Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website "Tree Hugger":

11 facts about coast redwoods, the tallest trees in the world
Melissa Breyer
August 29, 2017

Sturdy, stalwart, and superlatively statuesque, California's coast redwoods stand out as some of the most impressive organisms on the planet.

Before the 1850s, coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) luxuriated amongst some 2 million acres of California’s coast, stretching from south of Big Sur to just over the Oregon border. One of three members of the Sequoioideae subfamily of cypress trees, the coast redwoods and their cousins, the giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum), hold the records for tallest and largest trees in the world, respectively.

For thousands of years the people of the area managed to live in harmony with these ancient trees, understanding the importance of their unique forest ecosystem. And then the gold rush happened. With the arrival of hundreds of thousands of gold-seekers starting in 1849, the redwoods were doomed. Logged into near oblivion to keep up with the demand for lumber, today, only 5 percent of the original old-growth coast redwood forest remains, fewer than 100,000 acres dotted along the coast.

The loss is heartbreaking ... and gives all the more reason to sing the praises of these supertrees. And praise is easy, considering how spectacular they are. Consider the following:

1. They are ancient
Coast redwoods are among the oldest living organisms in the world. They can live for more than 2,000 years – which is to say, some of these grande dames were alive during the Roman Empire. The oldest living redwood known clocks in at around 2,200 years old. Aside from the pockets of old-growth, most of the coast redwood forest is now young.

2. They reach for the stars
Attaining soaring heights of more than 300 feet, they are so tall that their tops are out of sight. The tallest one of all is a towering beauty by the name of Hyperion (pictured above); discovered in 2006, this giant stands at 379.7 feet in height. Other notable specimens include Helios at 374.3 feet (114.1 meters), Icarus at 371.2 feet (113.1 meters) and Daedalus at 363.4 feet (110.8 meters). Because people are jerks, the trees’ locations are kept secret to protect them from vandalism.

3. They host sky-high worlds
Incredibly, mats of soil on the upper branches of the canopy support other plants and whole communities of worms, insects, salamanders and mammals. Plants that grow on other plants are called epiphytes; some of the redwoods' epiphytes are trees themselves. Some of the trees that have been documented growing on the coast redwood include cascara (Rhamnus purshiana), sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), and California bay laurel (Umbellaria californica) ... some reaching astonishing heights of 40 feet.

4. Their roots intertwine
One might think that such a lofty being would require deep roots, but no. The roots only extend down six to twelve feet. But what they lack in depth, they make up for in breadth. Extending up to 100 feet from the tree’s base, they intertwine with the roots of others, all holding on to each other, greatly increasing their stability.

5. They sip on fog
In the temperate area where coast redwoods live, rain provides water during the winter; but in the summer, the trees rely on coastal fog for moisture. The fog condenses on the needles and forms into droplets, which is then absorbed by the trees and shed to the ground where it waters the forest understory. Fog accounts for around 40 percent of the redwoods' moisture intake.

6. They used to host geese
These trees are so big that when scarred by fire, cavities can form that are large enough to once be used to house geese by settlers. To this day, the scar caves are called “goose-pens.”

8. They have the cutest pinecones
You might expect such a statuesque tree to have equally dramatic pinecones, but in fact, they bear diminutive cones of just an inch in length, each bearing just a few dozen wee seeds.

7. They have ghost helpers
Amongst the forests of coast redwoods, there are around 400 small redwoods that are completely stripped of color. Having long stumped scientists, so to speak, recent research likely explains what’s going on. The so-called “ghost redwoods” were found to be full of cadmium, copper and nickel and other noxious metals. It’s believed that the wan trees are in a symbiotic relationship with their healthy neighbors, acting as a “reservoir for poison in exchange for the sugar they need to survive.” Read more here: Mysterious 'ghost redwoods' may survive to help nearby trees.

9. They were once international
While the stately coast redwood now lives only in pockets along the Pacific coast, it used to have a much wider habitat; they could be found elsewhere in the west, as well as along the coasts of Europe and Asia.

10. They’ve got thick skin
Named for the deep rosy hue of their surface, the redwoods’ bark is impressive beyond color. At up to 12 inches thick, it allows the trees to generally survive forest fires, which are actually important since they create room for new seedlings to grow. Tannins in the bark also do a good job at fending off damaging insects.

11. They are climate-change fighting superstars
Trees store carbon dioxide, which makes them an important ally in fighting climate change. But according to research, coast redwoods store more CO2 than any other forest in the world They hold 2,600 metric tons of carbon per hectare (2.4 acres), more than double the absorption rate of the Pacific Northwest’s conifer trees or Australia’s eucalyptus forests. Which is to say, if their majesty isn't enough to woo the unmoved, how about that they are working to save the world?!

For more on these incredible sentinels, and how to help protect them, visit Save the Redwoods and Sempervirens Fund.
...Read more

Monday, August 28, 2017

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, September 2, 2017 to Sunday, September 3, 2017:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, September 2, 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!

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, September 2, 2017 @ 7:00am
Early Fall Migration in Prospect Park
Leader: Ed Crowne
Focus: First appearance of warblers, flycatchers, vireos, orioles and other migrants
Meet: 7am at Bartel Pritchard entrance of Prospect Park Please review our general trip information and guidelines on this page.

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Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Sunday, September 3, 2017 - 8:00am
Stillwell Woods Preserve
A 270-acre preserve and multiple-use area, Stillwell Woods Preserve offers a blend of old field and oak barrens communities, the latter of which includes plants and animals that are more typical of habitats farther east on Long Island. Our search will focus on fall songbird migrants such as warblers, thrushes, and flycatchers.
Registration: 585-880-0915
Directions: Stillwell Woods is located off of S Woods Rd. in Woodbury. Follow the driveway as far back as it goes.

