4/22, Riverside Reds

I opted to take it easy on Sunday, especially afternoon a quick afternoon nap wasn't so quick. Word was that the red-headed woodpecker was still in Riverside Park, and after checking that out I figured if time permitted I'd walk north to the Riverside Church and see if there was any peregrine activity.

There was no immediate sign of the woodpecker, now reasonably well-known as Riverside Red, but after I'd been looking around for his territory for 10-15 minutes I had thought I'd seen him flick into a near-by treetop. A passing pedestrian (A binocular-less birdwatcher? Or a knowledgeable neighborhood resident? I didn't find out.) asked about then if I was looking for the woodpecker and suggested the same bird I was trying to track. Sure enough. A minute or two later, Red flitted over to a branch above the sidewalk and halfway cooperated for some photos.

Riverside Red

Riverside Red

Riverside Red

But his best and closest poses were made in shady spots.

Riverside Red

There was also a five-minute episode where Red seemed to be in a standoff with one or two blue jays. No outright squabbling, but a lot of staring going on.

Uh-oh. It's after 6:00 and I need to head toward my sister's for Sunday dinner. At least I can walk along Riverside Drive on the way there.

On reaching 103rd St. I was startled when a big black bird flopped into a nearby nest. Not big enough for a hawk, but it was sort of hawk-shaped. Ah, a real crow's nest.

Crow's Nest

A couple pedestrians exiting the park stopped to ask what I was watching, and a moment later said they'd seen "a hawk or a falcon" sitting in a tree further north watching the squirrels. Well, if it's watching squirrels, sounds like a hawk to me.

But there's enough tree cover in Riverside that even when the leaves aren't grown out, it would be tough to spot a hawk sitting in some nebulous area. I was almost to the point where I needed to turn and figured I wouldn't see it, when of course there she was in plain view close to 109th St., quietly doing the hawk thing and watching all the activity in the park.

Juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk in Riverside Park

A stripey tail, so just a juvenile. But she's a red-tail anyway, so that's two "Riverside reds" today.

Perhaps not too fond of photographers, either. I get a dirty look even though I'm the only person paying attention to her.

Juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk in Riverside Park

...before she returns to looking around.

Juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk in Riverside Park

A last look at her from profile reveals a full crop. So even though she's casing the park, the squirrels are temporarily safe.

Posted 4/23/2007 05:29:00 PM by Robert

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