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Central Westchester Audubon Society News
Central Westchester Audubon Society, a Chapter of National Audubon Society serves
Elmsford, Greenburgh, Harrison, Port Chester, Purchase, Rye, Rye Brook, and White Plains
_________________________________________________________________________________________ Vol. XLI, NO. 1__________________________________________________________ _____ September-October 2017
Programs free and open to the public. Bird walks, canoe trip, and photography program listed on following pages. Central Westchester Audubon
Wednesday, September 13, 7:00 PM
Rye Presbyterian Church
882 Boston Post Road
Rye, NY 10580
Come and participate in a discussion about what is next for CWAS, We need to hear from you about the future, what’s important to you and how you can participate. CWAS is proud to be a long-standing member of the community – moving forward is important to us. We can’t wait to see you! Homemade desserts and cider will be served.
Explore and Get to Know the Galapagos Presenters: Susan Fried and Lisa Curtis Sunday, October 15, 3:00 PM Harrison Library 2 Bruce Ave. Harrison, NY 10528 The Galapagos is a life changing trip, as it surely was for Charles Darwin, and if you're planning on heading there, this is the program for you! We will give you an overview of the area, both the natural history of the landscape as well as the wildlife you can expect to see if you plan to go. If this trip seems out of reach for now we'd encourage you to come and see some intimate photos which will bring it all within reach even as you sit in the library. Susan Fried and Lisa Curtis, Board members of Central Westchester Audubon, have traveled there and want to share the magic with you. 1
Note from the President
Is it just me or did summer just fly past? That was mighty fast although there were indeed some rather warm streaks in there. With the start of a new month we’d like to bring you up to speed on what’s going on and what is on the calendar.
In case you’ve not gotten a postcard or if it got placed in the recycling bin too quickly, let’s start by reminding you that we’ll be holding a member’s meeting on Wednesday, September 13th at Rye Presbyterian Church. We will be starting promptly at 7:00 PM and are offering homemade desserts and cider to entice you to join us. What’s this about? So glad you asked! We’re going to be talking about our future! What do you want to see, what would you be willing to support, what is important to you? We know you’re crunched for time and attention, as we all are, so we want to ensure that our efforts are going where they can be best attended to.
This is also the first edition that is being distributed primarily by electronic means; some of you have asked for paper copies and that’s going to continue for those who have expressed that interest, but in an effort to cut costs, reduce our strain on natural resources as
CENTRAL WESTCHESTER AUDUBON SOCIETY
P.O. BOX 359, WHITE PLAINS, NY 10602
President Lisa Curtis Immediate Past Jeanne Alpert
Vice President Chris Mignone
Recording Secretary Open
Treasurer Fred Pfisterer Birdathon Chris Mignone
Conservation Catharine Raffaele
Education Susan Fried
Newsletter Editor Catharine Raffaele
Programs Jeanne Alpert
Publicity Lisa Curtis
Facebook Manager Harsha Somu
Delegates at Large Frank Alpert
well as our labor efforts, the electronic means is the
best for us. We hope you can support this change. One of the nice things about this is that we’ll be able to share with you in full color some of the amazing pictures we take each month!
You will find several walks listed in this issue; we urge you to come out and join us!
You might also notice us taking more of a political voice than we have in the past 10 months or so; this is something we have thought about very carefully but the reality of what is going on, and how this has already started to impact the natural environment is too important a topic not to take a stand on. It is our intention to bring to you what our concerns are, what we are doing to have our concerns heard and what you can do to lend a hand. We will be relying on science to guide the way.
We look forward to seeing you on the 13th and in the meantime wish you all the best for the start of your fall season.
We’re on Instagram! Join us at cwaudubon! If you’re new to IG it is free, mostly visual and a fun way to connect. We can’t wait to see you there. Want a hand setting up an account? Just ask! I’m happy to help you out, as are the reference librarians at your local library.
