6/22, Cathedral Hawkwatching

(Pix in my Flickr hawkwatching photoset for June 22 begin here)

Cathedral Red-Tailed Hawks After doing a complete circuit of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, including a walk through of the campus on the south side, it looked like this evening was going to be a complete bust. Nary a hawk to be found. Construction of a scaffolding on the south side of the Cathedral School suggests that if either fledgling spent last night there, they surely moved elsewhere for the day.

But 5 minutes after sitting on a bench along Morningside Drive, I see some suggestive movement through the treetops at about 6:10 p.m. An adult (later revealed as Dad) had alit on Gabriel's horn. Still, though, except for the two smaller birds futilely attempting to harass him off the horn, there was no further activity to report for the next 20 minutes.

Cathedral Red-Tailed Hawks Then Donegal and Samantha arrive. Shortly thereafter Donegal and I walk down Morningside Drive to check if anything has changed on that front, and at about 6:45, I spy one of the fledglings on the small ledge on the side of St. Savior Chapel. This is the the same place as where one of them was fed two days ago, but today's fledgling is perched on one of the little dog-head gargoyles and splitting her time between scanning the skies and preening. it's fun to watch her for awhile as the sight lines are easy and she's active and relatively close. Donegal is able to set up her scope in a place where passers-by frequently ask for a look.

Cathedral Red-Tailed Hawks At 7:10, the fledgling has shifted her position a bit and I move down Morningside Drive to see if I can get a better view of her new position. I find an okay spot and watch a bit. Thinking that she is looking to her right overly often, I pan my glasses to the side, and bang! there's the other fledgling perched quietly on a small tree branch about 50 feet away. She's overlooking the playground at the Cathedral School; too bad that area was closed when I made my earlier circuit.

Cathedral Red-Tailed Hawks Heading back up the street to report the sighting, I find Samantha pointing out a hawk in the trees about 10-15 feet from the ledge where the fledgling had been. A look through the glasses reveals it is the fledgling. However, about 10 minutes later a rain of pigeon feathers begins falling from the tree. It's apparent that at some point a parent came by for a moment and delivered a meal. The feather fall is from the meal getting plucked. (Later, Samantha does indicate that she briefly saw two hawks at the same time in that area of the trees.) All are amused by the fellow sitting in a parked SUV directly below who is mystified by what is falling on his vehicle.

At about 7:50, as we're back downhill watching the quiet fledgling above the playground, two passers-by indicate they had seen a hawk on the roof of one of the apartment buildings. Turning around and looking east, we see that Mom is perched on the scaffolding atop 300 West 110th Street, above Frederick Douglass Circle.

Moving back up the hill, we spend the darkening evening watching the fledgling who has been fed. She hops around among the branches, crossing over Morningside Drive. At one point she seems to have found a nice perch, but the catbirds or mockingbirds on that tree are having none of it. They chirp constantly and loudly until the fledgling eventually shifts to another spot.

All the while, the fledgling above the playground has not budged except for occasional prenning or to adjust her position whenever the breeze picked up. I finally call it a night about 8:20 as it's becoming too dark to observe the fledglings in the tree cover.

(Updated: June 23 at 10:49 p.m. to include pictures.)

Posted 6/22/2006 09:36:00 PM by Robert

Edit Post