Happy 2015! If you've stepped outdoors in the past few days, we don't need to tell you that winter is definitely in full swing. What a better time to throw on your long johns and scarf (and a few more articles of clothing, perhaps) and explore all that winter in New York City has to offer? Our member walk in Central Park this past Wednesday turned up droves of our favorite winter residents
—titmice, cardinals, and "teenage" redtails seemed to follow us everywhere we went
—as well as hooded mergansers, coots, and three ring-necked ducks on the reservoir. But there's much more to see! We'll start off this issue with an overview of this winter's exciting birding activities, including our Winter Seals & Waterbirds tours, which start this coming Sunday, Jan. 11. (Don't miss our Tues., Jan. 20 Lecture, Mysteries of Migration, which will now be held at the Central Park Zoo Gallery.)
Also, in case you missed it: NYC Audubon was in the news this week! The New York Times reported on NYC Audubon's monitoring of the Javits Center's new green roof; Susan Elbin was interviewed about an upcoming update on the West Pond Restoration, on Jan. 22; and birders and media flocked to Greenwich Village for a look at a visiting Couch's kingbird.
Also in this issue: A great opportunity for bird photographers (and those who want to learn); a Montauk weekend with Gabriel Willow; and a need for office help in Volunteer!
Harbor Seals Often Sun Themselves on the Rocks of Tiny Swinburne Island. Photo © Mike Baird*
Get Outdoors with NYC's Winter Wildlife in 2015!
Happy New Year from NYC Audubon! Our beautiful warblers, tanagers, and orioles are far south of us now, and we must wait a few months yet for them to return. But there is still much great birding and wildlife-watching to be had in New York City. Snow buntings, eiders, harlequin ducks, snowy owls--and one non-avian visitor, the harbor seal--have themselves journeyed south, to spend the winter here! And there are plenty of opportunities to go see them. Our Winter Seals and Waterbirds of New York Harbor tours start Sunday, January 11 and run through March 8, from 12-2pm. See playful harbor seals, loons, sea ducks, and purple sandpipers while you enjoy complimentary hot cocoa and tea. Or, seek out wintering bald eagles... (Click here to learn more!)
The Least Bittern Is Among the Species that Could Benefit from a Restored Freshwater West Pond. Photo © Lloyd Spitalnik
Update on Plans for the West Pond to Be Held 1/22
Herring Gull Nest on the Javits Center Green Roof © NYC Audubon
More Life at the Javits Roof
The word is out! Bats (and birds too) have come to the Javits Center. The New York Times just covered the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center's recent bird-friendly renovation, as well as NYC Audubon's monitoring of the Center's new green roof. Read more at www.nytimes.com/2015/01/08/opinion/more-life-at-the-javits-center.html
Hooded Mergansers © Lloyd Spitalnik
Calling All Bird Photographers (and Those Who Love Them)!
Don't miss our upcoming workshops with Lloyd Spitalnik, a great opportunity to refine your photography skills! See below:
PHOTOGRAPHY CLASSES: ADOBE LIGHTROOM AND PHOTOSHOP
Thursdays, February 12, 19, 26; 6:30-8:30pm
Instructor: Lloyd Spitalnik
Join professional photographer Lloyd Spitalnik for this series of three classroom workshops focusing on image post-processing, for all skill levels from beginner to advanced. The classes progress from the basics of Adobe Lightroom and managing your raw photos to processing your images with Adobe Photoshop and the programs' more advanced features. Take advantage of this small-group setting to answer all your questions. Learn more and register!
Kingbirds Descend Upon New York City!
Couch's Kingbird © Sherry Felix
Over the past weeks, individuals with binoculars and a determined look in their eye have been spotted skulking about the West Village in large numbers. What has drawn them there? They've come in search of a rare visitor to these parts, a Couch's kingbird, native to eastern Mexico and the southernmost reaches of Texas. Theories vary as to how the bird arrived here; the most likely holds that the bird was blown far north of its normal range in a storm front, though a popular speculation is that the bird stowed away in a truck or plane. The bird has been spotted "flycatching" off of warmed brick walls near Abingdon Square (see the photo above, by member Sherry Felix), where small insects must be gathered, and also has been eating fruit. Both Sherry and NYC Audubon guide Gabriel Willow were interviewed in this story. Some nice photos can be found on the Urban Hawks Blog. A very similar flycatcher, the Cassin's kingbird, has been spotted regularly in the past few months at Floyd Bennett Field.
Harlequin Ducks © Lloyd Spitalnik
Winter Waterfowl Weekend at Montauk
Saturday, February 21 - Sunday, February 22
Guide: Gabriel Willow
The gatherings of sea ducks around Montauk Point are the largest winter concentrations in New York State; the Christmas bird count on Montauk Point consistently tallies from 125 to 135 species, one of the best totals in the Northeast. Species that come to feed on the Point’s rich kelp and mussel beds include common and red-throated loon, common eider, all three scoter species, bufflehead, common goldeneye, great cormorant, and red-breasted merganser. Harlequin duck and king eider also occur here regularly during the winter. Accommodations at Daunt's Albatross in Montauk. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 12. $300 ($25 single supplement). Click here to register!
Arctic Tern © Ekaterina Papchinskaya*
Unless otherwise noted, all lectures are free and open to the public. This series has been made possible by the support of Claude and Lucienne Bloch.
MYSTERIES OF MIGRATION
By Giff Beaton
Tuesday, January 20, 2015, 6pm
***NOTE: OUR JANUARY 20 LECTURE WILL NOW BE HELD AT THE CENTRAL PARK ZOO GALLERY, WHICH IS LOCATED INSIDE THE ZOO, BEHIND AND SLIGHTLY TO THE SOUTH OF THE ARSENAL BUILDING (OFF FIFTH AVENUE AT 64TH STREET). PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE A MAP; THE GALLERY IS LABELED.***
Join professional birding guide, lecturer, and author Giff Beaton for an in-depth look at the amazing feats of endurance and navigation many bird species accomplish twice a year. With lavish images and maps, this talk will bring insight into a complex and fascinating subject and will leave attendees with an enhanced appreciation for the hazards migrating birds surmount, and the impressive physical abilities they display, each spring and fall.
URBAN GREENING FOR URBAN BIRDS
By Paige Warren
Tuesday, February 17, 2015, 6pm
Central Park Arsenal, Third-Floor Gallery, Fifth Avenue at 64th Street
What are the needs of an urban bird? What can be done to enhance the diversity of birds and other species living in the city? The highly managed nature of a city landscape provides biologists with some unique opportunities to understand both the role of humans in altering patterns of biological diversity and the role of behavior in limiting animal distributions. Paige Warren, research assistant professor of natural resources conservation at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, will speak about her research to understand processes generating and maintaining biological diversity in a world that is becoming increasingly dominated by humans.
Northern Cardinal © Laura Meyers
Top and Sidebar Photos: Great egret © Steve Nanz; snowy owl © François Portmann; harlequin ducks @ David Speiser; roseate spoonbill © Michael McCarthy*