« January 2011 | Main | March 2011 »

Owl Watching Done Correctly

On Saturday, a group of bird watchers stood carefully across the road from the roost and observed the park's Eastern Screech-Owl.  The group was wonderfully handled by a NYC Urban Park Ranger.  They kept their distance from the owl, were quiet and didn't disturb her in the least.  Her ears stayed flat the whole time the group watched them.

A few hearty souls quietly followed her after fly out and were rewarded by getting to see her preen and call. 


20110226ESO01

20110226ESO02

20110226ESO03


Plat Du Jour

The Plat Du Jour Saturday afternoon was squirrel.  Pale Male caught it next just inside the park opposite the nest building.  He went to about five different spots to eat it.  While eating he called to his new mate, so he could share, but she never came to eat "seconds".


201102265th01

201102265th02

201102265th03

201102265th04

201102265th05

201102265th06

201102265th07

201102265th08

201102265th09

201102265th10


Eastern Screech-Owl

First, apologies for anthropomorphizing in my last post and saying the owl in the North Woods was lonely.  She's clearly just advertising her availability.  Calling her lonely is just me projecting my concern that she won't be able to find a mate.

Last night she called at least three hours.  I gave up watching her at that point, as my feet were near frozen!  She called constantly pausing between calls from 15 seconds to 3 minutes.  She's clearly making sure any nearby male will find her!

For those who don't know the history of Eastern Screech-Owls in Central Park, they were reintroduced into the park about ten years ago.  The program didn't result in reestablishing a self sustaining population.  Deaths due to car traffic may have tipped that balance against the owls, but there were other factors as well, poisons, geographic isolation, cavity contention with squirrels and other birds, etc.

So, Central Park now has an owl who has a low chance of finding a mate.  Moving her would be politically difficult and introducing a mate would just perpetuate an unproductive situation even longer.

That said, I will miss watching owls raise their offspring in the park.


20110222ESO01

20110222ESO02

20110222ESO03

20110222ESO04

20110222ESO05

20110222ESO06

20110222ESO07

20110222ESO08

20110222ESO09

20110222ESO10

20110222ESO11

20110222ESO12

20110222ESO13

20110222ESO14


Lonely Eastern Screech-Owl

Tonight was bitter sweet.  The park's resident Screech-Owl was back in a spot she has used more frequently in the fall.   She looked great and I was happy to see her in good health.  (Screech-owls generally switch between a few cavities to roost, and I haven't been able to find her alternative locations over the past few weeks.)

After fly out, she called almost immediately and continued to call for over an hour.  When I left she was still calling.  Now is the time she would normally be starting to brood, but without a mate she was just calling and calling.


20110220ESO01

20110220ESO02

20110220ESO03

20110220ESO04

20110220ESO05

20110220ESO06

20110220ESO07

20110220ESO08

20110220ESO09


Sleeping Together

I'm enjoying getting to know Pale Male's new mate.  On Friday and Saturday, I got to see a great deal of her and Pale Male.

On Friday evening she was on the antenna of a building at 79th and Fifth.

On Saturday, I got to see a great show.  It began with Pale Male eating a Blue Jay.   After he was done eating his new mate arrived and they went up to the nest building.  One sat on the roof and one was in the nest.  It happened quickly and I could not tell who was who.

Then they moved further uptown.  After a brief perch on a building on Fifth Avenue, Pale Male when to sleep on a tree at the base of Cedar Hill.  His mate went to a nearby tree and played cat and mouse with a squirrel, before joining Pale Male on the same branch.

It was great to see them roosting together.  I think she's the one.


201102195th01

201102195th02

201102195th03

201102195th04

201102195th05

201102195th06

201102195th07

201102195th08

201102195th09

201102195th10

201102195th11

201102195th12

201102195th13

201102195th14

201102195th15

201102195th16

201102195th17

201102195th18

201102195th19


Wood Duck On Ice

I was walking out of the park around 8 p.m. this evening via The Pond at 59th Street.  Looking out on the ice, I saw a group of Mallards sleeping on the ice, when one of the ducks caught my eye.  It was one of the two Wood Ducks that have been hanging out on The Pond this winter.

