk Valley. Their diet consist of large numbers of crickets, beetles, caterpillars, ants and other insect pests, providing an economic benefit. They also consume seeds of weeds, grasses, and sedges. They winters along the coast from southeast North Carolina to Florida and west to eastern Texas.

According for the IUCN Red List, the Henslow’s Sparrow is listed as “Near Threatened” due to sharp declines over the past 3 decades, primarily because of loss or degradation of grassland habitat. In New York State it is listed as “Threatened”. In fact, it is listed as threatened or endangered in 12 states. It is on the 2016 State of North America's Birds' Watch List.

This sparrow’s scientific name, Ammodramus henslowii, means desert racer or runner; Henslow (after Rev. John Stevens Henslow (1796–1861), English botanist, naturalist good friend of Audubon, and teacher of Charles Darwin).

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Green-Wood Cemetery Trip

With most of the migrant songbirds having moved on to northern breeding grounds after refueling and resting within our city's green spaces, Sunday's walk focused on which species were nesting and raising young.

I started the early morning walk by heading directly towards "The Flats" to look in on our local Red-tailed Hawk nest. Along the way we passed a single, procrastinating Magnolia Warbler singing from a densely leafed out birch tree at (not surprising) "Birch Hill". We never got good looks at this primarily yellow, black and gray songbird as he hopped around close to the trunk about 40 feet up.

Our red-tails have used the same nest as last year, near the top of a mature conifer. This raptor species typically returns to previous nest sites, especially if they successfully raise young. The tree is located within the lot that is bordered by Cypress, Vine, Sassafras and Grape Avenues. When we first arrived the female was perched on a branch above the nest and removing a small branch to add to the nest. The top of a small, white head could be seen below her. Within a few minutes the second nestling began moving about. "Mom" dropped down and proceeded to weave the pine bough into the nest's interior. Our group watched the red-tailed family for several minutes but didn't observe "Dad" returning with any food. We did spot him a little while later flying in the direction of the nest as we walked west along Cypress Avenue.

As we approached Vernal Avenue I heard the distinctive croaking call of a Common Raven. After well over a century's absence from the Big Apple, this highly intelligent species has begun to reestablish itself here. The pair that is periodically seen at Green-Wood Cemetery doesn't nest here, but rather some yet to be discovered area nearby. We picked up our pace and tracked down the raven at the top of a cypress tree on Alpine Hill, above the Crescent Water. As we got closer, we spotted a second, then a third and, finally, a fourth raven. The group was very vocal as they moved short distances from Alpine Hill to the Crescent Water to the small ridge above the Dell Water. The two young corvids were making more harsh, squawking calls, to which the adults were responding with croaks and popping vocalizations. As we stood at the edge of the Dell Water, the family of huge, black birds flew over us towards the main entrance, pursued by a pair of high-pitched, protesting Eastern Kingbirds.

In addition to the kingbirds, other flycatchers we observed as likely nesting in the cemetery were Eastern Wood-Pewee and Great Crested Flycatcher. At Oak Avenue, near Locust Hill, I've been hearing a calling Eastern Phoebe for a couple of weeks, so perhaps they are also nesting here.

Birds are not the only animals raising their young right now. A couple of weeks ago I discovered a small cavity, low in a tree on the ridge across from Horace Greeley. At first I thought it was just an adult raccoon sleeping in the shaded hideaway. As I got closer to take a photo I heard what I can only describe as a chittering purring sound coming from beneath the balled up furry animal. After a moment I spotted a small, dark nose sticking up from the back of the hole. That was followed by the entire head of a young, curious raccoon pushing out from underneath its clearly unperturbed parent. I snapped a couple of photos, then tiptoed away. As I was wrapping up Sunday's tour I stopped by again to show the group. They were still there, mom sound asleep and baby curious to greet some visitors. Just to be clear, these are wild animals and should be treated with respect and caution. Yes, they are very cute, but they also have very sharp teeth that could cause serious injury if they feel threatened. They do not make good pets and, in fact, it is illegal in NYC to try to keep one as a pet. That said, like all wildlife, they should be mindfully enjoyed without harassing or endangering them.

As always, I look forward to new discoveries on the next tour.

Big thank you to Evan Rabeck for the use of his Red-tailed Hawk photo.

