Date   

This week's destination: 2/13 -- Stay home again

Naomi Lloyd
 

Yes, the Thursday morning forecast is once again dismal! Stay home, watch your feeders, make plans for Valentine's day, and be careful!

Naomi


Red-winged Blackbird, Latham 2/12

trwdsd
 

At the parking lot of the Mohawk Riverside Landing Park this morning, a Red-winged Blackbird perched up singing over the frozen wetland.


Tom Williams 
Colonie


No destination: 2/6 -- Stay Home!

Naomi Lloyd
 

Hey Birders, due to the increasingly unpleasant forecast for Thursday morning (sleet, snow, freezing rain) I say we should all stay home and watch our bird feeders this week.

Better luck next Thursday -- stay safe and watch out for ice --

Naomi


On Wednesday, January 22, 2020, 12:42:51 PM EST, Naomi Lloyd via Groups.Io <naomi_kestrel@...> wrote:


Bill and I were the only birders last week and got skunked on grasslands birds, despite others finding good stuff later that day and in the week. So let's try the Washington/Saratoga grasslands again and hope for better luck (and more eyes!)

Meet at Hudson Crossing park at 9:00. I might spend the rest of the day up there and look for SEOW in the afternoon.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Hudson+Crossing+Park/@43.113797,-73.579937,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x89de2ebeef77c4ef:0xcdfc181530ee1425!8m2!3d43.113797!4d-73.577743?hl=en&authuser=0

Naomi





TONIGHT - HMBC program - Monday Feb 3 at the Colonie Library - Grassland Bird Monitoring

scottjstoner
 

6:30 PM; details below



Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


-------- Original message --------
From: "scottjstoner via Groups.Io" <ScottJStoner@...>
Date: 1/28/20 21:05 (GMT-05:00)
To: hmbirds@groups.io
Cc: hmbirds@groups.io
Subject: [hmbirds] HMBC program - Monday Feb 3 at the Colonie Library - Grassland Bird Monitoring

Program -- NYSDEC Grassland Bird Studies and Conservation in NYS

  • When
    3 Feb 2020
  • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Location
    William K. Sanford (Colonie) Library
Speaker: Paul Novak of NYSDEC

for details please see https://www.hmbc.net/event-3615772


Lesser Black-backed Gull, Cohoes

John Kent
 

I did the Green Island - Cohoes - Crescent circuit around noon today. I got to Crescent Park a while after Gregg’s post on the Iceland Gull, but didn’t find any gulls there. My only notable sighting was a Lesser Black-backed Gull, seen above Cohoes Falls while scoping from School Street. I wasn’t able to make out leg color, but based on mantle color, a gray-streaked head and neck, and size comparison to Herring Gulls, I felt confident of the ID. I also saw four Mute Swans together on the north side of the Mohawk just west of Crescent Power Plant.

This morning at Henry Hudson Park in Selkirk, I saw three Yellow-rumped Warblers, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a Winter Wren, and a Common Grackle. A Peregrine Falcon carrying prey landed in a tree and started eating, then flew off when it saw me looking at it.

John Kent
Selkirk


Iceland gull, crescent

gregg_recer
 

one first year bird on the ice in large group just west of the crescent Bridge. visible from the fishing access on the opposite side. was totally blocked when we were looking from crescent Park. 

Gregg Recer
gregg_recer@...

--
gregg recer
malta NY


ADBC field trips

Naomi Lloyd
 

As I looked over the list of upcoming HMBC field trips in FEATHERS, I remembered that our neighbor club, the Alan Devoe Bird Club, has a busy schedule of walks for the new year. Many of them dovetail into open spaces in our list (except May -- everyone is busy in May!). They focus mainly on Columbia County destinations, nearby but less familiar to many of us.

https://www.alandevoebirdclub.org/AboutCalendar.htm

Naomi Lloyd


Seeking Sites for Avian Conservation Research

Steve M. Chorvas
 

 
I am forwarding the message below to the listserve on behalf of Bruce Robertson, an avian ecologist at Bard College (Dutchess County).  If interested, or if you have any questions, please respond directly to Bruce (contact info at end of message).
 
