4/23-4/26, Waiting, Waiting

Based on when it looked like Isolde might have spent her first night on the red-tail at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, I had estimated first egg hatch to occur around April 26, today. It doesn't seem to have happened yet, although the depth of the Catehdral nest is such that one can't be sure until the adult hawks' behavior is seen to change appropriately.

A four-day report. Almost all of the fun stuff is on Thursday...

Monday
Donna Browne posted a report on watching the Cathedral nest which covers the 4:30 to 6:00 afternoon timeframe. Although she doesn't reveal any magic moments, there's activity from both Isolde and Tristan, and even a glimpse of the hard-to-see nook at the right rear of the nest.

Because of stuff at work, I didn't get there until past 6:30. First look at the nest through glasses revealed Isolde moving around, but while I then fumbled to get the camera out of the pack and then fumbled some more to replace its battery (hey, I least I was comparing a spare), she quit doing whatever she was doing. A minute later I found her standing on the south side of the nest scanning the skies.

Red-Tailed Hawk in Cathedral Nest

The combination of my viewing angle and the brow of her head made it look like Isolde was concerned about something. I anthropomorphized a, "Where's Tristan?" But Donna's report revealed that Tristan had been there an hour earlier. Just before 6:45, Isolde gave up on that and ducked down into her nest.

After watching the nest for another ten minutes, I wandered into Morningside Park and encountered, in sequence, the no-longer-lonely male cardinal and his new girlfriend by the upper lawn, Hedda Gobbler the turkey foraging on the flowery hillside north of the dog run...

Hedda Gobbler

...and two great egrets at the pond. Actually, one flying in...

Great Egret over Morningside Park

...then the second appearing from hiding behind the island and flying out to the southwest, then the first following after. The first one looked like the same "green face" that was there on Saturday. Both left to the southwest within minutes of my arrival.

Oh, and of course, daffodils!

Daffodil

Checking back at the hawk nest from 7:15 to 7:25, no activity, and no sign of Tristan making his usual near-sundown visual inspection of the area.

Tuesday
Donna again did a late afternoon monitoring of the nest and caught a little activity. Work again prevented me from coming by until 6:30 and I saw zip. No egrets in Morningside Park either, although Hedda the turkey was in the same area as on Monday.

Wednesday
Despite the light drizzle, I headed over to the Cathedral at about 5:30. Again no sign of activity from the hawks in the next 40 minutes when I bailed out because the rain was getting steadier. Hedda the turkey again put in an appearance, but this time first sighting came when she was ambling on the Morningside Drive sidewalk near the 114th St. entrance to the park.

Thursday
A cool but much nicer day, albeit often overcast. A quick look-see at 2:00 didn't reveal any hawks doing anything interesting. I came back to the Cathedral about 5:10 to find Donna had also just arrived. Five minutes later Tristan also appeared, popping up from the Cathedral close to land on Gabriel's horn.

Red-Tailed Hawk atop Cathedral

All was then fairly quiet for about the 20-25 minutes, although we did get an occasional glimpse of Isolde fussing about in the nest.

Red-Tailed Hawk in Cathedral Nest

Just before 5:40 the excitement began...

Tristan dropped off Gabriel's horn, circled about once or twice over 113th St., flew back toward the nest, circled about again and then flew back up to land on one of the finials around the periphery of the Cathedral roof.

Red-Tailed Hawk atop Cathedral

A moment later he took off to the southeast and, I thought, toward Central Park. But no, within another minute or so, Tristan circled about overhead again and then made a swoop toward the nest.

Red-Tailed Hawk over Morningside Drive

Then a hawk came flying back, disappeared over the roof of St. Luke's hospital, then re-appeared around the northeast corner of the hospital and landed on the roof. Dark belly feathers revealed that this was Isolde.

Red-Tailed Hawk on Hospital Roof

Head bobbing suggested she might be eating, and indeed, pics revealed she had a chunk of something.

Red-Tailed Hawk on Hospital Roof

But it was a quick nosh, as at 5:45 she flew back to the nest, carrying some leftovers.

Red-Tailed Hawk over Morningside Drive

Hmmm, is that for a late night snack, or is there a nestling we can't see?

Tristan came flying right back out, but this time fluttered into the top of a tree at the 114th St. entrance to Morningside Park.

Red-Tailed Hawk in Morningside Park

After swiping his beak on a branch a couple times, he looked around a little bit...

Red-Tailed Hawk in Morningside Park

...and began to groom as best he could in the breeze.

All was quiet again for the next 15 minutes, although I did again encounter Hedda in Morningside Park when I wandered in to see if I could get a better viewing angle of Tristan's perch.

Hedda Gobbler

Bruce Yolton arrived around 6:05 and, when Donna and I walked down Morningside Drive to check the nest, saw when Tristan took off down and to the east. That seemed like it might end things for the day, but we all hung about for a bit. Then an Audubon friend of Donna and Bruce's passed by and no one showed any hurry to leave. So we were still around when Tristan again popped up on Gabriel's horn at 6:25.

I hung around for another 10 minutes but finally had to leave. Check Bruce and Donna's blogs for any activity that might have occurred after I left. Donna should also have a few nest activity pix taken via her infamous Swarovski scope.

Posted 4/26/2007 09:36:00 PM by Robert

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