While spawning populations of American shad (Alosa sapidissima) are increasing in the Delaware River, the Penobscot River in Maine, and other river systems along the Atlantic Coast from as far south as the Saint Johns in Florida all the way to Newfoundland, Canada, the annual run of spawning shad in the Hudson River continues to decline. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced a fishing ban of shad in 2010, citing declining numbers in the agency's annual surveys. The DEC conducts annual surveys of the spawning stock in the spring and of newborn shad in the fall. Data has remained low. In 2012, the most recent year for which data are available, the juvenile abundance index hit an all-time low. Absolutely more needs to be done to bring back shad populations and an historic fishery to the Hudson River and nearby waters of New York Harbor - JR
American Shad Making A Strong Comeback In The Delaware River
BY NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
| NOVEMBER 1, 2017 | FRESHWATER, SALTWATER.
On the Water Magazine
Biological surveys conducted this year suggest American shad are making a strong comeback in the Delaware River, historically famous for a once-prodigious population of this important fish species, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.
Net surveys conducted during the spring resulted in the ninth largest overall haul of migrating adult shad ever recorded, while summer surveys of juvenile shad that hatched this year were the best in the nearly four decades of monitoring for juvenile shad.
“The strong shad spawning run and record-setting juvenile numbers this summer lead us to be very optimistic about the future of shad, a species that is important to the overall ecological health of the Delaware River,” said Commissioner Martin. “We have worked very closely over the years with our partner state and federal agencies in the river basin as well as numerous nonprofit and community groups to restore this species to the Delaware, the largest free-flowing river in the eastern United States.”
A juvenile Black-bellied Plover recently caught a young clam worm in its beak along Sandy Hook Bay, NJ.
Written by Joe Reynolds
New York Harbor Nature Blog
Shorebird migration is not over yet. Birds are still in flight to select a worthy coastal home to spend the winter, perhaps even deciding to stay around New York Harbor.
Over the weekend, I spotted a small flock of about 20 or so juvenile black-bellied plovers (Pluvialis squatarola) stopping to rest, relax, and feed before either continuing their winged migration southward or maybe spending the winter around the Hudson-Raritan estuary. The winter range for this plover is extensive, from New England and Nova Scotia to southern South America and everywhere in-between. The birds prefer to winter on coastal ocean beaches or along the shoreline of estuaries where they can easily forage for small polychaete worms, bivalves, and crustaceans.
I first spotted this young group of black-bellied plovers on Friday. They were foraging for small worms during low tide at Horseshoe Cove along Sandy Hook Bay. The next day, the shorebirds were observed a little farther south, resting on a sandbar during high tide in Spermaceti Cove, still located in Sandy Hook Bay.
The birds were relatively easy to recognize. At nearly 12 inches long, black-bellied plovers are the largest of our plovers. They are much larger than their more famous cousin, the piping plover, which measures in at about 7 inches in height. Although black-bellied plovers look similar to American golden plovers, especially in nonbreeding plumage, there are some important differences. According to the Sibley Field Guide to Birds, non-breeding or juvenile black-bellied plovers have a black “armpit,” white belly and white wing-stripes, as opposed to the American golden plover.
The birds I observed in Sandy Hook Bay all appeared to be juveniles, with an additional streaked breast and pale cap. While black-bellied plovers can often be seen migrating from late July to early December, the adults or nonbreeding birds are usually the first to start fall migration, with juveniles appearing mainly from late September on.
The birds nest on dry ground in the high tundra, often above lowland lakes and rivers. Once the eggs are hatched, the adults will migrate soon after to escape the cold winds of a brief breeding season up in the Arctic. Within hours of hatching, young shorebirds are walking around, foraging for food and usually able to fend for themselves.
For many shorebirds species that nest in the Arctic, the adults depart first, and the young birds will set out later by themselves. There is often a full month or more between the peak passage of adults and the peak passage of juveniles.
The question is, with no adults to guide or supervise them, how do young black-bellied plovers know where to go to wintering grounds they have never been to before?
