Saturday, July 15, 2006

Playing Hide and Seek with the Divines, Saturday, 15 July 2006

Fledge focuses on a squirrel below.

5:30pm I leave the house with Albatross the Wheelie Bag but no Samantha. She has a slumber party to attend and with the weather reports of possible showers or thunderstorms I fear it may be only Albatross and I as the only Fledge Followers this afternoon. Little did I know that the real fear should have been focused on the arrival of a C train.

One did eventually arrive but incredibly tardy so that I didn't arrive at the 110th St. station until nearly 7pm. Albatross could have cared less but I wasn't the least bit happy.

Not a scold as I went up Morningside towards the Cathedral. I reach the top overlook...what's that? Begging? I look down, thank goodness, there is Robert Schmunk, stalwart uptown Fledge Follower with his camera pointed up into a tree. I yell down, he points up. Aha! He's got one.

So up the street, and down the stairs to the jogging path by the baseball diamond. Robert asks if there is a better view from uptop. Not a chance. The begging is extraodinarily loud. Truly amazing. No Sam so I pull out the notebook, and start madly assembling the tripod, the digiscoping attachment, the camera attachment that has to be screwed on with a nichel... I just know the fledge is going to take off before I get it put together. What? It's assembled? The fledge is still in her difficult to see perch, just have to get the scope on her and focus and..."Hawk up!"

She goes south and is lost in the trees. Robert has gone to do further hunting and hears me yell from a distance but isn't sure what I yelled. He reappears, no, he didn't see her go. We set out for the south, he outpaces me, and when I glance up and west, an RT is flying north, following the line of the sidewalk. I let him know, he's on his way.

When I get up to the sidewalk, there's Robert, he's spotted her and points. She's sitting on the lowest branch that juts over the benches of the overlook. One has to be really close to view her and she's sitting the branch focusing on a squirrel, and looks ready to pounce. I try getting a bead on her but the scope won't turn up at that sharp an angle readily, one click...she pounces and JUST misses the squirrel who beats a hasty retreat up a tree. I get to the other side of the overlook, the tripod won't fit between the benches and the side. Fledge then hops, pounces on a 3x6 inch stub of branch, hop, hop, mantles, swirls about. She's so close, I can't keep her in view. Kill the stub! Kill the stub! Then she's up, talons hanging. Did she take her "kill" with her?

I did see her go into the Locusts below and point the spot out to Robert. He takes off for the stairs. I can't get a focus. I grab the goods and head for the stairs myself.

When I get to the middle path, there is Robert standing glumly staring into the foliage. He can't find her. I look. I can't find her.

Suddenly he points, an RT just went into the tip top of a tree above us and NW. We scuttle around looking for a place to see. He gets one, not large but it's there. We get the scope on her. Robert wonders, lots of foliage is that a fledge or a mature? I get a look at the tail. It's red, we've got a parent.

7:35pm Robert sees the hawk go in.

This perch is amazing for the bird's view and our lack of one. We're on the middle level, to the south and east of the tree. There is a tiny window in the foliage at the bottom of the second set of stairs coming from the north.

7:58pm Finally another spot where the Tiptop Stealth Perch can be viewed, the corner of Morningside Dr. and 110th St..

This is 20x closer than what it really looks like when one scans from the corner of 110th. Normally when investigating bird scolds one is much closer and because of the foliage this perch is undetectable. Had Robert not seen the hawk go into this perch we'd still be involved in the same mysterious run around we've been dealing with for weeks attempting to detect what the songbirds were after in that particular area.

8:00pm Busted. Clear down by the corner of 110th and Morningside I fugure I won't be part of the behavioral mix but I'm clearly being looked at.
8:03pm What I take to be the adult, the one who's been in the tip top stealth perch, is in the air, but suddenly there is a second RT on the same trajectory. Is the adult following the fledge or the fledge the adult? They both head for the SE corner of the park.

8:04pm The adult has landed in the top of one of the Black Locusts that border the park on the east side nearer the southern corner. The other hawk?
8:09pm The adult is gone. I take off for the other side of the park to look.

8:12pm I look up, there's a fledgling! Perched on the razor festooned railing of the roof of a boarded up building near the corner of Manhattan and 110th. Well, well, big as life and just as relaxed as you please. There's the fledge so where's Dad/Mom?

8:15pm I'd gone to see if I could track down the adult and Robert had gone to attempt to find out what the Robin cacophony was about. I was attempting to call him and let him know I'd found one, when he arrives. "How'd you find her?", my answer, "Sheer accident, I was looking for the adult." Note her feet. She has wisely perched between the razor sections of the wire.

8:16pm I know this look, it's only a matter of time. The instant Robert and I look away at the same moment she's going to be gone.
8:18pm It happened. She's done it again and left while we weren't looking. We look around, I'm sure rather befuddled appearing. Then we see her, it was only a very short hop this time.

8:19pm Fledge momentarily on fire escape just below and south of previous roof perch on Manhattan Ave. She's up and flies to south side of 110th.

8:21pm Fledge on second floor from the top, fire escape railing of building facing park on 110th, between Morningside Dr. and Manhattan Ave. She is looks through the window into an apartment

8:29pm Eye to the scope, I realize that Big Sister seems to be staring down the scope as if she is looking at my eye, not me, looking at her. Very strange, moment.

There is a Robin that is so loud that passers-by want to know what is going on with him. Is he really that upset about a hawk across the street on a fire escape. Earlier Robert had told me a story about an evening when Susan and he had been looking one way and one of the fledge's had been behind them all the time.

Well it's deja vu all over again. Robert tracks down Mr. Super Loud Robin and where is he looking? Right behind us into the nearest tree. And there is the other fledge.

8:38pm Little Brother ducks. The Robin is relentless.

9:00pm Big Sister on the fire escape looks to be staying for the night. Little brother is still in the Elm near the corner of Manhattan and 110th as well...still be chucked at by a Robin.
9:03pm Exit.

Photos from the earlier part of the evening may be found at Rob Schumunk's site-

1 comment:

rbs said...

You got some nice photos from the latter part of the evening. I partciularly like the one from the fire escape at 354 West 110th St.

Some pix from the earlier part ofthe run around the park are in my report at