It may not be autumn yet, officially--and it certainly doesn't feel like fall outside--but fall migration is definitely "on"!
eBird reports have been trickling in: blue-winged and hooded warblers in Central Park, a yellow-throated warbler in Prospect Park, and a worm-eating warbler in Pelham Bay Park. The real center of action these days, however, is Jamaica Bay National Wildlife Refuge, where shorebirds stop to feed and rest on their long journey south. The 10th Annual Shorebird Festival will take place at the refuge on Saturday, August 29.
Chances are good for excellent shorebirding, thanks to recent repairs to the East Pond
by the National Park Service.
Though migration is in progress, some of our breeding birds are still here: Our final Sunset Ecocruise
will visit the South Brother egret colony next Sunday. (With some luck, you just might spot great egret "Number Seven"
along the way!)
Also in this issue: We say farewell and good luck to our friend Barbara Lysenko
; an upcoming shorebird walk with Andrew Baksh
and Prospect Park excursion with Gabriel Willow
; registration for fall events opens for NYC Audubon members
; fall conservation volunteer opportunities
; and The Fall Roost! Save the date (and get your tickets)!
Shorebird Migration at Jamaica Bay © François Portmann
Head for Jamaica Bay: It's Shorebird Time!
Do you need a few pointers to help you tell your greater yellowlegs from your lesser? Or your short-billed dowitcher from your long-billed? Do you long to be that sharp-eyed someone who picks out a rare vagrant shorebird from a flock of "peeps"? Or, maybe you just relish a day out in beautiful Jamaica Bay, savoring the glory of fall migration in the company of your fellow bird lovers. There are many possible motives to go, but the destination is the same: the 10th Annual Shorebird Festival at Jamaica Bay, this August 29 from 7:30 to 5pm. 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. Come to our 10th annual Shorebird Festival and enjoy presentations and expert-led walks. Click here to learn more.
Shorebird Tracks in the Mud at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge © François Portmann
The "Ponds of Jamaica Bay": Progress... and Expectation
The East and West Ponds of Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge have been the subject of much debate and consternation in recent years. These artificial ponds have become an increasingly important source of scarce fresh water in the Jamaica Bay ecosystem over past decades, as other sources of fresh water in the Bay were filled in and built upon. Maintaining freshwater in the middle of a saltmarsh ecosystem has not been simple, however--and both ponds had become brackish when the West Pond was breached by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, transforming it overnight into a saltwater lagoon. The East Pond has been beset with its own specific troubles, as the drainage system intended to lower the water level in summer has fallen into disrepair and repeatedly malfunctioned. (Lowering the water level allows the formation of mudflats, which provide excellent feeding grounds for migrating shorebirds--and excellent viewing opportunities for shorebirders.)
Some good news is to be had, however: Thanks to concerns voiced by NYC Audubon and local birders including shorebirding devotee Andrew Baksh (see his shorebird walk, later in this issue), several weeks ago the National Park Service made some repairs to the East Pond's drainage pipe. The subsequently lowered water level has exposed mudflats and attracted flocks of shorebirds to feed. The restoration of the West Pond to freshwater habitat remains an open question, however: The National Park Service is expected to open public comment on its preferred alternative for restoration of the West Pond by early September. Check our website for updates.
Black-Crowned Night-Heron © Peter Miller*
Last Chance to Hop Aboard a Sunset Ecocruise!
Before the summer ends, don't miss your chance to experience the thriving harbor heron colonies of New York Harbor at Sunset. Our last cruise of the season, to the thriving egret colony of South Brother Island and mysterious North Brother Island, is this coming Sunday, August 16.
As a friend of NYC Audubon, you will receive a special discount of $5 off tickets to the Brother Islands Ecocruise. To receive your special discount, purchase tickets online at www.nywatertaxi.com/tours/audubon and enter the discount coupon code BIRDS in the space labeled "Redeem Discount Coupon."
(Coupon is valid for online purchases only and cannot be combined with any other offer or on previously purchased tickets. Please note blackout dates may apply. Each voucher is valid for one to four people. Expires 9.31.15.)
Great Egret "Number Seven" © Natalie Gregorio
Where in the World Is...
You may have read in the July eGret about an exciting new project in which NYC Audubon is a partner: This past June, two adult great egrets were captured at Wolf’s Pond, Staten Island, and fitted with solar-powered GPS/GSM (Global Positioning System/Global System for Mobiles) transmitters. These egrets are just two among a number of egrets that are being followed by project scientists, however--and NJ Audubon's Nellie Tsipoura has reported on another great egret, "Number Seven," caught at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Philadelphia in early June 2015 by project collaborator John Brzorad from Lenoir Rhyne University. As it turns out, Number Seven has come to visit us in NYC! Click here to read more and see additional photos, including a map of Number Seven's travels.
