Check out City Birder Tours, and Green-Wood sponsored tours on their calendar pages here.
Celebrate your inner nerd with my new t-shirt design! Available on my Spreadshirt shop in multiple colors and products.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Ear Birding for Spring

With the current pandemic keeping most of us at home I thought it would be a good time to review the importance of ear birding and recommended tools. In preparation for the wave of songbirds about to descend upon the NYC area, below are some teaching tools to help one appreciate the assortment of buzzes, chips, trills, tweets, whistles and warbles coming our way.

There are several sources available to help you learn how to identify birds by ear, some online, some app and some discs.

• Audubon has a good website of earbirding information here.

• The Cornell Lab has a really good online game called "Bird Song Hero" at this link.

• Birdwatchers Digest has a free download called "How to Identify Birds Without Using Your Eyes" at this link.

• Larkwire is an iOS-based app. Learn about it at this link.

Here are a few more resources:

BirdGenie (not one of my favorites)
Chirp!
Merlin (not so much a teaching tool, but more of a reference)

While the above are pretty good, the best teaching tool for my money is the Peterson Field Guides series of CDs (as far as I am aware, they are not available as digital downloads). These discs are not reference recordings, but rather well organized lessons that use groups of similar sounding species, repetition and mnemonics to help you quickly learn sounds. Here on the east coast of North America you should purchase "Birding by Ear: Eastern/Central" and "More Birding by Ear Eastern and Central North America". There are discs available for the west coast, as well.

Below is a list of recommended tracks to study. Obviously, there are many more common species in our area which you could add as you feel needed.

The colorful wood-warblers are the most important songbirds to learn. Once you've purchased the discs, use iTunes (or similar software) to import the following tracks so you don't have to constantly shuffle through the 6 discs:

Name Album Disc # Track #
Sing-songers Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 1 4
Warbling Songsters Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 2 6
Wood Warblers and a Warbling Wren Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 3 1
Warblers: Buzzy More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 2 1
Warblers: Simple More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 2 2
Warblers: Two-Parted More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 2 3
Warblers: Complex More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 2 4
Empidonax Flycatchers More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 1 4

Note that I included the empidonax flycatchers on the list as they are notoriously difficult to separate visually, but each have very distinctive vocalizations.

The woodland thrushes are also incredible songsters, so I recommend the following tracks:

Name Album Disc # Track #
Thrushes Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 3 2
Thrushes More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 1 7


One family of bird vocalizations that I tend to neglect are the shorebirds. More often than not, during spring migration a group of calling shorebirds passing overhead are noted only as "flock of unidentified peeps". While their calls and songs may not be nearly as melodic as the wood-warblers, they are each unique and easily identifiable if you take a few minutes each day to study the recommended "Birding by Ear" tracks.

Name Album Disc # Track #
Shorebirds: Pairs More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 3 1
Shorebirds: Plovers More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 3 2
Shorebirds: Whistlers More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 3 3
Shorebirds: Peepers More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 3 4
Shorebirds: Other More Birding by Ear, Eastern/Central 3 5

Please note that I don't make any money promoting the Peterson Field Guide series. I only do this because I have found that their systematic approach to learning bird-song to be the most effective available. If you have recommendations for other learning tools, feel free to email me or put something in the comments section. Spend 15 - 20 minutes a day listening during your commute, so that by the time all the songbirds begin streaming through NYC I guarantee you'll be able to find a lot more birds and add a whole other dimension to the experience of birding.

No matter how you approach birding (and ear birding), be sure to always put the welfare of the birds ahead of your desire to "list". If you have any doubt about birding ethics, please refer to the American Birding Association Code of Birding Ethics. ...Read more

Saturday, March 28, 2020

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, March 27, 2020:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Mar. 27, 2020
* NYNY2003.27


- Birds Mentioned

VARIED THRUSH+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

SNOW GOOSE
KING EIDER
HARLEQUIN DUCK
Northern Gannet
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Glossy Ibis
ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK
SANDHILL CRANE
American Oystercatcher
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Laughing Gull
ICELAND GULL
Lesser Black-backed Gull
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
Eastern Phoebe
Purple Martin
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
House Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
American Pipit
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
VESPER SPARROW
Rusty Blackbird
Louisiana Waterthrush
ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER
Common Yellowthroat
Pine Warbler

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transcriber: Gail Benson

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

Greetings! This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, March 27, 2020 at 10:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are SANDHILL CRANE, VARIED THRUSH, KING EIDER and HARLEQUIN DUCK, ICELAND GULL, ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, VESPER SPARROW and more.