Steve M. Chorvas
Saugerties, NY
 
 
From Bruce Robertson:

I'm currently in the second year of a State of California-funded research project designed to understand the basis for the large-scale phenomenon of bird collisions with solar panels. I've been doing this research locally, on wintering songbirds here in the Hudson Valley, and in the yards of kind citizens who volunteer the use of their yards for about a week. I'm writing because we are seeking more citizens with interest in helping with the project in the next 1.5 months.  

Information for the project is included below, but in short we are looking to place a bird feeder or some heated bird baths on the grass at the edge of some woods where we can attract birds to interact with our experiments. And we are most limited on sites for the bird bath experiment because it asks citizens to allow us to plug in these heated bird baths into some exterior power supply for a few days, and many people don't have exterior power supplies.
 
 
 

WHY ARE BIRDS COLLIDING WITH SOLAR PANELS? HELP US FIND OUT!

Volunteer your yard or property as a site for a Bard College research project

Over the past few years, an increasing number of migratory birds are found dead at utility-scale solar installations in the California desert. The USFWS estimates that somewhere between 18,000-83,000 birds may die each year by either colliding with solar panels or wandering through the hot solar flux near collecting towers at solar-thermal facilities.

Why should birds be attracted to solar panels? 

Much of the sunlight hitting the solar panels is absorbed and converted to electricity. Due to the color and smoothness of solar panels, the light that bounces off, however, becomes ‘polarized’. This means that the light is forced to start vibrating in a horizontal direction, only. When you view a lake or river, the light reflected from the surface (glare) is also polarized and fisherman that wear ‘polarized’ sunglasses can block this bright and polarized light and see into the water more clearly. Water has always been the primary natural source of polarized light on earth and many animals (e.g. aquatic insects) that need to locate water bodies to breed, drink or hunt have evolved eyes capable of seeing polarized light and so finding water even from great distances. Birds may also locate lakes via their polarized light signature and this may explain their attraction to solar panels in the desert. They may mistake solar panel fields for lakes where they can drink and/or rest. When they descend to investigate they collide with the panels. In ecological science, such  deceptively attractive, but dangerous habitats are better known as ‘ecological traps’.

What are the goals of our research?

It is our goal to test this ‘lake effect’ hypothesis. In this first of two years of the NY portion of our research project, we will conduct three experiments that, together, will answer the following questions:

1)      Can songbirds see horizontally polarized light and are they attracted to it?

2)      Do songbirds perceive smooth, shiny objects (i.e. simulated solar panels) as water bodies?

What kind of experiments will we do?

We would like to conduct 1-2 of our 3 different experiments on your property.

Experiment 1 (4 way bird feeder): We will place a bird feeder near the forest edge, leaving it for 2-4 days until the local songbirds have discovered it. Each feeder has a base, or landing platform, that reflects wavelengths of light with particular degrees of polarization in the visible and ultraviolet range. A single observer will return to refill the feeder, then early the next morning to record which feeders are visited most frequently and by which species. We will infer their relative attraction to each surface based upon their frequency of visits. We will then remove the feeder with the experiment complete.

Experiment 2 (modified bird baths): We will place a modified upright bird bath in your yard and near the bushes or tree line where we will also place a bird feeder, affixed to a tree. The bird bath will be full of water, but it will be adapted so that its basin is coated with materials of that variously absorb or reflect different types of light. Above and next to this feeder we will place motion-activated cameras designed to record avian visits to different portions of the bird bath. The cameras will be closely focused on the bath and won’t record activity outside of the experiment. The bath will remain in place for 3-6 days. An observer will visit your property ~4 times: 1) to set up the study, 2) to change the camera batteries and fill the bird feeder, and 3) to remove the equipment.

Which experiment will be done on my property?

Your property may be suitable for more than one of these experiments, but we will only conduct 1 or 2 on your property. This is because birds have the opportunity to learn the difference between real and simulated water and this learning could bias the results of any future experiments.

Who is funding this research project?

The project is funded by the State of California’s Energy Commission as well as a generous contribution from five different utility-scale solar energy companies working in California.

Interested? Please send us an email! We’ll arrange a time to speak with you about the possibility.

