Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Treehugger Tuesday

From "Treehugger" online:

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



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

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

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

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

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

But then according to AP,

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 30, 2017

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bird walks led by a member of SSAS are conducted nearly every Sunday morning from late August through early June. Walks are open to the public and are free of charge. We especially encourage youngsters to attend.
All walks start at 9:00 A.M.
There is no walk if it rains or snows or temperature is below 25°F.
For more information or in case of questionable weather conditions, please phone Joe at 516 467-9498.


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

Saturday, October 28, 2017

New York City Rare Bird Alert

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

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

- Birds Mentioned

BROWN BOOBY+

(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transcriber: Gail Benson

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A BLUE GROSBEAK was found in Scarsdale Wednesday.

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

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

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

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website "Gizmodo":

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Science]
...Read more

Monday, October 23, 2017

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, October 28, 2017 to Sunday, October 29, 2017:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, October 28, 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!

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

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Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, October 28, 2017, 8:00am
Randall’s Island
Leaders: Chris Girgenti (of Randall’s Island Alliance) and Peter Dorosh
Focus: Open field birds, marsh birds and waterbirds
Meet: 8:00 am at the northeast corner of 102nd Street and 1st Avenue, New York City
Registrar: Peter Dorosh, Prosbird@aol.com or text only cell 347-622-3559 (for weather report)
Registration Period: Oct 21st – Oct 26th
Note: This is a new trip location for the club. The nearest subway is BMT “Q” to last stop 96th Street or IRT #6 to 103rd St. From the rendezvous meeting spot at 102nd, the group will walk east to the 103rd St pedestrian bridge (http://tinyurl.com/RandallsBr103) to Randall’s Island. Expect a significant amount of walking
Site profile: https://randallsisland.org/
Please review our general trip information and guidelines on this page.

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City Island Bird Walks
Sunday, October 29, 2017, 8:30am
Fall Migration Walk
Location: Hunter Island, Pelham Bay Park
Park in the Orchard Beach lot close to the beach on the left as you enter

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

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

Sorry, no dogs!

Please email me if you need directions!

It’s time for a Fall walk. There should be some remaining migrants and some new winter species coming into the park. We’ll especially check for interesting sparrows. So come prepared with your binoculars, camera, long pants and hiking boots or old shoes.

If it’s raining hard, the walk is cancelled. If it’s one of those drizzly on and off again rain and you’re unsure about the walk, check the website and I will post if we have to cancel.

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Gateway National Parks
Saturday, October 28, 2017, 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Bird Topography
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Knowing the parts of a bird is important to improving observational and identification skills. This activity shares basic bird topography with beginner and young birders.
View Details

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Hudson River Audubon Society
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Lenoir Nature Preserve Hawk Watch
19 Dudley St. Yonkers
Meet at 10 AM behind the Lenoir Mansion
http://www.hras.org/wtobird/lenoir.html

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Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, October 28, 2017
New Jersey Hotspots
Leader: Robert Machover
Registrar: Karen Asakawa — avocet501@gmail.com or 347-306-0690
Registration opens: Monday, October 16
Ride: $40

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

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

Saturday, October 28, 2017, 9am – 1pm
Birding Gems of Staten Island: Clove Lakes Park
Guide: Gabriel Willow
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. 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

Sunday, October 29, 2017, 8am – 11am
Prospect Park Bird Walk
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Join Gabriel Willow for a leisurely walk to get to know the fall migrants of 'Brooklyn's Backyard', beautiful Prospect Park. Prospect Park has a wide variety of habitats that attracts a number of both breeding and passage migrant bird species, with even more recorded than in Central Park. We will explore the park's meadows, forests, and waterways in search of migratory warblers, vireos, thrushes, tanagers, waterfowl, and more. Limited to 15. $36 (25)
Click here to register

Sunday, October 29, 2017, 9:30am – 7:00pm
Snow Geese and Tundra Swans of Brigantine, NJ
Guide: Joe Giunta, Happy Warblers LLC
Brigantine, part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, is one of the East Coast's premier sites for waterbirds, offering a diversity of species and panoramic views. Bring lunch and water. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $125 (87)
Click here to register

Sunday, October 29, 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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North Shore Audubon Society
Saturday, October 28, 2017, 8am – 12pm
Bird banding demo
Location: JFK Preserve at Tobay Beach (west of Jones Beach)
Park here: 40.611281, -73.440968
This special parking lot is accessible by heading west from the southwest corner of the Tobay Beach parking lot.

