Saturday, April 19, 2008

Red-tail Nest Updates: The Search for a Hatch

Photograph by Julia Boehme
An immature Red-tail which some believe is last year's eyass from the 7th Avenue nest, also called Ziggy, perched on the Bethesda Fountain. Many thanks to Julia for sending it in.

Fifth Avenue: More of the same for Pale Male and Lola as the Pope and his security is still in the vicinity.

As of today at the Highbridge Nest: Rob Schmunk of ,
"Watched Martha for an hour. She's antsy, but no hatch yet at Highbridge."
The Riverside Nest: In response to the question, when did the Riverside 79th St. pair begin to brood? When I visited on March 11th, the formel was broody but was standing to fiddle with sticks and left the nest for a few minutes without coverage while she ate. By March 22, she was sticking tight. Therefore they began to brood between March 11th and March 22. And I'd say much closer to the former rather than the later date.

And also from Rob Schmunk as of today: More activity at Riverside but doesn't look like a hatch here either.
According to neighborhood hawk watcher Everett, Isolde is still brooding.

As for Stormin' Norman--well, he's still going around being Stormin' Norman and terrorizing the neighborhood.

Photograph: Donegal Browne
2005, Charlotte eating on the Trump Parc nest site.

Southern Hawk Watcher, Brett Odom, who works in an office directly across from Junior and Charlotte's nest of last season and possibly this season as well, observed Charlotte at the 888 Seventh Avenue nest site for 10-15 minutes. Suddenly when Brett looked again, he couldn't see her. Here's what his newest thoughts are--

Last year it was much easier to see behind the glass windows with binoculars. It was their first time using the nest and the windows were clean. Now with the nest being a year old, a dark brown hawk easily blends into the brown nest, and the feces and grime on the windows do not
help. Knowing this, I'm now not confident in my past observations that she (or Junior) are not incubating eggs.

It's quite possible that they have begun incubation and I just was not able to see them behind the window. And just as PM and Lola occasionally leave their nest unattended, it's quite possible Charlotte and Junior do the same thing and I just happen to see them together on those few occasions since the Essex sign is a favorite perch.

I'm now thinking that the only way I will be able to tell if they will be raising a family this season is if and when an egg or eggs hatch. A small white ball of fluff will be much easier to see behind the windows than a dark adult hawk.


Brett Odom

Hawkeye and Rose of the Fordham Nest

The Fordham nest site complete with two eyasses, 2007. The third eyass had fledged earlier in the day. Note the handy tree near the nest ledge. It's thought that eyasses return to this nest regularly after fledging.

From Chris Lyons, a major observer of Hawkeye and Rose at Fordham--

I've nothing major to report yet. As of today, Rose is still incubating, and Hawkeye is giving her breaks. It's roughly 28 days since she started sitting. No way of knowing when the first egg was laid. No indication of hatching, so far.

I'll be checking tomorrow, then Monday. I'd only start worrying if was no sign of a hatch by 4/25.

Last year, she seemed to start around the same time as this year. From the ground, I saw Rose clearly feeding young--without being able to see the young--on April 26th, 2007. They could have hatched days before that, and probably did. Unfortunately, it was several weeks later that Rich Fleisher found out that the roof of Dealy Hall could serve as a good vantage point to look down on the nest. I'm hopeful that this year we can confirm a hatch much sooner. But first we've got to have one.

Chris Lyons

And a word to Hillary, who dropped by the Hawk Bench, "Get in touch." The email is palemaleirregulars at yahoo.
Donegal Browne

Friday, April 18, 2008

Pale Male, Lola, and the Pope--helicoptors, fire trucks, sirens, police presence

Rik Davis reports that this morning Lola had a short break. Dominique reports Pale Male brought Lola a twig and she flew off for less than her half hour which is usually taken for food.

For the rest of the day, at least until 7:30PM Lola had no breaks at all. Nor did anyone see her eat. What is it that keeps a formel on the nest all day? Is she waiting to answer a pip from an egg? Or did it have to do with the nearly constant hovering of helicopters over the Model Boat Pond?
Above photo, 4:03PM Lola protects the bowl of the nest from a particularly strong sunbeam.

