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

Friday, July 13, 2018

New York City Rare Bird Alert

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

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* July 13, 2018
* NYNY1807.13

- BIRDS Mentioned

BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK+
ARCTIC TERN+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Snow Goose
KING EIDER
Common Eider
Great Shearwater
BROWN PELICAN
CATTLE EGRET
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
WHIMBREL
Stilt Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Gull-billed Tern
Roseate Tern
Royal Tern
Black Skimmer
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
Worm-eating Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Prairie Warbler
BLUE GROSBEAK

Greetings! This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, July 13, 2018 at 7 pm.

The highlights of today's tape are BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK, BROWN PELICAN, ARCTIC TERN, KING EIDER, CATTLE EGRET, WHIMBREL and other shorebirds, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER and BLUE GROSBEAK.

The single BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK was still present today on the pond at Nissequogue River State Park. The pond entrance is off St. Johnland Road on the continuation of Kings Park Boulevard, and the pond is on the left by a small parking lot just before the Administration building circle.

A group of five BROWN PELICANS was reported on a sandbar at Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes late Wednesday afternoon; these were followed by three today in Bellport Bay off Old Inlet on Fire Island, west of Cupsogue, these perhaps part of the original group. Pelicans should be looked for anywhere along Long Island’s south shore or around any inlets.

A first-summer ARCTIC TERN visited the flats at Cupsogue last Sunday, and among the slowly increasing numbers of southbound shorebirds there was a STILT SANDPIPER on Wednesday.

Also in that region, the two male KING EIDERS of different ages were still with some COMMON EIDERS Tuesday, the flock usually along the rocks on the east side of the inner part of Shinnecock Inlet.

A CATTLE EGRET was noted from Great Kills Park on Staten Island last Saturday.

Pelagic reports were few this week, but some GREAT SHEARWATERS were spotted out east near Gardiner’s Island last Sunday. Also in that area, a ROYAL TERN made it out to Great Gull Island Tuesday and Wednesday, while others are slowly improving in numbers along Long Island’s south shore.

The good news from Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is that the East Pond is rounding into prime condition for shorebirds. A visit there this morning produced 13 STILT SANDPIPERS and 579 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS as well as other anticipated earlier migrants, including GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS and LEAST and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS. A GULL-BILLED TERN and two BLACK SKIMMERS also visited the East Pond. Earlier last Saturday at Jamaica Bay a WHIMBREL was spotted in the bay west of the West Pond, where a lone SNOW GOOSE continues.

At Breezy Point Monday afternoon single ROSEATE TERN and LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL were present, the gull continuing the next day. A few other LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS also remain at various gull gathering locations.

A male BLUE GROSBEAK, perhaps a continuing bird, was seen at Brooklyn’s Calvert Vaux Park Wednesday and today.

It appears that RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS nested successfully at Connetquot River State Park, with an immature accompanied by an adult seen there today. Another adult was also noted at a different location in Connetquot.

And this is the time to watch for floaters in our area, as birds not fully involved in breeding activities increasingly move about – this week city and other local parks have produced such WARBLERS as WORM-EATING, PRAIRIE, MAGNOLIA, and BLACK-AND-WHITE, and other similar wanderers are possible.

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, July 10, 2018

Nonplussed Red-tailed Hawk

Remember the immature Red-tailed Hawk with the two short adult, red tail feathers growing in? Look at how long they are now! You can also see some of the banded feathers of its youth beneath those two. Apparently, this individual has also gotten quite used to the regular mockingbird attacks in Green-Wood Cemetery. This year's three cemetery offspring still cry when mobbed by jays and mockingbirds. Big babies...



Thanks to Jim Demers for letting me use his footage shot during my walk this past Sunday.

Treehugger Tuesday

From Earther.com:

One of the World's Biggest Insurers Is Ditching Coal
Brian Kahn

Earlier this week, one of the biggest re-insurance companies in the world started implementing a policy reflecting the growing risk around new coal projects. Swiss Re announced on Monday it would no longer insure companies that get 30 percent of their revenue or generate 30 percent of their power from coal burned for energy (known in energy parlance as ‘thermal coal’).

It’s yet another sign that economics are turning against coal. The re-insurance giant, which underwrote $35.6 billion in non-life insurance contracts in 2016, is the latest in a string of re-insurers pulling back from one of the dirtiest sources of power generation on the planet. These companies aren’t doing it from the bottom of their hearts, though. This is about cold, hard cash and actuarial tables.

Swiss Re’s policy, which was announced in 2017, went into effect on Monday. The company said in its announcement that it “supports a progressive and structured shift away from fossil fuels.”

It follows on a 2016 policy that limits other forms of investments in coal mining and companies that generate at least 30 percent of their electricity from coal. Other insurance companies that stopped funding coal projects in various forms include Allianz, Dai-ichi Life Insurance, and Scor. Another giant in the business, Munich Re, has decided to keep funding coal projects despite being pressured by investors not to.

“This decision comes now after Swiss Re signed in December 2015 the Paris Pledge for Action to affirm our support for the Paris Climate Agreement,” a company representative told Earther. “With the decision to limit our exposure to thermal coal and develop a carbon risk model, Swiss Re established a consistent approach also on the liability side.”

Coal powered the Industrial Revolution, but its role in causing climate change has indeed turned it into a liability in two ways.

The first is that coal is a huge source of carbon pollution, with nearly double the emissions of natural gas (and infinitely more than zero-emissions renewables). As that pollution piles up in the atmosphere, it raises the risk of more extreme weather that can cost insurers a pretty penny.

Longer term climate impacts, like sea level rise, will only make insuring coastal areas a more costly endeavor. A recent Union of Concerned Scientists report showed that by 2045, upwards of 300,000 coastal homes worth roughly $117.5 billion will be at risk of chronic flooding. That’s a lot of potential losses insurers will have to pay out, and it’s only one type of catastrophe in one country. Why would insurers pay to prop up one of the industries that’s most responsible at the risk of turning their balance sheet upside down?

There’s also the issue of how the world’s energy mix will have to change in order to meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius. As of now, there’s simply no room for coal to exist in that world. And to keep our climate habitable, the transition away from coal will have to happen very soon. Economics are already causing the necessary shift in some countries, including the U.S. (despite efforts by the Trump administration to turn the coal industry around). The trend is likely to continue here and elsewhere and accelerate in the coming years.

