Monday, August 21, 2017

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, August 26, 2017 to Sunday, August 27, 2017:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Saturday, August 26, 2017, 12pm – 1pm
Introduction to Bird Watching
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a birdwatching walk and learn about Prospect Park’s magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!

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Bedford Audubon Society
Sunday, August 27, 2017, 10:00am - 3:00pm
Jamaica Bay with Naturalist Tait Johansson
Join us for high tide at the bay, which sends shorebirds in impressive numbers to the refuge’s East Pond. We will also see herons, egrets, likely Glossy Ibis, and many others! Bring binoculars, lunch, plenty of cold drinks, sunscreen, and boots/footwear you don’t mind getting muddy.
Depart Bylane 8:30am or meet at Visitors Center at 10am.
Cost: Free
Level of difficulty: Easy to moderate
Please register with Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914.302.9713

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Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society
Sunday, August 27, 2017, 8:00am
Jamaica Bay Field Trip
Bring your muck boots as we will walk around the East Pond looking for shorebirds and other interesting migrants. Jamaica Bay is known for its world-class shorebirding.
Registration: 631-885-1881
Directions: Belt Pkwy to exit 17S, Cross Bay Blvd South, and head south. After crossing the bridge, look for parking lot entrance on the right side, 1.25 miles from the bridge. Turn right at the traffic light and meet in the parking lot.

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Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, August 26, 2017
Central Park Horticultural Walk
Join botanist Regina Alvarez for a walk in the North Woods and the Wildflower Meadow for a late summer look at the flowering plants and shrubs of Central Park’s north end. Along with fellow botanist Daniel Atha, Regina has been collecting herbarium specimens of every species growing wild in the Park. Already they have discovered new botanical records and have rediscovered plants not seen since the 1850’s. Regina is a former director of horticulture and a woodland manager for the Central Park Conservancy. Currently she is an adjunct professor of botany at the City University of New York.
No registration. Public transportation
Meet at 103rd Street and Central Park West at 10:00am
Full details in Summer Programs.

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New York Botanical Garden
Saturdays, July 1–August 26, 11am to 12pm
Birds, Butterflies, and Dragonflies Tour
Summer is the season to observe gorgeous butterflies, mischievous dragonflies and the birds of the cool forests. The colorful, fragrant gardens and the vibrant lakes at NYBG attract beautiful avian creatures. Come observe summer’s greatest show of shows watching butterflies, dragonflies and birds at their best.

Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Included in All-Garden Pass
Get Tickets

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, August 26, 2017, 8:30am – 5:00pm
12th Annual Shorebird Festival
During the past 40 years, over 40 species of shorebirds have been recorded at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge’s East and West Ponds from mid-July through October, with the greatest diversity and abundance usually occurring in August. Activities include guided shorebird walks, family programming, and talks from experts on shorebird conservation, shorebird identification, and Jamaica Bay.
Click here to learn more about the Jamaica Bay Shorebird Festival.

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, August 27, 2017
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

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, August 26, 2017
Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a bird-watching walk and learn about Prospect Park's magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!
Free!
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Young Birders Club
August 26-27, 2017
Special NYSOA/NYSYBC Montezuma Weekend
Saturday Afternoon: NYSOA Workshop - Shorebird Identification, presented by Dr. Kevin McGowan
Sunday morning: Young Birders' Field Trip - Montezuma NWR (Seneca and Wayne Counties)
Sponsoring NYSYBC Partner for our Sunday trip:
Rochester Birding Association

If you will be staying overnight, plan to attend an excellent Shorebird Identification Workshop Saturday afternoon. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Dr. Kevin McGowan – past NYSOA president and co-editor of The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State – will teach us a systematic approach to the often tricky task of figuring out shorebird ID in the field. The workshop, sponsored by our parent organization, the NYS Ornithological Association (NYSOA) will prime you for Sunday's field trip!

On Sunday, NYSYBC alumnus Greg Lawrence, a NYSOA Director and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Fish and Wildlife Technician, will lead a trip for us to one of New York State's top birding destinations, the expansive Montezuma NWR.

Shallow pools and cattail marshes are maintained for waterfowl. Pools are often drawn down for shorebirds in the fall. Upland and bottomland hardwood forests attract nesting birds and passerine migrants. Migrants of all types, especially shorebirds, ducks, eagles, osprey, and herons, will be seen. Our Rochester Birding Association guide (a NYSYBC alumnus!) is very familiar with the refuge. MNWR covers a vast area of varied habitat. Visit The Rochester Birding Association's website for complete details on this birding mecca.

