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

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website "Treehugger":

California teen collects 50,000 rotting golf balls from coastal waters
Katherine Martinko
January 21, 2019

Alex Weber, 18, has just published a study that analyzes how these balls enter and degrade in the water.

Alex Weber's favorite thing to do is free-dive off the coast of Carmel, California. She has been doing it since she was a child, accompanied by her father, exploring the underwater coves, fissures, and giant kelp forests. She is able to hold her breath for 2 minutes at a time and her dad for up to five. But her perspective changed abruptly in summer 2016 when, at age 16, she and her dad were diving in the waters near Pebble Beach Golf Course. There, she noticed that the sea floor was carpeted in golf balls at various stages of decomposition.

Thus began her determined quest to clean up the golf balls and research the issue further. She collected 2,000 golf balls on that first day and, since then, has gathered more than 50,000 in total, a whopping 2.5 tons of marine waste stored in her parents' garage. She's doing more than cleaning, though; she has also been collecting data.


Alex Weber's golf balls ©Alex Weber (used with permission)
50,000 collected golf balls are stored in her parents' garage


Early on, Weber reached out to Matthew Savoca, a Stanford University scientist who studies plastic ocean waste. As Weber explains on her website, she wanted to ask him about the "strong mysterious odor" that the golf balls gave off and wondered if it might be dimethyl sulfide, a plastic chemical that acts as a food trigger for animals. Savoca's curiosity was piqued and he encouraged Weber write a scientific paper about her discovery.

He joined her on the collection dives and describes hauling up so many bags of balls that the kayaks they'd brought with them were overloaded and had to be towed back to shore. He told NPR, "When we were out there, we'd hear, 'plink, plink,' and we'd look up on the hill and there'd be golf balls flying in off the course right into the ocean where we were doing collections." They collected between 500 and 5,000 balls per day.


Alex Weber sorts golf balls © Alex Weber/The Plastic Pick-Up (used with permission)

Weber's paper (co-authored with Savoca and father Michael Weber) has just been published in Marine Pollution Bulletin, titled, "Quantifying marine debris associated with coastal golf courses." NPR reports:

"The team notes that golf balls are coated with a thin polyurethane shell that degrades over time. They also contain zinc compounds that are toxic... The surf and currents act like a rock grinder and break down the golf balls. While chemicals from 50,000 or so golf balls will have only a small effect on the ocean, Savoca says they do degrade into microplastic pieces that marine animals could eat. The team also notes that there are lots of coastal golf courses around the world, so this may go beyond California."

The numbers paint a grim picture. If a player at Pebble Beach loses 1-3 balls per round and the golf course hosts 62,000 rounds of golf each year, then anywhere between 62,000 and 186,000 balls are entering the ocean annually. Multiply that by the 34,011 eighteen-hole golf courses worldwide that are located near oceans and rivers, and it's a real problem.

The study authors hope that their work will help create better cleanup protocols for coastal regions with golf courses, as well as tighter regulations for recovering the golf balls. Weber told TreeHugger via email that some golf courses have begun to do beach cleanups and that "we are working to help them expand into underwater collections." Perhaps someone should start inventing an all-natural, water-soluble golf ball, too? Or what about a floating golf ball? Then golfers would have to see what they're doing and it would cease to be acceptable.

Learn more on Alex Weber's website, The Plastic Pick-Up.
...Read more

Monday, January 21, 2019

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, January 26, 2019 to Sunday, January 27, 2019:

Bedford Audubon Society
Sunday, January 27, 2019, 10:00am - 12:00pm
Winter Tree Identification at Muscoot Farm with Naturalist Tait Johansson
Co-sponsored with Friends of Muscoot Farm. Join Tait to learn how to use a tree’s structure, bark, and other clues to ID it even after the leaves have fallen. Family friendly, but all children must be accompanied by an adult.
Cost: Free.
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Dress warm. Please register with Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914.302.9713.
See more details

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, January 26, 2019, 7:00am - 4:00pm
The Waterfowl Census of Coastal Brooklyn and Queens
Leader: Peter Dorosh
Focus: The annual waterfowl count of ducks, swans, coots, grebes, etc. in Gerritsen Creek, Dead Horse Bay, Fort Tilden, and the Western Rockaway/Breezy Point Gateway Unit, from 7 am to 4 pm.
Registrar: Peter Dorosh Prosbird@aol.com or text only cell 347-622-3559
Registration Period: Jan 19th – Jan 24th
Note: Cancelled if rain or heavy […]

Saturday, January 26, 2019, 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Prospect Park: Birdwatching for Beginners
Leader: Cyrus Baty
Birdwatching for Beginners meets at the Prospect Park Audubon Center at The Boathouse at 12 noon.
Bring binoculars if you have them; otherwise, binoculars are available for loan.

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Feminist Bird Club
Sunday, January 27, 2019
Pelham Bay Park
Leader: Jeffrey Ward

All walks follow the ABA Code of Birding Ethics

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Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, January 27, 2019
Birding in Peace
Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean that there aren’t interesting birds to discover in Green-Wood. For some bird species that migrate south after the breeding season, Brooklyn is their Miami during the cold months. Spend the early morning exploring the cemetery, looking for overwintering waterfowl, nuthatches, woodpeckers, sparrows, finches and any half-hardy birds that decided to stick around. By February we’ll see some of the early north-bound birds beginning to trickle back into the area.