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Littoral Society
Sunday, September 3, 2017, 10:30am - 12:30pm
Beach Plums and Goldenrod at Plumb Beach, Brooklyn
Explore the ever-changing Plumb Beach with American Littoral Society naturalist Mickey Maxwell Cohen. Discover its early autumn beauty, replete with groves of seaside goldenrod and ripened beach plums. Learn about heroic efforts to halt the most severe beach erosion in our area. Binoculars, and a magnifying glass will be helpful. This is an American Littoral Society / GNRA Partnership Program.
DIRECTIONS TO PLUMB BEACH
By car: Eastbound on the Belt (Shore) Pky. Entrance to Plumb Beach parking is from the eastbound side, just east of Knapp Street exit. Careful, it’s very easy to miss.
Public transportation: B or Q-train to Sheepshead Bay and then the B-4 bus to Knapp Street. Check Sunday train schedules ahead of time. It’s an easy, 10-minute walk from the corner of Emmons Ave. and Knapp Street. Walk along the pedestrian walk, eastbound, with the water to your right and the Belt Parkway to your left. You can't miss the parking lot. We'll meet at the art deco "round house" at 10:30. If you arrive late, we walk slowly along the beach to the left (east), with a couple of detours into the dunes.

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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

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturdays, September 2–November 25, 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, September 2, 2017, 9:30am – 10:30am
Queens Botanical Garden Bird Walks
Guide: NYC Audubon with Queens Botanical Garden
Explore Queens Botanical Garden in search of migrant songbirds and learn about the valuable resources that the Garden offers birds and other wildlife. Register for one date or the whole series of five free walks (walk-ins welcome!). Binoculars available. Limited to 25. Appropriate for all ages. To register, email info@queensbotanical.org or visit www.queensbotanical.org. Free with Garden admission

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, September 3, 2017
Marine Nature Study Area
From Sunrise Highway in Rockville Centre, turn onto Long Beach Road, traveling south. Proceed to Waukena Avenue and turn left. From this point onward, there are brown signs directing visitors to the sanctuary. Turn right onto Park Avenue (at a traffic light), then turn left onto Golf Drive. Continue on Golf Drive to Slice Drive, turn right, and proceed one short block into the sanctuary.
Directions via Google Maps

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, September 2, 2017
Bird Walks with New York City Audubon at Queens Botanical Garden, Queens
9:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Spot and identify creatures of flight with Queens Botanical Garden and New York City Audubon.

Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a bird-watching walk and learn about Prospect Park's magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, August 26, 2017

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, August 25, 2017:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Aug. 25, 2017
* NYNY1708.25

- Birds Mentioned

YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

AMERICAN AVOCET
Semipalmated Plover
Whimbrel
Stilt Sandpiper
BAIRD’S SANDPIPER
White-rumped Sandpiper
BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER
Pectoral Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Long-billed Dowitcher
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE
Caspian Tern
Black Tern
Bald Eagle
Peregrine Falcon
Olive-sided Flycatcher
WESTERN KINGBIRD
Eastern Kingbird
Worm-eating Warbler
GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER
Blue-winged Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Canada Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
LARK SPARROW
DICKCISSEL
Bobolink


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

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

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

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

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

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, August 25, 2017 at 9:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD, AMERICAN AVOCET, RED-NECKED PHALAROPE, BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, BAIRD’S SANDPIPER, WESTERN KINGBIRD, LARK SPARROW, DICKCISSEL, GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER and much more.

Late August highlights are usually reserved for shorebirds and the like, but this week also produced some great land birds. On Monday a WESTERN KINGBIRD visited Staten Island in the Charleston area, including at Fairview Park, and on Thursday during a morning flight a male YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD flew west over Robert Moses State Park. Also notable is a LARK SPARROW first noted Wednesday at Jones Beach West End and still present today around the eastern side of parking field 2, feeding in the lot itself as well as in the short grass along the road side. Additionally, a fly-over DICKCISSEL at Hillview Reservoir in Yonkers Wednesday was followed by another at Robert Moses Park field 2 Thursday.

A nice variety of shorebirds for the week included an AMERICAN AVOCET, perhaps the departing Jamaica Bay bird, visiting the Goethals Bridge pond on Staten Island Saturday, last seen there Sunday morning.

In the Bronx a substantial puddle in the huge Orchard Beach parking lot at Pelham Bay Park has been attracting an unusual number of shorebirds, highlighted by the appearance this afternoon of 2 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES, which flew out before dusk. Also notable there were single PECTORAL and WESTERN SANDPIPERS during the week.

Out on Eastern Long Island north of Riverhead the fields on the east side of Doctor’s Path on Thursday afternoon produced 4 BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS and 2 BAIRD’S SANDPIPERS, and these 6 birds were still present today with a good sized flock of mostly SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, feeding on the dirt of the recently harvested sod fields near the intersection of Reeves Avenue.

LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS were found last weekend at Oak Beach Saturday and Captree Island Sunday.

At Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge the water level on the East Pond has lowered enough that the south end of the pond is readily navigable certainly to the Raunt and beyond up the East side. The north end, however, continues to be quite mucky and thus tricky to work down the west side towards Dead Man’s Cove, so if there, tread carefully. The East Pond this week has provided peaks of 33 STILT and 8 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS Saturday plus several WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS and increasing numbers of mostly juvenile WESTERN SANDPIPERS. An adult BALD EAGLE has been sitting around the pond this week, and it has joined the PEREGRINES in keeping the shorebirds moving around or, unfortunately, off the pond. At Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes Tuesday there were 2 WHIMBREL, 1 WESTERN, 1 PECTORAL and 3 STILT SANDPIPERS and 9 BLACK TERNS. Two CASPIAN TERNS were in Jamaica Bay and 1 at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn last Sunday.

A highlight of the flights recently has been the appearance of single GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLERS in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Wednesday and Inwood Park in northern Manhattan today. The long list of recent WARBLER migrants has included WORM-EATING, BLUE-WINGED, NASHVILLE, MOURNING, HOODED, CANADA, WILSON’S, MAGNOLIA, BLACK-THROATED GREEN, BLACK-THROATED BLUE, CAPE MAY and BAY-BREASTED.

Other migrants have featured numbers of BOBOLINKS and EASTERN KINGBIRDS, OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER and a few Empidonax Flycatchers.

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

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Green-Wood Cemetery and a Special Bird

During my last Green-Wood Cemetery "Birding in Peace" tour we spotted a few more south-bound warblers. The best part of the morning, however, was an interesting experience we had just prior to the start of my walk.

