7/14, Hawkwatching

Divine Red-Tailed Hawk in Morningside Park

(Reminder: Click on any photo to view a larger version in my Flickr photostream.)

I was enjoying a productive moment of writing Java code, so didn't make it over to look for the Divine hawks until the clock was pushing 7:00. It seemed very quiet along Morningside Drive, but I noticed Susan's bike locked to the railing so it seemed the best thing to do was look for her and see what was up. I spotted her down by the softball diamonds, apparently watching a particular tree, but it wasn't until I got down to the lwoer path and spoke with her that it became apparent that one of the fledglings was busy feeding in a tree near the 111th St. overlook.

Bruce had originally spotted the fledgling some time earlier, and the feeding had been going on for some time, perhaps a half hour. Susan had actually gotten tired of the gruesome scene and was preparing to leave, or at least look around for the other fledgling, when I arrived. Bruce had just left minutes before.

Divine Red-Tailed Hawk in Morningside Park I had just enough to take one bad photo of the dinner setting before the fledgling finished up and then flew 100 feet north to a perch with a better view. (The new spot was the same tree where one of the fledglings had perched on Tuesday after the fun on the softball diamond.) Zoomed-in photos further demonstrated how messy her dinner had been, as her talons were crimson. She (he?) spent the rest of the evening in this location, mostly watching the area and doing little preening.

Around 7:10, Susan and I split in different directions to see if we could spot the other fledgling, meeting back up on Morningside Drive with little luck. She'd had a quick glimpse of a hawk fly over the Cathedral School playground area, but we saw no further sign in that direction. She then headed home, and I went back down to the softball diamond, picking a park bench to chill out on and keep an eye on the fledge.

Around 7:40, Cynthia belatedly appeared, and I pointed out the fledgling's location. Some chat revealed that she lives only two blocks from me, and that led to some talk about Bloomingdale (Village), i.e., the area between 96th St. and 106th St. and between Amsterdam Ave. and Riverside Dr.

Divine Red-Tailed Hawk on 111th St. At one point during the conversation, I thought I saw a hawk soaring about over near the apartment towers on Federick Douglass Circle. However, it was lower than "normal", only about halfway up the height of the buildings, and I lost sight of it after 5-6 seconds. Was it a hawk? I'm prepared to say yes, because just before 8:00 Cynthia noticed that a hawk was perched on the chimney of a brownstone on 111th St. just off Manhattan Ave. A close look at my pix on the computer screen wasn't definitive, but it seemed to me that this looked like a fledgling. Does this evening then the first time one of the fledglings has broken out of Morningside Park to the east?

About that time I decided that robin alert chirps had begun somewhere behind us up near Morningside Drive, so after a few minutes headed back uphill to see what might be found. There didn't seem to be any other hawks in the park trees (although one never can be sure) but one of the adults was perched on Gabriel's horn atop the Cathedral. So that makes three hawks seen tonight, two fledges and and an adult as best I could tell.

Update: Bruce has posted photos of the feeding just prior to my arrival at Morningside Park. Also, I am informed through the grapevine that one of the fledglings was seen feeding early Thursday evening on a rooftop across Manhattan Ave., so this report is not the first of a fledgling crossing that avenue.

Posted 7/14/2006 10:34:00 PM by Robert

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