That means coal companies could just walk away from mines and power plants, making them stranded assets and creating losses for insurance companies. In May, California’s Department of Insurance conducted a climate stress test of all insurers with $100 million in annual premiums doing business in the state (h/t GreenTech Media).

“The results of the scenario analysis by 2°Investing is consistent with Commissioner Jones’ Climate Risk Carbon Initiative determination that thermal coal presents long-term financial risks for investors,” the agency wrote in a release announcing the report.
...Read more

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

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

Gateway National Recreation Area
Saturday, July 14, 2018, 10:00am to 11:00am
Birding by the Bay
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fees: Free
View Details

Saturday, July 14, 2018, 10:00am to 5:00pm
Jamaica Bay Festival
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Join guides from Gateway NRA, Littoral Society, NYC Audubon, and Jamaica Bay/Rockaway Parks Conservancy for tours and programs celebrating the wildlife and diversity of Jamaica Bay.
View Details

Sunday, July 15, 2018, 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Nature- Birding Hiking Series
Location: Great Kills Park - Ranger Station Parking Lot
Join us for a hike along the trails and beach.
View Details

Sunday, July 15, 2018, 10:00am to 11:30am
Osprey Watch Guided Walk
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fees: free
Learn all about the amazing osprey on this guided walk of the West Pond Trail.
View Details

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Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Birding in Peace
Summer Birding Sundays
Except for some lingering individuals, by the end of the first week in June nearly all the northbound migrants will have disappeared from the city. Locally nesting birds will be incubating eggs or busily raising their first broods. In July we should see the offspring of our resident Red-tailed Hawks bravely preparing to leave the nest. Warbler songs will be replaced by chirring Cicadas and the tweets of fledgling birds. Butterflies and dragonflies are abundant. By late-July, expect the arrival of the first southbound migrants.

Before our gates open to the general public, birding expert Rob Jett leads these peaceful Saturday/Sunday morning walking tours to discover the many birds that call Green-Wood home. Green-Wood’s official birding checklist is available to pick up from the security guard at the main entrance on 25th Street or to print here. Comfortable footwear is recommended.

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

Click here for our inclement weather policy.

**********

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, July 14, 2018
City of Water Day Ecocruise
Guide: Gabriel Willow with the Waterfront Alliance
Boat launches TBA. As part of City of Water Day, a celebration of the waterways and harbors of New York City, NYC Audubon is offering a special ecocruise past Hoffman and Swinburne Islands exploring the natural history of the area. The tour leaves from Governors Island. Find more info about City of Water Day and ferries to Governors Island at www.nycaudubon.org. Registration required. Limited to 150. Free

Saturday, July 14, 2018, 6:30am – 1:00pm
Breeding Birds of Nickerson Beach and Marine Study Area
Guide: Tod Winston
Explore two popular birding spots with Tod Winston that are a little hard to get to for car-less New Yorkers. Departing early to beat the heat, we’ll first seek out breeding Common and Least Terns, American Oystercatchers, Piping Plovers, and Black Skimmers at Nickerson Beach. Then we’ll walk the boardwalks of the nearby Marine Nature Study Area in search of nesting Saltmarsh and Seaside Sparrows, as well as Osprey, herons, egrets, and shorebirds. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $98 (69)
Click here to register

Saturday, July 14, 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, July 14, 2018, 10am – 4pm
Jamaica Bay Festival
With Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, American Littoral Society
As part of City of Water Day, join us at Beach 108th Street in Rockaway Park, NY, for a fun family day celebrating Jamaica Bay with activities for all ages including nature walks, an art show, a fishing clinic, arts and crafts, games, and more. Explore the wild side of New York City with walking tours of Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and Dead Horse Bay. Transportation from Beach 108th Street to activities will be provided. For more information, contact Elizabeth Stoehr at 347-690-0931 or elizabeth@jbrpc.org. No registration required. No Limit. Free

Saturday, July 14, 2018, 12pm – 3pm
It's Your Tern Festival
In case of rain, the festival will move indoors to Nolan Park House 17
With Trust for Governors Island, Friends of Governors Island, National Park Service, New York Harbor School, Earth Matter NY
Come celebrate Governors Island’s treasures: Common Terns and oysters! Common Terns, listed as a threatened species in New York State, have nested for several years on decommissioned piers on Governors Island’s waterfront. The colony has expanded over time and benefited recently from the introduction of oyster shells as a nesting material. Free activities at this year’s festival will include bird walks and talks, and hands-on activities for the whole family. Get to the festival by taking a ferry to Governors Island. For more information and directions to the Tern Festival, visit www.nycaudubon.org/tern-festival. No limit. Free

Sunday, July 15, 2018, 8am – 11am
Prospect Park Birdwalk
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Join Gabriel Willow for a leisurely walk to see late arriving migrants and breeding bird residents of “Brooklyn's backyard.” Beautiful Prospect Park has a wide variety of habitats that 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 some of the other species that call the park home. Limited to 15. $36 (25) per walk
Click here to register


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NYCH2O
Saturday, July 14, 2018, 10am
Ridgewood Reservoir ​​​Community Tour
The Ridgewood Reservoir in Highland Park is a 50+ acre natural oasis that straddles the border of Brooklyn and Queens. Built in 1859 to supply the once independent City of Brooklyn with high quality water, it became obsolete with the addition of new reservoirs in the Catskills in the 1950’s and was decommissioned in the 1980’s. Since then, nature took its course in a perfect case study of ecological succession. A lush and dense forest has grown in its two outside basins while a freshwater pond with waterfowl sits in the middle basin.

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Saturday, July 14, 2018, 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Bloomingdale Park
Fifty years ago the area now known as the Bloomingdale Woods was a sandy, pine-oak woodland littered with everything imaginable; burnt cars, discarded housewares and un-recycled cans and bottles. A hike through the woodlands of Bloomingdale Park will reveal the effects of a half century of time and human intervention. Protectors of Pine Oak Woods fought a protracted fight to keep the woods a natural area. Participants will meet at the corner of McGuire Avenue and Ramona Avenue. For more information call Clay Wollney at 718-869-6327.
Read More

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, July 14, 2018
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Join NYC Audubon on a walk through the park to observe the many species of birds in Van Cortlandt Park.
Free!

Ridgewood Reservoir Community Tour at Ridgewood Reservoir, Queens
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Join us to explore this incredible natural resource in the heart of NYC.
Free!