**********

Location: Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn
Date: Sunday, June 4, 2017
Species: 36

Canada Goose
Great Egret (1.)
Green Heron (1.)
Red-tailed Hawk (2 adults, 2 nestlings and 1 immature (last year's offspring).)
Laughing Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Monk Parakeet
Eastern Wood-Pewee (1.)
Eastern Phoebe (1.)
Great Crested Flycatcher (2.)
Eastern Kingbird (3.)
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
Common Raven (4. Juveniles "calling" to adults. Adults making "croaking" and "popping" vocalizations.)
Tree Swallow
House Wren
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Magnolia Warbler (1.)
Blackpoll Warbler (2.)
Chipping Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow
...Read more

Free Walking Tour


Treehugger Tuesday

From the Christian Science Monitor:

Paris pullout: Now, US cities and states respond

Even as the global press and public wrestled with the implications of President Trump’s withdrawal from a widely embraced climate accord, a handful of cities and states vowed to adhere to its terms. As Peter Grier explains, that could be more than symbolic.
– Clayton

American leadership doesn’t live only in Washington. Perhaps that’s one of the implications of a growing backlash of US states, cities, and companies against President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris global climate accord. This loose coalition says it will try to plan ways to meet US greenhouse gas emission targets set by the Paris pact, whatever the White House says. This could mean switching police cars to natural gas, levying carbon taxes at the state level, or switching truck plants to all-renewable energy. Mr. Trump says Paris is a “disaster” that could cost America millions of good jobs. This new opposition, which includes Republican as well as Democratic governors, sees it as an opportunity to build new jobs around the work of adapting to what will come. “These are not tree-huggers,” says one environmentalist.

President Trump’s historic decision to withdraw from the Paris global climate accord has produced an extraordinary reaction from a group of US states, cities, and corporations opposed to the move. They’ve banded together in a loose coalition that intends to try and meet US greenhouse gas emission targets set by the pact, despite official Washington policy.

Does American leadership always reside in the White House? That’s a question to which the US Climate Alliance – which includes the governors of at least four states, dozens of mayors, and more than 100 corporations – may provide at least a partial answer.

“I have to say, the president’s short-sightedness and just offensive breaking of a promise that this country made with the rest of the world is really inspiring others to step forward into the void of leadership that he has left," says Libby Schaaf, the Democratic mayor of Oakland, Calif, in a phone interview. “I believe in some ways his action is going to inspire more philanthropists, more industrial leaders to come out and say, ‘We as Americans are not breaking our promise.’ ”

There’s partisanship in this action, of course. But it is also driven by a concern on the part of many non-national officials and executives – including some Republican leaders – that the United States needs to keep its eye on building new jobs and industries around the work of adapting to a changing global environment.

“These are not tree-huggers,” said Mindy Lubber, president and chief executive officer of Ceres, a sustainability advocacy group, in a phone briefing Thursday organized in support of the new coalition.

That said, some of the biggest names in the nascent organization are politicians long opposed to the Trump administration’s America First approach to world affairs. They include Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor and billionaire, Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic governor of New York State and possible 2020 presidential candidate, and Jerry Brown, Democratic governor of California. New York and California – together with the states of Washington and Connecticut, which have also signed on – represent nearly one-quarter of America’s gross domestic product (GDP).

“Donald Trump has absolutely chosen the wrong course. He’s wrong on the facts,” said Governor Brown on the Thursday phone call, which was organized by the World Resources Institute.

The new group is trying to determine if it can submit a greenhouse-gas emission reduction goal to the United Nations alongside those submitted by almost all the world’s sovereign nations. Given the size of the California and New York economies it is possible this goal could approach the one pledged by former President Barack Obama of a 26-28 percent reduction in emissions by 2025, measured against 2005 levels.

It’s the 26 percent reduction goal, itself non-binding, that Mr. Trump has said that the US will no longer take steps to meet, during his administration.

Why companies are getting greener

But politics isn’t the only reason for the new group’s formation. It also reflects the fact that many states and localities have already taken steps to try and reduce emissions, under voter and corporate pressure.

About 30 states have already adopted mandates that require utilities to reduce their use of fossil fuels and increase use of renewable energy, for instance.

Corporate leaders also see green energy as an aspect of many developing industries and possible marketing tool. They don’t want to cede leadership in this area to competitors such as China. Many lobbied Trump to stay in the Paris agreement and were unhappy when he withdrew.

“Disappointed with today’s decision on the Paris Agreement,” tweeted Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of General Electric, following Trump’s announcement. “Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government.”

The world is now moving in a different direction than the US on the environment, and if US companies don’t move with their global competitors they will be left behind with primitive technologies and primitive manufacturing processes that won’t match up in the years ahead, says William Rees, an ecological economist at the University of British Columbia.

Boosting oil and gas production and attempting to revive the coal industry is 19th -century thinking, says Professor Rees. That won’t work for companies that want to maintain global market share in the 21st century.

“No corporate entity that has an international status is going to want to climb onto a 19th -century bandwagon, and that’s what Trump and his people represent,” says Rees.

