3/21, Gorman Park & Highbridge/Swindler Cove

Again a Saturday checking on some red-tailed hawk nests in upper Manhattan.

Viewing the Gorman Park nest at 190th St. from over 300 yards away across the valley near the Fort Tryon subway stop, I could just barely see a hawk head poking up from the nest.

Gorman Park Hawk Nest - 7278

So it looks like the Gorman Park nest has joined the Washington Square Park nest as one of the first of the Manhattan nests to have a hawk mama brooding egg(s).

A half hour later over in Highbridge Park by Swindler Cove, the nest looked empty. Moments later a hawk landed in a treetop across Harlem River Drive in Swindler Cove Park. Initially I thought it was George, but as events would show, it was Martha.

Martha played scarum with a squirrel in the treetop for about five minutes, where the squirrel would try to sneak up below her and then she tried to pounce. But after they both tired of that, Martha flew across the road and landed in the nest tree. She looked around for a few minutes.

Highbridge Martha - 7370

And then George flew in from somewhere to the northwest.

George Arrives - 7371

Oh, he's not planning to perch alongside her.

Wild(life) Sex - 7372

Hawk sex ensued.

Wild(life) Sex - 7376

Wild(life) Sex - 7379

Wild(life) Sex - 7380

The "tree shaker" lasted a bit longer than I am used to see this sort of thing take.

Wild(life) Sex - 7385

Finally it was over, and both hawks spent a few moments adjusting feathers.

After Glow - 7404

And right about the time I decided I needed to leave, both hawks took off, flying east and across the Harlem River.

Posted 3/21/2015 10:47:00 PM by Robert

3/19, Central Park North Meadow & Great Hill

A friend relayed a report the other day of a birdwatcher recently encountering five juvenile red-tailed hawks being spotted in the north end of Central Park. That sounded pretty amazing, especially at this time of year. But Thursday at lunch time, I apparently encountered them all in the space of an hour. An adult hawk made it a half dozen sightings.

First half decent pictures were of a juvenile flailing about in an evergreen treetop by the 96th St. transverse close to the west loop road.

96th Transverse Hawk - 7080

96th Transverse Hawk - 7086

Initially it seemed that the hawk might be trying to hold something down while it pulled pieces off to eat, but then I wondered if it was trying to get at something inside the foliage.

96th Transverse Hawk - 7087

96th Transverse Hawk - 7093

Then something swooped out of the sky, and the juvie hawk tore out of the tree and headed toward the North Meadow.

Circling Juvie Hawk #1 - 7101

And then I realized there were multiple hawks circling around over the North Meadow Recreation Center. They kept at it long enough that I was eventually able to determine that there were three of them. Were a pair of adults trying to chase the juvenile out of the area?

Well, there was a juvenile with a damaged right-6 feather in its tail.

Circling Juvie Hawk #2 - 7110

And a juvenile whose tail feathers looked undamaged.

Circling Juvie Hawk #1 - 7114

Circling Juvie Hawk #1 - 7115

Circling Juvie Hawk #1 - 7116

Ah, and one adult.

Circling Adult Hawk - 7117

And then poof, all three were gone, scattering to points east.

Well, that was exciting, but now it was time to head back toward the office.

But on the southeast flank of the Great Hill there was another juvenile perched on a tall stump.

Great Hill Juvie Hawk #1 - 7155

On top of a squirrel on top of a tall stump.

Great Hill Juvie Hawk #1 - 7158

But not eating. Just looking around.

Great Hill Juvie Hawk #1 - 7166

While I was watching this juvenile, another hawk sped north just beyond the trees around the rim of the Great Hill. Well, one more picture and move on.

Great Hill Juvie Hawk #1 - 7214

But 100 yards up the loop road was another juvenile red-tail perched on a tall stump.

Great Hill Juvie Hawk #2 - 7230

Looks small, so probably a boy hawk.

While I maneuvered to get closer to this juvie, the one that had flown by a few minutes ago flew back and landed in a nearby tree, but then took off before I could get my camera in position. So that makes five juvie hawks spotted between the 96th St. Transverse and the Great Hill.

A couple more shots of juvie #4, who had changed trees.

Great Hill Juvie Hawk #2 - 7239

And when he made his exit, so did I.

Great Hill Juvie Hawk #2 - 7240

Posted 3/19/2015 08:24:00 PM by Robert

3/17, Central Park North Woods

For all the attention on hawk nests lately, there are still some juvenile red-tails lurking about Manhattan. I ran into one of them hunting near the Block House in Central Park's North Woods late Tuesday.

Block House Hawk - 7008

Block House Hawk - 7015

Very actively hunting. Take your eye off him for one second, and bang, he's around the hill and out of sight.

Posted 3/17/2015 06:58:00 PM by Robert

3/14, Highbridge Park/Swindler Cove

In a couple visits earlier this year, I wondered if the red-tailed hawks at the north end of Highbridge Park were working on a new nest about a 100 feet away from the one they'd used the past two years. Checking there the end of Saturday afternoon, it instead looked much more likely that they'll be continuing with the existing nest.

The male, George, flew in almost at the same time as I walked up. He landed on a tall stump a bit up the hillside.

Highbridge George - 6811

Highbridge George - 6812

Highbridge George - 6813

Ah, and he has food.

Highbridge George - 6814

But the food wasn't for him. George began calling for the female, Martha.

Highbridge George - 6815

But she apparently wasn't within earshot. George kept calling, and flew around to several other spots in the nest area, looking for Martha.

Highbridge George - 6858

After twenty minutes be apparently decided that he'd earned some of the rat for himself and had a few bites, carried the rat up to the nest, and had a few more butes.

He left the rat in the nest and flew around to a couple more perches in the area, scanning the skies. After close to a half hour, he apparently gave up and flew away. But on my own way out, I found him perched just down the street atop the nearest of the Dyckman Houses, preening and watching the nest area.

Posted 3/14/2015 09:03:00 PM by Robert

3/14, Gorman Park

Despite the drizzle and fog, I headed uptown Saturday afternoon to check on hawk nests. It's almost egg-laying time, and it's time to check and doublecheck that nest sites are going to be used.

p>The Gorman Park nest (actually overlooking Broadway Terrace) can be seen from Overlook Terrace across Fort George valley is you have good optics and if you know where to look.

Gorman Park Nest - 6697

And there was a hawk perched on the fire escape railing by the nest. Looks like the female is getting in the mood, just like we say with the female at the St. John's nest this past week.

She was staying put. When I got down to Broadway, she was still up there.

Gorman Park Gertie - 6714

And as I passed below, still there.

Gorman Park Gertie - 6723

But after a half hour of perching on the railing, she hopped down into the nest.

Gorman Park Gertie - 6743

She apparently shuffled sticks for a minute or two, but otherwise she sat and scanned the skies. Another 12-15 minutes later as I was distracted by a passer by, she disappeared.

Posted 3/14/2015 08:52:00 PM by Robert