Actually all the burning of fossil fuels for security made it look like the Eastside was having it's own private heat inversion. Over to the west, the air seemed clear. People walking in from that side of the park thought a storm was brewing in the distance.

Pale Male was pretty scarce today. He perched on the Stovepipe railing for 45 minutes or so and then disappeared once again.

That bright white speck of Pale's breast glinting in the sun makes it reasonably easy to spy him even from the Hawk Bench visually unaided.

4:44PM It's hot up there in the sun. Lola pants.

Yet another helicopter whips by. Lola did make sure to cover the bowl when the giant flying machines came by but she didn't go so far as to hunker down in the nest and pretend not to be there.

Lola shuffles her wing feathers.

6:30 Lola turns her back to the sun and lowers her head. Is she shading her head and the bowl at the same time?

Here she might actually be looking.

Mustn't forget to scan the territory now and again. The immature Red-tail who has been pushing her luck in Pale Male and Lola's territory streaked over the Model Boat Pond, circled, and then kept on going.


This is definitely preening--

Though I'm not sure what is happening here?

A fly buzzes Lola. She snaps her beak at it a few times.

She preens her breast.

Fixedly watches something to the north.

Keeps at it.

7:14PM And having disappeared momentarily, Lola sits back up.

7:25PM After having done nearly 7 hours on the nest without respite, Lola settles more deeply into the nest and peers through the twigs. She'll watch for Pale Male. Either for a late evening snack or to know his roost site for the night.
7:30 Exit.
Next up, Eileen of New York's Eagle News--

Hi Donna-
While we (im)patiently wait for PM & Lola, some amazing Bald Eagle news from from Santa Catalina Island California and the Institute for Wildlife Studies!!!
(Don't miss the photos on the site. D.B.)
The Catalina pair who nest at the West End have always had their eggs removed & hatched at the incubation facility, then the eyases were returned to the nest as they have always had thin-shelled eggs from DDT. Two eggs were removed from the nest this year. One didn't make it, but this little guy/gal hatched with some assistance on April 15th.
S/he is scheduled to return to the nest tomorrow. Well, the parents surprised everyone today...they apparently laid another egg and were incubating it along with the fake eggs...and it hatched late this morning!
The camera page today is "Dedicated to Mother Nature...She's always full of surprises!"

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pale Male and Lola--One Adventure After Another

All photographs Donegal Browne
Lola comes over to retrieve her dinner. (But that's later. In the meantime...)

Temperature-72F, much warmer in the sun

Very sunny

Wind 0-10MPH

4:17:51PM In fact all times are PM. Today in particular you should pay special attention to the times as there are jumps in some sequences because they repeat several times over. Stranger and stranger. And therefore the repeat sequences are rarely illustrated twice.

Does that make sense?

So what's the photo? Look carefully, Lola, her head dappled by twig shadows, is peering out between the sticks.

4:20:14 And here comes Pale Male. He's low attempting to gain elevation by flying back and forth. The wind is currently zip. He struggles and finally manages to get up and land on Linda 4.

4:20:24 He's panting, wings separated from body in an attempt to cool himself. That must be some hefty squirrel he's got for Lola's supper.

4:20:39 He may be somewhat winded but he's still checking for intruders.

4:20:49 Still panting.

4:21:03 It's not only a hefty squirrel. It's a headless hefty squirrel. Pale Male has removed the head to save weight. No fool he. Squirrel heads not being particularly meaty anyway. He does a little jump and comes down in his patented railing grip. The posterior of each foot faces the other. That way he always has a good hold no matter the situation or wind change.

4 21 42 Still panting. I see he's left on the tail. Is the weight that negligible or is it aesthetic? Or perhaps Lola enjoys squirrel tail. As we don't find them around the park much, someone must.

