New York City Audubon champions nature in the city’s five boroughs through a combination of engaging and entertaining programs, and innovative conservation campaigns.
New York City Audubon
Yellow Warbler © François Portmann

July and Selected August Local Events

Click here to see ALL Events & Adventures

7/7: Sunset Ecocruises to the Harbor Herons Islands - Hoffman & Swinburne Islands

7/9: Twilight Bat Walks in Central Park

7/9&10: Native Grass Planting at Jamaica Bay

7/10: Camera Club

7/13: Biking & Birding: Jamaica Bay

7/13 Invasive Plant Removal at Jamaica Bay

7/14: Birding at Wave Hill

7/14: Sunset Ecocruises to the Harbor Herons Islands - Brother Islands

7/20: City of Water Day Ecocruise

7/21: Sunset Ecocruises to the Harbor Herons Islands - Jamaica Bay

7/28: Sunset Ecocruises to the Harbor Herons Islands - Hoffman & Swinburne Islands

8/4: Sunset Ecocruises to the Harbor Herons Islands - Brother Islands

8/8: Shorebird Identification Workshop (class & trip)

8/11: Sunset Ecocruises to the Harbor Herons Islands - Jamaica Bay

8/24: 8th Annual Shorebird Festival at Jamaica Bay

Ongoing Local Events

Van Cortlandt Bird Walks:  Saturdays, 8-9:30am, Year-round

Upcoming Overnight Trips

Click here to see ALL overnight trips

Purple Martin © Steve Nanz
Friday, August 10, 10am - Sunday, August 12, 7pm
Guide: Don Riepe
Travel to southern New Jersey to observe the spectacle of thousands of purple martins on migration to their wintering grounds, and get to know this beautiful, spacious landscape of marsh and woodland just a few hours from New York City. Visit remote salt- and freshwater marsh and woodland habitat to see bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and a great variety of wading birds, terns, shorebirds, and more. Explore the wild and scenic Maurice River by canoe or flat-bottom boat, and visit the abundant wildlife of Brigantine NWR. Includes transportation and double-occupancy lodging. Limited to 60. $375 ($95 single room supplement). Click here to Register.

Greater Shearwater © Steve Nanz

Thursday, August 15–Sunday, August 18
Guides: Don Riepe, Mickey Cohen
With American Littoral Society
A fun-packed, nature-focused weekend in beautiful Cape Ann, Massachusetts. We hope to see pelagic species such as sooty and greater shearwater, Wilson’s storm petrel, and common eider—not to mention minke and humpback whales, basking shark, and family pods of dolphins. Includes three nights' stay in historic Gloucester, a half-day whale watch boat trip, an evening Essex River Cruise, easy canoeing on Ipswich River, birding at Parker River Wildlife Refuge, and guided hikes, plus a lobster dinner. To register, contact Don Riepe at 917-371-8577 or Limited to 40. $395 ($180 single supplement)

Royal Terns © Steve Nanz
Saturday, October 5, 9am - Sunday, October 6, 7pm
Guide: Joe Giunta, Happy Warblers LLC
Cape May, New Jersey is one of the best birding venues in the United States, especially during fall migration. Visit the Cape May Hawk Watch on two days, once late in the day and then early to get a good variety of hawks. Also visit birding hotspots such as Higbee Beach, Cape May Point, Jake’s Landing, Cape May Meadows, and Nummy Island. Transport by passenger van included. Limited to 10. $275 (single room supplement $50). Click here to Register.

Bald Eagle © Steve Nanz
Thursday, October 31, 9am - Sunday, November 3, 6pm
Guide: Don Riepe
A great wildlife weekend along the Virginia Coast. Includes three nights at the Refuge Inn, guided hikes, a bus tour of backwater flats, plus an "all-you-can-eat" seafood buffet. See wild ponies, sika deer, bald eagles and many other species of wildlife. Limited to 30. $385 (single room supplement $150). Click here to Register.

Andean Cock of the Rock© Bill Bouton
Saturday, December 7- Sunday, December 15
Guides: John Rowden, Edwin Perez
Join us for a trip to one of South America’s most celebrated (and spectacularly scenic) areas for birding, led by one of Ecuador’s finest bird guides. Starting from Quito, the trip will cover east and west slope Andean birds, from paramo to foothills. Target species include the coveted Andean cock-of-the-rock, long-wattled umbrellabird, Andean condor, and sword-billed hummingbird, as well as manakins, tanagers, and many rarities. Limited to 12. $2,695 ($150 single room supplement). A full tour description and itinerary to come soon. Please contact Adriana Palmer at to learn more and register.

