Saturday, March 24, 2007

Pale Male and Lola Back In Nest Rhythmn

Pale Male arrives at the nest Photographs G.S.
Many thanks to all the Hawk Watchers whose collected observations, have made this report possible from afar, including Katherine, John, Elizabeth, George, and Charmain.

3:55 Pale Male on nest left , Lola peeks out of bowl, Pale Male looks down at feet. Prey?

Lola rises from the bowl. Pale looks down at his feet, looks at her, scans territory.

3:59 Pale Male watches Lola go like a bullet towards the NW and the Ramble. He then walks over, situates himself in the bowl and completely disappears from sight. Not an eye or a feather visible.

Suddenly it's noticed that there is a hawk, nest right, or rather a hawk's fluffy bottom nest right, making little jerky motions. Eating? Did Pale get up for a snack? Did he bring food last trip which Lola flew off and ignored? Did Lola return without anyone noticing and Pale is still sitting on the eggs? As everyone missed it, the consensus on the bench is that it's Pale up for a snack. Except for Elizabeth who is betting it's Lola.

Lola it is. Elizabeth nailed it. Finished with dinner, Lola stands nest left, waits, looks into bowl. Then goes round the bowl, looks in, continues to nest right.

Lola turns, waits, looks around, waits, preens, waits, looks into bowl, waits for PM to get up, he doesn't. Napping?

Lola advances to bowl, waits, then head down, pause, pokes with beak. Pale Male begins to rise out of bowl.

4:21 Pale Male picks up pigeon remnants and takes them with him. Off on diagonal to NW.

4:22 Lola gets back in the bowl.

4:40 Lola up, turns eggs, preens, rouses, and down
4:51 Pale Male discovered on Oreo antenna.
5:30 Pale Male on Oreo antenna.
7:10 Pale Male swoops off Oreo in the direction of the Great Lawn.
Donegal Browne

Friday, March 23, 2007

It Must Be Spring

Photograph by George S.
You know it definitely is Spring when Lola wants to get back on the eggs so badly that she gives Pale Male a nudge to get him out so she can get in,

And Eleanor Tauber is out taking photographs of buds about to burst.

Donegal Browne

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Cathedral Hawks and Woodcocks

Isolde on Gab's Head Photograph by Donegal Browne
From Cathedral Hawk Watcher Robert Schmunk
(See link for his Bloomingdale Village blog in links area.)

I did not see Isolde in the Cathedral nest today when I checked between6:10 and 6:25 this evening.

First hawk sighting came at 6:45. I was down near the pond and heard somedistant shrieking from the near the Cathedral or to the south. A moment later Tristan was circling about in the air and then flying over to the hospital roof.

When I got up to Morningside Dr. it was apparent that he was eating. A minute or two later, he flew over toward the 114th St. entrance to the park, carrying food with him. Shrieking in the treetops followed, to the extent that I figured Isolde was there too and that hawk sex was occurring. But no, when I got there it was just Tristan perched right over the dog run entrance. He was

there by himself until close to 7:00, eating more and shrieking a few more times.

Isolde then showed up and started on the leftovers. Tristan took off for partsunknown. Isolde was still there at 7:20 when I left. No idea if she then opted to spend the night in the nest or elsewhere. So... apparently all the shrieking just meant "Honey, I have take-out".Also, the take-out was a rat. The first picture I got of Tristan clearly showedthe long skinny tail. It must have been a big one if it took two adult hawks that long to consume.


Photograph courtesy of UCM Ed.

Get ready folks for a drenching. Here in Cheeseland ,as a friend from long Island calls it , we were getting ready to build an Ark by the time evening was coming on around here.

It was reasonably quiet at the Fifth Avenue Nest today, according to hawkwatcher Katherine Herzog but there is always a new adventure in Central Park somewhere nearly everyday.

Here's Katherine's report:

The Fifth Avenue nest was relatively quiet having settled into the incubation mode and Lola taking short breaks and apparently eating all meals away from the nest. Then returning and assuming the incubation sitting position. Status quo...nothing too exciting except several intruder hawks which were guided out of the area by another hawk who we couldn't identify as Pale but it might have been. Saw a mystery bird flying high over the nest which some people thought might be a Turkey Vulture but the color patterning looked more like a Bald Eagle. The little Woodcocks have been the center of attention for CP birders since they have not been seen in such quantities for many a year. The ones in the oven section of the Ramble are only some of the individuals throughout the wet, forested parts of the park. Chickadees were the great missing bird species this year, especially in the Ramble...only a relative few sighted in a place which is usually thick with them in the winter and yet the related species, Tufted Titmice, have been unusually abundant...(but the Black-capped Chickadees have been seen a plenty in other areas of the NY Metro Area)...I suppose it's a food availability issue but the huge swings in the appearance or absence of difference bird species is always an interesting topic of conversation and wonder especially when the abundant vs. the scare species seem to feed on the same food source. Nature is endlessly interesting and surprising.

All the best, Katherine

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Isolde on the nest, Tristan at Dinner, Woodcocks, and Red

Isolde, the female of The Cathdral Hawks

Anticipation mounts...A report by Cathedral Hawk Watcher, Robert Schmunk, of

Isolde might be spending the night in the Cathedral nest tonight.