I ride my bike over to the cemetery for my early bird walks, the last stretch being a block of 24th St., parallel to the cemetery. At the intersection of 24th Street and 5th Avenue I make a left and pedal the last few yards on the sidewalk up to the main entrance. On Sunday, as I approached 5th Avenue I noticed something tiny and olive-colored in the road, next to a parked car. I swerved to avoid it, then quickly realized it was a bird, most likely stunned after crashing into the car. I stopped and walked back to check it out. At first I wasn't sure what it was ... nearly warbler-sized and a rich green color, it sat motionless. I dismounted my bike, bent down and gently picked it up. The diminutive bird balked, make a squeaky "skweep!" call, but put up little resistance. Cradling the bird in my left hand, I walked my bike the rest of the way to the entrance to meet my early morning birding group.

Kumiko was the first person to notice that I had a bird in my hand and gave me a ruffled brow, "WTF" expression as I approached. A few others had just arrived and were getting their cameras and binoculars together at the bench on the south side of the entrance. I waved them over. Most of the trip participants are beginner birders and I thought this would be a unique teaching opportunity. I explained that the bird was likely momentarily dazed, but would probably be alright after it rested for a bit. It was a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and this was an unheard of, live in-hand study moment on the streets of Brooklyn.

Yellow-bellied Flycatchers aren't particularly rare in Brooklyn so much as difficult to identify, for various reasons. They are part of a group of birds called empidonax flycatchers. Most are very similar in size, shape and coloration and, in addition, make life for birders complicated by spending much of their time darting around
(usually high up in trees) chasing insects. Kenn Kaufman has a very good section on separating these birds in his book "Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding: Understanding what You See and Hear". Having this bird in my hand I was able to actually see clearly, and point out, the various field marks mentioned in all the books, i.e., wingbar color, bill size and shape, eye-ring shape, primary feather projection, amount and color of yellowish feathers on throat, etc. It's important to mention that, during the Spring migration, these birds are calling, making identification waaaay easier. Most of the time that I see them in the Fall it's an exercise in futility for me to ID them with 100% accuracy.

I didn't want to stress the poor bird out anymore than it already was, so after a brief lesson with the group, I located a seemingly safe spot behind the wrought-iron fence to recuperate. At the end of the morning walk a few people who had been on the tour went back to check on him. When I passed on my bike they called me over. The little thing was still there, although it had hopped back a short distance into the vegetation. Linda decided to bring it to the Wild Bird Fund and was clearing out her small camera case to use as a transport. Fortunately, though, when I bent down to pick it up it flew off and perched in a cherry tree several yards away. He had apparently recovered from his run in with the parked car and was just chilling out in the shade.

Glad I could be of service Gnat Master, hope to see you next May on your return trip.

**********

Location: Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York
Date: Sunday, August 20, 2017 6:30 AM - 9:00 AM
Species: 38

Canada Goose
Great Egret (1.)
Green Heron (1.)
Black-crowned Night-Heron (1.)
Red-tailed Hawk (1.)
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Belted Kingfisher (1.)
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Monk Parakeet
YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (1.)
Eastern Kingbird
Blue Jay
Common Raven (3.)
Barn Swallow
House Wren
Carolina Wren (2.)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (1.)
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Louisiana Waterthrush (1.)
Northern Waterthrush (2.)
Common Yellowthroat (1.)
American Redstart (4.)
Yellow Warbler (2.)
Chipping Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Baltimore Oriole
Common Grackle
House Finch
House Sparrow
...Read more

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Treehugger Tuesday

A new documentary about Red Knots, "Birds of May", explores the growing debate over the environmental impact of oyster farms in Delaware Bay:



Birds of May from Hundred Year Films on Vimeo.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, August 26, 2017 to Sunday, August 27, 2017:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, August 26, 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
Sunday, August 27, 2017, 10:00am - 3:00pm
Jamaica Bay with Naturalist Tait Johansson
Join us for high tide at the bay, which sends shorebirds in impressive numbers to the refuge’s East Pond. We will also see herons, egrets, likely Glossy Ibis, and many others! Bring binoculars, lunch, plenty of cold drinks, sunscreen, and boots/footwear you don’t mind getting muddy.
Depart Bylane 8:30am or meet at Visitors Center at 10am.
Cost: Free
Level of difficulty: Easy to moderate
Please register with Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914.302.9713

**********

Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Sunday, August 27, 2017, 8:00am
Jamaica Bay Field Trip
Bring your muck boots as we will walk around the East Pond looking for shorebirds and other interesting migrants. Jamaica Bay is known for its world-class shorebirding.
Registration: 631-885-1881
Directions: Belt Pkwy to exit 17S, Cross Bay Blvd South, and head south. After crossing the bridge, look for parking lot entrance on the right side, 1.25 miles from the bridge. Turn right at the traffic light and meet in the parking lot.

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Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, August 26, 2017
Central Park Horticultural Walk
Join botanist Regina Alvarez for a walk in the North Woods and the Wildflower Meadow for a late summer look at the flowering plants and shrubs of Central Park’s north end. Along with fellow botanist Daniel Atha, Regina has been collecting herbarium specimens of every species growing wild in the Park. Already they have discovered new botanical records and have rediscovered plants not seen since the 1850’s. Regina is a former director of horticulture and a woodland manager for the Central Park Conservancy. Currently she is an adjunct professor of botany at the City University of New York.
No registration. Public transportation
Meet at 103rd Street and Central Park West at 10:00am
Full details in Summer Programs.

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New York Botanical Garden
Saturdays, July 1–August 26, 11am to 12pm
Birds, Butterflies, and Dragonflies Tour
Summer is the season to observe gorgeous butterflies, mischievous dragonflies and the birds of the cool forests. The colorful, fragrant gardens and the vibrant lakes at NYBG attract beautiful avian creatures. Come observe summer’s greatest show of shows watching butterflies, dragonflies and birds at their best.

Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Included in All-Garden Pass
Get Tickets

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, August 26, 2017, 8:30am – 5:00pm
12th Annual Shorebird Festival
During the past 40 years, over 40 species of shorebirds have been recorded at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge’s East and West Ponds from mid-July through October, with the greatest diversity and abundance usually occurring in August. Activities include guided shorebird walks, family programming, and talks from experts on shorebird conservation, shorebird identification, and Jamaica Bay.
Click here to learn more about the Jamaica Bay Shorebird Festival.

