Saturday, July 28, 2007

Mid-Summer's Fledgles

In a few weeks, the heat and summer sun will make this years crop of fledges scarce. Now is the peak of their activity. As I transverse Harlem, I took a informal survey of all the fleglings I could find. There was good news to report! On 125th and 155th I found two groups of 3 successful crow fledglings. I also found a group of 2 kingbirds fleglings, the 3 kestrel fleglings and signs of the 3 Highbridge babies. In addition, there was a massive erruption of cicada killers! We start with the young kestrels.

Nearby I found the young kingbirds.

Suddenly the young kingbirds swooped down on the cicada killers!

I was amazed as it deftly plucked the huge and menacing wasp out of the air! It landed next to its sibling!

And clubbed the unfortunate insect on a branch.

Also within in spitting distance were a crop of new crows! Its great to see two successfull nests back in Harlem after the devastation of West Nile. They were sunning themselves in the brilliant sunlight!

I also saw these two adult RTH's! This one stealthily landing on CCNY...

And one of the Highbridge parents perfectly concealed in the shade of a huge locust tree just off of the nest.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Three of a Kind

For the past few weeks, I've had fleeting glimpses of kestrels throughout the Hamilton Heights area. I couldn't tell if any of the birds was either the adults that inhabit the region or recently fledged falcons. This weekend, on 07.07.07, as I was walking up Highbridge Park, I spotted two kestrels perched outside the Morris Jumel Mansion. In the weird light, I got a few good shots off. Here's the diminutive male.

and the larger female.

The pair on a snag.

A bluejay came in for a look.

It wasnt till I got home and looked at the pictures that I realized that these were two recently fledged young. Could it be that the pair had a successful nest this year? I headed out the next day and searched the area. At 155th, high above Edgecomb Ave. I found the youngsters cavorting on the solid breeze.

As they spun and dove on each other over and over I was awestruck at their agility and speed. After diving behind a building, I lost them for several minutes. When I spotted them next, there were three!

They were literally playing a game of tag!

You're it!

One of the males broke away from the group.

He swung a few blocks down St. Nicholas and landed outside the scrape. He then gave me some of the best kestrel shots I've gotten to date!

Thank you Harlem and congratulations on the triplets to the St. Nicholas Pair!