To get to Tobay Beach, take "Ocean Pkwy" that runs from Jones Beach to Captree. Turnoff to Tobay is from WESTbound Ocean Pkwy. If going eastbound, you will need a U-turn about .2 mile past the Tobay Beach entrance. The U-turn is here: 40.610494, -73.425280

Apply for a PARKING PERMIT by mail in advance: http://oysterbaytown.com/wp-content/uploads/JFK-Permit-Application.pdf
Wear water-resistant footwear, bring binoculars and drinking water. Wear long pants and socks so you do not touch poison ivy.
Leader: Peggy - 516-883-2130
After bird banding demonstration at the JFK Preserve, participants may consider going to Jones Beach Coast Guard Station as a leaderless walk.

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Saturday, October 28, 2017, 11:00am – 1:00pm
Weed and Herb Walk at Conference House Park
Join herbalist Gert Coleman for a walk through the paths and gardens at Conference House Park to identify both wild and cultivated medicinal and culinary plants. Meet in the parking lot at the end of Hylan Boulevard. E-mail gert.coleman@verizon.net for more information.

Saturday, October 28, 2017, 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Long Pond Park
In addition to the fall foliage, we will look for evidence of animal life from deer preparing for the rutting season to turtles and frogs that may still be active at this time of year. We’ll also look for the bird life, examine the geology of the area and observe evidence of past human use of the area during this unhurried stroll through about one-and-a-half miles of the park. Meet at PS 6, on Page Avenue and Academy Avenue, about 3 blocks NW of Hylan Blvd. For more information call Clay Wollney at 718-869-6327

Sunday, October 29, 2017, 9:15am – 3:00pm
The Richard Buegler Autumn 10-Mile Greenbelt Walk @ Deere Park
The Fall 10-miler will begin at Deere Park, the northern gateway to Staten Island’s magnificent centerpiece. The Greenbelt stretches south across the peak of Todt Hill and cascades through the deciduous woodlands that inhabit Staten Island’s heartland. Explore the woods and wetlands of our borough’s largest park with Protectors as we enjoy the fall foliage. Participants will meet along Staten Island Boulevard behind the Petrides Complex. For more information call Dominick Durso at (917) 478-7607.

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Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, Oct 28, 2017
Prospect Park and Greenwood Cemetery
Leaders: Arie Gilbert, Liz Patrick. 917-693-7178

We'll do Prospect in the early am, then Greenwood in the late morning as Prospect gets too busy.
Liz will buy everyone lunch at a gastropub.
Meet at entrance on Flatbush near Ocean/Empire for carousel

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Mill Pond Park

Use street parking on the westbound side of Merrick Road. The park is four blocks west of the Wantagh State Parkway.
Directions via Google Maps

Bird walks led by a member of SSAS are conducted nearly every Sunday morning from late August through early June. Walks are open to the public and are free of charge. We especially encourage youngsters to attend.
All walks start at 9:00 A.M.
There is no walk if it rains or snows or temperature is below 25°F.
For more information or in case of questionable weather conditions, please phone Joe at 516 467-9498.


**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Join NYC Audubon on birding walks through Van Cortlandt Park to discover wildlife happenings in the park.
Free!

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

Sunday, October 29, 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 and learn how Queens Botanical Garden provides important resources for birds— like water, shelter, and insects to eat.

Flora and Fauna Walk of Highbridge Park with Leslie Day at Dyckman Street and 10th Avenue Entrance to Highbridge Park (in Highbridge Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Come on a morning nature walk through Highbridge Park, an ideal spot to see many species of animals, insects, and birds.
Free!

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

Birding: Raptor Migration at Gateway Drive and Erskine Street (in Spring Creek Park), Brooklyn
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Birding programs are appropriate for all skill levels and beginners are welcome. To enhance your experience we encourage you to bring binoculars and field guides, or ask a Ranger to borrow a pair.
Free!

Hawk Watch at Moses Mountain at Moses Mountain, Staten Island
12:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
Join ecologist Seth Wollney to learn why hawks migrate and how to identify different species.
Free!

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Young Birders Club
Saturday October 28, 2017
Croton Point Park (Westchester County)
Sponsoring NYSYBC Partner: Bedford Audubon Society
Trip Leader: Tait Johansson
We'll return to Croton Point, this time for a fall trip, when the species mix will be different from what we've seen there in the winter. This trip will be led by our good and generous friend Tait Johansson of Bedford Audubon Society.

Croton Point Park is a 508-acre park situated on the largest peninsula on the Hudson River. It has been designated an Important Bird Area (IBA). A capped landfill is now a vast meadow abundant in species of birds (and butterflies in summer). Fall brings interesting sparrows and migrating waterfowl. In winter, Croton Point is a Bald Eagle hotspot. The park is also the site of the Croton Point Nature Center.
Fun fact: the historic wine cellars here are thought of be the oldest in New York State.

Watch your email Inbox for directions and details on meeting time and location.
Trip Registration Form is due by 10/20/17
...Read more

Saturday, October 21, 2017

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, October 20, 2017:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Oct. 20, 2017
* NYNY1710.20

- Birds Mentioned

BROWN BOOBY+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Common Eider
Northern Gannet
BROWN PELICAN
AMERICAN AVOCET
American Oystercatcher
Red Knot
Parasitic Jaeger
Lesser Black-backed Gull
CASPIAN TERN
Forster’s Tern
Royal Tern
American Pipit
Blue-winged Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
American Redstart
Cape May Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
VESPER SPARROW
Nelson’s Sparrow
BLUE GROSBEAK
DICKCISSEL

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transcriber: Gail Benson

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

Greetings! This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, October 20,
2017 at 7:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are BROWN BOOBY, BROWN PELICAN, AMERICAN AVOCET, CASPIAN TERN, CLAY-COLORED and VESPER SPARROWS, BLUE GROSBEAK and DICKCISSEL.

Present since at least September 27th, the adult BROWN BOOBY continues on Lake Montauk, providing a great opportunity to see this species in our region. The BOOBY still perches on the mast of the sailboat Maui but also recently has been resting on green channel marker #11 located a short distance east of the Maui. Both of these perches can be viewed from the Star Island entrance road, looking south down the first cove after turning off from West Lake Drive. If not visible there, try viewing from the end of South Lake Drive, a short road north of Route 27 that provides a nice vista of the south end of Lake Montauk.

An unexpected surprise were the six BROWN PELICANS sitting on the bar adjacent to the Coast Guard Station at Jones Beach West End late last Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately boater activity kept flushing the flock – they returned twice to the bar but the third time continued east out of sight. An attempted count of the AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS perched on the bar came up with 565, and also in that area Sunday were 3 COMMON EIDER and 8 ROYAL TERNS.

Earlier Sunday a sea watch at Robert Moses State Park produced 2 PARASITIC JAEGERS and over 30 NORTHERN GANNETS, and counted on the pilings at the Point Lookout boat basin were 174 FORSTER’S TERNS, with 8 RED KNOTS nearby.

An AMERICAN AVOCET was still present usually at the north end of the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge at least through Monday, although shorebirds on the pond have now been mostly replaced by waterfowl.

CASPIAN TERNS included 2 on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay to Monday, 1 at the Marine Park Salt Marsh Natural Center Saturday, and 2 at Mecox Bay Sunday, while lingering ROYAL TERNS featured 5 at Floyd Bennett Field Tuesday and 2 at Brooklyn’s Plumb Beach Thursday. Some LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS also remain long the coast.

Among the land birds, WARBLER numbers and species have been decreasing as expected, but some hangers-on have this week included BLUE-WINGED, TENNESSEE, CHESTNUT-SIDED, MAGNOLIA, CAPE MAY, BLACK-THROATED BLUE, AMERICAN REDSTART and WILSON’S, while the later ORANGE-CROWNEDS included sightings in Central and Prospect Parks as well as at Southard’s Pond in Babylon Monday and at Robert Moses State Park Tuesday.

On the other hand, SPARROW numbers and variety are on the increase. A VESPER SPARROW was found at the north end in Central Park Tuesday, and a decent number of CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS featured singles in Prospect Park Tuesday and Central Park at the north end today, one on Governor’s Island today, one in Hempstead last Saturday, and one around the Coast Guard Station hedgerow at Jones Beach West End from Saturday to at least Wednesday. NELSON’S SPARROWS are now present in respectable numbers in various coastal salt marshes, including both coastal and inland races.

A female-type BLUE GROSBEAK was reported from Prospect Park Tuesday, and a few DICKCISSELS, not surprising given their occurrences in the northeast this year, featured one at Robert Moses State Park Sunday, singles Tuesday at Dyker Beach Park in Brooklyn and near the Ponquogue Bridge west of Shinnecock Inlet, and one Wednesday at Calvert Vaux Park in Brooklyn.

