Check out City Birder Tours, and Green-Wood sponsored tours on their calendar pages here.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, January 5, 2019 to Sunday, January 6, 2019:

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, January 5, 2019
Manasquan Reservoir and Shark River, NJ
Co-Leaders: Larry Zirlin and Peter Dorosh
Focus: winter ducks- freshwater and salt, geese and other waterfowl species
Car fee: $25.00
Registrar: Peter Dorosh Prosbird@aol.com or text only cell 347-622-3559
Registration Period: Dec 29th – Jan 3rd
Please review our trip guidelines here: http://brooklynbirdclub.org/information-registration

Saturday, January 5, 2019, 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Prospect Park: Birdwatching for Beginners
Leader: Cyrus Baty
Birdwatching for Beginners meets at the Prospect Park Audubon Center at The Boathouse at 12 noon. Bring binoculars if you have them; otherwise, binoculars are available for loan.

Sunday, January 6, 2019, 10:00am - 12:00pm
Prospect Park First Sunday Walk
Meets at the Prospect Park Audubon Center at The Boathouse, the first Sunday of every month except July and August. Leaders are members of the Brooklyn Bird Club. Bring binoculars.

**********

Great South Bay Audubon Society
Saturday, January 5, 2019 - 9:00am
Montauk
Leader(s): John Gluth (631-827-0120) and Ken Thompson (631-612-8028)
Meet at Lighthouse parking lot. Latecomers can still join in the vicinity of the restaurant overlook. Directions: Route 27 to 27A to end.

**********

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
Saturday, January 5, 2019, 10am – 1pm
Winter Waterfowl ID Workshop Field Trip
Thursday, January 3, 6-7:30pm (class) and Saturday, January 5, 10am-1pm (trip)
Instructor: Gabriel Willow
If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck . . . but is it a dabbling duck or a diving duck? Or could it be a grebe? This class will help you distinguish between ducks, geese, loons, grebes, and more. Following our class, we'll put our newfound skills to work as we seek out the diverse mix of dabbling ducks, bay ducks, sea ducks, grebes, loons, and cormorants to be found in Central Park's Reservoir. Limited to 12. $65 (45)
Click here to register

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, January 6, 2019
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
Sunday, January 6, 2019
Heather Garden Birds and Tree Tour at Heather Garden (in Fort Tryon Park), Manhattan
1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.
Learn more about the winter birds and the importance of native plant species within Fort Tryon Park on this tour.
Free!

Ecosystem Explorers: Grasslands at Arthur Kill Road and Brookfield Avenue (in Brookfield Park), Staten Island
1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
We will identify and view the many different birds, mammal, insect and plant species of a grassland ecosystem.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, December 29, 2018

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, December 28, 2018:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Dec. 28, 2018
* NYNY1812.28

- Birds Mentioned

MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD+
COMMON MURRE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Cackling Goose
Green-winged Teal (Eurasian form)
Common Eider
HARLEQUIN DUCK
Red-necked Grebe
CATTLE EGRET
Bald Eagle
Short-billed Dowitcher
Wilson’s Snipe
RAZORBILL
BLACK GUILLEMOT
BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE
BLACK-HEADED GULL
ICELAND GULL
Lesser Black-backed Gull
GLAUCOUS GULL
Barred Owl
Northern Saw-whet Owl
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
Merlin
Peregrine Falcon
Eastern Phoebe
Common Raven
Marsh Wren
Ovenbird
Tennessee Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Cape May Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Chipping Sparrow
Lincoln’s Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Rusty Blackbird
RED CROSSBILL
Pine Siskin

(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

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, December 28, 2018 at 8:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD, COMMON MURRE, BLACK GUILLEMOT and RAZORBILL numbers, BLACK-HEADED GULL, BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE, GLAUCOUS and ICELAND GULLS, CATTLE EGRET, HARLEQUIN DUCK, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, RED CROSSBILL and more.

A great find any time in the northeast, a young MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD was spotted Saturday morning at Point Judith on a Rhode Island Christmas Bird Count. As the bird continued west, birders contemplated sites along Long Island Sound’s north shore to look for it. The FRIGATEBIRD instead turned left and was next seen moving by the Coast Guard Station on the north side of the Ponquogue Bridge at Shinnecock around 3 pm in the afternoon, still heading west but, unfortunately, not seen again.

For local Christmas Bird Counts, the Bronx Westchester last Sunday recorded 116 species, including two RED-NECKED GREBES, a WILSON’S SNIPE, nine BALD EAGLES, a RAZORBILL off Rye, one NORTHERN SAW-WHET and ten BARRED OWLS, a RED-HEADLED WOODPECKER at Pelham Bay, four EASTERN PHOEBES, three PINE SISKINS, eight CHIPPING, one LINCOLN’S and four WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS, a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT and ninety-one RUSTY BLACKBIRDS.

The Smithtown Count held yesterday netted 98 species, highlights including a EURASIAN form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL, four COMMON EIDERS, a SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, one LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, nine NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS, MERLIN and PEREGRINE FALCON, four COMMON RAVENS, two MARSH WRENS and two PINE SISKINS.

The impressive RAZORBILL invasion on Eastern Long Island continues, with over 9,000 estimated yesterday off Montauk Point and adjacent Camp Hero, these numbers continuing to build over the last two weeks. Very few other alcids, though, have joined this movement. A COMMON MURRE was seen briefly off Camp Hero last Sunday afternoon and reported again off the Point Monday morning, and a BLACK GUILLEMOT was photographed as it few into Shinnecock Inlet last Saturday afternoon. Farther west on Long Island, 677 RAZORBILLS were counted moving by Robert Moses State Park Field 2 Wednesday morning.

Also at Montauk Point Thursday were a BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE and a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, with a RED-NECKED GREBE at Culloden Point. An ICELAND GULL continues around the Montauk harbor entrance, and a CATTLE EGRET was seen in flight along Route 27 west of the town of Montauk last Sunday, while a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT was spotted at Hither Hills State Park Thursday.

Three HARLEQUIN DUCKS were present at Shinnecock Inlet Wednesday, along with a GLAUCOUS GULL, perhaps the same bird frequenting the area around Triton Lane at least to Wednesday.

An adult BLACK-HEADED GULL continues to be seen around the bar adjacent to the Coast Guard Station at Jones Beach West End, and two LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were at Robert Moses State Park Tuesday, with one at West End Wednesday.

Other ICELAND GULLS were noted in Manhattan last Saturday and in Brooklyn Tuesday.

A few CACKLING GEESE have been noted locally, but we have no report of the PINK-FOOTED GOOSE since December 20th.

