Thursday, July 06, 2006

If you don't look will you find them? 7 Jun 2006

It's overcast, 76 degrees, wind light and variable and sunset is officially at 8:30pm. though for the light that is happening currently, sunset could be nearly now.

6:05pm It's Wednesday so Sam has piano lessons so Beloved Albatross the Wheelie Bag and I will have to fend for ourselves. Albatross and I make our way up Cathedral Hill and there really isn't much to listen to at the moment. Well, except cars and trucks and racing motors.
6:19pm A Catbird jumps through the park fence and gives me a talking to. Good sign, he's really excited. I stop and strain my ears. Fledgling? Not so you'd notice. No other hawkwatchers either yet?
6:21pm A Blue Jay cruises by, one of the few I've seen up here, but he doesn't stop. Bad sign. Keep walking.
6:23pm There is a Downy Woodpecker on the London Plane by St. Martin's Chapel but no hawk.

Time to bite the bullet and walk down all those stairs into the park. Just as I pass the second guy drinking a beer and smoking a joint, I hear something. Oh HO! It's a Catbird. And there is a squirrel but she seems totally unconcerned eating her berry. The Catbird keeps up the pace alone. In fact where is the catbird, let alone the hawk? I keep trundling along back and forth in front of the trees where the Catbird must be and therefore perhaps, a hawk might be. Keep the eyes moving, back and forth, up and down. Zip. Keep looking, keep listening. Sigh. I look at may watch, that has been a really long ten minutes.

Keep looking, stay focused.

Now I have noticed very frequently that one can keep one's eyes glued to a hawk, or be looking near where a hawk might be, and that hawk won't do a thing until that split second when you look away. This can't all be by chance. Hawks being the acutely visual creatures that they are, they are just waiting for one to look away. Fine. I'll look away while still being aware that a hawk just might do something I need to see.

I'll look at this lovely berry bush. Will that work?

Okay, how about a young sleeping sparrow in the berry bush?

Alright, how about a Robin. I'll look at that.

Right, a Robin walking out of frame. And the Catbird keeps calling.

6:47pm It's begun to drive me completely crazy. There is a hawk here somewhere. Forget Warbler neck I've a dread case of Fledgling neck. I'm hearing that Catbird scolding over and over and over. Then a squirrel whines, then...wait it's another Catbird and I walk around to the back of the copse of trees and what do I see?

Finally...I look into the scope and see this....
7:04pm Robert appears and I point. Alright, it's about time somebody found one. He's having the same trouble I am. A single scolding bird here or there but no hawks. But this fledgling is beautifully placed so let me try for another position.


Waiting for dinner.

Just a few feet away, a Catbird scolds with intention.

7:30pm The fledge begins to look up, then to beg.

At 7:34pm I noticed Isolde, the Divine Mom sitting far across the park on a favorite railing on a roof with another large bird taking a pass at her head. She stayed for quite some time,vigilant, though I did not see her attacker return.

Robert did return though with the news that the adult RT was no longer sitting atop the water tower across the street from the Cathedral's southern grounds.

At 7:43pm the fledge I've been watching starts to beg while scanning the sky. At 7:44 she's off then west , then north. Unfortunately I'm out on picnic rock by now, having discovered near by a largish grave covered with bricks, rocks and paper flowers...a beloved family pet, hopefully not just a cheap way to deal with Grandma, get focused. The only way to follow the fledge with any speed is up the steep incline, covered with bushes and rubble.. Okay, here we go Albatross. Worried about the scope on the steep slope on my shoulder, plus the bag and a pair of sneakers whose tread could be better, I don't notice the Locust branch waiting in ambush. Now these Locusts have thorns. The branch catches on my leg, my hands are full, keep going. YOW! I've got seven evenly placed scratches several inches long above the knee. Well that's what you get for wearing shorts, Doll, and then running uphill through the bushes after young Hawks. I see Robert, wait there is begging?

Ah HA! There are two birds, the fledge is following Dad. Who seems to be bringing in a before roost snack. As of 8:16, he flies out of the foliage, makes a circuit above the cathedral and back out again. The begging stops, the food must be delivered. Though we don't see the fledge or the food.

I realize that I've got blood dribbling down my leg. Better do something about that. Robert goes farther afield to look. I go as far as the Albatross and rummage around. Here's my bird first aid kit. Boy, could it use refilling. No antibiotic ointment, no peroxide, just the one dreaded alcohol prep pad. I'm very excited as I know my nerve endings will be in just a second.

They certainly are and it's time to start walking and looking before this gets to me and I start making uncool girlie eeek noises.

While I'm searching for the fledge with the food, I see a couple talking to Robert from a bench. It seems that Dad is perched on the Plant Pavilion urn, one of his favorites. And Mom, stealthy lady that she is, is sitting on the scaffolding on the school, behind the green netting so she is only visible from the street from a very certain angle. I look at my watch, and it's official sunset. Time to leave them to their rest and get my own.

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