6/27, Cathedral Hawkwatching

Cathedral Red-Tailed Hawks

(Not many pix today, or yesterday for that matter. Today's small photoset on Flickr starts here.)

I started walking over to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine to look for the hawks at about 6:30 p.m., and immediately wondered whether they'd be about. The wind was picking up and was very gusty. You'd think a wise hawk might just grab hold of something solid and stay put. But no...

There were no hawks about Gabriel's horn or along the Chapels on the back side of the Cathedral. Approaching the corner of Morningside Drive and 110th Street, I was stunned to see a hawk straight in front of me, flexing its wings and otherwise showing off the light-colored feathers on its body. As I fumbled for my camera, it flew out of its tree (the same tree where the fledgling had been perched last night) and then back into the trees just to the east. I rounded the corner onto 110th Street and walked about halfway down to Manhattan Ave. and stopped because the robins perched in the trees close by were going nuts.

Cathedral Red-Tailed Hawks Looking up, the position of the fledgling was easily found because it wasn't happy with her perch and the gusting wind wasn't helping much. The pic at the top of this post was one of the first I shot, at 6:49 p.m., while the one just at right was taken three minutes later. She jumped around a it, flapped a bit, etc., with of course a little preening and one instance of Linda-Blair-like head rotation.

Jean walked up behind me right about then and we admired the fledgling for awhile, pointing her out to the many pedestrians curious as to why we were looking up in the trees. But just after 7:00 we walked back to Morningside Drive to see if we could spot any of the other hawks. No luck up there, I soon returned to 110th Street with Donegal, Samantha and Eleanor in tow. Ooops, the fledgling had moved and the robin ruckus had quieted. Where did the fledge go?

Cathedral Red-Tailed Hawks After ten minutes of scanning the tree tops, I saw a hawk fly from overhead and up toward the trees alongside Morningside Drive. Heading back uphill I found Jean at the 112th Street overlook, pointing where a fledgling (presumably the same one) had just landed in a nearby tree. It had found good cover, because it was impossible to get a decent sight line for any photos. But another 10 minutes later, it again flew off, heading back to 110th Street.

By about 7:50, Donegal and Samantha had found the fledgling's new perch, and after some maneuvering I found it was sthe same tree where it had been perched just before 7:00. However, it was perched somewhat higher and getting a decent photo proved difficult. As it turned out, it would remain in that location for the rest of the evening, still there when we left around 8:30.

Although we had all had brief glimpses of the adult hawks in the sky earlier, after about 7:45 spottings became more frequent as they soared about in the wind, often over the Cathedral. Around 8:10 we thought we saw one alight in a tree about 50 feet from the perched fledgling but never were quite sure about it.

There was quite a bit of walking around tonight as we tried to follow hawk movements, to the extent that it seemed we were doing more hawkchasing than hawkwatching. At least they're still proving findable, although it has been several days since we saw both fledglings.

Posted 6/27/2006 09:41:00 PM by Robert

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