With SANDHILL CRANES recently returning to the northeast and breeding sites used in recent years, it was nice to have a pair at least pass through our region, as happened yesterday when two flew over a home in Croton-on-Hudson in northern Westchester and were shortly thereafter spotted moving east over Croton Dam Park. Hopefully more will follow.

An unconfirmed report of the Prospect Park VARIED THRUSH near the Nethermead Arches on Monday was this week’s only mention of any exceptional passerine, perhaps appropriate given the restrictive conditions we must now abide by.

But signs of Spring do persist. On the warbler front a LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH first noted in Prospect Park last Sunday was followed by another in Central Park today, while at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens an overwintering ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was joined today by a singing COMMON YELLOWTHROAT. A list of other passerines just now arriving or currently showing increases in numbers include many more EASTERN PHOEBES, the first NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS, PURPLE MARTINS and HOUSE WRENS, plus GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, EASTERN BLUEBIRD, BROWN THRASHER and GRAY CATBIRD, CHIPPING SPARROW, EASTERN TOWHEE, AMERICAN PIPIT, RUSTY BLACKBIRD and PINE WARBLER. And found today as part of a reasonable early flight was a VESPER SPARROW at Captree Island, while two wintering at the Suffolk County Farm and Education Center off Yaphank Avenue were still present last Saturday.

Other arrivals have featured a few SNOWY EGRETS joining some GREAT EGRETS, YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, more GLOSSY IBIS and AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, with two LESSER YELLOWLEGS recently on Staten Island, and certainly more LAUGHING GULLS and DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS.

Among the waterfowl the female KING EIDER was still present today off Orient Point, where the four HARLEQUIN DUCKS were last noted on Wednesday; the HARLEQUIN DUCK in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn continued at least to yesterday. 120 SNOW GEESE flew over Rye yesterday.

An ICELAND GULL was at Jacob Riis Park Monday, and two LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were present at Floyd Bennet Field Monday, with singles also noted at at least eight other sites this week.

The Ocean Parkway ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was spotted at Cedar Beach last Saturday, and one flew over Marshlands Conservancy in Rye Sunday.

RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS continue in Central Park’s north end and at Cunningham Park and the Long Pond Greenbelt in Sag Harbor.

Very unexpectedly, a fairly large incursion of NORTHERN GANNETS into western Long Island Sound began yesterday and continued through today. Yesterday, around 200 GANNETS were seen moving west past Rye late in the day, with similar numbers today; presumably following bait fish, along Long Island’s north shore a swarm was noted yesterday off Cedar Point in East Hampton and today an estimated 2,000+ flew by Sunken Meadow State Park, with well over 700 moving back east off Stamford, CT late in the afternoon. Quite unusual numbers away from the Atlantic Ocean!

Please note that there are currently recording issues with the RBA, which hopefully will be resolved soon. To phone in reports call Tom Burke at (914) 967-4922.

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Saturday, March 21, 2020

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, March 20, 2020:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Mar. 20, 2020
* NYNY2003.20


- Birds mentioned
WESTERN SANDPIPER+
PAINTED BUNTING+
TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE+
VARIED THRUSH+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Razorbill
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Laughing Gull
HARLEQUIN DUCK
KING EIDER
Glossy Ibis
Great Egret
Clapper Rail
Piping Plover
American Oystercatcher
ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK
Osprey
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
VESPER SPARROW
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

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

Transcriber: Ben Cacace

BEGIN TAPE

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, March 20th 2020 at 9pm. The highlights of today's tape are PAINTED BUNTING, VARIED THRUSH, TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE, KING EIDER, HARLEQUIN DUCK, WESTERN SANDPIPER, ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, VESPER SPARROW and ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER plus a few new migrants.

Given the turmoil we've been subjected to recently it's great to have three of our best over wintering species reappear locally. On Thursday morning the female type PAINTED BUNTING was spotted at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn, a new location for this species this winter but perhaps involving an individual visiting previously in the borough or maybe a little farther afield. This bird was found in the dune scrub in front of the parking lot off the Belt Parkway and lingered there into the afternoon.

In Prospect Park the VARIED THRUSH was seen midweek through today along the path to the boathouse and especially near the split Osage Orange tree.

Out on the South Fork of Long Island the TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE was spotted again last Saturday in the SLPOA Nature Preserve off Three Mile Harbor Drive. This site in Northwest Harbor is marked by a small white sign with the SLPOA initials on it.

With waterfowl numbers seriously dropping the female KING EIDER at least stayed to Wednesday off Orient Point where the four HARLEQUIN DUCKS continue through today. The Brooklyn male HARLEQUIN DUCK still around Sheepshead Bay last Sunday seemed more advanced than the one dropping by Plumb Beach on Thursday. The female HARLEQUIN was spotted out in Shinnecock Inlet last Sunday.