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, August 27, 2017
Hempstead Lake State Park
From the Southern State Parkway, take Exit 18 (Eagle Avenue) south to Field 3 (use second park entrance and make an immediate left turn.)
Directions via Google Maps

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, August 26, 2017
Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a bird-watching walk and learn about Prospect Park's magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!
Free!
**********

Young Birders Club
August 26-27, 2017
Special NYSOA/NYSYBC Montezuma Weekend
Saturday Afternoon: NYSOA Workshop - Shorebird Identification, presented by Dr. Kevin McGowan
Sunday morning: Young Birders' Field Trip - Montezuma NWR (Seneca and Wayne Counties)
Sponsoring NYSYBC Partner for our Sunday trip:
Rochester Birding Association

If you will be staying overnight, plan to attend an excellent Shorebird Identification Workshop Saturday afternoon. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Dr. Kevin McGowan – past NYSOA president and co-editor of The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State – will teach us a systematic approach to the often tricky task of figuring out shorebird ID in the field. The workshop, sponsored by our parent organization, the NYS Ornithological Association (NYSOA) will prime you for Sunday's field trip!

On Sunday, NYSYBC alumnus Greg Lawrence, a NYSOA Director and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Fish and Wildlife Technician, will lead a trip for us to one of New York State's top birding destinations, the expansive Montezuma NWR.

Shallow pools and cattail marshes are maintained for waterfowl. Pools are often drawn down for shorebirds in the fall. Upland and bottomland hardwood forests attract nesting birds and passerine migrants. Migrants of all types, especially shorebirds, ducks, eagles, osprey, and herons, will be seen. Our Rochester Birding Association guide (a NYSYBC alumnus!) is very familiar with the refuge. MNWR covers a vast area of varied habitat. Visit The Rochester Birding Association's website for complete details on this birding mecca.

Complete details about this NYSOA/NYSYBC weekend and web links to lodging information:
nybirds.org/Articles/FieldTrips/2017_Aug-MontezumaShorebirds.pdf
FOR THE NYSYBC TRIP, DO NOT CONTACT NYSOA -- just send in your NYSYBC Trip Registration Form
by 8/18/17. If you have not yet submitted a 2017 medical form (page 2 of the permission form) please submit it with your permission form.
...Read more

Saturday, August 19, 2017

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, August 18, 2017:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Aug. 18, 2017
* NYNY1708.18

- Birds mentioned
FRANKLIN'S GULL+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Cory's Shearwater
Great Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
Manx Shearwater
Wilson's Storm-Petrel
American Bittern
AMERICAN AVOCET
WHIMBREL
HUDSONIAN GODWIT
MARBLED GODWIT
Stilt Sandpiper
BAIRD'S SANDPIPER
White-rumped Sandpiper
BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER
Pectoral Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE
Parasitic Jaeger
Caspian Tern
Black Tern
Royal Tern
Merlin
Ovenbird
Worm-eating Warbler
Blue-winged Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Pine Warbler
Canada Warbler
LARK SPARROW

- Transcript

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

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

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

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

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

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, August 18th 2017 at 8pm. The highlights of today's tape are FRANKLIN'S GULL, numerous shorebirds including AMERICAN AVOCET, MARBLED GODWIT, HUDSONIAN GODWIT, WHIMBREL, BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, BAIRD'S SANDPIPER, LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER and RED-NECKED PHALAROPE and LARK SPARROW and more.

A very good week for shorebird variety despite Jamaica Bay's East Pond still not providing the best conditions. But the rarity highlight was the adult-like Winter plumaged FRANKLIN'S GULL spotted Monday at the eastern end of field 2 at Robert Moses State Park. The bird, still growing in its new outer primaries, was frequenting a pool in the parking lot with other gulls including several Laughing and a few Lesser-black Backed. After a brief time the gull flew out towards the ocean and unfortunately could not be relocated. There was an uncorroborated report of a FRANKLIN'S at Jones Beach field 6 the next day.

At Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge the East Pond water levels still remain too high to be really comfortable for birders especially at the north end where visitors do need to be very careful of the muddy conditions. Nonetheless an AMERICAN AVOCET was found at the north end of the pond Wednesday and on Thursday was still a little south of Dead Man's Cove. It was not reported today but an HUDSONIAN GODWIT did appear in its place at the north end. Also on Thursday a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER visited the north end briefly until flying out with a large majority of the peeps not to return. The East Pond has also been hosting a good number of more expected shorebirds including small numbers of STILT, PECTORAL and WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS and even a WESTERN SANDPIPER or two. Though a couple of Peregrines and an adult Bald Eagle have been moving the birds around quite a bit.

The annual Shorebird Festival is scheduled for Saturday the 26th.

Out at Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes a good variety of shorebirds on the flats featured 2 MARBLED GODWITS last Sunday and the WHIMBREL has been a highlight there during the week along with an AMERICAN BITTERN Monday and a few ROYAL and BLACK TERNS.

To complete the shorebirds a BAIRD'S SANDPIPER stayed at Great Kills Park on Staten Island from Saturday through Wednesday with a WHIMBREL also there Saturday and another BAIRD'S visited some standing water in a parking lot from Hunter's Island at Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx Tuesday. This pond at the western end of the large parking lot attracting an unusual number of expected shorebirds during the week. A LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER was spotted on the small pond at the Sore Thumb at Oak Beach last Sunday.

Some nice shorebirds seen from a whale watching boat from Montauk on Sunday included an HUDSONIAN GODWIT passing by and 2 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES while seabirds included 76 CORY'S and 22 GREAT SHEARWATERS and over 150 WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS. The best pelagic show however was right off Montauk Point last Saturday when birds gathered around the point included 300 CORY'S, 10 GREAT, 1 SOOTY and 7 MANX SHEARWATERS, a thousand WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS and 3 PARASITIC JAEGERS. Breezy Point Tuesday afternoon produced 64 WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS, a MERLIN and a PECTORAL SANDPIPER. A CASPIAN TERN was at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn Thursday and a MANX SHEARWATER was off Moses Park on Monday.

