Sunday, October 25, 2009

Charlotte of Central Park and a Day of Red-tails--Well, probably.

Photograph by Christine Pittet
Gman of
left this comment--

"Check out this Red-Tailed Hawk on Central Park West " with the above link.

I clicked on his link and besides more photos of the Central Park West perched hawk, I found that an anonymous question had come into G man's blog asking if the hawk was Junior or Pale Male?

This hawk is a mature Red-tail, and in the right place but she's very dark and therefore neither Pale Male or Pale Male Jr. Those of you who have been following the doings of the Southern Central Park Hawks, will likely recognize Charlotte.

It's beginning to look like Charlotte may not be nearly as scarce as she often is after nesting season.

And I understand there is some video as well. Stay tuned.

And to the next Red-tail of the day--I was crunched into traffic speeding along just leaving Janesville, the nearest town of any size, when like a boulder out of the sky, a buteo came down hard on some prey, BAM, from a perch on a power line directly above the target and mantled it on the verge of the road. Whoa!

When I finally managed to pull off, and grab my camera I wasn't exactly close. And to add insult to injury, upon attempting to take the picture, I realized I'd left the battery for that particular machine charging on the kitchen counter. (Ever have days like this?) At this point I'd lost my chance for a shot on the verge and the hawk picked up whatever is was she had nabbed and took to her wings. It was heavy and she really had to power flap to get any altitude at all. Just before I turned to grab another camera I saw her even with the left edge of the poison ivy that's gone scarlet at the edge of the cornfield and just above it.

By the time I'd made the grab and turned back around, I'd no idea where she had gone. Not wanting to go too close, this is likely a rural hawk after all and not having binoculars or a scope with me, I just took photos of the trees in hope I could find her when I brought them up on the computer.

If you'd like to take a crack at it, double click on the photo above for a larger version.

Do you see her in the zoom? It took me awhile to decide that what I was looking at was actually a hawk. If you've not found her, quarter the photograph. She is in the upper left quadrant.

She's in this one as well.

Still eating. I can't decide what the prey is. A rabbit?

Also here.

And what is happening here? Are those feathery legs or the prey involved? At first I thought she might be a Rough-legged Hawk, but the breast seems much to light and this camera does insist on veering towards the blue end of things so her back is likely much more of a warm brown then it looks here. I decide Red-tail.
At this point, a pick up almost sideswipes my car, and as I don't even know if there is a hawk in the trees I'm photographing, I decide the better part of valor is to move the car.

My, my...

Well, what have we here? Remember I'd been saying I hadn't seen the Ms for ages? (The Ms being the Red-tailed Hawk pair who nested in the oak in the middle of a field on County Rd. M that we followed on the blog this nesting season.)
Earlier in the day while attempting not to be late for an appointment, I'd spotted a hawk sitting in a bare tree in the treeline adjacent to the field in which the Ms nested. And I noted with interest that even though there were other cars on the road, the RT looked at my car, followed it with her head and then when I passed by actually turned on the branch to continue watching me. Did the hawk recognize the car from earlier in the year?
And now here was a back lit Red-tail also adjacent to the same field, but now on a different tree.

There she is in the top of the tree. Mark her.
This is the actual distance and therefore I couldn't make a positive identification. Note the small tree in the foreground at the side of the road. Go left. See the space without tall trees on the far side of the field? The hawk is in the top of the first tree on the left of the space. I'm also at a slightly different angle than I had been for the previous photographs so take that into account.
Tomorrow I'll check it out again.
Donegal Browne

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