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

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Treehugger Tuesday


What are you doing for Earth Day this year?


“In nature, nothing exists alone.”

Monday, April 15, 2019

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, April 20, 2019 to Sunday, April 21, 2019:

Saturday, April 20, 2019, 7:15am - 12:00pm
Prospect Park Saturday Walk
Leader: Dennis Hrehowsik
Meet at Ocean/Parkside Avenues, “The Pergola” at 7:15 am No registration necessary.
Please review our trip guidelines here: http://brooklynbirdclub.org/information-registration

Saturday, April 20, 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, April 20, 2019, 8:30am
Hallock State Park Preserve
Leader: Eileen Schwinn
This is a new State Park that has trails going down to Long Island Sound. We will follow the trails and see where they lead.
The park address is 6062 Sound Avenue in Riverhead. It is just east of the Hallockville Museum Farm.

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Feminist Bird Club
Sunday, April 21, 2019
Spring Migration with Jeffrey Ward in Central Park

All walks follow the ABA Code of Birding Ethics

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Great South Bay Audubon Society
Saturday, April 20, 2019, 8:30am
Connetquot River SPP
Leader(s): Bob Grover (516-318-8536) Ken Thompson (631-612-8028, John Gluth (631-827-01208)
Meet in parking field. Entrance is on the westbound side of Sunrise Highway (Rte. 27) west of Pond Road. If coming from west to east, Take exit 47A and go to the next overpass, Oakdale Bohemia Rd. to cross over bridge, then head westbound and stay in right lane to entrance.

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

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Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, April 21, 2019, 6:00am - 7:30am
Birding in Peace
Early-Spring Migration
Our April tours will be a feast for the ears and eyes with the trilling song of Pine Warblers and drumming pronouncements of Woodpeckers on newly blossoming trees (including magnolias, maples, quinces, and dogwoods). We’ll discover thousands of songbirds resting before their trip north as well as arriving herons and egrets at Green-Wood’s glacial ponds.

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

Green-Wood’s official birding checklist is available to pick up from the security guard at the main entrance on 25th Street or to print here. Comfortable footwear is recommended.

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

**********

New York City Audubon
Saturday, April 20, 2019, 2:00pm – 3:30pm
Afternoon Bird Walk In Central Park
Guide: Jeff Ward
Search for spring migrants on a leisurely afternoon walk through Central Park's best birding spots with Jeff Ward, NYC Audubon’s newest trip leader (see Winter 2018-2019 The Urban Audubon for profile on Jeff). Each walk limited to 15. $36 (25) per walk
Click here to register

Sunday, April 21, 2019, 9:00am – 10:30am
Pelham Bay Park Bird Walk Series
Sundays, March 24-June 30 9-10:30am
Guide: NYC Audubon with Pelham Bay Park
Before May 20th: Meet at Orchard Beach Parking Lot
May 20th-June 30th: Meet at Rodman's Neck Parking Lot
Join us to explore some of the best birding NYC has to offer. Come discover Pelham Bay Park's diverse habitat that attracts a variety of spring migrants. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

Sunday, April 21, 2019, 10am – 1pm
Birds and Plants: New York Botanical Garden in Springtime
Guides: Gabriel Willow
The New York Botanical Garden is home to a large tract of East Coast old-growth forest. During the peak of spring migration, the beautiful gardens come alive with migrating songbirds. Limited to 15. Entrance fee to NYBG not included. $39 (27) per walk
Click here to register

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Northshore Audubon Society
Saturday, April 20, 2019, 9:30am – 12:00pm
Marine Nature Oceanside
Leader: Ralph (516) 785-3375‬
Where: Marine Nature Study Area, 500 Slice Dr, Oceanside, NY 11572, USA (map)

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

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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

**********

NYCH2O
Saturday, April 20, 2019, 4:00pm
Flushing Creek Walking Tour

Join guides Cody Herrmann of FlushingBayandCreep, and Steve Vazquez of Queenscapes for a casual photography workshop that focuses on documenting the rapidly changing landscape, and the relationship between Flushing Creek and quality of life in surrounding neighborhoods.

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, April 14, 2019
Point Lookout Town Park (and Lido Preserve afterwards)
From the Southern State Parkway, exit onto the Meadowbrook State Parkway south. Exit from the Meadowbrook at Loop Parkway (just before the Jones Beach toll booths) toward Point Lookout. The Loop Parkway ends west of Point Lookout at Lido Boulevard. Continue straight across Lido Boulevard into Point Lookout Park. Travel past the ticket booths and curve left into the very large parking lot on the south side of the park. Park in the southeast corner, closest to the private homes of the village of Point Lookout and the beach. We will walk east along the beach toward Jones Inlet. After returning to the parking lot, we will drive west on Lido Boulevard to Lido Beach Passive Nature Preserve on the north side of Lido Boulevard to walk through the bay marsh.
Directions to Point Lookout Park via Google Maps | Directions to Lido Beach Passive Nature Preserve 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, April 20, 2019
The New York City Naturalist Club: Spring Bird Walk at Isham Street and Seaman Avenue (in Inwood Hill Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Our Urban Park Rangers will guide you to the best wildlife viewing spots in New York City.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, April 13, 2019

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, April 12, 2019:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Apr. 12, 2019
* NYNY1904.12

- Birds mentioned
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Forster's Tern
Blue-winged Teal
GREEN-WINGED TEAL
Redhead
Virginia Rail
AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER
SNOWY OWL
Boat-tailed Grackle
RED CROSSBILL
Pine Siskin
Chipping Sparrow
DICKCISSEL
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER
Black-throated Green Warbler
Pine Warbler
Palm Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Marsh Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

- 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, April 12th 2019 at 9pm. The highlights of today's tape are Eurasian form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL, AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER, SNOWY OWL, RED CROSSBILL, DICKCISSEL, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER and a few more spring arrivals.

With spring migration only slowly building in intensity a few surprises keep us going. The RED CROSSBILLS in the Manorville area have continued their nest building activities and thus will hopefully be around for a month or more with a successful outcome. Several CROSSBILLS and some PINE SISKINS as well have been frequenting the pitch pines along the Paumanok Path off the west side of Schultz Road about a mile and a half north of exit 69 on the Long Island Expressway. Paumanok Path starts at a small parking area and continues on the north side of Jones Pond with the birds occurring a short distance along the trail.

