Saturday, January 26, 2008

Squirrel Bane the Immature Red-tail Returns

Temperature: 29F.
Wind: 30MPH

Photograph: Samantha Browne-Walters
The Model Boat Pond or the Conservatory Waters as it's more properly called, refilled since it's yearly cleaning, has frozen into a thick glossy sheet of ice.

No reports of Pale Male and Lola visiting the nest today. Once again Pale Male is hunting the area. Just after he disappered behind this water tower cover---

Pigeons burst into the airspace above the pond and if you look carefully this one seems not to be taking the sage advice, "Don't look back, they might be gaining on you." but rather seems to be looking back over her shoulder to see if Pale Male is following her.

Squirrel Bane, the immature Red-tail who birders say has been capturing squirrels and seems to hunt them almost exclusively as opposed to other prey, was back once again, yes, hunting squirrels. She's reasonably easy to find because once the squirrel's notice her presence they whine even more heavily I'm told than if it were just any Red-tail. She does seem to have some technique and makes a habit late in the day of hunting so that she sits so the sun is in her prey's eyes.

All the squirrels here have been alerted so Squirrel Bane glides off toward fresh territory.

Strawberry Fields is full of the sound of rustling leaves. And it's not just the wind. Dozens upon dozens of White-throated Sparrows are working the leaves by hopping, brushing the leaves back with both feet, and then doing it again, to bare one small area of leaves after another in search of food.

And look here! The Snow Drops are now in bloom in Strawberry Fields. Often the first place in the park where they rouse themselves and thus the first spot in Central Park to announce that whatever the weather feels like, Spring really isn't as far away as we think it is.

Donegal Browne

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