Birders with all levels of expertise from beginner to expert are welcome. Questions about the weather? We’ll post our status online with our Facebook page early the morning of the walk if it’s canceled. Thanks to a grant, we have a supply of binoculars to loan you for the walk, so all we need is you and your enthusiasm. Hope to see you there! New! Friday Morning Bird Walk! Friday, September 8, 2017 - Marshlands Conservancy in Rye, 8:30 AM. Meet in parking lot. Contact Susan to register at 914-826-3964 (leave name and phone number)
Beginner Bird Walks!
Come take a stroll with Lisa and Chris! We’re heading out again to see what there is to see ~ this is not a competition nor are we seeking to find the most unusual bird of the year. Our goal, if you care to join us, is to see the beauty around us, get comfortable with both spotting and identifying.
All walks in this grouping will be on Sundays, starting at 9:00 AM. Lisa and Chris both drive red SUVs so you can’t miss us! If the weather is not cooperating we will post our cancellation on Facebook at 6am.
Sunday, September 17 - Marshlands Conservancy, 9:00 AM
Sunday, October 1 - Read Sanctuary, 9:00 AM - meet before the gate in the Playland parking lot
Sunday, October 15 - Read Sanctuary, 9:00 AM
Sunday, October 29 - Read Sanctuary, 9:00 AM
Come Learn A Few Photography Tips!
Chris Mignone, a board member, nature lover and gifted photographer, will help us learn how to use our cameras for the best possible shots of the great outdoors. Please bring your point and shoot or dSLR cameras, batteries fully charged and memory card ready, and we'll head out to see what there is to see. We will be outside the entire time so please dress accordingly. Check our Facebook page if weather is an issue - cancellation will be posted by 7:00 AM in the morning. When: Saturday, October 28/Rain date: November 4th Where: Marshlands Conservancy Time: 9:00 AM Length: 90 minutes, but you can leave early if necessary
Canoe Trip at Constitution Marsh
Come see fall migrant birds from a canoe, while paddling through Constitution Marsh, on Sunday, September 17, 2017, meeting there by 9:30 AM (rain date Sunday, Oct. 8 at 12:30 PM). A New York State Bird Conservation Area, this Audubon sanctuary is located along the Hudson River in Putnam County, just south of Cold Spring. Bring binoculars, water, snacks and a picnic lunch. Our guide will teach us how to safely paddle, and will provide life vests, paddles and canoes that seat two to three people. Spaces are limited. You will be asked to sign a liability form at the Constitution Marsh Audubon Center. We have been given permission to park right at the Audubon Center, despite signs that prohibit cars from doing so. To reserve a place, call Susan at 914-826-3964 with name, number of people attending, phone number and e-mail address. Then send a cover letter (include name, phone number and e-mail, in case we need to contact you if the weather doesn't cooperate) and check payable to Central Westchester Audubon Society for $40 (per person) by September 5, 2017. Mail check to Central Westchester Audubon Society, P.O. Box 359, White Plains, N.Y. 10602.
Directions: About 35 miles, about 1 hour from White Plains Take I-287 W to exit 3. Take Sprain Brook Pkwy N (it becomes) Taconic State Parkway N to NY-100 N/NY-9A N in Mount Pleasant. Take the NY-100 N/New York 9A N exit from Taconic State Parkway N - 8.8 mi. Merge onto NY-100 N/NY-9A N - 5.7 mi. Follow U.S. 9 N to NY-403 N in Philipstown - 13.1 mi. Continue on NY-403 N. Take NY-9D N to Warren Landing Rd (It may say Indian Brook Road, which leads into Warrens Landing Road); the road will be on the left - 5.7 mi. Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary 127 Warren Landing Rd. Garrison, NY 10524 Phone: 845-265-2601 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Office Hours: 9am-5pm, Mon-Fri If you get to Boscobel House and Gardens, you've gone too far.
What Does It Mean?