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

Click here for our inclement weather policy.

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Hudson River Audubon Society
Saturday, January 26, 2019
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Meet at 9 AM at the refuge. We will walk the 1.7-mile loop around the newly fixed West Pond for waterfowl such as Snow Geese and the bay for grebes and loons. Then search the revitalized gardens for some half hardy winter birds and maybe a Boat-tailed Grackle. We can then stop for pizza at New Park Pizza in Howard Beach

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Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, January 26, 2019
Pelham Bay Park
Leader: Rob Jett
Registrar: Louise Fraza — louisefraza@yahoo.com or 212-534-6182
Registration opens: Monday, January 14
Ride: $15

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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
Saturday, January 26, 9am - Sunday, January 27, 7pm
Winter Waterfowl Weekend at Montauk
Guide: Gabriel Willow
The gatherings of sea ducks around Montauk Point are the largest winter concentrations in New York State; the Audubon Christmas Bird Count at Montauk Point consistently tallies from 125 to 135 species, one of the best totals in the Northeast. Species that come to feed on the Point’s rich kelp and mussel beds include Common and Red-throated Loon, Common Eider, all three scoter species, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Great Cormorant, and Red-breasted Merganser. Harlequin Duck and King Eider also occur here regularly during the winter. Accommodations at Daunt's Albatross in Montauk and transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $295 ($55 single supplement)
Click here to register

Saturday, January 26, 2019, 9-11am
Randall's Island Winter Walk
Guide: Nadir Souirgi
Explore this lesser known spot in the East River, where recently restored freshwater wetlands and salt marsh provide habitat for many varieties of birds. We’ll look for rarities such as Common Goldeneye, Lesser Black-backed Gull, and Iceland Gull. Limited to 15. $36 (25)
Click here to register

Saturday, January 12, and Sunday, January 27, 9:30-11am
Forest Park Feeder Watch and Owl Prowl, Queens
Guide: Corey Finger
Explore the depths of the largest contiguous forest in Queens. Highlights include the feeding station at the famed Waterhole and a search for owls in the pine groves. Common feeder sightings include woodpeckers, Black-capped Chickadee, American Goldfinch, and usually at least one Brown Creeper. Past years have also seen Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Pine Warbler. On the owl prowl, look for sightings of Great Horned, Northern Saw-whet, or Long-eared Owl. Limited to 15. $36 (25) per walk
Click here to register

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New York City WILD!
Saturday, January 26, 2019, 9:30am
Winter Wonderland! Bald Eagles!
Croton Point Park, Westchester County

Sunday, January 27, 2019, 1:00pm
Winter Wonderland!Forest Park, Queens
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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Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, Jan 26, 2019
Montauk Point
Leader: Ian Resnick 917-626-9562
Please contact the trip leader to register for the trip and to find out the start time.

As per all QCBC trips, there is no charge to register, but we want to know who is planning on attending, in case there is any change in plans.

This is a full-day trip that starts early and ends with dining out near Shinnecock inlet. Of course, you may leave at any time that your schedule requires. Please pack a bagged lunch because we will not be stopping at a restaurant for lunch.

Itinerary: Park in the Montauk Lighthouse lot (see map). Immediately walk across the street to the ocean-facing side of the Lighthouse Cafe, where we will spend a considerable amount of time scoping for seabirds, ducks, loons, etc. Then, we will explore the area around the lighthouse. After, we will proceed by vehicle to many interesting sites in the Montauk and Shinnecock area, ending with the Shinnecock Inlet. Itinerary may vary depending on the presence of birding rarities in the area at the time of the field trip.

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South Shore Audubon Society
January 27, 2019
Hempstead Lake State Park

From the Southern State Parkway, take Exit 18 (Eagle Avenue) south to Field 3 (use second park entrance and make an immediate left turn.)
Directions via Google Maps

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


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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, January 26, 2019
Birding: Winter Waterfowl at West 100 Street and Central Park West (in Central Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
This program will focus on the different species of waterfowl that reside in our parks during the colder winter months. Birding programs are appropriate for all skill levels.
Free!

Sunday, January 27, 2019
Winter Seasonal Stroll at Alley Pond Environmental Center, Queens
11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Join a naturalist on this wintery guided interactive stroll. A cup of hot cocoa included to bring along on the walk.

Birding: Winter Waterfowl at Brookville Boulevard and Caney Road (in Brookville Park), Queens
1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.
This program will focus on the different species of waterfowl that reside in our parks during the colder winter months. Birding programs are appropriate for all skill levels.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, January 19, 2019

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, January 18, 2019

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jan. 18, 2019
* NYNY1901.18

- Birds mentioned
COMMON MURRE+
THICK-BILLED MURRE+
AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN+
BARNACLE GOOSE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Red-necked Grebe
Razorbill
DOVEKIE
BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE
GLAUCOUS GULL
ICELAND GULL
BLACK-HEADED GULL
EURASIAN WIGEON
BARROW'S GOLDENEYE
HARLEQUIN DUCK
KING EIDER
GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE
Cackling Goose
Eastern Phoebe
Evening Grosbeak
LAPLAND LONGSPUR
Tree Swallow
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT
Wood Thrush
VARIED THRUSH

- 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, January 18th 2019 at 9pm. The highlights of today's tape are AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN, VARIED THRUSH, THICK-BILLED MURRE, COMMON MURRE, DOVEKIE, BARNACLE GOOSE, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, KING EIDER, HARLEQUIN DUCK, EURASIAN WIGEON, BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE, BLACK-HEADED GULL, GLAUCOUS GULL, ICELAND GULL, LAPLAND LONGSPUR, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT and more.