Did the flock of juvenile black-bellied plovers I observed last weekend get lost during their long southbound migration, or maybe Sandy Hook Bay is somehow encoded in their brains as an important migratory stopover site. Only time will tell. No doubt, though, migration can be an exciting time. It’s best to always keep binoculars and a field guide handy when spotting a flock of unexpected shorebirds around New York Harbor.
Red Maple leaves turning red or yellow or both in autumn.
The color is dependent on how much light a leaf receives. Bright light favors red.
If you spend most of your time right along the beach, perhaps fishing, surfing, or seeking a flawless seashell, you will be forgiven for not knowing fall foliage is peaking right now around New York Harbor.
Okay, sure. Our coastline doesn’t usually have the typical variety of vibrant maples and other trees that provide colorful hues in northern forests like the Catskills or the Green Mountains of Vermont. Much of our dune and beach landscape around New York Harbor lies with the subtle shades of marsh grasses, sumacs, sassafras, Virginia creeper, phragmites, and even poison ivy, which turns a lovely wine red come fall.
But that doesn’t mean you have to travel far to see classic fall color. Just a few miles inland to nearby parks and preserves is where autumnal beauty lies from a variety of trees. Some of my favorite places include Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Blue Heron Park in Staten Island; and Cheesequake State Park in Middlesex County and Freneau Woods Park in Aberdeen Township, the last two located in New Jersey. Everyone has a favorite place they can easily add to a list. Go there now to see autumn leaf color before it fades away.
Fall foliage usually peaks around much of New York Harbor in the last week of October or the first week of November. Mother Nature, however, can be unpredictable. This year it seems the best fall color is about a week behind, probably due to an unseasonably warm October and a late summer drought, which can delay the onset of fall color by a few weeks.
How cities are defending themselves against sea level rise
By WAYNE PARRY
Oct. 27, 2017
AP - Associated Press
HOBOKEN, N.J. (AP) — Superstorm Sandy and a series of lesser coastal storms since that 2012 disaster compelled some coastal communities to defend themselves by elevating homes and critical infrastructure, building sand dunes, widening beaches and erecting or raising sea walls.
But as sea levels continue to rise around the world, that’s not an option in large cities, where skyscrapers can’t be elevated and subway and train tunnels act as turbocharged flumes when millions of gallons of stormwater rush through them.
The answer, some cities have decided, is a mixture of hard and soft barriers; green infrastructure to capture rain and absorb storm water; temporary storage space for runoff; and drastically increased pumping measures.
Here’s a look at some steps being taken by cities around the world to address the issue:
Sea levels to rise 1.3m unless coal power ends by 2050, report says
University of Melbourne paper combines latest understanding on Antarctica and current emissions projection scenarios
By Michael Slezak
Thursday 26 October 2017 07.00 EDT
Coastal cities around the world could be devastated by 1.3m of sea level rise this century unless coal-generated electricity is virtually eliminated by 2050, according to a new paper that combines the latest understanding of Antarctica’s contribution to sea level rise and the latest emissions projection scenarios.
It confirms again that significant sea level rise is inevitable and requires rapid adaptation. But, on a more positive note, the work reveals the majority of that rise – driven by newly recognised processes on Antarctica – could be avoided if the world fulfils its commitment made in Paris to keep global warming to “well below 2C”.
In 2016, Robert DeConto from the University of Massachusetts Amherst revealed that Antarctica could contribute to massive sea level rise much earlier than thought, suggesting ice sheet collapse would occur sooner and identifying a new process where huge ice cliffs would disintegrate.
But that paper only examined the impact of Antarctica on sea level rise, ignoring other contributions, and didn’t examine the details of what measures society needed to take to avoid those impacts.
By Joe Reynolds
New York Harbor Nature Blog
This time of year, the coast is not where numerous people visit to see magnificent fall foliage. And for good reason. Unlike many inland places, a beach around New York or New Jersey frequently does not have a variety or abundance of maples, beeches, birches, or other trees that provide leaves with impressive autumn color.
Yet, the one exception would be sumac, a member of the cashew family. There are several varieties commonly found around New York Harbor:
Don’t worry, these are not poison sumac. There are around 250 different plants in the genus Rhus, and poison sumac (Rhus vernix) is rarely encountered. Poison sumac is often discovered as a small, straggly tree or shrub in shaded wooded swamps, bogs or wet woods, not near sandy beaches. Poison sumac has white berries and common species of sumac to NY Harbor have red berries.
Together, winged, staghorn and smooth sumacs prefer to grow in sunny open areas. These are tough plants, perfect for the harsh sandy dune environment near a coastline.
These small trees or shrubs provide pleasant fall foliage. Rich green leaves during the summer turn a bright red or orange with autumn winds. Even the plant’s fruit gets into the action. Berries become clusters of bright red cones, called a pancile, and are ripe for picking. Back in the day, Native American Indians of the Northeast made a tart lemonade-like drink from the fruit. It must have been a real treat from just drinking water or tea nearly all the time. Native people might also have mixed dried sumac leaves with tobacco to smoke in their pipes.
Several species of sumacs are native to southern Canada and the Eastern United States. I find there is an abundant population growing all around New York Harbor, especially at Sandy Hook NRA. They make excellent windbreakers and help with erosion control, important natural tools to protect an ever-changeable shoreline.
But the benefits do not stop here. The berries from sumac also help to supply food for wild birds, including robins, bluebirds, mocking birds, waxwings, yellow-rumped warblers, and various other species that eat berries in the winter.
Be alert of poison sumac, but don’t be afraid of all plants with the word "sumac." Winged, staghorn and other species of sumac are not poisonous and provides beautiful autumn color along the coast.
WATCH: Whale frolics at the Jersey Shore
By Taylor Tiamoyo Harris
NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Updated on October 26, 2017 at 10:07 AM
Posted on October 24, 2017 at 9:10 AM
Swimsuit season may be over, but it may not be time to leave the beach just yet. In fact, if you're looking to spot a whale, now may be the best time to head to a beach in Atlantic or Monmouth counties.
Photographer Bill McKim captured a humpback whale within 100 yards of the shore of Belmar Beach on Sunday.
On Facebook, the Cape May Whale Watcher group posted pictures of a humpback whale and 50 dolphins on Friday.
"It's a rare and beautiful thing and something that you just have to stop and see." said Bill McKim, the photographer who captured video and photographs of the mammal.
An adult Yellow-rumped Warbler in winter plumage.
If you took a walk like I did last Saturday at Sandy Hook in New Jersey, part of Gateway National Recreation Area and located near the entrance to New York Harbor, you would have noticed small little songbirds flying about the shrubs and trees. Just like people, I suppose they were taking advantage of the sunny and unseasonably warm late October day to rest and refuel before the onset of Sunday’s strong wind and flooding rainstorm.
Yellow-rumped warblers are migrating now. The bird is one of the last warblers to migrate in fall, remaining in northernmost breeding areas well into October.
Yellow-rumped warblers are relatively easy small birds to recognize. As their name suggests, this warbler always seems to be flashing its yellow rump of feathers near the base of its tail as the bird flies or moves about the trees and shrubs around New York Harbor.
Yellow-rumps breed in conifer forests up north during the summer. Come fall they migrate south to open woodlands, gardens, and even thickets near the beach. These little birds never travel too far. Unlike most warblers that migrate to faraway tropical locations for the winter, yellow-rumped warblers overwinter in North America, as far north as New England.
How does this small songbird survive chilly northern winters? While most warblers survive by eating a variety of insects, yellow-rumps have adapted and evolved to eat not only insects, but also a variety of berries, some berries and fruits that most other warblers can't.
You never know what you might find while taking a stroll along the shore. Flotsam and jetsam is not always pretty. Some days you might discover a strange looking fanged tooth skull.
The powerful late October coastal storm that slowly trekked across the Northeast, including New York Harbor, on Sunday and Monday morning gave rise to more than just a month's worth of rain in less than two days. The storm also provided at least one weird beach find.
While taking a walk along the edge of Sandy Hook Bay late in the day on Monday, I came across a toothy skull from the water’s depths. At first glance it looked like the facial remains of a strange, scary sea monster.
But have no fear! This was no missing link to a murder mystery or the remains of a deep-sea monster. Upon further study the skull was just an unfortunate leftover from a recent unknown fishing endeavor.