She was in the nest at 7:12 when I left the Cathedral area, although because of the dim light I did not realize she was there until I looked at pix afterwards. I've been taking empty nest pics on the off chance that my eyes missed something; this time it worked.

As sunset was officially at 7:06, I'm led to think she would be staying put.Earlier sightings at the nest were made when I first arrived at 5:46(hawk leaping from nest) and from 6:17 to 6:22 (sitting quietly;disappeared when I looked a different direction). It is possible Isolde was in the nest from 6:22 until 7:12 but hunkered way down where
she could not be seen.

Alternatively she might have snuck back in7:05 when I was talking with a neighborhood resident north of 113thSt.

Tristan was seen from 6:50 to 7:00 having dinner in a treetop in the park near 114th St. He was last seen flying up to 116th St. The same neighborhood resident told me that there's a particular tree near there that seems to be a favorite roosting spot.

Photo courtesy of USFW
From Hawkwatcher and blog contributer Katherine Herzog. Woodcock Mania.

Yes, indeed....11 woodcocks were observed in the "oven" section of the Ramble on Sunday and there were 5 when I went there yesterday afternoon around 3pm.
What an amazing sight. Not only are they beautiful and comical looking at the same time....they make a funny quivering movement with their bodies when they're probing the soft mud for worms with their long, spike-like bills....another birder told me they do that to attract the worms?

Photographers were flocking to the scene and it was Woodcock-mania in the Ramble.Very cold and raw day...I passed by the 5th Avenue nest and Pale Male and Lola on the nest. Pale eventually flew into the park and Lola settling down in the nest to resume incubation for about the next five weeks.
All the best, Katherine

And, I blew it.

I gave the wrong "address" for Red the Squirrel.
For those who'd like to visit her, Stella Hamilton says,"Red's apartment is Northwest of the Great Lawn, near the Ross Pinetum."

Tracking Down the Sandhill Cranes

And There They Were

Sometimes a single

Sometimes in pairs

And sometimes with courting geese.

In fact the blog is going up so late because I've been trying to figure out what is going on in a sequence of photos of an interaction involving Sandhill Cranes, Canada Geese, a large domestic cat, and two Killdeer. I'll try again tomorrow.

And not to worry, the Killdeer don't get eaten and Kitty doesn't go hungry. He goes back in the house and no doubt has some tasty cat chow.
Donegal Browne

Monday, March 19, 2007

Sunday in the Park: This keeps publishing without parts of it..I'm working on it

Tristan of the Cathedral Nest
Word in from Robert Schmunk of bloomingdalevillage on the Cathedral nest.
(See links, blogger isn't up to leaving one in here.)
Following up on your note of concern from last weekend or so...After a week of not seeing either hawk closer to the nest thanperhaps 100 feet, I spotted Isolde in the nest at about 6:30 today.I damn near didn't see her because she was sitting low enoughthat her breast feathers were not visible.For a while I was beginning to think they had decided to movetheir nest. And my curiousity was greatly piqued becausetwice in the last week I had seen a hawk fly into the close onthe south side of the Cathedral.rbs

Next vigilant Katherine Herzog's report from the Bench, things are looking good, and then a word from Stella Hamilton, nurse and nature lover, on what Pale Male was doing when he wasn't on the nest plus Red the Squirrel.

Hi Donna,

Sunday, March 18, 2007 (Sunny, Breezy, 36 F)::

Entered the snow-filled park at 3:30pm....the strong sun softening the effect of the cold, windy clime. Lola scrunched down into the of her head feathers barely visible.

Hawk Bench devotees say that Pale Male had brought his mate food much earlier in the day and is due back for the late afternoon meal. On cue, at 4pm, Pale Male sailed into view with a critter in his talons and negotiated strong winds over 5th Avenue by flying past the nest and then turning and flying into the wind (just like an airplane would do when approaching a runway tarmac)...landing perfectly on the nest near Lola.Lola took the food, a large, headless light-grey pigeon and flew into the park to a tree near 5th Avenue to enjoy her repast.

Pale settling into the incubation sitting posture deep into the nest. After twenty minutes of feeding, Lola flew in circles over the Sail Boat Pond in front of her nest giving all hawk watchers a splendid view of her broad wings and white breast...she seemed to be enjoying the intense sunlight after the rigors of two solid days and nights of rain, sleet and snow and sub-zero the added indignity of approximately 8 hours of droning bagpipes wafting up from 5th Avenue during yesterday's St. Pat's Parade. She flew back to the nest, seemed to commiserate with Pale for a few minutes and then he took of into the park as she resumed her incubation duties.

Left the park about 5:15pm with ever-increasing admiration for those noble beings who endured that late winter storm....including today's unlucky pigeon.

P.S. (Got a report from Margaret, inestimable birder and squirrel aficionado, that there were a dozen (!) American Woodcocks in the "oven" section of the Ramble. Quite stunning as we normally see them only one or two at a time. Must check that out tomorrow, if they are still hanging around.)All the best, Katherine

P.P.S. Congratulations on the sale of the photos to the Milan magazine!

