Tuesday, June 27, 2006

JUST THREE AGAIN, plus Peacocks 26 JUN 2006

Photograph by Samantha Browne-Walters
Blue Peacock tail...belongs at 7:01pm but somehow didn't get placed there. When you get to 7:01, just be so kind to look back up here.

We're actually going to start at....
5:35pm Sam and I walk out our lobby door to 9th Ave. A few large plops of rain fall on us. We don't mention them. Lack of attention may depress them so much they will go away.

6:19pm The Cathedral. We've searched the usual spots and so far have come up with nothing. Suddenly a mature Red-tail is circling above 109th street. Then she tucks her wings and zooms toward the west. We decide to search the Cathedral Grounds themselves.

6:38pm Sometime between when we left Morningside Dr. and got round through the front gate, Dad landed on Gabriel.

6:39pm We set the scope up and show a few passers-by. Before too long Bruce Yolton comes round a corner, sees Dad, and tells us that Mom is perched on a water tower east of us. We pick up the gear again and go to check it out.

6:48pm I look back, Stealth Dad is still there.
6:49pm Mom is still perched on the watertower and a smaller bird is perched on a vertical pipe not far from her. The little bird is not happy about Mom.

6:50pm The smaller bird takes a dive at Mom and she's up before we can get the scope on them. She circles counter clockwise over the grounds and then heads south, then circles back east, and disappears behind a building on the other side of 110th.

7:01pm Now we're back on the west side of the grounds and Sam is thinking Peacocks not hawks. We pass what she now calls the Peacock Hut and she scrambles over to it. The grating is closed down over the entrance. They must be in for the night. She peers inside. Sure enough, not only in for the night, but finished knoshing their Peacock Chow, and getting ready for bed. A long blue tail hangs down from a sort of Peacock bunk bed. (Look back up to the top, NOW.)

Is the other blue Peacock up his tree? We've heard he prefers to roost on a branch in the big tree across from the red brick Federal style building not far from the Hut. Or perhaps he has decided to hang out in the hut for the night but has his tail tucked up tidily out of sight. Nobody is talking so we'll never know if he's missing.

Speaking of the missing, where is Whitey?

Photograph by Samantha Browne-Walters
There's Whitey. Up on a private perch.

Then it's back to straining our necks and ears but further searching of the grounds for the Fledglings turns out to be fruitless. We circle around and head for 110th where Mom disappeared behind the brown building.

7:11pm After coming down 110th with no success, we see Robert Schmunk pointing out a hawk in a Locust tree near the corner of the park. Sam and I get the scope up. It's Eldest. And she has already learned the Red-tail trick of perching with a branch above her head that protects from overhead attack. The Robins are aware of her and are verbalizing their annoyance.

7:22pm Look at the back pattern, still a V and still somewhat squarish. Keep up with it, as it is a bit reshuffled with her position.

7:40pm It has become quite dar. Clouds scudding across the sky and I keep loosing sight of Eldest in the tree. Even though she isn't changing perches and I'm not changing where I am standing. All of a sudden I notice how well the juvenile feathers of a Red-tailed Hawk work when it comes to blending her into a tree. Notice how the belly spots can appear to be leaves, the pale underbelly sky, and the varigated brown face, bark. As to the bulging orangey crop, that's another discussion all together.

7:57pm We've gone off to search for Youngest. This will be the second day that we haven't seen her if we don't see her soon. Then a mature RT flies out from the Cathedral, over the park, and circles the Great Hill. Is Youngest over there?

Photograph by Samantha Browne-Walters

8:24pm Eldest, her crop stuffed full, and the light fading, begins to look very sleepy.

Photograph by Samantha Browne-Walters
8:25pm Eyelids heavy, she nodds forward, and sways on her feet ever so slightly.

Photograph by Samantha Browne-Walters
8:26pm Then, swaying gently on her branch in the breeze, she falls asleep.

8:30pm The other hawkwatchers have gone home and Sam and I are packing up our stuff in the middle of the sidewalk. Suddenly a police car pulls up beside us, and it is an officer that has spoken to us before. We chat small and point out Eldest. He wants to know how much longer we will be coming up here. I say, for as many days as we can still find them. Then I tell him, before he asks about tonight, that we're just about to go home for the day . He nods and smiles, says see you soon, and then drives off down the sidewalk. Sam states the obvious. "Ah mom, he's driving on the sidewalk." "Yes, darling", I reply, "He is. New York City policeman have been known to do that."

8:40pm It is the oddest thing. After all, it's getting quite dark. It's cloudy and dim. Sam and I are standing on the SE corner of Morningside and 110th discussing how hungry we are, when I look up the hill toward the Cathedral. To my amazement green Gabriel is turning gold. I don't mean goldish. I mean shiny gold, sparkly gold. I mean radiant, light flinging gold. I can't figure out where light would be coming from to reflect off him. In fact it looks like he's radiating the light himself. Really quite startling actually, when one considers how his solidness wouldn't allow that , and how well patinaed green he is.

Wait a minute. It's pretty much sunset right now. Is it possible that Gab is positioned just so, in order to reflect the last rays of the sun on certain days? It couldn't be everyday could it? Seems unlikely due to the changing angles...but then what do I know.

Guess I better find out.


Eleanor said...

Love what you wrote about Gabiel turning gold! Perhaps he's been deliberately positioned to catch the last rays of the sun -- bet you'll find out!

Where's our little one? :-(

dorinda said...

The sunsets billowing down 113th Street really are a stunning sight; it seems that the "Stonehenge effect" might have a longer timeframe on that particular street, I've observed the sunlight streaming down the street from before the Divines fledged. I have a good photo of the 113th St. sunset from June 20, and a lesser quality photo of squirrel turned golden in the treelimbs. It almost becomes another form of camoflage.
Thanks for your wonderful site & work.