Marie Winn, author of "Red-tails in Love", http://mariewinnnaturenews.blogspot.com/ and Ken Chaya who has notated every single tree in Central Park, http://www.centralparknature.com/index.html
Nobody has known Pale Male longer nor can talk about his essence better or more beautifully than Marie Winn...
Hear the NPR Here and Now audio interview of Marie Winn on Pale Male...
Plus Vicki Kroke's blog on the same topic...
In mid-October I was in New York City for a very brief visit on my way to Brandeis University, to see daughter Samantha do the lead in Dead Man's Cell Phone, and I of course took a day in Central Park to go in search of Pale Male on the way...
And there was Bethesda on her fountain surrounded by people as usual on such a lovely day.
And though I knew that as October isn't hawk season, there would be no hawkwatchers on the Hawk Bench, I myself could probably count the times I'd been there in October, still...
Back in the day Rik Davis would absolutely have been there, but no longer.
As to 927? At this time of year weeks can go by without spotting Pale Male or Octavia on the nest...but still.
But the Mallards were there on their safety float.
As was the crowd at the cafe and the model sailboats on the Conservatory Waters.
But from the Oreo fences and antenna...
...and all the way round to Woody, not a hawk in sight. Drat!
No joy at Linda, either, but nice of them to do their repair work in the off season.
So I sat on the edge of the Model Boat Pond and watched the sky, favorite perches, and the the sole tugboat amongst the regatta of sails.
An older gentleman approached me and asked if I knew about the hawk that nested on 927, I said, "Yes, I was just looking for him." He responded he hadn't seen him yet today and continued his stroll.
Hans Christian Anderson still chats with the Ugly Duckling just beyond the Hawkbench. This is where the tribute to Charles Kennedy was held after his death complete with a Pale Male cake and I suggested that Pale Male Junior's new mate be named Charlotte as an honor to Charles and so it was done by acclamation.
Then I remember watching Pale Male sitting a branch just above my head as the light began to fade on three successive days, getting progressively closer to the tip before finally making multiple swoops which cleaned out a rat hole. Such a clever patient hawk.
Alice still cavorts with her friends from Wonderland.
And still no visit by Pale Male or Octavia to the nest.
I call veteran hawkwatcher Stella Hamilton for a possible tip about Pale Male's whereabouts at this time of day in October, though at work she called back with a tip..."Try the Pinetum".
On my way, still a bit downcast with my lack of luck so far, I decide to make a detour and visit Charles Kennedy's bench at the feeding station in the Ramble.
I had to laugh. The advice of the always optimistic Charles...the milkweed my be through and the butterflies may be gone, ( and by the way, Pale Male may not be around) ...but hey there could be some owls or who knows what all if you keep your eyes and ears open!
And so I head further into the Ramble. Wait, there is a pigeon stock still sheltering in an alcove of one the giant rocks strewn through the woods. Could that mean a hawk somewhere?
That's when I head a mob of scolding birds and the retort of a Red-tailed Hawk. I take off up the path toward the sounds at a run.
I stop. I'm close. I look up. And there is Pale Male flying over a small break of the foliage, looking down at me.
YES! Good afternoon Pale! How are things?
And only then do I get the camera up to my eye....
Too late. You'll just have to trust me on this one.
Pale Male sends his regards!