Birding: Osprey Watch at Salt Marsh Nature Center (in Marine Park), Brooklyn
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. Our Urban Park Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle.
Free!

The New York City Naturalist Club: Evening Hawk Watch at Saint Marks Place and Avenue A (in Tompkins Square Park), Manhattan
5:00 p.m.–6:30 p.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, July 07, 2018

New York City Rare Bird Alert

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

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* July 6, 2018
* NYNY1807.06

- BIRDS Mentioned

BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK+
SANDWICH TERN+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

KING EIDER
Common Eider
Cory’s Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
Great Shearwater
MANX SHEARWATER
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel
BROWN PELICAN
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet
Lesser Yellowlegs
Whimbrel
Ruddy Turnstone
Least Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Parasitic Jaeger
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Gull-billed Tern
Black Tern
Royal Tern
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
SNOWY OWL
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Magnolia Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
BLUE GROSBEAK

Greetings! This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, July 6, 2018 at 11 pm.

The highlights of today's tape are BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK, BROWN PELICAN, SANDWICH TERN, SNOWY OWL, KING EIDER, MANX SHEARWATER, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, BLUE GROSBEAK and more.

A BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK reappeared last Saturday at Nissequogue River State Park in Kings Park, though without its mate, last noted on Thursday June 28. The duck was still feeding on the pond yesterday. The park entrance is off Johnland Road on the continuation of Kings Park Boulevard, and the pond is on the left by a small parking lot just before the administration building circle.

This week's BROWN PELICANS featured two moving east off Fire Island last Saturday and four the next morning headed west off Robert Moses State Park field 2.

A SANDWICH TERN was seen very briefly last Saturday afternoon at Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes. Other terns at Cupsogue included three Royal Terns Saturday and one Thursday along with a BLACK TERN, and the beginnings of the southbound shorebird migration have also been in evidence there, with appearances of some SHORT BILLED DOWITCHERS, both GREATER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS, three WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS last Saturday and a PECTORAL SANDPIPER Thursday, LEAST SANDPIPER, RUDDY TURNSTONE, four “WESTERN” WILLETS, and three WHIMBRELS Thursday. Other WHIMBRELS were noted Friday at Jones Beach West End and off Robert Moses State Park field
2.

Pelagic species have also produced some decent numbers late this week off Long Island’s south shore - at Cupsogue Thursday combined counts netted 3 MANX, 140 CORY’S, 9 GREAT and 3 SOOTY SHEARWATERS and a dozen WILSON’S STORM-PETRELS, while totals off Moses Park field 2 Friday included about 190 CORY’S, 3 GREAT and 4 SOOTY SHEARWATERS plus 8 WILSON’S STORM-PETRELS and a PARASITIC JAEGER.

A few LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS this week included five at Jones Beach West End Friday, and GULL-BILLED TERNS featured one at Brooklyn’s Plumb Beach last Saturday and four at Nickerson Beach today. Two BLACK TERNS were at Moses Park Tuesday.

Very odd and unexpected was a SNOWY OWL found Sunday on Rikers Island. The emaciated bird was turned over to rehabilitators for assistance.

At Shinnecock two male KING EIDERS continue with some COMMON EIDER, the flock usually seen along rocks on the east side of the inlet.

A YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER continues singing on territory at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Great River, and a male BLUE GROSBEAK was still present Thursday around the Calverton Grasslands in the Preston Ponds complex.

Two RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were continuing at Connetquot River State Park as of last Sunday, with another still at Muscoot Farm in Westchester County Monday.

Some presumably non-breeding floaters recently have included YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO and a few species of mostly regionally breeding warblers, including MAGNOLIA.

The RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH incursion also continues.

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, July 05, 2018

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

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

Bedford Audubon Society
Sunday, July 8, 2018, 10:00am - 12:00pm
The Butterflies of Muscoot Farm
Join Naturalist Tait Johansson for an early summer butterfly walk on the beautiful grounds of Muscoot Farm. Cost: Free. Level of difficulty: Easy.Register with Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914-302-9713.
See more details

**********

Freshkills Park Alliance
Sunday, July 08, 2018, 3:00pm
Kayak Tour
Kayak through Freshkills Park and enjoy a two-mile excursion along the tidal waterways.
Read More
Sign Up

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Gateway National Recreation Area
Saturday, July 7, 2018, 10:00am to 11:00am
Birding by the Bay
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fees: Free
View Details

Saturday, July 7, 2018, 12:00pm to 3:00pm
Plover Day
Location: Rockaway Beach near 86th Street
Join Urban Park Rangers and NPS to celebrate the piping plover, a state-listed threatened species that nests on New York City’s beaches.
View Details

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

Sunday, July 8, 2018, 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Salt Marsh Detectives
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Children and their families are invited to find out what makes a salt marsh and why they are important.
View Details

Sunday, July 8, 2018, 10:00am to 12:30pm
Seaweeds, Seashells and More
Location: Fort Tilden, Building 1
Hike the seashore during an outgoing tide with American Littoral Society naturalist, Mickey Maxwell Cohen, author of Adventures at the Beach, to look for marine life, coastal birds, and seaside plants.
View Details

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Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, July 8, 2018
Birding in Peace
Summer Birding Sundays
Except for some lingering individuals, by the end of the first week in June nearly all the northbound migrants will have disappeared from the city. Locally nesting birds will be incubating eggs or busily raising their first broods. In July we should see the offspring of our resident Red-tailed Hawks bravely preparing to leave the nest. Warbler songs will be replaced by chirring Cicadas and the tweets of fledgling birds. Butterflies and dragonflies are abundant. By late-July, expect the arrival of the first southbound migrants.

Before our gates open to the general public, birding expert Rob Jett leads these peaceful Saturday/Sunday morning walking tours to discover the many birds that call Green-Wood home. Green-Wood’s official birding checklist is available to pick up from the security guard at the main entrance on 25th Street or to print here. Comfortable footwear is recommended.

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

Click here for our inclement weather policy.