4:21:32 Time to get serious. Pale eyes the distance and I suspect may have been waiting for some wind, his and the regular kind, and takes off.

4:22:00 Ta Da! He makes it complete with hefty squirrel.

4:22:19 Hefty squirrel in beak Lola prepares to take off. Actually lets get a closer look at that squirrel.

It's bigger than Lola's head. For a moment I was wondering if it might be a bit stiff and shall we say "enlarged" but I think it is just swinging out from her momentum.

4:22:48 Lola is off to the north and isn't flying all that high herself as it turns out. And she of course is bigger and stronger than he is. Because as most of you know, raptor species have reverse sexual dimorphism. The female is the larger of the two.
Did you notice? Yesterday Lola stayed out of sight for 9 minutes while Pale Male waited with her food. Didn't I tell you that was extremely unusual? Today from his landing to her taking off , the whole sequence, not just the wait for her to leave the nest bowl, was less than three quarters of one minute.
He of course often makes her wait before leaving the bowl. I think he naps.

4:24:32 Having watched where Lola went and then looked into the bowl, he now gets down into it.
4:31 Pale Male's tail appears at a steep angle. He looks to be shuffling around in there. Then his tail disappears and all is quiet.
5:14 I look at my watch. Lola has been gone quite awhile. I'm betting after how itchy she was yesterday that she's eaten her squirrel and then gone off for a bath.

5:16:38 Suddenly Pale Male's head pops up. No he hasn't become suddenly scrofulous. It's the twig shadows that make him look that way and besides he also looks rather hot. As I said I think he sleeps, and has now, after 45 minutes of sun beating down on him in an insulated spot, has awakened to feeling like toaster strudel.

5:16:47 Nope he isn't looking like his very dapper self that is for sure.

5:17:01 He carefully makes his way to the wall.

5:18:05 (Still paying attention to the times?)

5:18:23 He's sidled back into the nest bowl with his tail tipped up.

5:18:44 Now he's gone back to the side. What's he up to?

5:18:54 More panting and looking for Lola.

5:19:17 Back into the bowl, this time with head down.

5:19:51 He looks to be standing ("sitting very high"), straddling the nest bowl which would shade it, with his chin propped on the top edge.

5:20:22 More of his back, no head.

5:22:06 Once again tail and nothing else.

5 23 23 Lo and behold it's Lola circling in from the direction of Azalea Pond. Pointed out to me by a very nice woman and her daughter from Staten Island.

5:24:19 Lola looks into the bowl, stares at ?, "So what's wrong with you?" Note that Lola has landed and is walking with her talons curled under. That's proper nest decorum. (I wonder if Stormin' Norman at the Cathedral has figured that out yet? Let's hope it's innate.)

6:24:26 Note the depth of color to her feathers. This is a bird who has had a bath and is truly enjoying preening herself.

5:24:47 Look closely and you'll see the damp feathers above her eyes.

5:25:11 Lola stares down. I don't have a photo of it, but as Pale Male came out instead of following his movement Lola continued to stare down into the bowl.

5:25:21 Pale is out of the bowl. He has his talons properly curled.

5 25 34 A couple of heat expelling pants while Lola watches.

5:25:42 Lola goes back to staring into the bowl. Either that or she's getting her face out of the way for his take off.

5:25:53 And he's off.

5:26:14 Lola sits high.

5:26:33 Down she goes.

5:26:56 And back up again.

5:35:20 Lola stares fixedly at something. A fly perhaps though I haven't seen one up there yet this season.



Still watching

5:54:43 This is a new position.

5:55:56 Just for some perspective.

5:57:39 Same stance.

6:00:13 A close up of how she is positioned. One wind drooped. Where are her feet exactly? Is her tail covering the bowl?

6:00:55 Speaking of the bowl, she seems to be looking down into it.

6:01:22 She moves to the side, head down.

6:01:33 Standing on edge she looks out.


6:01:59 Preen under wing

6:02:47 High, head to north.

6:03:26 High peek through twigs.

6:05:14 Lower peek through twigs.
Donegal Browne