7/13, Hawkwatching

Divine Red-Tailed Hawks in Morningside Park

Despite much improved weather compared to the previous two days, I seemed to have been the only hawkwatcher to make it to Morningside Park this evening. The red-tails proved difficult, but in the end good photos were obtained.

I reached Morningside Drive around 6:30 and was startled by how quiet it seemed. Did the robins all leave town? A pass down the street and around the lower level of Morningside Park revealed nothing. A few cheerful robin chirps near near the Cathedral School, but otherwise as quiet as could be (well, considering this is Manhattan).

I bumped into Jackie on the Upper Lawn at the top of the 100 Steps, where she was involved with the park association's outdoor movie presentation. She mentioned one of the fledglings had been down on the softball diamonds in the afternoon, but she hand't noticed any activity this evening. I made my way around to the 111th St. overlook and chilled out for awhile. Still very quiet.

It seemed I should make the effort of another pass through the park, this time around to the Manhattan Ave. corner entrance and back. At first it seemed there would be a nada, but at about 7:20 while walking past the softball diamond, I chanced to look up and so noticed something large fluttering at the top of a tree almost overhead. Ah-ha, a fledgling!

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

Luckily for me, the fledgling soon decided to move to a more stable perch, as I would have otherwise gotten a serious crick in the nick. Instead it was back up the 100 Steps to the top of rockface hill, where the fledgling had perched in a tree just to the side of the rocks and perhaps 15 feet off the ground. It seemed like an excellent spot for getting photos, but it turned out that the fledgling was parked amongst projecting twigs and some overhanging foliage that made good angles a wee bit difficult.

Divine Red-Tailed Hawks in Morningside Park At about 6:35 there was some interesting activity over head, as something hawklike but smaller seemed to fly over the park. A kestrel? Darn, it would have helped to have another hawkwatcher around who knows their birds better. Then a few minutes later an adult hawk is noted perched on the railing atop 352 West 110th St. It looks like Isolde, and she's being dive-bombed by a smaller bird, although big enough for me to see it from 500 feet away. She soon disappears, but then re-appears on the rail a bit later.

For the next 30 minutes, our positions remained relatively the same: the fledgling in the tree, eyeing the robins now making a din; the adult atop the apartment building; and me stepping about the tall grass looking for camera angles. The fledgling and I listened to pre-movie music from the park event all the while. Both of us seem to like the improved weather; I'm not feeling as mugged by humdity as I was two days ago, and the fledgling isn't panting or sitting with wings spread.

St. John's at Sunset I called it a night around 8:10, with the two hawks still perched in the same spots. On the way back to Broadway, one nice photo of the West Front of St. John's is collected. The sky to the west is too clear for colorful sunset pix, but I can see through the trees of Riverside Park that the sun is setting almost directly in line with 112th St.

Posted 7/13/2006 10:40:00 PM by Robert

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