5/22, Cathedral Nestlings Count to Three

Tuesday

Nice day but breezy.

5:50 p.m. - First hawk sign is Isolde perched on Gabriel's horn. No activity at the nest; the kids must be napping.

Isolde and Gabriel

5:51 - Belatedly discover that Tristan is perched on a buttress on the transept, perhaps 215 feet from Isolde (according to Google Earth).

Tristan on the Cathedral Transept

5:57 - After checking dust on the camera lens, I look up to find Tristan is in the air and flying past the nest. He circles about a couple times over Morningside Drive to gain some height, then apparently flies off to the south or southeast.

6:18 - Bruce Yolton arrives to take pix, too.

Nothing's happened for 20 minutes. Isolde is still on Gabriel's horn, and the kids are quiet in the nest.

6:43 - It's been quiet up at the nest so I've walked down to 110th St. and then into Morningside Park. About 150 feet south of the pond a black-crowned night heron comes flying my direction. It flies overhead, then circles about over the baseball diamonds several times.

6:44 - Heron flies off to the west.

6:48 - From near the north end of the park pond, it is evident (using the new binoculars I got a couple weeks ago) that someone with pale feathers is moving about in the nest up at the Cathedral. My first thought is that it's one of the kids awake and moving about.

6:52 - Back up to Morningside Drive. The pale feathers are Tristan's fore side. He seems to be feeding the nestlings a light snack. (Isolde's still up on Gabriel's horn.)

Tristan Feeds the Kids

6:56 - Why is it a light snack? Because Tristan is leaving the nest.

Tristan Exits the Nest

Tristan Exits the Nest

6:57 - Nestlings are remaining active. Very active. While I was trying to figure out where Tristan flew off to the north (lost him; drat), one of the kids has stepped up on the edge of the nest, looked around, and according to Bruce flapped her wings like Super Eyass. Tawny feathers are beginning to appear on her breast and lots of brown feathers peeking through on the wings.

Red-Tail Nestling

6:58 - She turns around. Her back is very dark already. She steps to the side and the other nestling can be seen looking at her.

Red-Tail Nestlings

One nestling standing on the edge of the nest. Another to the right looking out. What's that white bump between them?

Red-Tail Nestlings

6:59 - The brave little nestling has stepped back into the nest. Also, Isolde has disappeared from Gabriel's horn.

Whoa, loads of nestling wing flapping from the left side of the nest, behind St. Andrew's head. And the second nestling on the right is watching. And the... hey, a third nestling? There is a large bump of dark feathers in between that looks like a nestling's back.

Red-Tail Nestlings

Yes, the dark feathers in the middle are the nestling who a moment ago was out on the edge of the nest. The flapping is coming from a third nestling!

Woo-hoo! Three nestlings!

(Note: Bruce actually said at this point that he thought there were three nestlings I had to wait until getting my pix on the computer before I decided to agree with him.).

Flapping only lasted a few seconds, but I can see a beaked little head peeking over St. Andrew's stoney pate.

Oops, more flapping. But this looks more like "pardon me while I crawl over the top of you" flapping rather than actual wing stretching.

Red-Tail Nestlings

7:01 - Nestlings are still moving about, but the flapping bit seems to be done with. Two are visible and seem to be focusing their attention on something in the middle of the nest.

7:02 - Movement appears to be settling down; just the nestling at right still in the same spot and looking around.

Red-Tail Nestlings

Ah-ha. Isolde didn't fly away. She just moved down to a finial where she can probably see into the nest. Perhaps the ruckus a couple minutes ago got her attention.

Isolde on a Finial

7:05 - Still some movement in the nest. The nestling that was at right has moved to the middle, as the wing feathers of the baby now visible are not very visible, compared to the two that were flapping earlier.

Red-Tail Nestling

Now the nestlings have switched and one with more developed wing feathers is sitting up in the middle.

Red-Tail Nestling

7:06 - The visible nestling is preening.

7:09 - Almost quiet in the nest now. A couple glimpses of the tippy-tops of little heads, but they're no longer sitting up where they can see out.

7:12 - All quiet. All we can see now is Isolde perched on the finial.

7:15 - Well, we can see Tristan too, once one looks the right direction. I spot him perched on one the buttresses at the east end of the nave (i.e., just west of the transept), where we've seen him a few times before.

Tristan Perches on a Buttress

7:17 - Exeunt hawkwatchers.

Posted 5/22/2007 11:18:00 PM by Robert

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