Jamaican Tody © David Speiser
Thursday, January 9–Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Guides: Tod Winston, Lyndon Johnson, Wendy Lee
Enjoy a luxurious tropical island get-away on the isle of Jamaica--and explore one of the best island destinations in the world for birding. We'll visit the stunningly beautiful Blue Mountains, the pristine and exotic Cockpit Country, and the beautiful north coast to look for endemic species such as Jamaican todies, orioles and vireos; yellow- and black-billed parrots; and the beautiful quail dove. We'll finish off our tour at the renowned Rocklands Bird Sanctuary, where the spectacular red-billed streamertail feeds from the hand. Includes one pre-trip workshop, lodging, local transportation, meals, and all park fees. Limited to 12. Price TBA. A full tour description and itinerary to come soon. Please contact Adriana Palmer at to learn more and register.

Surf Scoter © Omar Runólfsson
Friday, January 10 - Sunday, January 12, 2014
Guides: Mike Bottini, Mickey Cohen, Don Riepe
Visit the vast dunes, beaches and woods at Montauk during peak sea bird season and hike the beautiful "Walking Dunes," Hither Woods, Oyster Pond and the "Seal Haul-out" site. Includes double-occupancy lodging at the luxurious Manor House, most meals, guided hikes, evening programs, a star watch, and free pickup at the LIRR station in Montauk. To register, contact Don Riepe at 917-371-8577 or Limited to 60. $385 (single room supplement $125) 

Keel-Billed Toucan © Brian Gratwicke*

February 2014
Guide: Gabriel Willow
Visit the magical land of the Maya: the Yucatan Peninsula of Southern Mexico. Explore ancient Mayan ruins; swim in the Caribbean and explore coral reefs; and of course, see the amazing bird life of the region: from parrots and toucans to flamingos and trogons, along with many of our wintering neotropical migrants.  Includes two pre-trip workshops, lodging, local transportation, most meals, and all park fees. Limited to 12. Price TBA. Please contact Adriana Palmer at to learn more and register.

Lilac-Breasted Roller © Nen Riko*
March 2014
Guides: Susan Elbin, Bjørn Figenschou
Experience the incredible diversity of wildlife of Tanzania. Visit the vast plains of the Serengeti and the wildlife-rich Ngorongoro crater and Tarangire National Park.  Includes two pre-trip workshops, lodging, local transportation, most meals, and all park fees. Limited to 12. Price TBA. Please contact Adriana Palmer at to learn more and register.

Resplendent Quetzal © Richard Garrigues
Saturday, March 8-Saturday, March 15
Guides: Glenn Phillips, Richard Garrigues
Our 2014 Costa Rica expedition will visit its most famous birding destination: Monteverde. Home to resplendent quetzals, black guans, emerald toucanets, and many more cloud forest species, Monteverde has a well deserved reputation. Other highlights include the Celeste Mountain Lodge, known for its fine French cuisine as well as for rarities such as tody motmot and yellow-eared toucanet; and Caño Negro, where Nicaraguan grackle, lesser yellow-headed vulture, and even jabiru are possible. Includes two pre-trip workshops, lodging, local transportation, most meals, and all park fees. Limited to 12. $1,995 ($300 single room supplement). Please contact Adriana Palmer at to learn more and register.

The eGret
July 2013

Sultry summer weather is definitely upon us; we hope you are all gearing up for a relaxing (and hopefully less rainy) July 4th and summer weekend. NYC Audubon has been at work negotiating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to protect horseshoe crabs, as you'll read in our lead story; we've also been finishing up our field season with some banding of waterbirds such as Swinburne Island's cormorants.

Also in this issue: Save the date for our 9th Annual Fall Roost and our August Shorebird Festival; a reminder about expanded plastics recycling; local trips including a biking & birding expedition to Jamaica Bay, our City of Water Day ecocruise, and our last Central Park bat walk; an exciting December expedition to Ecuador; and volunteer opportunities in Jamaica Bay. Finally,see the left-hand column for upcoming trips to Cape May, Ecuador, Jamaica, Mexico, Tanzania, Costa Rica, and more.  Happy July!

Horseshoe crab shell © braindamaged217*
Hatching horseshoe crab larvae are just a fraction of the size of this tiny shell,  most likely from a crab about one year old. Photo © braindamaged217*

Treading Lightly to Protect Horseshoe Crabs on Plumb Beach

Summer intern Debra Kriensky reports on current efforts to protect developing horseshoe crabs on Plumb Beach:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is set to start Phase II of their work on Brooklyn’s Plumb Beach, and NYC Audubon is advising the Corps on how to tread lightly around something they might not even be able to see: baby horseshoe crabs!