The brownish skull with spiky teeth in the sand was actually the bones of a bluefish. It looked a little extra creepy because the skull was missing its upper jaw.
The mouth of an adult living bluefish is large and has extremely sharp, ﬂattened, and triangular teeth. The lower jaw is sometimes slightly prominent with strong sharp teeth.
Bluefish, both adolescents and adults, are known for their sharp, fang-like teeth. They have some of the sharpest teeth of any fish along the northeast coast, like a snapping serrated knife. They have razor sharp teeth that can easily cut a finger.
Large numbers of bluefish are on the move now migrating south for the winter to the Carolinas, Florida and other southern waters. Various anglers around New York Harbor and along the northeast coast are catching bluefish before local coastal waters turn cold and the fish disappear. When a person catches a fish, she or he will often clean and gut the fish so remains or the meat can fit inside a cooler to keep it fresh. Fish heads are frequently cut off and discarded as waste. Over time, the flesh of the fish head will be eaten away and the skull and other bones will wash ashore to be found by curious beach walkers.
Thankfully fish heads are not something you’d typically see on a beach all the time. But with the fall run taking place now, the annual migration of striped bass, bluefish and other fish to the southern waters, anything can wash up including heads, tails, and other fishy body parts. Be aware.
Maybe instead of tossing fish heads, anglers should eat 'em up instead. Yum!
10 berries that birds love
These shrubs and trees produce attractive flowers that develop into a colorful berries, which will attract songbirds and other birds to your backyard.
By TOM ODER
November 1, 2013, 11:48 a.m.
Mother Nature Network
Have you ever thought about birdscaping your garden? Birdscaping in this case doesn’t mean putting out a lot of feeders with different types of seed. It means planting the types of plants that will attract birds to your garden.
If birdscaping hasn't made it to your gardening to-do list, a good way to get started is by planting berry-producing plants — and now is the perfect time of year to do that. These plants produce attractive flowers that develop into a colorful berries, which will attract songbirds and other birds that can turn the garden into a wildlife wonderland.
Here are 10 easy-to-grow berry-producing shrubs, vines and trees that produce berries that birds will love. Most of these plants should grow well throughout the United States, according to Bill Thompson III of Bird Watchers Digest in Marietta, Ohio. Consult with your local nursery or local native plant authority to find species in these plant families that are appropriate for your local region’s soil and climate. The birds listed below are just a sampling of the most common species that each plant attracts, according to Thompson.
Globe had 2nd warmest year to date, 4th warmest September on record
Arctic and Antarctic sea ice coverage remains small
October 18, 2017
The equinox on September 22 marked a seasonal milestone for planet Earth. It signified a rapid progression into autumn for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere and spring for those “down under” in the Southern Hemisphere.
Let’s dive deeper into our monthly analysis to see how the planet fared for the month and the year to date:
Climate by the numbers
The average global temperature set in September 2017 was 1.40 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 59.0 degrees, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. This average temperature was the fourth highest for September in the 1880-2017 record. This marked the 41st consecutive September and the 393rd consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th-century average.
Year to date | January through September 2017
The year-to-date average temperature was 1.57 degrees F above the 20th-century average of 57.5 degrees. This was the second warmest for this period, 0.23 of a degree behind the record set in 2016. Nine of the 10 warmest January-September global temperatures have occurred since 2005, with 1998 as the only exception.
Rivers carry plastic debris into the sea
UFZ researchers have proven that large river systems are the main culprits for plastic pollution in the oceans
press release, 17. October 2017
Every year, millions of tonnes of plastic debris ends up in the sea - a global environmental problem with unforeseeable ecological consequences. The path taken by plastic to reach the sea must be elucidated before it will be possible to reduce the volume of plastic input. To date, there was only little information available on this. It has now been followed up by an interdisciplinary research team who were able to show that plastic debris is primarily carried into the sea by large rivers.
