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

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Treehugger Tuesday

From Mother Nature Network:

9 things you don't know about John Muir
On the anniversary of his birth, let's celebrate his love of nature.
Mary Jo DiLonardo
April 20, 2018, 8:22 a.m.



John Muir was a naturalist, writer and conservationist perhaps best known as the founder of the Sierra Club. The man called the father of our national park system helped establish Yosemite and Sequoia national parks at a time when we didn’t have the extensive system we enjoy today. He loved nature from his earliest days, and it was a theme that would define his life.

There are so many interesting stories about this famed explorer whose 180th birthday is April 21 — fittingly, right before Earth Day. Here's just a sampling of facts about his fascinating life.

His roots were in Scotland

Muir was born on April 21, 1838, in Dunbar, Scotland and was one of eight children. He was active and adventurous and loved playing outside. Until he was 11, Muir attended the local schools of that small coastal town, according to the Sierra Club. But in 1849, the Muir family emigrated to the U.S., moving to Wisconsin. They first lived in Fountain Lake, and then settled in Hickory Hill Farm near Portage. Where ever he lived as a child, Muir loved to explore farms.

His dad was tough

Muir's father was a strict disciplinarian who treated Muir harshly, sometimes physically abusing him, reports the National Park Service. Muir's father was a Presbyterian minister who insisted the boy memorize the Bible, a practice that later influenced his writing.

He was an inventor

Even though his dad wasn't a fan of his craftiness, Muir honed his mechanical skills and crafted a few small inventions. According to Biography, he created a horse feeder, a table saw, a wooden thermometer and a twist on an alarm clock: a device that pushed him out of bed early in the morning. In his early 20s, Muir took some of his inventions to the state fair in Madison where he won prizes and some local fame for his skills.

The outdoors lured him away from medical school

Muir studied science, philosophy and literature at the University of Wisconsin with plans to eventually go to medical school. But in college, he realized his true love was botany as he was influenced by the works of naturalist philosophers Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. After spending a summer hiking in the wilderness with friends, he gave up school to study botany and explore the natural world.

An injury changed his life

Muir took odd jobs to support himself, including working at a carriage parts factory in Indianapolis. There he suffered an injury that left him temporarily blind. When he regained his sight, he was determined to devote the rest of his life to seeing nature. He said of the accident, "God has to nearly kill us sometimes, to teach us lessons."

He had years of wanderlust

After regaining his vision, Muir began traveling the world. At one point he walked 1,000 miles from Indianapolis to the Gulf of Mexico. He sailed to Cuba, planning to eventually head to the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. But Muir became sick and decided he should go somewhere temperate to recover. He traveled to New York City, then traveled by boat to Panama, then took a train and a boat all the way to San Francisco, landing there in March 1868. Smithsonian magazine details this moment beautifully:

Muir would later famously, and perhaps apocryphally, recall that after hopping off the boat in San Francisco on March 28, 1868, he asked a carpenter on the street the quickest way out of the chaotic city. "Where do you want to go?" the carpenter replied, and Muir responded, “Anywhere that is wild.” Muir started walking east.

Though he would continue traveling, California became his home.

He was enthralled with Yosemite

Muir first became captivated with Yosemite while working as a shepherd, taking his flock to the mountains. According to the NPS, "In his excitement, he even climbed a very dangerous ridge by a waterfall and clung onto the rock face just so he could get closer to the water. He later recollected that he believed the experience was completely worth the risk." He hiked for weeks around the area and journaled about every wonderful thing he encountered. While leading geologists believed that earthquakes formed the valley, Muir developed a then-controversial theory that the valley had been carved by glaciers.

He wrote about nature

It wasn't enough for Muir to experience the beauty of nature; he wanted to share his appreciation for such natural wonders with the world. He began writing articles and articles for publications like the New York Tribune, Scribner's and Harper's magazine. His work focused on nature, the environment and conversation, developing a reputation in the scientific community and a popular public following, reports PBS. Later on in life, he eventually published 300 articles and 10 major books recounting all his travels.

He's the 'father of national parks'

In 1890, Yellowstone was the only national park in existence. Muir, however, wanted the area of Yosemite that was a state park at the time to get national park status. Because he wrote so many passionate articles about his beliefs, many people wrote letters and some groups lobbied Congress in favor of establishing a new national park. Despite protests from loggers and some who viewed a park as a waste of resources, an act of Congress created both Yosemite and Sequoia national parks. Muir was later involved in the creation of Mount Rainier, Petrified Forest and Grand Canyon national parks. In 1892, Muir founded the Sierra Club to "do something for wildness and make the mountains glad" as he so eloquently put it.

When Theodore Roosevelt became president in 1901, Muir was happy to have a conservationist ally in the Oval Office. In 1903, Muir and Roosevelt went camping above Yosemite Valley, where Muir asked for Roosevelt's help to preserve the beauty of the area. Roosevelt was impressed with Muir's plea. During his administration, Roosevelt set aside 148 million acres of forest reserves and the number of national parks doubled.
...Read more

Monday, April 23, 2018

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, April 28, 2018 to Sunday, April 29, 2018:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, April 28, 2018, 12pm – 1pm
Introduction to Birdwatching
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a birdwatching walk and learn about Prospect magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!

