8/1-8/2, Hawkwatching

Divine Red-Tailed Hawk in Morningside Park Despite the heat, I did make a couple visits over to Morningside Park the last two days to check on the hawks. However, there are no new pictures as I was trying to carry less weight around, i.e., no camera. The photo at right is an extra of Little Brother from last Thursday, July 27.

Tuesday's visit was just a half hour, from about 5:30 to 6:00 p.m., and there were no hawk sightings or helpful sounds during a slow pass from the dog run down 110th St. and back.

Wednesday turned out more happily. I arrived at the park a bit after 6:00 and made the pass from dog run to 110th St. and back, staying in the shade all the time, before sitting down on a bench by the turtle pond to savor the slight breeze. At about 6:30, the sight of something large and brown flying through the foliage above the dog run caught my eye, and the pigeons in the area started to vacate.

A minute later, it was more obvious that it was a hawk as a fledgling briefly flew out of the tree above the Bear and Faun fountain and over to a tree near the Washington and Lafayette Monument at the corner of 114th St. and Manhattan Ave. Another couple minutes later, the fledgling flew back to a tree overlooking the fountain.

From the vantage point of the steps alongside the dog run, it was reasonably apparent that the fledgling was Little Brother, hot and bothered by the heat as he sat with wings spread and mouth agape as he panted away. (His crop also looked full, so whether or not the fledglings are hunting yet, they're not going hungry.) It often seemed he had his eye on the fountain, or the water draining from it along the park path. Sure enough, 10-15 minutes later he flew down to the ground and slowly walked onto the path and investigated the water. Drat, it's not really deep enough to dip a beak in or to splash about in. Maybe sitting in it will provide some cooling.

The approach of strollers and dog walkers soon prompted Little Brother to exit the path and he flew over to a low branch close to the pond. I wondered if he'd try drinking from or splashing in some shallow area of the pond, or if was just too deep for him to consider. A few minutes later, he flapped to the ground, then in a moment over toward the pond. Where did he go? Ah, he perched on a dead branch along the rockface, about halfway between path and waterfall. Too bad I didn't have the camera, as it was a perfect place and pose for photos.

Little Brother gave this spot 5-10 minutes, then flew over to the top of the rockface just behind the willow tree in the center of the pond. A few minutes there, and he was off to a tree along Manhattan Ave. near the softball backstop. Another minute and he was back to a high branch in one of the "pigeon trees" by the fountain. Perhaps five minutes later, at about 7:15 or 7:20, he was off into a tree at the intersection of 1114th St. and Morningside Ave., from where it looked like he took off down Manhattan Ave. a moment later.

And that's the last hawkwatching report for two weeks. I'm off to go backpacking. I'm sure I'll be complaining about the trail and the weight of the pack constantly, but at least I'll be somewhere where the daily high temperature will be only about 80°F... and the nightly low around 40°F.

Posted 8/02/2006 09:13:00 PM by Robert

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