7/3, Hawkwatching

Divine Red-Tailed Hawks in Morningside Park

(Pix from today's hawkwatching are in a Flickr photoset which starts here.)

Duckling in Morningside Park After missing three days of hawkwatching, I headed over to the Cathedral and Morningside Park today expecting that spotting the fledglings might be a bit more difficult to find. Reports from over the weekend suggest that the fledges have been hanging out near the rocks below the entrance across the street from the Cathedral, which added one more location to add to the list to check and meant more walking about.

I entered the entrance across the street from teh Catehdral of St. John the Divine at about 6:15 and began working south along the descending path just inside the Morningside Drive side of the park. Near the rocks and below the 112th Street overlook, it seemed for a few moments that I heard a fledgling calling out. But efforts to triangulate the source didn't prove out and the thick foliage overhead didn't help. I continued south along the path, then checked along trees lining the sidewalk on 110th Street. No hawk sounds, or go-away chirps from robins or catbirds. Re-entering the park at the corner of Manhattan Ave. it seemed for a moment that there were alert chirps from a robin overhead, but too slowly paced.

Divine Red-Tailed Hawks in Morningside Park Walking the path alongside the main grassy area, I angled over toward the rocks below the 112th Street overlook. No sign, no sound. Drat! Well, there would presumably be the geese and the ducks at the pond to take a few pictures of.

Climbing the steps back up to the Morningside Drive at about 6:45, I found Susan just arriving on her bicycle. She was the only other hawkwatcher to show tonight, but her appearance was lucky for me. While as she was locking it up along the park railing, she heard or spotted a fledgling in the treetops about 50 feet from the overlook. It was just about where I had heard the "I want attention" noises a half hour earlier.

Divine Red-Tailed Hawks in Morningside Park We made our way down to the path to see if the fledgling would be any easier to see from there, and temporarily lost track of it. But then we began to hear the calls of two fledglings, and that probably meant an adult hawk in the area. Within minutes, we could three hawks jumping about within the hgher branches of the tree in question, with Susan apparently seeing a food hand-off from adult to fledgling. (Pictures suggest it was (part of) a pigeon.) A moment later the adult flew off, briefly perching atop a small apartment building at the corner of Manhattan Ave. and 112th Street. Then we saw a hunk of food fall from the tree and thump to the ground down along the path alongside the ball field. But apprently the fledgling still had enough to eat because she didn't fly down to retrieve it.

Divine Red-Tailed Hawks in Morningside Park The second fledgling missed out on the feeding, and soon flew over to the rocks (finally! a hawk on the rocks where the weekend reports said to look). There she cried out for attention for awhile, apparently giving up when whatever adult was perched over on Manhattan Ave. left the area.

We made a pass down below on the path to see if the sight lines down there were better. The hawk on the rocks was easily visible, now perched on a broken branch sticking out from the rocks, whilst the other in the tree was out of sight.

Divine Red-Tailed Hawks in Morningside Park We then headed back up the steps, to the top of the hill above the rocks. Here, both fledglings were in view. The one in the trees was somewhat obscured, and I didn't try to take any photos of her, but she must have been hot because her wings were spread widely. The fledge on the broken branch, on the other hand, was right out in plain sight below us, looking around nd sometimes watching some people in the nearby bushes where they could apparently drink beer out of sight. She out could be approached closely enough to take some excellent pictures.

We called it a night at about 7:45. Both fledglings were still perched in about the same place they had been for the preceding 40 minutes.

Posted 7/03/2006 09:42:00 PM by Robert

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