Last Sunday a WESTERN SANDPIPER, presumably a wintering bird, was identified in a large concentration of Sanderlings and Dunlin at Nickerson Beach and was spotted again there today. PIPING PLOVER and AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER are also now present at that site and elsewhere.

A RAZORBILL was spotted off Breezy Point last Sunday.

A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL visited Jones Beach West End last Saturday perhaps our last report from that location for awhile and two more were at Smith Point County Park yesterday.

A ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was still along Ocean Parkway last Saturday while Wednesday found RED-HEADED WOODPECKER still visiting the north end of Central Park and Cunningham Park in Queens. Also continuing have been a VESPER SPARROW at the Suffolk County Farm and Education Center to Monday and an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER visiting the suet feeder at the South Fork Natural History Museum in Bridgehampton to Wednesday.

Among recent arrivals have been CLAPPER RAIL, GREAT EGRET and more LAUGHING GULLS, an OSPREY plus 7 GLOSSY IBIS out in Holbrook Long Island today.

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

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Treehugger Tuesday

From The Guardian:

How the world's fattest parrot came back from the brink
Kate Evans
March 14, 2020

Photograph: Jason Hosking
Growing up in the north of England, Dr James Chatterton was enthralled by the books of the pioneering zookeeper and conservationist Gerald Durrell and dreamed of saving endangered species. Now, on the other side of the world, Chatterton has done just that, helping to bring the world’s fattest parrot back from the brink.

Chatterton and his team spent the best part of a year bringing in quarantine conditions and trialling new treatments on the frontline of a killer disease afflicting New Zealand’s kākāpō.

“I think most people think our job is to go and stroke the red panda, and cuddle the kākāpō,” says Chatterton, manager of veterinary services at Auckland Zoo’s New Zealand Centre for Conservation Medicine. Even in a normal year, the vet team’s work caring for the zoo’s animals and treating some of the country’s wild creatures is more serious than that, but 2019 was “monumental”, he says.

The respiratory disease aspergillosis began to spread through the endangered kākāpō population last April, threatening to reverse the gains of the bird’s most successful breeding season in living memory.

Kākāpo are not just rare, they are also deeply weird: flightless, nocturnal, with fragrant feathers and a comical waddling run. Males “boom” to attract females, and they only breed every three to six years when the native rimu trees “mast”, or produce large numbers of seeds. Last year was a “mega-mast”, the ripe fruit carpeting the ground, and the kākāpō responded by laying eggs earlier than ever before.

Read the full article here

Monday, March 16, 2020

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming birding and nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, March 21, 2020 to Sunday, March 22, 2020:

Bedford Audubon Society
Saturday, March 21, 2020, 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Exploring Vernal Pools
Bedford Audubon's Hunt-Parker Sanctuary
Instead of looking up for birds, we’ll give you the opportunity to look down in search of amphibians and salamanders on a seasonal adventure!

Vernal pools are seasonal pools of water that provide habitat for distinctive plants and animals. Join us on this annual Nature Walk to Explore Vernal Pools at Hunt-Parker Sanctuary with long-time Bedford Audubon Member Paul Lewis. Under Paul’s leadership, you'll visit these hidden treasures deep in the forest and learn about the vital importance of these seasonal wetlands as spawning grounds for salamanders and other amphibians. Family friendly for children 10 years of age and older, must be accompanied by an adult.

Meet at Bylane Farm 12:45pm wearing boots suitable for water. Cost: Free. Level of difficulty: Easy to Moderate. Please register with Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914-302-9713.
See more details

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, March 21, 2020, 8:00am - 12:00pm
A Spring start in Prospect Park
Meet 8 am at the Prospect Park Boathouse. No registration required.
Leader: Tina Alleva
Focus: early spring passerines, transitional winter species, woodpeckers, sparrows, early raptors
Please review our trip guidelines here: http://brooklynbirdclub.org/information-registration

Saturday, March 21, 2020, 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.

**********

Gateway National Parks​
Saturday, March 21, 2020, 10:00am — 1:00pm
Early Spring Bird Walk
View Details

Sunday, March 22, 2020, 10:00am — 11:30am
Osprey Watch Guided Walk
View Details

**********

Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, March 22, 6:45am - 8:15am
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. 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.

Early-spring migration tours will be a feast for the ears and eyes with the trilling song of pine warblers and drumming pronouncements of woodpeckers on newly blossoming trees (including magnolias, maples, quinces, and dogwoods). We’ll discover thousands of songbirds resting before their trip farther north as well as arriving herons and egrets at Green-Wood’s glacial ponds.

