Thursday, April 30, 2009

CCNY Hawks

What is the deal with these guys? Are they nesting...arent they one seems to know. (And by no one, I mean myself). Be that as it may, I've now seen the CCNY hawks copulating daily, but the female doesnt seem to be sitting on eggs.

Nope, none in that view.

This one either.

Their domain.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Still no word of chicks in Morningside...

But I did see the Cathedral female hunting pigeons over Manhattanville in the setting sun.

The video is 43 seconds, and in that time she covers .33 miles,

which works out to an average speed of 27.5mph! Pretty much all of it in level flight (pigeons can reach 40mph).
Which bird is the fastest?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Eyes Wide Green

I made a friend today. She told me photographs are an illusion. And I have to say I tend to agree. But there is also a part of me that says, if it is an illusion, then let me be illusioned. For it is none other than the hand of Master Illusionist, playing out his dream. And in this dream one drifts forever on the wind,

sipping nectar from cherry blossoms,

or standing in the willow's shadow.

If in this dream I loose all sense of time and space. Let me sleep

with my eyes wide green.

Inwood Hill Park

When I arrived late that day, I saw the mother leave the nest and hunt over Marble Hill.
The light wasnt the best, but this is a shot of the nest with dad in the upper right.

This egret cruised by a few times...

but the real star of the show was this industrious harbor seal!

Lots of fun to watch!!!

A really wonderful day up at Inwood. On the way out I was reminded though,

one man's trash, is another man's home!

Highbridge Park

I had a great time birding there on Friday. Many notables such as brown creeper, palm warbler, towhee and this wonderful little guy!

It was quite entertaining watching this gnatcatcher vocalize and flit about the branches. Quite a little character. Speaking of characters, on my way to the nest, I encountered this gnarly looking dude.

Wow, that's a pretty big snake! I was also surprised that his injury didnt seem to affect his flight at all.
After he cleared out, the HB male cruised by, pursued by crows. At the nest, I found momma and 1 chick visible.

She soon departed and that revealed...

two fluffy heads!!!
Good luck little guys!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Edgecombe Kestrels

Continued great looks at a gorgeous pair of kestrels along Jackie Robinson Park. The male flyout...


and preening.

Here's the female after a nest exchange!

CCNY Redtails

Its clear these hawks are making a go of it on Shepard's Hall along St. Nicholas Terrace. Here are the latest signs that life may spring anew atop these gothic spires!

The male...

Fingers crossed!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Recent Raptors

The kestrels on Edgecombe seem to be sitting on eggs. In the 1 hr of watching, I saw the male fly in 2x, one with prey. He brought the food to the scrape, instead of transfering it as normal. This leads me to believe either they have hatchlings, or are very close to it.

Over at CCNY, there was this female sitting on the nest!

I witnessed 1 flyout/in, after which the female settled in for a long sit. Once down, she was impossible to see from the street level.
There's still a flicker of hope for the Cathedral visible sign of hawks on the nest, but I did see lots of white wash and 1 discarded pigeon carcass.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Now with more Twitter!

Aside from their logo being a bird, and their msgs called tweets, Twitter is a great way for birders to informally share information about sightings. So, if you'd like your urban raptor updates in real time, check out Yojimbot on Twitter
Also here's my flickr photostream where I often post many more pix than I use here (I know hard to believe). In any event, soon we'll know where this years successful hawk nests are, so I should have some new stuff for you all soon.

Till then here's a pic I never posted of the juvy female kestrel preening. Clearly seen is the "false mask" and red cap that always keeps us guessing when the kestrels head is turned.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Kestrel Report 2009

I've been working recently to follow up on the nesting American Kestrels in the Manhattan. Here are some of the results from 86th to 155th.
Starting with what I believe is the oldest kestrel pair on Manhattan, the 86th Street pair (at least 6 seasons). They nest in a modillion along CPW,

and I caught them copulating in a favorite ginko, just inside the Park.

Next up was the pair that frequent East Harlem. The male and female spun up together, circling high over Wildflower Meadow. I watched amazed as the male rocketed straight down into the wood at the top of the road,

making a hairpin turn and then land in the large tree overlooking the Meadow.

Soon a robin chased it off.
RDC says the kestrels I see in my nabe nest in this cornice on 116th.

Come June we will need to have some local help to make sure they dont get squished!
Further uptown, I caught up with this male on 145th St.

I tracked them further north to Jackie Robinson Park, where the old Yankee Stadium still stands (for now).

She tore off and soon, spun towards me. I only managed this shot once she had already entered the cavity.

Later while chatting with a friend in St. Nicholas Park...

this beauty showed up. All the robins when crazy chirping till she flew off to the North.

Great news so far on the kestrel front, lets hope the other raptor pairs fare just as well!