Now is also a good time to watch for AMERICAN PIPIT, especially along coasts in the morning.

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, October 20, 2017

Friday's Foto

Birds are not the only animals that migrate through New York City. This Spot-winged Glider in one of several species of dragonflies that have annual migratory cycles. A common species in the skimmers family, it is found throughout southern Canada and the U.S., as well as, the West Indies, Central America south to Argentina and Chile. According to the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership, "migrations are seen annually in late summer and early fall, when thousands to millions of insects stream southward along coasts, lake shores, and mountain ridges from Canada down to Mexico and the West Indies, passing along both coasts of the United States and through the Midwest." Only 16 of North American's 326 dragonfly species have been confirmed as regular migrants.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website "Earther":

America's Ash Trees Are Being Wiped Out—Here's How You Can Help Them
Erin Biba
Tuesday 12:45pm

America’s Ash trees are facing extinction. And the impact of their loss in our forests, cities, and backyards will not be small.

The United States’ eight billion ash trees, which live in every state with high concentrations east of Colorado and along the Pacific Northwest coast, are threatened by the Emerald Ash Borer, a beetle native to Russia and China that was likely brought here on ships in the mid-1990s. By the time the Borers were discovered in 2002, it was too late to stop them. Researchers are calling the beetle the most serious threat to forests ever seen in the US. Millions of trees across the Midwest are already dead, and today, the Borers are spreading quickly across the Northeast.

However, at a Saving the American Ash summit at The New York Botanical Garden last week, researchers said there is hope, at least of preventing the Ash’s complete annihilation. Homeowners, citizen scientists, and anyone concerned about the fate of one of our country’s most ubiquitous trees can help.

Click here to read the entire article

Monday, October 16, 2017

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, October 21, 2017 to Sunday, October 22, 2017:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, October 21, 2017, 12 pm – 1 pm
Introduction to Bird Watching
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a birdwatching walk and learn about Prospect Park’s magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!

**********

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

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, October 21, 2017
Floyd Bennett Field, Gateway NP
Leader: Rob Jett
Focus: Peak of sparrows (Passeridae) species
Car Fee: $10.00
Registrar: Kathy Toomey, email kathleentoomey@gmail.com
Registration Period: Oct 14th - Oct 19th
Please review our general trip information and guidelines on this page.

**********

Gateway National Parks
Sunday, October 22, 2017, 10:00am to 12:00pm
Explore the Mysterious Back Woods of Fort Tilden
Location: Building 1 Fort Tilden
Join American Littoral Society naturalist Mickey Maxwell Cohen to walk the woods.
View Details

**********

Great South Bay Audubon Society
Saturday, October 21, 2017 - 8:30am
Caumsett SP
Leader(s): John Gluth (631-827-0120) Ken Thompson (631-612-8028)
Northern State to exit 42N (Route 35). 35 to 25A. 25A west to West Neck Road (right turn). West Neck/Lloyd Harbor Rd. into Lloyd Neck. Entrance to park on left. Meet in Parking lot.

**********

Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, October 22, 2017
Birding in Peace

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

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

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, October 21, 2017
Fort Tilden 2
Leader: Richard ZainEldeen
Registrar: Pearl Broder — pbroder3@nyc.rr.com or 212-924-0030
Registration opens: Monday, October 9
Ride: $15

**********

New York Botanical Garden (Bronx)
Saturdays -- 11:00 a.m.
Debbie Becker leads a free bird walk at the Garden every Saturday from 11am to 12:30pm beginning at the Reflecting Pool in the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Included in All-Garden Pass
Get Tickets

**********

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

**********

North Shore Audubon Society
Saturday, October 21, 2017, 9:30am – 12:00pm
Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park

See "Walk locations" for directions. Meet in last (southmost) parking lot.
Wear water-resistant footwear, bring binoculars and drinking water. Wear long pants and socks so you do not touch poison ivy.
Leader - Joyce - 516-621-6678
NOTE: NYS STATE PARK PARKING FEE MAY APPLY
https://parks.ny.gov/historic-sites/24/details.aspx

**********

Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, Oct 21, 2017
Racoon Ridge
Leader: Bob Dieterich - 848-468-7207
Description: Hawks!
Mount Mohican, or Raccoon Ridge, is a peak of the Kittatinny Mountains in Warren County, New Jersey

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, October 22, 2017
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

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

Bird walks led by a member of SSAS are conducted nearly every Sunday morning from late August through early June. Walks are open to the public and are free of charge. We especially encourage youngsters to attend.
All walks start at 9:00 A.M.
There is no walk if it rains or snows or temperature is below 25°F.
For more information or in case of questionable weather conditions, please phone Joe at 516 467-9498.