Single RED-NECKED GREBES were seen last Sunday off Coney Island Pier and Floyd Bennett Field.

It seems few winter finches continue to linger in our area, but among them were four or more RED CROSSBILLS seen Sunday in Brookhaven State Park.

Among a fairly low variety of late lingering WARBLERS have been a CAPE MAY in Manhattan’s Union Square Park, joining an OVENBIRD and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT there, and a TENNESSEE still present Wednesday at the West Meadow Wetlands Preserve in Stony Brook.

An ORANGE-CROWNED WABLER was in Morningside Park in northern Manhattan Tuesday, and among various other interesting passerines in the area was a ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK visiting a private feeder in Mastic Wednesday

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, and Happy New Year!

- End transcript
...Read more

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Birds of Green-Wood Cemetery

I've spent a lot of time birding in Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery over the years and began collecting photos of some of its resident birds. Here are some of those photos. Updated as I find more, scroll to the bottom for the latest pics (updated 12/22/18):




























The old world spelling, perhaps.


Not quite a bird, but I liked the name.

I'll add more in the future as I find them.

Here's an update from July 2015:



Here's an update from October 2015:



Here's a Reeve, also from October 2015:



Here's my first "Fish Hawk" for Green-Wood from March 2016:



Here's a new addition I spotted in November 2016:



Spotted in December 2016. I was kind of hoping to read a family member named "Hermit", "Wood" or "Varied":



Spotted during my walk on 7/29/18:

This one may be a bit of a stretch, but humor me. Lanius is the genus for a family of birds called shrikes. They can be found in Eurasia, Africa and North America. They are sometimes referred to as "butcher birds". Not surprising, lanius is latin for butcher. My favorite is the Northern Shrike - Lanius excubitor: the butcher sentinel. Perhaps Henry Clay came from a long line of family butchers ... or shrikes.



Here's a western species I came across while wandering around on August 26th. Don't normally see Verdins on the east coast:



With all the Chimney Swifts that nest in Brownstone Brooklyn this one seemed quite fitting (or flitting):



A few years ago my friend Mike mentioned seeing a willet in Green-Wood Cemetery. At first I thought he improbably saw one of these long-legged shorebird in the cemetery. Once I calmed down, he explained he was merely adding to my virtual collection. I finally located Mr. Willet a week ago on December 22, 2018:

...Read more

Monday, December 24, 2018

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, December 29, 2018 to Sunday, December 30, 2018:

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, December 29, 2018, 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Prospect Park: Birdwatching for Beginners
Leader: Cyrus Baty
Birdwatching for Beginners meets at the Prospect Park Audubon Center at The Boathouse at 12 noon. Bring binoculars if you have them; otherwise, binoculars are available for loan.

**********

Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Sunday, December 30, 2018 - 12:00pm
Pelham Bay Park: Waterfowl and Seals
At the western end of Long Island Sound, Pelham Bay Park is home in the wintertime to a variety of ducks, geese, loons, cormorants, and other waterfowl. The rocks off Twin Islands also serve as a haul-out spot for several species of seals. We will take advantage of low tide to see all these animals. Then we will journey up into the pine woods of Hunter Island to search for owls.

Directions: Take the Throgs Neck or Whitestone Bridge to the Hutchinson River Parkway North. Take Exit 5 for Orchard Beach. We will meet at the northeastern end of the Orchard Beach parking lot. Call 585-880-0915 to register.

**********

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

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Sunday, December 30, 2018, 10:30am-12:30pm
Warm up to Winter Walk - Greenbelt Nature Center
Let’s get acquainted with the quiet, welcome stillness of winter as we explore and learn about how this season offers promise amid unique challenges. We will walk about 3 miles on the red-trail loop in the heart of LaTourette Park in the Greenbelt.
Dress warmly and bring snacks and beverage. Meet at the Greenbelt Nature Center at Rockland and Brielle Avenues.
For more information, contact Hillel Lofaso at hillel5757@gmail.com or 718-477-0545.
...Read more

Saturday, December 22, 2018

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, December 21, 2018:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Dec. 21, 2018
* NYNY1812.21

- Birds mentioned
PAINTED BUNTING+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Red-necked Grebe
Razorbill
BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE
Glaucous Gull
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Eurasian Wigeon
Blue-winged Teal
Wood Duck
BARROW'S GOLDENEYE
HARLEQUIN DUCK
Common Eider
GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
PINK-FOOTED GOOSE
Cackling Goose
American Bittern
American Woodcock
Greater Yellowlegs
Northern Goshawk
Rough-legged Hawk
Bald Eagle
Barn Owl
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Snowy Owl
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
Eastern Phoebe
Baltimore Oriole
Evening Grosbeak
Red Crossbill
Common Redpoll
Pine Siskin
LAPLAND LONGSPUR
Nashville Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Yellow Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Pine Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Ovenbird
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow-breasted Chat
House Wren
Marsh Wren

- 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, December 21st 2018 at 8pm. The highlights of today's tape are PINK-FOOTED GOOSE, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, HARLEQUIN DUCK, BLACK-HEADED GULL, BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE, YELLOW-THROATED and other warblers, LAPLAND LONGSPUR, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, winter finches and Christmas Count results.

The Christmas Count season began with a very mixed weekend. A decent Saturday followed by a very rainy, windy Sunday. Saturday won.

The Montauk Christmas Count Saturday recorded 127 species the highlights including a BLUE-WINGED TEAL, 4 WOOD DUCKS, 2 HARLEQUIN DUCKS a female BARROW'S GOLDENEYE off the Camp Hero Overlook, 9 BALD EAGLES and 2 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS on Gardiners Island, 6 RED-NECKED GREBES, WILSON'S SNIPE and 6 AMERICAN WOODCOCK, 8 BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES and 4 ICELAND GULLS, an amazing 1,898 RAZORBILLS, mostly off the point, 13 NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS and 3 SNOWY OWLS, EASTERN PHOEBE, HOUSE WREN, NASHVILLE, ORANGE-CROWNED and PINE WARBLERS, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, 1 COMMON REDPOLL and 45 PINE SISKINS.

Brooklyn Saturday netted 121 species including 50 COMMON EIDER, 3 RED-NECKED GREBES, a RAZORBILL, 1 ICELAND GULL, BARN, SNOWY and 3 NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS, 3 EASTERN PHOEBES, 2 MARSH WRENS, an EVENING GROSBEAK, 3 COMMON REDPOLLS and 4 PINE SISKINS and a YELLOW WARBLER.

