Friday, December 25, 2009

3 in 1 Raptor Series

The male kestrel I've been tracking showed up promptly at 230. I heard nearby groups of starlings making agitated whistles.

For a moment he sized me up (digiscope sytlee)!

Suddenly it broke from its perch,

and fled beneath the buildings. I scanned the skies for why. Over on Riverside Church, I spotted the reason. The resident male peregrine, perched on a scaffold--less spire!

Roughly .57miles by Google Earths ruler. As it scanned its terrain, I noticed more tight groups of fearful starlings, all murmuring in the peregrine's direction. Both they and I failed to notice when an adult RTH darted in low down St. Nicholas Ave! I watched amazed as it threaded through a roof top trying to trap a confused bird. As it recovered, I managed to get my camera up to my eye.

Unfortunately my autofocus was not as quick to react.
I suspect the low contrast ratio confused it, so I got a few cool blurry pix...

but as it banked back towards the light of Hancock Park,

the canon EOS AF found the range!

One of my best wild red-tailed hawk shots yet.

So in the space of 30 minutes...three amazing raptor sequences. The only obstacle were the conditions: 30F w 20mph wind, but to the hunters of the sky, its perfect.

Monday, December 14, 2009

St. Nick Hawk

I dropped in on a neighbor in St. Nick Park. Great to see she's getting along quite well. Let's hope 2010 proves to be a lucky nesting year!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Peregrines of Broadway Bridge

One of the great spectacles of nature is the aerial hunt of peregrine falcons. At Broadway Bridge, about 3000 starlings come home to roost at dusk. Waiting for them are two of the most successful falcons in NYC.

They both formed up in gyre over Kingsbridge.

They then launched a coordinated attack on the incoming starlings!
First the female, then the male stooped in on the Bridge...the action was too fast to capture, here's what I managed to snag of it.

The panicked starlings fleeing for their very lives!

The female recovering to perch on the South Tower.

Next up, Ill try to get it on video!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Highbridge Park

I decided to take another look at Highbridge this Fall. Although it still has some serious squatter issues, it also holds a great abundance of migratory birds. Here's the highlights and some surprises.
A gorgeous Palm Warbler.

Also in abundance were yellow rumps,

including this musically inclined individual!

Kinglets and sparrows of all types were in abundance.

I was also surprised to see a blue headed vireo feeding on the ground!

Last but not least were more that a dozen phoebes sprinkled throughout the Park.

Oh, I almost forgot...this mockingbird was thrashing a small snake!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hanging with the Horvaths Part 1: Eagle Release

I trekked out to the Sweetbriar Nature Center in Smithtown Long Island to take part in a Bald Eagle release. This female has been in the Horvath's care for over 1 year due to its extensive feather damage. They are also caring for an immature male that is just getting over a nasty case of avian pox. Here's pix and video of the days activity!
First, here's the male and a pic of the healing process and his release into a creance for flight training.

And here's the release of the fully rehabbed female!
Checking flight feathers...

and placing her on the post.

Off she goes!

The eagle has landed!

Majestic Bird!

Good luck and kudos to the Horvath's for another fine job.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Recent Captures

From the northern evirons of Manhattan the shift in the weather brings lots of great action. Here are some pix of the highlights.

Pied billed Grebe on the Reservoir,

the last of the butterflys.

Fall takes flight!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hawk in the Loch

Some pix from a young redtailed hawk bathing in the Loch.

It rolled on its side...

then leapt from the water.