It has been a November not soon to be forgotten. We know that many of you were affected by Hurricane Sandy, and we hope that any of you still feeling its effects are getting the help you need. The storm took a great toll on seaside communities--and on some of our most critical wildlife areas. For those who'd like to help in the recovery efforts, see our Volunteer! section below. Also in this issue: Some recent press taking a critical look at coastal development; some ideas to get away from it all this winter; and the 113th Annual Christmas Bird Count. We hope the eGret finds you all safe and warm.
The Breach in Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge's West Pond Is Visible Above. Photo © NOAA
Hurricane Sandy Leaves Destruction in Its Wake
When Hurricane Sandy pummeled New York Harbor on October 29, it not only disrupted the lives and economy of the New York City region, but also profoundly effected its ecology. The storm surge, which topped out at over 13 feet, moved sand, wiped out protecting dunes, and flattened houses built on protective barrier islands, including the Rockaway Peninsula. At the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, a unit of Gateway National Recreation Area, the narrow strip of land between South Marsh and the West Pond was washed out. While the brackish water of the pond has been essentially the same salinity as the Bay for the last year or so (after the failure of the weir separating the pond from the bay) the pond is no longer even a pond. Read more...
Many Eastern Shore Towns Were Impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Crisfield, MD Is Pictured Here. Photo © MDGovpics
Amid Much-Needed Attention to Sandy's Victims, Questioning of Coastal Development
As we attempt to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy and get help to those who are still in need (see Volunteer! section below), we may have an opportunity to ask some hard questions about the wisdom of continued development in vulnerable, ecologically important coastline areas.
Click here to read a recent Huffington Post treatment on the subject
Brief Survey for Birders
Michael Bradley, an Assistant Professor at Eastern Kentucky University, is conducting a research study to investigate the "serious leisure and leisure identity" of birders and those participating in birding. The online survey takes approximately 15 minutes and can be viewed here.
Wire-Crested Thorntail, Ecuador © Patty McGann
It's Not Too Late to Migrate South!
It's mid-November, and our fall migrants have mostly all flown south by now... but it's not too late to make your plans to join them! Now is the time to plan your winter get-away to warmer climes. It's not too late to register for our January tour of northwest Ecuador
, where we'll stay at lovely eco-friendly lodges on the Andean slopes and search for target species such as cock-of-the-rock and sword-billed hummingbird. Or, you might choose to visit the volcanos and Pacific coast of Costa Rica
in February... or the Blue Mountains and spectacular "Doctor birds" of Jamaica
in March! Wherever you choose to go, you will be helping to support NYC Audubon's conservation work as well as ecotourism in important stop-over and wintering grounds of many imperiled neotropical migrants. Please see more details on these trips at left, or visit our overnight trips page
to see all of our upcoming national and international adventures.
A number of our members and friends have asked about ways they might help with the post-Sandy recovery effort. A good source for many different ways to contribute is www.nycservice.org
. If you scroll down the page a bit, you will find many ways to contribute to the relief effort, as well as opportunities to help in area parks.
White-Winged Crossbills Have Been Seen this Fall in Central Park. Photo © Nebirdsplus (FLICKR Creative Commons User)
Christmas Bird Count
The 113th Annual Christmas Bird Count is just a month away, and all signs point to an interesting count this year! It appears to be a big "irruption" year; many northern birds such as pine siskins, crossbills, and grosbeaks have come south and east, most likely due to food shortages on their usual wintering grounds. Make sure to put the Christmas count on your calendar; counts will be held in all five boroughs of the city, and your help is needed to continue this great tradition in citizen science. Click here to learn more.
The Northern Gannet Is Frequently Seen Off the Coast of Queens and Long Island in the Winter. Photo © Steve Nanz
DECEMBER MEMBER TRIP TO FORT TILDEN AND FLOYD BENNETT FIELD, QUEENS
Saturday, December 8, 9am-12pm
Take a trip to Fort Tilden and Floyd Bennett Field to search for wintering raptors, ducks, and other waterfowl. Transport by passenger van is offered to a limited number of guests and will leave Manhattan at 8am, returning by 1pm. Van limited to 11 people; walk limited to 20. Free to members only at the Family and Supporter levels. Please contact Adriana Palmer at email@example.com
or 212-691-7483 to learn more or register.
Top and Sidebar Photos: great egret © Steve Nanz; northern pintail © Laura Meyers; cock-of-the-rock © Bill Bouton; fiery-throated hummingbird © Don Faulkner; Jamaican tody © David Speiser