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    From the Ground Up Volume 19 Issue 4 The Newsletter That Helps You Grow Winter 2014-15

    Birders, Birders, Everywhere


    Barbara Pearson

    And what a bird to see! A rare Cassins kingbird

    has been seen almost daily at FBGA since mid-

    November. The kingbird at FBGA is far afield of its

    natural range and this extended sighting of the

    kingbird at FBGA is only the second time on record

    that this species has been seen in New York State.

    Habitat Committee Chair Frank Gentile alerted

    me to the news on November 25th

    after he saw the

    bird, which was identified for him by birder Richard

    Guthrie (whom I contacted and he generously gave

    me permission to use his photo of the kingbird). Mr.

    Guthrie wrote on his blog:

    Happily, I can post some fun news about birding

    in New York. A very rare bird and hard to identify

    flycatcher was found in Brooklyn, New York City,

    last week. Word got out late in the day, and nobody

    could get over to Floyd Bennett Field before dark.

    Next day, it had disappeared. Dozens of frustrated

    birders searched a wide area without any sign of the

    elusive wanderer.

    The bird was a CASSINS KINGBIRD, a prairie

    species which would normally [be] expected to be

    somewhere in Mexico by this time of year.

    Yesterday, the word went out the kingbird had

    been found again, near where it was first seen right

    there in the community gardens of Floyd Bennett

    Field. A few phone calls last evening and we had a

    group of four up early and headed to the south shore

    of Brooklyn.

    When we arrived, there were about thirty

    birders already set with binoculars, spotting scopes

    and some of the longest camera lenses Ive seen in a

    while. Finding the bird was as easy as following the

    converging vectors of eyes, lenses, and shutter clicks.

    It was not more than thirty yards away from the

    semi-circle of well behaved admirers.

    Local birding websites and blogs (American

    Birding Association, City Birder) have been

    reporting consistent sightings of the kingbird since it

    was first spotted. The kingbird is most often seen in

    the picnic area and the Habitat. According to info

    Mr. Guthrie gave on his blog, the kingbird is about

    the size of a robin, has a sulfur-yellow underside, and

    has distinctive white markings on its tail feathers.

    On a trip to the garden in mid-December, I

    talked with President Adriann Musson who saw me

    looking at a group of 6 or 8 birders with tripods and

    huge lenses who had gathered not far from the O&M

    containers (why did I not have my camera with me

    that day to get a photo of them?!). (contd on page 3)


    Birders, Birders, Everywhere

    Renewal Reminder

    The Last of the Monarchs?


    Native Shrubs Wish List

    Workshop Schedule

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    FBGA Contacts

    Adriann Musson President 917-446-3764 Bob Halligan Vice President & Education

    917-626-7460 Judy Tropeano Treasurer

    718-444-7210 Clara Villanueva Corresponding Secretary

    718-782-5694 Lynn Halligan Recording Secretary & Special Events Sylvia Tsingis Champions of Courage Garden

    718-646-5979 Lynn Graham Childrens Garden Roy Brummell Conflict Resolution

    718-342-3689 Carl Arendt Operations & Maintenance 917-681-3624

    Gail Schneider Fundraising 347-533-3787

    Tom Ingram Landscape Maintenance 917-209-6452

    Karen Orlando Elections

    Tom Marange Help A Gardener 718-382-4216

    Marie Artesi Landscape Design 718-256-4480

    Frank Gentile Wildlife Habitat 917-701-8370

    Barbara Pearson Newsletter 718-869-6774

    Joe Nerone Pumpkin Patch 718-789-2713

    Floyd Bennett Gardens Association Newsletter

    Floyd Bennett Gardens Association Inc. is located in Floyd Bennett Field, a

    unit of Gateway National Recreation Area.

    Editor: Barbara Pearson

    Contributors: Bob Halligan, Abe Perlstein, Barbara Pearson, Gay Snyder

    Proofreader: Paul Moses

    Photographs: Barbara Pearson (unless otherwise noted)

    Website: Contact Louis M.:

    Contact us: FBGA News PO Box 340986 Ryder Retail Station Brooklyn, NY 11234-9993 e-mail

    Our Policy: All submissions to the newsletter may be edited for grammar, spelling and length. We reserve the right to reject entries.

    Disclaimer Required by the National Parks Service

    The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and

    should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the United States

    Government. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute

    their endorsement by the U.S. Government.


    Spring Meeting

    Sunday March 29th at 2pm

    Hudson River Yacht Club

    2101 Bergen Street

    Attendance Required

    Renewal Reminder All completed applications must be received by

    January 31, 2015. After that there is a 2-week grace

    period during which late applications are accepted,

    however, they will incur a $20 late fee per plot. You

    also must fill out the community service form on the

    other side of the application. If you have a child you

    would like to register for the Childrens Garden,

    complete and include that application with your


    If there is an unavoidable delay in sending in your

    renewal, contact Clara (corresponding secretary) or

    Bob (vice president) and let them know the situation.

    Any plot for which we do not have a completed

    application by February 15th

    will be reassigned.

    If you want your garden tilled, fill out the Tilling

    Request Form; the tilling fee is $20 per plot. Tilling is

    done on a first come, first served basis starting in

    April depending on the weather - we cannot till if the

    ground is frozen or muddy - and your garden must

    first be cleared of all wood, rocks, tall weeds, etc. We

    will call you before we till your plot because you will

    need to unlock your plot so we can get in.

    All forms are available at .


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    Birders, Birders, Everywhere (contd from page 1)

    Adriann said to me, laughing, Weve been overrun

    by birders. Beats being overrun by weeds, I said.

    Some FBGA gardeners can be counted among

    the birders. I found a name I recognized Phil Hore -

    on one of the birding sites so I contacted him. He and

    his wife Enid were chatting with Bob Halligan a few

    days back when I noticed a bird flying exactly like a

    flycatcher would - perching on something and then

    swooping out and down and then back again (going

    after the bugs in the air). So, I grabbed the glasses

    and followed. It ended up in the middle of rows E

    and F - perching and then flying down to the ground

    and up again. Lovely to see, and very cooperative to

    view. Shari Romar had only just learned of the

    kingbird excitement a few days before I contacted

    her. What a wonderful treat to have this great bird

    visiting our garden! she said. It shows that we are

    providing habitat for many species, including such

    rare ones. I wish Id had luck in seeing this beauty,

    but Ill just have to live vicariously!

    New Years Day was a sunny, not-too-cold day

    so I went to the garden to see if I could get some

    photos of birders in pursuit of the kingbird. I caught

    up with one woman and asked her if she was there

    because she had not yet seen the kingbird. She said

    she had seen it but that was 2014! I saw several

    more birders who were back promptly on January 1st,

    trying to get the kingbird on their 2015 lists because,

    after all, who knows when it might be gone.

    I was glad to know that birders were coming to

    FBGA to enjoy an exciting visitor. I had no idea how

    cooperative and high tech birding is (as in real-time

    blog posts alerting fellow birders via smartphone to

    important sightings). Like gardeners, theyre happy

    to share their knowledge and love of what they do

    with an interested stranger. Im pleased that our

    community has something we share with theirs.

    One of the many visiting birders with tripods and huge lenses seen

    at FBGA since mid-November.

    Photo courtesy of Richard Guthrie

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    The Last of the Monarchs? Gay Snyder

    When I first joined FBGA, I was amazed at the

    variety and quantity of butterflies. Three years ago, a

    friend visited from England; he loves butterflies. I

    remember how happy he was when I took him around

    our gardens. We observed at least a dozen different


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