April 28, 2013

4/27, Brooding Uptown

Late Saturday I checked on the two Uptown nests where the red-tailed hawks were for one reason or another likely to be still brooding. Sure enough, they were. But although I saw four adult red-tails during the trip, I didn't see two at each nesting site.

First up was Highbridge Park, where the hawks abandoned their new nest after brooding had already started and re-started the whole sequence at a new nest site. First sighting was George perched near the top of the nesting tree, taking some heat from a pair of blue jays.

Highbidge George

He quickly flew to a tree to the north, and while I was checking to see where he was, a hawk came out of the same area and flew into the nest. I could have sworn I'd seen Martha already in the nest, but apparently not.

Martha settled into the nest, and I started scouting about for viewing spots. The rocky bluff of Fort George was as ugly and potentially dangerous as ever, but I did find a spot not far below nest level. Better yet, an opening in the trees meant it was open to the late afternoon sun.

Martha Disapproves

Of course, Marth was watching the entire time. And if looks are to be believed, she disapproved of having someone checking out her nest.

Martha Disapproves

As the nest lost the light and I contemplated leaving, a hawk came soaring over. George returning? Holly smokes no, there are two adult red-tail flying overhead. An interloper, with George showing up to push him out of the area. The trespasser soared out over the Harlem River with George not far behind.


Stuck halfway up a steep hill with trees blocking the view, I couldn't see much, but it looked like they were doing the standard slow-motion circling for altitude advantage. I lost track of them and started making my exit uphill. But five minutes after the "chase" had started, the interloper and George made another pass straight overhead, heading south along the ridgeline.

A 20-30 minute walk from the Highbridge Nest brought me to the Washington Heights fire escape nest. Sticks in plain sight, and right above them something blindingly white in the late sun. The female was sitting up in the nest and preening.

Washington Heights RT

But still paying attention to passers by below.

Washington Heights RT

And otherwise keeping an eye on things.

Washington Heights RT

She settled down in the nest for a while. Over the next 45-50 minutes she got up twice for what looked like an egg rotation and a quick preen. But that was it. Sunset arrived and no sign of the male.

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