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Birding at the Empire State Building

Dr. Robert “Birding BobDeCandido brings us updates on birding in New York City.

EMPIRE STATE BUILDING – mark you calenders now. Our first (of two) visits to the Observation Deck (25 Aug. to 15 Sept.) to see night migrants will be on an evening with northwest winds either the week of 25-30 August; or the following week.
We need a night with northwest winds otherwise very few migrants will pass by – so that is why you must be flexible and ready to go with about 24-48 hrs notice via email. I will send out a notice – so send me yours if you want more info! If you were on our ESB list last year, no need to update – you have been carried over to 2009.

Bob is returning to Thailand to do more ground-breaking research on raptors and other birds in migration there with the Malaysian Nature Society. Meanwhile, two short films were made about Bob and his migration studies in the Far East. Now remember, this is primitive stuff, and bob had to dress in costume (in the first film he appears somewhat Chinese…):
After a long day at the office, one does develop neck problems looking up at raptor migrants:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8weODKAShbo&hl=en&fs=1&color1=0xe1600f&color2=0xfebd01]
Good! Here are the bird walks for this week ($5):

1. Friday, Aug. 21, 9am: $5. Central Park – Meet at Conservatory Garden (105th St. & 5th Ave.)

2. Sunday, Aug. 23,: 9:00 amCentral Park – Meet at the Dock on Turtle Pond

4. Monday evening, August 24th: FREEEEEE. Owls and Bats of Pelham Bay Park (Bartow Pell mansion) – meet at 7:00pm. (If you are coming up from Manhattan by train or Express Bus ($5.50), we might be able to pick you up at the last stop of the #6 Lexington Avenue line = the Pelham Bay stop.) For those who are driving, through the kindness and generosity of Ellen Bruzelius (Director of BartowPell) and Valerie Albanese (Education Director at BartowPell), we have arranged for the Mansion parking lot to remain open for a few hours – so we can do another night census of owls. Last time out (early August) we called in a pair of Great Horned Owlsdo let me or Jack Rothman (JacRoth1@gmail.com) know if you will be attending and driving – or might need a lift.

Here is what we saw last week (selected highlights)

Owl and Bat Walks (three walks) Summary – all Central Park – the good news is that we found Eastern Screech-owls on all three walks at the north end beginning at dusk. The even better news is that just before dusk (light still good) on Sunday evening, 16 August, eleven of us watched a screech-owl with downy ear tufts and juvenile plumage on its upper breast being swooped at and harassed by many Robins. So we now know that at least one (and likely all five) of the owls released in July by Bobby and Cathy Horvath are still alive. On the three forays into the north woods (on the paved path along the Loch), we saw the pair of ESOs on each occasion for about 10 minutes each time – before they became bored with us and flew off to look for dinner. On two of the walks, we tracked the owls to the area of the Wildflower Meadow and listened to them calling to each other and the iPod recording of their calls. As an added bonus, every walk featured large Red Bats swooping in and around our heads (some of us had to duck) – this was much fun. We’ll likely do one more owl walk before 15 September, and then certainly in December-January. If you have never seen screech-owls night in Central Park, it really is a magical experience.

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