**********

Bedford Audubon Society
Saturday, April 28, 2018 @ 8:00am - 12:30pm
Marshlands Conservancy/Rye Nature Center, Rye
Join Naturalist Tait Johansson at these fine migration hotspots to look for warblers and other newly arrived spring migrants.
Meet at Bylane at 7:15am or Marshlands at 8.
Cost: Free. Level of Difficulty: Moderate.
Please register with Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914-302-9713.
See more details

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, April 28, 2018
Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Bernardsville, NJ
Leader: Ryan Goldberg
Focus: peak migration, swamp and marsh species, raptors; first breeding birds
Car fee: $25.00
Registrar: Donna Evans email devansny@earthlink.net
Registration Period: April 21st - April 26th
Note: nearby Lord Stirling County Park may be an optional visit, time permitting

Saturday, April 28, 2018
Ridgewood Reservoir Walk
Leaders: Steve Nanz and Heidi Steiner
Focus: Observing spring migrants and looking for early nesters. We will also bird Highland Park if time allows.
Registrar: Heidi Steiner at heidi.steiner.bklyn@gmail.com if you would like to car pool. You may also use public transportation; meet at 8:00AM at the top of the stairs of the main entrance, […]

Saturday, April 28, 2018 @ 7:15am
Prospect Park Saturday Walk
Prospect Park Pergola, Ocean Avenue and Parkside Avenue
Leader: Dennis Hrehowsik Meet at Ocean/Parkside Avenues, “The Pergola” at 7:15 am No registration necessary.

Sunday, April 29, 2018 @ 9:00am - 11:00am
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Leader: Heather Wolf 347-217-4579
Focus: Migrating songbirds, water birds
Meet 9 am at Pier 1 park entrance where Old Fulton Street ends/intersects with Furman St. (Barge Music);To the left (south) of Barge Music there is an NYC Ferry ticket machine (near the Lizzmonade kiosk). The walk starts by the benches right next to the ticket machine. This […]

Please review our general trip information and guidelines on this page.

**********

Gateway National Recreation Area
Saturday, April 28, 2018, 10:00am to 1:00pm
Peak Spring Migration Bird Walk
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fees: Free
Spring Naturalist Series: Each week through the spring, join us to learn more about the ecology of Jamaica Bay.
View Details

Sunday, April 29, 2018, 10:00am to 12:30pm
A Springtime Hike at Breezy Point
Location: Fort Tilden Building 1 (carpool to Breezy Point)
Fees: Free
View Details

Sunday, April 29, 2018, 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Woodcock Moon Prowl
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fees: Free
View Details

**********

Great South Bay Audubon
Saturday, April 28, 2018 - 8:00am
Valley Stream SP and Jones Beach West End
Leader(s): John Gluth (631-827-0120), Bob Grover (516-318-8536)

Southern State Parkway to exit 15S, North Corona Ave. No Corona Ave to Hendrickson Ave (.07 mi) turn right at Hendrickson Ave. Hendrickson Ave. to Fletcher Ave (.3 mi) turn right on Fletcher Ave. Fletcher Ave. North to Valley Stream State Park entrance on right (.2 mi). Park at far end of lot.

**********

Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Birding in Peace
Our April 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 north as well as arriving herons and egrets at Green-Wood’s glacial ponds.

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. Comfortable footwear is recommended.

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

Click here for our inclement weather policy.

**********

Hudson River Audubon Society
Saturday, April 28, 2018
Nature Study Woods
Meet at 8am at entrance along Webster Avenue at Flandreau Ave at 8:00 a.m. (~ 806 Webster Ave)
Local early spring migrants

**********

Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Sunday, April 29, 2018 - 8:00am
Muttontown Preserve
The wet woods and hilly fields of Muttontown create a unique preserve that attracts a perhaps the widest variety of breeding bird species in northern Nassau county. Some of them will just be arriving!
Registration: 585-880-0915

Directions: Take 25A one block west of the intersection of 25A and 106. Go south along Muttontown Lane just past the last houses and enter the dirt parking area.

Directions: Meet in the parking lot off of Muttontown Lane, which is on the south side of Route 25A, just west of Route 106 in East Norwich. Follow Muttontown Lane to the 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, April 28 – Sunday, April 29, 2018
Cape May Spring Migration Weekend
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Welcome the spring in lovely Cape May, NJ, the East’s capital of birding. On good spring migration days, the area’s forests and marshes are swarming with warblers in breeding plumage. We’ll visit Cape May Point, Higbee Beach, Cape May Meadows, and more in search of returning songbirds, shorebirds, wading birds, and terns—as well as lingering winter visitors such as sea ducks and gannets. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 10. $340 ($50)
Click here to register

Saturday, April 28, 2018, 9:00am – 10:30am
Van Cortlandt Bird Walks
Guide: NYC Audubon with the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy
Meet at Van Cortlandt Nature Center. The history of birding and Van Cortlandt Park are inseparable. Influential birders such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan D. Cruickshank got their starts on Van Cortlandt’s ecologically diverse grounds. These walks celebrate the tradition set by these great ornithologists. Participants will look for various species of residents and migrants and discuss a wide range of avian topics. For more information, call 212-691-7483. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

Saturday, April 28, 2018, 9:30am – 10:30am
Queens Botanical Garden Bird Walks
Saturdays, April 28, May 19, and June 9, and Sundays, May 6 and 27, 9:30-10:30am
Guide: NYC Audubon with Queens Botanical Garden
Explore Queens Botanical Garden in search of migrant songbirds and learn about the valuable resources the Garden offers birds and other wildlife. Binoculars available. Register for one date or the whole series of five walks (walk-ins welcome). To register, email info@queensbotanical.org or visit www.queensbotanical.org/calendar. Each walk limited to 25. Free (with Garden admission)

Saturday, April 28, 2018, 10am – 1pm
Spring Migration at Jamaica Bay
Guide: Don Riepe with American Littoral Society and Gateway National Recreation Area
Meet at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge during peak spring migration for a slide program and hike around the reserve to look for many species of migratory birds. For reservations, contact Don Riepe at 718-474-0896 or donriepe@gmail.com. No limit. Free

Saturday, April 28, 2018, 2pm – 5pm
Afternoon Spring Walk at Inwood Hill Park
Guide: Nadir Souirgi
Inwood Hill Park 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 backdrop for observing the many migratory and breeding avian species that are drawn to this hotspot. Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Wood Thrush, and Yellow Warbler breed here, and the Park includes Manhattan's last remaining tidal saltmarsh. Limited to 15. $36 (25) per walk
Click here to register