**********

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

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, July 7, 2018
Staten Island Nesting Birds – Purple Martins Plus
Leader: Richard Veit
Registrar: Karen Asakawa — avocet501@gmail.com or 347-306-0690
Registration opens: Monday, June 25
Ride: $20

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, July 7, 2018, 8am – 5pm
Breeding Birds of the Hudson Highlands, NY
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Join Gabriel Willow on a day-long trip to some of the most exciting and beautiful birding locations in the Hudson Valley: Doodletown Road, Constitution Marsh, and Indian Brook Farm. We'll look for uncommon breeding warbler specialties at Doodletown, such as Cerulean, Hooded, Blue-winged, Golden-winged, and Worm-eating Warblers. We will then head to the Constitution Marsh Audubon Sanctuary, home to breeding Wood Ducks, Bald Eagles, Least Bitterns, Marsh Wrens, and more. After a picnic lunch, we will drive to Indian Brook Farm in search of breeding Field and Savannah Sparrows, Bobolinks, and Indigo Buntings. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $129 (90) per trip
Click here to register

Saturday, July 7, 2018, 12pm – 3pm
NYC Plover Day Festival at the Rockaways
With NYC Parks, American Littoral Society, Gateway National Recreation Area
Join us at Beach 86th and Rockaway Beach Boardwalk, Queens to celebrate nesting shorebirds. Discover one of New York City's endangered species, the Piping Plover, and ways you can help protect it by sharing the beach. Enjoy educational activities and crafts at this family-friendly event that raises awareness of this amazing shorebird. No Registration required. No Limit. Free

Saturday, July 7, 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

Sunday, July 8, 2018, 9:30am – 11:30am
Summer Birding Along the Hudson: Wave Hill
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)

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, July 7, 2018
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Join NYC Audubon on a walk through the park to observe the many species of birds in Van Cortlandt Park.
Free!

Plover Day Festival at Beach 86th Street and Shorefront Parkway (in Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk), Queens
12:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
Join us to celebrate nesting shorebirds! Enjoy educational activities and crafts at this family friendly event that raises awareness about the piping plover.
Free!

Sunday, July 8, 2018
Summer Birding at Perkins Visitors Center (in Wave Hill), Bronx
9:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Naturalist Gabriel Willow contributes his extensive knowledge of diverse bird species and their behavior on these walks through the gardens and woodlands.
...Read more

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Three Generations of Hawks

I've been observing Brooklyn's resident Red-tailed Hawks for over twenty years. In recent years my notes have been mostly limited to the pair that calls Green-Wood Cemetery home. There has been a nesting pair within their 478-acres continuously for at least 25 years. That's not to say that the same pair has been nesting in the same tree over that period, just that it is a highly prized territory for this very urbanized predator. If for whatever reason there becomes a vacancy in the cemetery it is quickly occupied by another pair of hawks.

Back in 2005 Big Mama and her mate, Junior, moved from Prospect Park to Green-Wood Cemetery. It was around the same time that the cemetery's previous resident pair were found deceased. Many years and lots of offspring later Big Mama injured her leg, then disappeared. I assumed that a dead red-tailed found by rangers in a nearby neighborhood was her. A raptor can't survive without the use of both sets of talons. A few years ago another pair began nesting in the pine trees along Cypress Avenue. This season Green-Wood's resident pair successfully hatched three offspring. I believe that this is only the second time I've observed triplets in Brooklyn (the first was in 2009 in Prospect Park). A couple of weeks ago all three left the nest, but are still hanging around the general vicinity of the nest tree. Which brings me to the point of this posting.

Last year our unnamed pair raised two offspring. Of those two, one can still be found hunting around the cemetery. Its favorite spot is around the three ridges that border the Sylvan Water. It usually takes Red-tailed Hawks around two years to acquire their namesake red tail feathers. Until that point it is easy to differentiate an adult from an immature bird as their tail is a banded light-brown and dark-brown pattern. Normally Red-tailed parents aren't very tolerant of their previous kids presence once they have a new brood to raise. Our cemetery parents, however, don't seem to mind at all and can sometimes be seen soaring together. Perhaps it is because of the abundance of food in the area. Once this year's trio become more independent and start hunting on their own there might be some conflicts that will result in someone being forced to leave ... or worse. In the meantime, it's nice seeing three generations of one family of Red-tailed Hawks in Green-Wood Cemetery.

One of our resident adults soaring above the cemetery.

Last year's offspring. Notice the red tail feathers beginning to emerge.

One of this year's triplets in a tulip tree a short flight from the nest tree.

A big thanks to Jim Demers and Evan Rabeck for the use of their Green-Wood Cemetery photos.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website Earther:

China's Plastic Waste Ban Will Create a Huge Issue For the World
Brian Kahn

For years, China has been the world’s plastic waste dump. Single use water bottles, yogurt cups, hummus containers, and countless other sundries we take for granted were shipped from developed countries to China for recycling.

But a 2017 ban on the import of non-industrial waste is changing all that. Now, plastic once bound for Chinese recycling plants is being sent to landfills as the country cracks down on plastic waste streaming into its borders. This is becoming a huge issue.

A new paper quantifies just how much plastic waste China has taken in over the past 28 years and how much excess plastic the rest of the world will be left to deal with if the ban stays in place. The answer isn’t pretty: 14.1 million metric tons of plastic were exported for recycling globally in 2016, according to the findings published on Wednesday in Science Advances.

That represents an 817 percent increase in the amount of plastic exported in 1988, the first year of data. Nearly three-quarters of that plastic ended up being sent directly to China or through Hong Kong.



The vast majority of that plastic comes from developed countries, and the study expects plastic exports will continue to rise into the future. Without China to recycle it, 111 million cumulative metric tons of plastic waste—the equivalent of about 20.4 million African elephants—will be “displaced” by 2030. Displaced is a nice way of say we have no idea where it’s going to go.

Other eastern Asian countries handle most of the plastic recycling that China doesn’t, but they’re nowhere near equipped to handle an influx of that size. And while some cities and states in developed countries are moving to curb the use of plastic bags and straws, those moves are a drop in the plastic supply bucket.

Right now, more and more of that plastic is being diverted to landfills. And let’s not forget the plastic streaming into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch or even the hinterlands of the high Arctic. It’s even in our beer.

All this illustrates the peril of relying on one market to handle recycling, as well as the hubris that the convenience of single-use items outweighs the consequences. The research suggests that countries could take more responsibility for recycling their own plastic or that countries doing the importing levy a tax to help improve their own waste management and infrastructure.

The growing problem has been on others’ minds as well. Last year, researchers called for a global agreement governing how we deal with plastic, which they dubbed a “global threat.” The new findings show that threat is only likely to become more dire.
...Read more

Monday, June 25, 2018

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, June 30, 2018 to Sunday, July 1, 2018:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, June 30, 2018, 12pm – 1pm
Introduction to Birdwatching
Join Prospect Park Alliance every Saturday for a birdwatching tour to learn about Prospect Park’s magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!

Sunday, July 1, 2018, 8am – 9am
Early Morning Bird Walk: Taking Wing
This is the time of year when young birds out number adult birds. Join Prospect Park Alliance in search of fledglings as they test their wings! Tour leaves promptly at 8 am. Led by the Brooklyn Bird Club.

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Gateway National Recreation Area
Saturday, June 30, 2018, 10:00am to 11:00am
Birding by the Bay
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fees: Free
View Details

Sunday, July 1, 2018, 10:00am to 11:30am
Osprey Watch Guided Walk
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fees: free
Learn all about the amazing osprey on this guided walk of the West Pond Trail.
View Details

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

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, June 30, 2018, 9:00am – 10:30am
Birding Brooklyn Bridge Park
Guide: Heather Wolf
Meet at Pier 1 park entrance where Old Fulton Street ends/intersects with Furman Street. Join Heather Wolf, author of Birding at the Bridge, for a picturesque birdwalk along the Brooklyn waterfront. Target species include Barn Swallow and Gray Catbird (both of which nest in the park and will be raising young at this time), Laughing Gull, Common Tern, and more. Limited to 19. Free. Register on Eventbrite here.

Saturday, June 30, 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, June 30, 2018, 2pm – 3pm
Governors Island Bird Walk
Saturdays May 26, June 2, June 23 and June 30 2-3pm
Sundays, May 20, June 10 and June 17 2–3pm
Guide: NYC Audubon
Meet at Nolan Park house #17. Join us for a bird walk around beautiful and historic Governors Island, which boasts over 192 species recorded on ebird.org. Learn about the island’s fascinating history and search for waterbirds, raptors, waterfowl, and more. Binoculars are available. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

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New York City WILD!
Saturday, June 30, 2018
American Princess Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise (1:00 pm)

For the FULL INFORMATION ABOUT EACH WALK click HERE to take you to the Eventbrite profile page where you will find all details (scroll down to the thumbnails) for each of the outings and how to SIGN UP!

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Saturday, June 30, 2018, 8:00am – 6:00pm
Fourth of July Butterfly Count
Once a year butterfly enthusiasts and concerned environmentalists gather to survey our island’s population of butterflies. For more than 20 years we have been collecting data on these keystone species. Their numbers can evidence the health of an eco-system or the destruction of habitat. As such, we visit locations across the island to form a snapshot of the breadth and strength of our butterfly populations. Anyone interested in joining the survey should contact Cliff Hagen at 718-313-8591 or email him at chagen72@gmail.com for more information.
Read more

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, June 30, 2018
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Join NYC Audubon on a walk through the park to observe the many species of birds in Van Cortlandt Park.
Free!
...Read more

Friday, June 22, 2018

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, June 22, 2018

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jun. 22, 2018
* NYNY1806.22

- Birds mentioned
ARCTIC TERN+
SANDWICH TERN+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

KING EIDER
Common Eider
CORY'S SHEARWATER
GREAT SHEARWATER
SOOTY SHEARWATER
BROWN PELICAN
Cattle Egret
PARASITIC JAEGER
Lesser Black-backed Gull
GULL-BILLED TERN
Caspian Tern
Black Tern
Roseate Tern
Royal Tern
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Black-billed Cuckoo
Acadian Flycatcher
Northern Waterthrush
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Canada Warbler

- Transcript

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transcriber: Ben Cacace

BEGIN TAPE

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, June 22nd 2018 at 9pm. The highlights of today's tape are BROWN PELICAN, SANDWICH, ARCTIC, GULL-BILLED and other terns and sea flights including CORY'S, GREAT and SOOTY and PARASITIC JAEGER, KING EIDER, PROTHONOTARY WARBLER and more.

Once again this week much of the birding excitement centered around the beaches and inlets along the southern shores of Long Island. Two more occurrences of BROWN PELICAN involved two seen moving east off Nickerson Beach in Nassau County late Wednesday afternoon and then what was presumably the same pelican flying west off Main Beach in East Hampton and then a half hour later off Mecox. This at midday. Like last week this one again produced two reports of SANDWICH TERN. One visiting the tern colony area at Nickerson Beach Tuesday morning and one noted rather distantly this morning off Robert Moses State Park field 2. Single ARCTIC TERNS in varying plumages indicating the presence of multiple birds during the week but only one per day were noted at Nickerson Beach from Saturday to at least Wednesday and another visited the flocks at Cupsogue County Park in West Hampton Dunes Thursday. A GULL-BILLED TERN continues to visit the tern colony at Nickerson Beach there to snatch the fish from the bills of incoming Common Terns. Another GULL-BILLED appeared briefly on the Cupsogue flats last Sunday. Single BLACK TERNS were spotted Thursday at Nickerson Beach and at Cupsogue and among the increasing numbers of ROYAL TERNS were two at both Nickerson and Cupsogue last Saturday and one at Mecox Sunday. Up to 6 or more ROSEATE TERNS have recently been visiting the shore adjacent to the tern colony at Nickerson at least a couple having been previously banded on Great Gull Island and other ROSEATES included two out at Breezy Point Wednesday and Thursday and 6 reported from Cupsogue Thursday. Missed on last week's tape was a CASPIAN TERN at Pine Neck Sanctuary in East Quogue last Friday.

Seawatching so far this year has been somewhat spotty and unproductive but that may have just changed for the better. Thursday a small flight off Cupsogue included a CORY'S, 17 SOOTY and a few unidentified shearwaters and a PARASITIC JAEGER. A precursor to a large flight witnessed off Robert Moses State Park field 2 this morning rough estimates of the number of shearwaters passing by Moses, generally west to east but with some milling about, totaled 750 CORY'S, 500 SOOTY and 75 GREAT SHEARWATERS. This flight died well before noon and no afternoon flight was observed at Moses or off Shinnecock Inlet.

A couple of LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were in the Moses 2 parking lot today.

A flock of 20 COMMON EIDER, lingering in Shinnecock Bay east of the inlet, also contains a drake KING EIDER in handsome plumage.

A CATTLE EGRET was at the Timber Point Golf Course last Sunday only.

A male PROTHONOTARY WARBLER was spotted Sunday at the northern section of Hempstead Lake State Park on the north side of the Southern State Parkway. Was this the same bird present at Hempstead earlier in the Spring?