20110217WD01

20110217WD02


Owls in the Wind

The three Long-eared Owls are continuing to roost in Central Park.  Tonight after a very warm day, high winds at dusk made owl watching and photography difficult.  Most of my exposures at fly out are about half a second long, so I had blurry picture after blurry picture!  Lucky some made the cut.


20110214LEO01

20110214LEO02

20110214LEO03

20110214LEO04

20110214LEO05

20110214LEO06

20110214LEO07


New Female On Fifth Avenue

After Lola disappeared in December, a fairly dark female appeared on the scene.  After a few weeks, this relationship didn't work out and she left the park.

Pale Male now has a second "girlfriend".  They seem to be much more of a couple and I wouldn't be surprised if she becomes the permanent mate.

 

201102135th01

201102135th02

201102135th03

201102135th05

201102135th06

201102135th07

201102135th08

201102135th09

201102135th10

201102135th11


More Long-eared Owls

A group of four owls was found rousting in an Austrian Pine on Cherry Hill on Saturday morning.  When I arrived in the afternoon, only three were visible.

A squirrel decided to harass the owls, soon after I arrived.  It broke off small branches with pine needles and dropped them on the owls.  Eventually, the squirrel got two owls to move to other trees.  One to a tree in the open, and one to another nearby pine tree.

News of these owls has spread, so I'm posting these pictures.  If you go see these owls, remember that they are day sleepers with very good hearing.  Let them get some shut eye, if you visit them.


20110212LEO01

20110212LEO02

20110212LEO03

20110212LEO04

20110212LEO05

20110212LEO06

20110212LEO07

20110212LEO08

20110212LEO09

20110212LEO10

20110212LEO11

20110212LEO12

20110212LEO13

20110212LEO14

20110212LEO15

20110212LEO16

20110212LEO17

20110212LEO18

20110212LEO19

20110212LEO20


After Darkness Falls

I was looking for owls Friday night in the north of Central Park.  The hunt was unsuccessful but I did get to watch the activity that occurs after darkness falls.

Around the Loch and The Pool this means Raccoons and Rats coming out for the night, and ducks figuring out where to sleep for the night. 

What surprised me this evening was a Great Blue Heron that flew in fifteen minutes after dark.  While each winter, a sighting of a Great Blue Heron in The Loch, especially when most surounding water bodies are frozen isn't unusual, it always surprises me.


20110214GBH01

20110214GBH02

20110214GBH03

20110214GBH04

20110214GBH05

20110214GBH06


Pale Male in the Rain

I went looking for Pale Male's second "girlfriend" of the winter, but missed her each afternoon this weekend.  My understanding is she's much easier to find in the morning!

Here are some shots of Pale Male in the rain on Saturday.


20110205PM01

20110205PM02

20110205PM03


Long-eared Owl

Long-eared Owls (LEO) are a special treat in Central Park.  They sometimes are found during spring and fall migration, but usually they arrive mid-winter for a few weeks when there is dense snow further north.

This Long-eared Owl was very accommodating.  It was in a section of a tree without too many branches near its perch. It spent about a week in the same tree and has now moved on.

As we curse all of the recent snow, remember that it can bring Long-eared Owls to Central Park, Bald Eagles to Fort Tryon and Inwood Hill parks (there have been sightings this week), and Hawks to various backyards and fire escapes thought the city.

(These pictures are from January 27th.  I delayed posting them to protect the Long-eared Owl.  It was in a very public place, and would have been harassed if news about its location had been made public.)


20110127LEO01

20110127LEO02

20110127LEO03

20110127LEO04

20110127LEO05

20110127LEO06

20110127LEO07

20110127LEO08

20110127LEO09

20110127LEO10

20110127LEO11

20110127LEO12

20110127LEO13

20110127LEO14

20110127LEO15

20110127LEO16