One of the most abundant and, in my opinion, unappreciated groups of fish swimming around the great tidal waters of New York Harbor has to be small and slender Killifish or killies for short.
There is nothing impressive about their looks, appearing like shy, little minnow-like fish with a single dorsal fin and a tail that is squared or rounded in shape. Their teeth are not as sharp as snappers nor do they move as fast as stripers. They are also not as slimy as eels or as prehistoric as sturgeon.
Yet, look within a Peterson Field Guide about Atlantic Coast Fishes and you will find a wide assortment of killie species under the Cyprinodontidae family, from Diamond killifish to Rainwater killifish. New York Harbor and surrounding local waters support a wide assortment of killies too, including Banded killifish and Spotfin killifish, but the two most commonly found species in my opinion are Striped killifish and Mummichogs. I constantly find these fish in my seine net.
Female Lark http://imgarcade.com/1/lark-bunting-female/
By Pete Bacinski | For Inside Jersey
on September 25, 2016 at 8:00 AM, updated September 25, 2016 at 8:05 AM
AN ORDINARY mid-September day revealed a nice avian gift at Sandy Hook — an eighth state record of a lark bunting. Birder Tom Boyle, who knows every nook and cranny of this marvelous birding location, made the discovery.
Lark bunting is a sparrow that nests in the North American Great Plains, from southern Canada south to northern Texas, and winters from the American southwest and to southern Mexico.
The Sandy Hook bird was a female. These birds that are rather plain in comparison with the gaudy males, which sport a black coat and white wing patches.
Jennie Lyons, firstname.lastname@example.org,
September 6, 2016Endangered humpback whales in nine of 14 newly identified distinct population segments have recovered enough that they don’t warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act, NOAA Fisheries said today. International conservation efforts to protect and conserve whales over the past 40 years proved successful for most populations. Four of the distinct population segments are still protected as endangered, and one is now listed as threatened.
Commercial whaling severely reduced humpback whale numbers from historical levels, and the United States listed all humpback whales as endangered in 1970. NOAA Fisheries worked nationally and internationally to identify and apply protections for humpback whales. The International Whaling Commission’s whaling moratorium, imposed in 1982, played a major role in the comeback of humpback whales, and remains in effect.
“Today’s news is a true ecological success story,” said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries. “Whales, including the humpback, serve an important role in our marine environment. Separately managing humpback whale populations that are largely independent of each other allows us to tailor conservation approaches for each population.”
Quality, not quantity, of diet is key to health of baby birds
By Matt HayesSept. 19, 2016Cornell University
In a new study that upends the way ornithologists think about a young bird’s diet – but won’t shock parents used to scanning the nutritional profile of their children’s food – Cornell researchers have found that when it comes to what chicks eat, quality trumps quantity.
In recent decades, many aerial insectivores, such as tree swallows, have undergone steep population declines. Cornell researchers have demonstrated for the first time that the fatty acid composition in the tree swallow diet plays a key role in chick health and survival rates, potentially pointing to new ways to protect fragile bird species.
“This study really reforms the way ecologists see the food of wild animals,” said senior author David Winkler, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “From a preoccupation with how much food is available, we need to turn our eyes to what kind of food is available.”
50K Oysters to Grow in Jamaica Bay on Beds Made From Old ToiletsBy Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | September 6, 2016 4:52pm
Recycled toilets are being transformed into a home for 50,000 Jamaica Bay shellfish in what officials are calling "the largest single installation of breeding oysters in New York City."
The $1,375,000 initiative, led by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in partnership with the Billion Oyster Project, seeks to restore healthy oyster populations in the bay, which was once blanketed in bivalve mollusks.
Harvesting, dredging and pollution led to their "functional extinction" in the area decades ago.
But now the city wants to restore oysters which experts say are a key element in the bay's ecosystem as they filter pollutants from the water, help to protect wetlands and shoreline from erosion and provide a home for fish and other sea dwellers, according to the DEP.
Since 2010, the DEP conducted two oyster reintroduction pilot studies within Jamaica Bay — in Dubos Point in Queens and in Gerritsen Creek in Brooklyn — which showed that oysters can survive in the area, the city said.
“This vital species naturally filters the waters of the Bay while providing unique habitat for fish," said Dan Mundy of Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers, a group dedicated to protecting the 31-square-mile bay.
"The restoration of oysters back into the waters of Jamaica Bay is one of the key remaining goals to fully restore this great and unique ecosystem."
The installation will include a central bed and four smaller beds composed of clam and oyster shells as well as broken porcelain that has been recycled from nearly 5,000 old toilets, according to the DEP.
The city used to discard the toilets, but since porcelain seems to be as productive for oyster growth as shells, experts decided to reuse them for the project.
The DEP expects that the initiative will improve water quality in the bay in terms of dissolved oxygen, nitrogen removal and cleanliness.
The project is being funded with a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Interior, and $375,000 from the city’s DEP.
In 2014, two years after Hurricane Sandy damaged New York City's shores, the federal government also allocated a $60 million grant to the state to create a wall of oysters off the shore of Staten Island to help the area avoid future devastation.
A juvenile Burrfish found at Cliffwood Beach in Aberdeen Township, NJ
Life was on the move in the murky waters of Raritan Bay and Sandy Hook Bay, located along the southern shore of New York Harbor. Small fish found along the edge of the bay were swimming fast and foraging for food before the rush to move out of the estuary before winter starts to arrive.
Seine the Bay Day is a free one-day public event conducted twice a year by volunteers with the Bayshore Regional Watershed Council during the start and end of the summer season. Volunteers at multiple sites along Raritan Bay and Sandy Hook Bay use a 50-foot seine net to catch fish and show people the diversity of slimy, slippery, and interesting sea creatures usually swimming along the water’s edge.
STOP THE WILLIAMS FRACKED GAS PIPELINE THROUGH NY HARBOR!
MY TOP 5 FAVORITE BOOKS ABOUT NY HARBOR
1. Field Guide to the Neighborhood Birds of New York City by Leslie Day
2.Heartbeats in the Muck by John Waldman
3. The Fisheries of Raritan Bay by Clyde L. MacKenzie Jr.
4. Waterfront: A Walk Around Manhattan by Phillip Lopate
5. The Bottom of the Harbor by Joseph Mitchell