May 31, 2009

5/30, Highbridge at Six Weeks

The Highbridge red-tail nest is usually one of the first two in Manhattan for eggs to hatch, and that means one of the first two for a fledging. Saturday marked six weeks, possibly a day less, so the fledging window was just about to open.

But once the trees leaf out, the Highbridge nest is hard to view. After some wandering around I finally found a couple spots on the mountain bike trail where the sightlines weren't too bad.

May 30

Shortly after I arrived, one of the parents briefly visited the nest (which helped me find the nest). Then there were a few minutes of wing flapping from the two kids. One of them stepped out onto a branch supporting the nest and perched for a minute. Then the two settled down, and for the next 45 minutes to an hour, the above pic of a nestling perched on the south side of the nest was the only thing to see. Preening was about as exciting as it got. Just as I prepared to leave, the second also popped its head up for a moment but settled back down.

From the looks of their headfeathers I figured that the two Highbridge nestlings were probably several days away from fledging. Perhaps one will still be there next Saturday. Maybe not.

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