Thursday, July 10, 2008

Triborough Update, The Drive-Thru Red-tail,and What Squirrels Do In a Deluge

Sunset with storm clouds. But why?
(I'm having some computer vs photo program vs printer software issues I hope to be resolved soon so we can get back to photos that actually match what's going on in the blog most of the time.)

The good news is there is an update from Jules about Trib, the son of Athena and Atlas , and little foster brother to Holding-His-Own Hous(ton). Guess what? Trib has a new name suitable for a grown up hawk which he's starting to be. Here's Jules-

Hello All,
We seemed to have agreed on a name for little Triborough. The name is Buster - in honor of one of our local dogs who passed away this spring. Everyone who comes to Astoria Park knew and loved Buster - a shephard/lab/pitbull mix rescued from a junkyard when he was a puppy 12 years ago.

So, this morning, I found Buster in a tree on the edge of his little forest eating breakfast! He was keeping his balance, ripping things up in that fierce NYC hawk way, and keeping an eye on the blue jay that was half-heartedly hazing him. He finally picked up what was left of his meal and skillfully carried it over to the basketball court (which still is under construction). Even though the meal was definately left overs, he looks well-fed and alert. He does his parents proud!
Hope all is well with everyone!

Here's the Drive-thru Red-tail. I've only seen her while waiting in the car at the window for my refreshing soft drink. And I've seen her at least a dozen times over the last year. She's always being chased by other birds on these occasions, as she was today, and they even managed to attack her so viciously while flying through a small tree that she tumbled a few branches down. But after a flight across some fields she actually landed, perched, and stayed in a tree about 60 acres away. That's a whole lot of acres when sticking a camera out the car window so though she isn't as sharp as I'd like, she did finally after all this time perch somewhere in my field of view long enough to get a photo.
Today's pursuers were Crows and blackbirds of various descriptions. If you look above her you'll see some black blobs. That's them.

This would have been a sequence of squirrel photos in a torrential thunderstorm but it isn't is it?
I'll just have to tell you about it.
Have your ever wondered what squirrels do during a terrific thunderstorm? It did occur to me that you rarely see them during a deluge but I'd always thought they must hang out in a drey or cavity when it rains. Not today.
Suddenly this afternoon, it got extremely dark and it wasn't time for the sky to be dark yet as it wasn't time for night. I looked out. There was one squirrel lounging on the picnic table and another raiding the hanging feeder, neither seemed to be paying attention to the lack of lighting.
Suddenly the heavens opened with 60 MPH wind, sheets of pelting rain, lightening to beat the band, and some hail thrown in for good measure. All of which started full bore. Nothing. Then everything in a blink of an eye. Whoosh!
The squirrels, who'd been absorbed in doing what squirrels do on any given day when the storm hit, raced for one of the large Maples. The first squirrel scurried back and forth on one side of the trunk while the other tried to join him. There was a squirrel scuffle and I realized that the winning squirrel was on the side of the tree that was dry. The loser not being allowed on the dry side was getting pelted. He got as close to the dry side as he was allowed and hunkered down. Even though Winner had the best spot he was pretty much hanging on for dear life. Wouldn't want that wind to get under your belly and fling you off into space after all.
Loser crept further up the tree and got slightly above Winner and after a certain amount of "negotiation" Loser hung from his furry squirrel toes in exact alignment with Winner, who was head up/tail down. Undoubtedly they wanted to keep an eye on each other but perhaps more telling was that they'd found the only spot on a tree in the entire yard that had two square feet of dry bark.
Who says squirrels are dummies?

D. B.

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