Last Saturday a YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER was also found singing in the same area of the CROSSBILLS but it proved to be much more elusive Sunday. The good news is that a male YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, first seen last Saturday, is again on territory at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Great River usually near the parking area. In both cases, the CROSSBILLS and the WARBLER, as well as with any unusual nesters in our area, please be extra careful to not disrupt their breeding activities.

Certainly surprising was one birder's chance encounter with a singing DICKCISSEL along 108th Street in Forest Hills Queens last Saturday this area a little west of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

A winter plumaged AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER was photographed on Wednesday in Westchester County the bird briefly visiting the landfill at Croton Point Park. This early bird offset by a late SNOWY OWL still around the West Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge last Sunday.

Also lingering, the Eurasian form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL was still on Santapogue Creek just south of Route 27A in West Babylon last Saturday. Some BLUE-WINGED TEAL now moving through included a pair seen last weekend on South Pond at Hempstead Lake State Park where some REDHEADS also remained with other REDHEADS also continuing on Jamaica Bay's East Pond.

As a migrant that can show up almost anywhere it seems a VIRGINIA RAIL was photographed last Monday evening as it stood on top of a car on 5th Avenue in Manhattan.

Single LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were spotted Monday at Heckscher State Park and today on Sagg Pond in Bridgehampton.

A BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE at Pelham Bay Park last Saturday was unusual there.

Newer arrivals have included FORSTER'S TERN, MARSH WREN and more BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS and now widespread CHIPPING SPARROWS and among the warblers some more LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSHES and the first BLACK-THROATED GREEN and PRAIRIE WARBLERS along with the now much more plentiful PINE, PALM and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS.

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, April 09, 2019

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website Mother Nature Network:

If you want to feel happier, just spend 20 minutes in nature
Noel Kirkpatrick
4-5 minutes

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

In one new study, published April 4 in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, researchers tried to identify the most effective "dose" of nature within the context of normal daily life. As more doctors prescribe nature experiences for stress relief and other health benefits — sometimes referred to as a "nature pill" — the study's authors hoped to clarify the details of these treatments. More biophilia is generally better for us, but since not everyone can spend all day in deep wilderness, the study looked for a sweet spot.

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

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

The data showed that just a 20-minute nature experience was enough to significantly reduce cortisol levels. The effect was most efficient between 20 to 30 minutes, after which benefits continued to accrue but at a slower rate.

That fits with the findings of another recent study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research, which found that spending 20 minutes in an urban park can make you happier, regardless of whether you use that time to exercise.

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

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

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

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

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new information since it was originally published in February 2019.
...Read more

Monday, April 08, 2019

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, April 13, 2019 to Sunday, April 14, 2019:

Bedford Audubon Society
Saturday, April 13, 2019, 9:00am - 12:00pm
Birding 101
Bedford Audubon Society, 35 Todd Rd, Katonah, NY 10536
Birds are the most visible wildlife around and are great indicators of a healthy environment. But do you know what’s really out there?
Get ready for spring migration by participating in our Birding 101 Workshop led by our award-winning Naturalist Tait Johansson. This workshop focuses on identification by both sight and sound. It's a great choice for beginning birders, as well as intermediate birders who want to refresh their skills before peak spring migration. The workshop will include some time in the classroom at Bylane Farm and in the field in our Leon Levy Native Garden and Hunt-Parker Sanctuary.
Cost for the workshop is $25 for members, $35 for non-members. Register with Susan Fisher at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914.302.9713.
See more details

**********

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, April 13, 2019
Floyd Bennett Field
Leader: Heydi Lopes
Focus: Open space and grassland species, sparrows, raptors, late waterfowl and early spring songbirds
Registrar: Dennis Hrehowsik email deepseagangster@gmail.com
Registration Period: April 6th - April 11th
Please review our trip guidelines here: http://brooklynbirdclub.org/information-registration

Saturday, April 13, 2019, 7:15am - 12:00pm
Prospect Park Saturday Walk
Leader: Dennis Hrehowsik
Meet at Ocean/Parkside Avenues, “The Pergola” at 7:15 am No registration necessary.
Please review our trip guidelines here: http://brooklynbirdclub.org/information-registration

Saturday, April 13, 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, April 14, 2019, 9:00am - 10:30am
Fort Greene Park, North Brooklyn
Meet 9 am at the Urban Park Rangers Visitors Center https://tinyurl.com/FtGreeneVCtr
Leader: August Davidson-Onsgard AugustDavidsonOnsgard.com
Focus: Spring migration of songbirds at a historical park. The park’s May list is 78 species to date. No registration necessary. Nearest train stations: DeKalb Avenue station; exit and walk 5 blocks east on DeKalb Avenue; Also Fulton Ave A and […]

**********

Gateway National Park
Sunday, April 14, 2019, 10:00am - 11:30am
Osprey Watch Guided Walk
Where: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Learn all about the amazing Osprey on this guided walk of the West Pond Trail. We will talk about their incredible migration and the inspiring story of how conservation efforts were able to bring this species back from the brink.

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Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, April 14, 2019, 6:30am - 8:00am
Birding in Peace
Early-Spring Migration
Our April tours will be a feast for the ears and eyes with the trilling song of Pine Warblers and drumming pronouncements of Woodpeckers on newly blossoming trees (including magnolias, maples, quinces, and dogwoods). We’ll discover thousands of songbirds resting before their trip north as well as arriving herons and egrets at Green-Wood’s glacial ponds.

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

Green-Wood’s official birding checklist is available to pick up from the security guard at the main entrance on 25th Street or to print here. Comfortable footwear is recommended.

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

**********

Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Sunday, April 14, 2019, 9:00am
Tackapausha Preserve
In the middle of densely populated Seaford on the South Shore, is an historic and beautiful 84-acre sanctuary of oak forests, ponds, streams, small mammals and scores of bird species, all of which can viewed via five miles of clearly marked trails.
Registration: (585) 880-0915

Directions: Take Rt 135 south to its end at Merrick Road in Seaford and drive east for a half mile, then turn left onto Washington Avenue. Meet at 2225 Washington Ave. Seaford, just north of the big Dunkin Donuts parking lot.

