February 28, 2015

2/28, Inwood Hill Park

Saturday afternoon was gorgeous, a perfect time to go for a long walk in the parks of upper Manhattan and along the Hudson River. It was, however, too late in the day to catch the eagles on the river.

Cold Trees - 2208

Near sunset, I found myself passing through the nest area of the Inwood Hill Park hawks. First hawk sighting of the day was a juvie red-tail perched about 200 yards from the nest. A few minutes later he flew into the top of an evergreen where it seemed he was going to roost. One of the resident adults soon appeared and gave a hard stare.

Inwood Red-Tail - 5997

But apparently decided it wasn't worth the effort to chase the interloper out of the area this late in the day. The adult soon took off to its own roosting spot.

February 22, 2015

2/22, St. John the Divine & the CP North Woods

Friday I mentioned seeing evidence of hawk nesting activity at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, but no adult hawks. Saturday night, Betty Wasserman, a member of the staff at St. Luke's hospital, across the street from St. John's, shared some photos she had recently taken of two adult red-tails perching at the hospital.

Apparently the pair have had a habit of perching on the screen on the east end of St. Luke's, overlooking Morningside Drive and Morningside Park, many days around lunch time.

So despite all the noise and dirt and disruption going on with the apartment building under construction in the northeast corner of the cathedral grounds, the hawks have not given up on the area. It does remain a question as to exactly where they will nest, the signs suggesting that they are working on a new nest not far from the old one. However, the new site is where they were collecting sticks last spring, and then they used the old nest anyway.

But the extra factor is that the female hawk is new. Last year's hawk mother died of frounce in June. Looking at the photos above, I think the hawk at left is the new female, but with both fluffed up in the cold weather, it's hard to tell.

Sunday afternoon I checked on the area to see if I might catch the two hawks perching at the hospital, but no luck. After a look around the area, I strolled over to the northwest corner of Central Park. There I did find an adult hawk, most probably one of the cathedral pair, and I think likely the new female.

North Woods Hawk - 5800

Over a period of about fifteen minutes, she led me on a tour from the Block House to the Great Hill and back into the Ravine. Best looks lasted about five minutes when she perched near the loop road on the sunny side of the Great Hill.

North Woods Hawk - 5802

Check out the belly band and the color on the breast. She's darker than past hawks at the cathedral. Assuming the male is still Norman, it should be relatively easy to tell them apart based on their coloring.

North Woods Hawk - 5813

This adult was a bit shy, as I never got within 50 feet of her before she would move to another location. Finally, she took off toward Lasker Rink and I lost her.

February 20, 2015

2/20, Morningside Park

So a blog named Morningside Hawks should maybe say something about Morningside hawks? No?

I have been checking the cathedral red-tailed hawk nesting area in recent weeks and seen some evidence of nesting activity, but without any actual red-tails to prove it.

Checking again late Friday afternoon, my timing was just good enough to get a few photos of a juvenile red-tail circling around the northern part of Morningside Park and then soaring south toward 110th St. and perhaps beyond. The youngster had a pretty good belly band.

Red-Tail Over Morningside - 5713

Red-Tail Over Morningside - 5714

Red-Tail Over Morningside - 5715

Meanwhile, perched below in the shadows between 115th and 116th streets was a juvenile Cooper's hawk, digesting a meal.

Morningside Cooper's Hawk - 5724

The Coopie may be the same bird who was scaring the hospital pigeons this past Sunday afternoon.

February 17, 2015

2/17, Central Park North Woods

Tuesday at the end of the day, I poked my head into the northwest corner of Central Park and found two juvenile red-tailed hawks lurking in the trees not far south of the Block House.

The first, with light-colored head feathers and likely a female, was initially perched 25 or 30 feet above ground level.

North Woods Hawk - 5641

Although she looked unlikely to go anywhere, after 8-10 minutes, she moved down the branch a bit.

North Woods Hawk - 5654

Perched for another minute or two.

North Woods Hawk - 5661

And then took off toward the Block House. Heading that direction I found a juvenile red-tail perched high up a tree, but it was smaller (a male) and its head feathers not so dark. Ah, and there was the female 10-12 feet along on the same branch. Both looked like they were digesting late meals and ready to go to roost anytime.

But despite the apparent friendliness of the two hawks, when the female flew down the branch toward the male, he scrambled out of there and found a protected perch not far away.

Sunset and the evening cold loomed, and I made my exit to get dinner.

February 15, 2015

2/15, Inwood Hill Park

A sunny but frigid Sunday afternoon looked like it was going to be noteworthy for the lack of interesting birds in the air. But not long before sunset, I encountered the Inwood Hill Park red-tailed hawks in the ravine very close to where their nest is located.

Inwood Hawk - 5581

Initially they were moving from tree to tree, but one had a very full crop and soon picked a perch where (s)he could digest the meal. The other stuck around for just a couple minutes and then disappeared around the hill to the east.

Inwood Hawk - 5559

February 8, 2015

2/8, Central Park Pool & Ravine

Late on one of the grayest Sunday afternoons you can imagine, I found two young red-tailed hawks in the northwest of Central Park.