Among some late migrants as reported in Central Park this past week have been both BLACK-BILLED and YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOOS, ACADIAN FLYCATCHER and mostly singles of various warblers including BLACK-THROATED BLUE, BLACK-THROATED GREEN, BLACKPOLL, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH and CANADA.

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

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website "Treehugger":

Rare animals emerge after 20 years of reforestation in NW China
Melissa Breyer
June 18, 2018

37 species under national protection have been observed in the Ziwuling area, thanks to massive reforestation efforts.

A few months ago I wrote about how China is planting 16.3 million acres of forest this year alone, with plans to increase forest coverage to 23 percent of its total landmass by the end of the decade.

And you know what happens when you coax a forest back into being? Creatures great and small find a place to call home ... and begin to thrive again.

If anyone was looking for proof of this simple equation, they may need look no further than the Ziwuling Forest Area in Yan'an, Shannxi province. After two decades of "massive reforestation projects" in the area, the payoff is becoming evident.

Researchers from Beijing Normal University have been using infrared cameras to check in on Ziwuling's wildlife, and they have photographed all kinds of rare species. From golden pheasants and red foxes to roe deer, the menagerie of threatened animals adds to an earlier discovery of the largest-ever population of North-Chinese leopards in the area.

“At least 28 North-Chinese #leopards, the largest wild population, have been recorded in the past year in the forest area of Ziwuling Mountains in N China’s #Shaanxi, according to State Forestry Administration's Monitoring and Research Center for the Amur Tiger and Amur Leopard pic.twitter.com/LO89ui84s5
— People's Daily,China (@PDChina) June 6, 2018

"The nature reserve has a large population of wild boars and roe deer, as well as small and medium-sized carnivorous animals such as ocelots and red foxes. If it was not for environmental protection we've undertaken, it's likely none of these animals would have survived," said Limin Feng, associate professor from Beijing Normal University.

The researchers say that so far they have catalogued a whopping 263 different species in Ziwuling, including eight endangered species under critically endangered first-class national protection, and another 29 under second-class national protection.

It's really not rocket science. Animals the world over are being threatened with extinction because of habitat destruction. Stop that destruction, put some effort in refurbishing the natural landscape, and give the animals a fighting chance at survival. And if we're all lucky, they may even thrive.

via China Plus
...Read more

Monday, June 18, 2018

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, June 23, 2018 to Sunday, June 24, 2018:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, June 23, 2018, 12pm – 1pm
Introduction to Birdwatching
Join Prospect Park Alliance every Saturday for a birdwatching tour to learn about Prospect Park’s magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!

**********

Gateway National Recreation Area
Saturday, June 23, 2018, 10:00am to 11:00am
Birding by the Bay
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fees: Free
View Details

Saturday, June 23, 2018, 10:00am to 1:00pm
Butterflies and Pollinators of Jamaica Bay
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fees: free
Join naturalist Don Riepe during National Pollinator Week for a slide presentation and hike around the refuge to look for butter-flies, moths, bees, wasps, and other pollinators.
View Details

Saturday, June 23, 2018, 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Diamond Terrapin Walk
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fees: free
Join staff in search of nesting Diamondback Terrapins
View Details

Sunday, June 24, 2018, 10:00am to 12:30pm
Dead Horse Bay, New York's Best Kept Natural Secret
Location: Floyd Bennett Field - Main Ranger station
Fees: free
Hike the trails and shoreline at Dead Horse Bay with Mickey Maxwell Cohen, American Littoral Society naturalist.
View Details

Sunday, June 24, 2018, 10:00am to 11:30am
Osprey Watch Guided Walk
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fees: free
Learn all about the amazing osprey on this guided walk of the West Pond Trail.
View Details

**********

Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, June 24, 2018
Birding in Peace
Summer Birding Sundays
Except for some lingering individuals, by the end of the first week in June nearly all the northbound migrants will have disappeared from the city. Locally nesting birds will be incubating eggs or busily raising their first broods. In July we should see the offspring of our resident Red-tailed Hawks bravely preparing to leave the nest. Warbler songs will be replaced by chirring Cicadas and the tweets of fledgling birds. Butterflies and dragonflies are abundant. By late-July, expect the arrival of the first southbound migrants.

Before our gates open to the general public, birding expert Rob Jett leads these peaceful Saturday/Sunday morning walking tours to discover the many birds that call Green-Wood home. Green-Wood’s official birding checklist is available to pick up from the security guard at the main entrance on 25th Street or to print here. Comfortable footwear is recommended.

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

Click here for our inclement weather policy.

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Hudson River Audubon Society
Saturday, June 23, 2018
Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge
Meet at the refuge at 8:00am
Grasslands birds such as Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, Savannah and Grasshopper Sparrows are expected with the possibility of rarer birds such as Henslow’s Sparrow and Dickcissel.
http://www.hras.org/wtobird/shawangunk.html

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

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, June 23, 2018, 8am – 5pm
Breeding Birds of the Hudson Highlands
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Join Gabriel Willow on a day-long trip to some of the most exciting and beautiful birding locations in the Hudson Valley: Doodletown Road, Constitution Marsh, and Indian Brook Farm. We'll look for uncommon breeding warbler specialties at Doodletown, such as Cerulean, Hooded, Blue-winged, Golden-winged, and Worm-eating Warblers. We will then head to the Constitution Marsh Audubon Sanctuary, home to breeding Wood Ducks, Bald Eagles, Least Bitterns, Marsh Wrens, and more. After a picnic lunch, we will drive to Indian Brook Farm in search of breeding Field and Savannah Sparrows, Bobolinks, and Indigo Buntings. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $129 (90) per trip
Click here to register

Saturday, June 23, 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, June 23, 2018, 9:30am – 12:00pm
Let's Go Birding Together! Walk in Central Park
Help us celebrate Pride Month with birds! Let's Go Birding Together walks are for everyone who loves birds and the outdoors. We welcome those who identify as LGBTQ+, allies, families, and anyone who wants to enjoy an outdoor experience that is inclusive. This Central Park bird walk is co-presented by NYC Audubon and National Audubon Society.

