Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Grey Day with Quiet Fledglings, a Panther, and Pathetic Fallacy

Our Central Park Field Man Jeff Johnson, was out again on the 14th.  And as usual, unattributed photos and italicized commentary are Jeff's, the straight stuff is mine.

Friday was mostly a dreary overcast day of grey clouds and I wasn't able to recon for Red-tails until very late afternoon. Entered the Park from 79th street and scanned for the 927 Parents and Fledglings with no joy as I followed the 5th Avenue wall down to the Sailboat Pond. 927 Nest check with nobody visible. Metadata time 1802.
On hearing what I thought was a fledgling begging coming from East Drive roadway I proceeded west. Staying to the right side of the roadway I walked north scanning and listening with no joy. My favorite sculpture was there also doing some stalking. It would be great to have Pale Male in this frame but it's only bikes and joggers. Metadata time 1816
Jeff, you are suffering from what, as a literary device, is called pathetic fallacy.  Your mood matches the weather.  (I've been trying to think for months what the literary device is, in which the weather matches the action, as in a funeral that takes place on a gray day of drizzle.  Anybody, please!) Plus we're now getting to the days when sometimes there is no fledgling joy-a day of near despair as you've grown attached to these little ones who are getting bigger and will eventually hunt further afield, and be seen no more that you recognize them anyway, but not quite yet.  They'll  later leave for at least a season or two. 
Remember  tomorrow may well bring the joy of  seeing fledglings once again going about their mischievous fledgling business.
But in the meantime, remember there are other things in Central Park which can bring us joy.  For instance, I've always loved the panther too.  (Panther yes, but an American one.  Her other name is Mountain Lion.)  But most of the time in Hawk season, even on those dreary days of no hawk joy,  I  never thought to find out more about her, until a gray day of few sightings, when finally I remembered.
Unlike most of the statuary in Central Park, she has no plaque. 
 Her maker was Edward Kemeys, and when he made her in 1883, he wanted her in a completely naturalistic setting which precluded a plaque.  The piece, as Jeff says,  is named "Still Hunt",  and part of my affection for her has to do with the reaction of humans who come upon her unawares. 
It is most likely to happen near dusk, when a passer-by, having never seen her before, glances up,--a gasp, hand to chest and then a choked laugh at being fooled for an instant.  But for that instant they had experienced, if only in their mind, some of the feel of actually reacting from a deep primal place within themselves. 
But while we've been musing Jeff has been walking on with his eyes on the trees. 
At the NW corner of Cedar Hill I come upon a quiet fledgling about eighteen feet up on a Pine with trimmed branches which make nice perches. Metadata time 1826.
Moving around behind the still silent fledgling so that I am facing SSW, I got a close tail check. Through this week of Red-tail looking I have yet to positively see Zena. Metadata time 1826
Moving to my left until I'm facing west I get a close belly frame of the fledgling. It looks to be the mottled belly female and she doesn't appear to have eaten yet. Metadata time 1833.  
Departed scene going north to 84th street with no further sights or sounds of Red-tails. 
Thank you Jeff .  
Dear Readers this is the second post in the last few hours, therefore scroll down to make sure you've not missed the first.
Donegal Browne 

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