Last Saturday an AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN was spotted at Hayground Cove in Watermill hanging out with a large troop of Mute Swans and it was still present there at least to Wednesday sometimes flying off for a spell. The PELICAN would nonetheless best be looked for in this cove which is nicely viewable from the end of Cove Lane reached from Rose Hill Road on the west side of Hayground Cove.

A VARIED THRUSH resurfaced on Staten Island on Wednesday presumably the same bird first seen at Clove Lakes Park back on December 5th. This wandering bird has been viewed near Brooks Pond in the northern section of the park, though briefly, through today.

The extraordinary recent push of RAZORBILLS along Long Island's south shore due to currently unknown factors has provided additional excitement as well. Peak numbers of RAZORBILLS this week were tallied last Saturday with estimates of around 5 thousand in the Montauk area and over 1,100 off at Shinnecock Inlet. This phenomenon has also produced a few COMMON MURRES around Shinnecock Inlet though only seen one at a time with at least one THICK-BILLED MURRE also occurring in the inlet through at least Thursday. These two species often providing great views as they move up and down the inlet. Also, farther west, a THICK-BILLED MURRE was photographed off Jones Beach West End yesterday and today one was followed as it swam along Gravesend Bay up to the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in Brooklyn. A DOVEKIE was also reported flying by Breezy Point last Sunday. This RAZORBILL abundance has out east also produced a number of BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES these gulls often attracted to feeding flocks of RAZORBILLS with a peak of 90 estimated off Montauk last Saturday and others also gathering off Shinnecock Inlet.

Also at Shinnecock a drake KING EIDER was seen last Saturday usually hiding in the bay with a few thousand Common Eider. A female HARLEQUIN DUCK has been around the inlet jetties and up to 3 RED-NECKED GREBES have been frequenting the inlet.

A large gathering of Canada Geese on the sod fields north of Riverhead has recently included a BARNACLE GOOSE and at least 2 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE as well as CACKLING and SNOW GEESE. These fields extend south from Sound Avenue between Doctor's Path on the west and Northville Turnpike on the east and are bisected by Route 105 often a good spot to begin a search. A drake BARROW'S GOLDENEYE was still off Hunter's Island at Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx today and another drake continues off Crab Meadow Beach in Northport and a female was reported from Sands Point Preserve Sunday. A drake EURASIAN WIGEON continues on Avon Lake in Amityville.

A BLACK-HEADED GULL was still at Jones Beach West End last weekend with one also spotted off Coney Island Creek Tuesday. Single GLAUCOUS GULLS were in Bellport Bay Tuesday and Great Kills Park Wednesday as well as at Triton Lane and an ICELAND GULL remains at the Montauk Harbor entrance with another spotted Monday over the East River in mid Manhattan.

A LAPLAND LONGSPUR flew over Robert Moses State Park Sunday and yesterday a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT was relocated at Hither Hills State Park and an EVENING GROSBEAK was still in Riverside Park.

A very late WOOD THRUSH was first spotted in the Quogue Wildlife Refuge last Saturday and it with such lingering species as EASTERN PHOEBE and TREE SWALLOW could find the next few days very difficult.

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, January 15, 2019

Treehugger Tuesday

From Treehugger.com:

First came the Straw Wars. Next up are the Balloon Battles.
Katherine Martinko
January 11, 2019

The balloon bubble is about to get popped as the anti-plastic movement gathers force.

When a night club in the Philippines announced that it would host an enormous balloon drop on New Year's Eve in an attempt to break a Guinness World Record, there was international outrage. The spectacle was decried by Greenpeace Philippines as "nothing short of an arrogant and senseless enterprise" and the Climate Reality Project blasted it as "wasteful, unsustainable, and ecologically apathetic."

The club, Cove Manila, was initially defensive, saying the event would be held indoors and, because the 130,000 balloons were made of biodegradable latex, they would be recycled afterward. But then the government's Department of Environment and Natural Resources sent a letter to the night club, asking it to reconsider. A spokesperson urged the club to "redirect their efforts towards more sustainable, environmentally-friendly activities that the majority of Filipinos will enjoy and be proud of." Shortly after, Cove Manila said it had voluntarily canceled the balloon drop.

This interesting news story is a sign of changing times and a glimpse of a not-so-distant future in which balloons will be reviled in much the same way as disposable plastic straws are now. This night club is not the only place where balloon-centered events are no longer allowed. Last year Clemson University announced it would end the tradition of releasing 10,000 balloons into the air before football games. The anti-balloon website Balloons Blow has an ongoing list of "balloon releases averted." The Associated Press describes other newly implemented limitations:

"In Virginia, a campaign that urges alternatives to balloon releases at weddings is expanding. And a town in Rhode Island outright banned the sale of all balloons earlier this year, citing the harm to marine life."