The Northern Nassau Count produced 104 species Saturday with a CACKLING GOOSE, 4 BALD EAGLES, 4 NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS, 3 EASTERN PHOEBES and 1 MARSH and 5 HOUSE WRENS. A much more trying Sunday captured and recorded 117 species featuring RED-NECKED GREBE, AMERICAN BITTERN, 1,145 RAZORBILLS, 11 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS, 2 NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS, 4 EASTERN PHOEBES, 2 LAPLAND LONGSPURS, BALTIMORE ORIOLE, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER and 6 RED CROSSBILLS.

Queens on Sunday recorded 112 species highlighted by a PINK-FOOTED GOOSE as well as ICELAND GULL, NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL, EASTERN PHOEBE and 7 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS. The PINK-FOOTED GOOSE was still present at least to Thursday at what is called the Nassau County Storm Water Drainage Basin Number 21 which is located north of Marcus Avenue in Lake Success. The goose could be on the basin or on surrounding grassy areas.

The Greenwich-Stamford Count including eastern Westchester County netted 103 species Sunday including COMMON EIDER, RED-NECKED GREBE, NORTHERN GOSHAWK, 2 GREATER YELLOWLEGS, BLACK-HEADED GULL and for count period a male PAINTED BUNTING at a private feeder in Connecticut.

The Rockland County Count on Sunday featuring AMERICAN BITTERN among its 75 species.

As part of the Lower Hudson Count Sunday an EVENING GROSBEAK was found up in Riverside Park in Manhattan.

As a follow-up to the large RAZORBILL numbers on the Montauk and Captree Counts on Thursday around one thousand were estimated off Montauk and 700 off Shinnecock Inlet. The invasion continuing.

A drake HARLEQUIN DUCK was at Shinnecock Inlet last Friday, another at Montauk yesterday. A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, flooding around southern Westchester County, was on Playland Lake in Rye again yesterday. Single drake EURASIAN WIGEON were again noted on Avon Lake in Amityville and at Brooklyn's Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center this week.

An immature GLAUCOUS GULL was still around Triton Lane off Dune Road in Hampton Bays yesterday and the adult BLACK-HEADED GULL continues around the bar off the Coast Guard Station at Jones Beach West End.

An adult RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was spotted at Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx Wednesday.

Some intriguing late warblers noted this week featured a YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER at a private Oceanside feeder last weekend. A late CAPE MAY WARBLER found Monday along with an OVENBIRD and a COMMON YELLOWTHROAT in Manhattan's Union Square Park. A PRAIRIE WARBLER in Pelham Bay Park Wednesday, a TENNESSEE WARBLER at the West Meadow Wetlands Preserve in Stony Brook from Saturday to yesterday and a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT at Marshlands Conservancy in Rye Wednesday.

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, December 18, 2018

Birding in Peace

Here's a look back at some of this years highlights of my "Birding in Peace" tours in historic Green-Wood Cemetery. All photos are by Evan Rabeck.

Treehugger Tuesday

From Bird Life International:

When the Beach Clean-up is Over

Plastics from over 25 different countries washed up on Cape Verde beach
By Sonia Neves
17 Dec 2018

@SPEA
Beach clean-ups have become a bittersweet sight to see. Although their impact is immediately seen, what happens after all the volunteers are gone?

Praia dos achados, or Finders-Keepers Beach, in Cape Verde, was the scene of an apparently successful beach clean-up just six months ago. This beach is one of the most important nesting places for Loggerhead Sea Turtles Caretta caretta. Last year, they made over 5000 nests here. The clean-up was supposed to help let these turtles continue to nest here, but it turns out that the actions of Cape Verde NGOs Biosfera and DNA, and our Portuguese partner SPEA were all in vain.[1] Upon returning to the beach six months later, they found that it had become a wasteland once again.

Shocked by this discovery, their seaside stroll turned into an impromptu investigation – where had all this trash comes from? Within an hour, they had collected labelled plastics from over 25 different countries. The tides and currents had brought litter from all over the world to this idyllic beach.

“Shocked by this discovery, their seaside stroll turned into an impromptu investigation – where had all this trash comes from?”

Amongst the rubbish, they found the desiccated corpses of two baby loggerhead sea turtles. Unable to reach the sea – their path blocked by plastic waste – they died of hunger, thirst and heat, trapped in a plastic canister immediately upon leaving their nest.

All the beach clean-ups in the world won’t be enough to solve this problem. Plastic waste from one side of the world can easily wash up on the other side. To tackle plastic pollution we not only have to stop plastic waste from entering the sea, we must reduce our consumption all together.

Sign this petition to help make beach clean-ups a thing of the past.

**********

[1] SPEA coordinated the project Desertas (for the sustainable management of Santa Luzia marine reserve) together with Cape Verde NGOs Biosfera and DNA

Monday, December 17, 2018

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Due to the fact that most groups are either still involved in the annual Christmas Bird Count or have taken a hiatus until the New Year, there is no schedule for the coming weekend. That said:

Friday, December 14, 2018

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Thursday, December 13, 2018:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Dec. 13, 2018
* NYNY1812.13

- Birds mentioned
BARNACLE GOOSE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Red-necked Grebe
BLACK GUILLEMOT
Razorbill
GLAUCOUS GULL
BLACK-HEADED GULL
EURASIAN WIGEON
HARLEQUIN DUCK
GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
American Bittern
SANDHILL CRANE
Pileated Woodpecker
Evening Grosbeak
Red Crossbill
LAPLAND LONGSPUR
Orange-crowned 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

[Editor's note: My apologies for the delay in transcribing the RBA which
was posted on Thursday evening.]

BEGIN TAPE

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Thursday, December 13th 2018 at 9pm. The highlights of today's tape are BLACK GUILLEMOT, SANDHILL CRANE, BARNACLE GOOSE, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, EURASIAN WIGEON, HARLEQUIN DUCK, BLACK-HEADED GULL, GLAUCOUS GULL, LAPLAND LONGSPUR and winter finches.

At Montauk Point, our most consistent site for viewing alcids, a watch from the restaurant last Sunday was rewarded with a BLACK GUILLEMOT flying by to the east and 22 RAZORBILLS. The RAZORBILL total however was only a warm up for today's amazing spectacle with an estimated 540 RAZORBILLS surrounded the point outnumbering the unexpectedly low numbers of our 3 scoter species. A precursor of this phenomenon was a report from Smith Point County Park in Shirley which mentioned 200 plus RAZORBILLS feeding offshore on Tuesday. Hopefully these numbers will continue.

A SANDHILL CRANE was photographed last Sunday at Jones Beach West End as it appeared to be coming down for a landing near field 2 but it was not subsequently relocated.