In the meantime, minute plastic particles can be found in the water in virtually every sea and river. This constitutes a serious and growing global environmental problem. There are enormous quantities of input each year and plastic weathers only very slowly. Marine life can be harmed by the tiny plastic particles floating in the water. One example of how this happens is when fish, seabirds or marine mammals mistake the particles for food and consume them. "It is still impossible to foresee the ecological consequences of this. One thing is certain, however: this situation cannot continue," says Dr. Christian Schmidt, a hydrogeologist at the UFZ. "But as it is impossible to clean up the plastic debris that is already in the oceans, we must take precautions and reduce the input of plastic quickly and efficiently."
U.S. Winter Outlook: NOAA forecasters predict cooler, wetter North and warmer, drier South
Drought likely to persist in northern Plains
October 19, 2017
Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center released the U.S. Winter Outlook today, with La Nina potentially emerging for the second year in a row as the biggest wildcard in how this year’s winter will shape up. La Nina has a 55- to 65-percent chance of developing before winter sets in.
NOAA produces seasonal outlooks to help communities prepare for what's likely to come in the next few months and minimize weather's impacts on lives and livelihoods. Empowering people with actionable forecasts and winter weather tips is key to NOAA’s effort to build a Weather-Ready Nation.
“If La Nina conditions develop, we predict it will be weak and potentially short-lived, but it could still shape the character of the upcoming winter,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Typical La Nina patterns during winter include above average precipitation and colder than average temperatures along the Northern Tier of the U.S. and below normal precipitation and drier conditions across the South.”
Where To Spot Wild Animals In NYC: Awesome New Seasonal Map Tracks Urban Wildlife Where and when to stalk the city's hawks, eagles, bullfrogs, turtles, deer, coyotes, salamanders, foxes, owls, possums, crabs and more.
By Simone Wilson (New York City Patch Staff)
Updated May 19, 2017 6:01 pm ET
New York City Patch
NEW YORK, NY — Need a break from your fellow man? Look no further than this awesome new interactive map and calendar, created by the NYC Parks Department, which tells you what species hang out in which parts of the city at what times of year.
“There’s no need to leave New York City to see wildlife," NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchel Silver said in a statement Thursday announcing the city's new online critter-stalking tool.
“With more than 600 species living in our city," Silver said, "there are plentiful opportunities to witness these magnificent animals in their element."
You can play with the map and calendar here, or scroll down for our month-by-month breakdown of the NYC Parks data.
But first, a reminder from city park officials: "Most of NYC’s wildlife are not dangerous; however, maintaining a safe distance is the best way to protect your safety and the safety of our wild neighbors. If you see an injured animal, leave the animal where it is, give it some distance, and call 311. If there's any immediate danger, please call 911."
Prozac in ocean water a possible threat to sea life
Date: October 20, 2017
Source: Portland State University
Summary: Oregon shore crabs exhibit risky behavior when they're exposed to the antidepressant Prozac, making it easier for predators to catch them, according to a new study.
The study, published in the journal Ecology and Evolution, illustrates how concentrations of pharmaceuticals found in the environment could pose a risk to animal survival.
For years, tests of seawater near areas of human habitation have shown trace levels of everything from caffeine to prescription medicines. The chemicals are flushed from homes or medical facilities, go into the sewage system, and eventually make their way to the ocean.
In a laboratory, the PSU team exposed Oregon shore crabs to traces of fluoxetine, the active ingredient in Prozac. They found that the crabs increased their foraging behavior, showing less concern for predators than they normally would. They even did so during the day, when they would normally be in hiding.
N.Y. / REGION |
The Vegetarian’s Puffer Fish
By DAVE TAFT
OCT. 5, 2017
The New York Times
Pokeweed is at its most beautiful in early autumn. It is also at its most toxic. From its lovely purple-black berries to the very tip of its stout, white taproot, the plant is poison.
Consequently, it may seem strange that pokeweed is avidly sought out as a wild edible.
Songs have been written extolling pokeweed’s virtues. In fact, no less than Elvis Presley and Tom Jones covered Tony Joe White’s “Polk Salad Annie” — a song about more than just eating poke salad. I only hope Annie was harvesting and cooking her greens in the early spring.