Complete details about this NYSOA/NYSYBC weekend and web links to lodging information:
nybirds.org/Articles/FieldTrips/2017_Aug-MontezumaShorebirds.pdf
FOR THE NYSYBC TRIP, DO NOT CONTACT NYSOA -- just send in your NYSYBC Trip Registration Form
by 8/18/17. If you have not yet submitted a 2017 medical form (page 2 of the permission form) please submit it with your permission form.
...Read more

Saturday, August 19, 2017

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, August 18, 2017:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Aug. 18, 2017
* NYNY1708.18

- Birds mentioned
FRANKLIN'S GULL+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Cory's Shearwater
Great Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
Manx Shearwater
Wilson's Storm-Petrel
American Bittern
AMERICAN AVOCET
WHIMBREL
HUDSONIAN GODWIT
MARBLED GODWIT
Stilt Sandpiper
BAIRD'S SANDPIPER
White-rumped Sandpiper
BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER
Pectoral Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE
Parasitic Jaeger
Caspian Tern
Black Tern
Royal Tern
Merlin
Ovenbird
Worm-eating Warbler
Blue-winged Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Pine Warbler
Canada Warbler
LARK SPARROW

- 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, August 18th 2017 at 8pm. The highlights of today's tape are FRANKLIN'S GULL, numerous shorebirds including AMERICAN AVOCET, MARBLED GODWIT, HUDSONIAN GODWIT, WHIMBREL, BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER, BAIRD'S SANDPIPER, LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER and RED-NECKED PHALAROPE and LARK SPARROW and more.

A very good week for shorebird variety despite Jamaica Bay's East Pond still not providing the best conditions. But the rarity highlight was the adult-like Winter plumaged FRANKLIN'S GULL spotted Monday at the eastern end of field 2 at Robert Moses State Park. The bird, still growing in its new outer primaries, was frequenting a pool in the parking lot with other gulls including several Laughing and a few Lesser-black Backed. After a brief time the gull flew out towards the ocean and unfortunately could not be relocated. There was an uncorroborated report of a FRANKLIN'S at Jones Beach field 6 the next day.

At Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge the East Pond water levels still remain too high to be really comfortable for birders especially at the north end where visitors do need to be very careful of the muddy conditions. Nonetheless an AMERICAN AVOCET was found at the north end of the pond Wednesday and on Thursday was still a little south of Dead Man's Cove. It was not reported today but an HUDSONIAN GODWIT did appear in its place at the north end. Also on Thursday a BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER visited the north end briefly until flying out with a large majority of the peeps not to return. The East Pond has also been hosting a good number of more expected shorebirds including small numbers of STILT, PECTORAL and WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS and even a WESTERN SANDPIPER or two. Though a couple of Peregrines and an adult Bald Eagle have been moving the birds around quite a bit.

The annual Shorebird Festival is scheduled for Saturday the 26th.

Out at Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes a good variety of shorebirds on the flats featured 2 MARBLED GODWITS last Sunday and the WHIMBREL has been a highlight there during the week along with an AMERICAN BITTERN Monday and a few ROYAL and BLACK TERNS.

To complete the shorebirds a BAIRD'S SANDPIPER stayed at Great Kills Park on Staten Island from Saturday through Wednesday with a WHIMBREL also there Saturday and another BAIRD'S visited some standing water in a parking lot from Hunter's Island at Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx Tuesday. This pond at the western end of the large parking lot attracting an unusual number of expected shorebirds during the week. A LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER was spotted on the small pond at the Sore Thumb at Oak Beach last Sunday.

Some nice shorebirds seen from a whale watching boat from Montauk on Sunday included an HUDSONIAN GODWIT passing by and 2 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES while seabirds included 76 CORY'S and 22 GREAT SHEARWATERS and over 150 WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS. The best pelagic show however was right off Montauk Point last Saturday when birds gathered around the point included 300 CORY'S, 10 GREAT, 1 SOOTY and 7 MANX SHEARWATERS, a thousand WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS and 3 PARASITIC JAEGERS. Breezy Point Tuesday afternoon produced 64 WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS, a MERLIN and a PECTORAL SANDPIPER. A CASPIAN TERN was at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn Thursday and a MANX SHEARWATER was off Moses Park on Monday.

A LARK SPARROW found Monday near the bend of the fisherman's access road just west of the Coast Guard Station at Jones Beach West End was still also noted there Tuesday.

The number of warblers showing up at city parks continues to increase. Those this week including WORM-EATING, OVENBIRD, BLUE-WINGED, PINE, CHESTNUT-SIDED, CANADA, HOODED in both Central Park and Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn and a MOURNING reported from Central Park Monday.

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, August 15, 2017

Treehugger Tuesday

From The Guardian:

Asia’s Harry Potter obsession poses threat to owls
From Indonesia to India, wild birds are being sold as pets to families who want their own Hedwig. Ecologists call for protection to help species survive
Robin McKie
Saturday 12 August 2017 16.44 EDT
Last modified on Sunday 13 August 2017 01.43 EDT

The Harry Potter phenomenon has broken publishing and cinema box-office records and spawned a series of lucrative theme parks. But wildlife experts are sounding the alarm over a sad downside to JK Rowling’s tales of the troubled young wizard. The illegal trade in owls has jumped in the far east over the past decade and researchers fear it could endanger the survival of these distinctive predators in Asia.

Conservationists say the snowy owl Hedwig – who remains the young wizard’s loyal companion for most of the Harry Potter series – is fuelling global demand for wild-caught birds for use as pets. In 2001, the year in which the first film was released, only a few hundred were sold at Indonesia’s many bird markets. By 2016, the figure had soared to more than 13,000, according to researchers Vincent Nijman and Anna Nekaris of Oxford Brookes University in a paper in Global Ecology and Conservation. At around $10 to $30, the price tag is affordable to most middle-class families.