This event is free, but RSVPs are required. We encourage you to make an optional donation with your reservation to help Green-Wood continue to offer these events free of charge.

Please note: All walking tours traverse hilly and at times uneven terrain. Comfortable footwear is suggested.

For this program you will check in at the Gothic Arches, right at the main entrance. Click here for our inclement weather policy.

**********

Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Sunday, March 22, 2020, 10:00am
Caumsett State Park in Lloyd Harbor
Caumsett State Park is special because it has a variety of habitats that attract many different species of birds
Registration: (585) 880-0915

Directions: Take West Neck Rd north from downtown Huntington for 5 miles. The entrance to the park is on the left, 3/4 mi past the causeway to Lloyd's Neck, at which point the road is called Lloyd Harbor Rd. State Park fees may apply. Meet in the parking area

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, March 21, 2020
Brooklyn Coastal Birding
Leader: Peter Dorosh
Registrar: Karen Asakawa — avocet501@gmail.com or 347-306-0690
Registration opens: Monday, March 9
Ride: $20

**********

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

**********

North Shore Audubon Society
Saturday, March 21, 2020, 9:30am – 12:00pm
Hempstead Lake SP (map)
Leader: Ralph (516) 785-3375‬
Please inform walk leader that you are attending.
See "Walk Locations" for directions. Hempstead Lake State Park - lot #3.

Wear water-resistant footwear, bring binoculars and drinking water. Wear long pants and socks so you do not touch poison ivy.

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, March 22, 2020
Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve
From the Meadowbrook Parkway, use the Merrick Road M9 east exit. Enter the Department of Sanitation entrance immediately on right (if you’re driving west on Merrick Road, make a U-turn after Central Boulevard and before the Meadowbrook Parkway). Look for signs to Levy Park and Preserve parking lot.
Directions via Google Maps

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, March 21, 2020
Kaiser Park Bird Walk and Wetland Cleanup at Park Entrance at Bayview Avenue and W 33rd Street (in Kaiser Park), Brooklyn
9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Start the day on an hour-long spring bird walk led by Audubon NY staff, followed by a wetland cleanup with the Stewardship team!
Free!

Early Spring Birding at Cabrini Woods (in Fort Tryon Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Join Gabriel Willow, an expert naturalist, to learn about winter species and birds that visit Fort Tryon—including early migrants like Eastern Phoebe and Palm Warbler!
Free!

Scavengers of the Sky: Vultures at Arthur Kill Road and Brookfield Avenue (in Brookfield Park), Staten Island
11:00 a.m.–12:30 a.m.
Often called ugly, disgusting, and unhygienic, vultures play a crucial role in the environment as nature’s best scavengers.
Free!

Sunday, March 22, 2020
Birding: Spring Migrants at Fountain Terrace (in Bryant Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Our Urban Park Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, March 14, 2020

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, March 13, 2020:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Mar. 13, 2020
* NYNY2003.13


- Birds Mentioned

CACKLING GOOSE
Blue-winged Teal
KING EIDER
HARLEQUIN DUCK
Piping Plover
American Woodcock
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Bald Eagle
ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
Eastern Phoebe
Tree Swallow
Eastern Bluebird
American Pipit
VESPER SPARROW
Rusty Blackbird
ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transcriber: Gail Benson

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

Greetings! This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, March 13, 2020 at 9:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are KING EIDER, HARLEQUIN DUCK, CACKLING GOOSE, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, VESPER SPARROW, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER and a few spring arrivals.

Once again the March doldrums, with the many winter departures not yet replaced by a nice variety of spring arrivals.

On the waterfowl front, with many now headed north, the female KING EIDER at Shinnecock Inlet was not reported after last Sunday, while the female at Orient Point was noted to Wednesday, with the four HARLEQUIN DUCKS at Orient still around the rocks off the point today. The young male HARLEQUIN DUCK has continued to visit Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn up through yesterday.

Also still present in the area at least to last Saturday was the CACKLING GOOSE wintering at Arthur J. Hendrickson Park in Valley Stream. A few BLUE-WINGED TEAL are among the inbound migrants.

A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was noted on Central Park Reservoir again last Saturday, with another at Shinnecock Sunday, and this is one species that should be increasing in numbers along the coast in a few weeks.

A ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was still along Ocean Parkway in the Cedar Beach area on Wednesday.

A trio of RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS includes one remaining at the north end of Central Park today, another seen recently through today around the southeastern section of Cunningham Park on Queens, and a third visiting the Long Pond Greenbelt out in Sag Harbor at least to Wednesday.

A VESPER SPARROW has continued at the Suffolk County Farm and Education Center on the west side of Yaphank Avenue through last weekend.