Not just happening in the Arctic

Meanwhile, it is states and cities that are already being forced to deal with the realities of climate change on a practical level. This includes not just East and West Coast cities dealing with rising oceans but Middle American places like South Bend, Ind.

Last August South Bend had one of the most devastating storms in its history, says Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a Democrat who made a brief run for the leadership of the Democratic National Committee earlier this year. Seven inches of rain fell overnight. Families had their homes destroyed by rainfall and flash flooding.

“We have to stop thinking of climate change as something that happens in the Arctic, and recognize it as something that’s impacting us at home,” says Mr. Buttigieg.

South Bend is now reengineering its sewer systems as a “green infrastructure” that can handle increased rainwater. It’s revising its city forestry plan to include trees better fitted for a changing climate. It has retrofitted police cars and other city vehicles to run on natural gas, and optimized traffic lights to reduce idling times.

“This is one of the many issues where the federal level of politics has let us down, and when that happens it’s increasingly fallen to cities to step up and take a leadership role,” Buttigieg says.

On the other hand, Tom Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, says the federal level did not let down US voters in this instance. Trump was right to withdraw from the Paris agreement, he says.

Many of the adjustments away from fossil fuels made at the city and corporate levels are the result of onerous regulations that the Trump administration is now in the process of unwinding, he says. And the Paris agreement carried a real cost for US taxpayers. The US had pledged up to $3 billion in aid for poorer nations to make their own investments in renewable energy. (Of that amount, $1 billion has been paid.)

That’s money that the GOP-controlled Congress was not going to authorize, Pyle points out. Given all that, “there is really no reason to be in the agreement at all,” he says.

A determination to do more

It’s unclear whether the pro-Paris group of non-federal government and businesses can earn any sort of official standing with the UN overseers of the climate agreement. The accord was designed around nation-states, not ad hoc groups of concerned organizations.

But even a separate pledge would indicate that leadership in the US has passed to different levels and progress is being made, according to former New York City Mayor Bloomberg and other leaders of the effort.

That could counteract one of the biggest worries of environmental groups: that the US action could spark an “us, too” reaction among other nations. The thinking would run along predictable lines. The US isn’t going to participate. Why should we?

This sort of thinking could trickle down to the individual level of mayors and companies both in the US and around the world, says Timmons Roberts, a professor of environmental studies at Brown University in Rhode Island.

But “that’s not what I’m seeing now,” he says. “I’m seeing a defiance and grim determination to do more.”

Staff writers Noelle Swan and Eva Botkin-Kowacki contributed to this report.
...Read more

Monday, June 05, 2017

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, June 10, 2017 to Sunday, June 11, 2017:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, June 10, 2017, 12pm – 1pm
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
Saturday, June 10, 2017 @ 7:30am - 3:00pm
Bashakill Marsh and Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge
Leader: Naturalist Tait Johansson
Grab your binoculars and join Tait for a full day of birding! Bashakill supports wetland-dependent breeding species like Virginia Rail, Sora, Common Gallinule, both bitterns, both cuckoos, and a large array of songbirds. The National Wildlife Refuge has breeding populations of Bobolink, Grasshopper Sparrow, and Upland Sandpiper.
Depart Bylane at 6am and return 4:00pm.
Cost: Free.
Level of difficulty: Moderate.
Register with Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914.302.9713.

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, June 10, 2017
Muttontown Birds and Insects, Nassau County
Leader: Steve Nanz
Focus: Breeding birds, Odonata and insects galore
Registrar: Heidi Steiner, heidi.steiner@verizon.net or call before 8 pm 718- 369-2116
Site profile: https://www.nassaucountyny.gov/2839/Muttontown-Preserve

**********

Gateway National Recreation Area
Sunday, June 11, 2017, 9:00am to 1:00pm
Nurture Nature Retreat and Wild Walk
This program has been rescheduled, please note new date and time****Learn to live more deeply, more connected, and more in love with nature, including human nature. Through One Earth Conservation's Nuture Nature Program, which aims to inspire, motivate, educate and support people to take care of themselves, their organizations and the biotic community as a whole.
Registration is required: www.oneearthconservation.org
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fee Information: Free

**********

Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, June 11, 2017
"Birding in Peace" - Summer Birding Sundays
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. Locally nesting birds will be incubating eggs or actively raising their first broods.

June and July from 6-7:30am (except July 2nd), Sundays August 6th and 20th from 6:30-8am
In July we should see the offspring of our resident red-tailed hawk bravely preparing to leave the nest. Warbler songs will be replaced by chirring Cicadas and the tweets of fledgling birds. Butterflies and dragonflies are abundant. By late-July, expect the arrival of the first southbound migrants.

