3/22, Boat Basin and Cathedral Hawks

Sunday I checked on a couple of red-tail hawk nesting sites.

To begin, I headed south to the Riverside Park Boat Basin. Even before getting there, I made one possibly two hawk sightings. First, just before 4:00, the pigeons were swirling over Broadway at 92nd St. and something hawk-like went soaring over the avenue and east on 93rd St. Then as I was standing alongside the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, a red-tail popped up from the hillside to the north and ascended quickly on the stiff wind. Hardly a wing beat was needed. He hovered like a kite over the Normandy Apartments for a minute and then dove straight down into the park below. Evidently that was the male of the Boat Basin nesting pair.

When I reached the Boat Basin, the female was sitting in her nest. Discussion on the blogs suggests that she might have laid her first egg that day. She sat quietly, oriented so that her head was in the shadow of the tree trunk. But about 4:25 she stood up and fussed around for minute.

Riverside Mama Red-Tail Hawk

Looked around.

Riverside Mama Red-Tail Hawk

And dove out the other side of the nest and out over the river. Just like her mate had done a half hour earlier, she caught the wind and zoomed almost straight up. Then she turned and passed overhead.

Riverside Mama Red-Tail Hawk

Riverside Mama Red-Tail Hawk

And flew up toward the Normandy.

It was just a spin around the block. Within five minutes she was back. Fussed a bit.

Riverside Mama Red-Tail Hawk

And then sat back down.

Ten or fifteen minutes later, I made my exit. First a check on the upper Riverside area to see if the 110th St. hawk was around. Nope. No hawks visible on the Columbia campus either.

Then over to the Cathedral of St. John. Check the close first, and... the Coopie evidently hadn't left yet, even though it had been a couple weeks since I last saw him.

Cathedral Cooper's Hawk

Today he seems to be looking for a meal.

Cathedral Cooper's Hawk

Cathedral Cooper's Hawk

And then around to the other side of the cathedral to check for hawk activity along Morningside Drive. For an hour there was nothing to be seen. Maybe a glimpse of a Cooper's hawk flying over 122nd St. at one point, but nothing else.

At 6:45, a hawk appeared on Gabriel's horn. A minute later it took off, but just for a couple circles over the close.

Cathedral Red-Tail

And then back on Gabriel's horn.

Cathedral Red-Tail

That's plainly an adult hawk, not the juvie who perched on the roof the day before.

Perhaps it was the gusting wind, but a couple minutes later, the red-tail seemed to almost fall off the horn. But I soon saw it flying over the west end of the cathedral, apparently being chased by three or four smaller birds.

Posted 3/27/2009 11:07:00 PM by Robert

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