Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Riverside Feeding

Although no chick are yet visible, I witnessed the mom flyout from the nest, then kill and strip a carcass which she brought back for her young.

Later, both parents flew close passes near the scrape.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lunch Break

Caught up with the Divine Hawks during a break in the rain.

Norman blew past with a squab.

Isolde soon followed.

Norman was out...

and mama fed both of the chicks.

Disposing the carcass somewhere over the Park.

All shot with ISO 2500, on a cold rainy, but very birdy, day!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Banding the Falcons of 55 Water

In light of the situation over at NYU, the reasons for banding raptors are be re-evaluated.
On the pro-banding side, the NYS and Fish and Wildlife compile the invaluable raw data that such tagging inevitably provides.
On the anti-banding side, we have the fact that no matter how skilled or experienced the tagger, something can eventually go wrong at one time or another. The potential for catastrophe is high when dealing with raptors as they need to be in top form to survive in the wild. It was in this light that I re-visited the falcons at 55 Water St. to see this process close up to try to tease out the facts from such a contentious subject.
To start with, the female peregrine at 55 Water would not leave the nest and had to be hand captured before any babies could be removed.

Chris was very calm and professional and at no time was the bird put through any unnecessary handling.

One of the chicks was significantly smaller than the rest, so Runty couldnt be banded.

Carefully sized, fitted and tags recorded.

Its also a great time to assess the health of the chicks with frounce, mites and tick checks.

One final observation was that afterward, the chicks were aversive to human presence and called loudly if anyone came too close to the carrier.

Having some early adverse human conditioning is actually a good thing for wild animals. Lets hope this is their last encounter with us!

All in all, I can still say that banding has definite merits. When and where it does go wrong, those with the most experience in the business of capturing and rehabbing raptors should be allowed to rectify the matter if at all possible.

Monday, May 09, 2011


Got a great view of the Highbridge nest before its totally blocked. After this week, Im not sure where you'll be able to see the nest from, as the trail and hill are almost completely leafed out.

Only saw one chick though. Also wear some bug repellent!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Perfectly Pleasant Pallisades

Migration is in full swing on both side of the Hudson. Soon after entering Pallisades Park, I noticed a drab tanager flitting about. It got quite close as it moved through the woods.

I followed her for a short time till I heard a familiar call. I didnt have to search long before I found a gorgeous male yellow warbler.

It was impossible to get a clear shot, but I had great fun listening to its sweet trilling and watching it hunt for bugs.

As I moved through the woods, bird song was all around. The gentle flutes of orioles and tanagers carried on the clear air through the canopy below me. Up on the bluffs I heard this chestnut sided as it picked through catkins.

At certain points there were flycatchers of all sorts joining the chorus. That's how I found this gorgeous but shy Great Crested Flycatcher

and this kingbird.

Scanning the rocky bluffs, I did not see any peregrines, but shockingly quite a few geese were nesting up there.

I also found this gorgeous redtail patrolling the cliffs where starling were nesting.

There was also a pair of nesting Ravens. I watched them for some time and what struck me most is how raptor-like their wings and tail can appear.

and from a distance I mistook them for turkey vultures.

Great birding in a serene and grand location that is accessible by walking.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Morningside Nesters

Both the hawks and kestrels are progressing well. Anyday now we should see some chicks!
Norman leaving the nest.

Isolde to it.

Just down the steps and around the pond, the female kestrel was being harassed by a robin.

The male leaving...notice he checks for hawks before flying out!

Trying not to get my hopes up, but its looking like a promising summer!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


Tons of birds making their way through Central Park this year. The North End has yielded an incredible bounty for our wayward guests.
Blue Winged Warbler

Northern Parula

Black and White Warbler

Common Yellow throated Warbler

Cape May Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Palm Warbler Bathing

Yellow Warbler after bath

Yellow Rumped Warbler coming down for a drink.

Kestrel hovering over High Meadow

Lots of birds were drawn to a hatch out.

like this American Redstart.

and this Scarlet Tanager.

Also heard and then located were this Carolina Wren

and last but not least, this Least Flycatcher.