Friday, July 06, 2007


Thursday, June 28:

Here's the promised report from the intrepid Winkie on The Divines, and there are some great sightings!

Coming back from an early morning run, my husband sighted a hawk. Hearing the racket of crows, he looked up to find a hawk on the roof of a building on the north corner of 118th street (right along Morningside Drive.)

At first he thought it was one of the adults, because the spot was too far away for one of the fledges. But as soon as the crows, four or five he thought, dived and gave chase, he realized that this had to be one of the babies. He saw that there weren't the flight skills that a mature hawk would display. And he thought maybe he saw the brown tail. This heckled little one almost crashed into the tree tops in an attempt to out maneuver the crows and get back "home" to the southern section of the park. The fledge flew low and unsteadily among the trees until my husband lost sight around the 116th street steps.

With very little time available, I didn't find any hawks over the weekend. Although I am fairly certain one of the Divine family was in a tree near the dog run late Saturday afternoon. The kestrels were doing one of their aerial attacks. No matter how I craned my neck: no luck.

Made up for lost sightings on Monday, July 2:

Getting a later start seems to be the answer. It was getting close to sundown as I arrived at the cathedral. I thought I saw something glide over, and crossed over to the park overlook. I had missed it, but the ever diligent Rob was there. He had seen one of the babies on that special branch that was also used last season. He had witnessed a squirrel chase and all. We went into the park, attracted by the noise. Here again the catbirds were ever so noisy! No luck. And then. It started. I located one of the adults, Tristan, I recall. He was being bothered by the crows on the roof of a building on the east side of the park.

Then one of the babies glided from the trees we were scouring, across the ball field, into the tree tops on the east side. And then another. We watched as one flew around a bit from tree to tree and then into the trees at the south end of the field. It was Tailbiter. She has grown and still as beautiful a presence as you can imagine. Rob and I got to see her from many views, some really close. It was getting quite late: Rob was going off duty.

In the meantime the second fledge hadn't moved from the tree on the east side of the field. I decided to cross the field again to see if I could locate the bird. Remember, Tailbiter is still on one of the tree at the south end. Swooping across my head comes a fledge! Lots of vocalization and calls to sibling as she flies. She flies into a tree on the west side, near the cathedral ("She" because later I could get the ID.) Then another whimper came from the east. Low again over my head, this one heads for the top of one of the scraggy locust trees and misses! Whoops! Flailing wings, flutter, flutter... finally about 8 to 10 feet below the top, she catches a hold. Now I have GPS on all three!!!

I run up to the sidewalk, hoping not to have lost any of them. Luckily, no bird moved. Maybe Tailbiter is going to roost where she is. The first fledge to fly west is Cohort. To my surprise, she was the one who (they are who, right ?) smoothly over my head. It is Third who stumbled on the top of the locust. Usually, he flies like a daemon. Maybe the bedtime hour makes his landing clumsy. And he really was whining and whimpering as he flew. Poor, tired Third.

At this time, a couple from Texas come up; word of mouth has brought them to the Divines! They point out both adults on the roof of the cathedral. I can't believe my luck and their's too! ALL FIVE at the same time.

Fireflies are out and the three babies look like they have said their "sweet dreams!" to all. So that was what all of that calling and whimpering was about! I show the hatchery (nest) to the Texas couple and walk home viewing the light'n bugs!


Many thanks Winkie, I'm truly sorry I missed it. Super drat. What a grand evening of Red-tails!

Donegal Browne

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