Sunday, April 29, 2018, 9:30am – 3:00pm
Birding Gems of Staten Island: Spring Hike in the Greenbelt
Guide: Cliff Hagen with NYC Parks and the Greenbelt Conservancy
Explore trails in the 3,000-acre Staten Island Greenbelt with Cliff Hagen and visit High Rock Park, Walker Pond, and the Pouch Camp property: 143 acres of unspoiled woods and wetlands. Look for spring migrants and learn about the Greenbelt’s ecology. Trip involves approximately three and half miles of hiking. Van transportation from the Staten Island St. George Terminal included. Limited to 19. $43 (30)
Click here to register

**********

North Shore Audubon
Saturday, April 28, 2018, 8:00am – 11:30am
Humes property (map)
Leader: Barbara - (516) 628-9022

***NOTE: EARLY START TIME 8 am***
Please inform walk leader that you are attending.
See "Walk Locations" for directions.
Park in the circle in front of the big house.
Wear water-resistant footwear, bring binoculars and drinking water. Wear long pants and socks so you do not touch poison ivy.
This walk is in conjunction with the North Shore Land Alliance.

**********

Queens County Bird Club
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Forest Park
Leader: Jean Loscalzo 917-575-6824
Where: Park Lane South and Mayfair Road Queens, NY 11418 (map)

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, April 29, 2018
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 9:00am
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.

**********

Sullivan County Audubon
Saturday, April 28, 2018, 8:00am
Birding for Beginners with naturalist Scott Graber
Experience the variety of bird life that inhabits the Bashakill. Binoculars are required and wear sturdy walking shoes. We’ll meet at the Haven Road DEC parking lot near Rt. 209.
Call Scott to register and for additional information at (914) 799-1313.
This is a joint field trip with the Bashakill Area Association.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, April 28, 2018
Bird Watching at the Reservoir at Ridgewood Reservoir, Queens
8:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Catch the warbler wave and welcome them back to Forest Park!
Free!

Bird Walks with New York City Audubon at Queens Botanical Garden, Queens
9:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m.
Spot and identify creatures of flight in this nature walk with NYC Audubon.

Sunday, April 29, 2018
Central Park Birding Basics: Hallett Nature Sanctuary and the Pond at Chess and Checkers House (in Central Park), Manhattan
8:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
Central Park welcomes more than 270 bird species each year. Learn the basics of bird identification while exploring the North Woods, the largest woodland landscape in the Park.
Free!

City Nature Challenge Hike at Flushing Meadows Corona Park
9:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Over 60 cities will be competing to see who can make the most observations of nature, find the most species, and engage the most people in the worldwide 2018 City Nature Challenge.
Free!

Central Park Birding Basics: Hallett Nature Sanctuary and the Pond at Chess and Checkers House (in Central Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Central Park welcomes more than 270 bird species each year. Learn the basics of bird identification while exploring the North Woods, the largest woodland landscape in the Park.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, April 21, 2018

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, April 20, 2018:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Apr. 20, 2018
* NYNY1804.20

- Birds Mentioned


WHITE-FACED IBIS+
WOOD SANDPIPER+
WESTERN TANAGER+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Sooty Shearwater
Green Heron
Glossy Ibis
Broad-winged Hawk
Piping Plover
Spotted Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper
WHIMBREL
Purple Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Long-billed Dowitcher
RED PHALAROPE
POMARINE JAEGER
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Caspian Tern
Common Tern
Forster’s Tern
Eastern Kingbird
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Bank Swallow
Swainson’s Thrush
Wood Thrush
Ovenbird
Northern Waterthrush
Orange-crowned Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Prairie Warbler
SUMMER TANAGER
Scarlet Tanager
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
BLUE GROSBEAK
Indigo Bunting


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, April 20, 2018 at 8:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are WOOD SANDPIPER, an interesting WHIMBREL, RED PHALAROPE, WHITE-FACED IBIS, POMARINE JAEGER, WESTERN TANAGER, BLUE GROSBEAK, SUMMER TANAGER, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER and more spring arrivals.

Though it doesn’t really feel like spring, some great birds are appearing despite, or because of, the unusual weather patterns we’ve been experiencing.

A great find was New York’s third WOOD SANDPIPER, spotted late Monday afternoon on a temporary fairway wet area at Timber Point Golf Course at the end of Great River Road in Great River. The Sandpiper was still present Tuesday morning but left by 11 AM and could not be relocated thereafter. Good photos were obtained. New York’s first record, a 1907 specimen from upstate, was only correctly identified decades later in a museum, and another spent six days in Rye in late 1990.

Another very interesting shorebird flying by Breezy Point last Sunday was identified as a WHIMBREL, and two photographs of not the best quality do show a white wedge up the back of the bird, indicating this would apparently be a Eurasian form of WHIMBREL. Making it even more interesting is that perhaps the possibility of Eurasian Curlew cannot fully be ruled out.

Joining the great shorebird parade was a RED PHALAROPE still in non-breeding plumage that was photographed last Tuesday as it swam in the bay south of the Pelham Bay landfill.

Other notable shorebirds included single WHIMBREL posted from Breezy Point last Saturday, hopefully looked at carefully, and one at Heckscher State Park Wednesday. Breezy Point also featured 8 PIPING PLOVERS and 32 PURPLE SANDPIPERS last Sunday, and both SHORT- and LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS were identified at Timber Point Tuesday, while arrivals included SPOTTED and SOLITARY SANDPIPERS.

On Thursday two WHITE-FACED IBIS were identified in a GLOSSY IBIS flock at the Oceanside Marine Nature Study Area, this followed by one seen briefly this morning at nearby Cow Meadow Park in Freeport.