(Busted. Thank you, Katherine. I'm very pleased.)

Now to the news from enthusiastic Hawk Watcher and Pigeon lover Stella Hamilton,...turns out that she caught Sunday Morning's piece on Pigeons with an interview filmed at Hans Christian Anderson, the statue not many more than a dozen steps from the Hawk Bench. One of her special animals is Red the Red Squirrel whose digs are southeast of the 927 nest.

From Stella-

I paid Little Miss Red a visit today. All is well in spite of the snow that has blanketed her yard . She didn't come down to forage this afternoon as Mr. Pale Male was in the neighborhood. I did see PM chase a young Red-tail off toward the West side. He just can't tolerate them right now given that he and Lola are sitting the eggs.

Pale Male definitely gets intolerant this time of year, no question. And sometimes Lola really looses patience. On some days she'll hot wing it off the nest, and seriously go after unwelcome visitors during breeding season.


Philadelphia: Urban Eagle?

From the Philadelphia Inquirer

photograph by Debbie Beer
Sat, Mar. 17, 2007
200 years later, the Phila. eagles
By Tom Avril
Inquirer Staff Writer

Debbie Beer was out watching some ducks on the Delaware River, peering through her trusty Leica scope, when a guy in a pickup truck drove by and gave her a much better birding tip:
Not far away, nestled in the crotch of a tree, were hundreds of interlocking sticks and heavy branches, carefully arranged in a huge pile the size of a baby grand piano. It was a sight that quickens the pulse of anyone who knows birds: a bald eagle nest.
Even more remarkable, it was the first confirmed report of a nest in Philadelphia in at least 200 years, according to the state Game Commission, which announced the find yesterday.
No birds were there that day in early February, but Beer, 39, came back about 10 days later and saw one of the majestic brown-and-white creatures flying nearby. Then on Feb. 27, she saw the thrilling evidence that nature was following its reproductive course: a bird sitting in the nest.
"I was so excited," said the Springfield, Delaware County, outdoorswoman, still bubbling over her find. "I immediately called a bunch of people."
The Philadelphia find is only the latest example of the recovery of the national bird, once so imperiled by hunting and pollution that they numbered just a few hundred 40 years ago. Federal officials propose to remove them from the endangered species list this summer.
Game Commission biologists confirmed 116 active nests in the state last year, producing at least 134 young. New Jersey has at least 50 nesting pairs, most in Cumberland and Salem Counties, up from just one pair in 1973.
But there were none in the city that hosts a certain athletic team with the bird as its namesake. Until now.
"Even gray-haired biologists like me get a tingle down their spines when we watch a bald eagle fly down to the nest," said Doug Gross, a wildlife biologist with the commission. "It's something we've dreamed about all of our adult lives."
State officials will not disclose the exact location of the nest because bald eagles get spooked easily. If the parents leave the nest, the eggs won't make it.
The site, a vacant plot of marshy soil, is owned by the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp., which has been contacted by state and federal officials about the need to stay clear.
Corporation senior vice president John Grady said some employees had cautiously viewed the birds from afar.
Beer doesn't know the name of the truck driver who tipped her off, but he picked the right person to tell. She is conservation chairwoman for the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club.
Beer, marketing director for a party-supply company, called the Game Commission. Wildlife conservation officer Jerry Czech accompanied her to the nest to confirm her find.
Czech's first duty is to protect wildlife. But as a season ticketholder for the Eagles (nosebleed section), he's willing to consider the nest a good omen.
"Maybe we'll win the Super Bowl this year," Czech quipped.
The nest is a clear sign of a cleaner environment, said Nate Rice, an ornithologist at Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences. Fish make up a big part of the bird's diet, and cleaner rivers have led to more fish.
Also credited in the bird's rebound is the banning of the pesticide DDT. It was blamed for thinning the birds' eggshells, though some researchers dispute this.
The bald eagle was upgraded from endangered to "threatened" status in 1995. Once it's taken off the list entirely, it will still be legally protected and cannot be hunted or "disturbed."
Keith Russell, a birding historian and fellow member of Beer's birding club, said history's only other record of an eagle's nest in Philadelphia is a secondhand report in a 1910 journal article. That sighting was in Torresdale but was unconfirmed.
Why away from Philadelphia so long? History may offer guidance, in the form of unfriendly words from Benjamin Franklin. The city's favorite son objected to the eagle's selection as the national symbol, claiming it had "bad moral character."
A turkey, Franklin wrote, is a "much more respectable bird."
Beer has no such misgivings.
Almost every day since she first saw the bird in the nest, she has returned faithfully to the site, always remaining several hundred yards away. Her favorite memory so far came March 8 at 5:30 p.m.
One of the birds - she's not sure if it was the male or female - was sitting alone on the nest when its mate flew back to the tree and landed on a nearby branch. Little by little the mate scooted toward the nest. Then, the first bird hopped out, and the second quickly took its place atop the precious eggs - an avian changing of the guard.
"The sun was setting, purple and orange," she recalled dreamily. "The light was behind me, so the light was on the nest. It was just like magic."