3/9, Morningside Juvenile Red-Tail

No sign of the adult red-tailed hawk in Riverside Park around 112th St. when I checked on Monday, although I had seen it the area again on Sunday.

But with daylight savings time now in effect, there was still plenty of time to wander over to Morningside Drive and Morningside Park for a look-see. Unfortunately, or fortunately as it proved to be, neither Norman or Isolde seemed to be anywhere around the nest area.

About 6:25, while I was standing by the park pond thinking that I had seen a great blue heron there about this time last year, a big, long-winged, but skinny bird parachuted into the back of the pond. Good, lord, a great blue heron!

While I checked the camera screen to see if any of the pix in the dim light were coming out, a shadow swept overhead. I turned around to find that the heron had flown to another section of the pond, and.. A hawk was sitting in the willow tree overlooking the pond.

Morningside Juvenile Red-Tail

And as you can see from its posture, the hawk was checking out what was on offer in the water below. That would be one heron, sixteen mallards, and two Canada geese.

About the time that I realized that this hawk had a brown tail and ergo was an immature red-tail, it made a swoop down and across the pond. Much quacking and wing-flapping ensued, as the hawk flew up into another tree, no prey in talon.

Another minute or two later, same procedure going the opposite direction. This time it seemed like the hawk was specifically going for the heron. But catching nothing, it left the pond area and flew high up into a tree by Manhattan Ave.

There the hawk stayed for another 10 minutes, allowing me enough time to assess that it had both eyes,and wasn't the one-eyed juvenile seen 10 blocks away a week ago. Then it made a swoop at something near the park fence. Missed. Perched in another tree for a moment, then took off down the park and then across and up toward the Cathedral School.

That seemed to be it for the day, and I began to leave. But just as I reached the top of the park stairs leading up from the pond, whooosh! The hawk was flying up the path from the south and landed in a tree 15 feet away. Half a minute later, it headed for the trees along Morningside Drive by St. Luke's hospital.

Morningside Juvenile Red-Tail

And there it stayed until after sunset. It moved about three or four times, including one fruitless attack at a squirrel.

Ten minutes past sunset, I exited. The juvie red-tail was still there, and with the exceedingly dim light due to the cloud cover, perhaps it ended up roosting there or close by for the night.

March 9

Posted 3/09/2009 09:03:00 PM by Robert

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