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 to Sign Up
Click here for our inclement weather policy.

**********

Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Sunday, June 11, 2017 - 7:30am
The Birds of Nickerson Beach
Songbirds have settled into their territories for the summer, but shorebirds are still migrating. We will start the day on the beach, looking for migrant Roseate, Royal, and Black Terns, and enjoying the local Black Skimmer colony. We will spend some time on the marsh side, enjoying the nesting Willets, Oystercatchers, Wilow Flycatchers, Boat-tailed Grackles, and maybe Gull-billed Terns.
Registration: 516-782-0293.

Directions: take the Meadowbrook Parkway south to the Loop Parkway toward Point Lookout. At the end of the parkway, merge onto Lido Blvd west. Turn left into Nickerson Beach park at the second light. There is no charge at this hour. Continue west past the tollbooths and turn into the large lot on the left after the skatepark. Meet in the southeast corner by the playground.

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, June 10, 2017 — Rain date, Sunday, June 11, 2017
Ward Pound Ridge for Butterflies
Leader: Rick Cech
Registrar: Lenore Swenson — lenoreswenson@gmail.com or 212-533-9567
Registration opens: Monday, May 29
Ride: $30

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturdays -- 9/3/2016 - 6/24/2017: 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

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, June 10, 2017, 8am – Sunday, June 11, 2017, 6pm
Bashakill, Shawangunk NWR, and Doodletown, NY
Guide: Joe Giunta, Happy Warblers LLC
Look for breeding eastern meadowlarks, American bitterns, cerulean warblers, and more at these three great birding areas. An overnight stay will facilitate being in the right spot at the right time. Bring lunch for the first day, binoculars, and a spotting scope (if you have one). Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 10. $320 ($75 single supplement)
Click here to register

Saturday, June 10, 2017, 8am – 12pm
Birding Gems of Staten Island: Clove Lakes Park
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Meet at the Manhattan terminal of the Staten Island Ferry and journey to the "Forgotten Borough" to discover some of the beautiful forests and incredible birding spots at Clove Lakes Park. Look for ducks and seabirds in New York Harbor on our way across on the ferry ride and then catch a bus to the Park. Numerous warblers, vireos, tanagers, and other migratory songbirds can be seen here, as well as nesting eastern screech owls and great blue herons. We'll even see one of the largest and oldest trees in NYC! Limited to 15. Bus fare ($2.75 each way - please bring your MetroCard or exact change) not included in registration price. $43 (30)
Click here to register

Weekly on Saturdays, until Jul 29, 2017
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, June 11, 2017, 9:30am – 11:30am
Spring Birding at Wave Hill, The Bronx
Guide: Gabriel Willow with Wave Hill
Meet at the Perkins Visitor Center. Naturalist Gabriel Willow contributes his extensive knowledge of bird species and their behaviors on these captivating walks. Wave Hill’s garden setting overlooking the Hudson River flyway provides the perfect habitat for resident and migrating birds. Ages 10 and up welcome with an adult. NYC Audubon members enjoy two-for-one admission (see www.wavehill.org for more information)

**********

NYC H2O
Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 6:30pm
Horseshoe Crab Discovery Walks
Location: Plumb Beach
Click here to sign up

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Saturday, June 10, 2017 @ 12:00pm – 2:00pm
Mount Loretto Unique Area
Walk along the trails through the meadows, the wetlands and shoreline and into the Butler Woods. Explore the diversity of habitats in this south shore parkland system which Protectors helped to preserve in the mid-1990’s. Now home to eagles and deer, orchids and a rich variety of butterflies no one could have anticipated just how special the Mount Loretto property would have become once preserved. Participants will investigate the area for birds and butterflies, horseshoe crabs and even fossils buried among the layers of detritus at the beach.
For more information and exact meeting location contact Ray Matarazzo at 718-317-7666

Sunday, June 11, 2017 @ 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Arden Heights Woods Park Preserve
The Arden Height Woods Park Preserve boats NYC’s largest forested freshwater wetland, and state rare flora like the sweet bay magnolia and American strawberry bush. Arden Heights Woods Park Preserve is a precious habitat island in a sea of human development. We will study the flora and fauna that thrive in the park’s wetlands and oak-hickory forested uplands. We will meet at the DEC entrance song Woodrow Road beside Berry Avenue.
For more information contact Will Lenihan at wleni5584@gmail.com

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, June 10, 2017
Bird-Watching at the Reservoir at Main entrance across from the Vermont Place Parking Lot
7:30 a.m.–8:30 a.m.
Start your day with an early morning bird-watching walk led by the Brooklyn Bird Club
Free!
...Read more

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