The issue is of critical concern because the owls being offered for sale are nearly all taken from the wild. “The overall popularity of owls as pets in Indonesia has risen to such an extent that it may imperil the conservation of some of the less abundant species,” Nijman and Nekaris say.

As a result, they urge that owls should be added to Indonesia’s list of protected bird species, pointing out that owls may look cute on display in the market but generally die quickly after being removed from the wild.

Indonesia is not alone. Several other countries have in the past noted increases in sales of owls, which they have also blamed on the popularity of Harry Potter books and films.

The Indian MP Jairam Ramesh has blamed fans of the boy wizard for their role in the dwindling of numbers of wild owls in the country. “Following Harry Potter, there seems to be a strange fascination even among the urban middle classes for presenting their children with owls,” he noted.

However, conservationists also point out that owls are sometimes sacrificed in India for their supposed medicinal properties.

A study by the conservationists Serene Chng and James Eaton found widespread illegal trade in many birds – including owls – at Chatuchak weekend market in Bangkok, Thailand.

“We recorded 17 individuals of three species, all of which are native to and protected in Thailand, indicating that the animals were being illegally traded,” Chng and Eaton state. “Most appeared to be in poor condition ... with some being on the verge of unconsciousness, suggesting a high level of mortality.” Again the authors linked the high demand for owls to the popularity of the Potter books.

The link between the books and the increase in the number of owls being sold cannot be proved. The circumstantial evidence is strong, nevertheless. Owls were once called burung hantu in Malay but are now known as burung Harry Potter, or Harry Potter birds.

“In the 1990s and 2000s – when I lived in Indonesia – I visited the markets frequently and very few had any owls for sale. Some larger markets in Jakarta occasionally had one or two but only infrequently,” Nijman told the Observer. “But that has changed. I visited Jatinegara market in Jakarta last week and within 30 minutes I had recorded 108 scops owls and 27 barn owls. A total of 13 vendors were offering owls.”

In addition, many owls sold in south Asia today are named after Harry Potter characters, including Hedwig. “Two weeks ago I was in a exotic pet cafe in Bangkok and they had two owls, called Hedwig and Harry, and visitors could pet them and have their photo taken with them, dressed up as Harry or Hermione,” added Nijman.

For her part, Rowling has condemned the keeping of owls as pets. Shortly after the release of the first Harry Potter film in the UK – where the trade is more tightly controlled – bird sanctuaries reported a rise in numbers of abandoned pet owls. This prompted the author to speak out.

“If anybody has been influenced by my books to think an owl would be happiest shut in a small cage and kept in a house, I would like to take this opportunity to say as forcefully as I can, ‘you are wrong’,” she said. “The owls in Harry Potter books were never intended to portray the true behaviour or preferences of real owls.”

Nijman agrees with her: “Owls don’t make good pets. Actually, most wild animals don’t make good pets. That’s why people spent thousands of years domesticating the few species that are now domesticated.”
...Read more

Monday, August 14, 2017

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, August 19, 2017 to Sunday, August 20, 2017:

Bedford Audubon Society
Sunday, August 20, 2017, 10am – 1pm
Discover Dragons and Damsels with Naturalist Tait Johansson
Did you know that dragonflies are among the fastest flying insects in the world? Tait will lead an intensive workshop on the natural history and identification of our local dragonflies and damselflies. Bring binoculars, ideally close-focusing ones.
Cost: $65 for members, $75 for non-members; we’ll credit $30 to your membership if you join Bedford Audubon on the day of the workshop! Includes book and net.
Limited to 10 participants. Please register with Susan at info@bedfordaudubon.org or 914.302.9713 by August 16.

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Gateway National Recreation Area
Saturday, August 19, 2017, 10:00am to 11:30am
Mighty Monarchs
Children and their families are invited to join a Park Ranger at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Ref-uge to learn about the mighty Monarch! This interactive program will teach kids about the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly as well as the story of their incredible migration.
Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Fee Information: Free

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Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Summer Birding Sundays
In July we should see the offspring of our resident red-tailed hawk bravely preparing to leave the nest. Warbler songs will be replaced by chirring Cicadas and the tweets of fledgling birds. Butterflies and dragonflies are abundant. By late-July, expect the arrival of the first southbound migrants.

You must register prior to the morning of the tour. Click here.

Grab a copy of our Bird Checklist before you begin. Comfortable footwear is recommended.
$10 for members of Green‑Wood and BHS/$15 for non-members.
Click here for our inclement weather policy.

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Linnaean Society of New York
Saturday, August 19, 2017
Jamaica Bay 24rd Annual Tom Davis Memorial Shorebird Walk
Leader: Sean Sime — seansime@seansime.com or 917-324-2735
Registration opens: August 8
Public transportation

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New York Botanical Garden
Saturdays, July 1–August 26, 11am to 12pm
Birds, Butterflies, and Dragonflies Tour
Summer is the season to observe gorgeous butterflies, mischievous dragonflies and the birds of the cool forests. The colorful, fragrant gardens and the vibrant lakes at NYBG attract beautiful avian creatures. Come observe summer’s greatest show of shows watching butterflies, dragonflies and birds at their best.

Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Included in All-Garden Pass
Get Tickets

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New York City Audubon Society
Saturday, August 19, 2017, 9:00am – 1:30pm
Shorebird Walk at Jamaica Bay
Guide:Gabriel Willow
Meet at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. We'll search the mudflats and ponds for breeding herons and egrets, Forster's and Common Terns, Clapper Rail, and American Oystercatcher, as well as migratory plovers and sandpipers that will already be headed south.
Limited to 15. $40 (28)
Click here to register

Sunday, August 20, 2017, 8am – 11am
Prospect Park Bird Walk
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Meet under the arch in Grand Army Plaza. Join Gabriel Willow for a leisurely walk to get to know the summer bird residents of 'Brooklyn's Back Yard', beautiful Prospect Park. Although birding in the summertime in NYC can be a bit slow, Prospect Park has a wide variety of habitats that attracts a number of breeding bird species. We will explore the park's meadows, forests, and waterways in search of nesting waterfowl, green herons, barn swallows, yellow warblers, baltimore orioles, and some of the other species that call the park home. Limited to 15. $36 (25)
Click here to register

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NYC H2O
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Ridgewood Reservoir Community Tour
NYC H2O is offering free tours of the Ridgewood Reservoir to community members and the public.

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

Join us to explore this incredible natural resource in the heart of NYC. Please make a reservation.
We will meet in the parking lot at Vermont Place.

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Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Sunday, August 20, 2017, 11:00am – 1:00pm
Blue Trail to Cropsey Overlook @ High Rock Park
Join Hillel on a walk to the Cropsey Overlook through the woods of the central Greenbelt. Pass ponds and kettle holes and marvel at how ice formed this landscape long ago. Meet at the High Rock Park parking lot at the top of Nevada Avenue.
E-mail Hillel Lofaso at hillel5757@gmail.com or call 718-477-0545 for more information.

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South Shore Audubon Society
Sunday, August 20, 2017
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

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Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, August 19, 2017
Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a bird-watching walk and learn about Prospect Park's magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, August 12, 2017

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, August 11, 2017:

- RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Aug. 11, 2017
* NYNY1708.11

- Birds mentioned
Cory's Shearwater
Wilson's Storm-Petrel
LEAST BITTERN
WHIMBREL
Red Knot
Stilt Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
WILSON'S PHALAROPE
Lesser Black-backed Gull
GULL-BILLED TERN
CASPIAN TERN
Black Tern
Royal Tern
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
Cliff Swallow
Ovenbird
Worm-eating Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Northern Waterthrush
Blue-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Parula
Bay-breasted Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Canada Warbler

- Transcript

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transcriber: Ben Cacace

BEGIN TAPE

(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Greetings. This is the New York Rare Bird Alert for Friday, August 11th 2017 at 7pm. The highlights of today's tape are shorebirds including WILSON'S PHALAROPE and WHIMBREL, GULL-BILLED TERN & CASPIAN TERN, LEAST BITTERN and RED-HEADED WOODPECKER.

At Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, the East Pond, still impacted by higher water levels undesired at this point in the shorebird migration has nevertheless been pulling in birds mostly during the high tide cycle in the surrounding bay.

Today a juvenile WILSON'S PHALAROPE visited the north end of the pond around Dead Man's Cove and among the 2,000 or so shorebirds on the pond were 3 STILT, 4 PECTORAL and 7 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS plus a group of about 300 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS almost all juveniles. A young GULL-BILLED TERN was also spotted there. On Sunday 2 CASPIAN TERNS flew over the north end. Those visiting the East Pond and especially the north end should wear boots and be very careful especially near the north entrance at around Dead Man's Cove. There's a reason it is named that. If at the south end walk around the ridiculous chain-link fence that's been put up there.

At the Cupsogue flats last weekend a WILSON'S PHALAROPE joined a decent number of expected shorebirds including some RED KNOTS plus 33 ROYAL TERNS and a single BLACK TERN.

Jones Beach West End has also been attracting a variety of shorebirds and a WESTERN SANDPIPER was reported there Sunday.

A WHIMBREL was reported as a flyby past Wolfe's Pond Park on Staten Island last Tuesday.

A GULL-BILLED TERN visited Plumb Beach in Brooklyn last weekend with a ROYAL TERN also there Saturday.

LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS can still be found along Long Island's south shore.

A LEAST BITTERN has been present recently at Arshamomaque Preserve west of Greenport on the north fork located north of Route 25.

A fishing boat near Gardiners Island Sunday noted 3 CORY'S SHEARWATERS and a WILSON'S STORM-PETREL. Other pelagics should be out there on the ocean but we have no additional reports.

A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was noted Thursday at Hunter's Island in Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx where some CLIFF SWALLOWS continue.

Among the landbirds a sparse showing of migrant warblers has included OVENBIRD, both LOUISIANA and NORTHERN WATERTHRUSHES, WORM-EATING, NORTHERN PARULA, BLUE-WINGED, AMERICAN REDSTART, BLACK-AND-WHITE, YELLOW, CANADA and a rather early BAY-BREASTED in Central Park.

