Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Divines vs The Crows or Tristan and Isolde Do a Pale Male and Lola

6:55pm Tristan viewed from the female side of Gabriel.

(One of the Divine's neighbors, who's been watching the pair on her own for some time, a self proclaimed country girl from Tennessee who goes by Winkie, is on the job observing Tuesday's hawk activities for me.)

7:02pm Isolde is seen briefly sitting on the east end of the nest looking towards Morningside Park.

7:04pm Nearly perpendicular, Isolde feeds. (Blogger didn't like the photo, maybe later.)

7:11pm Isolde rips prey and eats.

7:15pm Isolde stares into the bowl.

7:15:39pm Then settles gently into the nest.

7:19pm Sunset approaches. Tristan is bathed in warm golden light. Isolde is deep in the nest and all is idyllic.

7:25pm Tristan suddenly turns, very alert to north.

At the same time, Isolde comes off the nest like a Valkyrie and heads north with speed. Has the nest been left empty? Why doesn't Tristan take over?
Then when everyone has sped off to see what Isolde is doing, suddenly is heard the strident cawing of two crows in the direction of Gabriel. The leaves obscure the nest and no one can see. Winkie runs over. Indeed, there are three Crows mobbing Tristan viciously on Gabriel.

There's a reason Tristan didn't hit the nest immediately. He kept the high ground to better defend against multiple raiders and also as a decoy and obvious target to attract them away from the nest.

7:30pm Isolde lands on Gab with Tristan. This is a good tactical position if multiple crows return for a try at raiding the nest, both hawks have the high ground. The best position for the first skirmish where they can swoop down on the invading crows. Next, most likely, Isolde would do the air battle protecting the immediate area around the nest and Tristan would fly to the nest and stand over the bowl protecting it. (The positions Pale Male and Lola often take to protect their eggs from unwelcome visitors.) Isolde would not give chase if there were three raiders because that would leave two Crows to circle back and go after Tristan where stationary on the nest, he would be at a distinct disadvantage.

7:32pm The Divines look. Isolde appears much bigger than Tristan. Yes, she's on the high end of Gabriel's horn and her feathers are ruffled, but still...

7:34pm Tristan is off, glides down and heads for the nest but does a pass-by instead. He is then lost from sight in the trees going east.

7:34pm Isolde checks north.

7:38pm Isolde still on Gabriel.

7:41pm Tristan discovered on the far east finial. So that's where he may have gone after his earlier pass-by of the nest. With the trees leafing out it's even more difficult to figure out where they've gone or what they're doing. As will soon become apparent.

7:42pm Tristan who has been calmly scanning the area looks north, then flies down to the north edge of the nest and perches.

7:43pm A Red-tail flies north off the nest, lands on the east edge of the hospital roof, walks north and then turns back south, and takes off for the nest, prey in the beak.
7:45:32pm Isolde? It is Isolde. She lands on the nest and checks the area. O.K. What happened to Tristan. He landed on the nest before, just before someone left... And if he stayed on the nest before, when did he leave? Or has he yet, though he's not seen leaving after she arrives.(They do make one feel rather "slow" at times.)
7:45:44pm She stares down into the nest for some moments.
7:48pm There is a glimpse of Isolde and then she disappears into the nest.

7:55pm Isolde looks to have snuggled in for the night. Tristan flies east towards Morningside Park and Winkie thinks she sees him then turn north through the trees. She checks some of his favorite roosts but doesn't find him. Undoubtedly he is perched with a branch above his head to protect against overhead attacks, a clear sight line and a direct flight path to the nest, just in case. There he'll intermittently sleep and wake, sleep and wake, vigilant until morning when he'll fly out once again to care for his family.
Donegal Browne

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