Besides the ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER still present yesterday at the feeders of the South Fork Natural History Museum in Bridgehampton, two were spotted at Hendrix Creek in Brooklyn Sunday, and another was in Alley Pond Park yesterday.

Among recent arrivals, two PIPING PLOVERS appeared at Smith Point County Park Wednesday, and AMERICAN WOODCOCK are now displaying at numerous appropriate locations.

On the raptor front, a few more OSPREYS have been spotted this week, and some BALD EAGLES as well as both TURKEY and BLACK VULTURES have been moving through.

Other landbirds on the move recently have included more EASTERN PHOEBES and TREE SWALLOWS and small numbers of AMERICAN PIPITS and EASTERN BLUEBIRDS, as well as some RUSTY BLACKBIRDS appearing in Central, Prospect and other local parks.

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

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

- End transcript

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Coney Island Creek Bio-Blitz

Request for Bird Surveyors on May 2nd for NY Aquarium event at Coney Island Creek

The New York Aquarium has rescheduled their abbreviated bio-blitz that was postponed last fall for May, 2nd and are looking for 3-4 local birders to participate. The event will generally be in two parts, starting out with small surveys in the AM starting around 8am, and then inviting the public to participate in guided surveys starting at 12pm. Bird surveys will most likely take place only at Calvert Vaux Park, and survey protocols are TBD. Good news is that we can also incorporate the NY Breeding Bird Atlas into the survey!

If you are interested in volunteering to represent NYC Audubon in any or all parts of this day, check this link for more information:

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website Earther:

The Great Barrier Reef Faces Third Mass Bleaching Event in Five Years
by Yessenia Funes

Australia’s forests burned over the summer, but now its underwater ecosystems are in trouble, too. The Great Barrier Reef is facing some severe stress due to extreme heat and faces a “widespread bleaching event,” according to an update from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coral Reef Watch.

When a coral bleaches, it expels the symbiotic algae that help it produce food and turns white. This can push a coral to death, and the world has seen enough loss of corals over the past few years. The Great Barrier Reef has been hit particularly hard, though, and this year’s bleaching will deal yet another blow to one of the wonders of the natural world.

Sea surface temperatures began to rise in January. The waters have been 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the maximum monthly mean. High pressure is forecast to lock in sunny skies, which will further heat up the waters and worsen the impacts on coral.

The forecast from Coral Reef Watch shows that the entire swath of the Great Barrier Reef—which covers an area roughly the size of Germany—is projected to see level 2 bleaching, its highest level, for the rest of the month. The agency describes that as “severe, widespread bleaching and significant mortality.” The huge scale of the bleaching comes with an extremely slight sliver of good news: This year’s bleaching isn’t likely to be as intense as recent years.

Similar bleaching events in 2016 and 2017 left the Great Barrier Reef seriously degraded. Fast-growing coral species that help the reef maintain its structure haven’t been able to bounce back. Since then, the remaining corals have been having a rough time reproducing enough baby corals to keep the ecosystem thriving.

As with land heat waves, it’s becoming impossible to disentangle the influence of climate change. The Coral Sea where the Great Barrier Reef is found has warmed steadily over time, increasing the odds of extreme heating. Globally, research published last year showed what researchers call “surprise” marine heat events are increasing in every ocean basin.

These heat waves take a particularly hard toll on coral. Another mass bleaching event is the last thing this reef needs. This one, which is just getting started, appears to be less severe than what the reef experienced in 2016 and 2017. Bleaching should worsen beginning next week. Still, that doesn’t mean it won’t come without consequences.

The Great Barrier Reef is a major driver of the local economy. It’s worth an estimated $56 billion to the Australian economy as a source of tourism dollars and its status as a global icon, and 64,000 jobs are tied to its fate. However, it’s not just the tourism industry that benefits from the reef. Corals act as a buffer that protects coasts from cyclones and storms and provide homes to wildlife.

Losing the Great Barrier Reef would not only be a direct hit to the Australian economy. It would threaten the world’s biodiversity at large during a time when we’re already losing enough species to the climate crisis.

We’ve lost half of all this region’s corals since bleaching grew severe in 2016. This latest event is likely to continue a dangerous pattern of death and loss. ...Read more

Monday, March 09, 2020

Queen Museum Exhibit

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming birding and nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, March 14, 2020 to Sunday, March 15, 2020:

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, March 14, 2020, 8:00am - 12:00pm
Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn
Meet 8:00 am at main gate entrance 25th Street/5th Ave. No registration required.
Leader: Will Pollard
Focus: late winter woods species, woodpeckers, raptors, and upland species
Nearest Subway: “R” train to 25th Street.
Please review our trip guidelines here: http://brooklynbirdclub.org/information-registration

Saturday, March 14, 2020, 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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Eastern Long Island Audubon Society
Saturday, March 14, 2020, 8:30am
Elizabeth Morton NWR
This is always a special walk. Just at the edge of winter, you will be greeted by lots of hungry birds, that eat right out of your hand. Frequently there are pockets of over-wintering birds. Great photo ops as you are close to the birds. Meet at the Refuge parking lot at 8:30 am. It is roughly a 2 mile walk to the beach and around the refuge.
Dress warmly and appropriately. Bring binoculars! Bird seed will be provided.

