4/19, An Hour in Highbridge

SInce the hatching window is opening for so many Manhattan red-tailed hawk nests, it's time to start checking in on some of them to see what's up. And Saturday was a good day for it, with temps in the low 70s and partially cloudy skies for most of the day. The only problem was the seemingly constant thunder of helicopters overhead.

So up to what may be my second favorite nest: Highbridge.

Barely had I arrived at 3:30 and noticed Martha acting a little antsy then she stood up and looked up the Harlem RIver.

Highbridge Red-Tail Mama

Looked up toward GW High.

Highbridge Red-Tail Mama

And then zip! She flew north along the path and disappeared into the trees, leaving the nest unattended.

Highbridge Red-Tail Mama

While she was gone, I tried maneuvering around to see if I could find a higher vantage point where I could into the nest bowl, but no luck. Less than 5 minutes later, Martha was back. She stood for a moment, eying the contents of the nest, then looked around at the underbrush below.

Highbridge Red-Tail Mama

And then plopped down in the nest.

Highbridge Red-Tail Mama

I maneuvered around some more, again looking for a good vantage and found a spot on the "bleachers" along the path where I could sit down and even stretch out a bit. My, it's easier to maintain a stake-out on a hawk nest when you have a comfy spot and the weather's nice.

3:45 and it looks like it may just be an afternoon of watching Martha look around, and often looking back at me. She doesn't think much of my effort to imitate the two cardinals I can hear chirping near-by. (That and the sound of traffic along the Harlem River Speedway are about all one can hear around here. And the helicopters.)

Highbridge Red-Tail Mama

But at 3:48, she stands back up, stretches and preens.

Highbridge Red-Tail Mama

Glare at another helicopter going over.

Highbridge Red-Tail Mama

And peers at the bottom of the nest. I wonder if the eggs are all on the south side of the nest, as that's where she always seems to be looking. Maybe there's some movement inside one of them?

Highbridge Red-Tail Mama

And then sits back down.

Highbridge Red-Tail Mama

4:08: She stands back up, peers at the bottom of the nest for a moment and then peers down the river.

Highbridge Red-Tail Mama

And then takes off. Martha circles around a few times over the river, close to the two big apartment buildings south of Roberto Clemente Park, gaining altitude as she does so.

And at 4:12 she's back, flying in from the north. She must have circled around behind me. Maybe she was checking to see if her mate George was hunting up somewhere along Audubon or St. Nicholas Ave.?

Highbridge Red-Tail Mama

Peers at the eggs for a moment again, and then plops back down.

4:20 passed and I start packing up because I want to check another nest before the end of the day. Martha is in the nest, again glaring at helicopter.

Highbridge Red-Tail Mama

And adios. I wander south along Amsterdam for several blocks, hoping to catch sight of George or perhaps the juvie who's been hangiing around in the 170s, but no luck. Off to Riverside Park.

Posted 4/19/2008 11:59:00 PM by Robert

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