4/19, Riverside Switch-Offs

Saturday after visiting the Highbridge red-tail nest, I headed down to the Upper West Side to see the new Riverside nest. Due to its location, it had plenty of hawkwatchers already present, but few were actually able to see much because the female was hunkered down in the nest.

At 6:05, 15 minutes or so after I'd arrived, and most of the hawkwatchers had left, the male flew in and landed in a tree overlooking the heavily used path.

Riverside Red-Tail

He wasn't carrying any food, but just looked around for a moment.

Riverside Red-Tail

Then shifted branches.

Riverside Red-Tail

Preened a bit and scratched.

Riverside Red-Tail

Perhaps preening is a sympathetic behavior, as just then the female sat up in the nest and also started preening.

Riverside Red-Tail

The male then began a slow-motion circuit of the area, first flying to another tree in the traffic island in which the nest is located, fluttered around the branches, then after a couple minutes flew over to a tree near Riverside Drive.

Riverside Red-Tail

Fluttered around in the branches some more, changed trees. Rinse, repeat. Finally, 15 minutes after he entered the area, the male flew over to the nest.

Riverside Red-Tail

A switch-off ensued, with the female popping up and flying over to a tree about 200 feet away, directly above a family group having a picnic and paying soccer. She stayed there for at least 5 minutes, but disappeared when I wandered over to the nest for a minute.

The only "good" view of the nest involved looking through the branches of another tree, which made it difficult to get good pix of anything up there except when one of the hawks sat straight up. Even just an egg rotation was difficult to see.

Riverside Red-Tail

At about 6:55, the female returned to the area, first flying into a tree near Riverside Drive. She was obviously carrying food. Either something not very large or else something no longer in its entirety (i.e., leftovers). She noshed for a minute, then flew over the nest.

Hawk Landing

Hawk Landing

Hawk Landing

A hawk confab followed, as she checked out the premises to make sure dad hadn't messed anything up while she was gone.

Riverside Red-Tails

He on the other hand was apparently inspecting the food she carried over.

Riverside Red-Tails

The male then flew off, presumably with the food, as he landed in a tree near the picnic tables and spent a couple minutes eating and then wiping his beak. Meanwhile, she hunkered down in the nest.

I began to pack up, as the light was about shot due to the lateness and because of the clouds that had moved in. While I talked with a couple dogwalkers for a few minutes, the male hawk took off for the evening, perhaps to go to roost.

P.S.: No real hawkwatching report for Sunday as I went up to Fort Tryon park and only made one possible sighting. While I was in the Cloisters herb garden and looking out into the park, a very large bird flew into a treetop a hundred yards away. I didn't have the long lens on my camera at the time, and so can't be sure, but the pix I did take suggested that the bird was dark brown and had a light breast. So it seems more likely to have been a hawk than a crow.

Posted 4/22/2008 03:42:00 AM by Robert

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