Monday, February 08, 2016

Racing the Clock To Sunset- A Crow Raiding Party, The Teneyke Eagle Nest, and The Tree Line Red-tail Nest at the Seventh Fence Post

All times PM
 At 4:30 I jumped into the car to go and check local raptor nests with only a 49 minute window until sunset. 

4:33:11 Three minutes later just as I hit the nearby set aside conservation area I saw a Crow raiding party (they work in threes) in the top of a tree pointedly all looking at something.  

I find Crows fascinating.  

Unfortunately, as is usual with crafty crows, when I stopped the car the first Crow took off toward a thicket of  trees.  And as soon as my eye followed the first,  the second took off.  But as I'm wise to the tactic I did manage to look back in time to get a picture of the second before he rolled in flight, switched directions and headed for a copse of trees as well.  

But as the object of today's adventure was raptor nests  I hopped back in the car and headed toward  the Teneyke Bald Eagle nest.

 On the way.. far off on the other side of a large field following the tree line was a large bird flapping in the direction I had just turned into.

 4:42:26  In the right half of the photograph there are two white lines of cloud.  Look at the top one.  Now look at the far left tip of the top cloud.  Trust me, a large bird is just above the tip.

Now look at the tallest tree in the line in the right third of the photograph.  On the right edge of that tree is a dark spot.  THAT is the Teneyke Eagle nest.

Gotta be an Eagle.  And one might assume one of the pair that nests there.
4:42:28  Can you see it now, center, against the cloud?
 See it now?  Yes, and Eagle is heading back  toward the nest.
 4:42:39  Here's a crop of the next shot.  See the Eagle perched above and  right of the nest.  Also see the lump mid nest.  That is the defensive position of the female in previous years.

 4:42:41  The flying eagle is getting very close not to belong there.  Is the mid-nest lump actually just a piece of broken trunk?

4:42:43  If that's a trunk its head just turned.  That's Mom.

4:42:47 There are definitely three eagles.  That changes things altogether and is also a lesson that if one is tempted to an assumption it better be checked out thoroughly before it becomes personal reality.  The third raptor has now curved slightly right.  

Possibly a difference in the species or in nest placement, there is no back wall,  but there were times if an intruder entered a certain perimeter around the Fifth Avenue nest in NYC, Lola, one of Pale Male's mates came off the nest like a shot and  went after the intruder.  Pale Male would then take the nest position with his feet straddling the eggs and dare anyone to just TRY IT. 

This pair is allowing the "intruder" to get quite close.  But perhaps that's how eagles work.  They stand their ground on two levels instead of double teaming, one perched on nest, the other harrying in flight.

The other possibility here is that the "intruder" is a previous nestling, though now mature, of these two bonded eagles and therefore gets some slake to take a look.  That is if the pair are like the Fifth Avenue Red-tails in the matter.

This would be a "look" from a certain distance.  No landing on the nest certainly or getting too close.

4:42:48  Visitor begins to bank.

4:42:51  Dad starts to scream.  Hmm hard to see.
 Can you see his beak now?  Better?

4:42:53 Both parents look straight up.
 4 43 04  Dad screams looking straight up. 
 4:43:04 Visitor looks down directly into nest.

4:43:08  Dad starts screaming and keeps SCREAMING!!

4:43:18  Visitor heads out and flies into the distance.
4:44:36  Dad leans over the branch and looks at Mom.  She looks back at him.  They could be "talking".
All good.  I still need to check on the Seventh Fence Post Red-tail Nest which is the same direction as the visiting Eagle went.  Plus until the leaves come out, also another view of this nest.

Off I go driving to the far edge of the field and turning right.
And there is the Eagle's nest from a different angle.  Not a sign of the visitor though.  See Dad on the branch nearer  the nest.
4:45:46  Here is a crop.  Currently the first thick branch above Dad's head is the one he was previously leaning his head over to communicate with Mom.
4:49:30  Here is the real view. As you can see there is a thaw and this field has become a bit of a lake. Still no sign of the visitor.
24 minutes until sunset, so I'd been get going if I'm going to check the Red-tails nest.

4:54:13  And there is the Seventh Fence Post Red-tailed Hawk Nest.  See it.  The second tree on the left past the far silo.

Why do I call it the Seventh Fence Post Nest?  Once the foliage comes out this nest is extremely hard to spot.  Therefore if you've checked the Eagle nest first, you turn  right at the Teneyke Farm, pass several more farms then when you pass the last before this nest, you look for the small culvert that runs under the road marked by two small poles with reflectors on them, count seven fence posts and look across the field from the seventh post and there is the Red-tail nest.
This nest is actually seated between two different trees and always appears somewhat fragile to me but then I'm used to nests seated on buildings.  I'd say it has been worked on since last year so that is all to the good.  Though currently no Red-tails are in view.

But just a few minutes later further down the road...

There is another Red-tailed Hawk nest in the crotch of a single tree.
A little male wings just above the tree line...
 And Canada Geese, honking their presence, fly in for the night to the pond that never freezes.

Happy Hawking.....
Donegal Browne

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Where IS That Hawk? Squirrel and Quicksilver Evade the Issue.

Squirrel the Cat has just joined Quicksilver the African Grey Parrot on the cupboard in the laundry room.  An area often used to watch the wild birds at the feeders on this side of the house.

But there aren't any wild birds at the feeders.
 Nor are there any birds even in the sheltered area on the other side of the house.

Once again there is a hawk somewhere outside that I'm not yet able to spot.
 Squirrel looks at Silver and Silver looks at Squirrel.  Silver's feathers have slightly risen which makes him look larger and warns Squirrel that he is ready to rumble if things come to that.
Squirrel looks back at me.  
Ah.  I'm still watching.
 Squirrel turns back to the window.   Silver watches me and watches him.
 Silver overtly keeps watching the cat.  And the cat fixedly looks out at the feeders in which there are no birds feeding.
 Silver decides things are safe enough to look out the window himself though he hasn't completed relaxed.  Note the raised feathers on the back of his head and the nape of his neck.
 Squirrel turns.  Likely to check if I'm still watching.
Silver still very aware of us both does begin to look outside.

As Squirrel quite subtly starts to turn toward Silver, Silver focuses directly at the cat.  He's seen something I haven't, perhaps?
  They may be looking for birds, there aren't any in sight, and they don't appear to see the hawk outside either but they are definitely also keenly aware of each other...and me. 
 Tussling is strictly forbidden.

Squirrel's head continues towards Silver and Silver goes into threat posture.  His feathers begin to stand on end all over his body.
 In a split second, the cat turns towards the bird with his right paw raised and the parrot's feathers smooth and he turns to meet the cat head on. 
I yell.
 Squirrel retreats and Quicksilver who appears to have been ready to fling himself at the cat puts his foot down.

The cat exits.  Silver turns and looks out the window again and I am no closer to finding out where the hawk is. 

I assume these guys know but they aren't telling.

Happy Hawking
Donegal Browne