Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cathedral Couple Copulates Conspicuously!

Having looked over the past years blog entries, I knew that the Cathedral couple would be active around the nest, if in fact they were going to use the same location as previous years. After locating them on St. Luke's from my roof, I jetted over post-haste to see if the same nesting behavior could be observed. I found them both on a favored air-conditioner, where the male promptly took off!

He landed in a nearby tree,

where he wrestled off large branches in his powerful grasp!

Both he and Isolde gave me incredible looks as they ferried twigs to and from the nest!

This went on for some time, and a small crowd of awe-struck people witnessed the spectacle of the two grand animals making low passes!

The Cooper's that Rbs has been tracking, briefly joined the action.

Hawk Shadow!

What do you get when you cross a stick and a hawk?

Each bird made about 3 sorties to the nest, spending a good amount of time there...

The female finally flew out and landed in the St. Luke's yard...

at which point the male flew over,

and did what Nature has so inclined these Hawks to do!

They were both off then, out hunting over Morningside. Good luck to you and all the nesting NYC Raptors! Let's hope the Cathedral is a bit more accomodating this year, giving you the space you need and site free of potential contamination!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Harlem Ducks

Still some great wintering ducks to be found in Harlem. The pair of canvasbacks at Harlem Piers is now 2 pair...

and giving great looks!

Here's some vid of the quartet diving, preening and feeding!

In addition to these salt water beauties, a family of wood ducks has been sheltering at the fresh water Harlem Meer.

The cautious male extending his neck!

The juvenile female.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More Harlem Raptors

Teaming up with fellow hawk-lover/blogger, Courtney, we set about to observe some of the Harlem raptors that have been visiting Columbia Campus. From my roof, the resident female kestrel appeared on scene.

She then flew to a ledge on my building!

Looks like she could use a little bath!

But I find her entralling none-the-less.

She then flew out to the south this time...

and landed on a roof top deck on 120th.

From there we noticed the Cathedral female on a familiar perch on Morningside Ave.

A crow came through to protest.

At that another adult Redtailed Hawk soared past and continued North. We then went to Riverside to check out the peregrines.
We found both on a familiar perch, and watched in amazement as a pigeon blindly stumbled past. Both falcons dove down on her, almost to street level, but the pigeon escaped. Suddenly, Courtney noticed 3 large redtailed hawks, kettling below the treeline in Riverside Park. I was only able to photograph one of them, a juvy, although one of the other's seemed to be and adult. Robert has also been tracking these birds with the hope of finding another RTH nest. If you have any additional sightings, let me know!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Northern Manhattan Raptors

Starting at 125th St. and ending at Broadway Bridge, raptor pix from today's variable light.
Female kestrel on my roof.

She flies off to the cell phone tower just outside NYSC!

I made my way onto 125th Street,

where I tracked her North to 126th.

She then flew out where I lost her over 125th and 7th Ave.
Trying my luck North I found a number of hawks along the way, such as the Hood Hawk on the trash chute for one of the St. Nicholas Houses.

I also caught up with the Inwood female.

She flew out when I got too close. As I cut across east, I soon encountered a strange cachophony, as if I was under the spell of a weird ventroloquism. That is to say I could not tell where the sound was coming from, nor what could be making it. It sounded vaguely crow-like, but gutteral, like a distant croaking. Curling along the Harlem River, I made my way into a parking lot where I witnessed a remarkable sight. About 40 crows were in a tree, doing whatever it is crows do, but mostly just crowing.

There's 29 alone in the pic above. This one seemed to be the leader.

They would land in that tree crowing like mad, then circle around and make their way across the River to the Bronx side.

Where there were about 30 more! At one point a RTH did circle through above them, but they ignored it. Finally I paid a visit to the peregrines at BwayBrdge. I found the male and the female together, with she making the territorial eee-chuck calls.

Eventually the male flew out.

and landed on the edge of the south tower.

Later the female flew out waaaay over Kingsbridge,

The male also took off an returned with a huge pigeon!