What's unique about balloons, however, is that there's no obvious replacement for them, unlike straws, which can be recreated in paper, metal or glass and work in exactly the same way. Balloons – unless we go back to the days of inflated pig bladders... just kidding! – must cease to exist for now, and we have to learn that it's still possible to have a fun party without them. (The Cove Manila people did. They still had an awesome New Year's Eve bash.)

It's important, too, not to fall for the greenwashed 'biodegradable latex' label because it means very little. As Quartz reported about the Cove Manila controversy, "Purchasing, transporting, inflating, and discarding 130,000 rubber orbs, even if they are made from earth-friendly latex, results in significant waste." While latex is biodegradable in theory, every balloon reacts differently depending on where it lands. And you can't avoid the fact that you're still sending trash up into the air to fall back to earth at some point, to the detriment of wildlife. There's no way to make this OK other than to stop doing it. (Read more about why latex balloons are not environmentally friendly.)

I predict this is something we'll be seeing a lot more of in the next year. First it was the Straw Wars; next up are the Balloon Battles.
...Read more

Monday, January 14, 2019

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, January 19, 2019 to Sunday, January 20, 2019:

Bedford Audubon Society
Friday, January 18, 2019 - Monday, January 21, 2019
Cape Ann/Plum Island Winter Birding Weekend
The coast of northeast Massachusetts is the winter home to a spectacular array of seabirds. Our masterful Naturalist Tait Johansson will guide this special trip around the region in search of such stunners as Harlequin Duck, King Eider, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Red-necked Grebe, Rough-legged Hawk, Iceland and Glaucous Gulls, Purple Sandpiper, Black Guillemot, Black-legged Kittiwake, Razorbill, and Snowy Owl. It’s also possible to see Dovekie, Thick-billed Murre, and Eastern and Short-eared Owls. Add these to your year (or life) list this month!
Cost: $100/members, or $130/non-members and we’ll credit $30 to an annual membership; travel, lodging, and meals not included.
Note: The fees for this trip help support environmental education so we can continue to deliver high-quality programs for free.
Please register with Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914.302.9713.
See more details

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, January 19, 2019
Pelham Bay Park, Bronx
Leader: Jack Rothman
Focus: Duck species, winter woodland birds, raptors and residents of the forest
Car fee: $15.00
Registrar: Janet Schumacher janets33@optonline.net
Registration Period: Jan 12th – Jan 17th
Please review our trip guidelines here: http://brooklynbirdclub.org/information-registration

Saturday, January 19, 2019, 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Prospect Park: Birdwatching for Beginners
Leader: Cyrus Baty
Birdwatching for Beginners meets at the Prospect Park Audubon Center at The Boathouse at 12 noon. Bring binoculars if you have them; otherwise, binoculars are available for loan.

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, January 19, 2019
Jones Beach
Leader: Richard ZainEldeen
Registrar: Kathleen Howley — kathleenhowley@gmail.com or 212-877-3170
Registration opens: Monday, January 7
Ride: $25

**********

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

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Sunday, January 20, 2019, 8:30am – 10:30am
Eagle Watch and Bird Walk at Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan
Guide: Annie Barry
Join Annie Barry for a winter hike through the various landscapes and habitats of Inwood Hill Park. Located at the northern tip of Manhattan where the Harlem River meets the Hudson, Inwood Hill Park offers shoreline vistas, mature forest, and the last natural salt marsh in Manhattan. We'll begin on the Hudson shore in search of the Bald Eagles that have been sighted there frequently in recent winters, then move into the forest to search for wintering and year-round birds, and finally to the salt marsh to look for wintering ducks. Some hilly walking required. Limited to 15. $36 (25)
Click here to register

Sunday, January 20, 2019, 10:30am – 4:00pm
Snow Birds of Floyd Bennett Field and Fort Tilden, Queens
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Winter brings many rare birds to the City that can’t be found here at any other time. Perhaps most exciting are the “snow birds” of the Arctic tundra, such as Snow Buntings and Snowy Owls, that can occasionally be found in tundra-like habitats further south. Look for these and other winter visitors such as Horned Larks, American Tree Sparrows, and Rough-legged Hawks, as well as wintering ducks, grebes, and loons. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $88 (62) per walk
Click here to register

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New York City WILD!
Saturday, January 19, 2019, 11:30am
Winter Wonderland! Coney Island, Brooklyn Photography and Nature Walk

For the full information about each walk click HERE (scroll down to the thumbnails) for each of the outings and how to SIGN UP

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Sunday, January 20, 2019, 10:30am-12:30pm
Central Greenbelt Trails to Overlook
This is one of my favorite walks in the Greenbelt. We will walk along the Greenbelt ridge through deep woods and arrive at the overlook for a restorative view of an idyllic landscape stretching to the bay. Dress warmly and bring snacks and beverage.
Meet at the High Rock Park parking lot at the top of Nevada Avenue off Rockland Avenue.
For more information, contact Hillel Lofaso at hillel5757@gmail.com or 718-477-0545.

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, January 19, 2019
Birding: Winter Birds at Green-Wood Cemetery at 25th Street, Brooklyn
11:00 a.m.–12:30 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. All skill levels are welcome.
Free!