A LARK SPARROW found Monday near the bend of the fisherman's access road just west of the Coast Guard Station at Jones Beach West End was still also noted there Tuesday.

The number of warblers showing up at city parks continues to increase. Those this week including WORM-EATING, OVENBIRD, BLUE-WINGED, PINE, CHESTNUT-SIDED, CANADA, HOODED in both Central Park and Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn and a MOURNING reported from Central Park Monday.

To phone in reports on Long Island call Tony Lauro at (631) 734-4126 or 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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Treehugger Tuesday

From The Guardian:

Asia’s Harry Potter obsession poses threat to owls
From Indonesia to India, wild birds are being sold as pets to families who want their own Hedwig. Ecologists call for protection to help species survive
Robin McKie
Saturday 12 August 2017 16.44 EDT
Last modified on Sunday 13 August 2017 01.43 EDT

The Harry Potter phenomenon has broken publishing and cinema box-office records and spawned a series of lucrative theme parks. But wildlife experts are sounding the alarm over a sad downside to JK Rowling’s tales of the troubled young wizard. The illegal trade in owls has jumped in the far east over the past decade and researchers fear it could endanger the survival of these distinctive predators in Asia.

Conservationists say the snowy owl Hedwig – who remains the young wizard’s loyal companion for most of the Harry Potter series – is fuelling global demand for wild-caught birds for use as pets. In 2001, the year in which the first film was released, only a few hundred were sold at Indonesia’s many bird markets. By 2016, the figure had soared to more than 13,000, according to researchers Vincent Nijman and Anna Nekaris of Oxford Brookes University in a paper in Global Ecology and Conservation. At around $10 to $30, the price tag is affordable to most middle-class families.

The issue is of critical concern because the owls being offered for sale are nearly all taken from the wild. “The overall popularity of owls as pets in Indonesia has risen to such an extent that it may imperil the conservation of some of the less abundant species,” Nijman and Nekaris say.

As a result, they urge that owls should be added to Indonesia’s list of protected bird species, pointing out that owls may look cute on display in the market but generally die quickly after being removed from the wild.

Indonesia is not alone. Several other countries have in the past noted increases in sales of owls, which they have also blamed on the popularity of Harry Potter books and films.

The Indian MP Jairam Ramesh has blamed fans of the boy wizard for their role in the dwindling of numbers of wild owls in the country. “Following Harry Potter, there seems to be a strange fascination even among the urban middle classes for presenting their children with owls,” he noted.

However, conservationists also point out that owls are sometimes sacrificed in India for their supposed medicinal properties.

A study by the conservationists Serene Chng and James Eaton found widespread illegal trade in many birds – including owls – at Chatuchak weekend market in Bangkok, Thailand.

“We recorded 17 individuals of three species, all of which are native to and protected in Thailand, indicating that the animals were being illegally traded,” Chng and Eaton state. “Most appeared to be in poor condition ... with some being on the verge of unconsciousness, suggesting a high level of mortality.” Again the authors linked the high demand for owls to the popularity of the Potter books.

The link between the books and the increase in the number of owls being sold cannot be proved. The circumstantial evidence is strong, nevertheless. Owls were once called burung hantu in Malay but are now known as burung Harry Potter, or Harry Potter birds.

“In the 1990s and 2000s – when I lived in Indonesia – I visited the markets frequently and very few had any owls for sale. Some larger markets in Jakarta occasionally had one or two but only infrequently,” Nijman told the Observer. “But that has changed. I visited Jatinegara market in Jakarta last week and within 30 minutes I had recorded 108 scops owls and 27 barn owls. A total of 13 vendors were offering owls.”

In addition, many owls sold in south Asia today are named after Harry Potter characters, including Hedwig. “Two weeks ago I was in a exotic pet cafe in Bangkok and they had two owls, called Hedwig and Harry, and visitors could pet them and have their photo taken with them, dressed up as Harry or Hermione,” added Nijman.

For her part, Rowling has condemned the keeping of owls as pets. Shortly after the release of the first Harry Potter film in the UK – where the trade is more tightly controlled – bird sanctuaries reported a rise in numbers of abandoned pet owls. This prompted the author to speak out.

“If anybody has been influenced by my books to think an owl would be happiest shut in a small cage and kept in a house, I would like to take this opportunity to say as forcefully as I can, ‘you are wrong’,” she said. “The owls in Harry Potter books were never intended to portray the true behaviour or preferences of real owls.”

Nijman agrees with her: “Owls don’t make good pets. Actually, most wild animals don’t make good pets. That’s why people spent thousands of years domesticating the few species that are now domesticated.”
...Read more

Monday, August 14, 2017

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, August 19, 2017 to Sunday, August 20, 2017:

Bedford Audubon Society
Sunday, August 20, 2017, 10am – 1pm
Discover Dragons and Damsels with Naturalist Tait Johansson
Did you know that dragonflies are among the fastest flying insects in the world? Tait will lead an intensive workshop on the natural history and identification of our local dragonflies and damselflies. Bring binoculars, ideally close-focusing ones.
Cost: $65 for members, $75 for non-members; we’ll credit $30 to your membership if you join Bedford Audubon on the day of the workshop! Includes book and net.
Limited to 10 participants. Please register with Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914.302.9713 by August 16.

**********

Gateway National Recreation Area
Saturday, August 19, 2017, 10:00am to 11:30am
Mighty Monarchs
Children and their families are invited to join a Park Ranger at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Ref-uge to learn about the mighty Monarch! This interactive program will teach kids about the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly as well as the story of their incredible migration.
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fee Information: Free

**********

Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Summer Birding Sundays
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.

You must register prior to the morning of the tour. Click here.

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, August 19, 2017
Jamaica Bay 24rd Annual Tom Davis Memorial Shorebird Walk
Leader: Sean Sime — seansime@seansime.com or 917-324-2735
Registration opens: August 8
Public transportation

**********

New York Botanical Garden
Saturdays, July 1–August 26, 11am to 12pm
Birds, Butterflies, and Dragonflies Tour
Summer is the season to observe gorgeous butterflies, mischievous dragonflies and the birds of the cool forests. The colorful, fragrant gardens and the vibrant lakes at NYBG attract beautiful avian creatures. Come observe summer’s greatest show of shows watching butterflies, dragonflies and birds at their best.

Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Included in All-Garden Pass
Get Tickets

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, August 19, 2017, 9:00am – 1:30pm
Shorebird Walk at Jamaica Bay
Guide:Gabriel Willow
Meet at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. We'll search the mudflats and ponds for breeding herons and egrets, Forster's and Common Terns, Clapper Rail, and American Oystercatcher, as well as migratory plovers and sandpipers that will already be headed south.
Limited to 15. $40 (28)
Click here to register

Sunday, August 20, 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 get to know the summer bird residents of 'Brooklyn's Back Yard', beautiful Prospect Park. Although birding in the summertime in NYC can be a bit slow, Prospect Park has a wide variety of habitats that attracts a number of breeding bird species. We will explore the park's meadows, forests, and waterways in search of nesting waterfowl, green herons, barn swallows, yellow warblers, baltimore orioles, and some of the other species that call the park home. Limited to 15. $36 (25)
Click here to register

**********

NYC H2O
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Ridgewood Reservoir Community Tour
NYC H2O is offering free tours of the Ridgewood Reservoir to community members and the public.

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

Join us to explore this incredible natural resource in the heart of NYC. Please make a reservation.
We will meet in the parking lot at Vermont Place.

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Sunday, August 20, 2017, 11:00am – 1:00pm
Blue Trail to Cropsey Overlook @ High Rock Park
Join Hillel on a walk to the Cropsey Overlook through the woods of the central Greenbelt. Pass ponds and kettle holes and marvel at how ice formed this landscape long ago. Meet at the High Rock Park parking lot at the top of Nevada Avenue.
E-mail Hillel Lofaso at hillel5757@gmail.com or call 718-477-0545 for more information.

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve
From the Meadowbrook Parkway, use the Merrick Road M9 east exit. Enter the Department of Sanitation entrance immediately on right (if you’re driving west on Merrick Road, make a U-turn after Central Boulevard and before the Meadowbrook Parkway). Look for signs to Levy Park and Preserve parking lot.
Directions via Google Maps

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, August 19, 2017
Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a bird-watching walk and learn about Prospect Park's magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, August 12, 2017

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, August 11, 2017:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Aug. 11, 2017
* NYNY1708.11

- Birds mentioned
Cory's Shearwater
Wilson's Storm-Petrel
LEAST BITTERN
WHIMBREL
Red Knot
Stilt Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
WILSON'S PHALAROPE
Lesser Black-backed Gull
GULL-BILLED TERN
CASPIAN TERN
Black Tern
Royal Tern
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
Cliff Swallow
Ovenbird
Worm-eating Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Northern Waterthrush
Blue-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Parula
Bay-breasted Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Canada Warbler

- 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

(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, August 11th 2017 at 7pm. The highlights of today's tape are shorebirds including WILSON'S PHALAROPE and WHIMBREL, GULL-BILLED TERN & CASPIAN TERN, LEAST BITTERN and RED-HEADED WOODPECKER.

At Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, the East Pond, still impacted by higher water levels undesired at this point in the shorebird migration has nevertheless been pulling in birds mostly during the high tide cycle in the surrounding bay.

Today a juvenile WILSON'S PHALAROPE visited the north end of the pond around Dead Man's Cove and among the 2,000 or so shorebirds on the pond were 3 STILT, 4 PECTORAL and 7 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS plus a group of about 300 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS almost all juveniles. A young GULL-BILLED TERN was also spotted there. On Sunday 2 CASPIAN TERNS flew over the north end. Those visiting the East Pond and especially the north end should wear boots and be very careful especially near the north entrance at around Dead Man's Cove. There's a reason it is named that. If at the south end walk around the ridiculous chain-link fence that's been put up there.

At the Cupsogue flats last weekend a WILSON'S PHALAROPE joined a decent number of expected shorebirds including some RED KNOTS plus 33 ROYAL TERNS and a single BLACK TERN.

Jones Beach West End has also been attracting a variety of shorebirds and a WESTERN SANDPIPER was reported there Sunday.

A WHIMBREL was reported as a flyby past Wolfe's Pond Park on Staten Island last Tuesday.

A GULL-BILLED TERN visited Plumb Beach in Brooklyn last weekend with a ROYAL TERN also there Saturday.

LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS can still be found along Long Island's south shore.

A LEAST BITTERN has been present recently at Arshamomaque Preserve west of Greenport on the north fork located north of Route 25.

A fishing boat near Gardiners Island Sunday noted 3 CORY'S SHEARWATERS and a WILSON'S STORM-PETREL. Other pelagics should be out there on the ocean but we have no additional reports.

A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was noted Thursday at Hunter's Island in Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx where some CLIFF SWALLOWS continue.

Among the landbirds a sparse showing of migrant warblers has included OVENBIRD, both LOUISIANA and NORTHERN WATERTHRUSHES, WORM-EATING, NORTHERN PARULA, BLUE-WINGED, AMERICAN REDSTART, BLACK-AND-WHITE, YELLOW, CANADA and a rather early BAY-BREASTED in Central Park.

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, August 11, 2017

Friday's Foto

As its common name implies, unlike most other sandpipers, the Solitary Sandpiper is rarely seen in flocks, but rather singly. This small sandpiper prefers a variety of freshwater habitats including stream sides, wooded swamps and ponds, fresh marshes, as well as, along the edges of irrigation canals. Like the similar Spotted Sandpiper, they perpetually bob their rear end. They are mainly insectivores, however they are also known to eat frogs, fish, mollusks, worms and small crustaceans. Ninety percent of the global population of Solitary Sandpiper breeds in the boreal forest of North America, from western Alaska to Labrador and south to the northern shores of the Great Lakes. It nests in the lower 48 only in extreme northeastern Minnesota. They winter from the extreme southern United States, south to Central America, the Caribbean, and tropical South America, reaching central Argentina on the east side. The Solitary Sandpiper is the only North American sandpiper species that nests in trees, often using the abandoned nests of Rusty Blackbirds, Bohemian Waxwings, Gray Jays or American Robins.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists this species as “Least Concern” primarily due to it’s extremely large range and apparent stable population trend.