Barbara Lysenko Enjoying a Rare Day out in the Field © NYC Audubon
A Fond Farewell to
After over six years of service to NYC Audubon, Finance Director Barbara Lysenko will retire on August 14. We extend our heartfelt thanks to Barbara for her dedication to NYC Audubon and for her many contributions to the organization. Barbara, we will miss you here in the office--and hope to continue to see you out in the field! We wish you a very happy retirement; you deserve it.
Barbara Lysenko has left some big shoes to fill; but fill them we must. We are looking for a qualified individual to be our new Controller. If you or someone you know might be interested in this position, please see the position description here.
American Oystercatchers © Lloyd Spitalnik
Shorebird Walk in
Saturday, August 15, 9:30am-2pm
Guide: Andrew Baksh
Meet at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge as Andrew Baksh leads a tour searching the mudflats and ponds for breeding herons and egrets, Forster's and common terns, clapper rails, and American oystercatchers, as well as migratory plovers and sandpipers that will already be headed south.
Click here to register and learn more
Green Heron © Lloyd Spitalnik
Prospect Park Bird Walk, Brooklyn
Saturday, August 22, 8-10:30am
Guide: Gabriel Willow
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 other species that call the park home.
Click here to register and learn more
NYC Audubon Members: Fall Trip Registration Is Now Open!
Registration for all fall Events & Adventures opened on August 10 for Contributing NYC Audubon Members. Click here to see our list of fall events and sign up! Registration will open to the general public on Monday, August 24.
American Woodcocks Are Frequent Victims of Window Collisions in New York City. Photo © Bird Transporter Victoria Booth
Work in NYC Audubon’s friendly office or in the field and make a difference for the City’s wildlife. There are many ways you can help. If you would like to volunteer for specific programs like the ones listed below, or want to learn more about ways you can contribute, please contact us at email@example.com. Click here to learn more ways you can volunteer.
PROJECT SAFE FLIGHT VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION SESSIONS
There are many ways to participate in Project Safe Flight! Volunteers can monitor buildings weekly for window collisions (September 1-November 1); pick up injured birds and transport them to the Wild Bird Fund (as needed); participate in our Tribute in Light monitoring event (on Sept. 11); and more. Training dates for all of these Project Safe Flight activities are below. Please contact us to register.
Collision Monitoring: Monday, August 17 and Thursday, August 20, 6-7pm at National Audubon, 225 Varick Street, 7th Floor (Please note the new location!).
Tribute in Light Monitoring: Wednesday, September 2, 6-7pm, at National Audubon, 225 Varick Street, 7th Floor (Please note the new location!). With the Municipal Art Society.
Injured Bird Transporting: Tuesday, September 8, 6-7pm, at The Wild Bird Fund: 565 Columbus Avenue in Manhattan.
INTERNATIONAL COASTAL CLEANUP
Saturday, September 19, 10am-2pm (Rain Date: Saturday, September 26)
With Sadhana, American Littoral Society, and National Park Service
Join us at North Channel Bridge to take part in a multi-state effort to improve coastline habitat. The North Channel Bridge area, used by species like the American oystercatcher, is also a stone’s throw away from the Harbor Heron Islands, the newly restored Elders Point Marsh, and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Help us clear the beach and raise awareness of the importance of coastal areas to birdlife. Equipment and refreshments are provided; free bus transportation from Manhattan is available (space is limited). Click here to learn more and register.
Get Your Tickets Now for THE FALL ROOST
Join us Tuesday, October 13 for the eleventh annual Fall Roost benefit dinner as we honor Marsilia Boyle, ARNOLD GLAS, and our first Volunteer of the Year, Deborah Jones. Marcy Boyle, a longtime director and officer of NYC Audubon and a member of the Audubon New York board, champions our efforts around the City, represents us on the Audubon Council of New York State--now as its chair--and keeps an eagle eye on our work in Brooklyn. Glass manufacturer ARNOLD GLAS, and especially its former CEO Hans-Joachim Arnold, is the creator of Ornilux, a bird-friendly building glass that is saving countless birds worldwide. Volunteer Deborah Jones has lent her talents for several years to creating beautiful displays and ornaments for the Fall Roost, as well as to crafting bird decoys for our conservation programs.
The Fall Roost raises essential funds to protect wild birds and their habitats in the five boroughs. This fall, the Roost is migrating to Guastavino’s, the exciting landmarked space under the 59th Street Bridge. The evening starts at 6:30 with cocktails and a silent auction, followed by a seated dinner. Please join us!
Click here to buy your tickets now!
Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds Are Now Migrating South. This Female Was Photographed at Jamaica Bay Earlier This Summer, Where Hummingbirds May Have Nested This Year. Photo © Laura Meyers
Top and Sidebar Photos: great egret © Steve Nanz; black-bellied plover, great shearwater, bald eagle © Lloyd Spitalnik.
* This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.