Most notable among the landbirds was a female WESTERN TANAGER photographed Monday afternoon in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

A nice push of southern specialties into our area included a number of YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS, with one at Jones Beach West End Saturday morning, one in Central Park last weekend, and one in Prospect Park from Saturday increasing to two by Monday and on into the week. Another continues at Bayard Cutting Arboretum.

SUMMER TANAGERS also erupted this week, with one in Prospect Park Monday, one at Stony Brook Tuesday, one visiting Hempstead Lake State Park Tuesday to Thursday, one in Van Cortland Park Tuesday, one in Central Park Thursday, and one in Brooklyn’s Greenwood Cemetery for a few days to today, joined there by a BLUE GROSBEAK. Another BLUE GROSBEAK visited a feeder in Ridge Tuesday.

A POMARINE JAEGER was photographed Monday in the Point Lookout parking lot, coming in from the storm, and two early SOOTY SHEARWATERS were spotted that day off Tiana Beach west of Shinnecock Inlet.

Three CASPIAN TERNS visited Great Kills Park on Staten Island last Saturday, with an ICELAND GULL there also.

A few LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were topped by the nine at Floyd Bennett Field and eight at Robert Moses State Park during the storm Monday.

An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was present in Crocheron Park in Queens yesterday and today.

A nice list of arrivals this week has included GREEN HERON, COMMON TERN, more FORSTER’S TERNS, EASTERN KINGBIRD, WARBLING and RED-EYED VIREOS, BANK SWALLOW, WOOD and SWAINSON’S THRUSHES, SCARLET TANAGER, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, and a few INDIGO BUNTINGS. WARBLERS have included OVENBIRD and NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, PRAIRIE and HOODED.

A nice BROAD-WINGED HAWK flight north of the City last Saturday included 36 over Sterling Forest followed by 116 at Mine Road north of Bear Mountain during brief hawk watches.

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

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Spring Comes to Green-Wood Cemetery

We are still experiences mostly north winds and chilly days, nonetheless, flowers have started to bloom and northbound migrants are arriving. Here are some photo highlights from my recent walks in Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery from my friends Jim Demers, Sean Sime and Mike Yuan. The most exciting finds were Blue Grosbeak and Summer Tanager at the Sylvan Water:












Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Treehugger Tuesday

From "Mother Nature Network":

This accidental discovery could help solve our plastic pollution crisis
Mary Jo DiLonardo
April 17, 2018, 2:11 p.m.

Scientists have developed an enzyme that can break down plastic bottles — and the creation was a happy accident.

An international team of researchers made the discovery while studying a natural enzyme that was believed to have evolved to eat plastic in a waste recycling center in Japan.

The researchers modified the enzyme to analyze its structure, but instead accidentally engineered an enzyme that was even better at breaking down the plastic used for soft drink bottles, polyethylene terephthalate or PET.

"Serendipity often plays a significant role in fundamental scientific research and our discovery here is no exception," said lead researcher, professor John McGeehan of the University of Portsmouth in the U.K., in a statement.

"Although the improvement is modest, this unanticipated discovery suggests that there is room to further improve these enzymes, moving us closer to a recycling solution for the ever-growing mountain of discarded plastics."

The new enzyme starts breaking down the plastic in just a few days. But the researchers are working to improve the enzyme so it breaks down plastics even more quickly. They say the discovery could offer a solution for millions of tons of plastic bottles made of PET that linger in the environment. Plastic takes more than 400 years to degrade.

Read the entire article here.

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, April 21, 2018 to Sunday, April 22, 2018:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, April 21, 2018, 12pm – 1pm
Introduction to Birdwatching
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a birdwatching walk and learn about Prospect magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 7:15am
Prospect Park Saturday Walk
Leader: Dennis Hrehowsik
Meet at Ocean/Parkside Avenues, “The Pergola” at 7:15am
No registration necessary.

Please review our general trip information and guidelines on this page.

**********

Great South Bay Audubon
Saturday, April 21, 2018 - 8:30am
Connetquot River SPP
Leader(s): Bob Grover (516-318-8536) Ken Thompson (631-612-8028, John Gluth (631-827-01208)
Meet in parking field. Entrance is on the westbound side of Sunrise Highway (Rte. 27) west of Pond Road. If coming from west to east, Take exit 47A and go to the next overpass, Oakdale Bohemia Rd. to cross over bridge, then head westbound and stay in right lane to entrance.
(Nature walks will be cancelled if it is raining or snowing.)

**********

Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Birding in Peace
Our April 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 north as well as arriving herons and egrets at Green-Wood’s glacial ponds.

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. Comfortable footwear is recommended.

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

Click here for our inclement weather policy.

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, April 21, 2018 - Rain Date April 22
Pine Barrens for Early Spring Butterflies and More
Leader: Rick Cech
Registrar: Sandra Maury — sandramaury39@gmail.com or 212-874-4881
Registration opens: Monday, April 9
Ride: $45

**********

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, April 21, 2018, 8:00am – 10:30am
Beginning Birding Series Trip
Classes: Wednesdays, April 4, 11, and 18, 6:30-8:30pm
Trips: Saturday, April 14, 8am-2:30pm (Jamaica Bay) and Saturday, April 21, 8-10:30am (Central Park)
Instructor: Tod Winston
Learn the keys to identifying the spectacular variety of birds that migrate through New York City every spring. Even if you've never picked up a pair of binoculars, you’ll soon be identifying warblers, thrushes, waterbirds, and more—both by sight and by ear. Three fun and educational in-class sessions and field trips to both Central Park and Jamaica Bay (transport to Jamaica Bay included). Limited to 12. $179 (125)
Click here to register

Saturday, April 21, 2018, 10am – 2pm
Explore, Learn, and Protect: Junior Ranger Day at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Center
With American Littoral Society and Gateway National Recreation Area
Meet at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge to celebrate New York City’s national park. Join Gateway National Recreation Area staff in special activities to help children and families connect with parks and engage in exploring, learning, and practicing stewardship. No limit. Free