So if I were writing and I wanted to stop the sentence at this point and it dies it on its own.

Bruce Robertson, Associate Professor of Biology, Bard College (broberts@...)

Olivia Rothberg, project manager (orothberg@...).

 

Bruce Robertson

Director, Bard Ecology Field Station

Associate Professor of Biology

Division of Science, Mathematics and Computing

Bard College

30 Campus Drive

Annandale-on-Hudson, New York 12504

Email: broberts@...

Office: 845-752-2332

Homepage: brucerobertson.weebly.com

 

Some links to stories on my research

http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2013/06/19/193493225/the-love-that-dared-not-speak-its-name-of-a-beetle-for-a-beer-bottle

http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/06/05/freeing-animals-from-our-evolutionary-traps/


Admin note - photos

John Kent
 

HM Birds members -

Please note that we have limited space for storing files (photos, for the most part) on our Groups.io account, and it is running out. You shouldn’t be storing anything there that is important to you, because when our space fills they will start deleting files. The storage space we have there is intended for short-term use to share photos. If you have photos stored there, please consider deleting ones that are unnecessary so that nobody’s files are deleted automatically. Thanks.

John Kent
HM Birds admin


This week's destination: 1/30

Naomi Lloyd
 

It's pretty quiet birdwise and the weekend rain killed a lot of ice on the Mohawk. So for lack of a better idea, let's meet at the Mechanicville Price Chopper at 9:00am and check out along the Hudson. Hopefully the colder temps will have driven some duckage down to us. The river up Schuylerville/Ft Ed way was about half-frozen last week.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Price+Chopper+Plaza,+Mechanicville,+NY+12118/@42.9100473,-73.6873021,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x89de17c4d0038d6f:0xfc26c2b79e8fc201!8m2!3d42.9100473!4d-73.6851081?hl=en&authuser=0

Good birding!

Naomi Lloyd






HMBC program - Monday Feb 3 at the Colonie Library - Grassland Bird Monitoring

scottjstoner
 

Program -- NYSDEC Grassland Bird Studies and Conservation in NYS

  • When
    3 Feb 2020
  • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Location
    William K. Sanford (Colonie) Library
Speaker: Paul Novak of NYSDEC

for details please see https://www.hmbc.net/event-3615772


More half-hardies by the Hudson

John Kent
 

I have been at Hannacroix Creek Preserve in New Baltimore for twenty minutes. So far I've seen Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, and Gray Catbird, and heard a singing Winter Wren.

John Kent
Selkirk


Dark Morph Rough-legged Hawk

Scott Varney
 

Observed very well on Dowmont Road off Route 197 in Fort Edward at approximately 2 pm today.  A very, very dark Ruffy!

Scott Varney
Salem NY


Beautiful Rough-legged Hawk. eBird Report - Westline Rd. & Western Ave., Charlton, Jan 21, 2020

Ronald Harrower
 

Westline Rd. & Western Ave., Charlton, Saratoga, New York, US
Jan 21, 2020 12:05 PM - 12:35 PM
Protocol: Traveling
4.0 mile(s)
Checklist Comments: Wally and I drove down from the end of Western Avenue in Charlton. After a brief frenetic pace on nearby rte 67, it was very peaceful, and we could stop and observe birds without fear of getting run over or having irate pick-up truck drivers letting us know where birders stood in their world view! The highlight was definitely the Rough-legged Hawk just West of DeGraff Rd. (I am including the birds seen on a brief jaunt up DeGraff) Nice variety of Sparrows in one little flock by the side of the road. Again, only one vehicle went by while we were watching them, so it was a good chance to really see what was there.
13 species

Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 2
Rough-legged Hawk 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Blue Jay 5
American Crow 4
European Starling 63
House Finch 1 at feeder
American Tree Sparrow 3
Dark-eyed Junco 22
White-throated Sparrow 5
Song Sparrow 2
Northern Cardinal 2

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/checklist/S63726243

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (https://ebird.org/home)


Tons o Horned Larks, Tons on Snow Buntings 1 Lapland Longspur e Bird Report - West River Road, Jan 23, 2020