Birding: Hawk Watch at Unisphere (in Flushing Meadows Corona Park), Queens
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Our Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle. Our birding programs are appropriate for all skill levels and beginners are welcome.
Free!

Ecosystem Explorers: Deciduous Forest at Parking Lot (in High Rock Park), Staten Island
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Deciduous forests host many different tree species, and all kinds of wildlife from birds to deer can be seen in their natural environment
Free!

Sunday, January 20, 2019
Birding: Winter Waterfowl at Orchard Beach Nature Center (in Pelham Bay Park), Bronx
11:00 a.m.–12:30 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.
Appropriate for all skill levels.
Free!

Animal of the Month: Northern Harrier at Arthur Kill Road and Brookfield Avenue (in Brookfield Park), Staten Island
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Join the Urban Park Rangers in Brookfield Park as we look for this acrobatic raptor, the Norther Harrier.
Free!
...Read more

Monday, January 07, 2019

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, January 12, 2019 to Sunday, January 13, 2019:

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, January 12, 2019
A Western Long Island rarities pursuit
Leader: Steve Nanz
Focus: We will target the latest reports from the week’s quality bird species
Car fee: $20.00
Registrar: Heidi Steiner email heidi.steiner.bklyn@gmail.com or call before 8 pm 718- 369-2116
Registration Period: Jan 5th – Jan 10th
Please review our trip guidelines here: http://brooklynbirdclub.org/information-registration

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

**********

Eastern Long Island Audubon Society
Saturday, January 12, 2019, 9:00am
Lakes around Patchogue
Leaders: John McNeil & Rosemary Valente
Meet at the parking area at the corner of Lake Drive and East Main Street in East Patchogue by the side of Swan Lake. We will check out Swan Lake and then visit several other spots for a look at the bountiful water birds that flock to LI in the winter. Hopefully a surprise or two will be waiting for us.
Contact John McNeil at 631.281.2623 or mcneil.jp@gmail.com if you need more information.
Snow date: Saturday, January 19, 2019

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Great South Bay Audubon Society
Saturday, January 12, 2019, 8:00am
Birding and Breakfast, Connetquot River SPP
Leader(s): Edith and Bob Wilson, Helga Merryman, Ken Thompson, Jack Carlson

Continental breakfast. Reservations required - call Connetquot River State Park Preserve at 581-1072 or fill out the form on our programs page to register. Registration fee $4. plus $8 parking fee per car - unless you have yearly Empire pass.

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Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, January 12, 2019
Croton Point Park
Leader: Richard ZainEldeen
Registrar: Anne Lazarus — amlazarus47@gmail.com or 212-673-9059
Registration opens: Monday, December 31
Public transportation

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

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, January 12, 2019, 9am – 6pm
Winter Birding on the South Shore of Long Island
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Winter in New York brings the excitement of possibility: Will Snowy Owls appear in the dunes? Will Harlequin Ducks move westward from Cape Cod and Montauk and appear in closer waters? Will irruptive northern finches and Bohemian Waxwings move south from Canada? All of these species and more are possible on Long Island in the winter, along with more expected species such as loons, grebes, scaup, eider, Northern Harriers, and Purple Sandpipers. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $95 (67) per trip
Click here to register

Saturday, January 12, 2019, 9:30am – 11:00am
Forest Park Feeder Watch and Owl Prowl, Queens
Guide: Corey Finger
Explore the depths of the largest contiguous forest in Queens. Highlights include the feeding station at the famed Waterhole and a search for owls in the pine groves. Common feeder sightings include woodpeckers, Black-capped Chickadee, American Goldfinch, and usually at least one Brown Creeper. Past years have also seen Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Pine Warbler. On the owl prowl, look for sightings of Great Horned, Northern Saw-whet, or Long-eared Owl. Limited to 15. $36 (25) per walk
Click here to register

Sunday, January 13, 2019, 9:30am – 11:30am
Winter Birding at Wave Hill, Bronx
Sundays, December 9, January 13, February 10, and March 10, 9:30-11:30am
Guide: Gabriel Willow with Wave Hill
Meet at the Perkins Visitor Center. The Hudson River valley hosts an impressive diversity of bird species, even during the winter months. Come explore the beautiful gardens and woodlands of Wave Hill and observe the hardy birds that spend the winter in this urban oasis. Walks run rain or shine. Ages 10 and up welcome with an adult. See www.wavehill.org for admission rates. NYC Audubon members enjoy two-for-one admission

**********

New York City WILD!
Saturday, January 12, 2019, 9:00am
Winter Wonderland! Brookfield Park, Staten Island Photography and Nature Walk

For the full information about each walk click HERE (scroll down to the thumbnails) for each of the outings and how to SIGN UP

**********

Queens County Bird Club
Saturday, Jan 12, 2019
Point Lookout
Leader: Steve Schellenger (516) 987-8103

Please contact the trip leader to register for the trip and to find out the start time.
As per all QCBC trips, there is no charge to register, but we want to know who is planning on attending, in case there is any change in plans.

This is a half-day "mini trip" that will end before lunchtime.
Park on-street on or near Lido Blvd, about three blocks from the east end. See map.