Saturday, June 23, 2018, 2pm – 3pm
Governors Island Bird Walk
Saturdays May 26, June 2, June 23, 2-3pm
Sundays, May 20, June 10, June 17 and June 24 2–3pm
Guide: NYC Audubon
Meet at Nolan Park house #17. Join us for a bird walk around beautiful and historic Governors Island, which boasts over 192 species recorded on ebird.org. Learn about the island’s fascinating history and search for waterbirds, raptors, waterfowl, and more. Binoculars are available. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

Sunday, June 24, 2018, 10am – 1pm
The Parakeets of Green-Wood Cemetery
Guide: Gabriel Willow with Green-Wood Cemetery
Explore Green-Wood Cemetery, rich in both history and wildlife, in search of spring migrants and its unique avian residents: the huge flocks of brilliant green Monk Parakeets that nest there. Native to South America, these charming immigrants flourish even in our harsh winters. Limited to 15. $46 (32)
Click here to register

Sunday, June 24, 2018, 11:00am – 1:30pm
Kingsland Wildflowers: Newtown Creek Bike Tour
Join Newtown Creek Alliance for a guided bike tour to see and discuss ecological and industrial activity near and along the Newtown Creek shoreline. Once a vast tidal wetland, the Creek quickly became one of the busiest waterways in the county, leaving a significant legacy of environmental destruction and contamination, leading to the ultimate designation as a federal superfund. However, improvements are underway and the past 2 decades have seen improvements to water quality and with it a returning ecology where fish, crabs and a plethora of shorebirds now exist amongst the challenging conditions.

The bike tour will stop at key locations that highlight the industrial history, pollution issues and ecological activity along the Creek. The tour will take place almost exclusively within a heavy industrial zone. To minimize conflicts with traffic and noise, the tour will take place on a Sunday when most businesses are closed. Nevertheless, the route runs along industrial roads and is recommended for experienced bicyclists.

The tour will begin at Manhattan Avenue Street End Park in Greenpoint and end at Kingsland Wildflowers Green Roof (also in Greenpoint). Along the way, we will visit Long Island City, Blissville, Maspeth and East Williamsburg. Total route is approximately 10 miles. Participants are encouraged to bring water, sun protection and a small snack. There will be ample opportunity for photography and bird watching along the route as well. Space is limited. $5. Learn more and register on Eventbrite.

These events are run in conjunction with the Kingsland Wildflowers project and are made possible with generous support from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund and the Office of the New York State Attorney General and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

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New York City WILD!
Sunday, June 24, 2018, 1:00pm
Queens/Brooklyn: Newtown Creek Photography and Nature Walk

For the FULL INFORMATION ABOUT EACH WALK click HERE to take you to the Eventbrite profile page where you will find all details (scroll down to the thumbnails) for each of the outings and how to SIGN UP!

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Saturday, June 23, 2018, 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Kingfisher Pond - Lizard Hunt
Italian wall Lizards released a decade or so ago have adapted well to living in the area between Richmond Town and Great Kills. Before winding our way around and through Kingfisher Park we will look for these swift little reptiles and observe their behavior as they coexist with people by taking advantage of the environment we have created for them. Following the lizard hunt we will explore the wetlands in Kingfisher Pond with the hopes of seeing turtles sunning on logs in the pond as well as herons and other birds feeding in the shallows. Participants will meet at the corner of Greaves Avenue and Fairfield Street behind Public School 37. Call Clay Wollney at 718-869-6327 for more information.
Read more

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, June 23, 2018
Bird Walks at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Join NYC Audubon on a walk through the park to observe the many species of birds in Van Cortlandt Park.
Free!
...Read more

Friday, June 15, 2018

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, June 15, 2018:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* June 15, 2018
* NYNY1806.15

- Birds Mentioned

ARCTIC TERN+
SANDWICH TERN+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Lesser Scaup
CORY'S SHEARWATER
Sooty Shearwater
WILSON’S STORM-PETREL
Bald Eagle
Red-shouldered Hawk
Whimbrel
Ruddy Turnstone
Semipalmated Sandpiper
American Woodcock
PARASITIC JAEGER
Lesser Black-backed Gull
GULL-BILLED TERN
Black Tern
Roseate Tern
Common Tern
Royal Tern
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Black-billed Cuckoo
Barred Owl
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Peregrine Falcon
Acadian Flycatcher
Alder Flycatcher
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Swainson’s Thrush
Mourning Warbler
Hooded Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Saltmarsh Sparrow
Seaside Sparrow
SUMMER TANAGER
BLUE GROSBEAK
Eastern Meadowlark


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, June 15, 2018 at 10:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are SANDWICH, ARCTIC, GULL-BILLED and other TERNS, CORY'S SHEARWATER, WILSON’S STORM-PETREL, PARASITIC JAEGER, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, SUMMER TANAGER, BLUE GROSBEAK and more.

With much of this week’s birding efforts concentrated on coastal beaches and inlets where Terns gather, the number and variety of Terns has increased to even include a couple of SANDWICH TERNS – one was found last Saturday along Dune Road west of Shinnecock Inlet and the other appeared Wednesday near the Breezy Point Tip.

A few ARCTIC TERNS included two immatures on the flats at Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes last Sunday and Monday, an adult last Sunday and again today at the Tern colony at Nickerson Beach off Lido Boulevard, and an immature at Breezy Point Tuesday and Wednesday.

Single BLACK TERNS visited Nickerson last Saturday, Breezy Point Monday and Mecox Bay today, while arriving ROYAL TERNS included three at Cupsogue last Sunday, one on Fire Island Wednesday, and two at Smith Point County Park in Shirley today, their numbers expected to increase as the summer progresses.

ROSEATE TERNS include up to five around the Nickerson colony, six at Cupsogue Sunday, and four at Mecox Bay today.

One or two GULL-BILLED TERNS continue to be seen at Nickerson, and regarding identification of immature and sub-adult Siberian race COMMON TERNS at sites like Nickerson, we can only urge extreme caution be exercised unless one is quite familiar with Siberian longipennis and nominate hirundo variations within each subspecies.

Two GULL-BILLED TERNS visited the Cedar Beach Marina last Saturday for the Captree Summer Bird Count, which recorded 127 species. Other Count highlights included two LESSER SCAUP, eight CORY’S and eight SOOTY SHEARWATERS, two RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS, a gathering of birds at Democrat Point on Fire Island that featured a WHIMBREL, two PARASITIC JAEGERS and six ROSEATE TERNS, twenty-two LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS, one BLACK-BILLED and two YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOOS and a MOURNING WARBLER at mainland parks, the continuing YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER at Bayard Cutting Arboretum, and good numbers of SALTMARSH and SEASIDE SPARROWS.