**********

Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, April 13, 2019
Prospect Park in April
Leader: John Suggs
Registrar: Dale Dancis — ddancis@gmail.com or 212-724-3269
Registration opens: Monday, April 1
Public transportation

**********

New York City Audubon
Sunday, April 14, 2019, 8:00am – 10:30am
Beginning Birding Field Trip to Central Park
Classes: Wednesdays, March 27, April 3, and April 10, 6:30-8:45pm
Trips: Sunday, April 7, 8am-2:30pm (Jamaica Bay), and Sunday, April 14, 8-10:30am (Central Park)
Instructor: Tod Winston
Learn the keys to identifying the spectacular variety of birds that migrate through New York City every spring. Even if you've never picked up a pair of binoculars, you’ll soon be identifying warblers, thrushes, waterbirds, and more—both by sight and by ear. Three fun and educational in-class sessions and field trips to both Central Park and Jamaica Bay (transport to Jamaica Bay included). Limited to 12. $192 (135)
Click here to register

Sunday, April 14, 2019, 9am – 4pm
Winter Birds of Sandy Hook, NJ
Guide: Joe Giunta, Happy Warblers LLC
Sandy Hook, a spectacular barrier island at the northernmost point of the New Jersey coast, hosts a variety of species including Arctic-bound migrants and harbor seals that lie on the beach to warm up in the sun. Other possible sightings include loons, sea ducks, Snow Buntings, and Horned Larks. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $103 (72)
Click here to register

Sunday, April 14, 2019, 9:00am – 10:30am
Pelham Bay Park Bird Walk Series
Sundays, March 24-June 30 9-10:30am
Guide: NYC Audubon with Pelham Bay Park
Before May 20th: Meet at Orchard Beach Parking Lot
May 20th-June 30th: Meet at Rodman's Neck Parking Lot
Join us to explore some of the best birding NYC has to offer. Come discover Pelham Bay Park's diverse habitat that attracts a variety of spring migrants. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

Sunday, April 14, 2019, 9:30am – 10:30am
Queens Botanical Garden Bird Walks
Saturdays, March 30 and April 27 and May 18, 9:30-10:30am
Sundays, April 7 and April 14, 9:30-10:30am
Guide: NYC Audubon with Queens Botanical Garden
Explore Queens Botanical Garden in search of migrant songbirds and learn about the valuable resources the Garden offers birds and other wildlife. Binoculars available. Register for one date or the whole series of five walks (walk-ins welcome). To register, email info@queensbotanical.org or visit www.queensbotanical.org/calendar. Each walk limited to 25. Free (with Garden admission)

Sunday, April 14, 2019, 9:45am – 10:45am
Bird Walk in Crotona Park
Guides: NYC Audubon and Crotona Park with Outdoor Afro and Crotona Park
Meet inside the park at 1700 Crotona Avenue, outside the red brick building with the NYC Parks and Recreation logo on it. Crotona Park is a 127-acre naturalist dream. The park serves as an important stopover for migratory songbirds where it’s possible to see Yellow Warblers, Chestnut-sided Warblers, Black-and-White Warblers, and Ovenbirds making the long flight between summer breeding grounds and warm winter roosts in the south. Participants should be prepared for about 1 and ½ hours of easy walking on paved paths. Binoculars are available to borrow for free with an ID. All ages are welcome. No registration required. No limit. Free

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Northshore Audubon Society
Saturday, April 13, 2019, 9:30am – 12:00pm
Cow Meadow
Leader: Stephane (516) 423-0947
Where: 40.636901, -73.571835 (map)
This walk will include additional locations: Norman Levy Preserve (Monk Parakeets) and Camman's Pond (heron colony)

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

**********

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 WILD!
Saturday, April 13, 2019, 1:00pm
The Bronx: Woodlawn Cemetery Photography and Nature Walk

Sunday, April 14, 2019, 9:30am
Old Croton Aqueduct - Part 1 (of 8) New Croton Dam to Ossining

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
Sunday, April 14, 2019, 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Long Pond Park
Page Avenue and Academy Avenue, Staten Island
We will look for evidence of animal life in the wetlands and woods of Long Pond Park. We’ll also look for the bird life, examine the geology of the area and observe evidence of past human use of the area. Meet at PS 6, on Page Avenue and Academy Avenue about 3 blocks NW of Hylan Boulevard.
For more information contact Clay Wollney at (718) 869-6327.

**********

South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, April 14, 2019
Point Lookout Town Park (and Lido Preserve afterwards)
From the Southern State Parkway, exit onto the Meadowbrook State Parkway south. Exit from the Meadowbrook at Loop Parkway (just before the Jones Beach toll booths) toward Point Lookout. The Loop Parkway ends west of Point Lookout at Lido Boulevard. Continue straight across Lido Boulevard into Point Lookout Park. Travel past the ticket booths and curve left into the very large parking lot on the south side of the park. Park in the southeast corner, closest to the private homes of the village of Point Lookout and the beach. We will walk east along the beach toward Jones Inlet. After returning to the parking lot, we will drive west on Lido Boulevard to Lido Beach Passive Nature Preserve on the north side of Lido Boulevard to walk through the bay marsh.
Directions to Point Lookout Park via Google Maps | Directions to Lido Beach Passive Nature Preserve 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, April 13, 2019
NYCH2O Tour of the Ridgewood Reservoir at Vermont Place Parking Lot (in Highland Park), Queens
12:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.
Guides from NYCH2O will lead a history, engineering, and ecology tour of the Reservoir and Brooklyn Waterworks.
Free!

Sunday, April 14, 2019
Bird Walk with NYC Audubon at Queens Botanical Garden, Queens
9:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Spot and identify creatures of flight and learn how Queens Botanical Garden provides important resources for birds—like water, shelter, and insects to eat.

Spring Birding at Perkins Visitors Center (in Wave Hill), Bronx
9:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
Welcome migratory birds back to Wave Hill this spring. Explore the gardens and woodlands with naturalist Gabriel Willow on a quest to spot both resident and rare birds.

Bird Walk in Crotona Park at Crotona Tennis House (in Crotona Park), Bronx
9:45 a.m.–10:45 a.m.
Crotona Park is a 127-acre naturalist dream. The park serves as an important stopover for migratory songbirds.
Free!

Birding: Raptors at Arthur Kill Road and Brookfield Avenue (in Brookfield Park), Staten Island
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.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!
...Read more

Saturday, April 06, 2019

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, April 5, 2019:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* April 5, 2019
* NYNY1904.05

- Birds Mentioned

Blue-winged Teal
GREEN-WINGED TEAL (Eurasian form)
Redhead
RED-NECKED GREBE
Snowy Egret
Green Heron
RAZORBILL
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Purple Finch
RED CROSSBILL
Pine Siskin
Evening Grosbeak
Louisiana Waterthrush
Black-and-white Warbler
Palm Warbler
Pine Warbler

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

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


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

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

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

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

Transcriber: Gail Benson

[~BEGIN RBA TAPE~]

Greetings! This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, April 5, 2019 at 9:00 pm.

The highlights of today's tape are RED CROSSBILLS and other winter finches, Eurasian form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL, RED-NECKED GREBE and some spring migrants.

As we wait for a weather break so that spring migration might get going at a quicker pace, our highlights continue to have a winter flavor.

Very interesting has been the number of RED CROSSBILLS recently inhabiting a section of pitch pine woods in the Manorville area of eastern Long Island. Up to a dozen or more CROSSBILLS have even been exhibiting some nesting behavior, encouraging as this irruptive species has sporadically bred in Suffolk County in the past. The birds can be enjoyed along a trail called the Paumanok Path off Schultz Road north of exit 69 on the Long Island Expressway. The trail goes along the north side of Jones Pond, and the Crossbills, as well as some PINE SISKINS, occur in pairs and small flocks along the trail shortly after entering the woods. Ticks are prevalent in the area, so it is best to stay on the trail, avoiding both the ticks and disturbing the birds. A very limited amount of parking is available at the trailhead, or you can park along Schultz Road, making sure you pull off the road completely.

The male EVENING GROSBEAK in Riverside Park in northern Manhattan was still present yesterday, though becoming more elusive as it continues its very unexpected stay in the area usually around 117th Street and to the north. Small groups of PURPLE FINCHES also continue in our area.

The Eurasian form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL was still present Thursday with American GREEN-WINGED TEAL and other waterfowl on Santapogue Creek in West Babylon, usually frequenting a stretch of creek just below Route 27A. At Hempstead Lake State Park both a pair of BLUE-WINGED TEAL and some lingering REDHEADS have been on the Lower Pond this week.

Two RAZORBILLS were spotted off Robert Moses State Park Saturday, that same day finding two RED-NECKED GREBES off Floyd Bennet Field.

Single LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were noted at Jones Beach West End Saturday and Smith Point County Park Wednesday.

A smattering of new arrivals this week has featured SNOWY EGRET as of last Friday, GREEN HERON yesterday at Jones Beach West End, BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER in Central and Prospect Parks Sunday, HOUSE WREN Wednesday, BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER showing up at a few locations Sunday, and LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH in Central Park Wednesday. Increasing numbers have also occurred for BARN and NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS and PALM and PINE WARBLERS, among others.

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, April 02, 2019

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website Earther:

Rare Bird Chicks From Ancient Lineage Hatched in Australian Zoo
Yessenia Funes
April 1, 2019

Photo: Courtesy of Zoos Victoria
The newborn cuties!

In the northern plains of southeastern Australia, bird enthusiasts can spot a chubby little guy with brown feathers and a black-and-white speckled neck and breast wandering around—if they’re very lucky. The critically endangered plains-wanderer is endemic to the continent, but loss of habitat has reduced its numbers to less than a thousand.

Now, biologists at the Werribee Open Range Zoo in Victoria, Australia, have hatched nine healthy chicks—what they believe is the greatest number of chicks born at once anywhere. Some of the bird eggs had to sit in an incubator to be born, the first time the zoo has successfully done so.

The hatching of these birds—born between March 19 and 20—is no little thing. They’re not merely an endangered species; the plains-wanderer is one of the most “evolutionary distinct” birds in the world, according to a 2014 study. That’s, in part, why the zoo is busily breeding them.

“To lose such an ancient, unique species would be completely devastating,” said a zoo spokesperson in an email to Earther.

They’ve been dwindling in numbers at the hands of humans who have been converting their grassland habitat to land for agriculture, per the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The pesticides used in farming don’t help, either. The bird relies mostly on grass seeds for food, but it also sucks insects like beetles and ants out of the ground.

Usually, zoo keepers don’t get involved and let the adult birds do their thing. However, when they found a clutch of five abandoned eggs in the zoo’s enclosure, they felt compelled to, explained the spokesperson. The eggs need warmth to develop, so the team finally decided to intervene on behalf of the abandoned eggs when that dad was clearly not coming back. The other four eggs hatched were reared by their father.

Photo: Courtesy of Zoos Victoria
The one little guy.

The ultimate goal is for the National Recovery Program—a team that includes other zoos and conservation organizations across Australia—to have at least 30 plains-wanderers in captivity to eventually release back into the wild. Right now, Werribee Open Range Zoo has 20, including the newly hatched chicks. The program isn’t operating on a strict timeline, but the loose target is within five years.

Maybe by 2030, bird watchers will have better luck spotting the bird’s white-and-black speckled collar in the plains of southeastern Australia.

Monday, April 01, 2019

New Birding Apparel Design

Celebrate your inner nerd with my new t-shirt design! Available on my Spreadshirt shop in multiple colors and products.

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, April 6, 2019 to Sunday, April 7, 2019:

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, April 6, 2019
Brooklyn Wetlands and Marshes
Leader: Peter Dorosh
Focus: central focus on species of wetlands and marshes
Registrar: Peter Dorosh Prosbird@aol.com (or backup Prosbird@gmail.com)
Registration Period: March 30th - April 4th
Leader's Note: Expected locations will be Marine Park, Four Sparrow Marsh, Floyd Bennett Field, Hendrix Creek , with optional choices–time permitting--Five Diamonds Fields/Calvert Vaux Park, Coney Island Creek Park
Please review […]

Saturday, April 6, 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, April 7, 2019, 8:00am - 11:00am
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.