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, August 11, 2017

Friday's Foto

As its common name implies, unlike most other sandpipers, the Solitary Sandpiper is rarely seen in flocks, but rather singly. This small sandpiper prefers a variety of freshwater habitats including stream sides, wooded swamps and ponds, fresh marshes, as well as, along the edges of irrigation canals. Like the similar Spotted Sandpiper, they perpetually bob their rear end. They are mainly insectivores, however they are also known to eat frogs, fish, mollusks, worms and small crustaceans. Ninety percent of the global population of Solitary Sandpiper breeds in the boreal forest of North America, from western Alaska to Labrador and south to the northern shores of the Great Lakes. It nests in the lower 48 only in extreme northeastern Minnesota. They winter from the extreme southern United States, south to Central America, the Caribbean, and tropical South America, reaching central Argentina on the east side. The Solitary Sandpiper is the only North American sandpiper species that nests in trees, often using the abandoned nests of Rusty Blackbirds, Bohemian Waxwings, Gray Jays or American Robins.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists this species as “Least Concern” primarily due to it’s extremely large range and apparent stable population trend.

The Solitary Sandpiper’s scientific name, Tringa solitaria, means “thrush-sized, white-rumped, tail-bobbing wading bird” and “solitary”.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Green-Wood Updates

Since my last Green-Wood Cemetery walk posting we've seen a few changes in the local flora and fauna, as well as, a few interesting observations.

It would seem to be a little late in the season for turtles to be laying eggs, but we found this nearly 50 lb. female Common Snapping Turtle on the steep ridge above the Sylvan Water attempting to dig a hole. Incubation time ranges anywhere from 9 to 18 weeks. If it's colder the hatchlings will overwinter in the ground. This also presumes that the local raccoons or skunks don't find the eggs. She had pulled herself out of the pond and climb approximately 50 yards uphill in search of a suitable site. Our attention was drawn to the hill by the alarm calls of several species of birds. I guess these lumbering reptiles are, for some reason, perceived as a threat to birds. I thought only ducklings had to worry about snappers.

At nearly the opposite end of the size scale we found this Red-eared Slider laying her eggs across the road from the Valley Water. She did such a good job covering and disguising the nest that we could barely find it when we returned an hour later. With an incubation of 59 to 112 days I assume that this girl's offspring won't be emerging from the ground until some time next spring.

August is the time to see one of my favorite scary insects - the Eastern Cicada Killer wasp. A description of this creature's behavior sounds like something out of a Steven King novel. As large as 2" long, the female Sphecius speciosus are quite intimidating, but usually won't bother humans. Their sting doesn't actually kill the cicada, but rather paralyses it. They then carry into their burrow where they lay eggs on the now immobile insect. When the young hatch...must be tough watching oneself get eaten.

We've been seeing our Green Heron on every walk, either at the Dell Water or the Crescent Water. He has had a lonely existence this summer. For some unknown reasons, his mate disappeared shortly after they began building a nest. A photographer friend told me that he kept reprimanding two other photograpers whom he felt were getting too close to the nest. He said on more than one occasion they caused the heron to leave the nest tree. If this is true, I'm not sure how to deal with it in the future. The management at Green-Wood Cemetery used to have a strict photography policy. I hope they don't have to go back to it. "And that's why we can't have nice things."

Last weekend we spotted this deceased Eastern Red Bat near the Sylvan Water. It didn't appeared to have any obvious injuries. They are not known to be affected by white-nose syndrome, which has devastated cave bat populations in eastern North America. It's impossible to say what could have killed it. Some people find bats to be ugly. I think they are really cool. Not only do they control insects, like mosquitoes, but some are also pollinators and seed dispersers. The diminutive Eastern Red Bat is only about 2" - 2 1/4" long and, clearly, very cute.

I've been have a difficult time finding our two, recently fledged Red-tailed Hawks. They are getting quieter, which means that they've started hunting so they don't have to rely on regular food deliveries from the parents. One of the adults has been frequenting the spires on the main chapel. I assume that it's a good vantage point for scanning for prey. The only downside is that there are several mockingbirds and Eastern Kingbirds close to that location and neither species are very tolerant of a predator. The mockingbirds are mostly just noisy, make periodic close passes at the hawk's head. The kingbirds, however, are extremely aggressive and will peck on the much larger bird's head. Fun to watch.

Finally, it's hard to believe, but fall migration has already begun. Sunday's walk started off with cool, September-like conditions, so it was fitting that we spotted 5 species of southbound warblers - Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Black-and-white Warbler, Yellow Warbler and Yellow-rumped Warbler. This weekend I take a break from my "Birding in Peace" tours, but will be back on the 20th.

**********

Location: Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn
Date: Sunday, August 6, 2017
Species: 41

Canada Goose
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron (1.)
Great Egret (1.)
Green Heron (1.)
Osprey (1.)
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Belted Kingfisher (1.)
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker (1.)
Northern Flicker (2.)
American Kestrel (1.)
Monk Parakeet
Eastern Kingbird (7.)
Warbling Vireo
Blue Jay
Barn Swallow
House Wren
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
OVENBIRD (1. Walking along ridge at Dell Water.)
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (2.)
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (1. Lakeside Ridge.)
YELLOW WARBLER (4.)
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (1. Foraging in low sapling at edge of Crescent Water.)
Chipping Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole (1.)
House Finch
House Sparrow
...Read more

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Treehugger Tuesday

From Mother Nature Network:

Finally, a Little Good News for American Honeybees
August 4, 2017
Russell McLendon

American beekeepers have spent a decade struggling with colony collapse disorder (CCD), which causes bees to mysteriously abandon their hives. CCD has raised concerns not just for beekeepers, but for farmers of all stripes — plus anyone who eats their crops. U.S. honeybees pollinate about $15 billion worth of crops per year, which provide a quarter of all food eaten nationwide.