Sunday, April 22, 2018, 8am – 11am
Prospect Park Bird Walk
Guide: Heather Wolf
Join Heather Wolf for a leisurely walk to see spring migrants and breeding bird residents of “Brooklyn's Backyard.” Beautiful Prospect Park’s wide variety of habitats attract a large number of migrants and breeding bird species—significantly more than Central Park, in fact. We will explore the Park's meadows, forests, and waterways in search of waterfowl, warblers, tanagers, and more. Limited to 15. $36 (25) per walk
Click here to register

Sunday, April 22, 2018, 8:00am – 10:30am
The Birds of Woodlawn Cemetery
Guides: Tod Winston, Joseph McManus, Susan Olsen with the Woodlawn Conservancy
Join us for a morning bird walk and tour of this beautiful cemetery: Tod Winston and Joseph McManus will look for spring migrants and year-round residents on the expansive grounds, while Woodlawn Cemetery's Director of Historical Services Susan Olsen will share fascinating stories about the cemetery’s history and the interesting mixture of individuals interred there. Limited to 15. $35 (24)
Click here to register

Sunday, April 22, 2018, 10am – 1pm
Birds and Plants: New York Botanical Garden in Springtime
Guides: Gabriel Willow
The New York Botanical Garden is home to a large tract of East Coast old-growth forest. During the peak of spring migration, the beautiful gardens come alive with migrating songbirds. Limited to 15. Entrance fee to NYBG not included. $39 (27) per walk
Click here to register

**********

North Shore Audubon
Saturday, April 21, 2018, 8:00am – 11:30am
Hempstead Lake SP
Leader: Steve S. - ‭(516) 987-8103‬
(map)

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

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 12:00pm – 2:00pm
Earth Day at Buck’s Hollow @ Latourette House Golf Course
Enjoy a spring hike through the heart of the Greenbelt. Participants will discuss the diversity of flora and fauna in this rich woodland along the Red Trail. Fresh blooms and early spring bird song will welcome park visitors. Meet at the LaTourette House Golf Course parking lot. Call Ray Matarazzo at 718-317-7666 for more information.
Read More

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, April 22, 2018
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 9:00am
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, April 21, 2018
Cabrini Woods Migration Walk at Cabrini Woods (in Fort Tryon Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Urban forests like Fort Tryon’s Cabrini Woods are critical links for migratory birds during their arduous thousand-mile journey along the Atlantic Flyway.
Free!

Animal of the Month Club: Northern Gannet at Wolfe's Pond Park Comfort Station (in Wolfe's Pond Park), Staten Island
1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
Join our park rangers at Wolfe's Pond for a chance to view and learn more about Northern Gannets, a little known resident species of Staten Island.
Free!
...Read more

Monday, April 09, 2018

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, April 14, 2018 to Sunday, April 15, 2018:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, April 14, 12pm – 1pm
Introduction to Birdwatching
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a birdwatching walk and learn about Prospect magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Massapequa Preserve, Massapequa, Long Island
Leader: Peter Dorosh
Focus: Marsh species, pond ducks and waterfowl, early passerines, raptors.
Registrar: Peter Dorosh Prosbird@aol.com or text only cell 347-622-3559
Registration Period: April 7th - April 12th
Site info: http://massapequapreserve.com/ Note: If no cars are available, the trip will travel by LIRR train. There will be extensive walking at the preserve.

Saturday, April 14, 2018 @ 7:15am
Prospect Park Saturday Walk
Leader: Dennis Hrehowsik
Meet at Ocean/Parkside Avenues, “The Pergola” at 7:15am
No registration necessary.

Please review our general trip information and guidelines on this page.

**********

Feminist Bird Club
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Cemetery of the Evergreens w/Earth Arts Initiative

**********

Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Birding in Peace
Our April 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 north as well as arriving herons and egrets at Green-Wood’s glacial ponds.

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. Comfortable footwear is recommended.

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

Click here for our inclement weather policy.

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Prospect Park in April
Leader: John Suggs
Registrar: Dale Dancis — ddancis@gmail.com or 212-724-3269
Registration opens: Monday, April 2
Public transportation

**********

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, April 14, 2018, 8:00am – 2:30pm
Beginning Birding Series Trip
Classes: Wednesdays, April 4, 11, and 18, 6:30-8:30pm
Trips: Saturday, April 14, 8am-2:30pm (Jamaica Bay) and Saturday, April 21, 8-10:30am (Central Park)
Instructor: Tod Winston
Learn the keys to identifying the spectacular variety of birds that migrate through New York City every spring. Even if you've never picked up a pair of binoculars, you’ll soon be identifying warblers, thrushes, waterbirds, and more—both by sight and by ear. Three fun and educational in-class sessions and field trips to both Central Park and Jamaica Bay (transport to Jamaica Bay included). Limited to 12. $179 (125)
Click here to register

**********

North Shore Audubon
Saturday, April 14, 2018, 9:30am – 12:00pm
Jamaica Bay
Leader: Lenore 718-343-1391 mobile 917-837-2922
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 175-10 Cross Bay Blvd, Broad Channel, NY 11693, USA (map)

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

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Sunday, April 15, 2018 @ 10:00am – 12:00pm
Corson’s Brook Woods Wildflower Watch
Join us as we study the progress of wildflowers over the course of the spring in this unique and undisturbed natural area. Park at Jasper Street and For­est Hill Road and meet across the street at the corner of the entrance to the College of Staten Island. Bring field guides. Regis­tration is required. Please contact Hillel at 718-477-0545 or e-mail hillel5757@gmail.com. Please provide a cell phone contact.
Read More

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, April 15, 2018
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 9:00am
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.