The Elizabeth Morton NWR is off Noyac Road on the way to Sag Harbor (if you are coming from the west).

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Great South Bay Audubon Society
Saturday, March 14, 2020, 8:30am
Bob Laskowski Memorial Duck Walk
Leader: Bob Grover (516-318-8536)
Meet at Brookwood Hall, Islip Town Park in East Islip on Irish Lane between Montauk Hwy and Union Blvd.

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

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Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Sunday, March 15, 2020, 9:00am
Shu Swamp Nature Preserve
Join us as we search for birds in this wooded wetland. Meet in parking lot on Frost Mill Road in Mill Neck.
Registration: 631-885-1881
Directions: Take Oyster Bay Rd west out of Oyster Bay town and turn north onto Beaver Brook Rd. Follow the road north as it becomes Frost Mill Rd, and look for the parking area on the left just before the train trestle.

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Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, March 14, 2020
Central Park Winter Bird Walk 2
Leader: Richard ZainEldeen
Registrar: Kathleen Matthews — redkatamat@gmail.com or (650)-823-1239
Registration opens: Monday, March 2
Public transportation

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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
Sunday, March 15, 2020, 9am – 2pm
Winter Birds of DeKorte Park, NJ
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Come explore the wilds of the New Jersey Meadowlands at DeKorte Park. We'll be on the lookout for large flocks of Canvasbacks, Northern Pintails, Buffleheads, and Northern Shovelers. And we'll scan the skies for hunting raptors including Rough-legged and Cooper’s Hawks, Northern Harriers, and perhaps even a Snowy or Short-eared Owl. We can warm up at the environmental center and learn about the Meadowlands's ecology.
Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $97 (68) per walk
Click here to register

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North Shore Audubon Society
Saturday, March 14, 2020, 9:30am – 12:00pm
Jones Beach Coast Guard
Leader: Ralph (516) 785-3375
Boat Basin West End - Jones Beach State Park NY, Jones Beach Island, Point Lookout, NY 11569 (map)

Please inform walk leader that you are attending.
See "Walk Locations" for directions.
Wear water-resistant footwear, bring binoculars and drinking water. Wear long pants and socks so you do not touch poison ivy.


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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, March 15, 2020
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.
...Read more

Saturday, March 07, 2020

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, March 6, 2020:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Mar. 06, 2020
* NYNY2003.06


- Birds Mentioned

PACIFIC LOON+
THICK-BILLED MURRE+
TOWNSEND’S SOlITAIRE+
VARIED THRUSH+

(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Greater White-fronted Goose
King Eider
Harlequin Duck
American Bittern
Osprey
Rough-legged Hawk
Common Gallinule
American Woodcock
Dovekie
Razorbill
Black-headed Gull
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Red-headed Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe
Tree Swallow
Yellow-breasted Chat
Eastern Meadowlark
Orange-crowned Warbler
Palm Warbler

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transcriber: Gail Benson

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

Greetings! This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, March 6, 2020 at 9:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are VARIED THRUSH, TOWNSEND’S SOLITAIRE, DOVEKIE and THICK-BILLED MURRE, PACIFIC LOON, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, HARLEQUIN DUCK and KING EIDER, BLACK-HEADED and ICELAND GULLS, ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT and more.

With more movement among over wintering birds and earlier arriving spring species now taking place, it’s not surprising that our winter rarities would also continue to disperse. Our last report of the VARIED THRUSH in Prospect Park comes from the Nethermead last Saturday, while the TOWNSEND’S SOLITAIRE out in East Hampton was last seen along Three Mile Harbor Drive last Sunday, so they, like the Painted Buntings previously, may have moved on.

This movement, though, can produce some nice surprises, even if brief. Out at Montauk Point last Sunday a DOVEKIE landed off the restaurant but remained in sight only until it dove, and later an adult PACIFIC LOON was identified off Culloden Point.

The THICK-BILLED MURRE also continued fairly close to shore at least to Tuesday off Montauk Point, where diminishing numbers of birds did feature counts of 47 RAZORBILLS Saturday and 20 on Sunday. Two ICELAND GULLS, 1 an adult, were also present Sunday on the west side of the entrance to Lake Montauk.

