7/31, Hawkwatching

Divine Red-Tailed Hawk in Morningside Park
Jays can be noisy enough to make the feathers on the back of your head stand up.

The fledglings took pity on me. Plural.

Despite having several things to try to get done today, I decided to make a pass over to Morningside Park to see if I could get one last look sight of the Divine red-tailed fledglings following yesterday's bust. The weather looks like it will be too unbearable for the next couple days to do any hawkwatching, and after that I go on vacation. By the time I get back the fledglings may have finally departed the scene.

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

Divine Red-Tailed Hawk in Morningside Park Anyway, hawk discovery came quickly. I had barely entered Morningside Park just after 5:30 and begun walking around the dog run when Little Brother appeared in view. There had been no warning sounds from robins or jays. On the other hand, the dog run area had been decidely quiet, almost suspiciously quiet and nothing like the busy scene of squirrels and sparrows of yesterday. Little Brother was perched on a low branch on the hillside below the dog run, but above the Bear and Faun fountain. With wings spread and occasionally panting to shed heat, he was craning his neck this and way and that as he peered at something in the scrubby foliage along the hillside. What it was I never could tell, but one assumes there was something there given all the staring that was going on.

The quiet was briefly alleviated about 7 minutes later when a jay let off an alarm somewhere nearby, but then all was quiet. What was the jay so concerned about? And why have the 200 pigeons down below several times all flown up into the sky, circled around a time or two, and then landed again in the mess of bread and rice someone has spilled on the park path? What could be disturbing them? It's certainly not Little Brother, perched ever so quietly.

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

Perhaps the answer dropped in at about 5:53, when a flutter of wings announced the arrival of Big Sister hawk landing on a branch about 15 feet above Little Brother's head. She too did the intent-staring-at-the-ground thing, but for only a minute or two. She shifted her perch about a bit, in and out on the branch and over to a nearby branch. Less than 10 minutes later as I was trying to find a location which gave a better angle of her perch, she quietly took off, and only the brief sight of her circling once overhead revealed that she was leaving. When last seen she was heading over the upper lawn.

Divine Red-Tailed Hawk in Morningside Park
Big Sister on the high branch, looking off toward the Cathedral.

Little Brother stayed around for a bit longer, quiet all the while and apparently unperturbed by the efforts of one pigeon-fancying park user to make him leave. But finally at about 6:30, he stood up, turned around, and then flew off to the south, taking the low route rather than the high.

I too made my exit, making one last check at the top of rockface hill due to some chirping. But no hawks were in sight and the chirping quieted. And so it goes.

Posted 7/31/2006 11:50:00 PM by Robert

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