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New Kid On The Block

We're in a fun but unpredictable period for hawk watching in Central Park.  Familiar fledglings are disappearing and new ones are appearing as birds migrate and wander about the New York area.  There have been sightings of immature hawks in the Conservency Gardens at the north of the park and at Bethesda Fountain. in the center of the park.

At the south end of the park, we have a new immature hawk.  Lincoln Karim saw it on Monday, and I found it again on Tuesday.  Its smack dab in the middle of the 888 Seventh Avenue adults territory, but they don't seem to mind.  Late fall and early winter seem to be relaxed times with roaming juveniles being given lots of leeway.

The new juvenile was finishing a meal of a rodent when I found it.

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This new bird is not banded and has a think neck collar of dark feathers.

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It took awhile to swallow the tail!

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No bands.

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Note the full crop, while this bird is doing well, many young Red-tails starve during this period.  Now separated from their parents, if they haven't developed their hunting skills by now or haven't found a hunting ground with enough food they could be in trouble.  Red-tailed Hawk rehabilitation experts talk about two spikes in bird rescues, one during fledgling season and another during the early fall has young Red-tails starve.

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The young bird slept for the night in a tree near Central Park South and Seventh Avenue.  It was in a tree just above an area full of mice.  As the hawk went to sleep, a feral cat appeared below the hawk to begin its nocturnal hunting of mice in the same area.


888 Seventh Avenue Adults

The 888 fledgling hasn't been seen for a few days, but its parents have been around their normal hunts.  On Monday night they were on top of 15 Central Park West looking into expensive apartments and then roosting for the night.

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The adult female.

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The adult male.

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The adult female who moves from her perch to the workman's elevator rigging, and then to...

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her roost for the night.  She's on the left and the male on the right.


2nd Annual Shorebird Festival at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

On Saturday, the 2nd Annual Shorebird Festival at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge was held.  It was a joint presentation of NYC Audubon and the American Littoral Society.  About 80 birders were in attendance.

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The group out on the East Pond.

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Kevin Karlson led the walk and gave a lecture in the afternoon.  His latest book is about birding by impression - size, and shape rather than field marks.  It is a good method, but I'll need to buy his book to get the hang of it.

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Here he talked about using body size to differentiate between a Greater and Lesser Yellow Legs.

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I'm too new to get my shorebird I.D.s correct but here are some pictures to enjoy.

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Semipalmated Pover

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Snowy Egret.

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Wilson's Phalarope (Immature).

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Wilson's Phalarope (Immature).

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Wilson's Phalarope (Immature).

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Wilson's Phalarope (Immature).

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Wilson's Phalarope (Immature).

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Wilson's Phalarope (Immature).

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Female Merlin.

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Female Merlin.

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Female Merlin.

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Eastern Phoebe.

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Eastern Phoebe's flip side.


Blue-winged Teal

A female plumaged Blue-winged Teal has been on the Harlem Meer since the 11th of August.  It is a small duck, much smaller than the Mallards, American Ducks and Gadwalls that are normally on the Meer.

I had missed it on two other trips to the Meer, but saw it today.  When I saw it on Saturday afternoon it was resting on the sandy beach on the southeast shore of the Meer.

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Weekend Birds

The fall migration has started.  The Central Park list had 81 species on Sunday.

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A Spotted Sandpiper in fall plumage on the grass for some unknown reason on the bank of the Harlem Meer.

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An Eastern Kingbird.

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American Goldfinch.

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American Goldfinch.

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American Goldfinch.

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Baltimore Oriole.

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Baltimore Oriole.

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House Wren.

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Gray Catbird.


Saturday Hawks

Saturday Hawk watching started at the Beresford.

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Lola was to the left of her normal perch on the window.  I then made it to the southwestern tip of the park.

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The female adult of the 888 Seventh Avenue pair was on the north tower of the Time-Warner building.

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and her mate was just inside the park.

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The 888 Seventh Avenue adult male.

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The 888 Seventh Avenue adult male.

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The 888 Seventh Avenue adult male.

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The female comes down to join him and ends up catching a small mouse.

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The 888 Seventh Avenue adult female.

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The 888 Seventh Avenue adult female.

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The 888 Seventh Avenue adult female.  No high roosts tonight.  They slept in trees near Columbus Circle.


Barn Swallows

The light was very bright on Saturday, so I got a chance to photograph Barn Swallows in flight over the Harlem Meer.  At times two birds would touch in flight.  I was able to catch a few of these touches. I haven't figured out the purpose of the touching, although it seems to be some kind of social behavior.

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Global Domination Continues

After the discovery of the Red-tailed Hawk nest on the Unisphere in Queens, I thought global domination by Red-tails was over for the season.  But the adult male of the 888 Seventh Avenue nest proved me wrong.  He perched on the replica of the Unisphere outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower on Tuesday evening, just outside the park at 60th and Central Park West.

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One Less Rodent In The Park

The 888 Seventh Avenue fledgling is doing great.  She's now a quite capable hunter.  On Tuesday evening, she captured a large rodent and put on show for the tourists at the south of the park.

She's becoming much harder to find, a sign of her increasing independence.  I won't be surprised if she leaves the park soon to begin her life's adventure away from her parents. I'll miss her, but will be happy knowing that Central Park has been a safe haven for yet another Red-tail youngster.

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Roosting On 15 Central Park West

Not to be out done by their child, the 888 Seventh Avenue parents spent the night on 15 Central Park West.  This may be the highest roost, we've seen a Red-tailed Hawk use.

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One of the hawks arrived and then left.  I think it was the female of the pair.

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The female returns to the building perching on scaffolding.

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Soon the male arrives (right) and the female then joins him on a the left.  These are the highest windows on the building on the north tower of the rear building at 15 CPW.