Among the lingering unusual waterfowl, the GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE in the Rye area was last seen on Monday, but the young male HARLEQUIN DUCK at Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn was still around yesterday, and the 4 off Orient Point have continued through today.

The female KING EIDER at Orient Point, however, has not been seen since Sunday, though the female KING EIDER usually on the east side of Shinnecock Inlet made it to mid-week.

An adult BLACK-HEADED GULL was seen a few times in Sheepshead Bay at least to Wednesday, with a sighting at Riis Park last Saturday, while the immature ICELAND GULL was noted in Sheepshead Bay at least to Sunday and also on Prospect Park Lake on Monday.

Single LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS occurred at several locations, including Central Park Reservoir Sunday and Wednesday and in Coney Island Monday, and single RAZORBILLS were spotted off Breezy Point Saturday and Canarsie Pier Monday.

A few lingering birds featured a COMMON GALLINULE remaining on Mill Pond in Bellmore at least to Sunday, AMERICAN BITTERN continuing along Dune Road, a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK still along Ocean Parkway in the Gilgo area last weekend, and a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER becoming more adult-like while it resides in Central Park’s north end.

A YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT was seen again Sunday at the Cemetery of the Resurrection on Staten Island.

An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER recently snacking on suet feeders at the South Fork Natural History Museum in Bridgehampton was joined there in that park last Sunday by an EASTERN PHOEBE, 10 EASTERN MEADOWLARKS and a PALM WARBLER.

A few signs of spring recently include increasing movements of AMERICAN WOODCOCK, EASTERN PHOEBE and TREE SWALLOW and an OSPREY in Rye today.

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

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website MNN:

20 minutes in nature a day is your ticket to feeling better
Noel Kirkpatrick
March 2, 2020

Nature soothes our stressed-out souls. We instinctively know nature is the best prescription, but research is revealing how little time we need to set aside to reap the benefits.

In one study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, researchers tried to identify the most effective "dose" of nature within the context of normal daily life. As more doctors prescribe nature experiences for stress relief and other health benefits — sometimes referred to as a "nature pill" — the study's authors hoped to clarify the details of these treatments. More biophilia is generally better for us, but since not everyone can spend all day in deep wilderness, the study looked for a sweet spot.

"We know that spending time in nature reduces stress, but until now it was unclear how much is enough, how often to do it, or even what kind of nature experience will benefit us," says lead author Mary Carol Hunter, an associate professor at the University of Michigan's School for Environment and Sustainability, in a statement. "Our study shows that for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature."

A nature pill can be a low-cost, low-risk way to curb the negative health effects of urbanization and indoor lifestyles. To find the most efficient dosage, Hunter and her co-authors asked 36 city dwellers to have nature experiences of at least 10 minutes three times per week over eight weeks. (A nature experience was defined as "anywhere outside that, in the opinion of the participant, made them feel like they've interacted with nature," Hunter explains.) Every two weeks, the researchers collected saliva samples to measure levels of the stress hormone cortisol, both before and after the participants took their nature pill.

The data showed that just a 20-minute nature experience was enough to significantly reduce cortisol levels. The effect was most efficient between 20 to 30 minutes, after which benefits continued to accrue but at a slower rate. Researchers in the United Kingdom who analyzed the routines of roughly 20,000 people came up with a similar prescription: 2 hours a week total spent in a park or woodland setting will improve your health.

Nature time doesn't have to mean exercise, either

Those results dovetail with the findings of other studies, one of which found that spending 20 minutes in an urban park can make you happier, regardless of whether you use that time to exercise. That study was published in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research,

"Overall, we found park visitors reported an improvement in emotional well-being after the park visit," lead author and University of Alabama at Birmingham professor Hon K. Yuen said in a statement. "However, we did not find levels of physical activity are related to improved emotional well-being. Instead, we found time spent in the park is related to improved emotional well-being."

For this study, 94 adults visited three urban parks in Mountain Brook, Alabama, completing a questionnaire about their subjective well-being before and after their visit. An accelerometer tracked their physical activity. A visit lasting between 20 and 25 minutes demonstrated the best results, with a roughly 64 percent increase in the participants' self-reported well-being, even if they didn't move a great deal in the park. That last point is particularly positive, since it means most anyone can benefit from visiting a nearby park, regardless of age or physical ability.

The study's co-author and another UAB professor, Gavin Jenkins, acknowledges the study pool was small, but its findings illustrate the importance of urban parks.