Right before Hurricane Sandy hit, the Army Corps completed Phase I of the project, during which they added new sand to the eroding beach in an effort to protect the adjacent Belt Parkway. Phase II, set to begin in July once the majority of horseshoe crab spawning is complete, will involve building permanent stone groins and a breakwater to mitigate future beach erosion. New vegetation being planted on the dunes and a fence will also help protect the Belt Parkway and a popular bike path from drifting sand. While the Army Corps has been preparing for Phase II, the parking lot to the beach has been closed to the public. However... Read more...

Curbside Recycling now accepts all hard, rigid plastics
NYC Curbside Recycling now accepts all hard, rigid plastics. Don't forget to rinse them beforehand!

Reminder: Expanded Plastic Recycling Courtesy of Sims Metal Management

Don't forget!  New York City Curbside Recycling is now able to accept all rigid plastics, thanks to expanded recycling capacity at Sims Metal Management. The days of squinting to determine whether a plastic container is labeled "1," "2" or "3" are over; you will now be able to recycle any rigid plastic item. Formerly unrecyclable items include plastic cups, containers, toys, laundry bottles, and bottle caps, among many other rigid plastics.

The City has just mailed a notice to inform the public of this change. Make sure to spread the word among your friends and family. The Department of Sanitation recycling program expects to collect over 50,000 tons of additional material per year due to the inclusion of these plastics.  

The Ninth Annual Fall Roost will be held on October 16 at The Central Park Boathouse
The Ninth Annual Fall Roost will be held on Wednesday, October 16 at The Central Park Boathouse

Save the Date! Ninth Annual Fall Roost, October 16

Mark your calendars: NYC Audubon’s Fall Roost benefit dinner returns to the Central Park Boat House on Wednesday, October 16. This year’s benefit will honor Oakes Ames, Dr. Claude Bloch, Karen Heidgerd, Rita McMahon, and the late Starr Saphir. Click here to learn more about the honorees.

Held annually since 2005, The Fall Roost raises funds for NYC Audubon’s numerous conservation and education programs while honoring some of the City’s conservation luminaries. The evening begins with a silent auction and reception at 6pm, followed by dinner and program from 7-9pm. You can expect great food, excellent company, and a silent auction featuring eco-adventures, original artwork, and a few fun surprises. For more information and to register for this event, please call our offices at 212-691-7483, extension 306, or click here to register online.

Double-Crested Cormorant Nestlings © Don Riepe
Double-crested cormorant nestlings © Don Riepe

Field Notes: Cormorant Banding on Swinburne Island

Summer intern Darren Klein reports on a recent field expedition:

On June 20th, a team of NYC Audubon staff, interns, and volunteers traveled to Swinburne Island to band young double-crested cormorants. This long-abandoned island, at various times home to a quarantine hospital and a Merchant Marine training station, has in recent decades become a popular nesting site for a variety of seabirds, including the double-crested cormorant. Once an imperiled species, the double-crested cormorant has made a tremendously successful comeback in recent years. In order to gain a better understanding of this recovery, NYC Audubon has been banding cormorants on Swinburne Island since 2006.

After arriving on the island, the team scouted the various cormorant nesting sites--the birds had built a large cluster of nests on the ground, but many more were up in the island’s few remaining trees, and all were full of young birds. Read more...

Shorebirds in Flight © Don Riepe
Shorebirds in Flight © Don Riepe

Eighth Annual Shorebird Festival, August 24

Come out to the internationally renowned Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge at the peak of shorebird migration to learn about shorebird biology and behavior, and how to identify these species out in the field. This program is free and open to the general public on a reservation basis. (A donation is requested to defray expenses.) Bring water, lunch, and binoculars, and wear sensible shoes. Visit our website for information about the day's programming, how to register, and how to sign-up for free transportation from Manhattan (members only). Click here to go to the Annual Shorebird Festival page.

This will the be sixth annual City of Water Day
City of Water Day on Governor's Island. Photo courtesy of Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance

Travel with NYC Audubon to Governor's Island on City of Water Day

The sixth annual City of Water Day, the daylong celebration of the harbors and waterways of New York City, will be held on Governor’s Island Saturday, July 20. Organized by Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance and its over 650 Alliance partners, the event features a waterfront activities fair, live music, free boat tours, great food, free ferry rides, on-the-water activities, and more. The event runs from 10am to 4pm.