A couple of BARNACLE GEESE were still out on eastern Long Island last Saturday, one north of Riverhead was seen twice in flight moving around the sod fields from Roanoke Avenue to the Northville Turnpike and a second was still in Southold on the north fork just east of Peconic on the north side of Route 48. A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE in Westchester County was roosting on Playland Lake in Rye from Monday to today but the geese do move out to local golf courses to feed.

Continuing drake EURASIAN WIGEONS include one at the Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center in Brooklyn last Saturday, one on Staten Island at the Cemetery of the Resurrection moving over to Lemon Creek Pier last Sunday and one again Wednesday on Avon Lake in Amityville. A HARLEQUIN DUCK was spotted on Shelter Island last Sunday but this species is best looked for at sites like the jetties at Point Lookout.

An adult BLACK-HEADED GULL continues to visit the bar off the Jones Beach West End Coast Guard Station seen there today and an immature GLAUCOUS GULL has been staying along Dune Road near Triton Lane in Hampton Bays through today. AMERICAN BITTERN has also been seen regularly along Dune Road recently and is expected there whereas a PILEATED WOODPECKER at Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx is unusual there.

RED-NECKED GREBES were spotted last weekend at Pelham Bay as well as at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn.

A LAPLAND LONGSPUR was seen again Tuesday with Horned Larks in the traffic circle at Smith Point County Park.

Much reduced numbers of winter finches in our area lately did feature a RED CROSSBILL at Floyd Bennett Field last Saturday and a male EVENING GROSBEAK in Central Park’s north end on Wednesday.

Two ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS were found in Kissena Park in Queens Saturday and hopefully a few more of these as well as other late warblers and other passerines will be uncovered during the upcoming Christmas Counts. We'd be happy to report the highlights of regional counts so please call them in.

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

Thursday, December 13, 2018

A Christmas Bird Count 18 Years Ago

This Saturday will be my 19th year covering Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field for the annual Christmas Bird Count. It will also be my first as the team leader. I thought it might be fun to look back at my experience from the first year. Unfortunately, it appears that I didn’t write anything down in 1999, but I did manage to locate my report from the second year. Before my involvement, the entire 1300+ acres was covered by just Ron Bourque and his late wife Jean. In 2000 there were four of us on the team. On Saturday we’ll finally have enough birders on our team to adequately cover our entire area (Floyd Bennett Field, Dead Horse Bay and Four Sparrow Marsh). Maybe we’ll find something really cool. Note that on my species list I used the old common name “Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow” as it wasn’t changed to Saltmarsh Sparrow until 2009:

**********

SUBJECT: Dead Horse Bay, Floyd Bennett Field, Four Sparrow Marsh
DATE: Saturday, 16 December, 2000
OBSERVERS: Ron Bourque, Jean Bourque, Mike Higgiston, Rob Jett
REPORTER: Rob Jett

For me, the annual Christmas Bird Count is the symbolic conclusion to another year of birding. While I will probably spend a few more hours tracking down this winters avian residents before the end of the calendar year, the CBC stands out as more than just another day outdoors with my binoculars. I want to know everything there is to know about birds and to be able to predict the unpredictable. The consummate hunter knows not only where to find his prey, but also, when to look. There is always an element of luck involved with our type of hunting but the "count" gives me an opportunity to see if I've learned anything over the preceding year.

Saturday’s bit of luck was the fact that weather predictions were off by about six hours and we didn't have to spend the day walking around in open fields in the drenching rain. On the downside, many of the expected seasonal species were seen in very low numbers.

Mike and I started off at Four Sparrow Marsh. The inner marsh was virtually deserted. As we approached the opening near Mill Basin we flushed a Common Snipe which zigzagged low towards the Belt Parkway bridge. The ground was extremely soft due to the recent rainstorms and, unlike the snipe, we had to step carefully. The habitat near the shore is a landscape of windblown grass and mussel shoals sprinkled with generous amounts of bottles, Styrofoam, driftwood and derelict recreational boats. Scanning the grass we found a small group of low feeding sparrows. In the group there were at least a couple of Song Sparrows, one or two Swamp Sparrows and a couple of other unidentified, very evasive sparrows. A close watch from our respective dry, flotsam platforms finally revealed that there were two Sharp-tailed Sparrows in the flock. I took a step off my piece of wood in an attempt to flush the birds towards Mike and promptly lost my right leg in knee deep muck. I imagined the birds amusement as they stayed put on their safe island only a few yards away watching me struggling to pull myself back onto my perch.

Before we returned to the car I had the silly notion to try and tramp a trail through the towering forest of Phragmites in the field just west of the marsh. Mike positioned himself atop a tall mound of wood chips and prepared to track whatever came flying out. I may have felt like a Cocker Spaniel but within the first ten feet a fluttering, whistling Woodcock shot straight up like a pheasant and headed towards the back of the reeds. For some strange reason I began barking.

We met Ron and Jean back at Floyd Bennett and Ron decided we should start looking for owls. Mike and I headed straight to the section were we located a couple of Saw-whet Owls last year. No luck, but Ron caught up to us after having just flushed a Barn Owl. We didn't see it but continued looking for signs of other owls. I meandered away from the others and began checking a small section of pines. As I walked I unconsciously scanned the soft, spongy ground beneath the conifers for signs of an owl roost. Something higher up caught my attention. At eye level I noticed a small, white downy feather trapped in the needles on the end of a branch. It fluttered ever so slightly in a light breeze that wafted through the pines. I thought that maybe a raptor had plucked it from its hapless prey or perhaps a bird had been preening further up the tree. My eyes continued following upward in the feathers likely trajectory and stopped at a Barn Owl perched near the top of the pine.

Back on the grasslands it was time to spread out and walk the entire length of every field. As expected Savannah Sparrows were common but meadowlarks seemed to be missing. A familiar sound was approaching us and I searched for the source. "Pip-pit, pip-pit, pip-pit, pip-pit", an American Pipit was heading our way and flew by just over our heads. As we came to the end of the second to last field Mike shouted for our attention. A Short-eared Owl flew up from its roost near the edge of the runway. A few crows immediately descended on the owl in an attempt to "run it out of town". The Short-eared didn't seem that concerned about the crows as it eventually stopped and perched on a small nature refuge sign at the side of the road. When the crows did get too close the owl always seemed able to effortlessly maneuver itself above its pursuers.
Ron was becoming increasingly concerned that he hadn't seen any meadowlarks yet. We talked in depressed tones about their rapidly declining numbers and how years ago one local naturalist predicted that by the year 2000 they'd be extinct. At the last field we checked Mike spotted a lone meadowlark. Then it was joined by seven more birds. We were overjoyed as we watched the flock of bright yellow birds pass in front of us; their halting, staccato wing beats trying to evade our sights. But our aim was true, our trigger fingers at the ready with pen and checklist and we "got" our birds.