You may have noticed in the past few months that we have been making an active attempt to have you really ‘join’ us. During a discussion that the Board had in July we began to wonder if there was some possible confusion about what it means to join a local chapter of an organization such as CWAS. We hope this clarifies things a bit for you.
Joining National Audubon is a great way to support an organization that does so much for so many. On an extremely broad level, National funds research, participates in lobbying efforts on behalf of the environment, coordinates efforts of state chapters and other such valuable endeavors. When you join National you are assigned a local chapter based on zip code. National, in turn, sends a dollar amount to each chapter based on each member in their zip code. This usually amounts to a total of less than $3,000 for us per year. National surely encourages local and national activities to support conservation and protection causes.
If you join as a Chapter Only member, as most local chapters have, the dollars stay within your catchment area. In our case that means White Plains, Elmsford, Greenburgh, Rye, Port Chester, Rye Brook, Harrison and Purchase. Those dollars go toward local endeavors such as supporting students, hosting walks and trips, bringing programs to the public at no cost and providing educational material to students in classrooms where teachers have expressed an interest (Audubon Adventures.)
While there is certainly no requirement for anyone to participate with their time and energy, the reality is that all chapters need a great number of hands to accomplish their mission. There are some local chapters, notably Greenwich, Bedford and Saw Mill, which are vast in terms of both their physical resources as well as paid employees. One of the distinguishing characteristics of these chapters is that they usually have very large, well managed endowments which got them started or are helping them stay afloat now. But please know they too rely on volunteers to do a great deal. Did you know that our very own Chris Mignone spends time at Greenwich helping out with trail maintenance? Chris is very handy with a chain saw!
We are extremely grateful for whatever resources you are capable of sharing with us. Please know we don’t take a single dollar or volunteered hour for granted. That being said, we would also ask you to remember that while there are, as the American Express ad says, “membership has its privileges” there are also some realities of a membership within an all volunteer chapter such as CWAS. If you can help us out we’d very much appreciate it. Want to learn more? Drop us a postal note or drop an e-mail to email@example.com ~ we’d love to hear from you!
Hog Island Educators’ Week 2017 – Cristina Ortiz
Here is our FOHI Volunteers (Friends of Hog Island) group photo from educators’ week 2017! I was so happy to be volunteering this summer for Educators Week after receiving the CWAS scholarship last year. Wow, it's grounding to think that a whole year has gone by! I even got to reconnect with another young woman who was on scholarship from Detroit, who also wanted to give back and came back as a volunteer! It's fantastic to see people from local Audubon chapters convening on Hog Island to learn best practices for sharing the teachings of ecology and conservation to our youths.
Birding the Costa Rica Rainforest – Susan Fried
March is a great time to go birding in Costa Rica. It is the end of the dry season (this is a relative term, as there can still be torrential downpours in the rainforest) and the birds are either doing their courtship rituals, nesting or migrating through. You must bring rain gear (don't wear yellow, white or red - the birds will see you first and may fly away), good hiking shoes and a refillable water bottle. Always have binoculars, cameras and lens cloth ready. There were no mosquitoes when I went, and mosquito netting was not even provided over the beds, but maybe I was lucky. So do bring repellent anyway. Since the sun does come out occasionally, bring sunscreen and a hat. A passionate birding guide, as mine was, is a great plus, but still bring a field guide, like "The Birds of Costa Rica" by Garrigues and Dean for reference.
My rainforest ecolodge was in Chilamate, in the Carribean foothills northeast of San Jose. The dining area had the option of sitting outdoors at a wide ledge, under a sheltering overhang. This overlooked the banana feeders that were frequented by birds such as the red-throated ant-tanager, black-cheeked woodpecker, and the crimson-rumped Passerini's tanager.
A pair of slaty-tailed trogons took respite from the rain in a tree right outside of my room, only a few yards from a tree harboring a very wet two-toed sloth. Keel-billed and yellow-throated (chestnut-mandibled) toucans, collared aracari and boat-billed flycatchers shared another tree, as seen from one of the many covered walkways. A black-cowled oriole was conspicuous on a neighboring roof.
