Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Red-tail Updates: Isolde, Norman, Rose, Vince, 1 Fifth Nest, Hooded Mergansers, Wood Duck, Coots, Red-wings

Photograph courtesy of Rob Schmunk at

An update on Isolde and Norman at the Cathedral Nest from Rob Schmunk, for more than below click on Rob's link above--

All seemed quiet at the red-tail nest at the Cathedral of St. John
about a half hour before sunset today, but 15 minutes later
it got weird.

After watching a couple of hawks flutter about the finials and
crenellations in the nest area for a couple minutes, I was very
startled when they were joined by a third. Then all three were
in the air and disappeared over the hospital to the north. A
couple minutes later they were back, circling over lower
Morningside Drive and Park. It was apparent from the relative
sizes that that there were two males and one female up there.
One male (Norman) was chasing the other, while the female
(Isolde) circled nearby as backup.

After several set-tos, the interloper took off to the north.
Subsequent review of (poor) photography revealed that
the interloper was also an adult.


And more from Winkie, intrepid Cathedral hawkwatcher--

Hi Donna,

I did hear from Robert just a few minutes ago. Chalk the difficult viewing up to the angle of Morningside Drive and the way the buildings face. Norman headed over the top of St. Luke's before he lost sight of him. I guess from wherever Robert was positioned we missed each other and he missed seeing Isolde fly into the nest. Later while keeping vigil at the nest, i did encounter another hawk lover. A Spanish man who now lives on Manhattan Ave and 102nd St. He asked if we were sisters. I guess he was referring to you. He was using wonderful hand gestures to show small "girl", long hair, maybe red, big camera, very friendly. He is an endearing little man who has a deep love for the red tails and watches them from his window. i should have gotten his name.

Sorry, that I can't keep you informed for the rest of the week. I wish I had the answer to whether Isolde is sitting on the nest this early. And I'm afraid that I'll be tied up for several weeks. My step daughter is coming the end of next week. Too much entertainment has been planned for much hawk watching. Then we all are off to Florida for the Easter Holiday. Maybe someone else has some extra time. If she is really sitting, Lincoln will be coming regularly. He usually frequents our cathedral in the early am.

I'll send what I can, Donna. Many regards, wink
From James O'Brien in response to Rob Schmunk's report. James managed some photos of the new 1 Fifth nest--
Cool story, I wonder if it was the male from CCNY? Also, I was able to photograph the new nest overlooking washington square park today!



Rose and Vince watcher Pat Gonzalez with grand updates--


Attached are photos I shot yesterday (Tuesday, March 9th) of Rose and Vince at the NY Botanical Garden. Incredibly, they were just two trees away from where I saw them last Friday. First I saw Rose alone. This was at 2:24 PM. I had just exited the native forest. To give you all a better visual (especially for all of you NYBG employees and members who have come up to me these last three weeks) as this path is not on the garden map, when you exit, to you left is the rear employee gate of the rock garden.

Rose was all alone, but soon began calling for her beau. In less than one minute, Vince shows up. What an attentive mate he is! In the first two photos, he is the one on the left with the light eyes. Rose has beautiful dark brown eyes. Rose also has a metal band around her right leg. I cropped the third photo so you all could see it.

I want to thank both of them for allowing me to take 152 photos in the 45 minutes I was there. During that time, they mated three times. Here's some video of the two of them on the branch.

I apologize for the so-so quality of the photos. I did my best to clean these pics up. The blazing sun was to my right and cast lots of shadows.


Enjoy the slide-show starring Rose and her new mate Vince (the handsome devil with the light eyes)


".....we would have been happy with that. But when we exited the forest through the new path and walked down the hill, a large raptor literally fell out of the sky and touched down. It was trying to nail a nearby squirrel that suddenly disappeared for some strange reason. : )

The hawk began jumping around and I went into full photo-mode. I took a few shots were I stood and began to walk really slow towards my new pal. He soon jumped on to a nearby branch. Incredibly, he allowed me to get right under him
I'm snapping away when my battery indicator light starts to flash. NOOOOOOOOOOOO! I just kept on going, expecting the bird to leave any second. Minutes passed, I'm still snapping the hawk is still sitting. So I decided to take a chance. I removed the dying battery, replacing it with a fresh one. In doing so, I dropped the dead battery. It fell with a large clacking sound. The hawk kept his ground. I kept on. Incredibly, the hawk allowed me to then reach inside my bag for my telephoto lens. I attached it and kept firing away.

A loud group of joggers ran by, then a woman yapping on her cellphone, but still this bird wouldn't budge. this time I was wondering why JS didn't come down the hill. He soon whispered "Pat, there's ANOTHER hawk." I tip-toed back and he pointed to this magnificent raptor. I was so focused on the first one, I didn't notice when the second one came down. And like her mate, she let me slowly get closer for these.

20-plus minutes, I had taken 125 photos. Upon looking at them on my computer, I saw that in one, the second one had dark eyes, the sign of a mature red-tail as well as a metal band on her right leg. It was Rose! That meant that the other one, who initiated the squirrel hunt was her new mate."

Beautiful young Vince the Brown-tail, who appears to be quite pale.

Rose strips bark to place in the bowl of the nest.

How does Crow take the whole English muffin without it possibly falling to bits on the flight away. You tear it in half at the weak spot.

A pick up.

Then you pick up both pieces firmly in your beak.

And fly away...

I went for a drive into the country looking for the M Hawks. This is the closest I got. They are being extremely wary.

The Red-winged Blackbirds are back in force, singing from every possible vantage point.

A mixed flock of black birds of various descriptions gather in an old oak

There's a dairy farm with spilled grain and the birds help themselves.

I get to the Rock River and for a moment the sun comes out.

A flock of geese fly in with vocalizing to all the others who have already arrived.

An American Coot flushes from the rocks and paddles with speed in the opposite direction.

A Wood Duck flees. I'd no idea that their toenails are almost squirrel like in order to negotiate trees.

The Hooded Mergansers parade by, with the female bringing up the rear.

There's Wood Duck again.

There go the Mergansers again.

I'm not sure what the coots are doing but they make the strangest quirky head bobs.

A Merganser does what Mergansers do.

The Gathering to dry their feet and take some earth time out of the water.
As you can see a coot seems only duck like in the water when swimming. Their foot structure is different as are their almost chicken like bills.
Donegal Browne

1 comment:

Karen Anne said...

Vince is spectacular.

Isolde, that wench! All the boys are after her ;-)