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Floyd Bennett Field/Four Sparrow Marsh - 1 2/1 6/00

Horned Grebe
Great Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Canada Goose
Brant
Mute Swan
American Wigeon
American Black Duck
Mallard
Green-winged Teal
Greater Scaup
Bufflehead
Red-breasted Merganser
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk (Floyd Bennett Field)
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Merlin (Floyd Bennett Field)
Peregrine Falcon
Ring-necked Pheasant
Common Snipe (Four Sparrow Marsh)
American Woodcock (Four Sparrow Marsh)
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Rock Dove
Barn Owl (Floyd Bennett Field)
Short-eared Owl (Floyd Bennett Field)
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
American Robin
European Starling
Northern Mockingbird
American Pipit (Floyd Bennett Field)
Cedar Waxwing
Yellow-rumped Warbler
American Tree Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow (Four Sparrow Marsh)
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark (8, Floyd Bennett Field)
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow
...Read more

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Treehugger Tuesday

From NYTimes.com:

Trump Drilling Plan Threatens 9 Million Acres of Sage Grouse Habitat
Coral Davenport
Dec. 6, 2018



A plan to roll back sage grouse protections is expected to be finalized in 2019.
Credit Dan Cepeda/The Casper Star-Tribune, via Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Thursday detailed its plan to open nine million acres to drilling and mining by stripping away protections for the sage grouse, an imperiled ground-nesting bird that oil companies have long considered an obstacle to some of the richest deposits in the American West.

In one stroke, the action would open more land to drilling than any other step the administration has taken, environmental policy experts said. It drew immediate criticism from environmentalists while energy-industry representatives praised the move, saying that the earlier policy represented an overreach of federal authority.

“This is millions and millions of acres of Western land that stretch across the spine of this nation,” said Bobby McEnaney, an expert in Western land use at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group. “With this single action, the administration is saying: This landscape doesn’t matter. This species doesn’t matter. Oil and gas matter.”

Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, an association of independent oil and gas companies based in Denver, said in an email, “These plans will conserve the sage grouse without needlessly stifling economic activity.”

The plan is the latest in a series designed to promote more oil and gas drilling on public land in support of what President Trump has called a policy of American “energy dominance.” Last December, Mr. Trump signed a law that opened the vast Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration, and the administration has since moved with unprecedented speed to allow exploratory work to begin there. In January, the Interior Department proposed opening up almost the entire American coastline to offshore drilling.

Last December, the administration also slashed the size of two major national monuments in Utah, reducing Bears Ears, a sprawling region of red rock canyons, by 85 percent, and Grand Staircase-Escalante to about half its former size, with the intent of opening the land to drilling and mining. But that move opened up only two million acres, compared with the nine million acres in the sage grouse decision.

The opening of great swaths of land and water to drilling could become tough to reverse once companies start leasing the land or sinking rigs into the ground, Patrick Parenteau, a professor of environmental law at Vermont Law School, said. “It’s a major step,” he said. “It’s practically irreversible once you have the commitment of these lands to industrial uses.”

In reducing protections for the sage grouse, which has been a candidate for endangered-species protection in the past and has habitat in 10 oil-rich Western states, the government would be freeing up land that oil and gas companies have long thirsted after.

Under a plan put forth in 2015, during the Obama administration, oil and gas drilling was banned or limited in 10.7 million acres where the bird lives, under a stringent designation known as “sagebrush focal areas.” Known for its distinctive mating dance, the land-dwelling grouse has seen its numbers sharply decline in recent decades.

In cases where drilling was permitted in the habitat, it came with restrictions such as bans on drilling during mating season. The Obama plan also limited construction of drilling infrastructure, such as pipelines and roads, in sage grouse habitat and required companies that drill in restricted areas to pay into a fund to preserve and protect other habitat areas.

The new Trump proposal, which is expected to be finalized next year, would limit that highly protected area to 1.8 million acres and eliminate the requirement that companies pay into the habitat preservation fund, although companies could pay into it voluntarily.

A spokeswoman for the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management, which published the proposal, said the new plan would not strip away all protections of sage grouse habitat. It would remove the “sagebrush focal areas” designation from the nine million acres, but she said it would leave other conservation measures in place.

“Taking away the ‘sagebrush focal area’ protection would be removing just one of multiple layers of protection,” said the spokeswoman, Heather Feeney. There would still be buffer zones banning the destruction of sage grouse habitat near nests, and drilling and mining companies would have to apply for waivers to destroy habitat.

Environmentalists, however, said that would amount to a major weakening of environmental protections, and noted that it might be relatively easy for companies to receive the waivers from an administration that is actively promoting new drilling.

“It’s true that there are still some conservation measures in place,” Nada Culver, a lawyer with the Wilderness Society, said. “But now, if a company says, ‘I don’t want to comply with those protections,’ then the Interior Department can just give them a permit that says, ‘Go ahead, you’re allowed to destroy the habitat.’”

States could opt to keep the Obama-era protections in place, and could also require companies to pay in to similar state-level funds. At least two states, Montana and Oregon, are expected to keep the protections in place, but other states, including Idaho and Utah, plan to follow the loosening of the federal rules.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who would implement the revised sage grouse plan, has repeatedly said that the new plans would not harm the bird. “No one loves the sage grouse more than I do,” Mr. Zinke said in response to a question in 2017.

Environmentalists have dismissed that claim, calling the rollback of the sage grouse protections a gift to the oil and gas industry. “It’s hard to pretend at this point that Zinke is a steward of America’s public lands,” Mr. McEnaney said.

Experts on endangered birds also criticized the proposal’s scientific underpinnings, echoing a criticism of the Trump administration’s approach toward the use of data and research in policy proposals.

“Today’s announcement is not based on any new science that changes the picture of what biologists regard as absolutely necessary to keep sage grouse off the endangered species list,” John W. Fitzpatrick, director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, said. “The Department of Interior is disregarding its own best available science.”

Government watchdog groups were critical of the role played by Mr. Zinke’s deputy secretary, David Bernhardt, in drafting the sage grouse plan. People familiar with the yearlong process say that much of the substantive work was performed by Mr. Bernhardt, a former oil lobbyist. Since his confirmation to his position last year, Mr. Bernhardt has attracted criticism that his work creates a conflict of interest, given that he oversees proposals that could directly benefit his former clients.

As a partner in the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Mr. Bernhardt lobbied for the oil companies Cobalt International Energy and Samson Resources. His legal clients have included the Independent Petroleum Association of America and Halliburton Energy Services, the oil-and-gas extraction firm once led by former Vice President Dick Cheney.

