Monday, April 28, 2008

Spring Roundup

After all the waiting, NYC bird activity has finally built up to a fevered pitch. The trees are leafing out, the warblers are running, and this City's raptors are hatching their newest crops of fighter aces! Due to some excellent collaboration, many bloggers established an impromptu network of sightings and followups. So far the count is:
Houston St. (RTH)
79th St. & Riverside (RTH)
Highbridge (RTH)
Inwood Hll (RTH)
Greenwood Cemetery (RTH)
55 Water (peregrines)
86th and CPW (kestrels)
The 5th ave., 7th ave and St. John red-tailed nests are all still quiet. Should be soon before we know one way or the other for all. Unknown nests include Riverside Church, Broadway Bridge and Met Life for Peregrines and the dozen or so kestrel scrapes around Manhattan. Also there are rumors of Great Horned Owl and Screech owl fledges. Any info on these areas, just shoot me an email. Till then, here's a roundup of the action.
79th St. 1st Baptist Church

The female kestrel who nests down the block.

The nest with female.

Carefully stripping off bits for the babies.

The male dove over the highway from a favored water tower!

A super from a building overlooking the Park confirms 2 chicks, but I was not able to gain entrance. While there, I met another photographer who took some pix from the reverse angle. Here's the a posting of Beth Bergman's excellent photos!

Part of what is great about nests, is that birders congregate and share stories. Beth told of finding a roosting red bat amongst the false cherry blossoms!

Photo Courtesy of Beth Bergman
After witnessing 2 feedings, I wended east to Central Park. I was just getting my camera ready when the male flew in with prey!

He then flew out and landed in the park!

While in the Park, I could just make out the female feeding young!

Up at the Cathedral, the scaffolding is now more extensive than ever.

It should be soon before we know how this nest will turn out.
Here's some warblers!
Female Palm

It was good at catching bugs.

Yellow Rumped Warblers

Ruby Crowned (you can just see this one's).

and a blue headed vireo.

Friday, April 25, 2008


So there are a few notable hatchings to report. Both the Highbridge and 79th St. Red tailed hawks have their first hatchings. And the Peregrine falcons on 55 Water St. just hatched one adorable little eyass just today, with a feeding occurring at 430pm! You can still see the egg shell in the nest! Lets hope all nests report such great news!!!

On a final note, sadly it seems the Pale Male nest will not be successful, however their enduring legacy will continue on!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Harlem Parks and Birding Information

On the heels of my Morningside Park posting, I have three related announcements:
1) The Friends of Morningside Park are having a fund raiser on May 7th! Come out and support the substantial progress they've made in this gorgeous and overlooked (pun intended) Park!

2) Back by popular demand, I will be doing a Spring Harlem Bird Walk on May 10 or 11th (depending on the weather). Tour will begin in Morningside Park, wind north to St. Nicholas Park, finally ending up in Highbridge Park. Along the way we will visit 3 redtailed hawk nests as well as sample the amazing variety of spring migrants that make their way through. Please reply to yojimbot at gmail dot com if you are interested.

3) Last, I will be making a radio debut on Ken Gale's "Eco Logic" program. It can be heard on 99.5 FM, WBAI, at 11am on 4/29. Online it can be heard by going to and clicking the "listen now" button at the top.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Definitely an overlooked gem in the City's vast parks system, Morningside Park is full of scenic vistas and horticultural delights. It's also home to the resident Red-tailed Hawks, who nest above it in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. These are some of the highlights of the spring bounty on display.

Unknown butterfly.

More of Isolde, taking a break from the nest.

And the 79th St. female, still brooding!

Kestrel Pix

After a lull in birding activity, things are picking up on all fronts. The second wave of spring migrants will move through the City's Parks in a great wave. Also, with any luck, there will hatchings at the nesting raptor sites around the City. Even some of the owls in the City will be fledgling! Assessing the action from rooftop level, I witnessed many egrets, cormorants, ducks and gulls transiting from east to west. I also had fleeting glimpses of Norman...who is getting quite good at being elusive. But the most activity I saw was from the kestrels. The male was flitting frorm rooftop to rooftop.

He alit on a cornice and set up an ambush where the sparrows nest in the water spouts. Instead of diving towards the street, he peeled back and flew in to the roof less than 10 yards away. At first I couldnt get a look, but then found him on a drain vent, killing a bumblebee!

After disappearing for a while, I found him on a rooftop across the street!

I watched as he popped the head off the sparrow and discard it.

He flew out waaaay north with it. Later, I found him and the female near the scrape!