It comes as welcome news, then, that the number of domesticated U.S. honeybee hives has risen so far in 2017, according to a new survey from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). There were 2.89 million commercial honeybee colonies in the U.S. as of April 1, 2017, the USDA reports this week, a rise of 3 percent from a year earlier.

About 84,000 U.S. hives fell victim to CCD in the first quarter of 2017, compared with 116,000 from the same period in 2016 — a one-year improvement of 27 percent. And from April to June of this year, beekeepers lost 35,000 hives to CCD, also down 27 percent from the nearly 48,000 collapsed hives reported between April and June of 2016.

Read the entire article here.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, August 12, 2017 to Sunday, August 13, 2017:

Brooklyn Bird Club
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens
Leader: Tom Stephenson
Focus: Peak of shorebird migration, terns, egrets, and early warblers
Car fee: $12.00
Registrar: Kathy Toomey, kathleentoomey@gmail.com
Registration Period: August 5th – August 10th
Note: This trip caps at 16 participants
Please review our general trip information and guidelines on this page.

**********

New York Botanical Garden
Saturdays, July 1–August 26, 11am to 12pm
Birds, Butterflies, and Dragonflies Tour
Summer is the season to observe gorgeous butterflies, mischievous dragonflies and the birds of the cool forests. The colorful, fragrant gardens and the vibrant lakes at NYBG attract beautiful avian creatures. Come observe summer’s greatest show of shows watching butterflies, dragonflies and birds at their best.

Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Included in All-Garden Pass
Get Tickets

**********

New York City Audubon Society
Thursday, August 10, 6:30-8:30pm (class)
Saturday, August 12, 10:30am-2:30pm (trip)

Shorebird Identification Workshop Trip
Where: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, 175-10 Cross Bay Blvd.
Guide: Joe Giunta, Happy Warblers LLC
Shorebirds are one of the most challenging groups of birds to identify, yet beautiful and fascinating once they can be distinguished. Learn to identify plovers and sandpipers (including "peeps") by learning behavior, field marks, and calls - then take a field trip to Jamaica Bay to practice your new skills. Limited to 12. $65 (45)
Click here to register

**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a bird-watching walk and learn about Prospect Park's magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!
Free!

Sunday, August 13, 2017
Summer Birding at Wave Hill, Bronx
9:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.
Observe the plants, insects, and habitats at Wave Hill that make it an appealing destination for such a wide variety of birds.
Birders of all levels welcome!

Birding in Central Park at Belvedere Castle (in Central Park), Manhattan
10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
Go birding with the Urban Park Rangers in Central Park. To enhance your experience we encourage you to bring binoculars and field guides, or ask a park ranger to borrow a pair.
Free!

Nature Walk at Peter Stuyvesant Statue (in Stuyvesant Square), Manhattan
4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
In addition to various flora and fauna, our park is frequented by squirrels, pigeons, and the occasional falcon or hawk.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, August 05, 2017

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, August 4, 2017:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* Aug. 4, 2017
* NYNY1708.04

- Birds Mentioned

HARLEQUIN DUCK
Common Gallinule
Red Knot
Stilt Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Lesser Black-backed Gull
CASPIAN TERN
Roseate Tern
Royal Tern
Cory’s Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
Great Shearwater
MANX SHEARWATER
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel
Northern Gannet
BROWN PELICAN
LEAST BITTERN
Northern Parula
Bay-breasted 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, August 4, 2017 at 8:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are BROWN PELICANS, seabirds including MANX SHEARWATER, HARLEQUIN DUCK, LEAST BITTERN and CASPIAN TERN.

Last Saturday especially was BROWN PELICAN day along the Atlantic Ocean shore from Robert Moses State Park to Staten Island. The day started with just a single PELICAN moving west off Robert Moses State Park Field 2 early in the morning, but this was shortly followed by another 6, also moving west. A little later 4 were spotted working slowly west off Jones Beach West End Field 2. Subsequently, 2 were seen in Raritan Bay from Staten Island and also from Coney Island Creek in Brooklyn, while even later a group of 5 was spotted both from Cedar Grove Beach and off Miller Field on Staten Island. It is possible these may have all involved the original 7 seen from Moses. On Sunday just a single BROWN PELICAN was noted moving by Moses, and 2 were still off Miller Field on Staten Island.