**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, October 21, 2017
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Join NYC Audubon on birding walks through Van Cortlandt Park to discover wildlife happenings in the park.
Free!

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

Sunday, October 22, 2017
Discovery Walks for Families: Beginning Birders - The North Woods at Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (in Central Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Why do birds flock to Central Park every spring and fall? We’ll find out as we explore Central Park’s woodlands, and learn the basics of bird identification.
Free!

**********

Wild Bird Fund
Saturday, October 21, 2017, 9:00am - 11:00am
A Walk on the Wild Side – October
Wild Bird Fund, 565 Columbus Ave New York, NY 10024 United States

It's Halloween time - which means pumpkins, ghouls, and migrating birds! Please join WBF member and artist/naturalist Alan Messer for a Halloween-season bird walk on October 21 (Rain Date, October 22). Artist naturalist Alan Messer will lead us to check the Reservoir for early waterfowl and into the Ramble for late warblers, sparrows, finches, woodpeckers, and nuthatches. This is the time of year when raptor migration is in full swing. We will keep a lookout for Broad-winged and red-tailed hawks,…
Find out more »
...Read more

Saturday, October 14, 2017

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, October 13, 2017

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Oct. 13, 2017
* NYNY1710.13

- Birds mentioned
BROWN BOOBY+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Snow Goose
EURASIAN WIGEON
American Wigeon
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Cory's Shearwater
AMERICAN AVOCET
American Oystercatcher
American Golden-Plover
Whimbrel
HUDSONIAN GODWIT
MARBLED GODWIT
Stilt Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Long-billed Dowitcher
POMARINE JAEGER
Parasitic Jaeger
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Caspian Tern
Royal Tern
Red-headed Woodpecker
Tennessee Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
BLUE GROSBEAK
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

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, October 13th 2017 at 9pm. The highlights of today's tape are BROWN BOOBY, AMERICAN AVOCET, HUDSONIAN GODWIT, MARBLED GODWIT, POMARINE JAEGER, EURASIAN WIGEON, DICKCISSEL, BLUE GROSBEAK and CLAY-COLORED SPARROW.

The marvelous opportunity to see a BROWN BOOBY in the southern portion of New York State continues as the adult was still present today on Lake Montauk on eastern Long Island. The BOOBY, present since at least September 27th, is best looked for either from the Star Island entrance road off West Lake Drive or from the end of South Lake Drive. From Star Island entrance road look south at the first cove on the right scanning the visible sailboat masts and buoys for the BOOBY. If not visible there try the end of South Lake Drive, a short road on the north side of Route 27, that offers a very good vista of the southern end of Lake Montauk from where it has often been seen both perched and flying around.

At Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge's East Pond shorebird numbers have declined notably as expected these replaced by large numbers of waterfowl nonetheless on the East Pond an AMERICAN AVOCET was still present at the north end today, an HUDSONIAN GODWIT was present last weekend reported a couple of times during the week to Thursday. An AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER also stayed through Sunday. Other lingering shorebird species have featured one or more STILT, WHITE-RUMPED and PECTORAL SANDPIPERS. Impressive waterfowl numbers feature mostly dabbling ducks including many NORTHERN SHOVELERS, AMERICAN WIGEON, GREEN-WINGED, BLUE-WINGED TEAL and even a few NORTHERN PINTAIL but are highlighted by a bright female type EURASIAN WIGEON and a few arriving SNOW GOOSE. Also out in Jamaica Bay proper west of the refuge today were a WHIMBREL and a MARBLED GODWIT keeping company with a lingering AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER flock. Four AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS and a LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER visited Heckscher State Park Sunday and 2 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS were still at Santapogue Creek in West Babylon Saturday.

A watch at Fort Tilden Saturday was highlighted by a PARASITIC JAEGER, 42 ROYAL TERNS and a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER. But the storm moving through Monday improved on that with Breezy Point site of large tern activity that drew in a POMARINE JAEGER and at least 15 PARASITIC JAEGERS as well as a CORY'S SHEARWATER. Two CORY'S were also noted Sunday off Robert Moses State Park along with a PARASITIC JAEGER, 2 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS and 6 CASPIAN TERNS and 2 PARASITIC JAEGERS appeared off Coney Island Monday. CASPIAN TERNS also occurred at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge early in the week and at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn while lingering ROYAL TERNS included 13 at Floyd Bennett Field Sunday.