**********

Sullivan County Audubon Society
Saturday, April 14, 2018, 7:00pm
Field Trip to see displaying Woodcocks
Meet leaders Kate and Charles Hyden at the Youngsville School parking lot on Shandelee Road. We will carpool from there.
Call Kate at (845) 439-4325 for more information or if weather is questionable.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Spring Migration at Prospect Park Picnic House (in Prospect 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.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, April 07, 2018

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, April 6, 2018:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Apr. 06, 2018
* NYNY1804.06

- Birds Mentioned

PAINTED BUNTING+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

EURASIAN WIGEON
GREEN-WINGED TEAL (Eurasian form)
KING EIDER
Common Eider
HARLEQUIN DUCK
Red-Necked Grebe
American Bittern
Tricolored Heron
Cattle Egret
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Glossy Ibis
Turkey Vulture
Piping Plover
Razorbill
Bonaparte’s Gull
BLACK-HEADED GULL
LITTLE GULL
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Snowy Owl
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Brown Thrasher
Louisiana Waterthrush
Orange-crowned Warbler
Palm Warbler
Pine Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Boat-tailed Grackle

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, April 6, 2018 at 9:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are PAINTED BUNTING, LITTLE and BLACK-HEADED GULLS, EURASIAN WIGEON, Eurasian form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL, HARLEQUIN DUCK, KING EIDER and spring arrivals, including YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER.

While still awaiting spring, probably the most exciting sign of seasonal change was the female PAINTED BUNTING that appeared twice at feeders at a private home in Elmsford, Westchester County, first noted there last Saturday and then appearing for a short time on Monday. It has not been seen since, but good distinctive photos were obtained.

Out on Staten Island last Saturday two nice GULLS were spotted with a large flock of BONAPARTE’S GULLS on the pond at Wolf’s Pond Park, first an adult winter-plumaged LITTLE GULL and later an adult BLACK-HEADED GULL. Then this afternoon two adult LITTLE GULLS appeared on the pond, with one fairly well advanced towards breeding plumage.

Other GULLS this week featured an ICELAND at Playland Park in Rye this evening and at least three LESSER BLACK-BACKEDS last Wednesday, with one in the Coney Island area, one at Heckscher State Park and one at Crab Meadow Park, with another last Saturday at Playland Park.

A drake EURASIAN WIGEON was still at the Brooklyn Army Terminal Pier 4 Monday, and a drake EURASIAN form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL has been on the pond at Willowbrook Park on Staten Island at least to Monday.

Three HARLEQUIN DUCKS, including two drakes, were still at the Point Lookout jetties yesterday, and two female KING EIDERS were among an estimated 750 COMMON EIDERS at Shinnecock Inlet last Saturday.

A few RED-NEDCKED GREBES continue in the area, including the one on the Restoration Pond at Alley Pond Park and two each off Floyd Bennett Field and on Gravesend Bay in Brooklyn last Saturday, when one was noted at the Marine Park Saltmarsh Nature Center.

The continuing RAZORBILL flight under proper conditions provided 24 off Tiana Beach west of Shinnecock Inlet last Saturday and 7 off Robert Moses State Park Sunday.

A SNOWY OWL was still at Point Lookout Thursday, and the AMERICAN BITTERN stayed to Saturday in Central Park, where the female BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE remained at least to Wednesday.

An informal hawk watch last Saturday near the Alley Pond Environmental Center produced an impressive 186 TURKEY VULTURES and a variety of hawks.

Among a small number of spring arrivals this week was an early YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER noted yesterday at Connetquot River State Park. This species has bred at Connetquot in past years but last year was poorly represented there, so remember to avoid disturbing or putting any stress especially upon these and other sparsely occurring regional breeders, though of course any disturbances to birds in breeding season should be absolutely avoided.

Other recent arrivals have included TRICOLORED HERON, a CATTLE EGRET last Friday at Shinnecock Inlet, BARN SWALLOW, BROWN THRASHER and BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER.

An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was at the Alley Restoration Pond this week and other arrivals increasing in numbers have included PIPING PLOVER, YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, GLOSSY IBIS, NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW, RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET and, among the WARBLERS, PALM, PINE and LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH.

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

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Friday, April 06, 2018

Friday's Foto

The Common Grackle is a medium-sized, lanky songbird of the "Blackbird and Oriole family". This widespread resident east of the Rockies in southern Canada and the United States has been expanding its range westward in recent decades. It is one of three grackle species found in North America, the other two being Boat-tailed and Great-tailed. Adult males are entirely black with conspicuous iridescence when seen in good light. The widespread form shows bronze gloss to body, blue head, and purple or blue iridescence on wings and tail. The iridescence of the head is different from that of the body. Females are smaller and duller. There are three recognized subspecies. The bronzed grackle is found northwest of the Appalachians and has bronze iridescence on body, a blue head, and purplish tail and wings. The purple grackle is found southeast of the Appalachians and has a purplish body and head, with a blue or greenish glossed tail. The Florida grackle, which ranges from Florida to southern Louisiana and South Carolina, has a greenish iridescence on its back.

This omnivore feeds mainly on insects, but also crayfish, frogs, lizards, minnows, eggs and young of other birds and small rodents. During the winter their diet includes acorns, berries, seeds and waste grain.

The Common Grackle’s conservation status according to the IUCN Red List is “Least Concern”. While abundant and widespread, however, populations declined by almost 2% per year between 1966 and 2014, resulting in a cumulative decline of 58%, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. The 2014 State of the Birds Report lists them as a Common Bird in Steep Decline.

Their scientific name, Quiscalus quiscula, means Purple Grackle.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, April 7, 2018 to Sunday, April 8, 2018:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, April 7, 12pm – 1pm
Introduction to Birdwatching
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a birdwatching walk and learn about Prospect magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!