Other seabirds noted off Moses Park Saturday morning included 10 CORY’S, 2 GREAT and several unidentified SHEARWATERS, a WILSON’S STORM-PETREL and 4 NORTHERN GANNETS. But this gave no indication of the situation off Montauk Point Saturday, when what was described as “thousands” of SHEARWATERS were concentrated by the weather into Block Island Sound off the north side of Montauk Point. These were mostly CORY’S SHEARWATERS but also included some GREAT and SOOTY and 1 or 2 MANX SHEARWATERS plus a few WILSON’S STORM-PETRELS. On Sunday reduced numbers were still present northwest of the Point, one estimate noting 800 plus CORY’S, 10 GREAT and single SOOTY and MANX SHEARWATERS, but these all did pretty much move off during the day.

A female HARLEQUIN DUCK was spotted Thursday a little west of Montauk Point, this perhaps the same bird reported there back on July 8th.

Though the water level on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge remains much higher than it should be to accommodate the hoped for concentration of shorebirds there, last Sunday roughly 1,500 shorebirds were counted on the pond, the large majority being SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS; the others did include 6 WHITE-RUMPED, 1 WESTERN, and 4 STILT SANDPIPERS along with the arrival of the first few juvenile sandpipers.

On Tuesday 18 species of shorebirds, not enumerated, were noted on the flats at Cupsogue County Park in Westhampton Dunes along with 15 ROYAL and 3 ROSEATE TERNS.

A STILT and 3 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS were present at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn Saturday, 1 WHITE-RUMPED still there Tuesday, when a CASPIAN TERN also visited the flats there.

Along with good numbers of expected shorebirds at Jones Beach West End Saturday, including some RED KNOTS, were at least 4 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS and a ROYAL TERN, while Moses Park added 3 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS and 2 ROYAL TERNS.

Six WILSON’S STORM-PETRELS were spotted from a fishing boat off Queens Sunday.

In Prospect Park at least 1 LEAST BITTERN was still present around the lake last Sunday, and a COMMON GALLINULE was reported from Massapequa Preserve Wednesday.

Landbird migrants, of which there have been a few recently, have included NORTHERN PARULA as well as 2 quite early BAY-BREASTED WARBLERS appearing in Central Park last Sunday.

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, August 01, 2017

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website Environmental News Network:

Study finds nearly one bird per day dies in collision with campus buildings during migration season
From: University of Toronto
Published July 31, 2017 08:02 AM

Even though he grew up in an urban area surrounded by buildings, it wasn't until Omar Yossofzai took part in a study on migratory birds that he realized how many birds die daily after crashing into buildings.

The fourth-year undergrad led a group of U of T Scarborough students to track fallen migratory birds colliding into campus buildings over a 21-day period last fall.

The group was part of a massive North American study looking at the number of birds crashing into windows. Altogether, 40 colleges and universities across North America were involved in the project with U of T Scarborough being the only contributor of data from Toronto and southern Ontario, which falls in an important migratory corridor for birds.

Researchers found that large buildings in areas of low urbanization – those surrounded by vegetation like forests and gardens – had a higher collision rate than large buildings in areas of high urbanization, like those surrounded by other buildings or parking lots.

Continue reading at: University of Toronto.
...Read more

Monday, July 31, 2017

Upcoming Birding and Nature Trips

Below is a list of upcoming nature trips by local birding/conservation groups for Saturday, August 5, 2017 to Sunday, August 6, 2017:

Audubon Center in Prospect Park
Sunday, August 6, 2017, 8am – 9am
Early Morning Bird Walk: Early Migrants
Join Prospect Park Alliance to search for early migrants along the Park’s waterways and in the woodlands. Tour leaves promptly at 8 am. Led by the Brooklyn Bird Club.

**********

Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday, August 6, 2017
Summer Birding Sundays
In July we should see the offspring of our resident red-tailed hawk bravely preparing to leave the nest. Warbler songs will be replaced by chirring Cicadas and the tweets of fledgling birds. Butterflies and dragonflies are abundant. By late-July, expect the arrival of the first southbound migrants.

You must register prior to the morning of the tour. Click here.

Grab a copy of our Bird Checklist before you begin. Comfortable footwear is recommended.
$10 for members of Green‑Wood and BHS/$15 for non-members.
Click here for our inclement weather policy.

**********

New York Botanical Garden
Saturdays, July 1–August 26, 11am to 12pm
Birds, Butterflies, and Dragonflies Tour
Summer is the season to observe gorgeous butterflies, mischievous dragonflies and the birds of the cool forests. The colorful, fragrant gardens and the vibrant lakes at NYBG attract beautiful avian creatures. Come observe summer’s greatest show of shows watching butterflies, dragonflies and birds at their best.

Meet at the Reflecting Pool at the Leon Levy Visitor Center
Included in All-Garden Pass
Get Tickets

**********

Protectors of Pine Oak Woods (Staten Island)
Sunday, August 6, 2017, 11:00am – 1:00pm
Buck’s Hollow and Heyerdahl Hill @ LaTourette Park
This is a loop walk along the converging trails through the lovely woods of LaTourette Park. This time we’re meeting at Meisner and Rockland Avenues by the stone dam at the Bluebelt pond. We’ll pass Buttonbush swamp and a grove of unique Persimmon trees. This hike is covered in Secret Places of Staten Island by Bruce Kershner (Kendall/Hunt, 1998).
For more information, e-mail Hillel Lofaso at hillel5757@gmail.com or call 718-477-0545


**********

Urban Park Rangers
Saturday, August 5, 2017
Introduction to Bird Watching at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.
Join Prospect Park Alliance for a bird-watching walk and learn about Prospect Park's magnificent array of birds and how to identify them!
Free!

