Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Once and Future King

For the past few days, the new male on the Cathedral territory has been forging a more intimate bond with Isolde. Yesterday I saw them again on the AC on St. Luke's. On today's stiff breeze, each bird hawked amongst the buildlings across Central Park North. At one point, I saw them wheeling together!

Later I saw Isolde kiting on the breeze.

She flew in on some starlings that had been driven up to the top of Wadleigh.

A female kestrel then flew in on another group of starlings. But soon departed.

shortly thereafter I spied another hawk!

He took a victory lap!

I barely had time to process the amazing sequence that I had just witnessed. No closer that 6 feet away, a large juvenile Cooper's swung past after some starlings! It was so fast I had only time to take a horrible blurry shot! However no faster than I had turned back to Wadleigh, when a second juvenile hawk crested over the building!

I wheeled directly over head!

I watched it glide effortlessly above the park, master of the wind. The nearby redtails watched intently, but did not intervene. I then headed out to Wadleigh to get some pix of them together.
When I got there, only the female remained.

But shortly the male flew down the street with prey in tow, and landed overhead.

He then flew out towards the Park.

After a time, the female also flew out. I walked through Morningside Park, and ran into the venerable Hedda Gobbler!

At St. Luke's I found the new male, and then ran into Bruce.

While we caught up, the male then flew off and headed directly for the stone urn where some starlings had gathered. As they bolted, he pivoted upward and snagged one of the birds! The others squeaked in terror while the hawk flipped over and then flew into the Park. We watched it wolf the bird down!

The hawk then spun around and flew directly into the nest.

It was soon joined by the second adult. They stayed on the nest for a few minutes and neither could be seen. They then flew out, one after the other and flew over to the railings on St. Luke's where they again copulated!

The male then flew off and surveyed his new domain!

Later while strolling through the Loch at dusk, a juvy redtailed hawk flew in with a fresh catch!

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