October 13, 2008

Columbus Day, Observed by Pale Male

Pale Male at Sunset
Pale Male as the sun sets

Today was the first time I definitely saw a free and wild raptor since the end of June, the evening that the healthy Cathedral red-tail baby flew to Central Park. After that, I hit the Morningside Park and Central Park Great Hills-North Woods area 8-12 times over the span of 5-6 weeks, but never saw the baby hawk or its parents. By the end of July there were photos popping up on Flickr of a young red-tail near Central Park's Bethesda Terrace, so I figured the adventurous Cathedral baby had already made its way south.

Since then I've kept my eyes peeled while in the park, but it's hard to watch for hawks when you're moving around on eight 90-mm wheels. Luck was miserable, and I never saw Pale Male or Lola or PM Jr. or Charlotte or Isolde or Norman anywhere that you might expect to run into one of them.

A week ago was the annual Central Park Falconry Thing, and perhaps I'll post a few pix when I get iPhoto working correctly. Same exhibitors as last year and pretty much the same routine. Later that day I encountered the turkey who's been hanging about the Ramble and learned the answer to the age-old question, why did the turkey cross the road? To get to Cedar Hill.

Today after a visit to the Met, 20-30 minutes of looking around did not reveal Pale Male or Lola anywhere that I knew to look. But just before sunset, His Paleness snuck in and perched on the Belvedere Castle flag pole. It was getting late, and a minute or two before official sunset time, he dropped off and flew off the pole and flew up the Great Lawn to what is apparently his current favorite roosting place.