In March, a group of oil companies, including the Independent Petroleum Association of America, wrote to Mr. Bernhardt to thank him for his work on actions “that rescinded and revised mitigation policies that far exceeded statutory authority.” The groups also listed policies they hoped that Mr. Bernhardt would change, including the Obama sage grouse plan.

“Many of Bernhardt’s former clients stand to benefit from this plan,” said Jayson O’Neill, deputy director of the Western Values Project, a nonprofit public lands advocacy group.

However, Mr. O’Neill and others acknowledge that since loosening the environmental restrictions would most likely benefit hundreds of companies and numerous industries — not just Mr. Bernhardt’s former clients — it is difficult to claim he was acting with the specific intent to help the former clients.

Ms. Feeney, the spokeswoman for the Interior Department, declined to make Mr. Bernhardt available for an interview.

In a statement released Thursday, Mr. Bernhardt said, “We know the successful conservation of the greater sage grouse requires the shared stewardship vision of the states, private citizens, landowners and federal land management agencies including those within the Department of the Interior.”

Some environmentalists pointed out one case in which the Trump administration’s actions could, in the long term, actually make drilling more difficult on sage grouse habitat: if the population declines so much that the bird gets placed on the endangered species list.

“It’s ironic,” said Mark Squillace, an expert on environmental law at the University of Colorado Law School. “If the species is listed, it will trigger all kinds of federal actions.”
...Read more

Monday, December 10, 2018

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, December 15, 2018 to Sunday, December 16, 2018:

City Island Bird Walks
Sunday, December 16, 2018, 8:30am
Hunter Island for Waterfowl and other Surprises
Meet at the Orchard Beach Parking Lot, in the NE Corner
I’m hoping for some sun and a beautiful morning. We’ll loop through Hunter Island for whatever we can find. By this time there should be some ducks. If you have a scope, please bring it.
If you have any questions, email me, jack@cityislandbirds.com
Please be aware that there is public transportation, but I cannot pick up anyone at the station. If you want to come by subway, email me, and I will give you directions.

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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
Saturday, December 15, 2018, 9am – 3pm
Van Trip to Winter Birds at Jamaica Bay
Register for our van trip to American Littoral Society's Winter Birds at Jamaica Bay (see description above) and get to Jamaica Bay the easy way—by passenger van! Bring lunch and water. Limited to 12. $68 (48)
Click here to register

Saturday, December 15, 2018, 10am – 1pm
American Littoral Society: Winter Birds at Jamaica Bay
Guide: Don Riepe with American Littoral Society and Gateway National Recreation Area
Meet at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center for a slide program on winter birds and wildlife followed by a walk around the ponds and gardens to look for late fall migrants and early winter birds. Learn about bird migration, survival, and adaptation to cold temperatures and look for owls, hawks, finches, and waterfowl.
For information and reservations, contact Don Riepe at 718-474-0896 or donriepe@gmail.com. No limit. Free

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Saturday, December 15, 2018, 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve
Explore the unique pine-oak woodlands and wetlands of this iconic park and wildlife adapted to this pine barren ecosystem. As a child this was one of my favorite places on the South Shore. In those days, Clay Pits Preserve was hidden away among the surrounding woodlands. Over time, human development has closed in making the preservation of this park even more essential.
Meet at the parking lot for the park located at 2351 Veteran’s Road West.
For more information call Clay Wollney at 718-869-6327.

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, December 16, 2018
Jones Beach West End 2

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

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

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

All walks start at 9:00 A.M.
There is no walk if it rains or snows or temperature is below 25°F.
For more information or in case of questionable weather conditions, please phone Joe at 516 467-9498.


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Urban Park Rangers
Sunday, December 16, 2018
Animal of the Month Club: Northern Cardinal at Prospect Avenue and Brentwood Avenue (in Allison Pond Park), Staten Island
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Join the Urban Park Rangers as we discuss the Northern Cardinal. This vibrant bird can be seen and heard in our parks throughout the winter season.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, December 08, 2018

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, December 7, 2018:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Dec. 07, 2018
* NYNY1812.07

- Birds Mentioned

BARNACLE GOOSE+
MEW GULL+
VARIED THRUSH+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
Cackling Goose
Canada Goose
TUNDRA SWAN
EURASIAN WIGEON
Red-necked Grebe
MARBLED GODWIT
Razorbill
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Ring-billed Gull
ICELAND GULL
GLAUCOUS GULL
Eastern Phoebe
Blue-headed Vireo
BOHEMIAN WAXWING
Purple Finch
Red Crossbill
Common Redpoll
Pine Siskin
Evening Grosbeak
Orange-crowned Warbler
Vesper Sparrow
Baltimore Oriole

(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

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, December 7, 2018 at 9:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are MEW GULL, VARIED THRUSH, BOHEMIAN WAXWING, BARNACLE and GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, BLACK-HEADED, GLAUCOUS and ICELAND GULLS, TUNDRA SWAN and EURASIAN WIGEON, MARBLED GODWIT and winter FINCHES.

Among the nice finds this week was an adult MEW GULL spotted and nicely photographed on Brooklyn Army Terminal Pier 4 Monday afternoon. Roosting among a large congregation of GULLS, including many RING-BILLEDS, the group eventually took flight, and the MEW has not since been relocated, though it could easily be in the area.

Late Wednesday morning a male VARIED THRUSH was spotted near Brooks Pond at Cloves Lakes Park on Staten Island. The Thrush made appearances in that area a few times during the afternoon but could not be refound on Thursday.

Another interesting report was a BOHEMIAN WAXWING heard as it flew by Stillwell Woods Park in Syosset last Saturday morning.

A BARNACLE GOOSE was still present Thursday north of Riverhead off Route 105 just south of the Northville Turnpike, and another was noted first on Monday in Southold on the North Fork just north of Sound Avenue, with presumably the same bird again today just west of Wells Road and south of Route 25, both BARNACLES moving around in large flocks of CANADA GEESE.

A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE is back in the Rye-Port Chester area of Westchester County, this Goose in prior years moving around with CANADAS between several local golf courses and ponds, including the lake at Playland Park in Rye, where it has not yet been seen this year.

Among some CACKLING GEESE reported locally were singles at Hendrickson Park in Valley Stream since Sunday, one on Mill Pond in Sayville Saturday, and another at Caumsett State Park Tuesday.

A TUNDRA SWAN was spotted on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge on Monday, and a drake EURASIAN WIGEON was still at the Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center today, with another continuing on the ponds at the Cemetery of the Resurrection on Staten Island.

