7/8, Hawkwatching

A curious evening for hawkwatching...

(See Donegal's report for sightings just prior to what follows.)

I was late getting to the Cathedral/Morningside Park area, but it was the first time I'd gone up on a Saturday anyway. I took a roundabout route, walking over the Great Hill in Central Park on the theory that perhaps I'd see an adult hawk in that area. Well, maybe so, but it was late in the day when the hawks usually aren't too active, and there was an event atop the Great Hill making a lot of noise which covered any possible robin or jay alert chirps over a large area.

But on exiting Central Park at the corner of 108th St. and Central Park West at 7:28 (I did say it was late), I looked up to see an adult hawk (probably Isolde) perched on a railing atop the Verizon building a block west. I had never noticed that railing before, and when I later checked I found that only a small part of it was visible from the usual overlooks.

Divine Red-Tailed Hawk on 108th St. Onward and upward into Morningside Park... I saw and heard no hawk sign walking from the entrance at Manhattan Ave. and 110th St. over to the stairs leading up to the entrance at Morningside Drive and 113th St. A bit of suspicious chirping, perhaps, but nothing useful.

Checking the Verizon building at 7:46, I found the adult had shifted its perch to the base of the radio mast. Then, a couple minutes later, on re-entering Morningside Park to check out some robin chirping, a hawk passed overhead, flying a shallow S path north and toward the hospital. Doublecheck: yes, the hawk perched at the Verizon building is still there, so this is a different one.

My first impression was that this new hawk was the other adult and that it perched on one of the urns at St. Luke's, but hmmmm, what are those pedestrians doing over by the Cathedral? Do they still think there might be a hawk in the nest? Well, no, they don't. Instead they were watching a hawk perched on the eave of the octagonal section of St. Ansgar Chapel. A closer look revealed it was one of the fledglings.

Divine Red-Tailed Hawk on Cathedral Chapel Roof At 8:05, after watching the fledgling for 7-8 minutes, I walked around the corner to check on the adult perched on the Verizon building -- still there, but just barely visible on the low railing again. Returning to 113th St., huh? When did the fledgling sprout a fuzzy little tail? Oh. The fledgling is gone but a squirrel is now snooping around the roof of the chapel.

After a chat with a couple of the regular neighborhood dogwalkers, I headed back over to Morningside Park to see if the fledgling was there. No luck, but a couple robins in a tree on Morningside Drive were going nuts. Perhaps the fledgling from the chapel roof is perched somewhere above the street. After 10 minutes of scanning the dim foliage, I finally found the fledgling when it flapped to a new position, and then flew over to the trees on 113th St. The evening came to an end just past 8:30 with one last glimpse of fledgling breast feathers dimily visible high in the tree.

Posted 7/08/2006 09:42:00 PM by Robert

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