On the landbird front a nice influx of birds occurred mainly on Tuesday with fairly decent numbers of anticipated migrants dropping into the area. Also very encouraging lately have been the numbers of Monarch butterflies moving through the region. Tuesday alone producing an estimated 35 thousand plus moving south along the dunes at Fort Tilden.

Among the rarer landbirds several DICKCISSELS included sightings at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Canarsie Beach Park, Jones Beach West End, Robert Moses State Park Pelham Bay Park and Marshlands Conservancy in Rye. Interesting was a report of two BLUE GROSBEAKS on Governors Island on Tuesday and another visited Manhasset on Saturday. A few CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS sightings mentioned Owl's Head Park, Floyd Bennett Field and Cow Meadow Park Saturday, Prospect Park Tuesday and Robert Moses State Park Wednesday.

In the over 20 species of warblers for the week included such species still as TENNESSEE, CAPE MAY, BAY-BREASTED and WILSON'S and this is the time when ORANGE-CROWNEDS start coming through in numbers this week's reports including from Central and Prospect Park, Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Governors Island plus several other sites.

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, October 10, 2017

Treehugger Tuesday

From Mother Nature Network:

Feral cats in Australia kill 7 animals per day
Australia's feral cats kill millions of birds and other native animals every year, averaging an estimated seven daily kills per cat.
Mary Jo DiLonardo
October 4, 2017, 5:05 p.m.

Anyone with a bird feeder has experienced that sinking feeling of discovering a patch of stray feathers or a tuft of bunny fur. There's a good chance a cat has been hunting there.

Domestic cats kill small wildlife in many parts of the world, but their impact seems especially severe in Australia. Several million feral cats live there, and research suggests their daily death toll may be as high as seven animals per cat. For the sake of native species, scientists have ramped up their focus on the felines in recent years.

According to one new study, feral and pet cats collectively kill more than 1 million birds in Australia every day. Its authors reached that estimate by examining 91 previous studies on cat population densities in Australia, as well as another 93 studies on what those cats hunt. Feral cats kill about 316 million Australian birds per year, the study found, while pet cats kill an additional 61 million annually.

"Everyone knows that cats kill birds, but this study shows that, at a national level, the amount of predation is staggering," lead researcher John Woinarski, from Charles Darwin University, tells the AFP news agency. "It is likely to be driving the ongoing decline of many species."

The study suggests birds are in greatest danger on Australia's islands and in remote dry areas, where cats may kill as many as 330 birds per square kilometer every year.

Focusing on feral cats

In another recent study, researchers from the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) outfitted more than 65 feral cats with modified GoPro cameras and GPS collars to track their daily movements. There may be anywhere from 2 million to 6 million feral cats in Australia, and the researchers hoped to clarify their ecological effects.

In what has been called a "war on cats," Australia's federal government has a five-year threatened species strategy that includes plans to eliminate 2 million feral cats by 2020. Domestic cats were introduced to the continent more than 200 years ago as pets, but many have gone wild and are dining on threatened native species.

The AWC's goal is to reduce the impact of those cats on native wildlife in Australia, but the research has relevance for any community with feral cats. “The purpose of the study was to examine the hunting behaviours and distances travelled by feral cats and their impact on small mammals,” said the AWC's John Kanowski.

The footage showed where the cats went and how they hunted. It showed them killing snakes, frogs and birds. Researchers found that each cat hunted 20 times a day with a 30 percent success rate, averaging seven kills per day per cat.

The cats were most successful in open areas, particularly where there had been fires that cleared the area. In those places, 80 percent of hunts were successful. But in uncleared areas, cats were only successful hunting about 20 percent of the time.

An earlier study by researchers at the University of Georgia and National Geographic found that a third of pet cats kill wildlife for an average of about 2.1 times every week. That's a lot, but nowhere near what AWC researchers have uncovered with feral cats in their 2016 study.

"This footage shows domestic cat owners that there is a big difference between domestic and feral cats," AWC chief executive Atticus Fleming told HuffPost Australia.

Fleming admitted it was not only physically challenging to strap the collars and cameras onto feral cats, but there was something of a moral dilemma, too.

