Saturday, November 19, 2011

Is this Isolde from the Cathedral Nest of St. John the Divine, Mate of Stormin' Norman?

Why you are looking at this will become clear later. This is Isolde in the foreground sitting on the Cetorelli railing on Christmas Eve a few years ago. Keep in mind, it's much colder in this picture than in the following ones so her feathers are all fluffed out for warmth making her look even bigger than usual.

Earlier in the month Wisconsinite Jeff Murphy was attending his daughter's wedding reception in a party room atop a building somewhere in the neighborhood of 91st and York when to everyone's amazement a very large Red-tail cruised in and landed on the roof's railing.

Most people in Wisconsin recognize a Red-tail when they see one so when Jeff told me he'd seen a big Red Tail on the upper East Side, I figured that he hadn't seen something else he just thought was a big Red-tailed Hawk. One hurtle surmounted.

It came to mind, wouldn't it be fun if it were Isolde come to hunt pigeons and attend the wedding reception?

Well the photographs arrived in my mailbox today, and though these shots are back lit, the bird does appear to be a big dark female. Not only that, but the fascinated guests approached to within 20 feet of her. She stuck. Another tic off the list-a human habituated hawk.

Then those folks not necessarily up on RTH courtesy went within 10 feet of her. She gave them "the look" and they stopped their approach.

All well and good but a split focus isn't grand for hunting so the Maybe-Isolde-Hawk did one of those famous disappearing drops off buildings that urban Red-tails do-- Whoa, no hawk, and soared away below their eye level. Only to be spied not long after making ascending circles and then tidily landing on the building's antenna above their heads.

Jeff then asked Bridgett, his daughter the bride, to get her camera, purportedly better than his, to take shots of the Red-tailed Hawk on the antenna. I'm supposed to be receiving those on disc soon. Yea! More evidence is coming for continued sleuthing towards an ID.

But in the meantime
, scroll back up to the top photograph. (Second photo now. D.B.) On some monitors you may be able to see her eye better than others. It looks to me to be large and almond shaped as Isolde's eyes are. There is also something about the curve of her neck and her profile that seems Isolde-ish.

Wait, sit right there, actually you won't have to wait, as when you get to the blog, if I can find a photo that is helpful reasonably quickly it will already be there by the time you tune it. On second thought I'll publish it this way so you won't have to wait. If it isn't there check back for it.

Other wise you may have to wait until the next post. I covered the Recall Walker Event at the Wisconsin Capital today for one of the local papers and I'm fading fast. AND there wasn't a Red-tail in sight. Very disappointing . If a billion jillion people packed into Pale Male's territory, he wouldn't have missed it for the world. He always attends everything. Keeping up with the times? Watching what his people are up to? Hoping for disrupted prey?

Oh no, another question, why aren't there any Red-tails nesting on or around the Capitol, with all it's archaic nooks and crannies plus its green spaces?

Off to find Isolde...maybe.

Donegal Browne

P.S. Got one, maybe more later.