Monday, August 27, 2012

Jeff Johnson's Observations That Were Unpublished At the Time of His Death Begin Here

Looking for Zena
Friday,  August 17,  2012

Spent quality time with Opera Star in the Park today... I'll send frames Saturday.

Snailing in 3G from my iPad, Jeff

Saturday, August 18, 2012
 Photographs and commentary in italics by Jeff Johnson.

Got into the Park from 85th and 5th at about 1550 and proceeded to the west side hoping to spot Zena. 241 Building had no Red-tails visible. I decided on a more SW probe.
Metadata time 1616.
Squirrel from Summit Rock and  West 83rd. Metadata time 1649.

This raptor atop the ANHM is probably the only one I'll get a frame of today. Metadata time 1650.
Beresford from SW at Swedish Cottage with No Red-tails visible. Metadata time 1658.
Made my way back to the Sailboat Pond and did a 927 Nest check with nobody visible. Metadata time 1739.
Out of the blue comes opera Star as I'm crossing to the NNW at the foot of Cedar Hill beow the Arch. Metadata time 1752.
(A lovely photograph of Opera Star.)

 Flies to a different tree. Metadata time 1754..
 Flies to a third tree on Cedar Hill. Metadata time 1755.
Opera Star close. Metadata time 1755.
Glade Arch and Cedar Hill scene. Metadata time 1756.
 He's jumped into the brush trying to snag a squirrel. Metadata time 1758
Opera Star in London Plane south of Glade Arch. Metadata time 1800.
 Now to a different tree nearby. Metadata time 1801.
 Flies to a tree midpoint between Glade Arch and "Alice" to these south. Metadata time 1802.
Opera Star zips into a tree NNE of Glade Arch so he's now on Dog Hill. Metadata time 1803.
Close frame. Metadata time 1803.
 Flies into low tree east 78th. Metadata time 1805.
Dives into the brambles below Glade Arch trying to grab a squirrel. Metadata time 1807.
Back into a Cedar Hil tree to scope out the prey. Metadata time 1807.
 Insisting on having squirrel for dinner. Metadata time 1807.
 Giving chase on the ground to a squirrel. Metadata time 1809.
 Up into a tree SSE of the Arch. Metadata time 1809.
 Cedar Hill squirrels must be the boy's favored prey because opera Star persists in his pursuit. Metadata time 1811.
 Now in an east 78th tree. Metadata time 1811.
 Opera Star has unflagging strength, but I'm getting tired chasing him. Metadata time 1813.
 He's on the move again. Metadata time 1814.
 Back to south Cedar Hill. Metadata time 1819.
Cedar Hill tree scene (looking due west). Metadata time 1821.
Opera Star's six showing as he heads east. Metadata time 1822.
(? D.B.)
 Now going ENE. Metadata time 1822.
Finds a London Plane to hs liking south of Glade Arch. Metadata time 1823.
It's easy to see why he favors London Planes. It's almost beyond belief that he camouflages so easily. Metadata time 1824.
 Glade Arch scene. Metadata time 1824.
 He seems very interested in the cavity he's perched over. Metadata time 1831.
 Then his attention wanes and he bullets down to a bench outside the Playground by 77th Street and 5th Avenue. Metadata time 1837.
 Playground scene as he overflies the kids splashing in the fountain. Metadata time 1840.
 Takes some time to human watch. Metadata time 1840.
 Opera Star watching kid at play in the fountain pool. Metadata time 1841.
In the blink of an eye Opera Star plummets from is perch into the brush on the let side of the Playground entrance and then hops up onto the railing with a mouse in his beak. Metadata time 1844.

 Secures his catch in a talon. Metadata time 1844.
Proud moment. Metadata time 1845.
 Takes his catch up into a nearby tree to the SW Metadata time 1851.
 Opera Star having his hard won meal. . Metadata time 1853.
Or maybe not. we just saw that he had a mouse and looked to be eating, but here he is with no crop bulge whatsoever. did he decide to cache his meal for later ? Metadata time 1855.
Flies up onto the south railing of the Playground. Metadata time 1856.
 Scoping out the bushes below the Playground's south railing. Metadata time 1858.
 Many in the Playground are uninterested in this magnificent creature. This is an unfair statement on my part, the children being looked after in the Playground are the primary and legitimate concern of those seemingly uninterested people.   Metadata time 1858.
Opera Star's interest is piqued by something in the bushes. Metadata time 1906.

I had to depart scene but Opera Star was still in pursuit of more prey and pounced into the brush below the railing in this frame as I was leaving. No joy about seeing Zena.

The observations of the following day, "Looking for Zena 18 Aug Saturday", has already been published.

Also published was a photo of a Red-tail who he thought might be Zena which referred back to the day's observations below, titled...

Looking for Zena 14 Aug Tuesday (Who Are These Red-tails ?

Which has not been published.  It will appear next.   It includes 61 photographs disconnected from their captions.  It will take some time to collate and as it is 5:20 AM it cannot be done until I've slept.

Why were these observations never published you ask?

As some of you may remember my internet connection was down for two weeks and I was ill besides. When the technology became available again,  I made the decision to post Jeff's more current observations while attempting to catch up on the previous ones that he had submitted earlier.  This had not been completed at the time of his death.

In an attempt to possibly find some sort of order in the events of his last days, a glimpse of his thinking, or telling changes from his previous work, I have decided to publish his Central Park Red-tailed hawk observations posthumously.

 The chronology is important as there were at least two occasions in which Jeff wrote he would not be able to follow the hawks after a certain specified date.  After I'd reiterated to him how many people enjoyed his work, and asked why he wouldn't be continuing, he didn't explain why he was moving on, but the deadlines passed and he continued to watch the New York City Hawks.

I hope we may find some insights together.

 More to come.

 Donegal Browne


sally said...

So sorry Donna. What was going on in his mind we may never know. How someone so obviously interested in protecting and documenting life in one realm would take away life in another. I will his posts on your blog, they were almost the only source of information on Pale Male and his family still being made that I could find. Hugs to you...

Anonymous said...

Donegal, thank you for printing this. From what you've published, Jeffrey Johnson's writings certainly don't appear to me to be the nonsensical ramblings of a homicidal maniac. His observations seem rational as well as focused. In fact, he doesn't even seem particularly self-absorbed or sociopathic based on the empathetic comments he made about the children and their minders in the park. Perhaps no one will ever really know what caused him to ultimtely snap in such a dramatic and tragic way. It is very difficult to comprehend the personal private hell in which some people are trapped.

What is also sad (and perhaps telling) is that no family member or close friend has yet to come forward to claim his body.

Donegal Browne said...

I wondered if anyone had come forward to claim him. The last indignity.

No Jeff did not seem like a homicidal maniac when I briefly met him. Perhaps a bit too solicitous, over polite, and adoring for my comfort but that sometimes happens. After years of emails he finally left off calling me Ms. Browne and used my first name when I asked him yet again to do so.

Jeff appears to have been a man who stood on his dignity, who wanted us to know about his technological trappings of the modern world, wished he was more than he was when it came to his military record, caught in an economic nightmare which continued to spiral downward out of control until he was no longer able to respond in a rational manner.

He appears to have been a man without much love or warmth in his life except a little at the last with his love of Pale Male and his family which helped him go on at least for a time. Then it seems when it appeared that the lack of a job and money with no where to turn, would soon make him homeless something that had been bending within him finally gave way for good.

Donegal Browne said...

Thank you Sally. Jeff was certainly doing the hawkwatching community a great service by including us in his jaunts to see Pale Male and his family. We will miss his daily photographs and his sometimes funny and delightful commentary on their life and times.