2/17, Hawk in the Projects

It was already after 4:00, but with sunset getting later every day, I opted to make a quick pass over to Central Park on Saturday. For reasons I'm still not clear on, I decided to go via West 102nd St., rather than 103rd St. (where the parakeet nest is at) or 97th St. (passing by a Starbucks).

Good choice.

Only a block and a half from my apartment, in the middle of the Frederick Douglass Houses, a hawk was perched right over the sidewalk halfway between Amsterdam and Columbus.

Red-Tailed Hawk in the Housing Project

While I looked around to see if I could identify him, he looked around for prey.

Red-Tailed Hawk in the Housing Project

Okay, fairly light belly feather pattern. What color are the tail feathers?

Red-Tailed Hawk in the Housing Project

A nice brick red. So it looks like Tristan, the male adult red-tailed hawk from the Cathedral nest, is hunting outside the park.

As I'm taking pictures, at least ten people pass by. None looks up, none asks what I'm doing. One almost gets nailed when Tristan decides to lighten his burden. And when a hawk does that, it means... yes, he's flying away. First up to the trees along the 103rd St. sidewalk. As I head that way, I get another glimpse of him moving on to the northeast.

Drat. Might as well head over to the park and see what I can see there.

Passed by the Pool. Took the service road over to the compost hill to check the rooftops along Fifth Ave. Nothing. Down Lasker Hill and then head up the ravine. Nothing going on here, although the birds in the treetops are pretty chatty today. Across the wood bridge and back along the ravine to the trail which leads up into the North Woods.

At 4:50, as I'm negotiating some ice where the path gets steep, a squirrel runs across the snow 10-12 feet ahead of me. He stops. I contemplate a picture of a grey squirrel on a stark white background. Then he jumps onto a near-by tree.

Whooosh.

A hawk comes zooming from the northwest down to where the squirrel had been, takes a swipe at where it had jumped, and then flies into a branch overhead.

Juvenile Red-Tailed in Central Park North Woods

Looks like the juvenile from last Sunday. She's not staying put either. After a minute she flies west to thr trees between the road and the Great Hill lawn. I follow, get one glimpse of her flapping about, but then lose track of her as I get closer to that spot.

Just after 5:00, I head back across to the North Woods. Just in time to see the juvenile fly from the north into a near-by treetop. Was she going after the three small birds that had been perched there?

Juvenile Red-Tailed in Central Park North Woods

Again, she doesn't stay long. Another minute later she's off, flying down and along the park road, disappearing around the bend and possibly into the trees on the southeast side of the Great Lawn.

I give it another five minutes of hanging around the North Woods and taking a peek over by the Blockhouse. No more hawk action, and I need to leave anyway. Exit.

Posted 2/18/2007 07:28:00 PM by Robert

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