Itinerary: We will view waterfowl from the seawalls of Pt Lookout. (Note that the beach itself is closed due to construction.). Next, we will stop at the nearby Lido Beach Passive Nature Area. Other stops may be added as time permits.

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Jones Beach West End 2

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

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

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

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


**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, January 12, 2019
The New York City Naturalist Club: Bald Eagle Watch at Payson Park House (in Inwood Hill Park)
9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. Our Rangers will guide you to the best viewing spots in the urban jungle. All skill levels are welcomed.
Free!

Sunday, January 13, 2019
Winter Birding at Perkins Visitors Center (in Wave Hill), Bronx
9:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Explore Wave Hill’s tranquil gardens and woodlands with naturalist Gabriel Willow to observe birds in their winter habitats.

Birding: Winter Waterfowl at Hylan Boulevard and Edgewater Street (in Alice Austen Park), Staten Island
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
New York City is home to an amazing abundance of wildlife. Our park rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in the urban jungle.
Appropriate for all skill levels.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, January 05, 2019

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, January 4, 2019:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Jan. 04, 2019
* NYNY1901.04

- Birds Mentioned

THICK-BILLED MURRE+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Cackling Goose
TUNDRA SWAN
EURASIAN WIGEON
KING EIDER
Common Eider
HARLEQUIN DUCK
BARROW’S GOLDENEYE
Red-necked Grebe
Northern Gannet
BROWN PELICAN
Rough-legged Hawk
Razorbill
Black-legged Kittiwake
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Iceland Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Glaucous Gull
Black Skimmer
Barn Owl
Snowy Owl
Long-eared Owl
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Eastern Phoebe
Say’s Phoebe (extralimital)
Common Raven
Marsh Wren
LAPLAND LONGSPUR
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Cape May Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Chipping Sparrow
Saltmarsh Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow (extralimital)
RED CROSSBILL
EVENING GROSBEAK

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, January 4, 2019 at 9:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are THICK-BILLED MURRE, BROWN PELICAN, BARROW’S GOLDENEYE, KING EIDER, HARLEQUIN DUCK, EURASIAN WIGEON, TUNDRA SWAN, BLACK-HEADED GULL, LAPLAND LONGSPUR, RED CROSSBILL, EVENING GROSBEAK, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER and more.

A THICK-BILLED MURRE first spotted in Shinnecock Inlet last Sunday has been present through today, spending most of its time feeding closer to the west jetty as it moves with the tides from near the tip of the jetty to well inside the inlet as the feeding conditions change. Other birds following suit have included a RAZOBILL or two and various species of ducks including a female KING EIDER Monday and a young HARLEQUIN DUCK Wednesday to Friday. A drake KING EIDER has also been seen in Shinnecock Bay among the thousands of COMMON EIDERS and Scoters present there. Other Shinnecock highlights have featured up to 3 RED-NECKED GREBES, good numbers of RAZORBILLS and some NORTHERN GANNETS offshore, and at least 6 BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES Monday, when 4 TUNDRA SWANS were spotted flying east.

An internet report of a BROWN PELICAN in Moriches Inlet on Tuesday may be the one subsequently being seen in Rhode Island.

The Southern Nassau Christmas Count last Saturday recorded a high 133 species despite high wind conditions. Highlights included 5 HARLEQUIN DUCKS, 2 RED-NECKED GREBES, 1,287 RAZORBILLS, the adult BLACK-HEADED GULL at Jones Beach West End, still present yesterday, 1 ICELAND and 2 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS, 4 BARN, 2 SNOWY, 1 LONG-EARED and 3 NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS, 3 EASTERN PHOEBES, MARSH WREN, COMMON RAVEN, LAPLAND LONGSPUR, CHIPPING and SALTMARSH SPARROWS, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, NASHVILLE and 2 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS, and, new on the count, a YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER visiting a private Baldwin feeder.

Finishing the waterfowl, both drake and female BARROW’S GOLDENEYES were spotted off Orchard Beach at Pelham Bay Park earlier in the week, and a drake BARROW’S was found yesterday off Crab Meadow Beach in Northport. A drake KING EIDER was seen from the Orient to New London ferry last Saturday, and lingering EURASIAN WIGEON were noted at the Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center in Brooklyn today and on Avon Lake in Amityville Wednesday. CACKLING GEESE have been present lately at Arthur J. Hendrickson Park in Valley Stream and at Miller Field on Staten Island, among others.

A BLACK-HEADED GULL was at Coney Island Creek Sunday to Tuesday, a GLAUCOUS GULL continues along Triton Lane off Dune Road, an ICELAND GULL was in the Crab Meadow Beach parking lot Thursday, and LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were noted at Lake Ronkonkoma Thursday and off Depot Lane in Cutchogue Tuesday.

A ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was spotted near Cedar Beach on Tuesday.

A male EVENING GROSBEAK spent the week at Riverside Park in northern Manhattan, often in the 117th Street area, and 4 RED CROSSBILLS were seen along the boardwalk to the lighthouse at Robert Moses State Park Monday. Generally, though, winter finches have been relatively scarce recently.

A late BLACK SKIMMER was at Bush Terminal Piers Park in Brooklyn Wednesday.