"There is increasing pressure on green space within urban settings," Jenkins said in the statement. "Planners and developers look to replace green space with residential and commercial property. The challenge facing cities is that there is an increasing evidence about the value of city parks but we continue to see the demise of theses spaces."

In another review published in Frontiers in Psychology, researchers at Cornell University examined the results of 14 studies that focused on the impact of nature on college students. They found that you might not even need the full 20 minutes to reap the benefits of some outdoor time. The studies showed that as little as 10–20 minutes of sitting or walking in nature can help college students feel happier and less stressed.

“It doesn’t take much time for the positive benefits to kick in,” said lead author Gen Meredith, associate director of the Master of Public Health Program and lecturer at the College of Veterinary Medicine, in a statement. “We firmly believe that every student, no matter what subject or how high their workload, has that much discretionary time each day, or at least a few times per week.”
...Read more

Monday, March 02, 2020

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming birding and nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, March 7, 2020 to Sunday, March 8, 2020:

Bedford Audubon Society
Saturday, March 7, 2020, 8:00am - 12:30pm
Read Sanctuary/Marshlands Conservancy, Rye, NY

We’re heading to a sanctuary that the national Audubon Society of New York has recognized as an Important Bird Area due to its significant habitats and flyaway. Why don’t you come along?

Our Field Trip to Read Sanctuary/Marshlands Conservancy in Rye is a favorite birding trip among members. The main targets are waterfowl, loons and grebes on the Sound, Great Horned Owls, and early spring migrants. This late winter trip should be a good one!

Depart Bylane at 7:15am or meet us at the boathouse on Playland Lake at 8:00am Cost: Free. Level of difficulty: Easy to Moderate. Please register with Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914-302-9713.

See more details

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Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, March 7, 2020
Shirley Chisholm State Park to Jamaica Bay Refuge
Leader Peter Dorosh
Focus: grassland open field species, early spring passerines, ducks, marsh species, raptors
Car Pool Fee: $10.00
Registrar: Peter Dorosh Prosbird@aol.com or Prosbird@gmail.com
Registration Period: Feb 29th – March 5th
Please review our trip guidelines here: http://brooklynbirdclub.org/information-registration

Saturday, March 7, 2020, 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, March 8, 2020
International Women's Day with Move Forward Staten Island

All walks follow the ABA Code of Birding Ethics

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Gateway National Parks​
Sunday, March 8, 2020, 6:30pm — 8:00pm
Full Moon Hike Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
View Details

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Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, March 8, 2020
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.

$10 for members of Green-Wood and BHS / $15 for non-members

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.

For this program you will check in at the Gothic Arches, right at the main entrance. Click here for our inclement weather policy.

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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
Saturday, March 7, 2020, 9am – 6pm
Winter Birding on the South Shore of Long Island
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Winter in New York brings the excitement of possibility: Will Snowy Owls appear in the dunes? Will Harlequin Ducks move westward from Cape Cod and Montauk and appear in closer waters? Will irruptive northern finches and Bohemian Waxwings move south from Canada? All of these species and more are possible on Long Island in the winter, along with more expected species such as loons, grebes, scaup, eider, Northern Harriers, and Purple Sandpipers. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $102 (72) per trip
Click here to register

Saturday, March 7, 2020, 9am – 12pm
Winter Walk at Inwood Hill Park
Guide: Nadir Souirgi
Inwood Hill Park, simply put, is a jewel. Nestled between the Hudson River, Dyckman Street, and Seaman Avenue, this last tract of largely undeveloped oak and tulip forest transports you to another world and another time. Glacial "pot holes," towering trees, and stunning river views create an unrivaled birding backdrop. Limited to 15 per walk. $36 (25) per walk
Click here to register

Sunday, March 8, 2020, 8:30am – 11:00am
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 walk through Strawberry Fields and the Ramble to go over birding basics and see warblers, tanagers, sparrows, waterbirds, and more. Binoculars available. Limited to 15. $36 (25)
Click here to register

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Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, March 7, 2020, 9am – 12pm
Baisley Pond (map)
Leader: Akilah Lewis
This mini-trip starts at 9am and ends before lunch.
Please register for this trip via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/qcbc-baisley-pond-park-bird-walk-tickets-96228711667 Join the Queens County Bird Club as we look for birds in Baisley Pond Park. We will be searching for the remaining waterfowl before they make their way to their breeding grounds up north. Trip leader Akilah Lewis will be leading the group around the lake on paved trails.

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, March 8, 2020
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
Sunday, March 8, 2020
Spring Birding at Perkins Visitors Center (in Wave Hill), Bronx
9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Explore the gardens and woodlands with naturalist Gabriel Willow on a quest to spot both resident and rare birds as they pass through on their northern journey or settle down for the season.
...Read more

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