A sea watch off Cupsogue County Park on Monday produced 20 CORY’S, 28 SOOTY and 10 unidentified SHEARWATERS and a single WILSON’S STORM-PETREL.

Last Saturday a SUMMER TANAGER was encountered at a private home in Northwest Harbor out in East Hampton, and BLUE GROSBEAKS continue in the Calverton area.

Last weekend the Greenwich-Stamford Summer Bird Count, including much of eastern Westchester County, tallied 126 species including eight BALD EAGLES and two PEREGRINE FALCONS, three RUDDY TURNSTONES, SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER and AMERICAN WOODCOCK, two YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS, fifteen BARRED OWLS, an ALDER and two ACADIAN FLYCATCHERS, two RED-BREASTED NUTCHATCHES, BROWN CREEPER, SWAINSON’S THRUSH, HOODED WARBLER and EASTERN MEADOWLARK.

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.
...Read more

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website Earther:

Are Reusable Bags Really Better For the Planet?
Ian Graber-Stiehl
Wednesday 9:20am

Earlier this week, a pilot whale died after being found with 17 pounds of plastic bags in its stomach. The horrific incident was our latest reminder that plastic bags contribute to the scourge of marine litter. By sheer coincidence, it came on the heels of a major U.N. report pointing to plastic bag levies or bans as key strategies to help reduce that litter. Many seem to be listening.

But as the war against plastic bags intensifies, it’s worth taking a step back and asking: How much better are the alternatives?

The assumption is that the hierarchy of sustainable choices goes reusable totes, paper, and plastic. While that may well be true from a litter perspective, when it comes to emissions, energy and water use, smog, and a host of other factors, it turns out paper and totes often fall behind good ol’ petrol-borne plastic.

A key method used for determining the sustainability of a product is the Life Cycle Assessment. LCAs analyze all the steps (resource extraction, manufacturing, shipping, use, disposal, etc.) in a product’s long journey from factory to landfill, and calculate what impact each has on things like greenhouse gas emissions, resource depletion, the degradation of water bodies, smog production, and the creation of toxic byproducts.

Next to no LCAs peg the plastic bag as a slouch.

Generally speaking, there are two main types of grocery bags: Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) and High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE). An easy rule: thick, glossy bags like the ones you get at department stores, are usually LDPE. Thinner grocery bags are probably HDPE.

One recent LCA by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, which compared 14 types of bags and analyzed their impact in 14 categories, concluded that the most sustainable choice was to use LDPE bags, and reuse them as trash bags. To match LDPE bags in climate impact, cotton bags would have to be reused 52 times—149 times if it’s organic cotton. (That may sound strange, but organic crops can require more land and resources to grow.) To compete with plastic in every LCA category, regular cotton bags would need to be reused 7,100 times, and 20,000 times for organic cotton. Paper bags would’ve needed to be used 43 times to compete.

Why does plastic come out ahead? For one reason, plastic weighs less than paper or cotton, and carries more for the material it uses. In fact, to compensate for the discrepancy in carrying capacity, one LCA by Hong Kong Polytechnic University researchers compared two plastic bags to every one paper bag, and still found plastic bags took less energy to make. Paper bags also produced nearly four times more solid waste, 142 percent more air emissions, and 15 times more water-borne waste.

The staggeringly high number of times cotton needs to be reused is attributable in part to the fact that its lifecycle can create ozone-depleting byproducts, according to that Danish study. But even ignoring ozone, organic cotton bags may need to be reused up to 3,800 times to match LDPE.

Another LCA from the UK Environment Agency analyzed the global warming potential of different bags per their carrying capacity, and compared its results to three other studies’. In all but one study, HDPE bags came out on top.

In that paper, as with others, the weight of the bags was a dominant factor. Even heavier-but-biodegradable plastic bags were determined to be less sustainable than using regular plastic as many times as you can, before using them to take out the trash.

Granted, the UK study assumed bags used in Europe would be recycled all the way in China, which could explain why recycling didn’t improve the bags’ sustainability more. This underscores one issue applying the results of any single LCA study to your situation: No two countries’ manufacturing, shipping, and disposal system perfectly mirror each other.

However, reusing plastic bags as trash bags is a common recommendation of LCAs. And the UK researchers’ conclusions on the overall impact of plastic bags are similar to those drawn by other LCAs, such as those done on bags used in the U.S. and California specifically.

There is a major factor missing from LCAs, though. Many of the places considering plastic bans are coastal areas—where plastic pollution is an serious issue.

An estimated 8 million tons of plastic finds its way to the ocean each year, most of it from developing nations. And bags are among the most common types of marine plastic pollution.

Both shore cleanup crews in California and researchers studying the effects of European plastic bag bans have seen a decisive decline in bags on shores and in the oceans, respectively, since their respective bans.

Plastic in general has even been found all over the oceans, from that poor pilot whale’s stomach to the stomachs of shorebirds to the depths of the Mariana Trench. Scientists are still working out all the impacts, but what we’ve learned so far is alarming.

“There is a growing body of experimental evidence that shows that there are some sublethal impacts on kidney and liver function—maybe some reproductive effects,” to the near-ubiquitous ingestion of plastic by marine animals, Anela Choy of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute told Earther.

At the same time, trying to identify the origins—bags or otherwise—of this plastic is the “wild west,” according to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute researcher Christopher Reddy. That’s because a huge amount of it exists as tiny pieces known as microplastic.

According to the Scripps Oceanographic Institute’s Jennifer Brandon, the most common type of microplastic out there is polyethylene, essentially the same stuff our carry out bags are made of. Still, nobody can really say how much of our current microplastic problem comes courtesy of them.

So, if plastic bag bans can reduce pollution, but leave us with bags that are less sustainable in other categories, what are we to do?

Well, for coastal areas, plastic bag bans probably make sense. For everywhere else, it’s a bit more dependent on how much we reuse those reusable bags.

As a general rule if you’re using totes, use them like hell. Sadly, some surveys suggest that people forget their totes on 40 percent of grocery trips. Others peg them as only getting used, on average, 15 times—a far cry from 7,100. What you can’t put in the totes, just put in plastic bags, and reuse said bags.

Or, if you have a bike with a rack, get pannier bags, They double as totes. Plus, cycling to the store is better anyway.
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