Sunday, August 6, 2017
Early Morning Bird Walk: Early Migrants at Audubon Center at the Boathouse (in Prospect Park), Brooklyn
8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.
Join Prospect Park Alliance to search for early migrants along the park’s waterways and in the woodlands.
Free!
...Read more

Saturday, July 29, 2017

New York City Rare Bird Alert

Below is the New York City Rare Bird Alert for the week ending Friday, July 28, 2017:

-RBA
* New York
* New York City, Long Island, Westchester County
* July 28, 2017
* NYNY1707.28

- Birds Mentioned

SOUTH POLAR SKUA+
AUDUBON’S SHEARWATER+
(+ Details requested by NYSARC)

Snow Goose
WHIMBREL
Stilt Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher
Long-billed Dowitcher
Pomarine Jaeger
CASPIAN TERN
Cory’s Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
Great Shearwater
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel
BROWN PELICAN
LEAST BITTERN
Cliff Swallow
Worm-eating Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Northern Waterthrush
Black-and-white Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
YELLOW-THROATED 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, July 28, 2017 at 8:00 pm.

The highlights of today’s tape are SOUTH POLAR SKUA, AUDUBON’S SHEARWATER, BROWN PELICAN, LEAST BITTERN, WHIMBREL, CASPIAN TERN and YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER.

After several weeks of quite exciting birds, this past week calmed down somewhat, hopefully just a brief hiatus until the next wave of rarities arrives.

This week’s best were some pelagic birds spotted last Saturday from a private fishing boat well south of Montauk. SHEARWATERS included a small number of GREAT and CORY’S and a single AUDUBON’S, plus about 150 WILSON’S STORM-PETRELS, a nicely photographed SOUTH POLAR SKUA and a POMARINE JAEGER.

A boat Sunday closer to Montauk noted 33 CORY’S SHEARWATERS, including 3 identified as of the Mediterranean race, single GREAT and SOOTY SHEARWATERS and 7 WILSON’S STORM-PETRELS.

After the mid-month arrival of several BROWN PELICANS, the only one reported this week was off Orient Point today.

A LEAST BITTERN was still being seen Thursday around Prospect Park Lake and is hopefully half of a pair that might be nesting there.

Some breeding success for the YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS at Bayard Cutting Arboretum was noted last Saturday when an adult and accompanying fledgling were seen together there.

Many regional birders view this period as shorebird season, and the main focus point becomes the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Unfortunately, though, this year so far the water level on the pond has been way above desired levels, having a negative impact on both the shorebird numbers and the ability to access the pond effectively. Birders attempting to visit the pond should be prepared for deep water and, especially at the north end, some treacherous conditions, especially if you are not familiar with the lay of the land up there. The south end is better, but there is a chain link fence that you need to walk around. The water level is being addressed, but the recent rains haven’t helped the situation either. Last Sunday before this week’s rain, a decent gathering of shorebirds did feature 15 STILT SANDPIPERS and around 250 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS, and a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER was there Tuesday.

On Staten Island Sunday 3 WHIMBRELS were present on the flats at Great Kills Park, and among the other birds reported there was a LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER, unexpected at that site.

A CASPIAN TERN was spotted at Bayshore Marina on Sunday.

There was a peak count of 14 CLIFF SWALLOWS at the nesting colony at Orchard Beach in Pelham Bay Park last Saturday.

Among some lingering waterfall have been a single SNOW GOOSE at Oceanside Marine Nature Study Area and out at Deep Hole Creek in Mattituck.

A few southbound migrants WARBLERS during the week included both LOUISIANA and NORTHERN WATERTHRUSHES, MAGNOLIA and BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS and a WORM-EATING WARBLER in Central Park Sunday.

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

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

- End transcript
...Read more

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website "Gizmodo":

The Staggering Amount of Plastic We’ve Produced—And What We've Done With It
George Dvorsky
Wednesday 2:00pm

Scientists have calculated the total amount of plastic ever made. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot. But what’s even more disturbing is where all this plastic is ending up.

Since large-scale production of plastics began in the 1950s, our civilization has produced a whopping 8.3 billion tons of the stuff. Of this, 6.3 billion tons—around 76 percent—has already gone to waste. Such is the conclusion reached by a team of researchers from the University of Georgia, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the Sea Education Association. Now published in Science Advances, it’s the first global analysis of the production, use, and fate of all the plastics our species has ever produced—and it’s showing just how badly we need to rethink plastic, and why we’re using so much of it.

For the study, the researchers compiled global production statistics for resins, fibers, and additives from various industry sources, breaking them down according to type and consuming sector. They found that annual global production of plastics skyrocketed, from two million metric tons in 1950 to a jaw-dropping 400 million metric tons in 2015. That’s a level of growth not seen in any other material, save for construction where concrete and and steel are king. But unlike concrete and steel—materials that hold our infrastructure together—plastic tends to be thrown away after just one use. That’s because a hefty portion of it is used for packaging.




You can read the entire article here.

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