An adult BLACK-HEADED GULL was spotted Thursday on the bar off the Coast Guard Station at Jones Beach West End, where two MARBLED GODWITS were still lingering at least through last weekend.

An immature GLAUCOUS GULL was still hanging out at Triton Lane in Hampton Bays today, and an ICELAND GULL again visited Prospect Park Lake last Saturday.

A small number of RAZORBILLS have been off Montauk Point recently, and RED- NECKED GREBES this week were noted at Pelham Bay Park and the Salt Marsh Nature Center.

Among the incursion of winter Finches, many of the PINE SISKINS and PURPLE FINCHES have moved through our area, while RED CROSSBILLS, EVENING GROSBEAKS and now a few COMMON REDPOLLS continue to make irregular appearances as their numbers continue to build to our north. RED CROSSBILLS this week included eleven at Cedar Beach in the Mt. Sinai area, while single EVENING GROSBEAKS were reported from Stillwell Woods Park Saturday and at Jamaica Bay Monday, and two COMMON REDPOLLS were located in Sunken Meadow State Park last Saturday.

ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS locally included two at the New York Botanical Garden Saturday, one on Randall’s Island to Monday, another at Oakland Lake in Queens Monday, and one continuing in Central Park’s north end.

A VESPER SPARROW was in Alley Pond Park Tuesday, and other late passerines, with Christmas Bird Counts in mind, have included a BLUE-HEADED VIREO in Prospect Park and a few EASTERN PHOEBES, BALTIMORE ORIOLES, and lingering WARBLERS – let’s hope!

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, December 04, 2018

The Christmas Bird Count is Coming!

Frank Chapman (June 12, 1864 – November 15, 1945) was an American ornithologist, conservationist and the creator of the now annual Christmas Bird Count. Intended as a form of protest against the Christmas day "side hunt" in which teams competed to see how many birds they could kill, Chapman decided instead to count birds. One hundred and eighteen years later it has become the longest running citizen science survey in the world. You can learn more about the history of the count here. If you'd like to participate in this year's CBC, check this link to a map to find information for your area. Below is the info for New York City:

Saturday, December 15, 2018
Brooklyn (Kings)
Bobbi Manian
roberta.manian [AT] gmail.com

Sunday, December 16, 2018
Lower Hudson NJ/NY
Kaitlyn Parkins
christmasbirdcount [AT] nycaudubon.org
212-691-7483

Queens County
Corey Finger
10000birdsblogger [AT] gmail.com

Sunday, December 23, 2018
Bronx-Westchester Region
Michael Bochnik
BochnikM [AT] cs.com
hras.org/bwcbc.html
914-953-7409

Click here for a complete listing for New York State.

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website "Treehugger":

Australia slashed plastic bag use by 80% in 3 months – here's how
Melissa Breyer
December 3, 2018

After a few big players entered the ring, the environment was spared some 1.5 billion plastic shopping bags in under 100 days.

This is remarkable, and a model for other countries around the world. After two of Australia's largest supermarket chains decided to nix single-use plastic shopping bags, the country saw an 80 percent drop in plastic bag consumption across the nation in the first three months of the ban, reports the Australian Associated Press (AAP).

According to The Guardian, Woolworths began prohibiting all single-use plastic bags from all stores nationwide on June 20th; their competitor, Coles, did the same on June 30th. It has been estimated that each chain was responsible for around 3.2 billion bags every year.

AAP says that the two supermarket giants stopped offering single-use plastic bags after years of campaigning by environmental groups and consumers. The press agency notes that while not all shoppers were on board (because, of course, heaven forbid the inconvenience of sparing the planet from being choked by plastic) (sorry) (not sorry), many other shoppers were in strong support of the initiative.

According to the National Retail Association (NRA), after just three months there was an 80 percent drop in the consumption of plastic bags across the country.

“Indeed, some retailers are reporting reduction rates as high as 90%,” said David Stout, Manager of Industry Policy, Research & Projects at the NRA.

Stout explained that the widespread prohibition also opened the door for smaller retailers to do the same, since the risk of losing customers over it has now been minimized. Noting that, “Obviously the best thing for smaller businesses is to either engineer out the bag completely or have the customer pay ... they should be able to consider that strategy without fear of backlash.”

Stout's words feel like they are coming from some kind of alternate universe, given the lobbying by industry associations in the U.S. to ban plastic bag bans. Stout goes on to say that he's hopeful that the big retailers continue to push for a more sustainable industry and to explore banning other single-use items.

“Everyone delivering things in a package need to take responsibility for what they deliver it in,” he said. “I think there’s going to be a lot more pressure on all of us to be more aware of what we consume.”

Given the success seen in Australia, may the rest of us follow suit.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Upcoming Bird and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, December 8, 2018 to Sunday, December 9, 2018:

Bedford Audubon Society
Saturday, December 8, 2018, 8:00am - 12:30pm
Read Sanctuary /Marshlands Conservancy
A favorite birding trip among members – main targets are waterfowl and loons on the Sound, Great Horned Owls, and lingering songbirds.
Depart Bylane at 7:15am or meet us at the boathouse on Playland Lake at 8am.
Easy-Moderate.
Please register with Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914.232.1999.
See more details

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, December 8, 2018
Jamaica Bay Refuge
Leader: Chris Laskowski
Focus: winter species, fresh water ducks and other waterfowl
Car fee: $12.00
Registrar: Chris Laskowski celaskowski@yahoo.com
Registration Period: Dec 1st – Dec 6th
Please review our trip guidelines here: http://brooklynbirdclub.org/information-registration

Saturday, December 8, 2018, 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Prospect Park: Birdwatching for Beginners
Leader: Cyrus Baty
Birdwatching for Beginners meets at the Prospect Park Audubon Center at The Boathouse at 12 noon. Bring binoculars if you have them; otherwise, binoculars are available for loan.

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Feminist Bird Club
Sunday, December 9, 2018
Fort Wadsworth
Leader: Jose

All walks follow the ABA Code of Birding Ethics

An inclusive bird watching club dedicated to promoting diversity in birding and providing a safe opportunity to connect with the natural world in urban environments while fundraising to protect the rights of all womxn, non-binary folks, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

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Gateway National Recreation Areas
Sunday, December 9, 2018, 10am — 12pm
Explore the Mysterious Back Woods at Fort Tilden
View Details

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Great South Bay Audubon Society
Saturday, December 8, 2018, 9:00am
Montauk
Leader(s): Bob Grover (516-318-8536), Ken Thompson (631-612-8028)

Meet at Lighthouse parking lot. Latecomers can still join in the vicinity of the restaurant overlook. Directions: Route 27 to 27A to end.