Sunday, April 8, 2018, 8am – 9am
Early Morning Bird Walk: Changing Seasons, Changing Birds
Join Prospect Park Alliance to welcome the earliest migrants of the year, and to say goodbye to some of our winter residents. This birdwatching tour is led by the Brooklyn Bird Club and leaves promptly at 8am.

**********

Bedford Audubon Society
Saturday, April 7, 2018 @ 7:15pm - 8:30pm
Dance of the Woodcock at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation
Join Naturalist Tait Johansson to see this extraordinary ritual, where the male American Woodcock “peents”, struts, hurls himself into the evening sky, and glides back down to the ground again, all in hopes of attracting a mate.
Meet Naturalist Tait Johansson in the parking area just before the toll booth, and bring a flashlight or headlamp.
Cost: Free. Level of difficulty: Easy-moderate. Please register with Susan Fisher at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914-302-9713.
See more details

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Croton Point Park
Leader: Paul Keim
Focus: Grassland and open space species, early spring passerines, sparrows, raptors
Registrar: Paul Keim phone (landline) 718-875-1151
Registration Period: March 31st h - April 5th
Note: This trip may travel by Metro North train if we don't get enough cars.

Please review our general trip information and guidelines on this page.

**********

Gateway National Recreation Area
Sunday, April 8, 2018, 10:00am to 11:30am
Osprey Watch Guided Walk
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Learn all about the amazing osprey on this guided walk of the West Pond Trail.
View Details

**********

Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, April 8, 2018
Birding in Peace
Our April 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 north as well as arriving herons and egrets at Green-Wood’s glacial ponds.

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. Comfortable footwear is recommended.

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

Click here for our inclement weather policy.

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Staten Island Greenbelt
Leader: Seth Wollney
Registrar: Miriam Rakowski — miriamrakowski@hotmail.com or 212-749-7376
Registration opens: Monday, March 26
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

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, April 7, 2018, 9am – 4pm
Spring Migration in Pelham Bay Park, the Bronx
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Explore the lovely coves and rocky outcroppings of the City’s largest park, Pelham Bay Park, seeking out migrating songbirds, late wintering birds, ducks, and a breeding pair of Great Horned Owls. The rich and diverse habitat makes this park an urban gem and a great home for wildlife. Past rarities include a Northern Goshawk and a Purple Sandpiper. Bring lunch and water. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $90 (63)
Click here to register

Sunday, April 8, 2018, 9:30am – 11:30am
Spring Birding Along the Hudson: Wave Hill
Sundays, March 11, April 8, May 13, and June 10, 9:30-11:30am
Guide: Gabriel Willow with Wave Hill
Meet at the Perkins Visitor Center. Naturalist Gabriel Willow contributes his extensive knowledge of bird species and their behaviors on these captivating walks. Wave Hill’s garden setting overlooking the Hudson River flyway provides the perfect habitat for resident and migrating birds. Ages 10 and up welcome with an adult. NYC Audubon members enjoy two-for-one admission (see www.wavehill.org for more information)

**********

North Shore Audubon
Saturday, April 7, 2018, 9:30am – 12:00pm
Marine Nature Oceanside
Leader: Ralph (516) 785-3375‬
Marine Nature Study Area, 500 Slice Dr, Oceanside, NY 11572 (map)

Please inform walk leader that you are attending.
See "Walk Locations" for directions.
Meet in westernmost parking lot.
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, April 8, 2018
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 9:00am
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, April 8, 2018
Spring Birding at Perkins Visitors Center (in Wave Hill), Bronx
9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Explore the gardens and woodlands with an expert on a quest to spot both resident and rare birds as they pass through on their northern journey or settle down for the season.
Free!

Birding: Hawk Watch at Pelham Bay Park, Bronx
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Our Urban Park Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle. Registration is required.
Free!

Animal of the Month Club: Northern Gannet at Ocean Breeze Pier, Seaview Avenue and Father Capodanno Boulevard (in Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk and Beach), Staten Island
1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
Join our park rangers at Ocean Breeze for a chance to view and learn more about Northern Gannets, a little known resident species of Staten Island.
Free!
...Read more

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Time to Tune Up Your Ears

The annual Spring migration is not just an explosion of colors, but also a huge surge of sounds. The millions of songbirds that pass through (or stay to nest) in the NYC area create a short-lived landscape of warbles, whistles, chips and trills. We won't hear this dawn chorus again until next year's northbound migration. To help appreciate these serenades, and make locating the songster a bit easier all you need to do is spend about a half an hour a day for 7 to 10 days with the right teaching tools.

There are several sources available to help you learn how to identify birds by ear, but the best one 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:

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.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

New York City Rare Bird Alert

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

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Mar. 30, 2018
* NYNY1803.30

- Birds Mentioned

GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
EURASIAN WIGEON
RED-NECKED GREBE
AMERICAN BITTERN
Great Egret
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Glossy Ibis
Osprey
American Oystercatcher
Wilson’s Snipe
Greater Yellowlegs
RAZORBILL
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Laughing Gull
ICELAND GULL
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL
SNOWY OWL
Eastern Phoebe
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Louisiana Waterthrush
Palm Warbler
Pine Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle

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, March 30, 2018 at 8:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are BLACK-HEADED, ICELAND and LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, EURASIAN WIGEON, RED-NECKED GREBE, SNOWY OWL, RAZORBILL, AMERICAN BITTERN and a few more spring arrivals.

This week’s highlight was perhaps no nor’easter to deal with, providing opportunities for a few more spring migrants to arrive, but winter birds still dominate locally. A few sightings of BLACK-HEADED GULL include an adult coming into breeding plumage seen as recently as Thursday near Coney Island Creek as viewed from Calvert Vaux Park. A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was also present there.

An immature BLACK-HEADED GULL has also been visiting Gravesend Bay, seen at the middle parking lot off the eastbound Belt Parkway up to Thursday, this perhaps the same BLACK-HEADED spotted at the Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center Saturday and Wednesday.

