7/23-7/24, Hawkwatching

Divine Red-Tailed Hawk in Morningside Park
Little brother on the branch stump, July 24.

Not much time to work on pix and text the last couple days. Here's some text now and hopefully more photos soon.

But before reading further, be sure to read Bruce's comments about Saturday, July 22 and about Sunday, July 23.

Also, it seems that the New York Times took note of the Divine hawks this past week, running a photo and caption, but no article, in the Metro section on July 19. Their pic was of Isolde leaving the nest, and so I have to think it was taken a month ago and belately seeing print.

Sunday, July 23

I arrived at Morningside Park at about 5:30, and on entering the corner entrance at Morningside Drive and 110th St. immediately found Bruce, Cynthia, and two others along the goat path watching a fledgling whining for attention. The fledgling quickly flew off (too quickly for me to get any pix), heading across the park and north, perhaps up near the turtle pond but we didn't see.

Red-Tailed Hawk in Morningside Park Red-Tailed Hawk in Morningside Park

Bruce then had to leave and during his departure showed me where the other fledgling was perched in a tree over 110th St., about halfway between Morningside Dr. and Manhattan Ave. and apparently above where the two fledglings had been playing "attack the sticks" a bit earlier. That fledgling then flew to a new perch a couple trees west, and I took a few pix from the 110th St. sidewalk. Walking back into the park to see if I get some pix from the other side, I either couldn't find the fledgling again or else it had flown off in the meantime.

But a few minutes later as I was walking alongside the softball diamonds, I came across one of the neighborhood folk showing some people (1) a hawk fledgling in a tree, looking down at (2) a wild turkey stepping through the ground foliage. I'd heard many times about the turkeys in Morningside Park, but this was the first time I'd seen one of them.

Red-Tailed Hawk in Morningside Park The fledgling then flew off to the south, but it was soon located on a branch overlooking the goat path near the 111th St. overlook. After watching it from both along the path and then from the overlook, I had to make an exit as it was 6:20 and Sunday family dinner called.

It wasn't clear whether this last fledgling seen was the first or second one perviously seen. The one very helpful park user who had been watching them fly about described seeing one fly off over the Manhattan Ave. trees, but I became consued (easily so) which he might have been talking about. And as have many other park users, he indicated that the fledglings are more active earlier in the day. Finally, he claimed to have been a witness of a notorious incident a month or so ago in which a hawk nailed one or two of the ducklings by the turtle pond.

Monday, July 24

Red-Tailed Hawk atop Cathedral of St. John the Divine Approaching the park along 113th St. today, I immediately spotted a hawk perched atop at Gabriel's horn. That was at 6:45 p.m., and the hawk stayed there until at least 8:15. My first impression was that it was a fledgling, but subsequently examination of pix taken when it was standing up on the horn revealed that the tail feathers were a bit too bright. But whether it was Isolde or Tristan, well, I'd guess Isolde for no particular reason.

Entering Morningside Park and trotting down the 39 Steps and the 116 Steps to the turtle pond area, I found the one egret was still around. As I was looking about the pond to see what all might be making use of it today (ducks, geese, but no cormorant and no heron), one of the fledglings apparently entered the area, as just before 7:00 one of the park users pointed me toward the softball backstop by the basketball court. It looked a bit thin, so I believe it was little brother. He was apparently feeling active, as a couple minutes later, he flew over to the branch stump at the bottom of the hill, stayed there for about 4 minutes, and then flew south and into the trees somewhere near the 111th St. overlook.

I made a couple passes around the lower end of the park, listening for robin alarms along the lower path, the goat path, and the sidewalk. No luck, although I did confirm that the hiding spot used by the wild turkey yesterday is apparently a favorite spot, as it was there again this evening.

Red-Tailed Hawk in Morningside Park Red-Tailed Hawk in Morningside Park

Beginning another pass along the lower park path at 7:40, I was alerted by fresh robin alarms on rockface hill that someone they didn't like had perched in the area. Hustling back up the hill, I found one of the fledgling quietly perched on a dead branch over the rockface, mostly looking around at the robins and only occasionally preening. Just after 8:00 it preened a bit, looked around a bit, then jettisoned unnecessary weight through the aft emissions port, stretched its wings a bit... and then sat back down.

Red-Tailed Hawk in Morningside Park Thinking the fledgling would stay where it was for a few minutes, I shifted over to the upper lawn to check on the hawk on Gabriel's horn. Still there. But while looking up there I saw a hawk flying south at treetop level along Morningside Drive. My first reaction was that it was a hawk who had been perched somewhere atop Saint Luke's, but on checking the rockface a minute later, I found that the fledgling there had departed. Perhaps it was the same hawk, or perhaps it was a coincidence in timing.

Oh, well, time for me to make an exit also.

Update: Added pix late on July 25.

Posted 7/24/2006 11:47:00 PM by Robert

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