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Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, December 9, 2018, 7:15am - 8:45am
Birding in Peace
Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean that there aren’t interesting birds to discover in Green-Wood. For some bird species that migrate south after the breeding season, Brooklyn is their Miami during the cold months. Spend the early morning exploring the cemetery, looking for overwintering waterfowl, nuthatches, woodpeckers, sparrows, finches and any half-hardy birds that decided to stick around. By February we’ll see some of the early north-bound birds beginning to trickle back into the area.

Before our gates open to the general public, birding expert Rob Jett leads these peaceful Saturday/Sunday morning walking tours to discover the many birds that call Green-Wood home. Green-Wood’s official birding checklist is available to pick up from the security guard at the main entrance on 25th Street or to print here. 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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Hudson River Audubon Society
Saturday, December 8, 2018
Pelham Bay Park
Meet at 8 AM in the far left corner or the large parking lot. We will search the woods for Fox Sparrows and the sound for waterfowl.
http://www.hras.org/wtobird/pelhambay.html

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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

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Sunday, December 9, 2018, 8:00am – 10:30am
Intro to Birding: Bird Walk in Central Park
Guide: Tod Winston
Are you curious about "birding" but don’t have much (or any) experience? Come on a relaxed winter walk to some of Central Park’s hotspots to go over birding basics and see sparrows, finches, ducks, and more. Binoculars available. Limited to 15. $36 (25)
Click here to register

Sunday, December 9, 2018, 9:30am – 11:30am
Winter Birding at Wave Hill, Bronx
Sundays, December 9, January 13, February 10, and March 10, 9:30-11:30am
Guide: Gabriel Willow with Wave Hill
Meet at the Perkins Visitor Center. The Hudson River valley hosts an impressive diversity of bird species, even during the winter months. Come explore the beautiful gardens and woodlands of Wave Hill and observe the hardy birds that spend the winter in this urban oasis. Walks run rain or shine. Ages 10 and up welcome with an adult. See www.wavehill.org for admission rates. NYC Audubon members enjoy two-for-one admission

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, December 9, 2018
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

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, December 8, 2018
Animal of the Month Club: Northern Cardinal at Forest Avenue and Silver Lake Park Road (in Silver Lake Park), Staten Island
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Join the Urban Park Rangers as we discuss the Northern Cardinal. This vibrant bird can be seen and heard in our parks throughout the winter season.
Free!

Sunday, December 9, 2018
Winter Birding at Perkins Visitors Center (in Wave Hill), Bronx
9:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m.
Explore Wave Hill’s tranquil gardens and woodlands with naturalist Gabriel Willow to observe birds in their winter habitats.

Birding: Waterfowl at Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Our Urban Park Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle. Birding programs are appropriate for all skill levels. Beginners are welcome.
Free!
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Saturday, December 01, 2018

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, November 30, 2018:

RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Nov. 30, 2018
* NYNY1811.30

- Birds Mentioned

BARNACLE GOOSE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
Snow Goose
Cackling Goose
Canada Goose
TUNDRA SWAN
EURASIAN WIGEON
Common Eider
MARBLED GODWIT
BLACK-HEADED GULL
ICELAND GULL
GLAUCOUS GULL
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
Eastern Phoebe
American Robin
European Starling
BOHEMIAN WAXWING
Cedar Waxwing
Ovenbird
Northern Waterthrush
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Blackpoll Warbler
Baltimore Oriole
Red Crossbill
Common Redpoll
Evening Grosbeak


(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transcriber: Gail Benson

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

Greetings! This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, November 30, 2018 at 9:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are BOHEMIAN WAXWING, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, BLACK-HEADED, GLAUCOUS and ICELAND GULLS, TUNDRA SWAN, EURASIAN WIGEON, MARBLED GODWIT, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER and winter finches.

Early Thursday morning a single BOHEMIAN WAXWING was spotted and recognizably photographed as it flew with a few AMERICAN ROBINS past Crab Meadow Beach in Fort Salonga. A species noted for its irregular wanderings, BOHEMIANS are now appearing well north of us in irruptive numbers, with a good flock even in Kingston, Ulster County yesterday. With large numbers of CEDAR WAXWINGS still moving in the area, it could pay to watch for a BOHEMIAN in migrating flocks of CEDARS, though down here you are probably more likely to find one on its own or feeding with AMERICAN ROBINS or EUROPEAN STARLINGS in fruiting trees.

An adult GLAUCOUS GULL was seen Monday off Old Field Point north of Setauket, presumably the same bird in Conscience Bay a week earlier.

A large gathering of CANADA GEESE spotted last Saturday north of Riverhead also contained a BARNACLE GOOSE and three GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, as well as a CACKLING GOOSE and a Blue form of SNOW GOOSE. The BARNACLE was still present in the flock Monday, and the three GREATER WHITE-FRONTEDS were seen Sunday, one again Monday. This site is on the west side of Route 105, Cross River Drive, about half way between Route 25 to the south and the intersection with Northville Turnpike to the north.

Other CACKLING GEESE included two each at the West Babylon High School last Saturday and at Schmitt’s Farm in Melville Tuesday.

Two TUNDRA SWANS were in Georgica Cove in East Hampton last weekend; these birds should also be watched for on nearby Hook Pond.

A drake EURASIAN WIGEON was still at the Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center in Brooklyn yesterday, and a male in transitional plumage was on ponds at the Cemetery of the Resurrection on Staten Island Wednesday and Thursday.

Odd for western Long Island Sound were seven COMMON EIDER last Saturday first seen off Playland Park in Rye and later off City Island in the Bronx; a single was also off Playland Sunday.

A young GLAUCOUS GULL found last Friday off Orchard Beach in the Bronx was seen on offshore islands there on Sunday, and another was reported off Triton Lane in Hampton Bays Wednesday.

Last Saturday an ICELAND GULL was spotted on Prospect Park Lake, with two different individuals then identified there on Wednesday, at least one continuing to today.

Two MARBLED GODWITS still present at Jones Beach West End last Saturday apparently moved across Jones Inlet to Point Lookout on Sunday but were back at Jones Beach West End today.

An adult RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was photographed at Hunters Island in Pelham Bay Park last Sunday.

Among the various winter finches still moving around as they look for places to settle into, single EVENING GROSBEAKS were noted last Sunday at Jones Beach West End and at Heckscher State Park, and nine RED CROSSBILLS were reported from Jones Beach West End the day before. A COMMON REDPOLL was heard moving over northern Westchester County today.

At least ten late EASTERN PHOEBES and four BALTIMORE ORIOLES were noted this week, as were a few ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS and other late WARBLERS, including OVENBIRD, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, NASHVILLE, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT and BLACKPOLL.

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
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