Friday, June 23, 2006

An Evening With The Divines And Three Sets of Eyes Watching Four Hawks Are Better Than One, 22 JUN 2006


6:28pm On the way from the subway as we walk on 110th, I peer through the trees. YES! There is a Red-tail on the end of Gabriel's horn. It won't be a totally dry evening after all.
6:33pm We get close enough and it is Dad perched on the end of Gabriel's horn.
6:44pm Samantha who has been left on the north side of the Cathedral while Robert and I search, sees Dad dive bombed, and hit twice by a Mockingbird while on Gabriel.

6:45pm Eldest discovered by Robert on exterior decorative element, east wall, St. Savior Chapel. She does a very detailed preening job. (Robert Schmunk's notes for thos evening may be found at
Also 6:45pm, Sam reports Dad is off Gabriel and has disappeared from sight on the south side of the Cathedral.

7:10pm Eldest moves to the south, same decorative element, continues preening, but pauses for a gargoyle mimicry moment.
7:13pm Mockingbird dives at Eldest.

Photograph by Samantha Browne-Walters
Eldest reacts.

7:14 Fly begins to buzz her head.
7:21 Eldest hops back to original spot on stonework.

Now who is this, in the tree down the hill? Yes, it's Youngest.

Youngest in tree overlooking Cathedral Playground.

7:22pm Unknown hawk in tree adjacent to Eldest on St. Savior Chapel decoration.
7:23pm Eldest no longer on Chapel decoration. ???

Eldest in the tree up the hill. (Somehow all the green lighting from the leaves makes her look like a giant budgie.)

7:28 Hawk in tree scolded by Catbird. Upon scrutiny this is Eldest. But we had a bit of confusion going for awhile. Because previously, Eldest had been on Chapel decoration and another hawk, Or was it another hawk? Youngest?, Dad?, Mom?, When did Eldest move?, had been in the tree. I'd gone N to look for the parents, Robert had gone down the hill to look at Youngest and Sam had stayed with Eldest. But until we all compared notes later on who we'd seen or not seen during that moment we had a bit of a mystery. As I said three pairs of eyes are far better than one.

7:32pm Eldest goes to yet another branch. A feather starts to drift down. Sam runs across the street. A possible feather for The Department of Environmental Conservation and DNA testing? More feathers fall. Hmmmm. Sam is not fooled, too many and some of them have blood on them. We look up and Eldest is eating something...obviously avian. She plucks jillions of feathers off a Red Pied Pigeon and they waft down in a kind of blizzard onto a parked car with a man inside it. The man can't quite think what to make of it. He gets out and looks up. Sam, who'd gone over to check the first feather, explains what is happening. Smiling, the man comes over for a chat.

Note prey down right.

7:33pm Eldest is having a dreadful time keeping her balance, keeping the prey IN the tree, and eating at the same time. A wing falls to the ground. She looks down for a moment and then goes back to the struggle.

Photograph by Donegal Browne

7:50pm A local hawkwatching couple comes by for a look through the scope and tells us they've seen one of the hawks on an apartment building across the way. We turn the scope around and sure enough, there is Mom perched on the scaffolding of 300 W. 110th St. (The building is beyond the park on it's other side and above Frederick Douglass Circle.)

Photograph by Donegal Browne

8:08pm Eldest has moved to a London Plane on the east side of Morningside Drive. She pants.

8:18pm The Catbirds mob her and Eldest moves to a different branch, closer to the parkside of the London Plane but more densely leaved.

8:19pm The Catbird attack is joined by a Mockingbird. Before, Eldest seemed to be pretty much going about her business, though changing branches now and again. With the addition of the Mockingbird, she seems more wary. A body freeze with mobile head keeping close track of the Mocker's position.

8:25pm It's very dark up there in the trees and The Mob has quieted some, almost time for them to roost as well. Exit.

1 comment:

Eleanor said...

Some really good photos, and of course I so love keeping up with what's happening with the St. John red-tails through your updates.

Thank you!