"The temptation is to simply remove every cat that you catch, but when there are 4 million cats out there, removing that one cat is not actually going to help native animals," he said. "We need to use this research to find a way to remove feral cats from the landscape, or if not that, at least find a way to control them."
...Read more

Monday, October 09, 2017

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, October 14, 2017 to Sunday, October 15, 2017:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, October 14, 2017, 12 pm – 1 pm
Introduction to Bird Watching
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a birdwatching walk and learn about Prospect Park’s magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!

**********

Bedford Audubon Society
Saturday, October 14, 2017, 8:00am - 9:00am
Discover Migration at the John Jay Homestead
Leader: Naturalist Tait Johansson
Join Tait for a bird walk around the historic grounds at 8am, and then stay for the Farmers Market, which starts at 9am. Please note the Market has moved to the field adjacent to the Carriage Barn.
Cost: Free
Level of difficulty: Easy
Please register with Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914-302-9713

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, October 14, 2017, 7:15am
Prospect Park Saturday Walk
Leader: Dennis Hrehowsik
Meet at Ocean/Parkside Avenues, “The Pergola” at 7:15am
No registration necessary.

Sunday, October 15, 2017
Sparrows of Staten Island
Leader: Seth Wollney
Focus: Peak of sparrows Passeridae species
Car Fee: $18.00
Registrar: Donna Evans email devansny@earthlink.net
Registration Period: Oct 7th - Oct 12th
Please review our general trip information and guidelines on this page.

**********

Eastern Long Island Audubon Society
Saturday, October 14, 2017, meet at 8:30am
Fire Island Hawk Watch and Hike to the Lighthouse
Leader: Eileen Schwinn
A repeat of a well-liked field trip, we will be meeting at the eastern end of Parking Lot 5, at Robert Moses State Park. We will stop at the Hawk Watch, where, with favorable winds, we will be joining other Long Island birders for a while, and hopefully see a number of east to west flying raptors. We will then walk the 3/4 mile boardwalk to the Fire Island Lighthouse, looking for migrating song birds along the way. Dress for the weather, and perhaps, bring a light snack and water. Binoculars a must.
For more details, please contact Eileen Schwinn at beachmed@optonline.net or call 516-662-7751 the day of the trip.

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Gateway National Parks
Sunday, October 15, 2017, 10:00am to 11:30am
Birding By Ear
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Meet at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor's Center for an introduction to the calls of backyard birds.
View Details

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Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Sunday, October 15, 2017 - 9:00am
Robert Moses State Park Hawk Watch
The best place to see migrating raptors on Long Island. Great viewing platform, with some of the birds flying by at eye level, always has expert hawk watchers to answer any questions you may have. Exploring the surrounding areas should turn up other migrants as well as possible rarities.
Registration: 631-885-1881

Directions: Proceed south on Robert Moses Parkway, over the bridge to Robert Moses State Park. From the water tower circle (check for peregrine falcon), proceed east to parking lot #5. We will meet in the NE corner of the parking lot.

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Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, October 14, 2017
Floyd Bennett Field
Leader: Rob Jett
Registrar: Kathleen Toomey — kathleentoomey@gmail.com or 718-436-3494
Registration opens: Monday, October 2
Ride: $15 or public transportation

Sunday, October 15, 2017
5TH Annual Starr Saphir Memorial Fall Migration Walk, Central Park
Leader: Lenore Swenson — information only lenoreswenson@gmail.com or 212-533-9567
No registration Public transportation
Meet at 103rd Street and Central Park West at 7:30 am

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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, October 14, 2017, 8am – 8pm
NYC Audubon Day at Hawk Mountain, PA
Guides: Gabriel Willow, Hawk Mountain Education Specialist
Mid-October is the perfect time to visit Hawk Mountain, one of the premier hawk-watching spots in the East. Gabriel Willow and a Hawk Mountain education specialist will introduce us to the variety of raptors that may be seen, including golden eagles, buteos, and falcons The path to the hawk watch site is a 3/4 mile hike through mountainous woodland. Bring lunch. Group program, trail admission, and transportation by van included. Limited to 12. $139 (97)
Click here to register

Saturday, October 14, 2017, 9:00am – 11:30am
Fall Migrants of Inwood Hill Park
Guide: Annie Barry
Meet at the entrance of 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 kinglets, warblers, flycatchers, sparrows, thrushes and more, then search the shore of the Inwood Hill Park saltmarshes for herons and ducks. Some hilly walking required. Limited to 15. $36 (25)
Click here to register

Saturday, October 14, 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

Sunday, October 15, 2017, 8am – 3pm
Birding Gems of Staten Island: Freshkills Park
Guide: Cliff Hagen
Start your trip with a journey across the Upper Bay on the Staten Island Ferry! This is a special opportunity to see Freshkills Park in transition from what was once the world’s largest landfill into an expansive park. Currently closed to the general public, the Park is home to rolling grasslands, tidal marshes, successional woodlands and a freshwater pond system, which host an array of breeding birds, butterflies, mammals, frogs, and turtles. Each autumn, migrant species abound as they travel along the North Atlantic Flyway. Sparrows, osprey, a collection of waterfowl, and lingering warblers seek refuge in the park. Overhead, raptors soar along the terminal moraine as they make their way south for the impending winter. Late-blooming flowers attract an assortment of butterflies and dragonflies as they, too, fly south for the winter. Transport by passenger van on S.I. included. Limited to 12. $57 (40)
Click here to register

Sunday, October 15, 2017, 9am – 1pm
Fall Migration on Randall's Island
Guides: Gabriel Willow, Christopher Girgenti of Randall's Island with Randall's Island Park Alliance, Inc.
Make your way over the pedestrian bridge to Randall's Island, an under-explored location in the East River that hosts restored freshwater wetlands and salt marsh. We'll look for fall migrants as we explore the results of recent restoration efforts. Two miles of walking and some modest climbs. Limited to 20. $40 (28)
Click here to register

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North Shore Audubon Society
Saturday, October 14, 2017, 8am – 12pm
Hoffman Center
NOTE EARLY START TIME

See "Walk locations" for directions. Coordinates are to driveway that you need to turn north on.
Wear water-resistant footwear, bring binoculars and drinking water. Wear long pants and socks so you do not touch poison ivy.
Leader: Barbara - 516-628-9022

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NYC H2O
Saturday, October 14 and Sunday, October 15 at 10am and 12pm
Open House NY Weekend at the Ridgewood Reservoir

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Queens County Bird Club
Sunday, October 15, 2017
Kissena Park
Leader: Eric Miller 917-279-7530
Meet: Kissena Velodrome, Flushing, NY 11355 (map)
Description: Fall Migrants!

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, October 15, 2017
Point Lookout Town Park and Lido Preserve

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

Bird walks led by a member of SSAS are conducted nearly every Sunday morning from late August through early June. Walks are open to the public and are free of charge. We especially encourage youngsters to attend.
All walks start at 9:00 A.M.
There is no walk if it rains or snows or temperature is below 25°F.
For more information or in case of questionable weather conditions, please phone Joe at 516 467-9498.


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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, October 14, 2017
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Join NYC Audubon on birding walks through Van Cortlandt Park to discover wildlife happenings in the park.
Free!

Greenbelt on the Go: Sparrows at Conference House Park at Visitor Center (in Conference House Park), Staten Island
9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
October is prime time to learn to identify the different species of sparrows that visit Staten Island.
Free!

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 and learn how Queens Botanical Garden provides important resources for birds— like water, shelter, and insects to eat.

Birding: Hawk Watch at Unisphere (in Flushing Meadows Corona Park), Queens
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle. Our birding programs are appropriate for all skill levels and beginners are welcome.
Free!

Free Nature Walk at Washington Square Park at Northwest Corner Seating Area (in Washington Square Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Join NYC naturalist Leslie Day for a nature walk through Washington Square Park where she will talk about the botanical history of the trees and the diverse bird life of the park.
Free!

Sunday, October 15, 2017
Discovery Walks for Families: Beginning Birders - Hallett Nature Sanctuary at Chess and Checkers House (in Central Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Why do birds flock to Central Park every spring and fall? We’ll find out as we explore Central Park’s woodlands, and learn the basics of bird identification.
Free!

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Wild Bird Fund
Saturday, October 14, 2017, 9:00am - 10:30am
Take a Walk at the Brooklyn Bridge* with Heather Wolf
Brooklyn Bridge Park, 334 Furman St Brooklyn, NY 11201 United States

Heather Wolf, birder and photographer, will walk us "on the wild side" of Brooklyn Bridge Park in search of birds that inhabit her local patch. Her book “Birding at the Bridge: In Search of Every Bird on the Brooklyn Waterfront” documents her mini-quest to find and photograph as many birds as possible at Brooklyn Bridge Park, where she leads educational bird walks and inspires non-birders to discover birds in their neighborhoods. WHEN: Sat., October 14th, 9:00 to 10:30 AM WHERE:…
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