Among some lingering WARBLERS have been a CAPE MAY still in Union Square Park in Manhattan yesterday, a NASHVILLE in Kissena Park yesterday, and several ORANGE-CROWNEDS scattered across the area.

Big news north of our area have been a GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW in Delaware County and a SAY’S PHOEBE in Orange County, both lingering through today. Check the internet for details.

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, January 01, 2019

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website MNN.com:

19 ways to stop creating unnecessary trash
Sidney Stevens
December 31, 2018, 9:15 a.m.

Simple steps are the gateway to living a zero-waste lifestyle.

Recycling is a fine practice, but the industry as a whole as hit a brick wall. One way to help alleviate this worldwide problem is by reducing the amount of trash you generate in the first place and reusing items you'd ordinarily discard. (Photo: Nokwan007/Shutterstock)

You dutifully set out a full recycling bin each week brimming with plastic, paper and metal. It's a good habit, but, unfortunately, recycling efforts aren't working as well as they should.

In the last few decades, for instance, the number of plastic products has exploded, but only about 9 percent of them are actually recycled, according to National Geographic. Meaning most of your plastic beverage bottles, single-serve food containers, straws and cups end up in the landfill — and ultimately, the ocean — where they take centuries to biodegrade and harm wildlife.

More bad news arrived in 2018 when China (the recipient of much of the world's recyclables) announced it would no longer accept many types of solid waste, including certain plastics, unsorted paper and steel waste.

As the world grapples with this latest recycling rough patch, municipal waste haulers are being forced to send even more recyclables to landfills. Learn more about the recycling crisis in this video.

So what, if anything, can you do? An important first step is to stop creating so much waste in the first place and start reducing and reusing more in addition. According to Kathryn Kellogg, author of "101 Ways to Go Zero Waste," "Recycling will not save us. It should not be our first line of defense, but rather a last resort … The goal of zero waste is to send nothing to a landfill. Reduce what we need, reuse as much as we can, send as little as possible to be recycled, and compost what's leftover."

Here are 19 simple ways to start breaking the recycling habit and live a more waste-free life.

When ordering out, always forgo stuff you know will end up in the trash.
That includes plastic utensils, straws, napkins, carry-out bags and those little packages of condiments. If you're eating at home, you probably don't need any of these items. Tell the takeout restaurant not to include them with your order. Some delivery services like Seamless and Grubhub let you check a box when you order to forgo napkins and plastic ware.

If you're eating there, you can almost certainly do with less. For example, use bulk condiments (the kind you pump out into small refillable containers) instead of single-use plastic packages. Don't take a plastic spoon if you're ordering French fries. Don't grab a huge wad of napkins when you probably only need one or two. And say no to straws. Americans use up to 500 million plastic straws per day, most of which are tossed after a few sips. If a straw is a must-have, consider carrying a reusable one from home. There are lots of durable options, including stainless steel, glass and bamboo.

Bring your own ______.
Straws aren't the only reusables you can carry with you. Simply fill in the blank with whatever BYO item you need. For instance, bring your own utensils and cloth napkin for munching on the go. Use them for meals at work, too. Some takeout places and college cafeterias even let you bring your own reusable serving containers, allowing you to bypass the Styrofoam or plastic to-go options available there. Better yet, carry your own healthy meals from home using a reusable bag or stainless steel tiffin. Avoid disposable plastic beverage bottles and cups by carrying your own refillable water bottle. Coffee shop lovers can bring their own mugs instead of using throwaways.

If you already know these tricks, dig deeper with this video about ways to reduce and reuse when you're out and about.

Enjoy ice cream in a cone.
It's a small thing, but it means one less plastic or Styrofoam container you have to chuck.

Don't accept free promotional items.
Giveaways at concerts, trade shows and festivals may seem enticing in the moment, but if you don't really need another beverage holder, lanyard or refrigerator magnet, don't take any home. Chances are they'll just collect dust and ultimately end up in the trash.

Don't take the bag when shopping.
And be vocal about it so the next person in line will stop and think about it, too. Bring your own reusable shopping bags instead.

Shave sustainably.
Wean yourself off throwaway plastic razors (2 billion are ditched each year in the U.S.), and opt for reusable metal razors with double-edge blades, a straight-edge razor or an electric razor.

Buy fresh bread at the local bakery rather than plastic-wrapped bread.
Carry it home in a reusable bread bag. Likewise, visit a local butcher and bring meat home in your own container or bag. Expand your package-free shopping to include cheese, veggies, honey, eggs and as many other foods as you can.

Don't purchase single-serve items.
If you do occasionally need packaged goods, be sure to buy bigger sizes with the smallest amount of packaging, and avoid buying individually wrapped items like gum or granola bars. One large box, bag or bottle creates less waste than several smaller ones.

Buy in bulk.
Co-ops, farmers markets and locally owned grocery stores often let you fill your own reusable glass jars, bottles and cloth produce bags with bigger amounts so they last longer — everything from berries to olive oil to shampoo and laundry soap. Check here for stores in your state that allow bulk purchases.

Refill instead of tossing.
Be sure to use the same containers over and over again when shopping. Other creative possibilities include using refillable K-cups for your coffee instead of disposables, joining a CSA (community supported agriculture) subscription service that offers milk in returnable glass bottles, and frequenting craft breweries that let you to refill glass bottles called growlers.

Make your own.
DIY household products, like cleaners, toothpaste, sunscreens and shampoos, are fairly easy to whip up at home and store in refillable containers. They're mostly chemical-free so they're healthier than store-bought versions, and are usually easier on your budget, too.

Use wool dryer balls instead of single-use dryer sheets.
Not only do they last for years, but they're not saturated with harmful chemicals. Dryer balls work by tumbling around and separating layers of fabric so air can circulate. Clothes dry faster and come out softer and less staticky. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for fragrance. You can buy pre-made wool dryer balls or create your own.

Opt for plastic-free storage.
That means no baggies, cling wrap or Tupperware, all of which can leach toxins into food and are slow to biodegrade in landfills. Instead, store food in eco-friendly containers, including glass Snapware, reusable silicone bags, stainless steel tiffins, or reusable food wraps made of jojoba oil, hemp and beeswax.

Forgo household paper products.
Discarded paper accounts for whopping one-quarter of landfill waste and releases significant amounts of methane (a greenhouse gas) as it rots. Even if you choose recycled paper products, they're still fossil-fuel-intensive to produce and transport. The idea is to curb paper use as much as possible, which has the added benefit of reducing deforestation. Instead of facial tissues, carry reusable cloth handkerchiefs, swap out paper towels for cloth kitchen towels and rags, use cloth napkins instead of paper, store documents digitally, and read books and magazines on an e-reader, online or at the library instead of buying hard copies.

Go for some toilet re-training.
When it comes to taming your paper habit, you may draw the line at toilet paper. But that doesn't mean there aren't ways to tame paper waste when you've got to go. If you really want to go paper-free, consider installing a bidet, which strategically sprays a small stream of water where you'd ordinarily wipe. If you just can't imagine potty time without paper at least buy 100-percent recycled brands, preferably wrapped in paper (not plastic). Or try tree-free bio-based alternatives made of things like bamboo and sugar cane.

Say no to disposable chopsticks and toothpicks.
An estimated 20 million trees are chopped each year to meet demand for single-use chopsticks, most of which end up being discarded right after a meal. Add in wooden toothpicks (not to mention Popsicle sticks and matchsticks) and you have a whole lot of trees coming down and wood piling up in landfills. The good news is most of these items come in reusable versions.

Instead of throwing things out, give them away.
Don't dispose of stuff you no longer need (even things like a broken radio or an outdated phone). List them on sites like Freecycle or the Buy Nothing Project. Or donate them to a thrift store or nonprofit group that sends used items to people in need around the world. It's a great way to make sure stuff is reused again and again.

Fix, don't throw away.
This old-school idea is enjoying a resurgence as repair cafes spring up around the world. The concept is simple: Instead of dumping a broken toaster, laptop, vacuum cleaner or lamp, learn to do what earlier generations did as a matter of course — make them work again.

Trim waste during the holidays — and all year long.
During the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, U.S. household waste balloons by more than 25 percent, mostly in the form of shopping bags, product packaging, wrapping paper and leftover food. Get a handle on that trash by following the low-waste shopping and meal-time tips above. Additional ideas include sending e-cards instead of paper, giving no-waste experience gifts like a class or concert, and making your own gifts wrapped in sustainable alternatives like cloth bags, silk scarves or newspaper.

A zero-waste lifestyle isn't as hard as it sounds. These simple steps are the gateway to living a zero-waste lifestyle.
...Read more

Monday, December 31, 2018

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

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

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

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

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

**********

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

**********

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

**********

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

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, January 6, 2019
Mill Pond Park
Use street parking on the westbound side of Merrick Road. The park is four blocks west of the Wantagh State Parkway.
Directions via Google Maps

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

All walks start at 9:00 A.M.

There is no walk if it rains or snows or temperature is below 25°F.

For more information or in case of questionable weather conditions, please phone Joe at 516 467-9498.

**********

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

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

Saturday, December 29, 2018

New York City Rare Bird Alert

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

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

- Birds Mentioned

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

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

(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transcriber: Gail Benson

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

Greetings! This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, December 28, 2018 at 8:00 pm.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Birds of Green-Wood Cemetery

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




























The old world spelling, perhaps.


Not quite a bird, but I liked the name.

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

Here's an update from July 2015:



Here's an update from October 2015:



Here's a Reeve, also from October 2015:



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



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



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



Spotted during my walk on 7/29/18:

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



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



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



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

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Monday, December 24, 2018

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

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

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

**********

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

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

**********

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

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods
Sunday, December 30, 2018, 10:30am-12:30pm
Warm up to Winter Walk - Greenbelt Nature Center
Let’s get acquainted with the quiet, welcome stillness of winter as we explore and learn about how this season offers promise amid unique challenges. We will walk about 3 miles on the red-trail loop in the heart of LaTourette Park in the Greenbelt.
Dress warmly and bring snacks and beverage. Meet at the Greenbelt Nature Center at Rockland and Brielle Avenues.
For more information, contact Hillel Lofaso at hillel5757@gmail.com or 718-477-0545.
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Saturday, December 22, 2018

New York City Rare Bird Alert

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

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

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

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

- Transcript

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transcriber: Ben Cacace

BEGIN TAPE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- End transcript
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