At the point when its shoots are only a few inches tall, pokeweed can be harvested and boiled to make a basic cooked vegetable. But as the plant matures, the three-inch shoots grow to a towering, treelike plant with spreading bright magenta stems. These you do not want to eat
An adult male Fork-tailed Flycatcher recently seen at Sandy Hook, NRA in New Jersey.
Fishermen and anglers from Maine to New Jersey will often call this time of year the “fall run.” An exciting length of time from August to November when large schools of baitfish bring sizeable schools of striped bass, bluefish and other big fish in hot pursuit. With the fall run, every surfcaster from miles around is attracted to the water for a chance of hooking a large or unusual fish.
For birders throughout the fall, this is an equally enthralling time. Birds too are on the move to wintering homes as colder temperatures and shorter days foretell frostier times ahead. Fall, especially October, can be an electrifying time for birding around New York Harbor, as you never know what might show up. Each day holds great promise to see a diversity of rare species that pass through on their way south or north for the winter.
Such was the case last Sunday. A remarkable wanderer flew in near North Beach at Sandy Hook, not far from the mouth of New York Harbor. A very rare and irregular migrant.
A beautiful adult male fork-tailed flycatcher was seen foraging for flying insects among the cedars and shrubs near the North Beach parking lot at the Sandy Hook peninsula, part of Gateway National Recreation Area in New York Harbor.
Sporting an extremely long forked tail, even greater in length than their cousin the scissor-tailed flycatcher, this male fork-tailed flycatcher was mostly black and gray above and white below. The shape of the bird’s body resembled a kingbird, which makes sense because it’s a member of the kingbird genus Tyrannus.
N.Y. / REGION
Deaths of Dozens of Canada Geese Linked to Moldy Bread or Grain
By VIVIAN WANG
OCT. 14, 2017
The New York Times
Malone, N.Y., near the Canadian border, is a familiar name in the birding community.
Every fall, the sky above the rural community, about 200 miles north of Albany, fills with a sight that draws bird-watchers from far and wide: thousands of snow and Canada geese migrating south and stopping on a lake at Malone Memorial Recreation Park.
This year, though, the birds’ arrival brought not only awe and appreciation but also anxiety after three dozen Canada geese were found dead at the park. Park visitors and workers began finding the carcasses scattered over the past few weeks, the park’s director, Dan Andrews, told The Malone Telegram on Thursday.
Residents worried that the geese were being killed by local contamination, perhaps in the grain or water, Carl Sherwin, a Franklin County legislator who lives in Malone, said in an interview on Saturday.
52 Environmental Rules on the Way Out Under Trump
By NADJA POPOVICH and LIVIA ALBECK-RIPKA
UPDATED Oct. 6, 2017
The New York Times
Since taking office in January, President Trump has made eliminating federal regulations a priority. His administration — with help from Republicans in Congress — has often targeted environmental rules it sees as overly burdensome to the fossil fuel industry, including major Obama-era policies aimed at fighting climate change.
To date, the Trump administration has sought to reverse more than 50 environmental rules, according to an analysis by The New York Times.
Bad news! There have been fewer sightings of Red Knots this year in both Delaware Bay during the bird's spring migration and along South Beach in Chatham, MA during its fall migration.
This little shorebird makes one of the longest yearly migrations of any bird, traveling over 9,200 miles (15,000 km) from breeding grounds well above the Arctic Circle (the first known nest was discovered during Admiral Peary's expedition to the North Pole in 1909) to Tierra del Fuego in southern South America. Along the way Red Knots will make stops along estuarine beaches in North America, sometimes small flocks will show up in New York Harbor, to rest and roost. In the spring the birds need to refuel on fatty horseshoe crab eggs with the largest flocks seeking a feast along Delaware Bay.
Unfortunately, populations are in decline. The shorebird is listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Decades of widespread emerging challenges like climate change and coastal development, coupled with the historic impacts of horseshoe crab over-harvesting have sharply reduced the Red Knot population with few signs of hope.