Ronald Harrower
 

West River Road, Saratoga, New York, US
Jan 23, 2020 11:55 AM - 12:25 PM
Protocol: Traveling
0.5 mile(s)
Checklist Comments: John H and I had looked around the quadrants defined by Wall Street and King Rd (rtes 39 and 40) with a few birds on Williams Lane and distant few birds behind barn on Wall Street. I had noticed fresh manure on West River Rd the day before when I passed through with my non-birding stepson. We went to the spot just North of Welcome Farm and the farmers had added manure to the other side of the road. We saw a few Horned Larks so pulled over and striated walking up the road. Soon, a huge flock of Snow Buntings went up and flew all over, settling in tight grassy spots by the side of the road, going out into the fields and feeding and sometimes flying right over us. It was an amazing spectacle. While this was going on, we checked the fields on both sides. There were birds feeding whenever I brought my camera to focus on a spot in the field. So as impressive as the flying flock was, it occurred to us that there were many more Horned Larks and Snow Buntings just walking around feeding in the fresh manure. After counting the flying birds (at one point there were two huge flying flocks with over 100 Snow Bunting in one and over 100 Horned Larks in the other that came together to feed on the side of the road) and exstrapolating the samples of birds in the field, there were at least 300 Horned Larks and 300 Snow Buntings! We spotted at least 1 Lapland Longspur, perhaps 2 (And who knows in the field!) An amazing sight, particularly after recent times when I would find nothing or just one small flock of 20-30 birds.
9 species

Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) 35 Around barns at Welcome Farm just South
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Blue Jay 2
American Crow 6
Horned Lark 300
European Starling 45
Lapland Longspur 1
Snow Bunting 300

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/checklist/S63726825

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (https://ebird.org/home)


Re: Northumberland Field Birds

gregg_recer
 

ps. group of nearly 70 wild turkeys on Williams ln now 
--
gregg recer
malta NY


Re: Northumberland Field Birds

gregg_recer
 

Cathy Graichen and I out here in Northumberland right now. found about 150 horned larks in several places including w. river Rd near welcome stock farm. 2 Lapland longspurs in that group. one adult peregrine falcon near the wall st and king st intersection. finding no snow buntings out here today. 
--
gregg recer
malta NY


Northumberland Field Birds

jhershey2
 

Field birds were putting on a show yesterday in Northumberland mostly at the Welcome Stock Dairy Farm on River Rd. a little north of the intersection with Rt. 32.  Ron H. and I saw about 300 each of Horned Larks and Snow Buntings there yesterday along with 1 or 2 Lapland Longspurs.  They were on both sides of the road and sometimes flew by us as we were standing along the road.  I went back this morning and found maybe half as many as we saw yesterday at the same farm.  I usually can spot the Lapland Longspurs in a photo because of the dark frame on their cheek.  I posted 4 pics mostly for i.d. purposes from yesterday and today in the photo section of this group.  Click the right arrow to see each of them.  https://groups.io/g/hmbirds/photo/76888/0?p=Created,,,20,2,0,0

John H. 


Re: Niskayuna Bike Path today

Craig Driggs
 

Yesterday around noon I found a group of at least 30 snow buntings in the same farm fields next to the bike path west of Ferry Rd. Sparrows were active also with song, white-throated and probably american tree sparrow.

Craig Driggs


Grasslands wanderings

Naomi Lloyd
 

After striking out last week, the Thursday group had somewhat better luck this time. We started on the Northumberland side checking manure spreads around King Farm where we found a single flyover Snow Bunting and a few Horned Larks. More small flocks showed up as well as American Tree Sparrows. Raptors were limited to a Cooper's Hawk and almost a dozen Redtails.

After noon most of the group went their way and I decided to try the Washington County side. Not many waterfowl and the river is starting to freeze up. In the fields I found more buntings and parks, and three Rough-legged Hawks. I wandered until 4pm when I stopped at Fitzpatrick Rd. Despite watching until 5:25, no Short-ears or Harriers appeared. I did find a Mockingbird which I tried hard to turn into a shrike (didn't work) and a pair of Great Horned Owls hooting sweet nothings to each other.

Naomi Lloyd

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