August 31, 2007

What are You Looking at?

Old Marmot of the Mountains (0251)

Back a few days ago from a vacation of backpacking. Pix to follow, but this year I think I'll try to do something more coherent with them. So it will take several days while I sort through 460-some pix.

Yes, hawks were seen, several in fact. But none close and long enough for a species ID.

August 3, 2007

7/31, Brownie Hunts the Close

Red-Tail Fledgling


A nice evening to be out and about, and apparently the hawks thought so too. Three sightings made, although it wasn't clear if it was two hawks or three.

6:22 p.m. - Just reached the corner of 112th St. and Amsterdam Ave., and robin chirps are sounding straight up on an apartment roof. It takes five minutes of wandering around the area below the scaffolding on the narthex tower at the cathedral but I finally spot a feathery posterior poking out almost all the way up at the top.

Scaffolding with Hawk

Because of the rails in the way, it was never clear exactly which hawk this was, just that it was an adult red-tail.

6:33 - It seeming like this hawk isn't going anywhere, and the close being otherwise quiet, head down toward Morningside Park to look for the fledglings.

6:39 - Looking back uphill from Manhattan Ave., can see a suggestive looking dark spot at the very top of the cathedral scaffolding.

Scaffolding with Hawk

Definitely not the same spot as where we saw the hawk perched ten minutes ago. Hmmmm, two hawks up there? My guess is both adults.

6:54 - After a quick pass around the south end of Morningside Park, without results, head back up 110th St. There are definitely two hawks on the scaffolding and both are where I first spotted them. Pix confirm that one on the southwest side of the tower has a red tail, but I can't tell whether the one on the southeast side has a red (adult) or brown (juvenile) tail.

Scaffolding with Hawks

6:58 - But as I'm crossing back over 110th St. (most of the sidewalk on the north side is blocked off for construction), I get a quick look at a hawk overhead and then heading east over Synod House. And once in the clear where I can see the top of the scaffolding again, both hawks are gone. Drat.

7:35 - After another long stroll through Morningside Park, with no sign of either hawk having stayed there despite flying that direction, back in the Cathedral close. There are robin alarms going off. Hmmm, and catbird meows, too. The white peacock looks concerned about the noise.

Cathedral White Peacock

7:38 - Whadayaknow, right in the heart of the catbird noise...

Red-Tail Fledgling

7:43 - The fledgling stands up and starts looking around. Oooh, this is definitely Brownie.

Red-Tail Fledgling

7:46 - And then she soars across the pulpit lawn and the driveway and over the plywood fence into the playground area. I find her perched atop a fence along the nave wall. That look of mild concern: "that didn't go as planned". She checks the ground nearby.

Red-Tail Fledgling

7:49 - I see something rat-like scurrying around on the ground below her, and Brownie tries to jump it. No luck. She flies over to the plywood fence along the driveway.

She looks around, copes with a dive-bombing robin.

Red-Tail Fledgling

Turn around and watches the grass around the play area.

Red-Tail Fledgling

Considers the options.

Red-Tail Fledgling

Considers some more.

Red-Tail Fledgling

Pause for a scratch to release all that thinking tension.

Red-Tail Fledgling

7:57 - Try another leap, into the grass right behind the guard house. Drat, nothing again. Hop up on the chainlink fence. Look around. Ignore the guy with the camera, the two security guards, and the workman who are watching. They're too big to eat anyway.

Red-Tail Fledgling

8:00 - Fly a few feet over to the plywood fence.

Red-Tail Fledgling

8:01 - Then fly at something over on the pulpit lawn. Miss again.

8:05 - Fly over to the fence around pulpit, perch, look around, stare at squirrels. Try to jump one.

Red-Tail Fledgling

8:07 - Back up to pulpit fence. Again jump at squirrel stupid enough to walk along 7-8 feet away. Drat again. Must learn to leap at squirrel's head rather than fluffy tail.

8:10 - Sit on bench for awhile. Ignore peacock walking by. He's also too big.

8:16 - Back to pulpit fence. Damn robins just have not shut up.

8:22 - Give up for night. Fly over to tree above Amsterdam Ave. sidewalk and think about roosting. Robins over there aren't happy either.

8:35 - Still in tree across street from Hungarian Pastry Shop.

August 1, 2007

7/27-7/29, Quiet Weekend

Do You Mind?

It was a quiet weekend for watching the cathedral hawks. I only spotted one fledgling, and that one just one time. Of course, the fledge(s) still at the cathedral and/or Morningside Park had plenty of time to be active when I wasn't around. Both parents were apparently also seen.


The start of the evening was wonderful weather-wise...

G - Gabriel

...but for watching hawks, Friday was a complete bust. At best I might have had a half-second glimpse of a hawk jumping off a finial in the cathedral close.

I scouted around for almost two hours, from 6:00 to 8:00. That included visiting the cathedral close three times, but only finding peacocks...

Cathedral Peacock

.. and checking the usual areas in the southern half of Morningside Park once or twice. No help came from any robins or catbirds. The only bird sighting of any note was a mallard duck hanging about the park pond, the first mallard I had seen there in over a month.

Morningside Mallard


Saturday I entered Morningside Park at the southeast corner entrance just after 7:00 p.m. and immediately spotted a hawk perched on Gabriel's horn atop the cathedral apse.

Gabriel and Red-Tail Hawk

That appears to have been papa Tristan, although it was a bit hard to tell as he was preening most of the time and his belly feathers were fluffed up.

Gabriel and Red-Tail Hawk

He stayed in place until 7:50, disappeared for a bit, and then re-appeared just after 8:00 and was still there the last time I checked.

It seemed like spotting Tristan was going to be it for Saturday. No complaints about that, as I got started late and the humidity didn't make for much of a fun walkabout anyway. But after I had last viewed Tristan atop the apse at 8:10, I was walking up Amsterdam and heard robins going bananas near the cathedral narthex tower. Sunset was rapidly approaching and it was a dim day anyway, but after a few minutes something large fluttered up high. A hawk was perched on the Amsterdam side of the tower scaffolding, probably about 110-120 feet up. Heavy Photoshopping of some truly terrible pictures revealed what looked like Isolde's dark shoulders. Given the time, it looked like she was trying to roost up there.


Rainy day, so the plan was to just make a quick check on the park and cathedral on my way to Sunday dinner. At 6:15, entered Morningside Park from the southeast entrance again and had made about 1/3 a circuit about the baseball fields when I spotted a hawk. Someone was perched on the antenna structure atop the apartments at 306-8 West 112. Getting closer, a tawny breast was revealed. A fledgling!

Red-Tail Fledgling on W 112th

Meanwhile, two robins giving her some lip. The fledge was fluffed up a bit, presumably trying to dry out, although the humidity and sprinkles probably weren't helping. So it was difficult to decide how thick her belly band was, although I'm inclined to say it was not Brownie. Assuming Eldest has made her escape to Central Park, then that suggests it was Youngest.

Red-Tail Fledgling on W 112th

Whoever the fledgling was, she was still there when I last looked her way from over on Morningside Drive.

Red-Tail Fledgling on W 112th

I also made a quick check in the close area, but there it was just the three peacocks, each perched on a fence or railing and very busily preening.

Do You Mind?