Atlantic menhaden is a critical food source for nearly every major marine predator up and down the Atlantic coast. These predators – and the balance of the entire ecosystem – can only thrive when every part of the food web thrives. If populations of menhaden drop too low, everything from striped bass and bluefish to humpback whales and seabirds will have a harder time finding food. We need menhaden managers to know that it’s unacceptable to allow populations of menhaden to drop to risky levels. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is accepting public comments through October 24. So take action today:
A migrating osprey flying near New York Harbor
After reaching its peak in early October, osprey migration around New York Harbor is slowing down. Fewer and fewer flying ospreys are being spotted, but sights of migrating ospreys will continue well into November. Fall migration is still under way for young birds that were raised far up in New York, New England and Canada, as colder temperatures and shorter days signify the coming winter.
The osprey (Pandion haliaetus) also known as a fish hawk or sea hawk, is a large diurnal, fish-eating raptor. Chances are pretty good you have seen one flying around New York Harbor this fall in places like Sandy Hook Bay, Jamaica Bay, Raritan Bay and other watery areas where they nest. You may not have even known you had spotted one. A quick glance at a single osprey will appear like a large gull, similar to a Lesser black-backed gull, especially in flight.
But ospreys are no gull. They are superb fishers. Most avian field guides indicate that 99 percent of an osprey’s diet consists of live fish, including menhaden or bunker, flounder and bluefish. It's the only raptor that relies so much on fishing for living.
According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, ospreys catch a fish at least one in every four dives, with success rates sometimes as high as 70 percent. The average time the bird spends hunting before making a catch is about 12 minutes. A much better success rate than most weekend warriors around New York Harbor that try their luck catching a fish with rod and reel.
Ospreys that nest around New York Harbor and in many parts of North America are migratory. Over the years wildlife biologists have tracked those that have nested in New Jersey and Jamaica Bay, NY with miniature satellite transmitters during fall migration. Amazingly the bird’s journey took them to far-away tropical places, including Cuba and other islands in the Caribbean, Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil’s Amazon River basin. A mind-blowing voyage that travels over land, ocean, and sea; and fishing all the way!
Can Gowanus Survive Its Renaissance?
Brooklyn’s famously filthy canal is getting cleaned up.
A building boom is coming. And not everyone is happy.
By ANDY NEWMAN
OCT. 13, 2017
The New York Times
“Welcome to Venice Jerko.” The greeting is painted in three-foot-high letters on a brick wall along Brooklyn’s legendarily polluted Gowanus Canal, right across from the canal’s first luxury high-rise and its new waterfront promenade.
One recent sunny Sunday, a party of German seminary students and a pair of hotel publicists gathered for a canoe tour. The seminarians had read about the canal in a German travel guide that promised “a romantic sunset on the water.” The publicists were scouting to see if the boutique hotel, opening a few blocks away, might want to include guided canoe trips.
“It could make for a great guest experience,” one of the publicists said. The voyagers carried their canoes past the cafe tables on the promenade, put in below the new boat ramp and paddled off.
The future is flowing in fast on the sleepy little canal, where the wilderness of urban decay that sprouted artists and then artisanal ice cream shops is being tidied and tamed. Stroller traffic on the bridge to Whole Foods grows thick, and the sliding crunch of the concrete factory conveyor belt is falling silent.
But as much as the canal zone has been remade already, the next few years promise, or threaten, a different magnitude of change altogether.
New Publication by Hawk Mountain scientists shows seasonal changes in migration timing
September 27, 2017
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, PA
Earlier this month, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary biologists published a new paper in collaboration with researchers in Canada and across the United States that suggests global climate change is creating long-term shifts in seasonal migration timing and the amount of time eastern North American raptors spend on their breeding grounds.
The article, "Long-term phenological shifts in migration and breeding-area residency in eastern North American raptors" was published in The Auk: Ornithological Advances on September 20. Dr. Jean-Francois Therrien, the Sanctuary’s senior research biologist, served as lead author with co-authors Director of Long-term Monitoring Dr. Laurie Goodrich, Director of Conservation Science Dr. Keith Bildstein, and seven other collaborators.
The research suggests an overall delay across species in most eastern North American raptors in autumn migration passage, which correlates with an increase in temperature. Combining those results with earlier spring migration data further suggests that most species in this region are increasing the amount of time they spend on their breeding grounds.
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