"Blue-jeans" poison dart frogs were common, trilling at the bases of broad-leaved trees, where they benefitted from the drops of rain draining from the leaf "drip-tips". It was a surprise to find a black and green poison dart frog on the mirror of a restroom in the botanical gardens on the lodge property. The gardens, filled with butterflies, also gave a good opportunity to compare masked and black crowned tityra and watch rare great green macaws fly to their favorite cashew trees. In an adjacent field, giant cowbirds were parasitizing some of the hanging nests of the Montezuma's oropendula.
At the world renowned La Selva Biological Research Station, birders carefully gave space to poisonous eyelash pit vipers curled up on tree limbs. A pair of crested currasows competed for attention with a crested guan. Collared peccaries grazed along the trails. After pausing to listen to the loud
"Blue-jeans" poison dart frog
Eyelash pit viper
wing snapping of male white-collared manakins performing for females at their leks, we found a vermiculated screech owl. A pale-billed woodpecker, closest living relative to the extinct ivory-billed woodpecker, worked its way up a tree within view of a perched red-legged honeycreeper. A huge "kettle" of turkey vultures, broad-winged hawks and Swainson's hawks seemed endless, as it passed overhead. Royal flycatchers repeatedly darted across a trail, carrying their nesting material.
A night walk revealed a very large-eyed kinkajou, a cousin of the raccoon, hanging in the branches of a tall tree. This primarily fruit-eating mammal has a prehensile (grasping) tail, and can be confused with a monkey. As a wood thrush slept on a nearby branch, a red-eyed tree frog trilled from its spot on a leaf overhanging a pond. A powerfully-jawed bullet ant, that produces a seriously painful bite, took a threatening stance on a wooden fence.
Perched on branches over-hanging the Sarapiqui River, were rufous-tailed jacamar, double-toothed kite, spectacled owl, green ibis, both black-throated and gartered trogons, and both green and Amazon kingfishers. Patrolling the banks were sun bitterns, bare-throated tiger-herons, and little blue herons. While mangrove swallows skimmed over the water and gray-breasted martins soared even higher, mantled howler monkeys expressed displeasure at being discovered by making very loud warning calls as my group boated up river.
At the Tirimbina Rainforest Reserve, we discovered fresh ocelot scat near a post along the trail. There, at night, we saw insect and nectar-feeding bats that were mist-netted for research, and then watched their release.
The second week of birding was in the highlands of the Talamanca Mountains, at 8,000 to 11,000 feet above sea level, where the highlight was the brilliant streamer-tailed, blue-green and scarlet resplendent quetzal; but that will lend itself to a different article in another newsletter. In one week, this trip yielded over 250 new species of birds for my life list. I was fortunate to find a birding tour that was organized by an Audubon group using a well-established nature tour company. Costa Rica has great birding at all times of the year. Avid birders will not be disappointed.
White Plains Presbyterian Church Goes Green CWAS has been holding its monthly board meetings for the past three years at White Plains Presbyterian Church on North Broadway in White Plains. We were thrilled to learn that they have recently purchased solar panels! By the end of next month there is every reason to believe they will no longer need to purchase electricity but instead will harvest their own from the power of the sun. We thank them for their efforts to Go Green and their hospitality towards our mission.
Central Westchester Audubon Society
White Plains, NY 10602
Goats at Baldwin Farms
The City of White Plains has hired a small herd of goats to start the process of removing overgrowth from Baldwin Farms. The goats arrived last fall and have returned to resume their task. The herd is efficient and has a particular taste for poison ivy, which is prevalent at the farm. Baldwin Farm is a passive park on Hall Avenue known for its community garden plots. The land, which includes a stream and signs of an old orchard, was held privately until 1979 and used until that date for farming. We applaud the City of White Plains in their efforts to find solutions which have a positive impact on our natural resources.
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