The Solitary Sandpiper’s scientific name, Tringa solitaria, means “thrush-sized, white-rumped, tail-bobbing wading bird” and “solitary”.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Green-Wood Updates

Since my last Green-Wood Cemetery walk posting we've seen a few changes in the local flora and fauna, as well as, a few interesting observations.

It would seem to be a little late in the season for turtles to be laying eggs, but we found this nearly 50 lb. female Common Snapping Turtle on the steep ridge above the Sylvan Water attempting to dig a hole. Incubation time ranges anywhere from 9 to 18 weeks. If it's colder the hatchlings will overwinter in the ground. This also presumes that the local raccoons or skunks don't find the eggs. She had pulled herself out of the pond and climb approximately 50 yards uphill in search of a suitable site. Our attention was drawn to the hill by the alarm calls of several species of birds. I guess these lumbering reptiles are, for some reason, perceived as a threat to birds. I thought only ducklings had to worry about snappers.

At nearly the opposite end of the size scale we found this Red-eared Slider laying her eggs across the road from the Valley Water. She did such a good job covering and disguising the nest that we could barely find it when we returned an hour later. With an incubation of 59 to 112 days I assume that this girl's offspring won't be emerging from the ground until some time next spring.

August is the time to see one of my favorite scary insects - the Eastern Cicada Killer wasp. A description of this creature's behavior sounds like something out of a Steven King novel. As large as 2" long, the female Sphecius speciosus are quite intimidating, but usually won't bother humans. Their sting doesn't actually kill the cicada, but rather paralyses it. They then carry into their burrow where they lay eggs on the now immobile insect. When the young hatch...must be tough watching oneself get eaten.

We've been seeing our Green Heron on every walk, either at the Dell Water or the Crescent Water. He has had a lonely existence this summer. For some unknown reasons, his mate disappeared shortly after they began building a nest. A photographer friend told me that he kept reprimanding two other photograpers whom he felt were getting too close to the nest. He said on more than one occasion they caused the heron to leave the nest tree. If this is true, I'm not sure how to deal with it in the future. The management at Green-Wood Cemetery used to have a strict photography policy. I hope they don't have to go back to it. "And that's why we can't have nice things."

Last weekend we spotted this deceased Eastern Red Bat near the Sylvan Water. It didn't appeared to have any obvious injuries. They are not known to be affected by white-nose syndrome, which has devastated cave bat populations in eastern North America. It's impossible to say what could have killed it. Some people find bats to be ugly. I think they are really cool. Not only do they control insects, like mosquitoes, but some are also pollinators and seed dispersers. The diminutive Eastern Red Bat is only about 2" - 2 1/4" long and, clearly, very cute.

I've been have a difficult time finding our two, recently fledged Red-tailed Hawks. They are getting quieter, which means that they've started hunting so they don't have to rely on regular food deliveries from the parents. One of the adults has been frequenting the spires on the main chapel. I assume that it's a good vantage point for scanning for prey. The only downside is that there are several mockingbirds and Eastern Kingbirds close to that location and neither species are very tolerant of a predator. The mockingbirds are mostly just noisy, make periodic close passes at the hawk's head. The kingbirds, however, are extremely aggressive and will peck on the much larger bird's head. Fun to watch.

Finally, it's hard to believe, but fall migration has already begun. Sunday's walk started off with cool, September-like conditions, so it was fitting that we spotted 5 species of southbound warblers - Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Black-and-white Warbler, Yellow Warbler and Yellow-rumped Warbler. This weekend I take a break from my "Birding in Peace" tours, but will be back on the 20th.

**********

Location: Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn
Date: Sunday, August 6, 2017
Species: 41

Canada Goose
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron (1.)
Great Egret (1.)
Green Heron (1.)
Osprey (1.)
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Belted Kingfisher (1.)
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker (1.)
Northern Flicker (2.)
American Kestrel (1.)
Monk Parakeet
Eastern Kingbird (7.)
Warbling Vireo
Blue Jay
Barn Swallow
House Wren
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
OVENBIRD (1. Walking along ridge at Dell Water.)
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (2.)
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (1. Lakeside Ridge.)
YELLOW WARBLER (4.)
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (1. Foraging in low sapling at edge of Crescent Water.)
Chipping Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole (1.)
House Finch
House Sparrow
...Read more

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Treehugger Tuesday

From Mother Nature Network:

Finally, a Little Good News for American Honeybees
August 4, 2017
Russell McLendon

American beekeepers have spent a decade struggling with colony collapse disorder (CCD), which causes bees to mysteriously abandon their hives. CCD has raised concerns not just for beekeepers, but for farmers of all stripes — plus anyone who eats their crops. U.S. honeybees pollinate about $15 billion worth of crops per year, which provide a quarter of all food eaten nationwide.

It comes as welcome news, then, that the number of domesticated U.S. honeybee hives has risen so far in 2017, according to a new survey from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). There were 2.89 million commercial honeybee colonies in the U.S. as of April 1, 2017, the USDA reports this week, a rise of 3 percent from a year earlier.

About 84,000 U.S. hives fell victim to CCD in the first quarter of 2017, compared with 116,000 from the same period in 2016 — a one-year improvement of 27 percent. And from April to June of this year, beekeepers lost 35,000 hives to CCD, also down 27 percent from the nearly 48,000 collapsed hives reported between April and June of 2016.

Read the entire article here.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, August 12, 2017 to Sunday, August 13, 2017:

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens
Leader: Tom Stephenson
Focus: Peak of shorebird migration, terns, egrets, and early warblers
Car fee: $12.00
Registrar: Kathy Toomey, kathleentoomey@gmail.com
Registration Period: August 5th – August 10th
Note: This trip caps at 16 participants
Please review our general trip information and guidelines on this page.

