5/10, Highbridge Saturday

It started off as another cool and gloomy Saturday, so that must mean it's time again to visit Highbridge Park. Continuing the trend of Saturday visits, I hied up to the red-tail nest on the slopes of Fort George Hill in the late afternoon. I found all quiet, with Martha sitting on the near side of the nest while the kids apparently snoozed.

Highbridge Red-Tails

Looking this way and that, of course.

Highbridge Red-Tails

A few minutes later after I'd found a better spot to watch the inside of the nest, there were signs that the two nestlings were awake and wiggling around a little bit. The tops of fuzzy heads would occasionally appear on each of Martha's flanks.

Highbridge Red-Tails

And then after 20 minutes, one of the kids tried to stand up. It's still figuring out how to use its wings for balance, rather than actual flapping them.

Highbridge Red-Tails

Marths shifted around the side of the nest about 90° counter-clockwise and I now had a better view of both nestlings.

Highbridge Red-Tails

The kids were active for the next 10-12 minutes.

Highbridge Red-Tails

Meanwhile, Martha occasionally leaned into the nest. Although it initially looked like she might be preening loose fuzz off the kids, it was more likely general housecleaning.

Highbridge Red-Tails

Highbridge Red-Tails

The kids occasionally showed signs of curiosity about what was outside the nest. I've no idea how good there eyesight is at this point, but a few times, it looked like one of them was checking me out, at a distance of 60-70 feet.

Highbridge Red-Tails

And sometimes it would check what was down below.

Highbridge Red-Tails

Although there was something gray and pigeonish on the far side of the nest, there was no move toward a feeding while I viewed the nest. Instead, a bit more than a half hour after I'd arrived, the kids had settled back down in a heap in the middle of the nest for another snooze. Fifteen minutes later, I headed out and began making my way over to Fort Tryon.

Coda: Checked in at the red-tail at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine right about sunset. No activity at the nest, but one of the adults was perched across Morningside Park over on an antenna at 301 West 110th. It stayed there for 15 minutes, disappeared while I wasn't looking, and then apparently re-appeared on the corner of the roof of St. Luke's hospital (assuming that it was the same one). Five minutes later when I looked down to check the time on my cell phone, it quietly took off. Whether it headed over to the nest and hunkered down, or went to roost in the park, I've no idea.

Posted 5/10/2008 10:44:00 PM by Robert

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