Sunday, April 7, 2019, 9:00am - 10:30am
Fort Greene Park, North Brooklyn
Meet 9 am at the Urban Park Rangers Visitors Center https://tinyurl.com/FtGreeneVCtr
Leader: August Davidson-Onsgard AugustDavidsonOnsgard.com
Focus: Spring migration of songbirds at a historical park. The park’s May list is 78 species to date. No registration necessary. Nearest train stations: DeKalb Avenue station; exit and walk 5 blocks east on DeKalb Avenue; Also Fulton Ave A and […]

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Gateway National Park
Sunday, April 7, 2019, 12pm — 2pm
The Canarsie Pier and Beach
View Details

**********

Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, April 7, 2019, 6:30am - 8:00am
Birding in Peace
Early-Spring Migration
Our April tours will be a feast for the ears and eyes with the trilling song of Pine Warblers and drumming pronouncements of Woodpeckers on newly blossoming trees (including magnolias, maples, quinces, and dogwoods). We’ll discover thousands of songbirds resting before their trip north as well as arriving herons and egrets at Green-Wood’s glacial ponds.

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

Green-Wood’s official birding checklist is available to pick up from the security guard at the main entrance on 25th Street or to print here. Comfortable footwear is recommended.

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

Sunday, April 7, 11:00am - 12:30pm
Alive at Green-Wood: Exploring an Urban Oasis
There’s much more to a cemetery than death. There’s life—a lot of it. In fact, since its founding in the nineteenth century as part of the Rural Cemetery Movement, before there was a Central Park, Green-Wood has been a place to engage with the natural world in an urban environment. Whether walking through the cherry tree allée, encountering the green monk parakeets that live in the Arch, or standing beneath a towering dawn redwood, you’ll learn about the environmental diversity that makes this Cemetery one of the city’s great natural resources.

Comfortable footwear is recommended. Please note, tour route is on grass and uneven terrain.

$15 for members of Green-Wood and BHS / $20 for non-members

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Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, April 6, 2019
Staten Island Greenbelt
Leader: Seth Wollney
Registrar: Miriam Rakowski — miriamrakowski@hotmail.com or 212-749-7376
Registration opens: Monday, March 25
Ride: $20

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New York City Audubon
Saturday, April 6, 2019, 9am – 4pm
Spring Migration in Pelham Bay Park
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Explore the lovely coves and rocky outcroppings of the City’s largest park, Pelham Bay Park, seeking out migrating songbirds, late wintering birds, ducks, and a breeding pair of Great Horned Owls. The rich and diverse habitat makes this park an urban gem and a great home for wildlife. Past rarities include a Northern Goshawk and a Purple Sandpiper. Bring lunch and water. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $90 (63)
Click here to register

Sunday, April 7, 2019, 8am – 3pm
Birding Gems of Staten Island: Spring Migration at Freshkills Park
Guide: Ed Johnson with NYC Department of Parks and Recreation
Featuring special guest guide and former Director of Science at the Staten Island Museum, Ed Johnson! Start your trip with a journey across the Upper Bay. From wetlands to woodlands to rich, rolling grasslands, Freshkills Park offers a diverse collection of habitats and wildlife. On a spring day, over 100 species of birds and a variety of butterflies can be seen here. Join local naturalist Cliff Hagen and NYC Parks Department staff on this special opportunity to explore the deep, secret places of the City's latest, greatest park. Transport by passenger van on S.I.from the Staten Island St. George Terminal included. Limited to 12. $50 (35)
Click here to register

Sunday, April 7, 2019, 8:00am – 2:30pm
Beginning Birding Field Trip to Jamaica Bay
Classes: Wednesdays, March 27, April 3, and April 10, 6:30-8:45pm
Trips: Sunday, April 7, 8am-2:30pm (Jamaica Bay), and Sunday, April 14, 8-10:30am (Central Park)
Instructor: Tod Winston
Learn the keys to identifying the spectacular variety of birds that migrate through New York City every spring. Even if you've never picked up a pair of binoculars, you’ll soon be identifying warblers, thrushes, waterbirds, and more—both by sight and by ear. Three fun and educational in-class sessions and field trips to both Central Park and Jamaica Bay (transport to Jamaica Bay included). Limited to 12. $192 (135)
Click here to register

Sunday, April 7, 2019, 8am – 10am
North Brooklyn Bird Walks
Greenpoint Avenue Bridge to First Calvary Cemetery (map)
Come along with Heather Wolf, author of Birding at the Bridge and web developer for Cornell Lab of Ornithology's eBird.org, for a leisurely walk across Greenpoint Avenue Bridge to First Calvary Cemetery to see spring migrants and breeding bird residents in North Brooklyn. Registration required. Limited to 20. Free

Sunday, June 7, 2019, 9:00am – 10:30am
Pelham Bay Park Bird Walk Series
Sundays, March 24-June 30 9-10:30am
Guide: NYC Audubon with Pelham Bay Park
Before May 20th: Meet at Orchard Beach Parking Lot
May 20th-June 30th: Meet at Rodman's Neck Parking Lot
Join us to explore some of the best birding NYC has to offer. Come discover Pelham Bay Park's diverse habitat that attracts a variety of spring migrants. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

Sunday, April 7, 2019, 9:30am – 10:30am
Queens Botanical Garden Bird Walks
Saturdays, March 30 and April 27 and May 18, 9:30-10:30am
Sundays, April 7 and April 14, 9:30-10:30am
Guide: NYC Audubon with Queens Botanical Garden
Explore Queens Botanical Garden in search of migrant songbirds and learn about the valuable resources the Garden offers birds and other wildlife. Binoculars available. Register for one date or the whole series of five walks (walk-ins welcome). To register, email info@queensbotanical.org or visit www.queensbotanical.org/calendar. Each walk limited to 25. Free (with Garden admission)

Sunday, April 7, 2019, 10:00am – 11:30am
Bird Walk in Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Sunday, February 10 and April 7, 10am-11:30am
Guide: NYC Audubon
Meet inside the park at the intersection of 69th Road and Meadow Lake Drive. Come explore the bird life of Meadow Lake! This bird walk will be perfect for beginners, who can expect to see a variety of ducks and other bird species. Participants should be prepared for about 30 minutes of easy walking on paved paths. Binoculars are available to borrow for free with an ID. All ages are welcome. This does not require preregistration. Limited to 19. Free

