Thursday, January 07, 2010

Coming Up-Pale Male and Lola Protect Their Turf

Photo by Donna Browne
Pale Male soars the perimeter warning an intruder.

Hello Readers,

Today is a travel day and though I've worked through the night I've not gotten the update on Pale Male and Lola finished yet and I've got to catch a bus to the plane. Therefore I'll travel and get back to it as soon as I can when I arrive in the next location.

By the way they're both in fine fettle and doing just what smart bonded Red-tailed Hawks should at this time of the year!


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Red-tail Update: Pale Male and Lola Do It Again!

For whatever reason, I had a feeling that Pale Male and Lola were going to be hard to find. The nest would be too easy so I looked everywhere else first. They aren't at the Beresford anymore than they weren't inside the Ramble.

Nor anywhere around The Falconer with his bird not found in nature. I've always wanted to catch a live Red-tail on top of said bronze bird but it's never happened. I surmise it isn't a very good hunting spot as there are so many trees around taller than the statue around that are better.

No one perched on Bethesda Fountain other than a few pigeons. I break down and decide the view from the Bench is my last hope. Off I go feeling disappointed already. I just know I'm not going to find them.
Wait just a gosh darn minute! Am I imagining that little PALE blob on top of the nest? After the fruitless search all over the place am I really going to find Pale Male standing on top of the nest?
3:20:33pm You bet I am. there he is! How many times have I seen Pale Male stand and ponder the nest? What's needed where for this year's renovation?
3:21:01 He's going to do it. He's going to take off before I can get a look at him through the scope and digiscope him.

Pale Male between Shipshape and Woody heading north.
3:23:32pm This hawk, which I think is Pale Male, was first spotted circling this area at 3:22:48pm
4 tenths of a second after the previous hawk was photographed, another hawk, likely Lola, disappears behind Woody and doesn't come out the other side. It's going to be one of those days.
3:33:02 The circling hawk heads south.
3:33:19pm And is immediately replaced in the circling vantage point 17 tenths of a second later by the hawk above just coming out of the treeline. (I bet we've missed these switches in air position a million times.)
8 tenths of a second later I spot an RT on the west side, left, of Oreo heading north. See the speck way out and over the trees?
3:34:37pm One minute later a flock of gulls appear behind Oreo.
See Red-tail left (west) of Rusty Top about 2/3 up in photo.
3:36:49 Flock of gulls is no longer in view. Have Pale Male and Lola double teamed most of them and herded them around the territory towards Madison Avenue?
3:37:05 RT zooms over 927 Fifth Avenue.

It appears to be Pale doing a dandy imitation of a pelican. He disappears behind the Linda building.
3:37:39 RT appears above Shipshape which is to the north of Woody.

This looks like Lola going south.

And Pale Male coming in from the east.

Then he goes south.

This hawk (I've completely lost track of even a guess as to who is whom.) flies very close to the Villa, I think to use the updraft because...

...a few tenths of a second later there is a hawk much higher, but then again perhaps it is a different hawk.
Circling toward Carlyle..

There is definitely something of interest to the east.

This is Pale circling the Carlyle, looking down--I think.
Now viewing Cherry Hill
Looking up. Touching base with Lola?
3:39:02pm Pale Male looks at me amidst his perusal of the area.

Still circling..

Then off he goes to the SW.

Then no hawks. I decide as it is the beginning of the season a little refresher on the names of the buildings might be in order. The farthest to the right, that is south, is Linda. Moving north to the left, is 927, Woody, Shipshape, the green topped Carlyle, then Green Awnings,Villa, and Rusty Top, which brings us to the corner of what can be seen on that row.

OOPS back to business. RT appears from north. Look carefully above trees.

RT mid top of photo.

And suddenly Pale Male and Lola are circling each other. Courtship has begun yet again--the cycle continues.

I get distracted and suddenly they are gone.

But the gentleman who distracted me, discovers Lola on the balcony of the Carlyle with the huge pair of binoculars. Neither of us remember seeing her there before.

She spends a good bit of time fixedly looking at something below her.

4:13:48 She's gone.

Then an RT hot wings it from the Carlyle to over Shipshape,

Over Shipshape to Woody
Behind Woody,
Along Madison and behind 927 and the nest,

Still cruising, beyond the Dr. Fisher Building,
4:14:59 PM
...and then nothing. Zip. A left hand turn? Perching on the back of 927?

It is bitterly cold and for most of the time I've been the only pair of eyes at the Bench so I apologize for the disjointed nature of the notes. By this point the light has begun to fade and parts of my appendages feel like ice cubes so I pack up my stuff for a hasty exit.

I'm hustling up the hill to walk across the park with I'm startled by a clunk a few feet away. It's a lone chunk of ice. There currently isn't any ice in the trees. What?

I look up. Ah! I surmise this squirrel had taken the ice chunk up with her to nibble on to quench her thirst. I may have startled her and she lost her grip. I definitely got pay back though. The ice chunk pelting out of the sky startled me in return.

Half way across the park I pass a huge sign headed, LAKE RENOVATION. One doesn't ordinarily renovate a lake.

But then again, most of the lakes one runs across are real. They don't need pipes to exist. But remember this is Central Park, where hawks nest on a Fifth Avenue Gold Coast building. Where the Goldfish the migrating Double Crested Cormarants missed for dinner are moved in a big baggie from the Model Boat Pond to The Lake in order to survive when the MBP is drained for the winter. It's certainly real enough for them and come to think of it--it is real enough for all of us...

Down the generations all it has taken, from the minds of the designers to Pale Male, the tiniest of fish, and those who visit, is a little imagination.
Donegal Browne