Sunday, July 09, 2006

Divine Hawks and The Moon, Saturday 10 July 2006

Photograph by D. B.

5:43pm As Sam and I walk up Cathedral Hill the park is very quiet. Well quiet as to bird sounds, for this is a popular place for Birthday Parties on a Saturday. There are high pitched excited voices and the scent of charcoal grills. We stop, we listen, we walk down the stairs, we check favorite perches, including The Spike. Nothing. It's warm and humid down in the bowl of the park, and having no luck, we decide to scan from above from an Overlook.

Up on the sidewalk we begin to hear a Catbird across the street. Possibly inside the locked parking lot? Soon we're back to the old viewing gallery for the nest, looking through the chain link fence. I look up...Bingo.

6:04pm There's a Red-tail. It's Dad sitting on the next finial over to the west from St. Andrew and the nest.

6:15pm Another RT is above Dad, curves in, and then just a few feet above his head swoops in and then takes off east for the park.

6:16pm His attention having been gotten, Dad takes off and follows the other RT, possibly Mom as the flying is excellent, into Morningside Park.

Photograph by Samantha Browne-Walters

6:19pm We've hustled over to the park, and we can hear a fledge begging. We scan the trees. Two young men sitting on the bench who don't speak English, excitedly point over and down. There she is, sitting in a Black Locust Tree. I get the scope on her and motion the young men over, shyly they shake their heads. I keep doing the "come here" finger thing until they do come over and when they do look, their faces are illuminated.

6:22pm The Fledge stops begging and looks around. Turns to the right. Preens a little. Then turns her back to us, decidedly looking in the opposite direction.

6:35pm We decide to go down into the park and see her from the front but also to check what she might be focusing on. Another hawk?
This turns out to be a mistake because as we've had to go north for a way down into the park and then go south, we miss her flying where ever it is she went. The Scolders are going at it near The Spike, a favorite perch for several days, though empty now, and the very thick copse of trees in which we're convinced they can sit and we can't see them.

6:46pm Sam catches a glimpse of a Red-tail flying south to north along the path inside the park. Try though we may, to follow and track her down, we are unsuccessful. The Robins and Catbirds have staked out two areas, one just to the north of Picnic Rock and the other the familiar group of trees just inside the park, directly across from the back of the Cathedral.

7:07pm Five Crows "calling" to each other fly diagonally across the Park from SE to NW. I like to think it's a pair and their three youngsters, though I've absolutely no reason beyond the three and two groupings. I'm very glad to see them, though I know they can mob young hawks. It's just their faces and voices have been almost totally missing from our green spaces since West Nile Virus hit the species so hard, and I've felt their lack without even really knowing it.

We keep searching. Sam who had two friends over to spend the night and therefore got little sleep is sitting on a rock looking like she might keel over at any second. She doesn't look happy. We follow every scold. Nothing. We try the "looking somewhere else" technique. We look at flowers, Robins, Catbirds, a black squirrel, we tromp around some more. Nothing helps. Sigh. We exit about 7:40pm.
(Unbeknownst to us, Robert Schmunk will arrive momentarily and a few more sightings will then ensue.)

Saturday's Moon
Photograph by D. B.


rbs said...

My late evening sightings, after Donna and Sam left, are described at

Ben C. said...


Nice image of the Moon! The brightest spot at the top of the image is the crater Aristarchus. Below & to the right of A. are 2 light patches side-by-side - the right is Copernicus and the left one is Kepler. Thanks for keeping up with RTs.