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Northshore Audubon Society
Saturday, April 6, 2019, 9:30am – 12:00pm
Alley Pond Park
Leader: Stephane (516) 423-0947
Where: 40.740640, -73.747500 (map)

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

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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 WILD!
Saturday, April 6, 2019, 12:30pm
Brooklyn: Green-Wood Cemetery 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, April 6, 2019, 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Bloomingdale Park
McGuire Avenue and Ramona Avenue, Staten Island
Fifty years ago this area was sandy pine-oak woodlands littered with everything imaginable. A hike through the woodlands of Bloomingdale Park will reveal the effects of a half century of time and human intervention. Meet at the corner of McGuire Avenue and Ramona Avenue. For more information contact Clay Wollney at (718) 869-6327.

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, April 7, 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.


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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, April 6, 2019
The Explorer's Club: Birding for Kids at Van Cortlandt Nature Center (in Van Cortlandt Park), Bronx
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced birdwatcher, spring migration is an exciting time to be out observing birds in the parks.
Free!

Ecosystem Explorers: Nocturnal Species at Comfort station (in Willowbrook Park), Staten Island
8:00 p.m.–9:30 p.m.
Be an explorer with the Urban Park Rangers as we venture into habitats that exist in New York City Parks!
Free!

Sunday, April 7, 2019
Bird Walk with NYC Audubon at Queens Botanical Garden, Queens
9:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
In this special series with NYC Audubon, spot and identify creatures of flight and learn how QBG provides important resources for birds—like water, shelter, and insects to eat.

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

Animal of the Month Club: Northern Gannet at Ocean Breeze Pier, Seaview Avenue and Father Capodanno Boulevard (in Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk and Beach), Staten Island
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Join our park rangers at Ocean Breeze for a chance to view abd learn more about Northern Gannets, a little known resident species of Staten Island.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, March 30, 2019

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, March 29, 2019:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* March 29, 2019
* NYNY1903.29

- Birds Mentioned

Cackling Goose
EURASIAN WIGEON
GREEN-WINGED TEAL (Eurasian form)
Common Eider
HARLEQUIN DUCK
Red-necked Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Egret
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Osprey
American Oystercatcher
Piping Plover
Spotted Sandpiper
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet
Laughing Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Winter Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Common Yellowthroat
Palm Warbler
Pine Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
Eastern Meadowlark
Boat-tailed Grackle
RED CROSSBILL
Pine Siskin
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, March 29, 2019 at 9:00 pm.

The highlights of today's tape are EURASIAN WIGEON and Eurasian form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL, HARLEQUIN DUCK, CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, RED CROSSBILL, EVENING GROSBEAK and spring migrants.

Wintering waterfowl continue to populate our area, though in much reduced numbers. Among the more unusual ducks, a female EURASIAN WIGEON was still at Bush Terminal Piers Park in Brooklyn yesterday, with the drake at Marine Park’s Salt Marsh Nature Center seen Wednesday, while the male Eurasian form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL was still on Santapogue Creek just below Route 27 A in West Babylon yesterday.

The pair of HARLEQUIN DUCKS was still in Moriches Inlet at the west end of Smith Point County Park Sunday, and among the other birds seen in that stretch were 250 COMMON EIDERS, 3 PIPING PLOVERS and 18 BOAT-TAILED GRACKLES.

A CACKLING GOOSE was at Caumsett State Park Wednesday.

Besides increasing numbers of PIPING PLOVERS, AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS and GREATER YELLOWLEGS, notable among the shorebirds were a WILLET at the Norman Levy Preserve just east of the Meadowbrook Parkway in Merrick today and a SPOTTED SANDPIPER successfully overwintering at the West Meadow Wetlands Preserve in Stony Brook, seen Tuesday.

A RED-NECKED GREBE was still off Floyd Bennett Field last Sunday, and a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was at Jones Beach West End early in the week.

Among the other arriving non-passerines have been GREAT EGRET, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, a YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON at Cammanns Pond in Merrick as of Saturday, DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, LAUGHING GULL, OSPREY, NORTHERN FLICKER and YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER.

Passerine highlights in late March feature winter finches, thanks to some RED CROSSBILLS first seen Tuesday out in Manorville on eastern Long Island. Since Tuesday up to 10 have been encountered, along with some PINE SISKINS, near Jones Pond, located off Schultz Road north of exit 69 on the Long Island Expressway, along the Paumanok hiking trail.

And with its stay now in excess of 100 days, the male EVENING GROSBEAK was still visiting Riverside Park in northern Manhattan through Thursday.

Also notable was a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW, first found in late January, that was seen today out in Quogue, usually present along the east side of Post Lane near houses #18 and 20, this site just over the bridge from Dune Road.

Among the arrivals this week have been a few NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS Wednesday and a PALM WARBLER in Central Park today. Other passerines increasing in numbers this week have included EASTERN PHOEBE, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, WINTER WREN, CHIPPING SPARROW, EASTERN MEADOWLARK and PINE WARBLER.

A COMMON YELLOWTHROAT was still in Manhattan’s Union Square Park as of 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.

- End transcript
...Read more

Friday, March 29, 2019

Are your ears ready for Spring?

Every year around this time since I began my blog over 14 years ago I write about the importance of ear birding. The northbound migration, you see, is not just a spectacular visual phenomenon, but also an audio event. The millions of songbirds that descend upon the NYC area create a short-lived landscape of warbles, whistles, chips and trills. Once these songsters continue to their breeding grounds we won't hear this dynamic dawn chorus again until the following year's Spring migration. To help appreciate these serenades, and make locating the songster a bit easier all you need to do is spend about a half an hour a day for 7 to 10 days with the right teaching tools.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Here are a few more resources:

BirdGenie
Chirp!
Larkwire
Merlin

Saturday, March 23, 2019

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, March 22, 2019:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Mar. 22, 2019
* NYNY1903.22

- Birds mentioned
RED-NECKED GREBE
ICELAND GULL
Lesser Black-backed Gull
BLACK-HEADED GULL
Laughing Gull
Northern Gannet
EURASIAN WIGEON
GREEN-WINGED TEAL (Eurasian form "Common Teal")
BARROW'S GOLDENEYE
HARLEQUIN DUCK
Cackling Goose
Great Egret
Wilson's Snipe
Greater Yellowlegs
Piping Plover
ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK
Osprey
SNOWY OWL
Eastern Phoebe
Evening Grosbeak
Purple Finch
Common Redpoll
Pine Siskin
Tree Swallow
ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER
Pine Warbler
Common Yellowthroat

- 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, March 22nd 2019 at 9pm. The highlights of today's tape are EURASIAN WIGEON, Eurasian form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL, BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, HARLEQUIN DUCK, BLACK-HEADED GULL, ICELAND GULL, RED-NECKED GREBE, ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, SNOWY OWL, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, a few winter finches and some spring migrants.