One juvie was first seen flying back and forth over the Pool at 102nd St.

CP Juvie Red-Tall #1 - 5399

He headed east into the Ravine area. When I found a red-tail perched over there, I began to think, this isn't where that guy was headed. And then for a few seconds, there was a view of one hawk flying away farther northeast while one stayed put.

The second was apparently digesting a meal.

CP Juvie Red-Tall #2 - 5410

And watching the joggers pass by on the Glen Span Arch below.

CP Juvie Red-Tall #2 - 5411

February 7, 2015

2/7, Dyckman St. & 182nd St.

Saturday afternoon I headed uptown to see if any of the resident adult hawks might be found near their nesting sites.

First stop was the Highbridge Park nest, across Harlem River Drive from Swindler Cove. No immediate sign of hawks in the area, but just as I was making a move to leave, a pair of them came sailing overhead and into the Dyckman Houses.

A few minutes later I found Highbridge George perched atop one chimney cover.

Highbridge George - 5201

But he quickly got up and flew back south, where he joined Martha atop the building at the corner of Dyckman and Tenth Ave.

Highbridge George & Martha - 5226

That's George at left and Martha at right. In addition to the size difference, you can figure out which one is George because he has a darker breast than most Manhattan hawks.

Highbridge George & Martha - 5230

They perched together for fifteen minutes. But when it looked like Martha was settling in for a good preen, George made his exit.

I did likewise, heading southwest. Heading down Broadway and crossing 190th St., I looked around for hawks. No sign of them, but I could see that the Gorman Park nest was still in place.

Continuing south, I realized that there was something not quite right about a cellular antenna at the corner of 182nd St. Looks like I found one of the Gorman Park hawks.

Uptown Hawk - 5366

Whoever it was enjoying the sunlight finally breaking through the clouds at the end of the day, and digesting a good meal.

Uptown Hawk - 5371

Meanwhile watching the traffic go by on Broadway below.

Uptown Hawk - 5374

And eying the pigeons lined up along the edge of a nearby rooftop.

Uptown Hawk - 5378

February 6, 2015

2/6, Riverside Park

I've continued to alter my usual route to work by walking up Riverside Drive to see if the juvenile red-tailed hawk was still around. Or one of them, as I've been told that a couple weeks ago there were two in the area. Early Friday afternoon I again encountered a hawk right around 110th St.

He first appeared making a swoop after a squirrel in a treetop near 108th St., but that failed and he headed back up to 110th, where he perched in the strip between the main part of RSD and the access road.

Riverside Red-Tail - 5115

And then launch...

Riverside Red-Tail - 5120

And swoop down a block...

Riverside Red-Tail - 5122

Where he tried to nail a squirrel in the snow and ice alongside the parked cars. That failed and he headed up into a nearby tree, giving a near miss to one car speeding by. (Whew!)

Look around and think about it.

Riverside Red-Tail - 5137


Riverside Red-Tail - 5147

Repeat some more.

Riverside Red-Tail - 5150

Working up some interest in another attack.

Riverside Red-Tail - 5157

Yes, that squirrel is apparently peeking out from under a parked car.

Riverside Red-Tail - 5160

Another swoop down at that squirrel, but another miss. The hawk sailed on and back into the tree where he'd been 6-7 minutes earlier.

Stare at that dratted squirrel.

Riverside Red-Tail - 5170

Riverside Red-Tail - 5175

And ponder.

Riverside Red-Tail - 5180

ANd time for me to leave.

February 1, 2015

2/1, Turtle Pond & 72nd St. Transverse

A long walk on Saturday through three parks found no hawks, so on Sunday I headed for the lower half of Central Park, where multiple juvenile red-tails have supposedly been busy. Sure enough, they were there.

First found was a young hawk hunting around the Delacorte Theater and Turtle Pond, spotted when he zoomed low across the pond and up into the solo tree on the north bank.

Turtle Pond Hawk - 4986

He spent 10-12 minutes there, ogling the ground below for mice and giving the photographer the occasional dirty look.

Turtle Pond Hawk - 4997

Turtle Pond Hawk - 5001

Turtle Pond Hawk - 5007

Turtle Pond Hawk - 5010

Turtle Pond Hawk - 5014

After flying back to a tree overlooking the theater, he was last seen diving down in the trees with a group of blue jays jeering him on his way.

Next to be found was another juvie red-tail hunting along the park's 72nd St. Transverse. On his first view, he was flying up into a tree near the Bandshell and the Bethesda Terrace.

Bandshell Hawk - 5028

But he wasn't idle, exiting the tree a couple minutes later, diving down toward the Dead Road and out of sight. Sighting over the next half hour had him working the area to the west, around Cherry Hill. When last seen he was flying past the Falconer statue.

Sunset was approaching and it was time to call it a day. But one last hawk was waiting to be found. High up a tree along the west end of the Lake near the 78th St. entrance, another young red-tail was digesting dinner.

Digesting - 5073

Possibly that last bird was the same as the first one who had been hunting just a half mile north.