Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Central Park North

It was as heady day for raptors uptown on Sunday. I cant be exactly sure how many different individual hawks I saw, but it was at least 3 red tailed hawks, 2 red shouldered hawks, 1 cooper's hawk, 1 sharp-shinned and a huge murder of about 40 crows.
To start, here's a video of what I think are the two red-shouldered hawks chasing each other about.

The Cathedral pair also skimmed over the rooftops trying to flush pigeons.

I decided to venture into the park to see if I could locate the red shouldered hawks.
After following some very persistent jays, I found it on the east side of the Great Hill. I watched it stalk some song sparrows--full crop nothwithstanding!

It soon flew off towards the North Woods. As I tracked it, a huge red tailed darted out of a tree and into another.

It was the Cathedral female...looking healthy and deadly serious. She was stalking sparrows too, by one of the bike trails. Full crop nothwithstanding, she too seemed to be interested in taking more! She contorted her neck to peer into the tall grasses.

Look at the gore on those talons! Wonder how many she'd gotten already that day?

A majestic bird indeed!

After she flew off, I saw the red shouldered in the air a few more times, but cant be sure if it was the same bird or another one from the video above.

Back on the roof, a huge juvy red tailed soared directly overhead.

I noticed that it had been wounded on the leading edge of its left wing.

I wonder if it had been inflicted by a parent trying to move it to other hunting grounds?

Some time passed, and the Cathedral male appeared again on the scene.

He promptly killed a pigeon on 113th St. That's the Wadleigh School in the background. (A favorite perch).

He then flew off all the way towards the Meer, keening as he went. His calls echoed off the buildings! He joined his mate far over 5th ave!

Soon I heard another noise, huge but muffled. Like some strange ventriloquism, it seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere at once. The Cathedral pair returned to a favored perch.

As I followed their gaze north, I located the source of the preternatural sounds some mile or so away.

It was an enormous murder of crows. In this one pix, I count 40!
They soon wound their way north, passing over the Cathedral Pair's territory.

There didnt seem to be much interaction between the two besides a weird tension. I'm assuming this is the same mob that Bruce Yolton saw pass over the Beresford later that dusk.

Some of the crows did circle back and started in with one of the red shouldered hawks.

All in all, another awe inspiring Fall day. Also seen were...
Luey, the Leucistic Starling

A couple of goldies,

And a near miss between this learjet and an Airbus!

Friday, October 26, 2007

HIlton Head Isle/Savannah, GA

Got out of Dodge City for a few days and made my way down South. First stop was Hilton Head Island, a small but lush island off the coast of South Carolina. While mainly devoted to the water-consuming game of golf, there seems to be a deeply ingrained preservationist ideal there. Never impacted heavily by industry (tourism notwithstanding) The natural tidal basins attract large quantities of life...from small bacterium to loggerhead turtles and bottle-nosed dolphins. Below is a sample of the wildlife on display.