Birding locally still retains a wintry flavor. A taste of spring continued to emerge.

In Brooklyn a EURASIAN WIGEON was still at the Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Center today while the drake in Westchester County on the Rye coast was last seen Monday. The drake Eurasian form of GREEN-WINGED TEAL was still at Santapogue Creek in West Babylon Sunday. A female BARROW'S GOLDENEYE was spotted along the shore south of Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx today and a pair of HARLEQUIN DUCKS have continued in Moriches Inlet west of Smith Point County Park at least to Wednesday. A CACKLING GOOSE was with Canada Geese at Van Cortlandt Park last Sunday. A BLACK-HEADED GULL visited Bush Terminal Piers Park in Brooklyn Tuesday the same day the ICELAND GULL was seen again at Austin Nichol's House. Another ICELAND was reported on the Breezy Point jetty Sunday. Single LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were noted off Dune Road at Tiana Beach Saturday, in Manhasset Bay Sunday and at Point Lookout Monday. A RED-NECKED GREBE was still on Patchogue Lake Wednesday and two were spotted off Pelham Bay Park Tuesday.

Lingering have been a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK at the Grumman Grasslands in Calverton Monday and a SNOWY OWL was still at Breezy Point Wednesday.

Among the few local winter finches a male EVENING GROSBEAK in Manhattan's Riverside Park was still present Monday but has not been reported since and a COMMON REDPOLL visiting Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn also stayed through Monday while in Great Neck a group of up to 7 PINE SISKINS were noted up to Wednesday. A few PURPLE FINCHES have also been in Central Park lately. An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was noted again at the Salt Marsh Nature Center Wednesday while another continues to visit a private home in West Babylon and a COMMON YELLOWTHROAT remains in Union Square Park in Manhattan.

A reasonable selection of spring arrivals have included PIPING PLOVER, WILSON'S SNIPE, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, LAUGHING GULL, GREAT EGRET, OSPREY, EASTERN PHOEBE, TREE SWALLOW and PINE WARBLER and NORTHERN GANNETS have begun moving along Long Island's south shore in increasing numbers.

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, March 19, 2019

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website Mother Nature Network:

Robots hunt starfish, lionfish to save coral reefs
Bryan Nelson
March 15, 2019, 11:19 a.m.

The robot apocalypse has arrived ... if you happen to be a crown-of thorns starfish or a lionfish.

Why target these poor, innocent starfish? Well, the truth is that they aren't so innocent. When crown-of-thorns starfish population densities are under control, these beautiful creatures play a balanced role in the ecosystem of the Great Barrier Reef. But when their population booms, they can quickly become a plague, consuming coral reefs — their favorite food — with a frenzied fervor.

Unfortunately, such population booms have been happening more and more frequently along the Great Barrier Reef over the last several decades. The problem has become so ubiquitous that scientists now believe that crown-of-thorns starfish are responsible for an estimated 40 percent of the Great Barrier Reef’s total decline in coral cover.

Queensland University of Technology researchers created a killer robot in 2016 with the singular purpose of seeking out and terminating crown-of-thorns starfish, reports Techie News.

The robot, called COTSbot (short for Crown-of-Thorns Starfish robot), is a Terminator-esque killing machine. It is designed to hunt down crown-of-thorns starfish and inject them with a lethal brew of bile salts. It is capable of diving for as long as eight hours in order to deliver its poisonous mixture to as many as 200 starfish. Equipped with stereoscopic cameras for depth perception, five thrusters for stability, GPS and pitch-and-roll sensors, as well as a unique pneumatic injection arm, it is an efficient executioner. The only thing missing is an audio track proclaiming "Hasta la vista, baby" each time it vanquishes a starfish.

A smaller and mightier robot

In 2018, the same team developed a smaller version of the COTSbot called the RangerBot. It is less expensive and more agile in the water. "RangerBot will be designed to stay underwater almost three times longer than a human diver, gather vastly more data, map expansive underwater areas at scales not previously possible, and operate in all conditions and all times of the day or night," the university said on its website.

Researchers hope that by releasing a fleet of COTSbots they might restore some balance to the fragile ecology of the Great Barrier Reef, which is already under threat from pollution, tourism, coastal development and global warming.

The bots are autonomous, meaning they are capable of acting independently. For this reason especially, researchers want to make sure they are intelligent enough to identify crown-of-thorns starfish accurately. The last thing the reef needs is a fleet of assassin machines indiscriminately killing the wrong starfish species or other creatures that are healthy contributors to the ecosystem.

The robots' advanced computer vision and learning algorithm allow it to learn to target crown-of-thorns starfish more accurately. If for any reason the system struggles to identify its target, it can also record images and send them to researchers for visual confirmation.

If they are successful, the hope is to use these robots in other reefs around the world.

"The systems software architecture has been developed with task expansion in mind," Matthew Dunbabin, a professor of electrical engineering and robotics at Queensland University of Technology, told the Daily Beast. "The system can be easily upgraded with new detection modules, similar to the way plugins in apps work, without the need to change hardware."

Hunting for lionfish

Another invasive species is the target for a different underwater robot.

The lionfish is a fast-growing voracious eater that reproduces year-round. It also has no known predators in the eastern Atlantic and Caribbean, so it threatens the health of coral reefs and other marine ecosystems.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says lionfish "have become the poster child for invasive species issues in the western north Atlantic region."

A robot that is part tongs and part vacuum is the latest device built in attempts to curb the exploding population of lionfish in the Atlantic Ocean.

Colin Angle, inventor of the Roomba, has spent the past couple years fine-tuning his robot, The Guardian. He also established a nonprofit organization called Robots in Service of the Environment (RSE), to help save other marine life that are being decimated by the lionfish.

"Here, there is nothing stopping them," Adam Cantor, director of engineering for RSE told Environmental Monitor. "Local fish don’t see them as a threat and often swim close to them and are just readily gobbled up. No predator is willing to eat them, nothing is immune to their venom, and in the Atlantic, they are eating anything up to half their size."

The Guardian places "tongs" around the fish and shocks it with electricity. After the fish is stunned, it's sucked into a vacuum tube. The robot can hold several fish at a time and travel 200 to 500 feet below the water's surface. The organization is still conducting tests in the Bahamas and has not announced when the robot will be available for purchase.

Another method to capturing the elusive lionfish is the traditional fishing practice of spearing them. Students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts are developing autonomous robots designed to hunt for and harvest lionfish.

Although there are other robots that could be used to harvest lionfish, an operator must be connected to them by a tether, which could harm fragile reefs. The WPI robot would be untethered and would hunt for fish on its own, spearing lionfish and then sending them to the surface via a buoyant spear tip in order to be collected.

“The goal is to be able to toss the robot over the side of a boat and have it go down to the reef, plot out a course, and begin its search,” said Craig Putnam, senior instructor in computer science at WPI, in a statement. “It needs to set up a search pattern and fly along the reef, and not run into it, while looking for the lionfish. The idea is that the robots could be part of the environmental solution.”

Editor's note: This article has been updated since it was originally published in September 2015.
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Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, March 23, 2019 to Sunday, March 24, 2019:

Bedford Audubon Society
Saturday, March 23, 2019, 12:30pm - 1:00pm
Vernal Pools at Hunt-Parker Sanctuary
Lazy frogs? Green frogs don’t chase their prey – they eat whatever comes their way!
Find these and much more on an exploration of our Vernal Pools at Hunt-Parker Sanctuary, led by long-time Bedford Audubon member Paul Lewis. You’ll visit these hidden treasures deep in the forest and learn about the vital importance of these seasonal wetlands as spawning grounds for salamanders and other amphibians. Family friendly for children 10 years and older: must be accompanied by an adult. Meet at Bylane Farm at 12:45pm wearing boots suitable for water.
Cost: Free
Level of difficulty: Easy-moderate
Secure your place with Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914-302-9713

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Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, March 23, 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.

Saturday, March 23, 2019, 3:00pm - 8:00pm
Floyd Bennett Woodcock Sky Dance
Note: this trip starts at 3 pm.
Leader: Peter Dorosh and Ryan Goldberg
Focus: The hope for American Woodcock display in the early evening after other birding for other species
Registrar: Peter Dorosh Prosbird@aol.com (or backup Prosbird@gmail.com)
Registration Period: March 16th - March 21st Leaders
Note: As is the case with weather, American Woodcocks evening good display […]

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Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, March 24, 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

Green-Wood’s official birding checklist is available to pick up from the security guard at the main entrance on 25th Street or to print here. Comfortable footwear is recommended.

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

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Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, March 23, 2019
Central Park Winter Bird Walk 2
Leader: Richard ZainEldeen
Registrar: Kathleen Matthews — redkatamat@gmail.com or (650)-823-1239
Registration opens: Monday, March 11
Public transportation

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New York City Audubon
Saturday, March 23, 2019, 5:00pm – 9:30pm
The Sky-Dance of the Woodcock
Guide: Gabriel Willow
The American Woodcock is a remarkable bird. It is in the sandpiper family but lives in woodlands, often far from beaches. The male performs an incredible crepuscular aerial display and song early in the spring, soon after the snow melts in the northern U.S. We’ll look for it (and bats, owls, and other critters) at Floyd Bennett Field. Bring a headlamp or flashlight and a snack. Transport by passenger van included. Each trip limited to 12. $92 (64) per trip
Click here to register

Sunday, March 24, 2019, 9:00am – 10:30am
Pelham Bay Park Bird Walk Series
Sundays, March 24-June 30 9-10:30am
Guide: NYC Audubon with Pelham Bay Park
Before May 20th: Meet at Orchard Beach Parking Lot
May 20th-June 30th: Meet at Rodman's Neck Parking Lot
Join us to explore some of the best birding NYC has to offer. Come discover Pelham Bay Park's diverse habitat that attracts a variety of spring migrants. No registration necessary. No limit. Free

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Northshore Audubon Society
Saturday, March 23, 2019, 8am – 12pm
Hempstead Lake SP
Leader: Steve S. - ‭(516) 987-8103‬
Where: 40.673575, -73.649713 (map)

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

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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 WILD!
Sunday, March 24, 2019, 12:00noon
Queens: Baisley Pond 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
Sunday, March 24, 2019, 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Neighborhood Nature Series, Pleasant Plains
Pleasant Plains SIRT Station
There is nature in every neighborhood on Staten Island and Protectors president, Cliff Hagen, is excited to visit different locations across the island to explore and enjoy the nature at our doorsteps. Participants will meet on Amboy Road, below the SIRT train trestle.
We will walk local streets watching for the busy activity of migrant birds and search for early signs of spring. For more information call Cliff Hagen at 718-313-8591.

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, March 24, 2019
Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve
From the Meadowbrook Parkway, use the Merrick Road M9 east exit. Enter the Department of Sanitation entrance immediately on right (if you’re driving west on Merrick Road, make a U-turn after Central Boulevard and before the Meadowbrook Parkway). Look for signs to Levy Park and Preserve parking lot.
Directions via Google Maps

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


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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, March 23, 2019
Discovery Hike: Bring in Spring at Greenbelt Nature Center (in Blood Root Valley), Staten Island
11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Stretch out the winter wearies with a hike through the central Greenbelt in search of buds, blooms, birds, and other signs of spring.
Free!
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Exploring urban nature, birds, birdwatching, birding, hummingbirds, butterflies, dragonflies, bees, hawks, raptors, wildflowers, trees, mushrooms, environment, binoculars, spotting scope