January 30, 2015

1/30, Riverside Park

Since the blizzard that wasn't, I've been walking alongside Riverside Park in the 100s and 110s on my way to work to see if the young red-tailed hawk was still in the area. Friday I found him hunting near 108th St.

Young Riverside Red-Tail - 4909

Just enough time to shoot two pictures and then he was in the air. Up to 109th St and then back and down toward 107th.

Soar - 4915

Soar - 4916

Back up and into a tree. Perch for maybe half a minute, and then take off again.

Leap - 4920

And down into a tree almost touching the park wall. Hmmm, apparently missed some prey.

It was Here a Second Ago - 4923

Oh, wait. There's a squirrel on the other side of the tree. But how to get at him?

C'Mon Out, I Can See You - 4927

Hop up a branch, look around, hop back down. Meanwhile the squirrel takes off. Drat.

Hmmm, What's Plan B? - 4928

Take off again and go perch in a tree in the middle of the park.

Young Riverside Red-Tail - 4950

And ponder our tactics.

Young Riverside Red-Tail - 4948

There I left him as I continued on to work. But he wasn't the only raptor sighting of the day. At 113th St. I happened to look up and way, way overhead, someone was circling around. It seems a turkey vulture was checking out the scene.

January 25, 2015

1/25, Riverside Park

A two-plus hour walk through the north end of Central Park and around Morningside Park late Sunday afternoon was a complete bust for finding any red-tailed hawks. On the positive side, a half hour past sunset, I did find where the juvie red-tail who's been hunting in Riverside Park in the 110s goes to roost at night.

Gone to Roost - 4863

January 24, 2015

1/24, J. Hood Wright Park

On a gloomy Saturday afternoon, in the break between the snow and the rain, I went for a long walk to check on the Upper Manhattan red-tailed hawk nests. As it turned out, only one hawk was to be seen, and him at the very first nest.

First stop was J. Hood Wright Park, at Ft. Washington Ave. and 175th St. In the past I've had poor luck spotting one of the adult hawks here when it wasn't nesting season. But Saturday one of them was perched atop a fire escape on the back side of a building on 176th St. Barely was my camera out before he jumped off.

Wright Park Hawk - 4768

Wright Park Hawk - 4769

And landed in a tree in the park.

Wright Park Hawk - 4778

I don't know their markings well but the build suggests that this was the male of the Wright Park pair.

After ten minutes in the tree, the hawk turned around.

Wright Park Hawk - 4797

Flew back to the fire escape.

Wright Park Hawk - 4801

And after a couple more minutes, took off towards P.S. 173 and out of sight.

Visits were subsequently paid to the Gorman Park, Highbridge Park, and Inwood Hill Park nest areas.

January 23, 2015

1/23, Riverside Park

The juvenile red-tailed hawk was reported still hanging about Riverside Park in the 110s on Wednesday, but I had no luck finding him Thursday or Friday afternoon.

The squirrels were all pretty nonchalant, as usual.

Riverside Squirrel - 4727

And the only action to be had on Friday was a hairy woodpecker working over a tree near the wall at about 110th St.

Riverside Woodpecker - 4755

Riverside Woodpecker - 4759

January 16, 2015

1/16, Riverside Park

The juvenile red-tailed hawk hanging about near the Soldiers and Sailors Monument was not the only young raptor I'd heard was lurking in Riverside Park this winter. Another RT was supposed to be up in the 110s. Friday afternoon I went looking for him, and he flew right up.

Young Riverside Red-Tail

Even sat still for half a minute for a close-up.

Young Riverside Red-Tail

But then he was off and hunting like a maniac. Here, there and everywhere between 112th and 106th streets. Never perching anywhere for longer than 20 seconds. And when it seemed like he was gone, he'd come zooming by from somewhere behind.

Young Riverside Red-Tail

Young Riverside Red-Tail

A ton of fun to watch, though, as he used the gusty wind to his advantage to do "pop ups", zooming along at hip level and then suddenly going straight up to land on a branch 30 feet overhead.

Young Riverside Red-Tail

January 4, 2015

1/4, Riverside Park

Even on gray, gloomy days, the hawks are still out there. There having been reports of multiple juvenile red-tails loose in Riverside Park, I took the Riverside route on my way to the book store late Sunday afternoon. Luckily, one juvenile red-tail was active, as otherwise I would have walked right by him.

Riverside Red-Tail — 4618

As sunset approached, he had settled in above the dog run across from the Normandy.

January 1, 2015

1/1, Central Park Pool

Although I got into Central Park later than I'd hoped on a clear New Year's Day afternoon, the first raptor sighting of the year came within five minutes and lasted a good long while. A juvenile red-tailed hawk was lurking in a tree by the south side of the Pool.

Juvenile Red-Tail - 4494

Juvenile Red-Tail - 4502

Juvenile Red-Tail - 4505

Juvenile Red-Tail - 4508

He didn't seem to be hunting and was showing no sign of going anywhere. Eventually I wandered off to check around the North Woods and Fort Clinton for any other hawks who might be around. No luck.

Back at the Pool a half hour later, I found the juvie red-tail still in place. But soon he started hopping around, moving from brach to branch and migrating slowly down the tree.

Juvenile Red-Tail - 4535

Juvenile Red-Tail - 4556

Numerous passers-by and dogwalkers stopped to check out the hawk, who was now down to a branch just 20 feet off the ground. He had started regularly ogling the ground directly below.

Juvenile Red-Tail - 4562

And finally, right about sunset, he dropped all the way to the ground. Aha, the remains of a squirrel. The hawk's desire for some seconds was stronger than his nervousness about the human spectators.

Juvenile Red-Tail - 4582

But after a few minutes when someone approached with an off-leash dog, the hawk grabbed up the carcass and buzzed away over the pond to a more private spot.