**********

New York Botanical Garden
Saturdays, July 1–August 26, 11am to 12pm
Birds, Butterflies, and Dragonflies Tour
Summer is the season to observe gorgeous butterflies, mischievous dragonflies and the birds of the cool forests. The colorful, fragrant gardens and the vibrant lakes at NYBG attract beautiful avian creatures. Come observe summer’s greatest show of shows watching butterflies, dragonflies and birds at their best.

Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Included in All-Garden Pass
Get Tickets

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Thursday, August 10, 6:30-8:30pm (class)
Saturday, August 12, 10:30am-2:30pm (trip)

Shorebird Identification Workshop Trip
Where: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 175-10 Cross Bay Blvd.
Guide: Joe Giunta, Happy Warblers LLC
Shorebirds are one of the most challenging groups of birds to identify, yet beautiful and fascinating once they can be distinguished. Learn to identify plovers and sandpipers (including "peeps") by learning behavior, field marks, and calls - then take a field trip to Jamaica Bay to practice your new skills. Limited to 12. $65 (45)
Click here to register

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a bird-watching walk and learn about Prospect Park's magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!
Free!

Sunday, August 13, 2017
Summer Birding at Wave Hill, Bronx
9:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Observe the plants, insects, and habitats at Wave Hill that make it an appealing destination for such a wide variety of birds.
Birders of all levels welcome!

Birding in Central Park at Belvedere Castle (in Central Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Go birding with the Urban Park Rangers in Central Park. To enhance your experience we encourage you to bring binoculars and field guides, or ask a park ranger to borrow a pair.
Free!

Nature Walk at Peter Stuyvesant Statue (in Stuyvesant Square), Manhattan
4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
In addition to various flora and fauna, our park is frequented by squirrels, pigeons, and the occasional falcon or hawk.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, August 05, 2017

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, August 4, 2017:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Aug. 4, 2017
* NYNY1708.04

- Birds Mentioned

HARLEQUIN DUCK
Common Gallinule
Red Knot
Stilt Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Lesser Black-backed Gull
CASPIAN TERN
Roseate Tern
Royal Tern
Cory’s Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
Great Shearwater
MANX SHEARWATER
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel
Northern Gannet
BROWN PELICAN
LEAST BITTERN
Northern Parula
Bay-breasted Warbler


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

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Greetings! This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, August 4, 2017 at 8:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are BROWN PELICANS, seabirds including MANX SHEARWATER, HARLEQUIN DUCK, LEAST BITTERN and CASPIAN TERN.

Last Saturday especially was BROWN PELICAN day along the Atlantic Ocean shore from Robert Moses State Park to Staten Island. The day started with just a single PELICAN moving west off Robert Moses State Park Field 2 early in the morning, but this was shortly followed by another 6, also moving west. A little later 4 were spotted working slowly west off Jones Beach West End Field 2. Subsequently, 2 were seen in Raritan Bay from Staten Island and also from Coney Island Creek in Brooklyn, while even later a group of 5 was spotted both from Cedar Grove Beach and off Miller Field on Staten Island. It is possible these may have all involved the original 7 seen from Moses. On Sunday just a single BROWN PELICAN was noted moving by Moses, and 2 were still off Miller Field on Staten Island.

Other seabirds noted off Moses Park Saturday morning included 10 CORY’S, 2 GREAT and several unidentified SHEARWATERS, a WILSON’S STORM-PETREL and 4 NORTHERN GANNETS. But this gave no indication of the situation off Montauk Point Saturday, when what was described as “thousands” of SHEARWATERS were concentrated by the weather into Block Island Sound off the north side of Montauk Point. These were mostly CORY’S SHEARWATERS but also included some GREAT and SOOTY and 1 or 2 MANX SHEARWATERS plus a few WILSON’S STORM-PETRELS. On Sunday reduced numbers were still present northwest of the Point, one estimate noting 800 plus CORY’S, 10 GREAT and single SOOTY and MANX SHEARWATERS, but these all did pretty much move off during the day.

A female HARLEQUIN DUCK was spotted Thursday a little west of Montauk Point, this perhaps the same bird reported there back on July 8th.

Though the water level on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge remains much higher than it should be to accommodate the hoped for concentration of shorebirds there, last Sunday roughly 1,500 shorebirds were counted on the pond, the large majority being SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS; the others did include 6 WHITE-RUMPED, 1 WESTERN, and 4 STILT SANDPIPERS along with the arrival of the first few juvenile sandpipers.

On Tuesday 18 species of shorebirds, not enumerated, were noted on the flats at Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes along with 15 ROYAL and 3 ROSEATE TERNS.

A STILT and 3 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS were present at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn Saturday, 1 WHITE-RUMPED still there Tuesday, when a CASPIAN TERN also visited the flats there.

Along with good numbers of expected shorebirds at Jones Beach West End Saturday, including some RED KNOTS, were at least 4 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS and a ROYAL TERN, while Moses Park added 3 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS and 2 ROYAL TERNS.

Six WILSON’S STORM-PETRELS were spotted from a fishing boat off Queens Sunday.

In Prospect Park at least 1 LEAST BITTERN was still present around the lake last Sunday, and a COMMON GALLINULE was reported from Massapequa Preserve Wednesday.

Landbird migrants, of which there have been a few recently, have included NORTHERN PARULA as well as 2 quite early BAY-BREASTED WARBLERS appearing in Central Park last Sunday.

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, August 01, 2017

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website Environmental News Network:

Study finds nearly one bird per day dies in collision with campus buildings during migration season
From: University of Toronto
Published July 31, 2017 08:02 AM

Even though he grew up in an urban area surrounded by buildings, it wasn't until Omar Yossofzai took part in a study on migratory birds that he realized how many birds die daily after crashing into buildings.

The fourth-year undergrad led a group of U of T Scarborough students to track fallen migratory birds colliding into campus buildings over a 21-day period last fall.

The group was part of a massive North American study looking at the number of birds crashing into windows. Altogether, 40 colleges and universities across North America were involved in the project with U of T Scarborough being the only contributor of data from Toronto and southern Ontario, which falls in an important migratory corridor for birds.

Researchers found that large buildings in areas of low urbanization – those surrounded by vegetation like forests and gardens – had a higher collision rate than large buildings in areas of high urbanization, like those surrounded by other buildings or parking lots.

Continue reading at: University of Toronto.
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