An ICELAND GULL has also been in the Gravesend Bay/Coney Island Creek area up to today, and among other scattered LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were three at Robert Moses State Park and two at Calvert Vaux Park today.

Among the lingering waterfowl, a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was still on Tung Ting Pond in Centerport last Saturday, and a pair of Eurasian Wigeon was noted at Brooklyn Army Terminal Pier 4 today, with a drake still at the Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center last weekend.

A number of RED-NECKED GREBES about have included one still at the Restoration Pond at Alley Pond Park today, one at the Salt Marsh Nature Center Wednesday and Thursday, one off Floyd Bennett Field Wednesday, and two in Gravesend Bay today.

After a slow winter except at Montauk Point, RAZORBILLS made a move Wednesday morning when 31 were counted off Robert Moses State Park, mostly headed eastward.

With a few still around, lingering SNOWY OWLS this week were noted within the New York City limits at Breezy Point, Floyd Bennett Field and the Rockaways.

A nice find today was an AMERICAN BITTERN perched in a Tupelo at Tupelo Field in Central Park, while rather odd for Central Park has been a female-type BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE apparently lingering in the southeastern section of the park with a COMMON GRACKLE flock.

Among the newer arrivals this week, these noted today, were some GLOSSY IBIS along the south shore of Long Island, including 48 at Timber Point, a NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW at Randalls Island, and single Brooklyn LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSHES in Prospect Park and Greenwood Cemetery. Increases this week were noted for GREAT EGRET, YELLOW-CROWNED and BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS, OSPREY, AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, WILSON’S SNIPE, LAUGHING GULL, EASTERN PHOEBE, PINE and PALM WARBLERS, and CHIPPING SPARROW.

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, March 27, 2018

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website Earther:

National Parks Are About to Get a Bunch of Birds They Didn't Ask For
Brian Kahn
Thursday 6:00pm

Acadia National Park is warbler heaven. During the summer, you can hear everything from the rising call of the black-throated blue warbler to the tinkling bell-like call of the black-and-white warbler. Keep your eyes on the underbrush for tell-tale the yellow breast of the Canada warbler, or heavy thickets for the mourning warbler. In all, 25 species of warbler currently occupy park, shaping the ecosystem and soundscape.

But the avian sights and sounds will likely be completely different in just a few decades.

If climate change continues on its current trajectory, 20 of the 25 warblers that currently occupy the park will have no suitable climate. They could be forced to move or perish. Meanwhile, other species could swoop in to take their place.

Acadia is just one datapoint in a massive new study published in PLOS One on Wednesday that looks at how climate change will impact birds across the national park system. Similar stories are likely to play out everywhere from Yosemite’s granite high country to Yellowstone’s bubbling hydrothermal basins, with the study projecting nearly a quarter of bird species will turnover in parks by 2050.

That means that the 300 million annual visitors to parks will, in the future, have a completely different experience. And it means managers will have to make some big decisions on what landscapes they conserve and what species they manage for.

“There’s this recognition of the end of stationarity,” Gregor Schuurman, an ecologist with the National Park Service who worked on the study, told Earther, citing a seminal 2008 ecology paper. “We’re not an intensive management agency, we’re an agency trying to preserve things unimpaired. The end of climate stationarity is a real challenge for us and our thinking.”

Schuurman worked with scientists at the Audubon Society to apply the techniques used in a 2014 paper about climate change’s impact on the 513 species of North American birds to 277 of the 417 sites managed by National Park Service. Data on the historical distribution of these birds came courtesy Audubon’s citizen science bird counts that have taken place for decades. If you’ve participated in those, congratulations, you are now a contributor to a scientific paper.

The researchers fed that data into models that project the climate out to mid-century if emissions continue on their current trajectory, as well as if we made major cuts, and looked at how 17 climate variables—things like mean temperature, daily temperature range, and precipitation in specific months—affected traditional bird ranges across summer and winter.

The result show that between native birds leaving and colonizers showing up, parks will see a 23 percent shift in the types of birds found there if things continue on their current trend (the results are markedly better for birds if we cut emissions). In both winter and summer, new colonizers will outnumber those making an exodus, but the shift is far more pronounced in winter. Joanna Wu, a biologist with the Audubon Society who led the research, told Earther that a number of species that usually migrate to warmer climates in winter may also just stay in certain parks year-round.

Jenny McGuire, an ecologist at Georgia Tech who has done landscape modeling but didn’t work on this study, told the Earther the findings show “that birds will need more food and nesting sites than ever before within the National Parks and points to the critical importance of maintaining or growing park sizes as bird species move into them.”

For hardcore birders—who are part of an estimated $107-billion industry—Schuurman said the study offers a heads up on what species they should be keeping an eye out for.

“I can imagine Big Bend likely seeing new species never before seen in the U.S.,” he said about the park located on the Texas-Mexico border. “Birders may be interested and excited to recording new arrivals.”

But more pressing is what climate change means for park managers. Should Acadia’s superintendent prioritize preserving habitat that lets species living on the southern end of their range hang around a bit longer, or protect habitat that might be more suitable for new arrivals, some of whom may be endangered?

And that doesn’t even get into what climate change will do to the landscapes themselves, the food sources birds rely on and other factors that the current study didn’t weigh into its projections. Even in the absence of perfect information about all those relationships, Schuurman said managers better be thinking about them.

“If we’re talking water birds, do you have aquatic habitat or is there something about climate change that leads you to think we will in the coming decades? You have to have the pieces to put together,” he said.

The choices parks end up making around birds will have huge impacts on other animals as well, since birds with their fancy wings and ability to cover great distances are usually a sign of what’s to come.

“It’s going to challenging to manage for our shifting baseline in the future,” Wu said. “Birds are one of the first responders.”
...Read more

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