Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Watching the TenEyk Bald Eagle Nest with Quicksilver the Smoke Alarm

The Bald  Eagle Nest is in the oak tree nominally in the center of the photograph.  The nest is up right in the crown of the tree.  This is as close as I'm allowed as it is private land. We may be able to see what is going on but my apologies it isn't going to be exactly crisp.
Here's what we have with my longest lens.  Look closely there is an adult eagle up there.  I actually won't be able to tell what is really going on until I bring the photos up when I get home and then crop them down.
I take it that this is Mom.  Look nest right.  See the top of a possible Eaglet head nest left or maybe that's a branch on second thought.
Eaglet, left, stands up.  Is Mom feeding another eaglet or is she tearing food, or eating herself?

Mom appears to be watching...another eaglet?
Hard to tell if Mom is looking at left Eaglet or looking center.
No Eaglets visible Mom stares center nest.
Sun breaks through the clouds and Mom stares right.
Mom stares left.  She's appears to be keeping track of something flying.  Possibly Dad.  I jump back in the car and decide to go where it appears Mom is looking. Silver the African Grey Parrot is with me (Yes, inside his carrier) and he's beginning to get bored and mimic the smoke alarm.  Good thing I'm used to it.
Well...the foliage has come out enough now that I can't see Jack from this angle.  Crapola.  Back into the car and back to my original spot.
Now Mom or is it Dad has taken a higher vantage point.  No eaglets visible.
Parent still above the nest, right.  And suddenly there are two shapes above the perimeter  of the nest.  The left shape could be a wing...a tail?
Two Eaglets in nest

Definitely at least two eaglets.
Poof, eaglets disappear.  Parent still staring South.
Eaglet appears again.  And Eaglet disappears.  Still no second parent.  Maybe they are waiting for me to leave?  Besides, even I was getting worn down by Quicksilver's rendition of the smoke alarm.  Off we go!

Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne


Monday, May 04, 2015

NYC Audubon Hawk Cam- Mama and Papa in Queens!







Camera Imagehttp://www.jknaturegallery.com/rth_nestcam.html

For those hankering for a NYC Hawk Cam...click on the link above and check out NYC Audubon's cam trained on Mama and Papa in Queens.  They are likely the longest living bonded pair in the city.

A few moments before this frame I saw an eyass toddle by.

I'll be spending a month hawking in New York City starting in mid-May so stay tuned.
 
Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne 

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Why Is THAT Called Prairie Smoke?

It had always been a mystery to me why this plant, Geum triflorum, was called Prairie Smoke or even Old Man's Whiskers by the European pioneers.    The story goes, as this plant often grew in mats on hillsides that from a distance it looked like smoke...hence the name.

Out trekking through the prairie remnants of Wisconsin  with the great botanist Galen Smith there was so much to absorb beyond Early American minutia I never asked.  Periodically when I'd see the plant in early Spring looking just like the plants above, later in life, I'd wonder again.

Today after seeing the plants above, I decided enough was enough.  And thanks to the internet, which didn't exist back in my serious botany days, and an unknown photographer from the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, now I know.

It is their SEED HEADS that look like smoke.

A bit later in the process all the sepals will flatten out, fall away, and the "hairs" become even paler, floating back and forth in unison on the breeze.  

Why did it take me sooooo long to look it up?  Well it might have been something to do with hawks...

Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne