Sunday, December 25, 2011

Secrets of Croton Point Park: Part 1

The past few days at Croton Point have been quite interesting.

Aside from the occasional Bald Eagle, water bird/gull/duck, or redtailed hawk, it was very quiet.

Absolutely no signs of harriers or birds of any kind were to be found on the southern shores. Nearby a flock of crows was agitated about some predator, and I found this sub-adult Cooper's lurking about.

As I scanned the woods, I did find a mysterious cache of bones including a crow, oppossum and partial red-tailed hawk skeleton. Something was killing all the nearby animals, but who could it be? My first thought was a fox, but there was no sign of any den. Then I figured it could be the resident Great Horned Owls, but I had no evidence of this. As I walked the rest of the Park, it was now getting dark. Clusters of American Robins huddled nervously in a tree. Just then, another Cooper's hawk streaked in and drove them off. It weaved through the pines hoping to flush a confused bird. Instead, it flushed one of the Great Horned Owls! The owl was just off the trail and hooted loudly. Amazingly, its mate returned its call and they flew into a tree together where they copulated just in front of me. After they flew off, I managed to get this video of them hooting it up in the Woods.

I watched them for sometime as they hunted silently in the clear night. Since it was a new moon, there was absolutely no light for any shots, but I resolved to return the next day for some more Owling and to try to solve the mystery of all the dead/missing animals.

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