There was a young Red-tailed Hawk flying between 100th and 111th Street along Fifth Avenue this afternoon. It was impossible to tell if it was a migrant or a hawk that was born on a nearby nest this spring.
While Chipmunks are common in the surrounding areas, I had never seen one in Central Park until today. I had heard they had returned a few years ago, but never ran across one until today. It was on the eastern slope of the Great Hill.
The condition of the park was mixed after the very early snow storm. The trees still had leaves and the snow was very wet. While some trees had fallen over, most of the damage seemed to be limited to broken branches. The greatest damage was in the southern section of the park.
Update: 10/31/11 - I've received word that the damage is worse than I estimated from my walk in the north.
The park staff is going to be working very hard to clean up the damage and get ready for the New York City Marathon which is next Sunday.
On Saturday, I explored the park looking for raptors. My first was a Merlin falcon on a water tank on top of the Lincoln Correctional Facility on 110th Street. It was chased away by a mob of Crows. Later, I saw a Sharp-shinned Hawk hunting, although it was too fast to photograph. As I ended my walk, I saw the female Red-tailed Hawk, Lima on a 5th Avenue building around 77th Street.
A Barred Owl was found in the Ramble today, most likely the same owl seen the Friday before last. It was fairly active before fly out, flying from branch to branch in a small area. After dark, it moved to trees closer to a large lawn. I was able to track it for about 45 minutes after fly out.
I was hoping to hear a few calls, but the owl was absolutely quiet.
I've been out of town, but have returned and I was able to spend a few hours in Central Park this afternoon. Here are some pictures of a very shy Yellow-breasted Chat who was the highlight of my afternoon.