7/11, Hawkwatching

Divine Red-Tailed Hawks in Morningside Park
"Don't try me. I can take you on any time I feel like it."

I'd planned to skip hawkwatching this evening as I had some Java code to debug, but by 7:00 I could hear the hawks calling and it seemed I had enough work done that I felt I could take break for awhile. I reached Morningside Drive just after 7:30 to find no other hawkwatchers around. A quick glance from the 112th Street overlook revealed no interesting sights or sounds. Might as well wander over to the top of the hill and check out the softball field and the perches over the rockface. And if there are any hawkwatchers down below, maybe I'll spot them.

Divine Red-Tailed Hawks in Morningside Park To the top of the hill... oh, my! There's big sister sitting on a branch, big as life, having a staring duel with a squirrel perhaps ten feet away. She wins; apparently the squirrel hasn't figured out that she doesn't know how to hunt yet and finds somewhere else to be. I get out the camera and shoot two pix and then from the south flies in the little brother, to alight on the same branch. Oh, and thank you, when he settles into position, he's perched facing my direction so I can get some nice frontal pix rather than over-the-shoulder come-hither shots as with big sister.

The evening is a bit warm and muggy, and apparently both of the fledglings are feeling it more than I am. Except when he's got his beak stuck in his feathers preening, little brother is panting the entire time. Every now and again he also gives his neck a stretch and a shake, apparently to shift around the food engorging his gullet. (Big sister also looked rather full when I got a picture of her front.) Occasionally he stretches his mouth open so wide you'd think you could slip a marble (a shooting taw, even) in there with room to spare.

Divine Red-Tailed Hawks in Morningside Park Divine Red-Tailed Hawks in Morningside Park

The first 10-15 minutes, the fledges seem to be just hanging out, watching whatever or whoever goes by. Robins flitting from one tree to another get their attention a lot, as does the occasional fire truck or other really loud vehicle on Morningside Drive. But apparently they're so used to this particular photographer hanging about that they even ignore a medley of all the ring-tones on my cellphone. After that a round of preening gets going. (Quel surprise!)

Divine Red-Tailed Hawks in Morningside Park Divine Red-Tailed Hawks in Morningside Park

And that sums it up for hawkwatching activity tonight. Certainly not as exciting as yesterday, but just as fun because the fledglings were cooperative, easily found and hanging out for 45 minutes or more in an approachable location. I checked out at 8:15, wth the fledglings still perched where I'd found them.

Posted 7/11/2006 10:03:00 PM by Robert

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