As part of City of Water Day, NYC Audubon and the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance will once again offer a special ecocruise past Hoffman and Swinburne Islands exploring the natural history of the area. The tour leaves from Pier 83 in Manhattan (W. 42nd st and 12th ave) at 10am and arrives at Governor’s Island at 11:15am. Limited to 150. Free (the $3 reservation fee will be refunded when you arrive at pier to pick up tickets). Visit to register and find out more about City of Water Day.  For information about ferry transportation from Governor's Island back to Manhattan, click here.

Big Brown Bat © Angell Williams
Big Brown Bat © Angell Williams

Don’t Miss our last Twilight Bat Walk in Central Park! July 9

There's just one more chance to discover the mysteries of Central Park at twilight with naturalist Paul Keim! Join other intrepid explorers in a nocturnal prowl of the park: look for local bat species in flight, watch them hunt and dive for insects, and listen to their calls with an echolocator. Learn about these fascinating and much misunderstood creatures and their importance to our environment. In addition to these mysterious flying mammals you may also see raccoons, fireflies, moths, and other night-time animals.

Meet at 103rd Street and Central Park West. Bring bug spray and a flashlight. Limited to 16. This program is great for kids! Recommended for ages 5 and up; all children must be accompanied by an adult. Click here to register.

Green Heron at Big John's Pond © Laura Meyers
A Green Heron Spotted at Big John's Pond © Laura Meyers

Biking & Birding: Jamaica Bay July 13

Are you the kind of person who looks for a unique twist to your urban biking adventures? Then the Biking & Birding tour in Jamaica Bay may fit the bill (please pardon the pun!). Naturalist Gabriel Willow will lead you on a scenic and bird-filled bicycle tour which begins at Grand Army Plaza just north of beautiful Prospect Park in Brooklyn, and ends at one of the City’s most important bird habitats, the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Take in the local flavor and scenery of some of Brooklyn’s great neighborhoods, and enjoy views of shorebirds, waders and more, all in one trip! Bring binoculars, water, lunch, and of course, your bicycle. Limited to 15. Click here to register and to get more trip info.

Long-Tailed Sylph © Francesco Veronesi*
Long-Tailed Sylph © Francesco Veronesi*

Escape to Ecuador this Winter!

Shining sunbeam… long-tailed sylph… velvet purple coronet:

These are just some of the romantically-named hummingbirds you could see in Ecuador. Many, such as the endangered black-breasted puffleg of Quito, are endemic--meaning that they can only be found in Ecuador. Join NYC Audubon’s John Rowden and Captivating Lands’ Edwin Perez this December 7-15 in exploring the bio-rich mountain and lowland forest habitats of the northern Andean slopes of Ecuador, looking for these winged rarities and so much more.

Birds you may see include gorgeous birds of prey like the carunculated caracara, the Andean cock-of-the-rock and other cotingas, guans, potoos, antbirds, toucans and barbets, and the mysterious oilbird! What better way to escape a week of New York City winter? Limited to 12. $2,695 ($150 single room supplement). Please contact Adriana Palmer at to learn more and to register. Trip itinerary and full tour description are coming soon to the NYC Audubon website.

Spartina alterniflora ©*
Spartina alterniflora ©*


Tuesday, July 9, and Wednesday, July 10, 12-3pm

NYC Audubon is partnering with the American Littoral Society to plant native Spartina saltmarsh grass at sites like Ruler’s Bar and Black Wall Marsh Island in Jamaica Bay. This fast-growing grass will help prevent future erosion of the islands, which buffer the bay from storm surges.

We will be meeting on two separate days, Tuesday, July 9 and Wednesday, July 10, 12-3pm, to lend a much needed helping hand to the Littoral Society’s heroic planting efforts. Come on the day that suits you best, or come on both days! Please 
contact Jennifer Dilone at for more information and to register.

Saturday, July 13, Time TBA

We will be clearing invasive plants species from the habitat within the refuge, to make room for the growth of native plants. Invasive plants out-compete our regional native plants and this makes the environment less supportive for other native wildlife. Removing the invasives helps improve the biodiversity within the park, from the types of insects present in the soil and on the plants themselves, to the birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals that feed on those plants and other animals. Come do your part to help maintain this New York City treasure as one of our most valuable urban wildlife habitats. Please contact Jennifer Dilone at for more information and to register.

Baltimore Oriole © Ellen Michaels
Baltimore Oriole © Ellen Michaels

Top and Sidebar Photos:  great egret, purple martin, greater shearwater, royal terns, bald eagle © Steve Nanz; yellow warbler © François Portmann; Andean cock of the rock © Bill Bouton*; surf scoters © Ómar Runólfsson*; Jamaican tody © David Speiser; keel-billed toucan © Brian Gratwicke*; lilac-breasted roller © Nen Riko*; resplendent quetzal © Richard Garrigues

* This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

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