3/16, Washington Heights

Juvenile Red-tail Over Riverside Drive

Sunday afternoon I decided to check on a known red-tailed hawk nest site and on a possible nest site in the Washington Heights area.

James reported a week ago that the Highbridge Park hawk nest, close to George Washington High School, appeared abandoned. Reluctantly, I have to agree. The nest is, if anything, half the size that it was a year ago. If they are still around, then George and Martha, as they have been called (although I preferred George and Isabella), would seem to have decided to re-build somewhere else in the neighborhood.

I did spot one red-tail in the GW High neighborhood. A few blocks northwest of the old nest site, a hawk circled for some time over the area around the Dyckman St. subway station before disappearing in the general direction of the Cloisters.

After fruitlessly checking the south end of Fort Tryon Park, my second red-tail sighting of the day came to the south at J. Hood Wright Park, at Fort Washington Ave. and 175th St. There a hawk circled over the end of the park a few times before disappearing to the east.

Finally, I headed further south to check on the possibility of a red-tail nest in Riverside Park north of Riverbank State Park. A red-tail was indeed in the area, and it was a sneaky hawk. I had passed through Lily Brown Playground at 162nd St. and was heading south along RIverside Drive. But it was getting late and as I debated whether to head for the nearest subway stop, I turned around and...

Juvenile Red-tail Over Riverside Drive

...there was a red-tail hovering a half block behind me.

It held up there for 20-30 seconds, and then dived down across the highway and seemingly into the park alongside the river. But it popped back up fairly quickly, hovered out over the shoreline for a moment, and then headed back my way.

Juvenile Red-tail Over Riverside Drive

That pic clued me in that it had light-colored eyes... ergo, probably a juvie.

Juvenile Red-tail Over Riverside Drive

And indeed, a close look at the tail feathers reveals transverse barring.

Juvenile Red-tail Over Riverside Drive

After all this adept hovering in a stiff but fitful breeze, the juvie briefly perched on an apartment building at the corner of 161st St.

Juvenile Red-tail on Riverside Drive

Then it took back to the air and drifted north. When last seen it was up around 164th St. and heading into the Columbia Presbyterian complex.

So... no active nests found today. Looks like I'll have to check back again, and soon, before the trees staring leafing out.

Posted 3/17/2008 04:16:00 AM by Robert

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