Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday Miscellany

Photograph by Pat Gonzalez, as is the following email.


Amazing adventure today at the Botanical Garden. First up, not one but TWO large red tail hawks on the same branch. I wasn't able to get close enough to see if one of them was my pal who I've been photographing the last couple of month. I've been meaning to look at all the photos for any distinctive field marks. Anyhow, one flew off landing on a tree in the Bronx Zoo which is across the way, the other flew under the canopy of some pine trees..... WITH A BRANCH IN ITS BEAK. Should I break out the rattle and cigars in anticipation of a visit from the stork? : )

Well Pat, it's quite possible that you can anticipate natal festivities, though we have had cases in Manhattan, Charlotte and Pale Male Jr. last season are a case in point, where they brought twigs and bark to their previous nest site but never laid any eggs. They took the year off for some reason.

(By the way, big news about Charlotte and Pale Male Jr., the second post down after this one!)

Photo:Pat Gonzalez
Later, I saw my pal red-tail in the native forest. All of a sudden a HUGE raptor flew towards him with talons extended ready to pounce. At the last second, Red-tail turned his head and saw what was coming, jumping off about a second before the bird landed on the exact same branch occupied by Red-tail.

Photo:Pat Gonzalez
It was my pal great horned owl. Yikes! I guess it was safe to assume he was defending his area as he was just a few yards away from the branch where I usually see him perched.

As the photographs had been modified they no longer had the original time they were taken so I've emailed Pat asking what time of day the Great Horned Owl was out and about chasing Red-tails. Shouldn't she have been asleep?


We are now well over 48 straight hours of cold drenching rain.
The various local rivers are at or near flood and still the rain falls, incessantly, heavily. I went out to check on the Red-tail nests and the vernal ponds I've been keeping an eye on.
The second nest on County M, N2, has lost a side, and a pair of Red-tails was seen circling in the sky above the area.
N2 was not built nearly as sturdily as N1 (above) and I suspected that perhaps it was a first nest. Better to have fallen now than later. Perhaps they will build a replacement nest, learning from their first attempt, and try again.

Buffleheads in a vernal pond near Clear Lake off Hwy 59

There are a variety of water fowl: Mallards, Canvasbacks, Ring-necks, and Canada Geese. They glide, paddle, dip, and dabble around the pond's surface. They being ducks don't find the rain the least problematical.

Nor did this Sandhill Crane making her way to the marsh over the hill.

Meanwhile in the front yard on Rainbow Drive, a flock of over 200 Cedar Waxwings took turns sitting in the Willow on watch and eating the Mountain Ash berries in the adjacent tree.

The Robin and his mate sat in the lower branches of the Mountain Ash for some time watching the large flock of Cedar Waxwings. There was an intention on the Robins part but exactly what it was I'm not sure. Eventually some decision seemed to have been made and the Robins went to ground to forage.
And the rain, cold and constant, continued.
And from New York Times gleaner of significant articles of interest Bill Walters, information which was suspected and has now been quantified-
The survey found that over the last four decades, grassland birds had declined by 40 percent and birds in arid lands by 30 percent.
P.S. If you haven't seen them yet there are news updates following this post on the Riverside Park Red-tails plus Pale Male Jr. and Charlotte, posted Tuesday.

No comments: