6/17, Everyone Accounted For

There was a veritable flock of hawkwatchers at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Tuesday evening. I counted nine people at one time or another with camera and/or binocs. Those who were there late got to see the entire red-tail family.

Donna, Sam and Adam were there in late afternoon and reported seeing one fledgling being coaxed over to the hospital roof for a meal. But they hadn't seen the other and were a little concerned.

When I arrived just before 6:00 and met up with Stella and Lincoln, just one adult was visible on a chimney of the Cathedral School. It looked like Isolde and she took off almost as soon as she was pointed out to me.

Red-Tail Take-Off

After that, no more hawk sightings for about 45 minutes. There was a suspicious burst of sparrow twittering around the chapel roofs, but no visible sign of a hawk.

After making a circuit of the cathedral to check in the close (no one here but us peacocks)...

Cathedral White Peacock

I spotted an adult hawk atop the Towers on the Park. Whoever it was took to the air a minute later. It initially seemed it was headed toward the hospital, but it circled around and then headed east, disappearing in the area of the Wadleigh School.

Ted-Tail over Manhattan Ave.

Back up on Morningside Drive below the nest, I found Stella, Lincoln and Winkie gazing up at the scaffolding. They had both fledglings in view.

One, presumably the youngest, was on the temporary walkway connecting the chapel roofs. When I got there it started moving around on the walkway, then fluttering about on the sill below the stained glass windows above St. Columba Chapel.

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling

And up on the crenellated turret above the family nest was presumably the older fledgling, watching its sibling's antics below.

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling

It may have been 15 minutes before the lower fledgling settled down, perched on the scaffolding below the nest.

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling

Now and again, it eyed the hawkarazzi along the sidewalk.

Cathedral Red-Tail Fledgling

There was a fair amount of intermittent begging calls, first from the fledgling up top. But eventually both were in on the action. Around 7:30 one hawkwatcher noticed that an adult hawk had recently landed on the hospital chimney. But it was sitting with its back to the kids, so apparently it wasn't a meal delivery.

The fledgling on the statue turret shuffled around to where it could get a better look at the parent, and begged for food or attention.

At 7:50 there was some action. An adult hawk flew into the nest, then the other.

Red-Tail Fledgling and Parents

I think that's Isolde at left and Norman at right. Then Isolde took off...

Mama Takes Off

Followed 20 seconds later by Norman. But Norman didn't go far, just over to the hospital chimney.

Red-Tail atop St. Luke's

Down below the younger fledgling started shifting around from scaffolding pipe to pipe. Then a few minutes later, both parents were in the air. One passed overhead and then turned, disappearing around the cathedral apse and into the close. The other almost did likewise, but no, it flew to the crenellated turret above the statue of St. James the Great, between St. Savior Chapel and St. Martin Chapel. (That's about 60 feet and two statues clockwise of where the older fledgling was perched.)

Papa Norman

Hmmm, the eyes suggest that that is Norman.

Papa Norman

Yep, those are Norman's eyes.

The upper fledgling made an effort to go visit papa, hopscotching along the scaffolding to the turret above the statue of St. Peter, halfway between St. Andrew and St. James. But having got there, it turned around and headed back to St. Andrew.

Meanwhile, down below, the other fledgling had returned to the same pipe 30-40 feet below the nest where it had been 15 minutes earlier.

Finally I had to exit. Three hawkwatchers -- Lincoln, WInkie and Susan -- remained just in case something interesting happened in the last 20-40 minutes before sundown.

Posted 6/18/2008 12:10:00 AM by Robert

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