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The hawks settle in for the night.

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Although it looks like daylight in this long exposure, it is well past dark and both hawks have settled in for the evening.

While I was watching these two, an inline skater came by and showed me pictures from earlier in the evening.  It was of the 888 Seventh Avenue fledgling.  She was hunting on the bridge just inside the park from Central Park South at Seventh Avenue.  Unfortunately, while he was taking pictures someone actually went up to the fledgling and touched her.  No harm was done, but it's a shame some New Yorkers don't have common sense!


On Top Of 15 Central Park West

On Sunday evening, I found the 888 fledgling high atop the new Zeckendorf building at 15 Central Park West. She looked quite majestic that high up.  I think she's sitting on a 45 million dollar condo!  The building's 201 units sold for over 2 billion. The 888 Seventh Avenue hawks have expensive tastes!

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She dove quickly to what looked to be the roof of the YMCA a few blocks north.  Was pigeon a bedtime snack?


Mt. Sinai Guggenheim Pavilion

Up at the top of the Guggenheim Pavillion of Mt. Sinai Hospital was a Red-tailed Hawk and an American Crown on Sunday morning.  I'm not sure who this hawk is.  Is it the new hawk folks have been seeing or Pale Male up north?

Update: Robert Schmunk reminded me that this could also be the St. John the Divine male.  Both of the St. John's hawks hunt in northern portions of Central Park.

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High Above Opposite Ends Of The Park

I birded both ends of Central Park on Saturday.   Up north, there were Snowy Egrets flying south.  The fall migration has started and the species list on NYC Bird Report has warblers, ducks and other birds that haven't been seen since the spring.

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Down at the southern end of the park one of the 888 Seventh Avenue Red-tailed Hawk parents was on the upper right hand corner of the Essex House sign.

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An American Kestrel came by to give the Red-tailed Hawk a hard time, but didn't actually come too close before...

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heading north into the park.

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Sunday Walk Starts And Ends With Fathers

My Sunday walk from the Sheep Meadow to the Metropolitan Museum of Art started and ended with two fathers, the 888 Seventh Avenue male, nicknamed Junior and the 5th Avenue male, Pale Male.

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Junior was with his daughter in the southwestern corner of the Sheep Meadow.  He had just delivered a late lunch.

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The 888 fledgling enjoying the meal.

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After eating and wiping her beak on some bark, she relaxed in the shade.

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After watching the fledgling, I went up to The Lake to watch Sandpipers.  Here are two Least Sandpipers having fun.  They're quite a social bunch.  We're used to seeing a stray Sandpiper or two in the park, so it's a treat to watch the Least Sandpiper flock behavior.

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Least Sandpiper

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Spotted Sandpiper

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Cedar Waxwing.

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On my way out of the park, I saw another father, Pale Male on the Beresford's North Tower.


Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

On Saturday, I took a NYC Audbon trip to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.  The trip was led by Don Riepe, who did a wonderful job.  Audubon provided a bus, so the trip was easy.  After leaving the Manhattan Audubon office, our first stop was the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge's West Pond, followed by the East Pond and then a visit to Fort Tilden before returning to Manhattan.

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An easy walk from the visitor's center is an Osprey nest on the West Pond.  The 2007 kids had already left.  These are the adults.

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This is a second nest on the other side of the West Pond.

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A tree filled with both Snowy and Great Egrets.

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Great Egret

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Northern Mockingbird

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Glossy Ibis.

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Glossy Ibis.

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An assortment of Sandpipers.

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Immature Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

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Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

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We then visited the East Pond, stopping first at a blind.  There we saw a Black-crowned Night-Heron and...

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... a Little Blue Heron

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Then it was off to the East Pond.  Here's a Gull.  (Still learning how to I.D. them.)

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Great Blue Heron (left) and Black-crowned Night-Heron (right)

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Immature Peregrine Falcon.  This is the first time I've seen one on the ground!

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A bridge near Fort Tilden, where the center gun turret was converted into a Peregrine Falcon nest site.  It might have been the birthplace of the Peregrine Falcon seen on the East Pond.

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Barn Swallows at Fort Tilden.

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Sanderlings on the right.

It was a fun day.  The trip had a full range of birders, from the beginner to the advanced.  Don Riepe, did a great job of keeping everyone interested and kept us out of the Poison Ivy too!  NYC Audubon has a full calender of events throughout the year.  The current schedule can be found on their website, www.nycaudubon.org.


888 Seventh Avenue Mother

I went looking for the 888 Seventh Avenue fledgling this afternoon, but found her mother instead.  She was at the northwest corner of the Sheep Meadow in Central Park around 67th near Tavern on the Green.

She was being scolded by a group of Robins, who helped me find her.

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The adult hawk flew off out of sight.  While looking for her, I found this raccoon sleeping just north of Tavern on the Green.  Does it dream of the goodies in the dumpsters nearby?


Great News - City Will Redraft Photography Permit Regulations

Thank you to all of the readers who wrote to the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting. The MOFTB announced this afternoon that the proposed film rules will be re-drafted and new hearings and public comment period will be scheduled.

Full details of the announcement are at the MOFTB website.

Update: On Saturday, a portion of my letter of protest against the regulations was quoted by The New York Times!


Internship at Time-Warner

I found the 888 fledgling flying west on 58th Street today, and then landing on the Time-Warner building in Columbus Circle.  Her flying skills have really improved.  This perch is about ten stories high.

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A Mockingbird quickly arrived to harass the Red-tail.

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The Mockingbird gave up after a few minutes.

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After about 45 minutes, the fledgling glided down to Columbus Circle with talons down, into the flower beds near the fountain.  It came up empty and...

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...flew up to a traffic light.

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It stayed for about a minute and returned to the park, quickly making its way north for the night.